Monthly Archives: January 2003

Kicks in my Pants.

Ooh. I finally got my applications done. You know how I was talking all big about getting them out tomorrow? Well, best laid plans, and all that. I just dropped them off this AM at Cooper for transcript insertion and mailing. Boy! It could have been a disaster, b/c even though I stopped by last week to make sure that the way I was planning to send out my applications would be OK with them, when I spoke to them yesterday they were saying it wasn’t going to be ok, and they needed more time. No! but I worked it out. It’ll be all right now. It better be.

So, that was my kick in the pants yesterday. And I missed the alleged sex scene from Joe Millionaire last night, too. Damn! I really wanted to watch that. Not because it’s titillating, because I’m sure it wasn’t, but because I wanted to form my own opinion on what happened. That trash TV is so insidious. Someone I know referenced a Simpsons episode set in the future where Marge “You know, Fox turned into a hardcore sex channel so gradually, I didn’t even notice.” Yeah, that’s how I feel too. Even if Fox did refrain from continuing on with Temptation Island, there’s really no way they can avoid their destiny as a hard-core sex station. What’s really funny is how conservative the news coverage on Fox is – it’s interesting that they can flip from being utterly “immoral” and salacious, to conservative and straight-laced. Sometimes, during the same newscast!

Oh, here’s another kick in the pants. I was making this beautiful hat but I was in such a guilty hurry (still haven’t finished Christmas presents! Aaah!) that I didn’t check my gauge, and therefore, the hat is very much too big (the way it should be is in the middle). So instead I’m wearing it flipped up, like the swiss miss. I’m going to try to felt it down tonight. Boy, I hope it works. I love the hat, and the argentinian raw wool yarn I used was fantastic, bits and pieces of vegetable matter not-with-standing. The moral? Always, always check your gauge. I knew that, and still I was somehow mildly surprised when it came out so large! And I always have to go down in needle-size, too. Dummy!

Another kick in the pants: I found I had not given one of my reccommenders the form for one of my schools. Ah! I had to ask someone here early in the AM to do one for me as fast as possible. He did, and I owe him a big old favor. And some beer, I think.

I did have a super fantastic morning despite having to get the last minute recommendation done. I went down to cooper, dropped everything off, and got a chai latte from the Mudtruck. They make them so good there. And then I read one of my new books on the way back up to work. It was all together splendid to sit on the train with my yum drink and a good book.

And this weekend, Gabulo is having a margarita party! So that’ll be fun too, except for the part where I don’t know what to wear to a margarita party. Hm. I have some fake flowers, I guess that’s always appropriate.

The weather last night was dee-vine. Really. It was cool, but not cold (maybe it was 35 degrees. Balmy). And, it was kind of damp out. It was how I imagine winters in the pacific northwest are, all cool and not quite foggy, but the air feels heavy and wet. It was really very nice.

It’s freezing cold!

So it’s back in a deep freeze, after being very very warm this weekend (was it 35 degrees? Or did the sunshine fool me?). When we went to the museum we also walked around the upper west side a bit, and it was so nice and warm. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the girls and schlep around the city a bit. It was also extremely exhausting.

I watched the pirate (super) bowl on Sunday in Williamsburg and almost won 100 bucks! Oh, easy come, easy go. It was a big surprise to leave during half time and to find a snow storm in progress. Actually, Sunday was a day-o-sports for me, Michelle and I went to a knicks game that afternoon (her dad had some spare tickets) and then we went straight to the superbowl. Whoo. We are sporty chicks. Athletes, really.

Speaking of Athletes, here’s a funny story: I fell down in the street last Wednesday. I just fell right over, there was a hole in the pavement and I have trick ankles so I fell onto my tookas on the ground. So many people yelled “oh no!” and ran over and pulled me up by my armpits (I hate that. I hate people, esp. strangers, putting their hands in my pits. Plus, it’s HARD to get up like that! The moment of inertia is all wrong!). I smiled, and said I was ok, and thanked everyone graciously. And then this guy came over to me and said “Are you an athlete?” I wasn’t sure if he was making fun of me, so I said “what?” and he said “an athlete, you know, do you do sports?” so I said I did do tae kwon do, and he said to me:

“I could tell by the way you fell.”

What? I still don’t know what that means. Did I fall like athletes would fall, in that they have trick ankles too, and are prone to falling? Or did I fall in a carefully controlled, secret athlete move wherein I minimized the potential damage to my person? I laughed at the guy and walked into the subway. ‘Cause I’m an athlete.

Monday morning was a big shock to me, because even though I knew it was snowing Sunday night, I just didn’t expect it to be so darn cold the next day. I was lulled into complacency by those two warm days this weekend. When I woke up and the guy on the radio told me it was 8 degrees, I was surprised. When I stepped outside and felt my cheeks go icy stiff, I was still surprised.

