Friday, January 28, 2005

Better one than two

I spent my high school fire drills a little differently than most students did--I spent most of them chilling in a second floor stairwell with my best friend, waiting to see if the security guards would remember to come by and note her presence for evacuation purposes, or in one memorable case, watching her be carried down the stairs by two male staff members. None of my teachers ever appeared to notice or care that I didn't make it outside with rest of the class and the security guards, when they saw us, were always friendly, so it never seemed to be a big deal. We would pass the time by creating fantasy teams of firefighters in our heads--primarily made up of hot young actors. (She was recently "rescued" by a team of Chicago's finest firefighters who, while hot, were not celebrities. Very disappointing.)

After one drill, we were summoned to the office. We were both good girls so this was very unusual. We went into the new vice principal's office and were subjected to a lengthy lecture on how fires burn. Having sufficiently explained that the stairwells would act as chimneys for air feeding the fire and hot air from the fire, he explained that it was not acceptable for me to wait with her. Our protests that my presence there would likely prevent any loss of life were cavalierly dismissed. After all, as he told us, "it is better for one student to die than two."

And in one of my few acts of high school rebellion, his request was ignored. I continued to wait through the last few fire drills of my best friend's high school career in the comfort of the stairwell, planning how Dean Cain, David Lascher, Leonardo DiCaprio (not mine!), and George Clooney were on their way to rescue us.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

John the fish

When I was a sophomore in college, my five roommates and I were living in a dorm that had once been a men's dorm. How could you tell? The urinal in our bathroom.

We decided to make our urinal a decorative and practical feature of our suite. A plant was our initial idea, but we took this opportunity to instead introduce a suite pet. His species: Beta fish. His name: (wait for it...) John. I also suggested Harry or Dick... Thanks folks, I'll be here all week!

It was soon discovered that the water level in the urinal dipped when the toilet was flushed. My roommate E became certain that we were traumatizing John by making him live in that environment. This led to an argument--I insisted that the fish did not have enough brain cells to be traumatized, but she insisted that he could, arguing, "You're not God and you're not the fish!" To make her happy, we soon moved John to a bowl in our living room.

One day about a week after John moved to his new home, E was awakened by the cleaning lady. She was very agitated--she had flushed the urinal as she was prone to do occasionally to circulate the water and then noticed the sign:

Please do not flush the urinal--the fishy wouldn't like it.

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Writing an email to my boss:
"... plot this ariel aerial map for ..."

Darn that Disney heroine for ruining my spelling abilities.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Personal foul

I called T on Monday night.

The transition to treating him like a friend has been successful. I only pick up his calls when they are convenient and don't talk to him more than once every couple weeks. In fact, 23 days elapsed between phone calls this time. No, I'm not keeping track--it is just easy to remember when the last call was his drunk dial after midnight on new year's. Especially since his girlfriend Kathy was in the background elaborating on all his statements. (Picture me grinding my teeth in annoyance with a polite smile on my face.)

The transition to thinking about him like just a friend has been less successful. I was telling him about the lights in my new bedroom during our conversation. He says, with a flirty tone, "Well, I'll have to come out so I can see your new place."

Pause while I think. This is where the referee should call the foul--he's been with Kathy for, like, 5 months now. He isn't allowed to flirt with me and I know I'm not supposed to flirt with him, but I don't know how else to respond to his flirty comment. In a neutral voice, I respond, "Well, now I have another bedroom, so you could try out the guest room." (Notice the term "could".)

"Yeah, I should sleep on the couch. No, I know I should sleep on the couch, in fact, I shouldn't come out at all."

"Why? Is she jealous of me?" Sadly, this perked me up. I would like the legitimacy of having the girlfriend be jealous of me.

"Not of you--of (some girl I've never heard of)." My ego deflates. Why isn't she jealous of me?

Conversation moves on. He says, "Well, I'm tired. I think I'll go."

"Yeah, it is late there."

"Actually, I was in bed with the lights off when you called but Kathy's been sick and I thought she might need me."

Ouch. I don't need to know that you picked up my call because it might've been from your girlfriend. Where is the referee to call the overshare?


