25 December 2007

Good Tidings To All

Dear Friends and Family,

I've never written a Christmas letter before (and this may be the first and only time, we'll see) but I received one on Monday from an old boss and it made my day, so I thought I'd give it a shot. And this saves me address-collecting and stamps. And time.

It has been quite the up and down year for me. In late spring, I switched from the worst job I've ever had to the best. I am apparently now a member of the financial world (hedge funds, even!) and a citizen of corporate America (albeit a corporate America where you can wear trucker hats). Things don't always happen like you plan them, I guess. Particularly if you plan them when you're 21...

I was also part of a group that founded a women's baseball league in the Chicago area. We recruited enough people to fill four teams, negotiated ourselves a league affiliation, and played an 11 game season, all without killing each other. Better than that (though that was good), I played in three tournaments, one each in Baltimore, Detroit, and Fort Myers, FL, which made me quite nostalgic (in a good way) for high school. The league is poised for a second successful year and I think we'll add Vegas to the tournament schedule and perhaps get to run a tournament ourselves here in Chicago.

Other than that, I play soccer when I can and even tried rock climbing, though boy, I was terrible at that. Curse of the short arms and all...

The cat had a good year as well, and though she remains deathly afraid of plastic bags and the dustbuster, she has improved her social skills a great deal, made friends with my mom (who buttered her up by sending a fleece blanket home from Thanksgiving with me), and has even deigned to let frequent visitors give her a friendly scratch behind the ears. She looks forward to turning four in March and to receiving her can of birthday tuna.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for 2008.

*Insert dopey picture of me and cat here*

23 December 2007

Not the 'Same Old Lang Syne'

I'm feeling kind of nostalgic these days. Christmas is certainly a factor, since it's such a kid holiday, but it's really related to the fact that Dan Fogelberg died last weekend. I'd be willing to bet that upwards of 50% of you are thinking 'who's Dan Fogelberg?'. Download Same Old Lang Syne (it's about running into an old high school girlfriend in his hometown of Peoria, IL and is probably his most famous song) or Leader of the Band (a good song for those of you who miss your daddies). It's pretty 93.9 The LITE, but it'll get you. But enough of Autobiographical Soft Rock 101.

It makes me nostalgic because my dad really likes Dan Fogelberg (and my dad doesn't generally express opinions about music so when he does, you listen). Really, a lot of my musical...tendencies are reflective of the things my parents put on the stereo when I was young. Billy Joel and Bob Seger and Carly Simon, these artists, among others, shaped my taste in (and enjoyment of) music and it's great to be able to share them with my parents (and my brother - there was a mildly embarassing moment last summer where it was revealed to a friend that my brother and I wouldn't exactly tape over Peter Cetera...).

Some of yesterday's headliners are older than others (though Fogelberg was only in his 50s), but for some reason this feels like the beginning of a new era. Eventually we'll hear that Art Garfunkel is dead, or Elton John, or Bonnie Raitt. And I guess that's really how things work, and how the torch is passed, and not really a surprise, but all of a sudden, it feels like *I'm* getting the torch.
Do you think I could submit this as a Wonder Years script?

14 December 2007

Gun Control, Please

I was on the 66 bus (Chicago Avenue, baby) last night a little short of 10:00 (yes, I realize that doesn't exactly make sense, but I like the way it sounds). I was thinking about taking a cab, but I peered down the street and the bus was right there. The night buses only come about every 15-20 minutes, so they tend to be kind of full. This one was no exception and I ended up standing about a third of the way towards the rear.

Among the crowd were two men. One was inexplicably playing the role of official bus greeter in that he was standing right in the front, blocking everyone's entrance. Instead of 'greeting', though, he sat and muttered to himself and a very unsuspecting commuter who had the great misfortune of picking the frontmost seat. It was hard to catch exact words, but not too difficult to get the gist. The words "damn preppies" and "hoods everywhere" came up.

Sitting at a window ten feet behind the greeter was a guy in his early 30's, though he was dressed (not to mention acting) like a 15 year old. Hooded sweatshirt, skull cap, poorly shaven, and he needed to work on his indoor voice. Though his outdoor voice was certainly doing a good job with the F word. His traveling companion was trying very unsuccessfully to quiet him down. On my way by him, he asked for a high five, which I strangely gave him, only to blurt out "You have huge hands." Which he did.

These two characters quite predictably got into an argument, which began to escalate as we passed Halsted. And I thought, 35 years ago, this would have been a slightly uncomfortable occurence on a bus. But now, as these guys get hotter and hotter under the collar, we all have to worry that someone's packing heat.

Needless to say, I was pretty happy to get off the bus.

10 December 2007

Strike? (Labor, Not Baseball)

My Tivo is getting dangerously low on new TV shows (luckily, there will be enough X-Files and Simpsons to go around for a very very long time), which leads me to contemplate this Hollywood writers strike.

I'll admit that I don't really know much about the terms and/or demands, but I really don't understand how a strike is a viable option for people whose jobs a) don't require any training at all and b) are in very high demand. Who wouldn't want to be a Hollywood writer?!? Many of the perks of being "hollywood" while still maintaining your privacy. Not to mention that there are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of people in the world who not only could do a good job, but would jump out of their shoes at the chance to do it. Add in the popularity of reality TV (unfortunate in my book, but undeniable) and I can't understand how the writers can get much out of it. I guess they convince the actors to go in with them, right?

Isn't that kind of like the guys that design the car company logos threatening to go on strike and then trying to drag the...well, the analogy is too difficult, it seems, but the methodology seems all wrong.

Anyone have a better summary of what's up?

30 November 2007

Status: Questionable

One of the major benefits of having played sports growing up, and the main reason my daughter(s) are at least going to try it, is that it can give girls a healthy relationship with their bodies, which is pretty tough to come by these days. But it's hard not be proud of something that can perform for you on the field (or court or whatever).

It took me almost ten years to find the downside. I hurt my knee, badly, in the spring of 2001. There was a brief period where I had the idea that maybe it was fine, but no dice. I had surgery, didn't walk for three weeks, didn't run for nine weeks, and didn't feel like myself on an athletic field for more than a year. When you ask a lot of your body, sometimes it doesn't quite keep up. And then you can have a teeny little problem with trusting it in the future.

This year, I hurt my shoulder playing baseball (though not as badly, thank god). I didn't really throw for the last two weeks of the season and I haven't thrown in the last month either. I did manage to put my money where my mouth was and go to the doctor (as a friend says, if it's bad enough, you'll go to the doctor. I guess this a nice way of saying shit or get off the pot), who thinks it's fine, but I'm not convinced. He did all his tests, and I trust him, but there's something not right about it. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Some part of me almost wanted him to say that there was somthing wrong with it, because at least then the doubt would be gone.

Or maybe it's just my imagination. Guess we'll wait and see.

19 November 2007

Love Is

There's an article in the New York Times today called Love in the Time of Dementia. Mostly, it talks about the different experiences of love between young couples and old couples. You can read it for yourself, but I will tell you the most touching story I've heard in a log time.

Former justice Sandra Day O'Connor's husband of 55 years is having an affair with another woman. He has Alzheimer's and lives in an assisted living facility and has struck up a romance with another woman who lives nearby. Justice O'Connor, for her part, is delighted and even visits with the new couple.

"Young love is about wanting to be happy," says psychologist Mary Pipher (didn't she write Raising Ophelia?). "Old love is about wanting someone else to be happy."

For my part, I think I have a lot of growing up to do...

11 November 2007

Pseudo-Sports Entry

Troy Williamson is a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Recently, his grandmother (who raised him) died and he went home for just over a week to gather up his siblings as well as make arrangements and attend the funeral. During this time, he missed three practices as well as the Vikings' win over San Diego. Because of his absence, the Vikings docked him one game check, amounting to over $25,000. There was so much controversy regarding this decision that the Vikings ended up giving the check to Williamson after all, which he then donated to charity.

Now obviously, you feel bad for the guy. His grandmother died and he should absolutely have the opportunity to return home for the funeral and some family time. But I'm not sure about the outrage over the Vikings' actions. Football players are paid to perform 16 days per year. They are not exactly salaried workers with vacation days and flex time. Though he had a very good reason, Troy Williamson willingly missed one of these days and I'm not really sure why it's the Vikings' responsibility to absorb that. Obviously, the 'nice guy' thing to do is give him the check anyway (and I'm glad they did that) but I don't see why they should have to.

01 November 2007

Professional Courtesy

All in all, it's pretty nice to be a doctor's kid. It gives me a sort of guide through the medical process. I have a fairly endless pipeline of pre-approved doctors should I need them for any reason and I always get appointments and drug samples when they're available.

