Coffee Table Declarations
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
I'm not quite sure what to do with my evenings now that the Olympics are over. What will I do without Bob Costas navigating me through the sporting events deamed worthy of prime time? What will I do without the slow motion replays and heartwarming background stories of various athletes?

When I was very young - perhaps five or six, I took a gymnastics class. I don't remember anything about the class except for one climactic moment during the end. We were having some sort of recital for friends and family to show off the newly gained gymnastic ability that their hard earned money had paid for. The time came for me to get onto the balance beam and walk across it. I don't know how I got up there - maybe there were steps of some sort. I just know that the balance beam seemed very high off the ground and I was very small. I have an image in my mind of standing and trembling on the beginning of the balance beam, unable to move one way or the other. I looked at the audience of faces, waiting breathlessly for my gymnastic debut. I looked at the ground, miles below. I looked at the beam stretching out to eternity in front of me. And I stood frozen in fear.

After what seemed like a long time but probably wasn't, I recognized someone emerging toward the crowd and bounding to my rescue. It was my dad. He didn't care if he wasn't supposed to be participating in the show, he didn't care what anyone thought. He stood next to me and took my hand. Slowly we walked together, him across the floor and me across the beam. I am sure that the audience thought it was sweet and my father had the best of intentions. But I pinpoint this incident as the reason I never made it to the Olympics. How often to you see the gymnasts being helped across the beam by their fathers?
Friday, August 27, 2004
I apologize for my lack of posting over the last couple of days. Contrary to my usual work day activities, the last two days have been spent... working.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
I wish I knew how to link to one of my own previous posts, but I don't. You'll just have to take my word for it that on August 7th I wrote about how I had a friend in college with an unusual name and how I recently stumbled upon the contact information for someone by that very name. I took a chance and sent an email and it turned out to be her.

Last night we met after work (turns out she now lives in the town I work in) at a local pizza establishment. Due to the lovely weather we decided to take a pizza and go sit on the grass by the nearby lake for a picnic. Once we arrived and had each grabbed a slice, we settled in for a session of catching up. After all, it had been eight years since last we had spoken.

Soon my friend went for her second slice of pizza as I was recounting my directionless career path and lackluster social life since college thus far. She was almost finished with her second slice when I paused to grab my second slice and noticed a teensy ant trying to get into the pizza box. We tried to scare him away but he kept reappearing. Eventually we realized he was not the same ant, but several ants. When we opened the pizza box and looked closely there were a good many small ants inside. That was highly disturbing in its own right, but worse still was the fact that these tiny ants were able to somewhat blend in to their surroundings and were small enough to be missed by the naked eye if one was not paying attention. I was thankful that I had grabbed only one piece when we first sat down with the pizza but I'm afraid my friend was not so lucky. She could quite possibly have been consuming baby ants without so much as a second thought.

Thinking about it later I realized that I had my one slice on a paper plate resting atop the pizza box and that while I was chatting I wasn't continually watching my food. What I'm telling you is that I can't say for certain that I didn't eat actual insects last night. I'd rather not give this much thought so I'll just summarize by saying that we had a really good time. O.K., so our pleasant picnic turned into an episode of Fear Factor, but at least it broke the ice. Comments like, "I'd like a medium pizza with peppers and onions and ants please" and "Would you like some pizza with those ants?" followed by hysterical laughter almost made the whole ant-eating experience worthwhile. Almost.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Today I had special lunch plans with someone. We walked to a nearby lunch place and ordered a Greek salad with chicken and a wrap which also contained chicken. Now, I understand that chicken takes a few minutes to cook so that it isn't raw and infested with salmonella, however, we were sitting there for almost 40 minutes. We had ordered the food to go so that we could take it outside to eat and the place was not crowded at all. By "not crowded at all" I mean that there was one person sitting at the counter drinking a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper and we were the only other customers. We had already paid so we couldn't just leave. We continued to sit and look at our watches. Finally we got our food with no apology or explanation for the delay. After finding a place to sit and eat outside we had to shovel our food down our throats because I only have an hour for lunch. Actually, an hour usually seems like a really long time for lunch. I usually only take 15 minutes but this slow lunch place who seemed to think I had all day to eat, turned my nice leasurely hour into a 15 minute lunch anyway. And it wasn't even that good. We probably contracted salmonella.
Monday, August 23, 2004
My new roommate moved in this weekend and so far things are going good. After an entire month to myself, pretending I am rich enough to afford my own place, decorating and cleansing the negative energy from my prior roommate, it was time again for the whirlwind bonding experience that is getting a new roommate.

She arrived on Saturday with only two guys to help and a full truck to unload. I took one for the team and pitched right in carrying things up the three flights of stairs. Then she actually asked me to join them for dinner but I already had plans. Still, my old roommate never invited me to do anything so that was a plus.

