Coffee Table Declarations
Monday, January 31, 2005
I love getting a laugh with my meal. I have these crackers called "Just Wheats". I was reading the side panel and it says "ingredients: wheat". Right below that it says "allergy information: may contain wheat."

No I'm just kidding, it actually says, "allergy information: contains wheat" but I took creative license right there because it would be funnier if it said it may contain wheat. It's still pretty funny though. What kind of idiot out there is going, "hmmm... Just Wheats... these sound like good crackers but you know, I have a strong allergy to wheat... maybe I should just check what it says here..." Worse, you know that they had to add that little disclaimer because someone out there would find a way to sue them if they had an allergic reaction...

Judge: so what you're saying sir, is that you purchased a box of Just Wheats and had an allergic reaction to the wheat they contain.

Stupid Person: that's right your honor, no place on the box was there a warning for people with wheat allergies.

Judge: You're right! We are awarding you ten million dollars.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
When the snow started to clear on Sunday afternoon, I decided to go and shovel my car out so I would be prepared for work on Monday. Shovelling makes me tired and cold and grumpy so I was glad I could do it on a Sunday afternoon instead of on my way to work.

I piled on heaps of clothes - two pairs of sweatpants on top of each other, mittens, scarves, etc. I grabbed my newly purchased shovel and headed out the door. I immediately noticed that the sidewalk had not been cleaned yet. The way I noticed this was that I was wading through snow that completely engulfed my legs with each step. Seeing no easy path to the street, I proceeded to climb over, or should I say through, the nearest snowbank. Piled higher than the snow on the sidewalk, it was quite a challenge. For a minute I actually considered the fact that I might fall down and not be discovered until spring.

Luckily I burst triumphant through the other side of the snowbank and made my way down the street. When I arrived at the parking lot I couldn't believe what I saw. It had not been plowed yet and the whole thing looked like a giant swimming pool full of snow as high as the trunk of my poor buried car. If it had been a swimming pool full of water and it was a heck of a lot warmer outside and my car wasn't stranded in the middle of it all, I might have felt a little excited and jumped in for dip. Actually, if I wasn't cold and wet and grumpy, I may have enjoyed it anyway.

Discouraged and frustrated, I turned back for the return journey to my building. Once upstairs I stripped out of my snow covered clothes feeling angry that I had wasted nice dry sweatpants on a fruitless endeavor. I hopped back into my warm bed to read and started to feel a little better.

Monday morning at the crack of dawn, or at least 7 am, I had to once again pile on sweatpants and go out to survey the damage. By now the parking lot had been plowed but of course, this left a waist-high wall of snow behind my car. Have I mentioned how much I hate shoveling? I cleared away the snow behind the car and then forced the driver's side door open. I got in, started the car, and barrelled backwards out of the space. I couldn't believe how easy it was! Of course, I was still tired and cold and grumpy and I had to drive around and find a different place to park since my spot was still full of eight tons of snow.

Once newly parked in a nicely plowed and sanded parking lot, I headed back inside to get ready for work. Then I headed back out into the frigid cold feeling pleased with myself that I was only going to be half an hour late. I had to cross two major streets to get to my car and as I was crossing the second one, I slipped on the slushy mess in the street and fell right down. Right in the street! There I was, wearing lipstick, carrying my lunch, and I fell down in the street. I'm sure it must have looked comical but it didn't feel so comical.

I got up quickly and assessed the situation. Hmmm... anything broken? Clothing torn? No and no. I was closer to the car at that point and it was just too cold to go all the way back so I limped onward. I had a cut on my hand and my jeans were soaking wet and as I got into the car I felt miserable. I wanted to go back to bed not to work. But grown ups have to do hard things and they can't just run home every time they get a cut hand or wet pants. But they can really REALLY hate winter.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Regardless of the snow being predicted for Saturday night, I had to go to the grocery store. Not because I worry about being snowed in for weeks without food or water, but because I was out of a few things. I brought a friend along with me and we set out on our errands. Our first stop was to get a shovel because I did not have one if you can believe that. Then we braved the crowded grocery store. When we were finally ready to check out, we noticed the lines were exceptionally long, going down aisles and around corners. People were pushing carts packed with groceries. I just don't understand why people go crazy if there's going to be a storm. They suddenly run out to buy canned goods and bottled water. It's a snow storm, people. There is no need to head for the fall out shelters with your duct tape.