Another good thing about having your father be a physician is that it removes a lot of the physical awkwardness that sometimes crops up between young women and their fathers. I know a lot of girls who pretty much felt like they needed to hide any mention of their periods from their fathers. I wouldn't say it's a hot topic between me and my dad or anything, but there's a very physical aspect to a child's bond with his/her parents and it's nice not to lose touch with that completely as you grow up. I hope that doesn't come off as creepy, it's really meant very innocently, but it's hard to explain.

Anyway though, one complaint about being a doctor's child is that doctors recommended by him seem to have an uncanny ability to a) realize that they know my father and/or b) decide they want to talk about him when I am undressed and not a second before. This is not ideal. There's really nothing quite like having my doctor, whom I met not 20 minutes before, begin a breast exam on me, and then say, "wait, is your dad xxxxx? He moved to Las Vegas, right? How is he? Does he love it?"

Wow. My boobs, my dad, and Las Vegas. Didn't see that coming this morning.

31 October 2007

Coming Tomorrow: A Real Entry

Sorry for the delay - I've been in Florida playing baseball while simultaneously trying not to tear my rotator cuff. We'll see if I succeeded in the next few weeks, I guess.

In the meantime, here's more sports for you.

18 October 2007

Kids These Days

To all of you that are a couple years out of college and don't think you've really matured, believe me, you have. At least where work environment is concerned anyway.

I work at a big company comprised of several different business units and everyone always wants to tell you how easy it is to move between units for "new opportunities". To that end, one of the business units had a panel discussion yesterday to talk about the different kinds of jobs available in the department. I think the panel was mostly aimed at the kids they hired right out of college, but I figured, hey, I'm a new hire, and I clearly need some new opportunities, so I decided to go.

After I had been seated a few minutes, this big oaf of a kid came and sat next to me. Casual is acceptable in my office, as I've mentioned, but he was pushing it. Wrinkled cargos, a faded red polo, Reef flip flops, and a doofy Luke Ridnour-at-Oregon haircut. You know, the kind that looks totally cute on a 20-year-old social chair, but rather silly on an adult.

During the panel, which was only an hour long, he must have changed positions 35 times. He tapped his feet, clicked his pen, yawned about seven times, doodled on a sheet of paper, whispered with the girl next to him, wrote on his hand...it was unbelievable.

Or rather, it was totally believable, since it was exactly how everyone behaved during lectures in college. Wonder how long it takes to learn that you're not in college anymore (toto).

15 October 2007

Work/Life Balance?

I got yelled at for surfing the web too much at work. Well, that isn’t entirely accurate. My boss told D., the team lead, to talk to me about it. D.’s opinion was basically that as long as my work is getting done (which it is, he verified), he didn’t think that it was really a problem. That everyone reads things at work and I was kind of unfortunate to sit right in front of my boss.

The tag-team approach is sort of irksome, but I guess I do see the advantage to playing good cop/bad cop. My boss doesn’t need to have much to do with me on a day to day basis (in terms of work, I mean….we sit three feet apart) and the team lead does, so it makes sense to let him take my side. He’s pretty sincere too. He said she’s brought it up in the past and this is the first time he’s said anything to me, so maybe he really does see my side of it.

I think this is a fairly common issue, and though I can’t speak for others, I can say with some certainty why it comes up for me:

The first is work style. In college, there were some people who could sit in the library all day on Sunday with one food break and a couple of email checks. I've never been a worker bee like that. I’ll work for an hour and then watch an episode of the Simpsons. Work for another hour, put away my laundry. I think I'm effective at this for two reasons – I get bored easily and I work quickly compared to the average bear. Call it arrogant or simply confident, but through 17 years of school including college, I would be willing to bet I took fewer than ten tests where I wasn't first or second in the class to finish.

There's also, of course, the obvious - that is, that the job isn't particularly challenging or stimulating. I do bring some baggage to this, coming from three years of prior work experience with not enough to do. Unfortunately, that really reinforces the habit of finding, shall we say, extra-curricular activities to augment your job. With this job, if I really dug around, I might be able to find enough work to occupy 40+ hours/week, but there's still the problem of the tasks themselves. Some of the client relations stuff is kind of fun, but a typical project otherwise might be receiving a list of 150 funds and logging into the system to put a period at the end of each fund name so we don't have a duplicate issue when we combine the two databases. I'd be a little suspicious of the imagination and maybe even intelligence of anyone who could worker bee that.

So you need a little entertainment. Everyone does. My boss is not a web surfer, I've noticed. But Tina stops by her cube to talk about Britney Spears' latest legal troubles, Pete stops by to talk about how much he drank over the weekend, she talks to her parents, makes restaurant reservations....and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. There isn't. I'm more of a loner and I check espn.com for the ALCS preview and read the NYTimes Magazine instead. If the work's done, the work's done. That's all I'm saying.

(I realize there's some rationalization in here. And perhaps the most important outcome is that this isn't the career for me either. But it's not a terrible job, and perhaps it will open up something else.)

12 October 2007

I Realize This Is Annoying

and I'll stop eventually and leave it to live or die on its own, but here's another post up on the sports blog.

10 October 2007

A Little More Marathon

Thought you all might appreciate Richard Roeper's Sun Times column on the same general topic. I think my favorite point of his is that it's not really a race unless you have a hope of winning it. For the rest, it's just a (potentially deadly) hobby. What were they thinking indeed...

08 October 2007

The Marathon

Check out this article on the rather ill-fated 2007 Chicago Marathon in mid-August-like weather this weekend.

20% of the registered runners didn't show up for the race at all and of the approximately 36,000 who did show up, only 2/3 of them finished. There weren't enough cups or water to be had and the fire department opened hydrants and even stood on top of trucks with hoses to spray runners. Check out the photo gallery in this article (I wouldn't recommend reading the article - it's from the RedEye and is thus terrible) and you'll begin to see why more than 300 ambulances were pressed into service. After 3 1/2 hours with the temperatures in the high 80's, race officials effectively cancelled the race. Anyone who had not reached the halfway point was turned back to the start while those past mile 13 were strongly encouraged to walk.

Many runners complained about this decision, even with other runners collapsing left and right (one 35-year-old man was pronounced dead later that day. dead). A first-time marathoner from Chicago whined, "I put my whole summer into this. My entire marathon is gone. I'll never have another first marathon experience."

Now, I have my patience for joggers and even serious runners to a point, but this baffles me. Your marathon is gone? You still have your damn life! What they're saying to you is, if you go down, *they might not have an ambulance for you*! I'd say that's a pretty legit reason to cancel a race. If you want to run a marathon, honey, you can do it anytime you like. Including right now - the volunteers and half bananas are just to make you feel important.

If you want to know the truth, the whole scene (admittedly, I just saw it in photos meant to make it look dramatic, but I did play soccer yesterday - it was HOT) reminded me of some kind of mass cult suicide. People staggering through piles of cups and banana peels with ice packs on top of their heads, dousing each other with water bottles and being sprayed with fire hoses, keeping on in literally dangerous conditions (last year's winner, a *Kenyan*, complained about the weather) for no other reason than...what? Pride? Obstinacy? Absolute blankness of mind?

All we were missing was Jim Jones or David Koresh...

04 October 2007

An Adventure

A perhaps very bright friend suggested I start a blog dedicated solely to sports. I think partly because she's sick of hearing me talk about college football, and partly because she thinks it has the potential to lead to a career for me.

I'll admit, I was kind of skeptical. Even assuming I have the talent, I'm not entirely convinced that talent is a determining factor in these kinds of endeavors.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's a fantastic idea whether or not it leads anywhere. though I certainly don't mind my job now, and there are aspects of it that I like, I'd be lying if I said it captured my interest. And when I think about it, the only thing that really has day in and day out, is sports.

So here you go, comments are more than welcome, as are other readers you think might be interested. The new one will be a lot less personal, hopefully a bit more pointed, definitely not written all in one sitting. This blog will continue as is, but probably with slightly less whining about football referees.

Enjoy, let me know what you think!

27 September 2007

(One Of) The Greatest Teams You've Never Heard Of, Or, Why I Cried For Shannon Boxx at Quarter To Eight This Morning

I don’t think I’d really classify myself as a soccer fan. Even the addition of David Beckham couldn’t get me to tune into the MLS. I am quite aware that to the inexperienced eye, the world’s football looks like a very large-scale, very boring game of keep away.

But I’ve been playing recreationally for about two years now, and while I am just about ready to admit that foot skills are impossible to acquire as an adult, many of the people I play with now are more accomplished players and I’m starting to get a very good sense of how the game is played, even if I can’t replicate it. So that helps.

Even without that though, there is something about the US Women’s Soccer team that has always held my attention. I watched quite a bit of their captivating run to the World Cup title in the Rose Bowl in 1999 even though I was playing softball six days per week at the time and I’m not even sure I knew beforehand that there were 11 players on a soccer field (how many of you just learned something?). I still feel a sense of awe when I catch a glimpse of Mia Hamm, even when she’s just sitting in the stands at Dodger Stadium.