Monday, January 24, 2005

Everything isn't on Ebay

My bridesmaid dress for July's wedding is being delivered this week. Seeing the UPS notice on my door reminded me that I also need to order my shoes and decide if I want any accessories to accompany my outfit. I had a sudden brainstorm--while I might be able to wear the separate dress pieces again, the likelihood of wearing the shoes or accessories again is slim at best. Why not buy someone else's? There are hundreds of bridesmaids all over the country who are wearing sea mist this year--surely one is reselling her shoes, accessories, etc. Nope, not a single sea mist bridal item on Ebay. And I thought you could find anything on Ebay.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

This could be a long year

Picture almost 20 women ranging in age from 18 to 21 sitting in a lopsided circle in a large living room. The new chapter president, the woman leading the meeting, starts an interesting icebreaker to open the meeting. I was encouraged about her intentions until she added the caveat that once you received the ball (permission to speak), you had to make up a nickname for the woman who threw the ball to you. Her giggles that accompanied this suggestion began to concern me, but I wasn't truly alarmed until she said that these names would be their "super secret leader names" which couldn't be shared with anyone outside the room and that these names would be used when roll was called for the rest of the year. This appears not to have been an idle threat--she wrote down all the names, went over them with the group, and solicited names for members who weren't present. Oh, and she referred to the secrecy of these names as they brainstormed ideas for their values/behavior contracts.

Maybe since December I became too old to work with college-age women, but I'm beginning to think this may be a long year.


Friday, January 21, 2005


This morning I had this eyelash that kept irritating my eye. I would rub my eye, or close it for a moment, hoping to rub/flush the darn thing out, but no luck. So I decided to go to the bathroom where I could see it in the mirror and solve the problem. After all, it is much easier to work with both eyes open.

As I'm turning to get up from my chair, I decide to resettle the headband in my hair. I start to pull it out and it snaps in two pieces. Uh oh.

"Ok," I think, trying to find a solution. "I must have a rubber band for my hair in my purse." So I set my purse in my lap and begin going through it pocket by pocket. What do I find? Girl Scout pins--what are those doing in there? More pens than I know what to do with. Nothing unexpected in the main pocket. I remember that I'm low on business cards and refill my card holder. Then I open the front outside pocket, and see something familiar looking. I pull on the red tab and realize--I am now staring at a set of keys I thought I lost in November. They've been in my purse the entire time. Over two months.

Oh, and I did find the rubber band, smooth my hair into a ponytail, and remove the offending eye lash. But now I'm still shaking my ponytail at my sudden discovery.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I should've worked late tonight, but I left to join some other engineers for happy hour--justifying it to myself because it is really professional networking. Work-related, right?

Let's be honest here--I was going to try and meet a single man. I put on lipstick at my desk before I left.

The one other person at happy hour tonight? A very nice, very married man.


It is still a little light out as I'm thinking about leaving work for the day. The days are getting longer not shorter. Change--at least in this case--is good.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Type A

Witness what a workplace full of engineers can become:

My company is sponsoring a chili cookoff during the first week of February. We got the first email just after the first of the year and had to commit to our level of participation in the contest and assign a team member to the official tasting panel. The day the first email came out, my teammate and I decided what variety of chili we are serving and what accessories should accompany it. Note that this was over a month before the contest.

During the past two weeks, I've solicited recipes and made one test batch for my teammate's approval. This year the competition can include dessert as well. We have done some research, chosen three different potential recipes and we will be testing one recipe each in the next week.

Today, I eavesdropped on the neighboring team's discussion scheduling their chili making session and my teammate and I are making preparations to get the additional appliance we need for our chili submission.

Anyone else think competition is not a great idea for an office of engineers?

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Monday, January 17, 2005

This weekend

An engineer working for an oil company in my meeting on my Saturday, explaining why she had such a big, ugly and bulky mouse to use with her laptop:

The test of the robustness of a mouse is its use in a pickup truck.

A combination of two terms we weren't supposed to use this weekend:

Studs on the bod: assume the position

That, and the margaritas, could explain the giggle-related exhaustion when I slipped into bed on Saturday night.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Online dating

PJ and I were having a very enjoyable conversation last week, when he asked me if we could talk about our relationships--or was that too weird? He caught me completely off-guard, so I stalled for a moment, and then said, "Sure, it will be awkward, but if we're going to be friends, it would be easier if there weren't off-limit topics." Turns out he's single now. Kind of a relief actually--I was afraid he was bringing it up because he wanted to talk about his girlfriend.