Back in 1978 there was a blizzard here in the Boston area known appropriately enough, as the "Blizzard of 78". To this day people still talk about it. I have no real memory of it but there is photographic evidence that I was there - me wearing a red snowsuit standing next to a snow bank that towered over my head and the head of my dad who was standing with me. I will therefore tell you what I have heard from others about the Blizzard of 78. The highways turned into parking lots, people were stuck in their cars for hours, people slept places like work and school, and the entire area came to a complete standstill for at least a week. Now keep in mind, this was back in the day before cell phones so try to imagine being stuck in your car on the highway for hours as the snow started to bury you and there was no way you could call for help. Scary stuff indeed. Plus, people couldn't leave their houses and get to grocery stores. I don't know what caused everything to shut down so entirely. That storm brought 27 inches of snow. Saturday we got 24 inches. Maybe there weren't enough plows back then? Regardless, I can imagine that if someone lived through that storm (and actually remembered it) they might feel the urge to run to the grocery store for survival supplies. But carts packed to the brim? Does that make sense? It was like they were shopping for a whole month.

And speaking of survival supplies, the next stop for my friend and I was the video store where we waited in a line that was even longer and moving even slower. At one point I turned to my friend and observed "you know, we've been in this line since time began." She replied, "I know, I'm so hungry!" And I responded with, "well, I'm afraid we're going to have to start eating each other soon." Luckily, that was not to be. We got out of the video store, got something to eat, and eventually I ended up home safe and sound with plenty of food and movies to wait out the storm. Stay tuned for my next entry entitled, "weekend storm: the aftermath" where I describe what happened next!
Friday, January 21, 2005
I read this book about animal consciousness and the whole time I was thinking of my fish. I've heard people say some strange things about fish like, they have no long term memory past seven seconds. I think that's completely ridiculous. For one thing, how would anyone know the memory span of a fish? Is there any way to measure that?

But no one can tell me my fish are not smart. Anytime anyone walks over to their tank they swim away and hide. When I walk over to their tank they swim to the surface and start looking for food. They get all excited and start swimming fast to the place that opens for food to be dropped in. This all happens before I even reach for the food. Those fish recognize me.

My coworker said, "oh it must be your long hair". What? That's almost as silly as the seven second memory. I have no doubt in my mind that animals can sense people on a whole different level beyond sight recognition. For example, how does a dog start to get excited when his owner is a block away headed home? There are countless examples of things like this and they are not based on hair style. It's more like intuition or a sixth sense or something.

So, while I do believe there are highly complex processes taking place in my fishes minds, I don't think they are going, "Hmmm... who's that approaching our tank? Wait a minute, big smile as though she's happy to see us, and... long brown hair... ooooh, I know! It's that girl who feeds us!" Right and they also have parties on the weekends when no one's here.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
The other night I had a dream that there was a new law being enforced. Everyone had to wear helmets during meals because plates are dangerous. Well, if you started to argue with your dining companion and they were to suddenly jump up and smash their plate over your head, that might hurt right? Right. Anyway, I felt resentful over always having to show up at dinner in a helmet (which by the way, resembled bike helmets rather than the kind construction workers wear), so I decided to try to design plates made out of rubber that could be used instead. Rubber plates would simply bounce off a person's head and probably wouldn't cause any lasting damage. Don't even get me started on silverware.
Monday, January 17, 2005
Read my blog - now with Jennifer Aniston's nipple! I laughed right out loud when I saw that someone found this page using the search term "Jennifer Aniston's nipple". I don't believe I've ever mentioned Jennifer Aniston here, let alone her nipple. Or any nipple for that matter.

I do love Jennifer Aniston though - in a purely platonic way which in no way involves her nipple. I once saw an interview with her where she was asked, "do you Google yourself?" and she said, "um... do I what??" at which point both she and the interviewer started laughing. So Jennifer, if you happen to Google yourself and find this page, get in touch. We could be great friends. We could go shopping and do each other's hair and not talk about guys because who needs them when we are self-empowered women with successful acting careers? Well, some of us are anyway.