Anyway, this morning was the World Cup semifinal. The bleeding started early with a crushing own goal by Leslie Osborne in the 20th minute followed by a defensive lapse that led to another Brazil goal seven minutes later. Shortly before halftime Shannon Boxx, who had received a deserved yellow card earlier in the half, was clipped from behind by a Brazilian player. Both players went down, and the ref inexplicably called the foul on Boxx. As soon as she reached into her front pocket, Boxx collapsed to the turf with her hands on her head. Watching her lie prone, knowing that her tournament had ended, brought to mind the image of Osborne face first in the shadow of the goalpost after the own goal not half an hour before.

I can identify with that. I’ve been on teams that had all the talent they needed but couldn’t win. I’ve made almost unthinkable errors, both physical and of judgment that cost my team(s) points, momentum, games. I’ve felt the overwhelming urge to blame a loss on a bad call when the problems ran much deeper. More importantly, I can identify with them. I’ve always known women’s sports had a ton of potential. We just need to find the compelling stories (for counterexample, see NBA, W). The US Women’s soccer team competes exactly the way I love to see sports played: strategically, with a lot of finesse and fundamentals (but the occasional use of a sharp elbow!), with the kind of intensity and emotion that can shift momentum in an instant (hopefully for the better, but yes, sometimes for the worse).

This team didn't quite achieve what they wanted to. Maybe they were short on talent or heart, maybe it was just a bad day. Still though, they're one more small step in the rise of women's sports.

(P.S. I can't take credit for the 'Greatest Team You've Never Heard Of' thing - that's Nike's World Cup slogan)

23 September 2007

The Little Things

The other night, a concerning shortage of cat food led me to the Target on Roosevelt and Clark (parking lot features one of the top five skyline views in the city). As is the norm at Target, I ended up with a large cart of "essential" supplies featuring everything from a box of granola bars to a bottle of Tums to a 3-pack of socks.

As I watched the cashier bag the haul, it occurred to me that she was doing a pretty good job. Food together, clothes together, toiletries together. But I didn't realize how good until I got home. It was like she had been to my apartment before! I took whole bags into the pantry, the bedroom, and the bathroom and came back empty-handed.

Next time, I'm looking for her line.

16 September 2007

Alex the Parrot

You may have been following the coverage lately of the death of Alex the parrot. Alex was the subject of a thirty-year experiment conducted by an animal psychologist. At the time of his death, the psychologist claimed that he had the intelligence of a kindergartener and the emotional maturity of an approximately two-year-old human. His vocabulary was about 150 words and more remarkably, he seemed to understand what he was saying, to use language as a real and effective means of communication. (See Wikipedia for examples, it's pretty interesting)

The other day, this editorial appeared in the New York Times and I think it's interesting in light of the current American fascination with pets. If you're not in the mood for reading (or if I've waited too long and it's no longer accessible), I'll let you know that the editorial explores whether Alex's "cognitive presence" was real or simply imitative. Could he really comprehend and utilize language like a human child or did researchers simply see their own reflections in him? Did he say "I love you" because he had a grasp of love as a concept and felt it or simply because he understood it was a typical phrase to end the day?

A couple of months ago, I was with a friend who revealed that one problem she had with her boyfriend was his devotion to his dog. Of course, she was happy that he was a responsible dog owner, but he treated it like a child, often at the expense of their time together. She told me that she'd never had a pet and wasn't much of an animal lover and wondered what my thoughts were on the subject.

I surprised myself a little by replying that I would choose the cat over an acquaintance simply out of loyalty. She's been a rather important part of my life for two and a half years, and it would take some time (though certainly not two and a half years) for a person to jump in front of that. But that said, once there's a close relationship with a person, they're going to win every time. The cat is an excellent companion (except when she's in bite mode) and a good little cuddle buddy to boot, but I harbor no illusions that she's capable of love. I know she tries her best in terms of trust, but for god's sakes, she still runs away every time I shake out a new garbage bag. As if, after all this time, I might just decide to kill her with it. She will never challenge me to open my mind or help me make an important decision. Sorry kitty, I absolutely love you, but people are going to edge you for my attention in the end. Luckily, you're fine with that as long as you get your wet food and a daily belly rub :)

Like what I suspect happened with Alex, the cat and I have come to understand each other, take comfort in each other, and even take behavioral cues from each other, but we will never relate as equals.

12 September 2007


Generally, I don't understand public grieving for relatively distant tragedies. I am willing to bet that every sporting event held in the week following the shootings at Virginia Tech contained a moment of silence to...what? Respect the victims? Pray for the survivors? Consider our own mortality? Certainly, I understand the impulse to show solidarity in some way, but involving a high school basketball game halfway across the country (or the state) seems somehow disrespectful to me. It's hard to say until you're there, but I think that if I were to die in some notable way, having school children that never knew me keep quiet for 60 seconds would be of little consequence. I'll be dead, and I would think that my family and friends would derive little comfort from strangers marking the occasion. In short, a deeply personal tragedy, to me, seems to necessitate a little more privacy and even tact from the outside world.

I have to admit, though, that I feel significantly different about September 11th. I was at the White Sox game last night and being "Patriot Day" as it was, they obviously felt the need to mark it. A lame voiceover reminded us of the "brave men and women who heroically lost their lives", but I have to admit that the moment of silence was rather poignant. In contrast to the national anthem, during which people are forever fidgeting, yelling, forgetting to remove hats, and eating polish sausages, it seemed as if not a soul moved at US Cellular field from 7:08 to 7:09 last night.

The detail with which everyone remembers how and where they found out is fascinating. I will forever remember walking across the Green at Dartmouth on a beautiful fall morning with the morning fog not quite burned off. I was headed to Collis to get some breakfast when Cliff Campbell (I heard he's an actor now...cool!) came running out of the double doors, grabbed me by the shoulders (we did know each other, but certainly not well) and said, "A plane ran into the World Trade Center, I don't think it was an accident, go watch TV." He was gone before I could reply, so I walked inside just in time to see the second plane.

This tragedy, it seems, is deeply personal to us all.

10 September 2007

It's That Time!

The football blogs begin again in earnest.

Sorry to say it, but Baltimore just got hosed. I was for the Bengals, but the Ravens had the tying touchdown taken away from them shortly after Cincy was given a bogus interception that allowed them to take the lead. A mistake on a call (i.e. the phantom offensive pass interference on the touchdown) is one thing, but how is it possible to get a reviewable play wrong?!? You'd think HD replay would do the trick...

And don't even get me started on NCAA. The reffing has seemed better, if only because pretty much every single game is a blowout. There are only about five good teams! And sadly, none of them are in my beloved Big Ten (yes, Wisconsin included, sorry, I love the Badgers too, but they don't deserve that ranking). It's beginning to be like our baseball league - maybe we should just scrap the teams and start over!

04 September 2007

Roger Federer Won Yesterday Too

People always say that kids grow up while you're not looking, but I didn't realize that could apply to one's self. Indeed, I've shown signs of newfound maturity in the last few years that surprised even me. There was the time I was actually proud of my brother for graduating from college (I had felt a lot of things for my little brother, but pride had not to that point been one of them...), the fact that I'm slowly figuring out who I am, and now, a tennis match for the ages.

Though I never did much in the way of formal lessons, I've been playing tennis since I was a kid. My entire family used to play when we were on vacation and occasionally when we weren't. Admittedly, this has the kid-screen on it, but I remember both of my parents being pretty decent. And they didn't let us win. Which probably was irrelevant, since individual sports are pretty darn tough for a kid with high standards and an almost complete inability to relax. In terms of pure athletic ability, I was more than talented enough, but I could rarely get out of my own head long enough to put together a few decent points.

Around high school, I guess I started focusing on other sports and we probably had less down time as a family, so I'd guess that in the ten years leading up to yesterday, I'd probably played less than ten times. But I remembered liking it and thus was quite agreeable when a friend asked me to play on a beautiful 85 degree Labor Day.

I'll admit that I expected to get my ass kicked. She's a better athlete than I am (and that's a source of pride for me - I don't hand out that one easily!) and I had a feeling she'd know how to play in a way that I didn't. Both true. But, she has the problem I used to have and miraculously seem to have shed. I'm a solid player (if not great...) and as soon as I realized that she (like the majority of amateur players) was likely to miss shots long, I just worked to keep the volley going, didn't try to do too much (I probably only hit seven or eight winners in three sets) and waited for her to miss. And thusly, I pretty handily beat a better player. (In a small way, this made me angry. She has the size, strength and...I don't know, recklessness, doggedness...that I'm missing as an athlete and part of me wanted her to get it together and kick my ass)

I admit that expecting to lose did give me sort of a leg up in terms of being able to relax, but I found myself able to a) play each point more or less independently of the others (or my last poor shot), b) have a good sense of my skill level and not get frustrated at being unable to make shots that really were outside of my capabilities and c) just have a good time playing. As my mom says (quite insightfully for someone who's not too into organized sports!), sports have to be about playing instead of winning. If you can stay in the moment, and play your best at every opportunity (obviously, this is the ideal not always the reality), you will either win or know that you were beaten by someone better. Winning will turn into an outcome while playing at the top of your game is the goal.