Whoever lived in my apartment before thought it would be neat to put a picture frame on the door around the peephole, ala Friends. However, they had written their names on the frame in black marker and tried to paint over it in gold when they moved out. I don't know what they used to glue the frame on there but it's stuck for good. My old roommate and I had written our names in black marker to cover over theirs.

Sunday morning I went to the arts and crafts store, bought some purple paint, some silver paint and an ivy stencil. I plan to paint the frame purple with silver ivy and no more names. Surprisingly, I found myself wanting to find more objects to paint. The crafts store had lots of wooden boxes and things you could paint so now I know what I'm giving everyone for Christmas!

My new roommate brought a blender which I've been excited about for weeks. There she was unpacking and I'm asking, "so, um... where's the blender?" I had a spot waiting for it and everything. Fruit smoothies are on the way. She also brought a spice rack! I have so many spices but no rack and she had a spice rack and no spices! In another bizarre cosmic twist, her couch perfectly matches my recliner as if they were made in the same factory, on the same day. She is definately getting a painted wooden box for Christmas from me.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Forget what I said earlier - this new "next blog" feature is out of control.

* * * * *

Every summer for a week my parents go away to the darkest woods of New Hampshire where there are no phones or other modern amenities. Every summer I dread this week because I don't like feeling that I can't reach them. Every summer on the day that they leave, my mom gives me a pep talk. "You're a grown-up. You'll be fine. You can take care of yourself." And I know it's true yet part of me feels really uncertain about that and I hate feeling that way.

Every summer my mom agrees to call me from the one payphone two separate nights at 7pm. This year the designated time comes and goes and I still don't hear from her. Apprehensively, I wonder if she's forgotten. I tell myself it's no big deal. Then the phone rings and relief washes over me. I say, "Mom, I thought you forgot about me," and try to laugh it off. But then she says sincerely, "That would never happen. You are my daughter, I could never forget about you." And I believe her. And it reminds me of being in kindergarten.

In kindergarten I would cry every day when it was time to go home. I thought my mom would forget to pick me up. Other kids would rush outside to greet their parents but where was my mom? She had another child who got to stay at home with her all day. Maybe she'd forget about me because of him. But sure enough another kid would turn to me and say, "don't cry Katie, there's your mom." And the relief would wash over me. And my mother would look me in the eye and tell me sincerely, "You are my daughter, I will never forget about you." And I believed her then until the next afternoon. And I'll believe her now until next summer.
This new "next blog" button on the top right corner is neat. I got two new readers who came here at random. You never know where it will take you. Give it a try!
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
I know I just complained about something yesterday and I promise you that I am generally not angry person. That being said, something else has made me really mad! Here I am looking so forward to watching the women's gymnastics finals tonight which is my favorite event. Innocently I go onto the yahoo homepage to check my email, and right there in full color it says the results of the women's gymnastics finals! I know that we don't get to see it live and all, being a several hour time difference, but they should not have it splashed all over the place as a spoiler for anyone who happens to look. It's not like I visited the Olympics homepage for goodness sakes. How frustrating. Where can I launch a complaint? I may as well not even bother watching the competition at all. I feel like I just read the last page of a murder mystery except that I didn't voluntarily read it, it was shoved into my face! I will not ruin it for all of you, but I advise you, if you care at all about women's gymnastics, avoid any and all types of media except this page here, from now until tomorrow morning.
Monday, August 16, 2004
I am really angry at the U.S. Postal Service right now. No offense to my mail carrying friend who always comes in and tells me what the weather is like outside.

The U.S. Postal Service has lost a package I was expecting. Someone was sending me something to my work address, we'll just call that Address A. She knows that is the address to use as my home mailbox is too tiny for packages. However, if it had been mistakenly delivered to my home, Address B, it would be no big deal. Either it would be left out on the stoop or they would post a note telling me to stop by the post office or something.

A month has gone by and my package is not here. The sender is a very reliable person so I sent her an email to which she responded right away. She was concerned because she sent it almost a month ago - to Address A. She was able to find the tracking number and looked it up on the Stupid Postal Service website but it said it was delivered on July 28th to the town I haven't lived in for two years - Address C (although it only gave the town not the street address so we can only assume it's Address C). Now why on earth would it have gone to that address? That address is no longer on any records for me and the sender sent it to Address A.

What should I do? Should I drive by my old address and see if there is a package for me on the stoop?? Unlikely, considering it's been almost a month now. Did the new residents take my package? Is there no honesty left in the world? I want my package! What should I do - any ideas?? I will tell you one thing - the U.S. Postal Service and I are not friends anymore. The U.S. Postal Service and I are in a fight and they are going to hear a few choice words from me. Except for my friendly mail carrier. This is not his fault.
Friday, August 13, 2004
Bringing laziness to a whole new level: I have the UPS guy trained to tell me who the packages are for before putting them on the table so I don't have to get up and look. There is a water bubbler down the hall which I can get to and still hear the phone ring but I'd have to run back. Therefore, I fill up in the morning and really try to stretch that cup of water a long way. I know, I know, eight to ten glasses a day is best. I guess the exercise getting those glasses wouldn't hurt either.