It’s harder this week to appreciate the adventure that a deep freeze, a cold snap, an artic blast is. I’m tireder, or colder, and I have to wash my laundry. And I think it’s COLDER this week than it was last week. When I get home late I’m really really cold, instead of just kind of maybe cold.

Last night I went to a book lecture with an old professor and another school buddy, and then we had dinner, and then my professor gave me a lift home. I had to move my car but my tires were both flat in the front, so I had to (at nearly midnight) find an air pump – I drove slowly from 109th and 3rd to 106th and 1st, but that gas station had a broken air pump. The attendant directed me to the carwash on 109th and 1st, but their pump was broken too! Luckily, there was another one of those really kind souls working in the ‘garage’ that night, and he filled up my tires for me using the “indoor” pump. There are so many kind people around. Really. But speaking of cold, I was the most cold ever once I finally made it home. I hear the temperature last night was like 10 degrees, and with a wind-chill of below zero – well, I was very very cold. It pains me to admit this, but my mittens are just not warm enough for this kind of weather. I really need to line them if I want to wander around in subzero temperatures in the middle of the night!

And speaking of things that I’m making, I’m nearly done with my cool aviators hat/swim cap, and I really just want to knit, all the time. All knit, all night. Well, I did knit last night in the bar where we got dinner after the lecture, and I did actually pull the knitting out during the lecture. I’m turning into that weird knitting lady! Also, on the things I’m making list, grad school applications. They’re, well, going. I need to crack the whip and write some personal essays tonight, b/c the whole thing is zipping in the mail Thursday noonish from la alma mater.

At least it’s so cold I’m not tempted to go on any moonlight picnics to avoid my work!

Folk Dances and the American Condition.

Yesterday we went to the Museum of Natural History for a Mexican folk dancing performance. It was great, there was a mariachi band playing and the dancing was fantastic.

I was thinking while we were there about the American middle class stigma and our bland reluctance to participate. It’s something that Barbara Ehrenrich talked about in “Nickeled and Dimed,” and something that I’ve thought about often as well. I feel that the middle class, is uncomfortable with people in general. In service positions, we don’t like to have people do messy tasks for us, and feel a certain guilt when we have someone into our homes to clean. Often, we’ll clean before the cleaning person arrives, out of embarrassment and awkwardness. It’s difficult to know how much to tip someone, and it’s easy to be uncomfortable discussing money or prices for services rendered. And culturally, there’s this fear of participation that we seem to suffer from. The museum was hosting a Mexican American cultural workshop, and looking at the primarily Mexican audience it was easy to see how comfortable they were, and how they weren’t afraid to join in. That’s something that my repressed middle class heritage lacks. We don’t have a casual give and take with the performer. It’s somehow low brow to make a scene, or to participate in a crowded audience. (But at the same time, there will always be self-assured middleclass people, usually men or older women, who feel that it is their right to participate, or even lead, the gathering. There will always be ‘those guys’ who talk out of place, who serve as the class clown and try to ingrate themselves with the audience, who look around them after every outburst, hoping to make eye contact and find the validation and admiration of their peers.) We’re missing out on a lot by not allowing ourselves to become engaged by a performer, to not allow ourselves to become part of the temporary community that is an audience. I hope that I can avoid that self-alienation.

The movies in my head. And what it was like to be Little Me.

I kind of stumbled into one of those movie sets in your head yesterday. I was taking the subway downtown to meet a friend for dinner, and it was late, I was running about 20 minutes late. I walked into the subway station at Grand Central and it was so cold outside that my face felt crisp and leathery, and once I got inside it was still cold enough to see my breath. I zipped in through the turnstile and then the lighting seemed to subtly change, and there was a man playing a mournful, beautiful, slow latin guitar. I heard him, but didn’t consciously recognize that he was playing until I looked down the stairs and saw the train I had hoped to catch zoom down the tracks and out of the station. There was a tear in my eye from the icy winds, and it started to run down my cold cheek as my train left and the guitar-of-missed-connections played softly in the background.

And then I walked down the stairs to the platform, and started walking along the tracks edge. There’s a game New Yorkers play where they walk really close to the edge of a crowded platform because they’re in a Big Hurry. I played that game as I walked to the back of the subway platform. And as I walked, I passed a different band of musicians. The platform musicians were playing Afro-Caribbean style music, heavy with rhythm and energy. So I walked faster, and as I walked a new train came into the station, one that was very close to the one I had just missed. So life goes on, no? and with heavily rhythmic music to boot!

Once I got on the train I thought whimsically how perfectly the last minute of my life had been choreographed. See, sometimes, in a city as vibrant as New York, you really do feel as though you’re living in a movie.

So, it’s still very cold outside.