Or maybe it was just a good day :)

26 August 2007

New Low

We got rained out today. It was ironic, since it was 80 and sunny without a cloud in the sky, but the approximately 10 inches of rain we got last week rendered the fields unplayable. Bummer.

Since everyone was obviously free, we decided to throw a practice together. Attendance (remember, unexpected free day and perfect weather) out of 40-50 who had planned to play today: six people. Six.

I'm beginning to have to face it - this may not be something I can work with.

23 August 2007

Hey, They're Legal (Barely)

I’ve never been too into Disney stuff (undeniable heyday in the late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s excepted of course). In fact, I’d probably be first in line to say that the shows on the Disney channel actually verge on disoncerting. Memo to the Sprouse twins: you had a very auspicious start as the baby on Grace under Fire and then the absolutely adorable kid in Big Daddy, so I’m kind of sad to be totally creeped out by The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Anyway though, I would be remiss not to admit that I watched High School Musical from beginning to end last spring. And not only did I watch it, I enjoyed it so much that I just sat and watched the entire sequel (worse. not surprisingly). And yes, it’s been documented that I love musicals, so that’s part of it, but I have to admit that I have a litte high school crush on this Zac Efron character. Even though I just looked it up and apparently, he’s 19. And approximately my size. But the boy can dance! And I once dated a…not very bright…guy for almost a month because he was a great singer (I mean *fantastic*. The karaoke alone was priceless.) I guess talent is a draw.

Maybe it would be more appropriate were I in high school (or a…shudder…tween), but I’m not the only one with the younger man (barely) thing. I know quite a few women over the age of 25 who are planning to see Superbad simply on the grounds that it features Michael Cera, he of Arrested Development fame. His birth year? 1988. There are dogs older than that.

I guess younger men really are in.

19 August 2007

Three Cheers for Weather Volatility!

I like to talk about the weather. A lot. And I find it...pesky...that we're all supposed to pretend that hot and humid is nice weather. But it seems that perhaps two and a half weeks of hot weather hits the limit for other people as well. After nearly unremitting 90 degree days since July 31, this weekend was cold and rainy (well, 70 or so - it feels cold). And you know what? Despite the fact that I played a baseball game, watched a baseball game, played about half an hour of soccer in the rain, and went to not one, but TWO barbecues that were forced indoors, I didn't hear one word of complaint about the temperature (though a few about the rain). And I heard three people (well, two and me) say that they were sort of enjoying the cool, grey days. It's nice not to be the only person looking forward to fall!

13 August 2007

Can You Be Misguided Even If You're Right?

One of the biggest divides we have in our baseball league is between those who played (and enjoyed) high school sports and those who didn’t. The former group is mostly delighted to have found an outlet for that competitive spirit and the chance to pour effort into an activity and see results. The latter enjoys playing (well, sometimes…but that’s neither here nor there), but sticks around primarily for the social aspect (I think). Occasionally (though not as often as I would have guessed, actually), a conflict arises between the two groups.

This is a particular problem for me, I think because of my ability to focus and…okay, honestly, I’m just kind of an intense person. Always have been in fact (it used to be worse…I was a weird kid…). And up through college, participating in a focused, competitive team sport gave me a place to channel that intensity.

Since then, it’s been kind of a struggle (and probably has quite a bit to do with the existence of this blog). I can’t really put that kind of energy into work, maybe because of the job itself (don’t worry, I still like the job just fine, but who could get REALLY excited about maintaining a database or staring at a computer all day long?) or maybe because I’m just more motivated by physical activity. And to the extent that it can be poured into a relationship, the right guy (i.e. one who wouldn’t be crushed) hasn’t come along.

As a result, I’m driving everyone on my baseball team nuts. And they, in turn, are driving me nuts. I’ve been playing baseball or softball since I was ten and that experience coupled with my ability to think ahead and the relative glut of downtime built into baseball allows me to effectively keep track of three or four positions simultaneously. This causes me to do things like remind the second basemen four or five times in the same game to back up the pitcher when there’s a runner on third. She feels like I don’t trust her (which is 100% true) and that she’s being singled out (more debatable) while I feel like if she really wanted me to shut up, she’d back up the damn pitcher without a reminder from me.

Anyway though, they’re all sick of my voice and I’m beginning to feel like I could be wrong (which, again honestly, I rarely do). Maybe I’m missing the tone of the league. In the end, it's an academic discussion, because I can't seem to change my behavior...

11 August 2007

Now That's Customer Service!

So I bought a new box of Bounce™ fabric softener (what an exciting life I do lead) and there was a little white envelope inside resting comfortably on top of the first sheet. I pulled off the orange Bounce sticker seal and pulled out the note inside:

Dear Friend,
At Bounce, we believe even the little things should brighten your day. So on our 35th U.S. and 31st Canadian anniversaries, we’d simply like to thank you for choosing Bounce. Thank You! Everyone at Bounce

I don’t suppose I’d really consider buying a different fabric softener anyway (it’s one of those things, like peanut butter, where brand loyalty is established as a child), but that certainly sealed the deal. Here’s to Bounce!

08 August 2007

On Names

I listen to the morning show on 101.9. Actually, I have since it started in the mid-nineties, which is remarkable because I've stuck with it even as I've drifted away from pop/rock. There's something about familiarity, I guess...

Anyway, this morning, they related the results of a survey in which 5,000 men were asked for the first name of girl most likely to sleep with them on the first date. Just in case you're curious, the results were, in order, Niki, Erin, Kristy, Jenny, Lindsay.

The point though (and of course they didn't discuss this...I guess it's a morning radio show, not a psych class) for me, is how much information people can infer from your name. And yes, this study probably isn't one to take too seriously (though 5,000 men, jeez), but it happens all the time. I went to college with a girl named Echo Love*...think she's a math professor?

There is, of course, the argument that anyone whose parents would name her Echo Love isn't too likely to become a math professor anyway. True enough. But wouldn't you want to give her a fair chance? I'll tell you - it will be a goal if and when I name children to pick names that I like, sure, but also that don't unnecessarily give undue impressions.

*I have no idea what happened to Echo Love and I'd be mildly surprised if she even knew who I was, so I hope she doesn't google herself too intently. That would be awkward...

05 August 2007

Dear New Guy At Work

Dear New Guy at Work-

You're very cute. I suspect you know that. I think you said your name was Dave and that you just graduated from Michigan, but I may have just made that up because you look exactly like a frat boy from the U of M named Dave. So I'm going to call you Dave.

Dave, you would not be good for me. In fact, you would make me crazy. You look like your mother dresses you, what with your striped polos with the little alligator tucked into your khakis (never mind the fact that you look great in this...beside the point). I cleverly pounced on an uneven patio tile right in front of you so you would talk to me, but you made approximately seven jokes about alcohol and started half your sentences with "dude" despite the fact that neither I nor my friend was actually a dude. Then you proceeded to talk about your apartment and three roommates in Wrigleyville at which point I stopped paying attention and gazed adoringly at your little frat boy spiked haircut. I'd like to kiss you, but I'd also like to...co-sign your lease or make sure you're eating vegetables.

Again though, you are so, so cute, and reasonably bright too. So if and when you grow up, give me a call!


02 August 2007

Does This Mean The Quarterlife Crisis Is Over?

People always say that birthdays are just another day. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. Without a doubt, I actually feel different on my birthday and often even the day or two leading up to it.

Top five ways to make sure your birthday really is special:

5) Don't put too much pressure on it. Things that go wrong (like...say...hypothetically...you have to wait 45 minutes for the bus in 92 degree heat or the cat throws up) are still going to go wrong. It's a special day, but it's not that special...

4) Proactively ("isn't that just a word dumb people use to sound smart?") manage your expectations. If it's important to you that people remember it and make a semi-big deal of it, set them up for it by telling them in advance. A lot. (It is also advisable to have friends that are in a bunch of social networking sites, leading to several emails along the following lines: "Jeez, I just got like ten reminders that it is your birthday. It's possible I belong to too many online communities")

3) Do something on the actual day even if it isn't a weekend. I've done dinner with a smallish group the last three years and I highly recommend it. Even if you do have real plans for the weekend, there's something lonely about sitting alone on your actual Bday.

2) Know what time you were born (2:31, baby!) and watch for it. It's somehow satisfying to know when you are REALLY 25 years old.

