Wednesday, October 27, 2010

any day now, you'll call me up on the phone...

Yesterday, I made a phone call to a friend that I haven't spoken to in years.  She didn't answer, and I left a voicemail.  I hope she calls me back.  To be completely honest, she called me a few months ago because I work with her mother, and I failed to call back.  Staying in touch is not my strong point, but it is something I am aware of and trying to work on.  The reason I called this friend is that I heard a song on the radio by an artist who was mildly popular when I was in high school.  It brought back an inside joke that I had with her, and I thought about calling her, and then I thought about not calling her.

I called her, because even though I feel badly about not calling for so long, I realized that maybe that is a reason why people fall out of touch and stay out of touch: one or both people feel guilty about having the ball in their court and waiting so long, so they don't call at all.  I caught myself in that game, and decided that our friendship is more important to me than who called last.  I am sorry that it's been so long, but if someone is a real friend, you won't be afraid to take that step.  In a day with the prevalence of Facebook, e-mail, and twitter, it would have been just as easy to use those mediums.  But, while I think there are positive factors in the use of those, I believe they can also be used as an excuse to forget about the human factor in relationships.  It's not always as easy to call, but it's more worth it, even if she doesn't return my call.

"If we can call them friends then we can call them on their telephones
and they won't pretend that they're too busy or that they're not alone."
-Andrew Bird

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'll tap the brake, while you crack the window

This morning, I was a few minutes late to work as I packed my things, one by one, into the frost-covered car.  (Yes, I said frost covered. If you asked, I'd tell you I think it's a little too early for that).  As my driver's side door creaked shut, I realized that I had forgotten my inhaler.  Much to my annoyance, I hurriedly shuffled up three flights of stairs, grabbed the item, and rushed back down.  Halfway down my usual route, I got a call from my husband telling me there was major traffic and to go the back way to the highway.  So, I turned around, spent an extra ten minutes to get to the highway -- with a police officer driving behind me almost the whole way -- only to realize that there was dead-stop traffic on the main route as well.  Not only was there bumper-to-bumper traffic on one highway, but it was on both highways that I take to get to my place of work.  Needless to say, by the time I arrived, I was half-an-hour late.

Let's back up a little bit.  As I was sitting at a stand still in my vehicle, I attempted to calm myself down.  It took a situation like this for me to realize that I had not obtained any phone numbers from work friends or from my manager.  Since the situation was completely out of my control, I decided to listen to some Cat Power and wind down.  Then, I began talking to myself.  I admit it; I do that from time to time.  I'm thankful for this car.  I'm warm and it's not breaking down.  I'm thankful for my job.  I'm thankful for my wonderful husband.  And, you know, it actually worked!  I arrived to work late today, but it wasn't really worth my stress.

Okay, I didn't drive 300 miles today, but it felt like it.

"I'll tap the brake while you crack the window. The smell of smoke is making my lungs
explode.  The 51 is backed up and too slow.  Let's tune out by turning on the radio."
-The Format

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

le beau jour

Judging by the photo below, it should be evident that today was a boring day at work.  Not a whole lot happened and I spent most of my time rushing to get a project in before a six-hour training tomorrow.  With the strong desire to go home, I suddenly had an epiphany: This isn't so bad.  If being bored is the worst that it's getting, there's a lot I need to be thankful for.  Compared to my prior work, the stress level here is fairly low.

I've also been having conversations lately with several different friends about the idea of waiting for things--big things--to happen in life.  Many of us try to get through the days as fast as possible, in anticipation of events or goals to be achieved in life.  I've been learning that this day, this boring day, is a big part of my life.  Each one of these days makes up what my life is, and what my life will be. And every day is a chance to start over.

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."  -Robert Byrne

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

i want to remember the places that we left; lost to the mists of time

I was mentioning the other day that people must think I'm obsessed with my husband or something, because I have about nine photos of the two of us pinned and framed in various places on my desk at work.  To that, my husband cheekily replied, "Of course they should think so! I'm your husband!"  But in all seriousness, I originally brought this many photos to my last job for a very specific reason.  I needed to bring happiness to my workplace with me so that when I was feeling stressed or down, I could look at my photos and remember many of the things I'm thankful for and the memories I've had.

