Monday mornings are weird.

Monday mornings are always a little disturbed.  No matter how early you go to bed the night before, Monday morning has a sledgehammer fist.  You only hope you’re able to duck in time.  And just like 87.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot, 52% of all dreams between Sunday and Monday are severely creeped out. Fortunately, there are a few clear markers you can use before leaving the house that will let you know if it’s worth it to even go to work, or if you should just crawl back into bed and pretend it’s still the weekend.

1) Your weekend injury is preventing you from getting to work on time.  Whether it’s the fact that the cut on your head is still throbbing or bleeding profusely (Corina) or that you can’t bear the thought of wearing shoes since your feet are still cut up so bad (myself), it’s a sure sign that the gods are against you.  Go back to bed.  Or, if you’re Corina, go to the hospital.

2) Your coffee/breakfast/morning sustenance is interrupted.  Whether you’re out of milk, ‘Mr. Coffee’s dead’, or all the Dunkin Donuts on your way to work have been taken over by terrorists, it’s not going to make for a pleasant day.  If you’re not getting your jump-start, you might as well go back to bed, because any work you attempt in the next 24-hour period is most likely going to be shoddy.  Increase everyone’s productivity with less time on the job.

3) The final check before leaving the house – all clothing is properly arranged over your body.  There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve stepped outside (or further) only half-dressed.  If you get to the door and you’ve managed to mess up dressing yourself, there’s something seriously wrong.  In addition, at some point throughout the day, you’re going to embarrass yourself or your co-workers or both with your inability to maintain a normal human appearance.  Quit while you’re ahead.  Unfortunately I myself did not follow this simple rule, and did not realize my underwear was on inside-out until I arrived at work this morning.  Let’s hope this is the only faux-pas for the day.  Frankly, I’m not holding my breath.

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Words I love.

Ok, so I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, and today, I’m extra-bored. SO –

Punk – Jo says this one is the hard consonants, which I think is true, as far as sound goes. But

Wiggins – As in ‘Weird old guys really give me the wiggins.” Did anyone else have Mr. Wiggins in high school? I’m sure he was not creepy, but he has a name that sounds like it should be a ridiculous butler.

Wapiti – not only are these little deer things cute, they also have a name that stings like a sandwich in the FACE. Also, the plural gives you a Scrabble bingo.

Eunuch – I love this word, and I hate it. The hate comes from my inability to pronounce the thing. I see the ‘e’, and think it should start with a ‘ee’ sounds, not a ‘you’ sound. I love this word, because it’s better than you’re basic threat: “I’ll make you a eunuch.” See, that even looks wrong.

Ragamuffin – Not only for the aspirated ‘f’ sound do I love this word. It looks like what it is – a little ragged around the edges, possibly spongy like cake. And when you say it, it sounds as if there are little sprouts growing out of it. Delicious!

Tomfoolery – This is Corina’s input. It does have a certain hickish/grandpa ring to it. ‘Dagnabit, quit your tomfoolery, Huckleberry!’

Bebop – This works both as a music genre and as a name for a cute little robot.  What other word could encompass the pep, energy, vim, and vigor of both?

Smorgasbord – Maybe it’s my European blood, but this word just sounds like THE ULTIMATE.  It’s like an infidel conqueror of a word, something reserved for total annihilation.  Who can resist the power of the mighty SMORGASBORDI?!

Tsunami – Ok, that last one got me thinking about destruction, and what natural disaster is more fun-sounding and anime than !Tsunami! ? For real though, it sounds even like the title of a cheesy
70s beach movie, which I would love.  Actually, it may be the title of a cheesy 70s beach movie.  In fact, I’m going to be disappointed if it’s not.

Double Stuf

Some of you may be familiar with the singer Harry Chapin, who does a variety of more ridiculous songs for adults.  I know him via his brother Tom, who was my childhood substitution for Raffi.  Anyway, one of Harry’s songs that I delight in is ‘30,000 Pounds of Bananas’.  Just picture it – a truck losing control outside of Scranton, sacrificing its load to the demon of bad breaks on a  treacherous road.  Now replace the treacherous road with a relatively flat and straight one, and substitute the bananas with 14 tons of Double Stuf Oreos, and you have today’s news.