And finally, showing that laziness pays off: I had to make travel reservations for four coworkers headed out to Chicago for a training next week. I had three of them booked and had just heard back from the fourth with her flight choices. But did I rush to book it? No, I continued slacking off, visiting various websites, reading blogs, playing games, etc. Then a call came through from the training place saying they only had three spots left and we'd have to send three only. Guess who didn't get to go (per the management, not myself)? Lucky number four who, consequently, was on a different flight from everyone else and it is Friday the 13th after all... just something to think about. I was told that she wasn't going and I said, "wow, you just caught me! I was just about to click the button to reserve these flights!" Yeah right, did I mention it's Friday?
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Yesterday I was supposed to have ice cream twice but alas, it was not to be. The first was the usual Wednesday at 3:00 visit from the ice cream truck. However, when my boss called the ice cream man, he said he wasn't coming due to the questionable weather. Because as everyone knows, no one wants to eat ice cream when it's raining or even cloudy with a chance of rain, or altogether questionable in some way.

The second ice cream was for the evening at the ice cream place up the street from my apartment. I had made plans with a lady from my book club to go for ice cream since she lives near me. The ice cream place up the street is fabulous because they have a huge sign that says "open until 11pm, every night, all summer" and I have been known to go there at various times and on various evenings. We arrived to find it closed with a note on the door that said, "we will be closing early on Wednesday, August 11th, for our company outing." Well they have some nerve. And of all the days.

My book club acquaintance and I had a walk around the neighborhood and then went back to my place for tarot card readings. It was actually a nice time. I had been wary about getting together with this particular book club lady. She is funny and friendly, but a little rough around the edges. Also, I knew she lived near me, by herself, and that she was a little older than me so I assumed her to be in her 30's. Something about age came up and I said, "how old are you?" I was amazed when she told me she is 48. 48!!! A full 20 years older than me. That was almost as shocking as the ice cream place being closed before 11:00.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Actual statement said by me the other night: "I can't find my jelly." It was true. I wanted to make a pb & j sandwich to bring to work for lunch and I had everything lined up and ready to go - bread on the counter, peanut butter open next to it, but where was my jelly? I just bought jelly! It's rasberry jelly and I used it last week. Where could my jelly be? Jelly doesn't just get up and walk away. I searched through my fridge multiple times to no avail. Finally I gave up and had to settle on cereal for lunch instead.

Last night the missing jelly mystery led me to realize that it was high time I cleaned out the fridge. I pulled up a chair, grabbed a trashbag, and went to work. There was yogurt that expired last month, produce on the verge of becoming a science project, and no less than half a dozen tupperware containers full of dinners past.

I felt really angry when I discovered many things my roommate carelessly left when she moved out. Nothing really gross, but quite obviously things I would have no use for. It was bad enough she left rodent sized dust balls in her old bedroom and her bathroom shelf covered in hair. And it's not like she moved far - she's living upstairs now. I hear her clomping around overhead all the time. You'd think she'd have the courtesy to clean up her unwanted detritus considering she might run into me on the stairs or in the laundry room. For a moment I fantasized about gathering up her unsavory foodstuffs and leaving them outside her door. The evil scheming was interrupted however when I found my jelly. It was behind a block of cheese and a package of hummus.
Monday, August 09, 2004
How is it possible that my vacation is over already? When my alarm went off this morning I looked at the sky and shouted, "NOooooooo!" like a scene from a dramatic movie. I just couldn't manage to put together an outfit today either. It was just too much. Luckily, my office is pretty casual. So I threw on a light blue t-shirt, my nicest dark blue jeans, and then dressed it up a bit by applying some lipstick, adding strappy sandels with a heel, and wearing a big flashy ring. I felt like I was in a fashion magazine, in a feature article entitled: "Accessories can make the difference between work and play" or something like that. So of course I tried to think of more tips that would be in the article like, "wear a jaunty scarf if you want to infuse your look with a little color" or "how about an up-do with chandelier earrings to jazz up that tank top and slacks?" But my heart wasn't in it. I can't handle creative writing right now. It's all I can manage not to fall asleep here at my desk. Does anyone else have any contributions for my article? I think it's going to be a casual week so I need all the help I can get.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
And speaking of unusual names... I had this friend in college. Her first name was not uncommon but her last name was very uncommon - it started with a "Q" and it was long and unfamiliar. In other words, a name you don't hear every day. So a few days ago, I was casually perusing job ads online. Just looking to see what else is out there since I am making next to nothing though my job is not bad. Anyway, I stumble across a job in the Human Resources field - one that I am interested in. I read through the description and then come to the contact info and the name given is the same as my old name. First and last name including spelling. The job itself was probably not for me since it was only a temp job and I would want a permanent position.