I am, admittedly, a total sap -- but I think it's important to stay positive by any means available.  I am now in a position which I enjoy much more, but it helps from time to time to remind myself why I do what I do, who I am doing it for, and what goals I have.  It's not just about my romantic relationship, but it also involves other memories, like my time studying in Europe or my college graduation.  It brings a little bit of me to a place that would otherwise make us look like an army of work drones in suits.  That's why we do it, isn't it?

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are,
the things you never want to lose."  - The Wonder Years

Monday, October 18, 2010


This past Friday was pay day.  I don't think anyone will disagree that pay day is a great day for several reasons, which I will, of course, outline here.  Pay day is wonderful because it is on a Friday.  Fridays give me the sense that hope, relaxation, and fun are yet to come.  Where I work, we have "Jeans Fridays," which I also look forward to every week, all week.  Now that I've explained that, you can fully understand what an exciting life I have.  Even at my last job, which was probably my least favorite ever, I liked Fridays. Who doesn't?

So, imagine my wonderful Friday starting off splendidly in the first place, at my desk, perusing e-mails, hot cup of tea in hand, when I suddenly realize that it's PAY DAY!  Hooray!  We can have our Friday Panera date, and although this may not seem fun, I even start to look forward to making our budget.  I like having a budget because it makes me feel in control and it also helps to save money.

Get EXCITED about Payday! We even had Wal-Mart donate these candy bars to us!

"There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting." -George Carlin

it's a spicy meatball

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I spent Saturday learning how to make my aunt's famous meatballs and sauce.  I just wanted to be able to say: "It's a spicy meat-a-ball."  No, really, I thought the whole experience would be fun and useful, and it was.  But, I do admit that I used the phrase several times--maybe too many times.

We made about three times more than a person would normal make, and even though the whole process took a few hours, it was worth it.  The hearty meatballs had just the right amount of spice and the sauce was so thick and chunky that it didn't even drip through a slotted spoon.  I'm glad I learned how to make them, though, because I think carrying on traditions is important.  This recipe was my aunt's mother-in-law's, so it will be great to continue it through the generations of our family.

"I don't have to look up my family tree, because I know that I'm the sap."  -Fred Allen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cat Party

I'm beginning to think I've become one of those crazy cat moms who never has children of her own, but constantly rambles to her co-workers about what each feline has been up to lately.  For example: "Oh, Mitsy got into the pantry again yesterday while I was gone--she ripped apart my oatmeal packets! Can you believe what a mischievous girl she's been?"  This crazy cat mom wears cat earrings, pins, has a cat calendar, a cat sweater, and photos of her cats in frames year after year, kind of like school pictures.

Okay, so I'm not that bad, but I'm getting somewhat close.  What starts as making fun of a certain type of person turns into wanting to actually act this way.  It's quite a phenomenon with me.  On another note, I have noticed that cats have some intuition when it comes to emotional matters.  Oreo is thirteen years old, and she really has been there for me during times when I felt completely alone.  As an over-emotional teenager, I would retreat to my room, away from my "villainous" parents, and Oreo would be there to cuddle and comfort.  Penelope is only about four months old, but she is finally getting to point where she seems to enjoy spending a little quality time with us.  But, that usually lasts about five to ten minutes and then she is back to being an insane cat-terror, ripping across the kitchen floor as if she were being chased by blood-sucking aliens.

I love coming home to my girls. 
They are great friends--to each other, and to me.

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I don't think anyone can argue: there's nothing like sleepytime. And I'm not just talking about when it's time to go to bed, either.  All day at work, I kept picturing exactly what kind of day it was.  Today was a day to curl up on the couch in pajamas and a blanket (or maybe if you have a Snuggie?) and relax. Okay, I was joking about the Snuggie... sort of.  With my new hours, I was able to find time to clean, watch a little television, and snuggle up with my kitten.