Not so cold that I didn’t want to get ice cream for dinner last night, though. I love ice cream. I didn’t, because I have been trying so hard to watch what I eat. You know that 205? Well, I’m down to 200. Not bad for a week and a half, but I’m also thinking it had a lot to do with water retention. Ahem. And also, just to explain to anyone who’s not familiar with me, well, very skinny for me is 175. Because I’m very very tall, and my family puts on muscles like they would a t-shirt in the morning. (Ok, not sure what that means.) So, I’m not horribly obese even though I did a back calculation of my BMI and it says I should weigh between 143 and 179. That crazy BMI, it doesn’t mean anything! What kind of a range is that? A 36 pound range!

This weekend I’m planning on working on so many applications my head may spin. It’s going to be great. I don’t know if I’ll get them done, but I’m planning on using my handspring and my stowaway keyboard to work so hard on them. I sent out my recommendation information earlier in the week, and I do feel bad that now my reviewers only have about a week and a half to get everything done. I’m applying to 4 schools, but one of the schools is a joint program, so there’re two recommendations to do. Luckily, all but one of them are form applications with the same sort of brief essay question, so I do think the information will be one of the done-once, copied-many-times situations.

Been thinking a lot about privacy and what I’m doing with this web page. Mostly, I’ve decided to not think about it for a while. I wonder if I don’t have the ego to write publicly, because I don’t know how to react if people mention the site to me – I mean, I like it, sure, but … well, it’s like when I was little, and people would say I did something well. I craved that validation but I didn’t know how to accept it gracefully. Mostly because I didn’t really feel like I had done anything special, and also, because I was kind of insecure about myself, and any extra attention sort of overwhelmed me. So while I’m getting better at smiling graciously and saying thank you in the face of a compliment, I am also secretly wondering what they REALLY think.

Aah, my youngster insecurities. Still kicking, after all those years!

Happy weekend, y’all –

Cold weather, cold attitudes, and Thai food.

Wow, it’s flippin cold out there today!

And, um, it was yesterday, and the day before. And it will be tomorrow, also. We’re in a Deep Freeze! A Cold Snap!

I can’t complain, you know, because it’s not too cold, and I do have lots of warm clothes and layers and long socks and long johns to wear. And the heat in our apartment works pretty darn good right now. And even though it’s cold at work, I dress appropriately, so it’s no problem. And, I really can’t complain to my dad or mom, b/c where they live it’s regularly below zero at night these days. And my mom works outside. Yep, outside, in the cold. And my brother does, too, pretty much, only at night! My family is so tough I can’t say a word about cold weather. It’s not that cold, really.

Plus, I really love the cold weather! I love real winters, I love bundling up in wool and layers and wearing long socks and ridiculous hats and mittens. I love snuggling up under my covers at night, and I love that I can’t sit up and read late because my hands get too cold. Winter is good times, if you ask me. I love the snow. I love storms. I love power outages. I love having to be prepared for cold weather when I leave the house, and I love having to pack extra things with me. Have I said all of this before on here? I may have.

So, I badmouthed some kids in my neighborhood and said people had let the air out of my tires: that’s not true. They’re just leaking and leaking and leaking. I have to fill them up all the time. I don’t know if it’s the rims, which would mean the tire guys in Albany who put on the new ones were negligent and didn’t tell me about it, or if it’s the cold weather, which is, lets face it, very very cold, or if I’m not inflating them far enough and pocky rims let the air drip out (which would imply that kids DID let the air out, the first time). I took the car to a tire place down here and they took the tires off and checked them well, and said there was no problem. So, I don’t know what’s going on, other than I have tires that need new air every 3 days.

I’m zooming along on daddy’s mittens. They’re freakin big, let me tell you! And, also, I’m having such a great time getting home at a reasonable time and making my dinner. I had really good curry noodle soup with tofu, and I can’t recommend the Thai Kitchen products highly enough. They are so good. The curry noodle soup called for 1 ½ cup of water and ½ a cup of milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. I mixed it up a little and added 1 ½ cup of coconut water, and ½ cup of milk. It was so good, and mildly coconutty. Yum. So, I guess as far as my new years resolutions go, I’ve been very good at keeping the One Against Bitching, the One Against So Much Coffee, the One Against Eating Out, and the One For Keeping Cupboards Full. Exercising? Well, it’s 8 degrees when I wake up, and very dark. Making stuff? Doesn’t count until I finish my xmas presents.

Tuesday I went to the NJ office for a big meeting. It went really well, except the tights I was wearing were too small, and they gave me monster gas. I didn’t disrupt the meeting, or anything, but it was a little uncomfortable for a bit. The fun part about Tuesday was driving to work. Even though my car tires were getting low by the end of the day, it was great to drive a couple of pals back into the Big City. The drive home wasn’t long at all, and traffic was superfantastic at the Holland Tunnel (I’m a car pool!).

Wednesday I took a bit of time to go down to Cooper to drop off recommendation forms. That’s right, I’m really going to apply to grad school. It’s a long arduous process, but I’m really going to do it. I did have a great lunch with Matt at the sushi place. It seems so luxurious to take a nice lunch with someone you care about. It was great.

