Coffee Table Declarations
Thursday, July 29, 2004
It's amazing how sociable kids can be.  I can remember being a kid and going someplace with my parents where there were other kids I'd never met and within the hour you'd think we were life long friends the way we were getting along and playing games.  I can remember being distraught when my mom would say, "it's time to go home now" and having to drag me away from my new friend.  But I was fickle.  I didn't mourn for too long and there were always new kids to play with.  Such is the nature of these brief and intense childhood friendships.  Last weekend I experienced one again.

I went swimming at a pond by myself and it was full of parents and kids.  My goal for the day was to be in the water so there I was, floating around, enjoying the water, and actually starting to feel a little bored by myself, when all of a sudden a little girl started talking to me.  With not a trace of self-consciousness she started telling me things ("that's my brother over there") and showing me tips on swimming ("you need to make teacups with your hands... like this, see?")  She was probably around five and her name was Lily.  She reminded me both of being a child and of spending regular time with children - something I really miss.  We became fast friends and I was happy to have some company. 

When the time came for me to leave I went up with her to where her mom and aunt were sitting on the shore which just happened to be right next to where I had left my stuff.  I overheard her mom telling her not to go too deep in the water and her protesting, "but there's a grown up in there!"  Could she possibly have meant me? 

Lily turned and saw me gathering up my stuff.  "Are you leaving?" she asked.  I said I was and her face fell.  I felt terrible.  I told her I had enjoyed talking to her and she said, "you can be my friend!"  Of course I agreed that I would.  I told her we might see each other again at the pond and, counting on the nature of childhood friendships, I hoped she would forget about me within a couple of hours and not feel sad.  It was really the only reason I was able to leave.   
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
If you eat something indulgent and fattening in leiu of eating an actual meal, does it cancel itself out?  Usually I have a granola bar at my desk in the morning for breakfast.  Today someone brought in these incredible homemade brownies with a whole layer of brown sugar, butter, and eggs.  She thoughtfully left them up at my desk in a tupperware container so that I could offer them to passersby.  Guess how many are left and guess how many were taken by passersby?  Guess how many times they were even offered to passersby - I wasn't going to waste these precious choclatey treats on just anyone.  Anyway, instead of my usual breakfast, I ate brownies.  However, I didn't eat the granola bar so I didn't really do anything bad right?  I just substituted one for the other. 

Similarly, there is an ice cream place within walking distance of my apartment that is open until 11pm every night during the summer.  Every evening an internal battle takes place in my head.  "I need ice cream."  "No I don't."  "But it's good to go for a walk!"  So if I give in and get the ice cream, does the fact that I've walked over to get it cancel out it's badness?  How about if I decide not to have actual dinner and go get ice cream instead?  Makes sense to me.
Monday, July 26, 2004
I am so sick of this stupid DNC already.  I'm sitting here worrying about how I'm going to get home tonight considering they are closing a major highway and my street is one of the last exits before the shut down.  I have a feeling I will be stuck on my street all night.  Stupid DNC.  It's not like we don't already know the outcome... gee, who do you think will get the Democratic nomination??  Do you think John Kerry might have a chance?  Are there even any other contenders at this point?  The whole purpose seems to be a giant political party designed to be a security risk and a traffic disruption.  Is it really necessary?

I have actually been to a convention, albeit not a national one.  It was a state convention.  Basically it involves a lot of sitting and listening and cheering.  I suppose there is a measure of excitement involved, but not enough to justify throwing all traffic within a 50 mile radius into total chaos.

And while we're talking politics... I believe that everyone has a right to their opinions but lately it seems like if a person's not completely pro Kerry and anti Bush, they may as well be no better than a tyrannical dictator because it's with that kind of disdain that they are treated.  Can anyone tell me why everyone seems to hate Bush so much?  Is he any better or worse than any other president we've had?    So a lot of people disagree with the war, but you also have to notice that we haven't had another terrorist attack since September 11th so he must be doing something right.  And no, I have not seen that Farenheit movie.  Why would I want to see some skewed propaganda based on partial facts and half truths but presented as a documentary?  I am not necessarily a die hard Bush supporter, but since when did he become public enemy number one?  You can support an administration without whole heartedly agreeing with all of its actions. 