He told me that one of his friends discovered that she couldn't say she was a rabbinical student in her online dating profile because it attracted men who were looking for therapists, not girlfriends. "You mean on JDate?" I interjected. "Yeah," he said, surprised that I knew about the popular Jewish online dating site. "I say I'm a graduate student on my profile. Then I tell them I'm a rabbinical student in our first contact."

I am amused by the irony that rabbinical students, a group I would imagine to be hyper-moral, are keeping truth about themselves from potential dates. I do appreciate that they are keeping an aspect of their lives private for their own safety. I have at least one other friend who also struggles with what information to share, and when, in the online dating process. And it is much like the process I go through as I prepare my blog entries--what information should I reveal?

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Note to self: do NOT drop cell phone into recycling bin.

Such an 'angineer'

Helping my sister move on Saturday, I told my dad, "I wore a sweatshirt that zipped up for maximum temperature regulation."


My wardrobe

One of my co-workers--who has an adorable 2-year-old daughter--approached me this morning and said, "That's a nice jacket, don't get me wrong, but every time I see it--maybe because of the primary colors--I think 'Sesame Street'."


Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Last night was extraordinarily quiet. A little after 10 I was watching my roommate play Monopoly online when I heard my cell phone right downstairs. Running downstairs, I missed the call but saw that it had been one of my parents calling. I tried calling back immediately, but discovered the line was busy because they were leaving me a message. I decided to listen to the message before I called back, and what I heard made me nervous. Hearing my mom say, "I need you to call me back," in that tone of voice, would make anyone nervous. So I hung up and dialed my parents' number without even listening to the rest of the message.

On Saturday my brother and I were driving up to Greeley to help my sister move into her new apartment. Something flew off or out of a black SUV next to us and went right under our car. I think it was one of their hubcaps flying off, but it happened too fast to be sure. The car behind us honked at us after we drove over it, but we just shrugged at each other. It wasn't like it had anything to do with us, right?

Apparently the car behind us called the police and claimed the female passenger (ME!) threw something out the window and it hit their car. Under further questioning, they admitted that they didn't see me stick my arm out the window, but that they were sure that the item which hit their car came off or out of our car.

At my mom's request, I called the police detective and explained what happened to him. He kept asking me these questions:
"Was there anything in your trunk? Could something have come out of your trunk?"
"Well, the trunk was still closed when we got out of the car, so no."
"How about the back seat?"
"All our windows were closed, so one of windows would've had to have broken for something to fly out."

He was actually very nice and agreed that it didn't seem to be our fault and he had no proof that it was, so he would call the other car owner and explain that there wasn't anything they could do. But, not surprisingly, talking to the police was still my excitement for the night.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Women-Only Language Reemerges

Discovery Channel :: Women-Only Language Reemerges: "In late April, Chinese archivists will unveil a rare collection of items featuring Nushu, a mysterious ancient language created by, and exclusively for, women. "


Sunday, January 09, 2005

In Memoriam

On Friday night I visited my best friend and her parents to share my condolences on the death of her grandfather. As I drove away from their house, I heard these lines:
I know now, just quite how
My life and love might still go on
In your heart and your mind
I'll stay with you for all of time

I know his legacy will live on; it will live on through my memories of him--picking us up to "sell newspaper ads", praising my piano compositions, and calling with best wishes for me on our shared birthday. It will also live on through the love and generosity of his family, continuing even while they grieve his death.

Friday, January 07, 2005

In the know

Today I drove my coworker R to an office farewell lunch. When we walked in, her (soon to be) ex-husband M was already sitting at the table. One of our co-workers, apparently ignorant of their changing marital status, offered to move so she could sit next to M. There was an awkward moment for those of us "in the know" while she refused and our co-worker said, "Oh, I guess you can sit next to him anytime."

It seemed we were past the difficult situations until our coworker asked R what she and M had done for New Year's. She gave the misleading but factually-accurate reply of, "Nothing really."