1) Make sure to talk to your parents. Your friends will humor you (see #4), but your parents are the only other people for whom the day really holds any significance. It was a special day for them too!

(It was yesterday, by the way - I can now rent a car without paying the extra fee!)

26 July 2007

The Old Man Inside

I kind of have a soft spot for Lindsay Lohan. I realize this is strange.

a) Compared to her...cronies (jeez. I am old), she's actually fairly talented. Think she hasn't done anything since The Parent Trap? Check out Mean Girls. She's surprisingly good. And, all evidence to the contrary, she just seems nice. And she can sing!

b) Considering her parents, I think she's turned out about as well as anyone could have hoped.

That said though, isn't there ANY real adult in her...posse...that can get a handle on her? I guess they say she's uncontrollable, but three DUIs?!? Unlike a lot of the rest of that U-23 set, she has a bona fide career in front of her if she wants it. At least take away the car keys!

Anyway, that's my I'm-40-years-old rant of the week.

Also, the Wonder Years appears to be on some channel called 'Ion' and I just cried because Kevin's math teacher died. Awesome.

19 July 2007

Role Play

One thing I really like about playing baseball is how there are so many different ways to add value to the game (haha, "add value", I've gone corporate). In the field, different positions require some different skills. Left fielders and catchers are barely even playing the same game. You soccer nuts can argue with me all you like, but I really have to think that a rock star defender could be a pretty good forward. Like rugby to some extent, the position diversity in baseball allows a wider variety of athletes to play the game. Offensively, I suppose it's less differentiated since any hitter can end up in any situation, but the leadoff hitter (woo! leadoff hitters!) and the cleanup hitter really do have different jobs to do. No one really expects me to clear the bases with a double (though I have...once), but no one expects the clean up hitter to get five pitches deep into the count and then collect a bunch of scratch hits and walks. It's one big reason the best teams don't always have the best players. What they do have, is people who are the best at responding to situations and doing their job for the moment.

Just like in baseball, I think we all have our roles at home too. Which is why I'm incredibly angry that I have a spider bite. I explained to the cat that one of the big reasons I have one creature is so that I won't have any other creatures. (The other reasons are love and decoration). I thought we had a deal: I supply her with food (wet and dry), treats, water, a clean sandbox, and all the love she can handle, and she kills all bug-type invaders, endures the occasional picking up, and tries not to go too nuts on the furniture. We may have to renegotiate our terms.

16 July 2007

Oh Yeah

Correction from my last post:

There actually was one interviewer who did remember me, and I have to admit I didn't recognize him at first. Touche.

And, AND I forgot perhaps the weirdest quirk. Our bathroom stalls have two rolls of toilet paper. Guards against outages, I like it. But when a new roll is installed, it's held together with a sticker that says "Please help us reduce waste -- use other roll." I've been thinking about this for...it'll be a month on Wednesday...and I can't figure out how in the world finishing one roll before starting the other would reduce waste. Does toilet paper go bad and have to be thrown out? Do people subconsciously use more toilet paper when they're pulling from the bigger of two rolls? It's a mystery.

11 July 2007

The Office

We have no official dress code at work. That fact, combined with the differing prior work experiences of the approximately 1,000 employees makes for a pretty wide spectrum of clothing visible from my cube. This week alone, I have seen people walk down the hall with:

-a trucker hat
-a faded, melon-colored tank top that should have gone in the Goodwill pile circa 1992
-patent leather dress shoes
-an absolutely enormous hickey (on a guy, so I guess the turtleneck was out...also, it's summer)

The haircuts are surprisingly conservative, though. Even among the design people...Good old corporate America.

Getting used to a new work environment makes me feel like I'm in some sort of giant psychological experiment. For instance, my office apparently doesn't staple. It took me nearly a week to find a stapler and when I did, it was hidden on such a high shelf in the supply room that I had to ask the guy in the trucker hat to get it down. Now, it's sitting on my desk, unopened, because it's ridiculously sealed and I don't yet want to go into the mailroom and ask for a butcher knife. But I love staples and hate paper clips so I'll eventually give in, I guess.

Also, the people in my cube cluster only sometimes greet each other when they arrive and leave. Other times, they just stand up and walk out with no fanfare. I don't consider myself big on small talk, but even I find this pretty weird. Whenever *I* leave, I awkwardly say, "um...goodnight" like you're supposed to.

Oh yeah, and all eleven of the people who interviewed me must interview a whole lot of people, because it was only a month between even my earliest interviews and my start date, and all of them pass me in the halls without even the vaguest glimmer of recognition. I readily admit, I'm not good with faces, but this makes me think that they hire basically everyone they interview.

I did get a paycheck though! They say money can't make you happy, and I suspect that's true in the long term, but it falls flat on its face in the short term...

05 July 2007

Does This Make Up For The Fact That I Can't Talk? No.

I'm one of those people who is very rarely sick and honestly, I'm really bad at it. I have no idea when to slow down or what the consequences of my actions will be. Hey, yelling a lot when you already have a sore throat will cause laryngitis?? No kidding. And it was my second week of work and we were doing all this training so I would have had to feel pretty amazingly crappy to skip it. And as I mentioned, I have very little ability to judge that.

Thus, I've had very little in the way of vocal power for ten days now. I was sick last week and then apparently not very nice to my voice while playing in a baseball tournament over the weekend. Even living alone doesn't really help. I talk to the cat, I have to remind myself not to sing even though there's pretty much only one pitch at which I can make any noise at all, I feel the need to test my voice every five minutes just to see if it's better, I'm my own worst enemy here! And now I sound like a combination of a smoker, a phone-sex operator, and Peter Brady in the Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes episode. You just never know what's going to come out at any given time.

Anyway though, it turns out I'm a talker. Which I guess I knew, but jeez, you wouldn't believe how hard it is for me to shut up for a while. And what a different person I am without a voice. I'm like one of those too-nice, slightly awkward people that always makes me feel like a performing bear.

So here's hoping tomorrow is the day...

27 June 2007


Chicago Transit Authority Help Desk: Hi, this is L., how can I help you?

Me: Yeah, hi, when I got on the bus today, the driver told me my card had been reported as stolen?? I did request a replacement card, but I haven't received it yet.

CTA: Can I have the serial number on your card?

Me: Sure, 00035blahblahblah

CTA: Oh, you requested a replacement on Monday.

Me: Yes.

CTA: Your card gets deactivated 24 hours after you request a replacement.

Me: But I don't have a new one yet!

CTA: Well, that's because you chose to get it in the mail. You could have come to pick it up at headquarters the next day.

Me: I didn't realize the card would be deactivated so quickly, probably because it didn't say that on the form. When will my new card arrive in the mail?

CTA: 5-7 business days.

Me: Wait. So, my card was deactivated after 24 hours, but my new card won't arrive for 5-7 days?

CTA: Exactly.

20 June 2007

The Rat Race...Maybe?

Excluding the new job, the biggest group I've ever worked with was 20 people. My last job was just me and my boss. The new company has nearly one thousand spread over five floors of cubicles. At least three times a day, I walk to the bathroom past probably one hundred people I will never meet. Makes for a very different environment, to say the least.

And it's an interesting small-town-type microcosm of human behavior. I'm continually amazed by the inability of most people to understand that they can control the awkwardness of a situation. If you simply pretend (and act like) it isn't awkward, it suddenly isn't! Say, "it's cozy in here" when the twelve of us are currently crammed in a elevator by virtue of nothing other than our common start date instead of staring awkwardly at your feet. (Or laugh politely when someone else says it, thankyouverymuch) Tell the new employee it's nice to meet her and ask her what her last job was or if she's heard about bagel Wednesday when you meet me instead of stammering out your name and staring intently at the introducer for an incredibly awkward 45 seconds. I wouldn't call myself incredibly outgoing, but it's just not that hard! Know when you hold the cards in any given interaction (i.e. you're the one who's obviously more comfortable in a situation because you know either the people or the surroundings better) and then make it work!

Working for a big company has its pluses and minuses. After orientation Monday morning,:

-my ID picture came out as a bright yellow silhouette
-my keycard didn't work
-the computer wasn't hooked up to the monitor
- I didn't have access to the databases, which made it impossible for me to do anything remotely helpful (apparently, two more new people will be joining my team, so most of my for-real training will be next week)
-the people on my team kept standing up and saying things to each other like, "did you change the functionality on the S&P interface to user admin before or after the migration?"
-I had no chair

On the plus side, all but one of these problems were fixed by the next morning. And today featured bagel day in the Coyote Cafe and an Ice Cream Social (complete with a clown on stilts!) in the lobby. And I think there's a patio party tomorrow afternoon! Now, if I only understood what my job was going to be...