Even if I was against Bush being re-elected, could I in good conscience support Kerry?  What do we even know about the guy and where he stands on the issues besides that he's Not Bush?  How do we know he's a better choice?  All I'm saying is, if you want to vote for Kerry, vote for Kerry and if you want to vote for Bush, vote for Bush and if I tell you I'm thinking of voting for Bush, don't look at me like I have three heads and a scarlet letter sewn onto my clothing.  But for goodness sake, before you vote for anyone, make sure you're informed.  Make sure you understand why you're supporting whomever you're supporting and don't just go along with something because it sounds good or because other people are doing it or because you saw some sensationalist film.  O.K., that's my public service announcement for today.  They say that every vote counts, but before you get angry at me for the opinions I've voiced,  remember that I live in Massachusetts so my vote doesn't even matter one way or the other. 
Thursday, July 22, 2004
The other night me and a friend went to an acting class.  We both have different anxieties.  Mine are more physical - feeling stuck in different places.  Hers are more social - speaking in front of others, etc.  We were both nervous for our own reasons.  There were only four other people in the class - two older ladies, an older guy and a youngish guy, probably younger than us.  With the addition of the teacher, we began the class.

First we had to stand in a circle and make faces at each other and then we played a guessing game with different emotional gestures.  Easy. 

Next came an improv exercise.  One person had to go up on the stage and pretend to be doing an activity (sweeping the floor, playing basketball, etc.)  Then someone else had to go up on stage and interact with the first person to create a short improvised scene.  My friend and I looked at each other in horror.  "I can't do this!" she said quietly to me.  I wanted to help her so much that I think it took away any nervousness I might have had. 

It was down to just the two of us who hadn't been on stage.  There was a woman up there pretending to play golf.  I boldly got up and climbed the stairs onto the stage.  I watched her pretending to keep missing the golf ball and I said, "Why are you having so much trouble, it's just miniture golf."  Everyone started to laugh and I felt like a comedic genius.  

When it was my turn I knew it would be easier for my friend to jump in there with me than with a stranger.  I set up a chair and pretended to be typing (I decided on an activity I'm familiar with.)  My friend came on stage and said to me "Are you almost done?  Bob really needs that report."  She was great!

When her turn came to start a scene, she pretended to be at a club - dancing and swilling an imaginary drink.  What was so amazing to me was that she didn't look nervous at all and I knew that she was. 

The last thing we had to do was read a scene together that the teacher gave us.  It was just some simple dialogue and I found it to be a lot easier than the improv.  What surprised me was how at ease I felt up on that stage.  I can remember being in my seventh grade drama class and mumbling my lines inaudibly while the teacher kept saying, "Louder!" and my face kept turning redder.  What a contrast to my confidence reading lines the other night.  I was plenty loud and able to demonstrate different motivations (she had me do the same scene persuasively and aggressively).

Afterwards in the car I told my friend how impressed I was with her and how proud I was of us.  We faced something we were afraid to do and we didn't back down.  There's nothing so empowering as challenging yourself.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
I love wearing flip flops to work.  That padding around practically barefoot feeling of summer just feels so homey.  Although... I don't wear flip flops at home.  And I would like to comment that whoever invented flip flops is a sadistic bastard because unless the part between your toes is made of cloth (and instead is say, plastic for example like these) they can be really painful.  It's a good thing I have my "walking flip flops" stored under my desk to switch to at lunch time.  And while we're on the subject of flip flops, what is up with flip flops that have heels??  Isn't that just about the stupidest and most counterintuitive thing ever?
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
I often get visitors who are doing a search for some kind of coffee table.  However, I love the weird searches that send people my way.  Over the last couple days I got one that I thought was sweet, ("asking a girl for coffee") and then one that made me laugh.  It was: "what does the phrase 'it smells like a locker room' mean".  Is it me or is that one a little disturbing? 
To that confused reader, let me see if I can clarify things for you.  There aren't too many things that phrase could mean.  If you've ever been in a locker room, you can probably well imagine that the phrase is not a positive statement.  So if someone walks into your apartment and says "Oh man, it smells like a locker room in here!" they are probably not referring to the aroma of freshly baked cookies coming out of the oven or a bouquet of flowers adorning the dining table.  I could be wrong though.
Monday, July 19, 2004
The only bad thing about my roommate moving out this past weekend was she took the living room tv.  Yes, it was hers.  I'm not a big tv watcher but I most enjoy sitting in the living room and having something to watch while I eat dinner.  There's no point in sitting at the dining table by myself and staring at the wall.  However the last couple days have been kind of refreshing.  I decided since I couldn't watch tv I would catch up on my magazine reading.  Plus, I didn't have to plan my meals around a tv schedule, which was nice. 
I have a basket full of magazines that I have simply glanced at and tossed in for later reading.  I picked up an Entertainment Weekly from a month or so ago and casually read it while eating at the dining table.  I learned some interesting things.  One is about this very very cool website that I wish had existed a lot sooner.  I also read an article about this movie which prompted me to go out and rent it.  (On a side note, has anyone seen it?  I need some answers.  Can we talk about it?  Let me know.  I loved it but I am thoroughly confused and I've spent most of the day reading online discussions about it.)  So I can see that my lack of evening tv watching is going to really broaden my horizons.
Friday, July 16, 2004
I don't know what's scarier when I pull up my msn homepage: seeing Martha Stewart or the robot from that new movie who upon first glance looks human in a creepy kind of way.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Roommate move out countdown: 2 days! Well, that's assuming the landlord gives her the keys in time. Please landlord, give her the keys in time! Some of you may recall the fiasco I had last summer trying to get the keys to the new place and then our mailbox key. What is wrong with my landlord?? He's so unresponsive. When our garbage disposal was broken, we had to call several times over the course of two weeks to get him to finally send a plumber. I don't know what the big deal is really, how hard can it be to stay on top of things? If you need to give someone a key, give them a key! I mean, isn't that sort of his job?