While I find it ridiculous to envision literal TONS of cookies stopping traffic, there are other questions.  What happened to the driver?  Did he lose control?  Was he injured?  Did he have to eat his way out of tons of cookies after the spill?  The article claims none of the cookie bags ripped open (yeah right), but even for those cookies still in bags, are there legal issues to selling them after the spill?  Nobody likes crumbly Oreos.  Personally, i think the company should sell the goods at a discount.  Who knows what kind of invisible damage could result from the spill?  There could be a complete loss of structural integrity, resulting in dissolving cookie if I try to dip it in milk.  I vote, if not for a discount, at least for a random dipping test of the cookies spilled, just to check.  I would guess there are very few who like oreo cookie floaters in their milk, either.

Thanks to Kate for the article and keeping me up to date on the Midwest (woohoo!).

Speaking of beavers…

The current time of the year is one of the four most stressful for me at work.  They happen just about quarterly, with the publication of our quarterly books detailing everything we’ve done (or considered doing) for the past few months to our board of directors.  I compile, edit, and generally format the monster, as well as chivying the office to get content to me by my deadline to send the stuff to the printer.  Sympathetic people nearby pat me on the hand and feed me snacks when I come up for air.  Corina also sent me this link.  I don’t know how she came across it, or why it’s so addictive and wonderful, or what it has to do with beaver felt, but it gives me just the break I need every once and awhile in this madness.  For a seconds-long break, I can click and sing along: beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, beaver, mushroom, mushroom.

It’s almost as good as Bob Loblaw.  Or the original Po-Ta-Toe.

White Lady

Another incident that occurred as a result of my recent high-hair fashion involved a group of young girls waiting for the T at Park Street station.  They were intrigued by our costumes and asked each of what we were, and pointed and laughed with us.

When one girl asked me “What are you?”, I confidently replied, “White Lightning”.

“What?”

“White Light-en-ing,” I said again, emphasizing each syllable with a a zigzag in front of my lighting bolt shirt.

“White lady?!?”

Her friends burst out laughing at this, and so did we.  The poor girl was so embarrassed that she had to run away and apologize from afar.  I tried to tell her it was fine, but it was hard to say between my huge guffaws.

I didn’t really feel embarrassed about the situation.  I am, in fact, white.  And as the sun has only recently decided to warm up the planet again, I’m really, really pale.  My legs glow.  So someone calling me ‘white lady’ is just being honest.  Since I look younger than I am, even the ‘lady’ part isn’t bad.  I’d rather be called ‘lady’ or ‘ma’am’ than 14 years old.  Still, the girl felt like it was a mortal insult.

There are cases, however, when people might feel ashamed of their skin tones, or the very visible actions of their countrymen.  I recently read The Map of Love, in which a widower from England, Anna Winterbourne, discovers for herself the ‘true Egypt’ of the early 1900s.  Through love and friendship, Anna eventually becomes a strong advocate for Egyptian nationalism.  She feels responsible for the actions of the British towards Egypt, no matter how little she is able to influence events as an individual.  She feels guilty, not for who she is, but for the unseeing eyes of her countrymen in the face of loud international cries for equality and basic rights.

The chorus today is the same – people want peace, justice, and freedom.  Can we, as a nation, give it to them?  Can we help them to find it for themselves?  Do we, as individuals, have th right or responsibility to help, or is all of our interference negative?  Take a student’s, James Karl Buck’s, documentation of protests and other events recently in Egypt.  He was only documenting the situation, and was arrested for it.  Though he was able to send information to others on his status and conditions via Twitter, and eventually secure his release, the same was not true for his Egyptian translator, Mohammed Maree.  The U.S. citizen gets out fine, and as a result is possibly endangering the life of an Egyptian one.  I am sure that if Mohammed were here, however, he would make the choice to help, even though risking his personal freedom.  I doubt, however, that James feels any less guilty about his freedom because of it.

Got 2 B Elmered

Recently, I was a superhero.  I know that some of you are familiar with my life experience in the superhero world as Anti-Danger, but it is not my only superhero persona.  For Corina’s birthday extended celebration, I took on a new one – White Lightning.

With both the powers of backwoods Bacchus and electric charge on my side, I was ready to have a riotous good time.  Only one thing was in my way – how best to make my hair stand up as if I’d dropped a toaster in the bathwater?  Gel or hairspray weren’t going to cut it for the spiked-out ‘do I wanted to achieve.  I turned to a product called got 2 B glued, which promised ‘ultimate screaming hold’ on its package.  I could use ultimate screaming hold.  Since I’m going for something higher than bride of Frankenstein, hair that screams seemed to be exactly what I needed.