17 June 2007


I was watching the Food Network today. Nigella was expounding on desserts, and sorbet smoothies in particular, when she uttered the following tidbit:
"I find that the freezer is a very useful repository for time-saving deliciousness"
Ridiculous as it is, anyone who can say *that* with a straight face is sort of my hero. She didn't even blink.

15 June 2007

On The Horse Again

New jobs are almost like going to college. You get to start over, to be whomever you choose with a whole new group of people and a whole new set of possibilities. And there's a sense of standing on the edge of something important. Like everything before it was a prelude, perhaps even leading directly to it. I realize that it generally only lasts a few weeks, but I'm drawn in every time.

I've been off work for a month, and it's not nearly as enjoyable as I might have guessed. Relaxing very quickly gives way to lack of stimulation (and lack of thoughts that translate into blog posts). Apparently, years of school and 40-hour workweeks have rendered me incapable of amusing myself for longer than a few hours at a time. Thank goodness for baseball. Otherwise, I would have had to take up knitting or something...

But it's back at it next week. As of Monday, I'll have to find a time outside of business hours to run errands and watch X-Files reruns. And the cat will (gratefully, I think) go back to having the apartment to herself during the day.

07 June 2007

A Whole Lot Of Nothing

I'm not really one of those people who always needs to be doing something. I can sit on the couch for the better part of a day and not feel pressure to do much of anything at all. Or I can follow the cat's lead and take a nap because I can't come up with anything better to do and not feel particularly guilty about it. Hey, sleep is an accomplishment.

It turns out, though, that having structured activities (i.e. work) the rest of the time is a big part of that free lethargy. I'm on week three of a month off between jobs and it's absolutely incredible how easy it is to do nothing. I never fancied myself much of a putterer, but I just realized that I've now spent the better part of three days doing a couple hours worth of cleaning. There were some minor breaks (I went to the gym, watched a Sox game, cat was dragged kicking and screaming to the vet), but nothing that could account for that kind of lost time. I'm simply astounded by my ability to accomplish essentially nothing. Better at home than at work, I guess.

And now it's after midnight and I'm planning to count this (totally lame) post as an accomplishment on yesterday's list AND today's.

29 May 2007

What's Right In Front

You're 23 and watching a Friends rerun on a random Tuesday night and wondering when your Chandler Bing is going to walk in the front door with your Monica and your Phoebe and then the door does open and it's....the guy from downstairs whose name you can't remember (Adam? Aaron? Rob?) wondering if you know why the dryer isn't hot (you don't). Point being, groups of friends just don't seem to 'be there for you' whenever you might like. Downer alert: Adulthood can be a little lonely when compared to...TV. (So many things pale in comparison to entertainment media...)

I mentioned that I went back up to New England for a mini-college reunion. Nine girls, two nights up in the mountain lodge 50 miles from campus and one night in ye olde sorority basement for old times' sake. Fantastic! Despite a three year hiatus (haha, get it?), we fit right back in like the pieces of the whole we always were. Everyone was so happy to see each other and so sincere in their interest in everyone else. It was like a Norman Rockwell painting, only colder and rainier. (And dirtier. It's pretty hard to get in the shower when it's 40 degrees in the cabin.)

The patterns are the same (the doers are still the doers, the comic relief still the comic relief, the night owls still the night owls), but it was incredible to realize how we had all matured. Don't get me wrong, I thought they were great before, but everyone had more compassion, more direction, more clarity even than I remembered. Despite different backgrounds, different cities and different careers, we had grown together.

24 May 2007


Hiya! More posts to come after the second weekend in a row out of town (last weekend - AWESOME mini college reunion, this weekend - baseball tournament in Baltimore, sure to be hilarious). I'm the busiest person with no job EVER.

I thought I would share with you the story of how I looked like a huge tool last night. As background information, I rarely see anyone else in my building. I often catch L. and her grumpy dog, Brutus (too good to keep anonymous) walking outside, but I'm usually quite surprised to see anyone in the stairwell. Anyway, I'm getting my laundry together last night, singing Maroon5 *very loudly*. Let's pause to mention that I really don't like Maroon5 and can't escape the general feeling that anyone who does like them and is over the age of 16...well, you might want to ask some questions. Songs are ubiquitous, though. On my way out the door, I dropped a bra, picked it up, and tossed it over my shoulder. I then opened the door, underwear draped over my shoulder, belting out 'Sunday Morning' only to find some guy literally less than one foot away - I just about hit him with the laundry basket, he was that close - holding flowers, knocking on my neighbor's door.

Me: Oh! Sorry...I...

Some Guy: Uh, hi.

Me: Hi. Uh...She's not home?

SG: Guess not.

Me: Uh, okay. Uh, good luck

As my brother pointed out, should have told him I was in a Maroon5 cover band.

12 May 2007

All Roads Lead To Perryville

I went to Rockford last weekend to try out for a professional softball team. Didn't make it (they were only looking for two players) but wasn't the worst player there either. And I'm still the best bunter I know. It's not too useful, but it's something.

I hate to be cliche, but it was one of those days that reminds you that all you really need is good company. When I think about what I did -

four hours of chasing a softball around, got nailed in the kneecap with a line drive (I swear it bounced because why wouldn't I catch a line drive? Others differ.), went to some weird fast food restaurant in an old firehouse, took a mini-hike (more like a slow walk) in Rock Cut State Park (which has no rocks, incidentally), had a incredibly hard time trying to turn onto Perryville road when we were *already* on Perryville road (that's what happens when you put two people with no sense of direction together), got some ice cream in a place with construction paper creations on the walls, attended approximately 15 minutes of an extremely strange brand-x Arena Football game, and got home after 11:00 at night, really sore and really happy -

- I can't say it would have appealed to me as a plan. But it turned out to be the best day I've had in quite a while.

09 May 2007


I was on my way home last night when the traffic slowed through the Six Corners intersection. I could see that something (a lot of somethings, actually) had spilled all over the road. The light changed, I got a little closer, and guess what it was? Probably about 30 hot dogs, hamburgers, and their respective buns strewn along the roadway. I have no idea how or when it happened, but I'm sure glad I got to see it.

02 May 2007


Just in case inquiring minds want to know.

Yes, I did quit. It was...well, it was kind of crappy, but it sure proved that I was making the right decision. Gotta deal with two more weeks, two weekend trips, and then hopefully, a new job in the near future.

Also, about fifteen miles after the tire incident mentioned below, I heard a rock hit my windshield. Seemed pretty hard, but upon cursory inspection (I was driving, waiting for another tire to blow at any second, trying not to speed, and answering several "are you back on the road?" calls), there didn't seem to be any lasting effects. Lo and behold, I got into my car after work yesterday to discover a footlong crack on the lower right side. Why didn't I notice a smaller crack before? Well, it was directly behind the city sticker. Karma indeed. I'm going to go ahead and assume that this means I'm due for some good luck soon.

30 April 2007


Do you believe in it? I tend not to, but you never know.

This weekend, I went to Michigan for the little brother's graduation. It was lovely, and Bill Clinton was the speaker, which was great, and in all my "I'm apparently growing up" glory, I was honestly really proud of the boy.

Anyway though, on the way there, I had barely jumped back on 94-W in Indiana when flashing lights appeared in my rearview mirror. I looked around hopefully, but I was the only one there. The cop, who looked EXACTLY like the dad from Family Matters, explained that I was going 21 miles over the speed limit. Aha. He then disappeared to his car with my license and came back with...a warning and some advice to "take it easy" the rest of the way! Whew, much appreciated.

Not 20 miles later, and still less than 50 miles into a nearly 300 mile trip, I was moving into the left lane (yes, probably speeding again, but what was I going to do, go the speed limit all the way to Detroit? I'd probably still be on the way) when I heard an incredibly loud noise. Though my first thought was, "wow, that cannot have been good" the car seemed fine (briefly) and I thought maybe I had imagined it. But then the woman behind me went apeshit (I don't like that expression that much either, but that's exactly what she did) and all the honking and waving and yelling, plus the fact that the car was definitely starting to...limp...convinced me to pull over. Yep, blown tire.

Luckily, I had put the number for roadside assistance in my car that morning (speaking of karma, think that's why the tire blew?) and they were really helpful and were able to help me within 45 minutes, which was pretty good. While I was sitting in the car waiting for the guy (that's who fixes car issues - the guy), having already called pretty much everyone I knew to waste some time, a recruiter called to offer me my first (phone) interview. Now, 72 hours later, I've had two and another one is scheduled for Friday. A series of random events or a long line of cause and effect?

PS: I'm going to walk into work and give notice tomorrow morning. I'm aware that it's a risk, seeing as I don't technically have another job, but I think (hope) it's the right decision. More after the fact!