The landlord for my last apartment was not only unhelpful, he was also a bit creepy. He would come into my apartment any old time he felt like it. Not like it happened all the time or for no reason, but let's say we did need something fixed and we left him a message, well we might just come home one day and it was fixed. It gave me the creeps.

We had to leave our rent checks in the mailbox on the first of the month for him to drive by and pick up. One Saturday I found him pounding on the back door. I opened the door wondering what the heck he wanted. He said, "it's the first!" We had forgotten just that once to leave our checks in the mailbox.

The worst was when he was showing the apartment to a realty agent who would in turn be showing it to potential new tenants. He showed up early one weekend morning when I was still in bed with a guest of the male persuasion. I heard something and said aloud, "did someone just knock on my door?" We dismissed it as our imaginations. A few minutes later I heard someone entering my apartment and since I knew my roommate was not home nor coming home, I was completely freaked. I threw on something resembling clothes and went downstairs. There was my landlord in the kitchen with the realty agent. "Oh hi! Didn't know you were home!" he said. "This is kind of a bad time," I replied, "I um... have company." I don't know whose face turned more red, but at least the point was made and they left. Thinking about that now gives me the willies.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
We accidentally sent someone from a remote office to Chicago on the wrong day. Let me rephrase that. I booked the flights and made the hotel reservations based on an initial directive (which I have in writing, thank goodness) and then the trip was approved and the itinerary sent by me. Ample opportunity for someone to realize that the flight was a day early.

So there was my coworker, sitting in Chicago, calling me from the airport, wondering where the guys from our office were. I calmly asked him to hold and then a frantic conversation ensued between me and the two guys he was expecting to deplane momentarily in Chicago who were standing in front of my desk. "Do you guys want to talk to him? What, you want me to tell him? Are you kidding me??" So with as much sweetness and apology as I could summon, I took the call off hold and carefully explained to him that he suddenly had a day and night at the company's expense in which to find his own entertainment in Chicago. Hey, I can think of a lot worse situations than that.

Thankfully, our guy is very good natured and instead of freaking out, started to laugh in reaction to my news. This morning I got an email from him asking what time the other guys were expected in today and then he wrote "P.S., if you liked the first one, Spiderman 2 is an excellent movie." I have to concur. So at least we know he had a good time.
Monday, July 12, 2004
Last weekend I sacrificed a hot summer day to go to my cousin's wedding. To give a little background into my extended dysfunctional family, my dad has four brothers and one sister. There are points of contention between himself and them, which are far too complex to delve into at this time. The bottom line is, while the majority of the six siblings and their spouses and their total of sixteen children spend a good deal of time together, a minority of the six siblings, spouses, and sixteen children (namely my parents, myself, and my brother and sister) do not and have not since I was about 8 years old.

Additionally, two of the six families are very strongly religious and that means that five cousins younger than myself are married. One cousin older than myself is married but she tied the knot at the ripe old age of 22.

So I spent the morning sitting in a large, cult-like church, listening to the decidedly sexist marriage ceremony of my 23 year old cousin. And while we're on the subject of sex, I'd like to mention that one cousin (a minister's daughter) got married at the age of 20 due to the fact that she was pregnant. She is now 24 with two children.

At the reception, my mother and father and myself (brother and sister did not attend) were seated at a table with several members of my aunt and uncle's bible study group. Additionally, the tables were given names of different books from the bible. We were seated at Mark but I looked over at the next table and whispered to my mom, "at least we're not sitting over there, at Revelation."