However, I failed to take into account the ‘glue’ nature of the product.  I assumed styling glue to be some new type of product I had failed to notice before.  Heck, I barely even know you want ceramic plates in your straightening iron.  How am I going to know all the names for different types of product?  So i ended up sculpting myself with something of a consistency between Elmer’s and Tacky Glue.  My hands were so stickily slimed that I had to have Gina blowdry for me.  It was great!

Of course, I came out with rock-hard hair that took over an hour to wash out of my short hair, but that’s what comes of pouring glue all over your head and then blow drying it.  And what i really got for $5 was a multi-use product.  Even if i never sculpt my hair with it again, I can count on its super-strong hold for model building or paper mache.

It’s a balloooooon!

When I was in high school, my world history teacher had an odd pronunciation of certain words, coupled with dramatic overemphasis. His eyes would get big; his hands would move expansively, and ‘balloooon’ would press out between his lips. Maybe it was his Greek heritage, which may also be responsible for his black Teva sandals worn with navy gold-toed socks. Still, this drama and pronunciation was oddly fascinating, even when the subject matter was not.

I can’t quite remember when in class he had the opportunity to even use the word balloon. Was it some odd tangential discussion of Louis XVIs reign and the first official hot-air balloon flight? Was it some reference to the expansion of the Mongol Empire, like a balloon? Was it the offhand mention of some current event? No matter how hard I try, I can’t quite recall the specifics of the situation, though I still have a perfect picture in my head of him saying the word ‘balloon’ as if he himself was filling with an unnamed gas.

If he is teaching class today, I hope he will do his special balloon impression in honor of the balloon priest lost at sea. While I typically am not a fan of fundraising that involves ridiculous stunts, world records, or a waste of time and resources, I must admit, I think this particular idea is brilliant. Let’s take off attached to hundreds of helium-filled balloons and see how far it gets us. Even just for fun, I think it’s a pretty awesome idea. And this is awesome plus, because not only is it ridiculous in a most delightful way, but the end result will also benefit truckers. And who doesn’t like truckers?

While plenty of preparations were taken for this somewhat risky publicity and fundraising stunt, the loss of the priest does serve to illuminate the dangers of the fun. Hopefully he will be found safe – regardless, let’s hope the additional publicity generates enough interest and support to open TWO spiritual trucker rest stops.

The non-charismatic elders

When I grow up, I want to be a crazy old lady.  As lifetime goals go, it’s not an unreasonable one, though perhaps a little unusual.  Certain of my friends have therefore taken to calling me ‘grandma crazy’.  There have also been comments that I now only need work on the old age portion of my goal.  However, this goal continues to be an attractive driving force in my life – not only to survive, but to experience that time in life when, just as in childhood, your more ridiculous or foolish actions are coddled rather than reprimanded.  Somehow, with age or youth, even though you might be ugly and wrinkled and fat and completely not charismatic or cute, everybody loves you and puts up with you.

I like people.  I like being able to talk to others I don’t know well.  But in my current status as a young, somewhat attractive woman, it’s not generally socially acceptable to strike up conversations with random strangers in my immediate vicinity.  It’s also possibly unsafe.  So I don’t do it.  But someday, when I’m wrinkly and quite possibly drooling, it’s won’t be as dangerous or ridiculous.  I’m excited about that time of my life.

I also look forward to the time when I’ll be able to generally be ornery to the world, crab at my friends and have them crab back at me, and generally have my disagreeableness taken in stride.  Gina and I have already decided we’re going to generally pester anyone younger than us with conflicting directions.  I’m also saving up a variety of quirky insults to use with her in competition.  “Your tootsies smell like cat breath,” and “your hair looks like baby spit-up” are some current favorites.  I also plan to move very quickly in my walker and announce my arrival with hee-hee-hee loud cackles.  I may need to grow out my thinning hair long again though, so it can stream behind me.  Or maybe I’ll just get a bad wig.  It’s going to be wonderful.

For the moment, I try to preserve my inner crazy (despite professionalism at work and social norms outside of it) and study up on old people around me.  The two old guys I met yesterday hiking at Lynn Woods were perfect studies.  As they approached from the opposite direction, they started just talking at us.  No thought to the appropriateness of accosting young girls in a secluded spot.  “Are you going around the loop?” they asked, and “Where are you from?” and “Are you in school?  For what?” and “What do you do now” and “What did you study in college?”.  After an extended conversation where my career path was meticulously examined (Gina got off easy here – everyone knows you can’t make a living as an English major), it was decided that I should work as an admin in an architecture firm to get back on that path, eventually becoming the next Frank Lloyd Wright.  After all, I have to really pursue these dreams – new different dreams are not allowed.