Today, speaking of no bitching (ok, so I wasn’t speaking of it recently, but I was before), I had a tough time with an email that implied I had been assigned a task at a meeting on Tuesday, and had shirked my duty. Man. Stupid office politics. The email made it seem like I was goofing off! There’s this bitchy game that people play sometimes in offices, where they try to be the best, most perfect employee. And I don’t know if the person who’s sending the emails is really playing that game or not! Oh well. El B. likes her better than he likes me, anyway, because she actively is trying to be his golden-girl employee, and I’m just ultra-professional and unflappable. That’s right, I’m unflappable. Or I try to be. Nothing to be solved by getting upset by El B.!

Did anyone notice I updated the crafts page with new embroidery section? Well, yeah, I did.

Out into the cold I go! It’s probably very cold, with a windchill of very very cold. Luckily I’m wearing my long johns and tall socks under my skirt!

Corporate Cultures. Martin Luther King Jr. !

Happy Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

I am at work. Apparently, besides us here, there are about 30 people working in Manhattan today. The train was empty! The streets are empty! The drugstore is empty! Despite the cheesy subcontractor advertising calendars of choice, which mark today with a brown and a white hand shaking in apparent racial harmony, we don’t get today off. Sigh. I wish I did! We used to get lots of holidays off, including days that others didn’t get, like Presidents Day and Columbus day and Good Friday. Now, we get nothing. We go from New Years in January to Memorial Day in May to the 4th of July to Labor Day in September to that whole Thanksgiving/Christmas thing. Sigh. The good old days? Gone. And I love Martin Luther King Jr. Day! But none for me!

I was in a meeting last week and these are the notes I took:

  • can Mom be a freelance “landscape architecht” for the upstate office?
  • Gold mine remediation = mercury?
  • Body language during mtgs.

The last one is the most interesting. The way people sit in meetings is so fascinating to me – most of the guys in meetings, at least, internal ones, sit in their chairs with their feet planted on the ground, leaning way back, belly sticking out and crotch wide open. It’s kind of a gross, undignified position, in my opinion. I’ve noticed that most women don’t sit like that, mostly because it’s kind of inappropriate to flash your crotchal area around.

The prioritizer is a very interesting tool here, kids. You put in what you’re trying to prioritize, you answer questions (which of these pairs is better?) and it tells you what you think!

This weekend I went to Philadelphia for a friends party, and also, we went to the Mutter Museum. It was really neat. I looked for Grover Cleveland’s tumor, but couldn’t find it. Chief Justice Marshall’s bladder stones were on exhibit, though! His weren’t too large, but there were some really honkin’ big bladder stones. Like, as large as a tennis ball. Yar! The most interesting exhibit was on Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, where the muscles and other tissue are slowly calcified to bone. You could see where the muscles, especially in the upper arms, had been turned to bone on the skeleton. It was pretty neat, and also, pretty horrible.

So for like the first time in my entire life I’m counting calories. I hate it, but I also hate the fact that I am overweight. 205, baby! OK, so, I figure I should own the weight, and work for a change, and to do that, I’m posting it on the freakin’ internet. I’m nuts.

I’m supposed to go to a crafty night tonight, from 6 to 10, and now I don’t know how early I can leave work. It’s already 5:30, but I have a meeting in the NJO tomorrow, and so therefore I have to get all of this stuff done, and flipin’ CDs burnt, and El Bosso hasn’t checked it all, and I need to leave, like, in 45 min. at the very very most. Grrr.

Well, wish me luck!

A ticket! I mean, SUMMONS.

I am a leetle grouchy about a ticket I just got.

OK, so, on my car, When I first put it on the road over thanksgiving time, I couldn’t get the screws out of the bumper to stick my new plates on. So I got some wire from my dad and stuck the damn things on as best I could. I did a good job, they’ve kept the license plates on there through driving around, and car washes, and kids trying to yank it off. Plus, while I was wrapping the wire through holes over and over and kind of making a coil, I thought “I’m turning my car into an electromagnet!”

So the other day I got a carwash and went to wire the plate on a little better – the top part was bending down b/c of kids and the brooms they use in the carwash to scrub your car squeaky clean. And I got going, and it fell off. Yep, the whole bracket and everything fell right off of my car and into my hands. So I just threw it onto my dashboard, and didn’t worry about it. I guess I should have, because last night when I walked past my car I found I had gotten a TICKET.

So, I was a little ticked off. The air had been let out of my front two tires and a few days later my front license plate falls off, and I’m pretty sure it’s no coincidence. And now I find out that even though my plate is so bent it looks like it’s standing straight up on my dashboard, and even though some kids were messing around with my car despite “Operation Impact” and the pony show being in town to protect me, I still have to pay the city of NY $55? Nuts. Plus, I had left my house and car keys at work, so I had to go home for the spares before I could address the situation.