Could this be my old college friend? I wondered. Well, our college was in the area so it wouldn't be insane to imagine she was living nearby. Plus she was a psych major along with me, so she may very well have ended up in the Human Resources field. Not only that, but what are the chances I would be casually perusing job ads and stop on this one long enough to read through it? One week either way and I may never have seen the ad. The circumstances were just right for this to be one of those amazing coincidences.

I sent an email to the contact email address asking if this was the same (first name last name) from (my college) College. I said if so, that I was her old friend and if not, please disregard this email. I've never done something like that but I figured I had nothing to lose. Either it will be her and she will write back or it won't be her but she will write back and say she admires my gumption and offer me a job. Just kidding, she will probably just delete the email if it's not her. We shall see.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
I could really get used to being on vacation. I finally feel like it's summer because I have now gone for ice cream, gone swimming in a public pool, and visited one of my favorite seaside locales. I've been sleeping in, lounging around, and the weather has been gorgeous. Of course tomorrow is supposed to rain but that's o.k. because I'm going to see a movie.

The seaside locale I referred to is a place I've been going ever since I was little. It brings back a lot of memories just being there. I used to go with my family and then for several years I went by myself but it's always fun to have company. We poked around a gift store named "Katie's" which my dad used to take a picture of me in front of every year - a tradition. And inside Katie's I was perusing the souvenir keychains with names on them. Of course there were plenty of Katies but some names were missing that you might expect and some were there you'd be surprised by. I wonder how the names are chosen for the manufacture of keychains like that. I also wonder what happens to all the extra ones that aren't purchased, especially the uncommon names. Do they have boxes full of unclaimed keychains in back? I always planned to name my future children with really unusual names but will they be traumatized by their inability to find a signature keychain? This is something I never considered.
Monday, August 02, 2004
I am on vacation this week so I apologize in advance if I don't update every day.

Yesterday there were not one, but two big black flies in my apartment. I am traumatized by flies because at my old apartment where I was afflicted by plagues such as mice and ants, I was also afflicted with the plague of flies. One got in somehow, flew around for a while and was mainly a nuisance. He must have been pregnant though because the next thing you know, there was a million. It was horrible. Imagine sitting in a room and having dozens of big black flies swarming around. And they were in every room. My wonderful and responsive landlord told me to spray some Raid. I couldn't even sleep there because the flies had taken over and he suggested I spray some Raid. My dad came over one night with a fly swatter and seemed to have a little too much fun minimizing their population dramatically. Then he called the landlord and insisted something be done. My landlord deployed a bug bomb which worked but the damage was done to my psyche.

Now when I see a black fly I have disturbing flashbacks. So I noticed two flies on my window screen in my bedroom, on the inside. I slowly reached down and opened my screen about an inch at the bottom and then quickly shut the window. After a while I didn't see the flies so I assumed they had gotten out. I opened the window and shut the screen and went on with my life. A little while later however, there was a fly on the screen again. This time I just shut the window and turned on the air conditioning. But where did fly #2 go? He was flying around my bedroom. I yelled at him and chased him out and shut the bedroom door. Then I was trapped in my room unable to open the window. I felt like crying. Why did it have to be my sworn enemy?

Not willing to let them win, I was determined to conquer them. First I opened my window slightly, opened the screen an inch and then shut the window. Then I started banging on the glass to scare the fly downwards. "Fly down, you're free!" I urged him. Happily enough, it worked and then I was able to open my window again. When I was brave enough to leave my room (door shut behind me) I ventured out to look for the fly. My plan was to chase him into the now empty bedroom and shut the door. Of course, he was nowhere to be found.

Suddenly as I was emptying the dishwasher I heard a sinister buzzing sound behing me. I turned slowly and saw the fly buzzing at the window behind me. I snuck off and grabbed a magazine and then approached slowly while issuing intimidating threats in a calm voice: "oh, you're going down my friend." I started slapping things with the magazine to scare him out of his hiding place and then he took off across the kitchen and toward the door to the apartment. He landed on the wall just above it and I threw the door open. Nevermind that I was wearing only a t-shirt and underwear, the only thing that mattered was luring the fly out.

He was on to my plan and flew back past me and into the kitchen. I slammed the door and ran after him. He headed back toward the front door at top speed as I chased close behind him in my t-shirt and underwear, weilding a magazine and yelling, "get out of here you bastard!" It was rather comical. This time he landed on the door, I opened it, and out he went. I slammed it shut, locked it, peered through the peephole, double locked it, and leaned back against the wall breathing a sigh of relief.
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