Sometime between the salad and the chicken, I noticed as I looked around the room that the other tables of family members were seated with other family members. The three of us were the only ones who weren't. When I pointed that out to my mom she said, "they always shove us into the corner someplace." As this realization dawned on me, I was surprised to feel my eyes start to well up with tears. It's strange how I can go months without thinking of these people but my emotions seem to be so close to the surface when given the slightest provocation. I sat staring at the centerpiece and trying not to cry. What makes me so angry is that when I was 16 years old I decided that whatever beef there is between them and my parents, it has nothing to do with me. I started going to family parties by myself as soon as I had my driver's license. I went out of my way to reach out to these people and try to formulate some kind of relationship with them. Why were they treating me so poorly? Why were they treating my parents poorly when my parents were kind enough to go?

In the midst of my angry inner monologue, an uncle came to talk to me and he said, "so, when are you getting married?" I replied (with a tone of incredulity like I couldn't believe he would ask such a thing) that I didn't think I was old enough to be married yet (nevermind those six other cousins who are married and some with children and not a one of them over the age of 30.) Two ladies at our table at separate times asked me, "where do you go to school, Honey?" I had to explain that I was 28 and had been out of school for a good long time. One of the ladies must've taken pity on me since I am, apparently, an unmarried spinster. She said she would pray for me to find companionship and marriage. "Unless of course..." she added, "it's not God's will." What? What kind of sick logic is that? Why would God want me to be alone for the rest of my life??

It was a long and miserable day and I was more than relieved to get back to my regularly scheduled life where I can make my own decisions and search for meaning in my own life without handing over control to some unknown power and without having to chalk up every bad thing as serving some divine plan and where I have value and self worth for who I am rather than being defined by a man and a ring on my finger.
I apologize for my extended hiatus! What with apartment stuff and taking a long weekend, I've just been so busy. Stay tuned for a post later today!
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Last week I saw a beautiful apartment. It had a hallway that was about eight miles long and on one end was a living room and on the other end was a kitchen. There were three bedrooms off the hallway and a bathroom, there was an "office" off the kitchen and out the kitchen door was a small, but perfectly adequate porch. (Have I mentioned that I'm desperate for a porch so I can sit outside in the nice weather?) Not only was this a beautiful apartment, but the price was right - almost half of what I'm paying now. The girl living there was looking for two people so she interviewed me at the same time as some guy. I could take or leave her or the guy (they were both nice but certainly no instant I-feel-like-I've-known-you-for-seventeen-years kind of bonding).

Last night I sent an email to the girl to let her know I'm interested and she wrote back this morning and said that because the guy was a little younger than she was looking for, she offered the place to two friends of a friend. I was a bit offended to be honest, after all, what did me and this random too-young guy have anything to do with each other? Chalking it up to the fact that she really didn't have enough time to be won over by my perfect roommateness, due to the fact that the guy was there as well throwing off the conversational vibes, I decided not to take it personally. After all, I truly do believe that everything happens the way it is supposed to.

But I was still pretty bummed out about the whole thing. Suddenly, an industrious idea flashed through my brain. I wrote back to her thanking her for letting me know, wishing her the best of luck, and inquiring as to whether or not her landlord has any other available units. I am not afraid of having to search for two people - after all, I have met a lot of great people within the past couple of weeks interested in my current apartment. Two of them are eager to move in and because I can't keep them waiting forever, I told them I would decide by the end of this week.

The girl wrote back and said she thinks there is an available unit and she is going to check with her landlord. I seem to have a knack for devising these wacky schemes. Last year when my roommate moved out I was determined to find someone new who would be willing to move across the hall with me to the bigger, better apartment and sure enough, everything ended up sliding into place. I got what I wanted then, can I pull it off again now? So many things have to go just right. I have to hear back from the girl that there is an apartment available, talk to the landlord and hope that she is willing to let me move in even though I have no roommates ready and bad credit (although my rental history is perfect), then I have to find two roommates (I would certainly make the offer to the two people interested in my current apartment), but all of this has to happen within the week because if it goes wrong or remains uncertain, I risk losing out on one of the very nice people waiting for my answer.

Sometimes I can see an outcome to a situation that seems so perfect it makes me feel tingly in my stomach, like my body is ready to spring into action and make it happen. Unfortunately, there is often nothing I can do to force things and that's how I feel now. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and send me good thoughts - I want this very much.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Actual quote taken from an apartment ad online for a place in London:

"Please contact us if you fancy a show round."

I just love the British. Now, I'm not looking for a flat in London, but for fun, I wanted to see how much it would cost to rent one there. Unfortunately I have no idea how to convert pounds to dollars so, except for that quote above, it was sort of a pointless exercise.
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