15 April 2007

Imus and the Dookies

Sorry for the delay, was (briefly) out of town this weekend, and I know it's sort of last week's news, but I've been thinking a lot about the curious intersection of the Don Imus/Rutgers fiasco and the implosion of the Duke lacrosse case.

I admit that I had already decided that those boys were guilty. And I'm very angry about the implications for future sexual assault victims now that this story has been exposed as false (you better believe the next woman who is assaulted by a Duke athlete will think more than twice about reporting it). But what a terrible year for the wrongly accused. Though they're certainly not the upstanding young gentleman they've suddenly become in the media - I believe that at least two of the three have arrest records, one for felony assault - they did not deserve the label of rapist and they especially didn't deserve to be abandoned by their school and their community before anything was proven. (I don't know that I can say the same about the cancelled season. Clearly that team had some very serious discipline problems) Each of their families apparently spent in excess of $1 million to get their good names back. This article gives a little more perspective if you're interested.

Contrast that, then, to Don Imus, who attempted to take away the good name of the Rutgers basketball team by calling them "nappy-headed hos." Not long after big-name advertisers began to pull their sponsorships, he was fired. (Did anyone fail to notice how he was merely suspended until Staples and Proctor & Gamble pulled out and then boy, it was *definitely* a fire-able offense?)

Anyway though, both situations have everything to do with race, gender, and especially class, and though the Rutgers women's hoops team and the three Duke lacrosse players couldn't be more different in these respects, both groups have ended up victims. And we all have a long way to go.

I say 'especially class' because, of course, having the $1 million to spend to clear your name is tantamount. Despite the unimaginable year, you can bet that the lacrosse boys will go on to lead productive, successful lives. Assuming they can keep their noses clean, I'd be surprised not to find them living in the suburbs with a pretty wife, 2.5 kids, and a golden retriever in twenty years. Hopefully, the Rutgers basketball players will be living next door. But unfortunately, quite a few people who have endured such slurs won't get that chance.

10 April 2007

Now. If I Could Just Figure Out The Rest Of My Life

Once again, I have learned something from sports. Something about work/life. In fact, though I didn't learn everything from sports, it's entirely possible that I could have if only I had known when to pay attention.

This time around, I've learned a little lesson about goals and buy-in. I may have mentioned (once or twice) that I was working on starting a local women's baseball league this summer. Good news: it looks like it's going to work. We managed to get through a draft and have four teams with eleven on each - sounds like a league to me!

Now that we're past the part that seemed totally impossible, what's left is to tie up the loose ends so we can get on the field in T minus 8 weeks. Right? Except of course it's not that simple. I'm continually amazed by the ability of many of my co-conspirators to get mired in the meaningless details (what if two teams have the same color jerseys? what will vegetarians eat at the opening day barbecue? what kind of batting helmets should we get?) at the expense of the goal, which I would think would be to have a great time playing baseball in a working, consistent league. Right?

Again, not that simple. I'm starting to realize that the reason a lot of my teammates get so caught up in the drama (and I don't, even though I can be somewhat susceptible to that) or feel overwhelmed by the little stuff is that they either can't see the goal or are worried that it won't be enough. I don't have that problem. I love to play. I really do. And because of that, I'm willing to do what it takes to get there. Even when it's annoying (putting flyers on cars, playing nice with people I don't particularly like, whatever). And I can't really be sidetracked.

It's nice to know what you want. Sometimes.

04 April 2007


This time of year tends to bring a lot of talk of religion, particularly in years where Passover and Easter coincide. Perhaps this is controversial, particularly since I do not endeavor to practice a religion of my own, but whether it's Lent or Passover, it seems somehow inappropriate to complain about the things you have given up. These holidays are about sacrifices to mark the much greater sacrifices of those who came before, no? It is a sign of great faith to recognize the hardships of the past with sacrifices of your own. But it seems to me that complaining that your energy level is low due to the dietary changes of Passover or whining about how hard it is to have fun when you've given up beer/chocolate/potato chips/whatever for Lent trivializes your commitment. No one forced you to make this choice and compared to the occasion it marks, it almost seems in poor taste to complain. I see a middle ground in culture (i.e. cooking potato pancakes or hiding eggs), but not in faith.

More posts will be forthcoming soon, I promise. I spend the vast majority of my time thinking about something that I'm a bit concerned about making public just yet.

28 March 2007

Knight in Blue Pants

I was carrying a box from the car to the office yesterday afternoon when I ran into P. our friendly neighborhood mailman who has a thing for me. Actually, he is the reason I've learned that the answer to the question, "does the pretty lady have a boyfriend" is YES. (P. seems like a nice enough guy, but he's gotta have at least ten years on me. And he owns a hip hop clothing store. I'm not sure we'd have a lot in common). I put the box down inside to find my office keys just as P. was walking in to put the mail in the wrong boxes (I'm glad his retail operation is doing well, because mailmanning isn't exactly his strong point).

He smiled at me, completely without awkwardness despite the fact that I awkwardly turned down his request for a date last month and said, "I wish I'd seen you carrying that - I would have carried it for you."

I replied, "Oh, it's not that heavy."

He said, "I know it's not heavy, but I still would have carried it."

And guess what? It made my day.

19 March 2007

Rain, Rain

It kind of bothers me when the weather doesn't match my mood.

In the last ten days, I've had two fights with my boss (well, one discussion and one fight - he thinks my communication could be better, I'm so bored that I have to go splash water on my face in order to be a decent lunch companion...we're at an impasse), lost a good friend once and for all, and discovered that, once again, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I used to know. But that didn't work and is at the very least on hold, so I no longer know.

The trouble with changing career tacks three years in is that I seem to have no discernible additional (corporate-ready) skills, yet a much greater propensity for boredom. Believe it or not, I seem to be unqualified for things that I would have been qualified for out of school. Did I get dumber? Do I look less motivated?

It's not really like me to drag my feet either (except for in the shoe-choosing department...), but it's hard to start the job search without a clear idea of the end goal. I want something more challenging, and I'd like to start chipping away at the good old earning potential but those seem abstract and short-term, respectively. Like playing for one run when you're down five and figuring you'll catch up later.

So I felt like it should be raining. Which it will be for the forseeable future. So that's that.

12 March 2007

One Crazy Day

You know about my Friday (see previous post). Or you thought you did anyway. Believe it or not, it was also the day I'd picked to have my "I'm worried you just need a secretary and you sure didn't hire one/this was a (however unintentional) bait and switch" talk with my boss.

Between those two things, it was one of the worst days in recent memory. Bottom five overall, since I truly realized, for the first time, that I'm not going to find the challenge I'm looking for in nonprofit work. The pace is slow, the people are...content is a diplomatic way to put it..., and the energy and strategy seems to be in development instead of program/project management where I want to be. Though I can't give up the belief that there are some decent nonprofit jobs, I'm not willling to waste another year finding out.

Needless to say, the talk with the boss didn't go great. Or more accurately, it went okay, but he showed up today having spent no time thinking about it and proceeded to leave me out of the introductions to the new Board member and miss not one but two chances to give me credit for my ideas. I gave up an awful lot, most notably coworkers and the prospect of A LOT more money, for the prospect of learning a lot and because he promised that he would help me build my career. Do the above examples sound like he gives a shit? And this 72 hours after I reminded him of that deal. I give it about 8 weeks. Any job ideas are appreciated.

Then (back to Friday) I went to girls-run-baseball-experiment #2, which I guess everyone else probably thinks went fine, but I thought people were kind of in the mood to stand around. And boy, some people really don't take instruction well. I think I managed to behave myself okay though, which is nice - and incredible considering my mood.

I've felt oddly motivated since, with the notable exception of this morning when I sat in my parked car in total silence for ten minutes because I didn't want to go to work. (Childish, yes, but it works for me) Anyone who has played rugby (particularly with me, but maybe it gives everyone this feeling) might recognize that feeling where you get knocked down so many times that it begins to motivate you. Sort of a pit bull phenomenon, if you will. So maybe it's that. Also, the first glimpse of spring arrived. Doesn't hurt.

Out of curiosity, did I lose my readers or just my commenters?

10 March 2007

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie or How the Most Obvious (and Most Depressing) Explanation is Often the Right One

Well, he did respond yesterday morning.

Though I paraphrase verbal dialogues all the time, it seems somehow unethical to post someone's private writing without their permission, so long story short: he says he appreciates my honesty about my feelings, but it's too hard for him to be just friends.

Yes, ladies and gents, that's apparently why he ignored my phone calls and emails for months. As awkward as it was for me to try to date him, it was apparently just as awkward for him to be my friend only. Which is horrendously ironic since if he'd ever SAID anything like that, things might have been different. My biggest problem with dating him was always that I felt like he let people (and me in particular) walk all over him.