Driving home after lunch, we discussed how she could get the info out to our still-ignorant co-workers. One possibility was an email--and I suggested that she put it in the form of a quiz.

1. R and M's marital status is:

a) married

b) divorced

c) separated

2. M did not attend the company Christmas party with R because:

a) R preferred to bring her parents

b) M preferred to stay home and play video games

c) M and R are no longer married

3. Over the past year, R's commute has:

a) decreased

b) remained the same

c) increased

If you answered all "c"s, you're in the know. If you didn't, R and M are getting a divorce. Now you're in the know as well.

We got a good giggle out of it. Hope you did too.


Thursday, January 06, 2005


I sent an email out this afternoon to four people. Tonight, before receiving my email, two of them called me. My telepathic powers must be improving.

First W called. We lived together when I was senior in college. One of our roommates needed the kitchen to be clean and would leave Post-It Notes on our doors when we had dishes left in the sink for more than 24 hours. In order to make the kitchen chores more enjoyable we would have "dish parties". So W calls me when she does dishes, remembering old times.

Then it was PJ. I never returned his call from the first night of Chanukah, so he was calling to check in. Talking to him reminds me of why I liked him so much since I met him seven years ago. Turns out he is also an Alias fan and he even got a little goofy while we were on the phone--I'd forgotten about how silly he can get sometimes. I'm glad he is two time zones away--it keeps me from getting too close.

That pilot with the REALLY tall and hairy co-pilot

Yesterday, I submitted a project to the county and it was just me and the planner in their new conference room. Yep, just me. First time ever. I'm still smiling!

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

My mom

I've noticed a few things about my mom in the past week.

She is calm in a crisis, remembering to notify her doctor that she won't make the appointment she was rushing to when she fell and dislocated both her elbows.

While her Red Cross certification may have expired, her first aid knowledge is still there. Laying on the driveway, moaning in pain, she instructed my sister and brother to elevate her head and cover her with a blanket.

She doesn't let go of what is important to her, in many ways. Preparing for x-rays in the emergency room, they cut off her wedding ring and that was the first time I've seen her without it in my lifetime. And waiting for the doctors to reset her elbows that same morning, she looked up at me and said, "Promise me you won't miss your doctor's appointment this afternoon." (I promised and indeed I went.)

She doesn't do anything halfway. Seeing the orthopedist yesterday, he told her he didn't believe her when she said she'd dislocated both her elbows because he's never seen anyone dislocate both of them at the same time. Then he removed her arms from her splints and was amazed again--neither he or his colleague could believe the range of motion she'd recovered in only week.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Observations from the move

  • My knives are still missing. (Isn't my sister great?) So is my big plastic mixing bowl lid.
  • Either my sister or brother is a kicka$s glass-wrapper.
  • I have enough pain relievers and pantry food for an army.
  • I need to meet more people so I can use all my barware (shot glasses, cool martini glasses with stems that light up, champagne flutes, etc.) currently chilling behind our bar.
  • In a bizarre twist, my arch-nemesis alarm clock makes me feel at home in my new room.
  • Apparently I am trying to compensate for the lack of plants in my life by buying more frozen chopped spinach and bay leaves than this girl can handle.
Oh, and now remodeling (ok, cubicle rearranging) has commenced to facilitate my move back to my team's aisle. I knew it was going to happen sometime, but could I have at least a week of stability, oh Powers That Be?

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Best wishes for 2005

This New Year's wish comes from Neil Gaiman who wrote two amazing books that I still think about over 4 years after I read them--Stardust and Neverwhere. It encompasses everything I hope your year to be.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't to forget make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.


Monday, January 03, 2005

Our accomplishments

I started my blog in August of last year. I was one of the seven percent of US adults who started blogs in 2004. During the course of the year, bloggers covered the political conventions, scooped the traditional media and kept them honest. Bloggers were named People of the Year by ABC's World News Tonight and mentioned in Time's Person of the Year issue. What a great year for blogs!


Mission accomplished

I had planned on a cute "Goodnight Moon"-like farewell post for my apartment, but after turning in the keys just before midnight last night, I'm too tired to be that clever.

Goodbye precious first apartment--you were a wonderful home for my first three years here.

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