Someone at work today said that, for some reason, they were in the mood for hot tea today.  I am in the mood for hot tea all the time.  I had quite a taste for tea in my teenage years, and it helped that my sweet mother packed my favorite kind in my lunch daily--Orange and Spice, and Everything Nice.  This phase was followed by me spending a few sleep deprived years in college, doped up on Starbucks double shots and home-brewed coffee in order to finish my assignments.  It also didn't help that I worked at Starbucks for a short while.  I think it was when I studied abroad in England that I regained my appreciation for a good cup of tea, both loose leaf and boxed.  One stereotype about the English is absolutely true: they love their tea, and thanks to them, so do I!

So, relax tonight and treat yourself to something that will warm your heart.

"Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage."  -Catherine Douzel

Monday, October 11, 2010


I visited my husband's university today on our way apple picking, because although it was somewhat of a holiday, he did have a class at noon.  I love just hanging out on campus: in the computer lab, on the stone walls, on the grass, and under the shadows of trees and buildings.  It's a great feeling to not only reminisce, but to be in a setting which is similar to my alma mater.  It's also fun to pretend I'm a college student because I still look the same age as everybody else on campus.  It makes me feel like a fraud, or a spy, or at least very sneaky...but in a good way.

This time of year reminds me of the fall semesters in the past when I would get up and get a latte in the campus cafe and spend some time admiring the blue sky, the cool, crisp air, and the colorful leaves before class.  The browns, oranges, reds and yellows are the best when ready for crunching under my feet. I'm not sure why, but that is one of my favorite things in the world.  Time goes by quickly, but it's nice every so often to go back and make believe.

"Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away."  -Charles Caleb Colton

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Three days: Three things

How do I choose just three things that I loved about this weekend after attending the New York Comic Con for the first time? Well, I will do my best to not go on too many tangents about ALL the things I enjoyed.

Friday, October 8:

When I saw Captain America strut into the front entrance of the Jacob Javits Center with full confidence, I had to smile.  First off, it is evident from the photo below that this Captain America doesn't look exactly like he is portrayed in the comics.  But, who does, besides the miniscule percentage of the celebrity population who play these characters in movies (and have personal trainers)?  This is just a small example of the hundreds and thousands of people, each dressed up like his or her favorite character or super hero.  If this man can get out of bed and put on spandex head-to-toe for thousands to see, then there are certainly many brave things I can do every day.

Saturday, October 9:

Everybody needs a hug sometimes.  Whether or not one decides to acknowledge that desire does not change the truth that once someone graces you with that gesture, it can make a world of a difference.  A hug shows that someone cares about you, that you're not alone, and that you're loved.  I always tell my husband I could hug him for hours if time and our busy lives allowed.  There is a certain relaxation, and letting go of burdens that comes with the whole process.  So, today, I got the hug of a lifetime, from none other than Chewbacca.  Be jealous.

Sunday, October 10 (10/10/10!):
Buying local, doing what you love

Part 1: Buying local
Okay, so I cheated a little by mentioning two things I like in the title for today.  Upon arrival at the Beacon train station today, a friend brought me into the downtown area to prove what a great secret it was.  And, he was absolutely right.  I lived about a half hour away from this place for four years and didn't know it existed.  With art galleries and cute coffee shops along with a local burger restaurant, I was in heaven.  Within five minutes, I had decided that this should be my new home.  It feels good to contribute to small businesses, and to feel part of a community.  I got a taste (quite literally) of that today in the burger restaurant, while admiring the local art decorating the walls.

Part 2: Doing what you love
My husband met a guy named Ben Bishop last year at the comic con who wrote, illustrated, and published his own graphic novel.  Max purchased it as a gift for me and I read it immediately, although I have always been wary of the genre.  I read the book very quickly, and by the first or second chapter, I was already crying.  Needless to say, I absolutely loved the book.  I also appreciated seeing a person pursuing what they love, even if he had to work a different job in order to stay afloat.  That kind of thing is inspiring, and it was finally great to meet him this year.