I went home. I grouched into the apartment. I grabbed the spares, and went back outside. As I walked down the block before my car, I noticed a parked and idling sporty yet not-too-flash car with two biggish (yet short) clean cut guys with sports-team jackets. Those guys were undercover cops. So I moved the car, and stuck the fallen off plate back onto the bolts in the bumper (even though if anyone touches it it’ll fall off again, and they’ll steal it, and I’ll be put out), and then I walked back over to the “cop” car. I kind waved in the window, and the guy in the Jets jacket unrolled it, and I asked if they were police officers, and they said yes, kind of chagrined, and I asked them all about proper license plate display. heh. It was totally funny. I mean, maybe I shouldn’t be approaching strangers who are just chilling in their cars on a dark and cold night, but heck, there’s just not that many sports-team jackets in my neighborhood. What there are a lot of, are police officers. And if you ask, they have to tell you if they are officers… besides, they referred to my ticket as a “summons.” Nerds! Hee. I probably shouldn’t be poking fun at the police officers, either.

This doesn’t change the fact that I have to put a new bracket onto my car soon, before someone notices that my license plate will just fall off into their hands. I’m gonna have to go buy a new bracket, some screws, and get out there in the 20 degree weather with my drill. I need to find a fancy bracket – something flashy and red, maybe? But not one of the fake chain brackets. That’s so 1990’s.

In other news, it’s been pretty darn cold around here. But my Swedish military issue wool leg warmers are so warm! And they keep me so happy and toasty when I go too and from work in a skirt and tights. I don’t know how those people do it who wear nylons and nice work shoes. Do they have someone drop them off a block from work, and then dash in and pretend like they’ve walked blocks from the subway? They’re crazy.

Winter fun and tea party games.

I had a super fantastic weekend, despite it starting off kind of sickish –

I had a pain in my abdomen, right around where my appendix supposedly is. The pain first started on Thursday, and kept hanging around on Friday. I thought it might be gas, because, well, I’ve been kind of gassy lately. But the pain kept getting worse and worse, until Friday night I felt so sad and tired and nauseous I didn’t want to do anything except stay home and read Mary Stewart books. (I love Mary Stewart.) And the pain was still there on Saturday – albeit muted. So, I started to wonder if it was gas, because should one really have a gas pain for 3 days? And when I went to sleep on Saturday it STILL hurt. And also, when I woke up on Sunday! But then I did fun fun things all day Sunday and I guess I worked the problem out. I guess. At least it wasn’t my appendix – I was starting to get really nervous it was!

Super fun things! Yay, cross-country skiing! I love that stuff. It’s been years and years (maybe even 6 years) since I’ve been cross-country skiing. My buddy Jenn and I met and drove up to Fahnestock State Park and spent a few hours trekking around the snowy countryside! It was really great. I do love being outside in the winter. I love being outside in the summer, too, but so does everyone. Wintertime is special, somehow, it’s full of snow, and cold cold air, and you have to bundle up to be warm, and the wind blows, and it’s gorgeous and white. Cross-country skiing is special, too, in a “fringe of society” kind of way. The people who go skiing are usually really into it – plus it requires a basic fitness level that can be off-putting to new skiers. It is hard work. So you get a few different kinds of people out there – the love of nature and adventure people (I think this is where Jenn and I go), the technical skiers, who work so hard on form and technique, and love to wax their skis because it shows a true knowledge of the conditions and the ritual, the true athletes who go so fast and skate-ski, and sprint for 5 miles, and seem to be some kind of Brahmin among skiers, and the love of the sport skiers, who will come out in any old outfit and on any kind of skis the can just to enjoy the actual process. Most people smile or nod as you pass them, and it’s fun to be outside for so long that your face chaps from the wind. No, really, it doesn’t sound fun, but it is!

I got my official corporate yearly performance review. What is it about being me, and working, that makes me want to please people so badly? I mean, I like my department head, a lot. And he says today during the review that I’m good people, and he wants to keep me happy. My immediate response? I feel guilty about leaving the company, and start to think I should give it another shot. Luckily this reaction lasted about 10 seconds, but still. Is it me, personally? Is it being a woman in a technical field?

Lately I’ve been really thinking about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. I don’t know why, exactly. I don’t know what they do there, but I imagine they have tea and proper stationary. I secretly am drawn to formal occasions where one might wear gloves to visit. The hitch? It might not be so cool as I imagine it, and my dressy eye makeup (dark eyeliner below my eyes, dark mascara, and a pearly light colored eye shadow on my lids) may work against me. Also, this statement from their web page: “The DAR believes that a strong military is vital to American national defense.” On the plus side: they do insist they’re non-political, and check out the hair-do of the president!