I must confess that I am not upset over her break up with Mr. Pitt. You see, now she is 35 with no children and will have to start from square one in the relationship department. And she chose her career over everything else! My religious cousins would be shocked. You go Jennifer! You and your nipple!
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
I'm really worried about something right now. What I am worrying about is not important, rather I wanted to convey how I'm feeling so you will understand why I am distracted today and not focused enough to write something clever or amusing. I promise I will tell you what's bothering me once it's resolved and become a complete story but it won't help to hash it all out before then. Needless to say, as per usual, I have myself worked up - stomach in knots, etc, etc.

There are a couple of bright spots in my mind however, one of which I can't go into detail about because it's work related. Apparently, I'm just all about not sharing today. This story as well will be explained in detail but requires the creativity to alter the information to protect the privacy of those involved.

The second happy thing is that I have found a new hobby. And yes, it is another hobby shared with enthusiasm by older ladies (much like everything I seem drawn to). I have started to cross stitch! My mom bought me a starter kit for Christmas along with a couple other crafts to try. I was skeptical at first but once I got going with the little stitches and colored thread, I really enjoyed it. It is however, a hobby best performed with the tv on. I'm sure it could start to feel tedious without music or television. I am almost finished with my first design but I'm not sure what to do with it once it's done. At least with knitting, you end up with a scarf or a sweater. I will have a picture stitched onto a piece of fabric.

O.K., who else out there watches 24? I need to discuss the new season's immediate creepiness. There was no build up, we were just thrown right in with drama, fear, and moral dilemmas. I have the sense of wanting to cover my eyes and not watch, but know that I would end up peeking through my fingers anyway.

Oh! I almost forgot. I also have resolutions coming soon. I'm still working them out. In fact, once the problem referenced above has become resolved, I will be in a lot better position to work on my resolutions. And in case you were curious, the resolution stated previously to feel more thankful for electricity is only the beginning of my goals for the new year.
Monday, January 10, 2005
The other night the power went out. Actually, I was on my way home and when I turned onto my street headed toward the square, it was pitch dark. I had never seen it that way. I felt like I was driving into a tunnel.

I walked up the sidewalk, fumbled for my key and let myself into my building. There was an emergency light on in the second floor hallway and a girl standing in the doorway of a dark apartment. "The power is out," she so helpfully informed me as I passed. There was no emergency hallway light on my floor.

Entering my apartment, I literally had to fight the urge to reach for the light switch. It's funny how some things are so automatic. Unfortunately, it was even darker inside my apartment and I had no idea where to find a flashlight or matches or a lighter. I started frantically groping around in drawers and on surfaces but came up with nothing. This went on for about ten minutes until I realized that without light, I wasn't going to find a thing. I had to shine the blue glow of my cellphone into the back of a drawer to finally locate a pack of matches.

I lit a bunch of candles and brought them into the bathroom so I could take a shower. It would've been romantic if I hadn't been so aggravated. I then brought about 50 candles into my room and put them on the nighttable so I could read in bed. It was freezing because my hair was wet and the heat wasn't working and even the small fire glowing beside me gave only a dim light to read by. I felt like I was living in colonial times.

After about half an hour the power came back and I was so happy. I cranked up the heat, turned on some lights, turned on the television, and said right out loud, "I love you, Electricity!"

It's amazing how much we take for granted. Honestly, what can you do at night if the power is out? How did people not die of sheer boredom in the 1800's or whenever it was that they didn't have electricity? And is there something that hasn't yet been discovered that hundreds of years from now people will say, "My god, how did people not die of sheer boredom in the 2000's?" Probably but for now I'll be happy with my primitive internet and my simplistic cable television and my age old forced air heating system and the warm glow of a well lit room and 8000 other modern conveniences that run on good old electricity. (New Year's resolution # 1: feel more thankful for electricity.)
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
I spent some time watching the Twilight Zone marathon over New Year's. I don't know which was more creepy, the episode with the talking doll or the point at which my roommate said, "what's the Twilight Zone?" I love those old episodes. They truly are the best part of New Year's.