My favorite part of the discussion though was the fact that we had no idea where we were.  We thought we were going in the right direction, but weren’t really sure, and the old guys offered to give us directions, since they didn’t have a map with them.  Old guy 1 drew a map in the dirt (Wait, you draw in the dirt?  Me too!  I’m already half-old, yipee!) and started to instruct us on where we’d been and where we were going.  He told us to keep going straight and we’d be fine.  Old guy 2 said no, we should definitely head to the left, and that would be the right way.  Old guy 1 frowned, and said to not take lefts or rights, but just keep to the main wide road.  Old guy 2 said of curse keep to the main road, but that it definitely bent to the left just ahead.  And then it climbed a hill.  Old guy 1 said yes, yes, the path goes back and forth, up and down, but just be sure to keep to the main one rather than veering off on any little side paths.  Finally, we thought we knew what we were doing (again), and set off under the blessing of both old guys after thanking them profusely.  And they were very helpful, especially with the path.  But also they were a good model for my ultimate life goals – someday I’ll be getting in random little fights with my old friends about ridiculous, superfluous stuff in front of strangers.  Oh wait, I do that now.

Long-weekend crankies

I spent an enjoyable three-day weekend in Saint Louis this past weekend, only to have THE MONDAYS +++ when i got back.  Of course there was a meeting at 9 am that we are suddenly hosting that no one bothered to tell me about until 8:55, and of course our receptionist is out this morning and therefore unable to help me prepare.  Of course while I’m running around getting ready with water glasses and other beverage offerings, I spill in the hallway and manage to shatter a glass (at least this time it was only one – last time I broke up two).  Of course I have ten bazillion things that should’ve been done yesterday and my co-workers just want to chat and hang out while my head slowly implodes.  Add into the mix that I haven’t had time yet for breakfast, coffee, or to breath, and you have a pretty cranky admin.  The thing I really don’t get is how people want to know all the small talk about how your trip WAS.  I’ll tell you haw it IS – it’s over.  The fun times are gone, and I’m once again back in the working world, a fact I would prefer not to think about.

More profoundly, why is this a pattern?  Why do we feel such drudgery when we come back even from a small vacation, even when we love our jobs?  Are vacations supposed to renew and refresh us?  I can understand how a slam-packed, activity-based vacation could make you more tired when you return than when you started out, but that wasn’t the case for me this time.  I spent three days with college friends just hanging out.  And eating a lot.  So why am I so tired and annoyed now?  Is it just the loss of my freedom and mobility?  Is it the fact that, even though I know I’m getting paid for the hours I put in at my job, there is not a visual, direct exchange of money for services and time rendered?  If it’s not frustration with the people I work with or the work I do, what am I actually cranky about?  And how do I keep the day-back-from-vacation for turning into an annoyance and duty?

Politics, humor, and gender

I was amused by the MIT website this morning and the featuring of a conference on gender and the politics of humor.  Of course, at the time the words got all mangled up in my brain and I thought they were talking about gender and political humor.  It is an amusing and interesting idea nonetheless, but I was more intrigued by my original misconception.

Why is it that Hilary Clinton is not funny?  Or most of our presidents, really.  I mean, there are jokes made about them, but it’s rare for a president to crack a joke.  Especially while campaigning.  But crusty old presidents enmeshed in their own seriousness like Nixon and Grant let out crazy jokes once and awhile.  Even W has let out a joke or two in these ending days.  So what keeps them so serious most of the time?  And why do they think it’s to their benefit? I mean, even Ross Perot’s political career might not have been sunk if he’d been able to laugh at himself.

I’m not saying that our presidents should be mere performers, or that the seriousness of their office does not impose its own rigor.  But it’s important to realize that all public office is just that – an office.  It’s something that you walk away from after your term.  It’s something you do, not necessarily who you are.  Now that we’ve had females in many major political positions, it’s time for some not-so-serious reform.  If bush and Clinton can loosen up enough to hang out together in casual togs, then Hilary should be able to wear something other than a suit.  Maybe even a flower summery dress that reminds us she’s a woman, using it as a strength.  After all, most of us females are caught wanting it all – a great home life, a great professional career, and both the respect and love of our peers.  If our President can’t manage it, how can we?

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