What I need to do is have some kind of fun girls club where we do stuff like meet for cocktails, pretend like we’re classy ladies, have tea parties. I think I have enough girlfriends in the area that would like to do this, also! And I also have a full set and a half or 2 of china, and, for that DAR flavor, the time-life pewter American Revolution Collectors Plates. Score.

Things you may want to know about:

  1. The flaming vagina.  Lord of the rings II was very good.  The flaming vagina – I mean, eye of sauron, was not as obvious in this film.  Just didn’t seem to hang out with the other characters as much as it did in the last one. Other than that, not so much walking and talking and character development.  I would have appreciated a little more character development, and a little less head bashing.  And when I say head bashing, I’m not talking about the kind of character developing head bashing that happens sometime with a one on one fight, but the kind of head bashing that occurs between armies of thousands vs. ten-thousands, and that last for hours and hours.  It was exhausting.  But that doesn’t make this any less of a good movie, it just makes it exhausting. More so, I thought, than the first one.
  2. from the List of Things that I Wanted to Say, but didn’t say at all because I’m polite/too nice/wimpy/overly concerned about my career:
    “so, we’ve worked together for 3 and ½ years, and you think I’m making up this emergency? Because it sure seems like you don’t believe me right now.  You’re thinking, right now, that I am shirking my duties to you and this project, and just walking out?  That I don’t have a real emergency?  But I’m not going to tell you about my emergency, dude, because it’s none of your business, and also, because this isn’t a freakin’ pissing contest.  It’s not a competition to see who can work more and put more of their life on hold.  It’s a job with a noncrucial self-imposed deadline, and it’s up against a real life emergency with people I care about and the place where I live.  And real life people I care about win.”
  3. I love nice lunches with my coworkers. I love getting silly on nachos and chips and salsa. I love feeling like I like the people I work with for who they are, and not just how good of a job they do.
  4. Things that may happen this weekend:  Maybe go swing dancing on Friday.  Maybe pedicures on sat.  Maybe xcountry skiing on Sunday.
  5. Horses I encountered on the way to check on my flat tires:  4+.  Number of flat tires: 2.  Reason for horses: Operation Impact, which targets areas around NYC which haven’t experienced the same dramatic drop in crime.  Matt and I went to check on the car, which has 2 flat tires (both in the front, both new, perhaps a seal/seating problem?) and encountered several police cars and even more police horses.  They were standing around in a school, and when asked, an officer said they were on patrol.  Since when did horses patrol Spanish Harlem?  I asked some neighborhood kids what they thought was up, and they suggested maybe trespassing.  Since when did horses protect the neighborhood from trespassing?  Since Operation Impact, that’s when.  Michelle called up the precinct the next night and asked if our neighborhood was part of Operation Impact, and they confirmed this.  They also confirmed that’s what the horses are all about.  Or, the pony patrol, as Michelle is wont to refer to it.]
  6. Speaking of flat tires, I have two flattening tires. Both on the front, both are brand spankin’ new tires.  I have to hope that they just put the tires on the wheels wrong at the end of December when I got the new ones.  I went out to move the car on Tuesday and found them both totally flat – but I took a chance and brought the car up ½ a block to a taxi cab repair shop while I was outside, and they were sweet and filled up all of my tires for me.  I tried to pay them, but the guy wouldn’t even take it! He was very nice.  NYC is full of very nice people, y’all!
  7. something else from the List of Things That I Wanted to Say:  “What’s that?  The Company’s standard merit raise is x%?  and that’s what I’m getting?  So tell me this:  how does that make me want to work harder?  It’s not for comp time, cause I can’t take any, and if I try to take sick time I have an argument on my hands.  It’s not for overtime, cause that’s an argument right there, and after the argument, I experience severe taxation, not so much more money, and then I find that perhaps my tax bracket has shifted and I’m screwed.  So, I don’t get a bonus, I work so very very hard and I get a STANDARD merit raise?  Now, tell me again:  why would I want to work hard for this company?”
  8. New Toffee Nut drinks at Starbucks are so good.  And also, I am so torn about Starbucks. I mean, they provide their workers with a health plan (part timers too!  so unusual! AND, their domestic partners!), and they’re one of the best companies for a woman to work for, apparently – but they’re so nasty and pestilent and all about spreading and putting local guys out of business.  I don’t know if the good is worse or better than the bad!
  9. That bomb thing from last time?  It was, apparently, nothing.  Someone here at work said something about a news reporter splayed across the road taking pictures of a bag full of what looked like dirty clothes.  Someone also said she’d asked an officer what was going on and was told “Don’t ask questions – for your own safety!” which made someone else and I laugh really hard, and then I said “Soylent Green is people!” and no one laughed, and I sat down and got back to work.
  10. Surreal Life was a hoot.  But have any of these people ever watched a reality show before?  And has Corey Feldman ever talked to a smart person before?  High School Reunion?  Not so hootish.  One of those “reality” shows where they try so hard to make it interesting that they include all of these crazy people.  Or, at least 2 crazy people.  So far that I’ve identified as such.  I think everyone is on this show either for the exposure (hello, my actress/cocktail waitress friend) or to prove to their old classmates that they’re so different, and special. Yo, and everyone, I want you to know that the specialness?  Was there before and now look what you missed out on you foolish shallow person.  Except for conscious recognition of that last part there. 