You should check out his work.  You will like it.

Max in the burger restaurant sporting his Nathan the Caveman shirt.

"I will not play at tug o' war
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs...."

~Shel Silverstein

Thursday, October 7, 2010

leggings shmeggings

The plum leggings I wore today reflected my anticipation for my trip to New York City this weekend.  Surprisingly, I spent the entire day being very productive.  As I typed and clicked away on my customizer program, I glanced down at my leggings and felt the warmest thoughts.  I realized at that moment, that I was at work, looking sharp as usual, but feeling like I was in my pajamas.

About three weeks ago, I was on a passionate search for the perfect pair of jean leggings, or "jeggings."  The idea that a pair of pants could feel as comfortable as sweatpants, but look like fashionable jeans is genius. I'm not sure who came up with it, but he or she is one smart cookie.  After weeks of scouring various stores for the perfect pair at the perfect price, I scored a pair from American Eagle for thirty dollars. And, the point of all of this is, that I can feel at ease, but look great...and you can, too!

"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

les fleurs artificielles: faux pas, n'est-ce pas?

It started in my sophomore year of high school when I took regular trips to Wal*Mart. I grew up in the type  of place where the most exciting thing for teens to do on a Friday night was to goof around in what some like to call, Wally World. As I strolled through the aisles, taking photos on my new disposable camera of myself with stuffed animals, squirt guns, and the ugliest granny panties I could find, I noticed something. I halted from my frenzy and swiftly backed up a few steps. The colorful island near the crafts section was a bright array of fake flowers. I fell in love.

Looking at the price tags, I realized just how inexpensive these items were, and I began stuffing stems under my arms and creating arrangements. Thus began my hobby of collecting false flowers and unique vases. If you were a fly on the wall in my home, you'd realize very quickly that there is an abundance of these unique collections.  In fact, I'm sure I have some stuffed in a closet that are not even in use at this time.  This all reminds me that fake flowers make me happy.  Whether or not it's considered a home style "faux pas," no one can contest that they sure last a lot longer than the real ones!

I think I'll bring some extra happiness to work with some "fleurs artificielles" tomorrow.

"O my luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June:
O, my luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune."
-Robert Burns

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

with a little help from my friends

I scurried out of the glass revolving door in the massive building I work at, ran through the rain to my car, and made it through bad-weather traffic to my eye appointment. It was 5:03 PM--only three minutes late. After about an hour of waiting, testing, and ordering lenses for my retro cat glasses, I hurried out again to make it at least a little early to Girlfriends to help set up. By the time I arrived, I remembered that I had literally felt like I needed to go to the bathroom since 4:30 PM. It was 6:25.  That's dedication, I thought.

If it wasn't evident in the above paragraph, I go to a group for women in their 20s and 30s every other Tuesday. There were delicious appetizers and desserts (which I wish I had pictures of), laughter, and games. I love going to Girlfriends for a lot of reasons, one being that my husband is gone all day on Tuesdays because of work and class.  Friends make life better. It's nice to get to know people, and for those I already know, it's comforting to remember someone that really cares about you. We talked about what it means to feel loved, or what makes us feel loved, and it is always a good reminder. But, I will save all the things I love about love for another post.

"A friend loves at all times,  and a brother is born for adversity." -Proverbs 17:17

Monday, October 4, 2010

i like you just the way you are

I slumped in my less-than-comfortable wheely chair located in my cubicle this morning. While waiting for my current work to be reviewed, my eyelids felt like they were being weighed down by some pretty hefty barbells. As I struggled to check my morning e-mails, I popped in my earbuds and put my iPod on shuffle. Then, when I heard the sound of an irresistable bass line and rhythm beat, I couldn't help but start dancing in my seat. Next, I heard the words:

I ain't got no money
I ain't got no car to take you on a date
I can't even buy you flowers
But together we can be the perfect soul mates

Yes, it was Timbaland. And suddenly, I went from being a sleep-deprived work zombie to a wide-awake, positive and energetic force that could not--would not--be reckoned with. Besides changing my mood, listening to music makes me feel that there is a constant soundtrack to my life; that every decision I make is important; that I can achieve what I dream of doing. Music inspires me to do the things I love. It might not be Timbaland's music that does all of those things, but there is a time and place for everything.