And speaking of the Twilight Zone, there was a large family party at my uncle's house on New Year's Day. You may remember this group from my cousin's wedding. The reason I make the Twilight Zone comparison is because any other group of young people between the ages of 22 - 27 would not ALL be married and a majority of that group would not be married AND have children. However, in the surreal environment of my extremely religious extended family, I am the odd one out because I am 29, unmarried, and childless. Twice I was asked by older relatives about my marriage prospects and when I explained that I was personally not ready to make that kind of commitment, nor did I want to settle due to societal expectations and pressures, I caught various young, girl cousins looking over and listening in. All the more evidence for me that they must speculate amongst themselves why I am different.

Every time I am with these people I end up feeling bad. I feel bad that my father pulled us out of the fold when I was a child resulting in my discomfort at being always on the outskirts. I feel bad that we are not closer, especially my girl cousins who are near my age, but we have nothing in common. I feel bad that they (probably) look down on me because I am single and not religious. But mostly I feel bad that I am affected in such a way by these differences and perceptions that I end up actively feeling bad about myself (rather than passively or occasionally).

I know it seems silly - why should I feel bad about myself? I normally would not let other people's judgements bother me. But these are my young cousins who once looked up to me and now they've all moved on ahead. I feel like I have fallen from some height in their eyes. And while I know that I am honestly not ready to get married or have children and content myself with this knowledge on a regular basis, being around all these happy little young families makes me wonder if I will ever have these things. During these encounters the constant internal dialogue says just a little louder, "I'm getting old, I'm getting nowhere."

At least I can take comfort in the fact that their little Stepford lives would make a very creepy episode of the Twilight Zone.
Monday, January 03, 2005
Is it just me or is New Year's Eve not such a big deal anymore? I don't know if it lost it's importance after the millennium or what. People seem to feel all this pressure to go out and do something special, most likely involving alcohol and staying up until midnight to watch the ball drop on tv and say "yay, it's a new year!" even though it won't be a new year in some areas for another couple hours.

What's so fun about going out on a cold night when every place is crowded with drunk people? And where is there to go? A bar? A party where you have to make small talk with strangers? Those things just aren't that important to me. I'm just as happy to stay in my cozy apartment with some champagne and the television. I've spent far too many New Year's Eves trying to meet some vague expectations which somehow involve the implication that the way you spend New Year's Eve is a precursor to the year ahead and what it will bring. That just isn't true. Believe me, my New Year's Eves have never had much affect on my subsequent year.

I'm also not sure I buy into the whole significance of the changing of calendar years. I find myself much more reflective on my birthday. The year suddenly changing isn't infused with deeper meaning for me, nor does it compell me to want to set impossible goals for myself. I guess I sound like the grinch who stole New Year's but I wasn't always this way.

I think it was NYE 1994 that I went to an Aerosmith concert. The very next year I was in a car full of people at the stroke of midnight, driving around looking for something to do. One year during high school, I went to First Night in Boston. It was cold and crowded. We were wearing layers of clothes so we wouldn't have to wear coats. On top of my layers I had on a black sweater. I was happily eating fried dough with powdered sugar on top but it was really windy - do you see where this is going? At midnight as the fireworks were going off I ended up kissing some guy. I don't think I ever caught his name.

In 96 or 97 I went to a party where I had to listen to some doomsday fanatic talking about how we only had a couple years left. It got to the point where I would dread New Year's Eve because it was that much closer to the end. It sounds silly now. But so does the whole Y2K panic. I spent NYE 2000 at my parents' house because I was so terrified that all technology and life as we know it was going to come to a grinding halt. Now that was a momentous New Year's.

In 2001 I was deathly ill with asthmatic bronchitis. I fell asleep on the couch and my roommate woke me up to see the ball drop and I passed right out again. For NYE 2002 I went to another party where I didn't know more than a couple people. And at midnight everyone was hugging each other like old friends. In 2003, falling into the trap of feeling like I had to do something because it was New Year's Eve, I went out with a friend to a local dive bar where we got hit on by some extremely drunk guys. I came home that night to find my roommate watching tv. She hadn't gone out at all and had a swell time just relaxing by herself. I've taken a cue from her ever since. How did you spend New Year's Eve?
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