OK, revisions to weekend plans, no dancing today, pedicures tomorrow definitely, and then a birthday lunch for a college pal, and then, def. Cross country skiing.  Yay!

The boiler was broke!

We had a semi-exciting weekend.

Well, it wasn’t so exciting, but it was cold. It was exciting in a way that required the reaction that only a cold-blooded creature like a lizard, or a snake, would be able to react. Our hot water heater boiler broke! We were sans heat or hot water! For 2 whole days! Luckily, I was born in the year of the snake, so I was able to deal with the problem.

The only part I was nervous about, besides being generally discomforted in freezing temperatures, was my landlord. We don’t always get along. We actually get along less often than we DO get along. Examples:

  • Our very large, very heavy, windows wouldn’t open when we moved in. He had them fixed, but let us know that it was the last time he’d do that.
  • Our ceiling was discolored and damaged from a severe water leak in the building roof. He was put out. Inconvenienced. This was awful. The super fixed the damage, but the leak was still there in the roof.
  • The kitchen sink leaks. It leaks so badly that water pools under the elbow under the sink, and drips into the place under the cabinets that we can’t get to. We get roaches. He sends someone to clean it up.
  • The roof continues to leak! The ceiling crumbles and falls on my bed at night! We knock down most of the plaster so large chunks won’t kill us unawares. But at least most of his ire was directed at the building management company, and not us.
  • Our hot water heater exploded! Boom! John and Michelle were able to turn off the water, but not before the water burned Johns feet, destroyed the floor in Jen’s room, the hallway, and parts of Michelle’s and my rooms, and soiled and ruined many items in Michelle’s closet. Our Landlord thought we could have prevented this – despite the numerous other water heaters which had burst in the building recently and the age of the heater. See, on of his other tenents had noticed the hot water heater was breaking, and was able to tell him before it destroyed the floor. But he did replace the water heater, discussing (at) with me at great length the expense he was going to. The inconvenience to him (Mr. Has-a-shower). He’s a grouch basket. But eventually, the floor is cleaned up (we ripped up the wooden tiles ourselves, to be sure that all of the wet and loose floor was replaced), the concrete dust settles, and the new heater is in. We bathe joyfully. Jen moves back home after spending nearly a week with her Aunt.
  • Our washing machine AND dishwasher break, at the same time. Oh, this is the final straw! We are malicious, spiteful girls. We fight. He hangs up on me. I call back and say I don’t appreciate being hung up on. He says he didn’t, we were disconnected. He doesn’t want to fix the washer. I point out it’s in the lease. He has his wife call me back, and she yells at me for threatening her sweet, innocent, good husband. Then, he sends me a lease with portions forbidding subletting and the ‘as is’ status of the apartment highlighted, and a note requesting me to contact his wife or the management company with any other problems. I send it back, with portions regarding “appliances” highlighted, as well as portions requiring me to notify HIM of any problems with the apartment in a timely fashion. I also prepare a letter detailing the ‘as is’ status of the apartment when I moved in, and I get to use the phrase “fecal matter.” Hee. We are both stubborn, but I am right, and he has both appliances fixed. I emphasize to him the lifespan of modern machinery is not what it used to be, and it sort of blows over. But the facts remain: Michelle and I are hateful, sloppy “girls” who break things on purpose.
  • There was a terrible knocking sound coming from the hot water heater. I let him know, reluctantly, but he quickly and quietly fixes the problem. We learn later that he interprets the plumber’s comments as “a piece was broken (on purpose by us) and replaced” instead of “there was a broken piece replaced.”

So when the water heater boiler broke, and I couldn’t get in touch with him, I was very nervous. I had to go over his head to contact a repairperson in the hopes that they could fix it this weekend. They couldn’t. But luckily, the assumption I had made that he was out of town because of the holidays was correct, and also luckily, poor Michelle picked up the phone every time he called on Sunday. He doesn’t yell at Michelle, ever, either because I’m so polite and genteel he thinks that he can bully me, or because she’s so sweet sounding on the phone he doesn’t even try to bully her.

Well, all that said, the guys were supposed to come and fix the water heater today so I can bathe in style tomorrow, instead of boiling 2 large pots of water, dumping them in the bathtub, kneeling in the 2 inches of water, and kind of splashing around like I did last night. That kind of bath really needs someone to scrub your back for you!