Here's to music: one of the best reasons that I love life.

"If I could write out my own dream for the next time that I sleep, you'd be the first one that I see and I the last one that you keep." -Greg Laswell

Sunday, October 3, 2010

pumpkin spice

Having a pumpkin spice latte and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin at Starbucks may have been a little overkill, but at this time of year, I can't get enough.  Actually, I would enjoy it at any time of year, but this is just the season when it can be found in abundance and with ease.  If you can imagine the golden brown pastry with sugar crystals glistening on fresh pumpkin seeds in the bright, yellow light, then you can understand why I  simply could not resist. Today, a lot of pumpkin spice and relaxing on the "comfy chairs,"made my day.

You know you do it, too: you enter the café and place your coat down on the nearest open table. You order your drink, and suddenly spy out of the corner of your eye that the current residents of the comfy chairs are moving on. Others notice this, too, but in a shameless mad dash, you manage to grab your jacket from the not-so-choice seat, and hurl it onto the comfy chair before anyone else can get to it. And, what a great feeling that is. My husband sank into the chair comfortably and I rested my legs over one of its fuzzy arm rests. We talked about the big picture, the possibilities of where our life could take us, and the challenges that may face us ahead.  We chatted for at least an hour before heading out. This activity makes me feel like we're just dating again, which is fun. And aren't we still "dating," even if we're married? We go on dates.

Feast your eyes.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, October 2, 2010

being yourself

I woke up this morning for a moment, wondering when my alarm would go off for work.  Much to my delight, I had a realization: It's SaturdayYes!  Saturdays are usually pretty relaxing when I don't have plans. Today, I went to breakfast with some friends, and after several stormy days, it was a lovely fall day in the mid-60s. I spent way too much time inside for the afternoon; what is it about weekends that makes me just want to take a long, continuous nap? Is this what getting old feels like?

I was straining to find something to write about today.  I often try so hard to come up with something profound; something that will cause everyone to adore my intellect and candor. I can't help it; it's my nature.  But, it always seems to be the times when I'm not thinking at all that I think of the message I want to get across. And the message is this: life is beautiful when you're being yourself. Doesn't it feel so good to make decisions because you know they're right, and because you want to make those decisions? It can be difficult to disagree, to stand out, to be different. So, here I am, faults and all.

{I hope you like my new glasses!}

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." -E.E. Cummings

Friday, October 1, 2010

belle chaque jour

My father recently got three of his wisdom teeth taken out. Now, I know this is usually seen as something that happens earlier in life, but this did something really interesting for him. The combination of the laughing gas (which really doesn't make you laugh) and the pain reliever caused my dad to be temporarily void of any anxiety or worry. I sat down with him and we talked, for a long time, about the bigger picture. He talked about how fixing the roof, and work, and retirement didn't matter. He complimented my mother on her beauty and talked about how strange, but peaceful he felt. I should explain that my father is normally a very affectionate and loving person, but he has also carried a good amount of responsibility throughout his life. I loved seeing him free like that.

I think that's how we should be anyway, without the drugs, of course. So that is why I started this blog; to look at the finer things in life, our reasons for being happy, for not just enduring, but for living. For not letting life pass us by as quickly as the sun rises and sets, but to appreciate something--maybe not everything, but at least one good thing every day.

The photo on the left gives you a good idea of what the weather is like today. It's easy for me to let my feelings coincide with the weather. But, on the first day of October, the new page on my calendar gave me a reminder:

"Think big, for there's no greater delight than living your dreams." -Anonymous