Today when I got to work the roads were all blocked off – Third Avenue was roped off for several blocks uptown, and 42nd street was roped off on either side of Third. There were police and bomb squads. There was, apparently, a suspicious package in the street. I had to go into work through the loading dock. When stuff like that happens and I just go merrily in to work? I think that maybe I’m crazy. Work is not that important, but also, maybe the world is crazy, and these packages aren’t so suspicious. It’s hard to find a middle road that makes you satisfied both in the good qualities of human beings and also safe.

Tonight, Lord of the Rings and the Flaming Vagina!

A whole New Year full of Beans.

Happy New Year!

I love saying Happy New Year.  I’ve been saying it for nearly a week, even though it just started yesterday.  I think it’s a really appropriate thing to wish to people to have.

I am starting the new year refreshed of mind, body and spirit.  No, really, I am.  It sounds silly, and it is kind of, but I didn’t come to work from the 21st of December until Today.  Which is OVER a week’s vacation!  (Ok, I did come to work on Monday. I kept getting messages about this non-urgent issue, so I thought I’d just show my face to make sure everything was ok. It was, no one was impressed with good thoughts or a positive glowing attitude that I had come in, I checked my email and ordered a teapot, and went home.)  And, I billed all sick time! Because I needed to rest my soul!  Heh.  No, really.  That’s what I needed, and that’s what happened. I wonder if I could get a note from my doctor saying that?  I wonder if I’ll need to.  “Karina Jean could not come to work this week or during the holiday season at all because she was resting her soul, lest it be broken along with her spirit.”

So, 12.20 we had our holiday luncheon.  And let me tell you, it was a far cry from the holiday parties of years past.  I don’t know why, even, but there was a DJ and the dance floor was open.  I mean, sure, I danced, but it was a little weird to dance during a LUNCHEON.  After that? I went back to work.  But not for long! And then I went for drinks with my department at the Helmsley Hotel, which was fun, and weird, and then to the back of this bar that’s like a tree house, because it has a canvas roof and a tree growing through the middle, and that was also weird, and then Matt picked me up and we met Michelle at Cilantro’s for some fun. 

Sunday and Monday I furiously worked on holiday cards and gifts for people.  And I went home on the 24th, and kept furiously working.  But I finished my mittens!  They’re great, even if they are very pointy (is that Latvian style?):



And I gave three presents this year that were unfinished (and this includes wrapping a ball of yarn labeled “Daddy’s Mitten” with one of my mittens, labeled “Kari’s Mitten”.  This sounds like it wasn’t too bad, but, I purchased three others, and I haven’t actually given several more, of which at least two are still being constructed, and at least two came very late in the year. And two of the presents I gave (mom’s!) were incomplete!  (really, should I send you that crock-pot in the mail? Have it shipped directly to you?) Plus, I haven’t finished sending out all of my holiday cards (ahem, new years cards).  But that’s ok! It’s a new year! All will be superfantastico!

Really, I did (re-)gain a lot of perspective while I was away.  I needed a big fat break from work and irksome things.  And the snow we got on Christmas upstate (nearly 2 feet!  Whee!) was fantastic, even if I did break my front tires enough to need new ones on a bad patch of ice.  And seeing my mom and nephew being hams?  Also fantastic.  And having quality down time with Michelle?  Again, fantastic.


(Daniel is not sick.  He’s just, um, thinking about something.  Really.  The restaurant was reputable and fantastic.)

It was a fantastic vacation. I am really starting to see the merit in making your employees take all of their vacation days by the end of the year, instead of allowing them to put off a vacation until they MUST take it or risk losing days – at least in a profession like engineering, where it’s easy to forget that the project WILL go on without you, to forget that you are not indispensable, no matter how important and depended upon you are.

Happy New Year!  (and no, I don’t know where the beans are involved. A hill of beans? The musical fruit? Sprouting, the seeds of life and scurvy prevention?  Cause there’s no scurvy in the new year! Yar!)

The Little Box of New Years Resolutions:

  • Not so much bitching about work! It’s not so bad, you have a job, and you get to take sick days if you want to. Other people can’t say that! And really leave this year like you keep saying you will. And really pay down your credit card balances and your student loans, so if you end up working in a pretty little book and curio shop, you won’t have to worry about that kind of interest gaining thing.
  • Exercise more. Like, at least 3 times a week, unless you’re deathly (or partially) ill.
  • Not so many coffee drinks at work! They’re expensive, and it’s just peer pressure. You really can just go downstairs and hang out with the coffee clutch, and then come back up with no coffee. It’s not enough that your desk is full of charming tins of tea?
  • No eating out during the week, unless it’s a special occasion. And that doesn’t count leaving work at the same time as Michelle, and being able to meet for dinner. I mean, that’s special, and an occasion, but it’s also how you get FAT, dear.
  • On the eating note, keep your cupboards stocked with healthy, wholesome food. And cook the damn stuff, and eat it too! For breakfast and lunch, as well!
  • Make more things for yourself and others. Clothes, knitwear, household accessories, cards. Fill the world with your handicrafts.