I feel more than a little sorry for him and I'm sure I'll write a very appropriate response to the email (thanks for the reply, wish you'd said something like that, let me know if you change your mind, blah blah blah), but come on! Grow a backbone. What's the worst thing that would have happened? I'd say no and we'd be right where we are. Instead, you disappear leaving me to wonder if something happened to you and let me chase you around for months?

I felt like the jerk for awhile, since if this were the crappy movie that it sounds like, we'd identify with him) and I admit that I sometimes have a sharper tongue than is strictly necessary, but I don't treat people poorly and I don't deserve that in return. Especially not from someone I would have called my best friend.

05 March 2007

I Guess The Past IS The Past

Remember I told you about my friend who pulled the disappearing act? I sent him the following email:

Subject Line: Remember

those email conversations we used to have at work? I miss those.
I also miss you.
The past is the past - I'd just like my best friend back.

Apparently it's not possible, because it has now been five days with no reply of any kind. I guess I waited so long to send that email because on some level, I knew he wouldn't answer it and then I'd have to give up completely. I still wouldn't have any answers, and I still wouldn't have him.

And so it goes.

01 March 2007

Ugh, Girls

After an unbelievably long-winded disagreement among my baseball team over how much "instruction" we all needed over the wintertime, I was finally allowed (with a buddy) to run a practice.

(Never mind that I'd played 15 years of softball and even coached, we definitely needed guys if we were ever going to get anywhere. neither here nor there.)

Needless to say, it went really, really well. More structured than anything we'd had in the past, people learned something, got some solid baseball time in, and *enjoyed* it. Except for one thing. As anyone who has played a sport knows, you tend to end practice with something hard. We didn't really have the room indoors for sprints, so we decided to finish off with push-ups. Four sets of ten, to be exact, along with the general "do 'em on your knees if you have to, just do as many as you can, try your best, blah blah blah" speech.

I admit that I like push-ups, in no small part because I'm kind of built to do them (high center of gravity, short arms, small frame...it's undeniably easier for me than some), but the best things about them are: though they're hard, you don't leave anyone behind (unlike running) and you have your head down and can't really spot who can't do them (unlike pull-ups) so everyone is very free to work at their own pace. If you can only do two, well next week maybe you'll do three, right?

The next week, we had a quick meeting where I was told that the push-ups had been "a little much" and maybe could I tone them down for the next one (yes, I am allowed to run another practice. Shocked?). Luckily, I had the presence of mind to stare at my feet and say nothing because I was pretty furious.

This one clearly goes in the 'I can't stand girls' category. Despite watching two people, both of whom are female and neither of whom is a bodybuilder or a professional athlete, DO every single push-up, they had decided that it was too hard. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there isn't a man in America who would have had any reaction other than "I'd like to be able to do that - how do I get there?" And he would know (possibly by instinct..) that good exercise IS "a little much." If you can't do the push-ups, sweeties, and for some reason don't have the desire to work at it and get better, well then lie on the floor and fake it! Don't ruin it for people who want a challenge.

Why is it okay for girls to give up? Even if you, reader, *don't* think it's okay, these girls clearly do. So we're not really getting anywhere.

The good news is that most of the new people had no arguments. So I guess we're headed in the right direction. I'm still deciding exactly what to do about the push-ups next time.

27 February 2007

My Buddy (but not like that creepy commercial from 10 years ago)

Today marks two years to the day for me and my little grey shelter cat. Based on my perception of everyone's interest level, I'll keep this short, but it's eye-opening how far we've come. Just compare the hissing ball of fire behind the couch (same couch - two years younger) to the warm (slightly fatter) little ball sleeping in my lap tonight. Now, wet food did play a role in the transformation (though who *doesn't* like wet food?), but just the same, I appreciate the way my hard work has been rewarded.

We'll be celebrating her third birthday later this week with some birthday tuna. Here's to you, kitty.

25 February 2007

Lost In The Moment

Busy week. Among the festivities was the Sugarland concert at the Chicago Theater, which was fantastic. Not only does country radio play fewer commercials (than pop radio...I guess that's not a huge surprise), you don't really have to worry that country singers are going to sound crappy outside the studio. Sugarland sure didn't.

Anyway though, the concert represented yet another journey in my apparent quest to become one of "those girls". Though I wouldn't say we behaved inappropriately (we held it together during the songs and besides, it *was* a concert, right?), we were, shall we say, a bit rowdy. Very rowdy considering we were up in the balcony and were essentially only heard by the rather annoyed college students in front of us. Among the gems were several cries of "WHERE'S THE FAT GIRL?" precipitated by the fact that Sugarland apparently used to have a not-nearly-as-hot-as-the-frontwoman female member of the band. You get the idea...

Maybe next summer when the girls behind me at the Sox game are driving me nuts, I'll take it easy. Or maybe not.

--Speaking of transformations, check out the newest song by Big & Rich (that's right, the same boys who graced us with 'Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy'). Where do you suppose that came from?

15 February 2007

Reaping, Sowing, All That Good Stuff

I was at a…group setting…recently and ended up talking to two girls I went to high school with and have seen a few times since. One spent time living in New York and the other in LA and they were talking (I was mostly nodding politely) about how much they missed their respective former homes. They felt that no one went out in Chicago, that you always have to call people to make plans, no spontaneity, you can’t walk anywhere, the winters are so cold, blah blah blah.
Now, like any good Chicago girl, I feel quite a bit of contempt for New York and LA (or Indiana for that matter, but that’s another story) anyway, but cry me a river! The Chicago metro area holds about seven *million* people and…a lot…of square miles – you reap what you sow, ladies! Also, it’s *known* for its walkability. Why do you think people are so attached to their neighborhoods? They don’t have to leave!

I guess I could stand to take my own advice on that though. In the reaping what you sow category, I’m mildly sick of my job. Again. Already. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than the old job, but I’m still getting small pieces of someone else’s work that I could do half-asleep. And I can’t help but think that if I’m going to be bored fifty hours a week, I may as well be making more money. And long term, I don’t want to live for weekends – there just aren’t enough of ‘em!
As tempting as it is to blame that on someone else (college career center sucked, people lied about their own work experiences and made me expect some kind of perfect job in the sky, importance of meeting people at work was underemphasized….the list goes on), I guess I’m the only one with the power to change that.

Always learnin’ ;)

12 February 2007

*Does* The System Work?

Can you feel it? It’s just about time for everyone to get back into politics. In honor thereof, two quick (non-partisan) political tales.

There was a legislative hearing a few weeks ago on the topic of a chronic disease that is the focus of one of the organizations I help manage. It was a really terrific event with testimony from doctors, epidemiologists, activists and, most notably, parents. One parent told of carrying her blue-lipped son from the ER (where they had been informed, though he was a generally healthy seven-year-old too tired to walk under his own power, that his case was not technically an emergency and would therefore need pre-approval from a primary care doctor to get treatment) to the doctors office and finally back to the ER, where he was admitted and spent an entire week in the ICU.

Wow, what a great way for the state senators to get some perspective on their constituents, right? Unfortunately though, of the four we were expecting, two didn't show. One called to say "something had come up" and the other didn't even bother to come up with a lie.

The city's support of the Bears in the week leading up to the Super Bowl (yes. they lost. turns out that if you bring a mediocre quarterback to a super bowl, he plays...mediocre...ly.) was remarkable. Nearly every building on the skyline had some sort of marker: orange spires on the Sears Tower, a bear in lights in the west loop, an 20 foot orange and blue rim around the top of the Merchandise Mart...awesome. I got a little perspective, though, when someone asked me what I thought would change if the same kind of recognition, spirit, and significance surrounded election day.

Unlike some people, I didn't think the Bears hype was necessarily misplaced - that kind of unity is valuable regardless of the source. But I have to admit that our priorities may be a little skewed. If we don't care, if we don't put our energy into things that matter, how can we expect our elected officials to do the same?

07 February 2007

Uphill Both Ways

I'd like to point you back to July, when I...ahem...mentioned that it was hotter than I preferred and opined that the big problem was not the heat, but the extremes, that while the summer was over 100 degrees, the winter could easily be ten below zero. Well, it took seven months instead of five, but here we are. The temperature Monday morning was a crisp nine below (and my heat didn't work, but that's fixed and neither here nor there).

While I'll admit that this is a rather long cold spell (five days and counting with lows below zero!) there's something fortifying about a good old deep freeze. Unlike the cat, who has solved the problem by handily growing even more fur--unfortunately becoming the epicenter of my apartment's appalling static electricity problem in the process--, we humans just have to bundle up and bear it.

And while I could deal without the threat of the car stalling and boy am I sick of my gloves (I've basically never lost anything in my life except winter accessories, of which I have to have lost dozens), I'm proud to be a cold-weather dweller. Stop and meet someone's eyes (you can find them crammed between the hat and scarf) while you're both ice-picking off your windshields and I think you'll find some camaraderie there. Because you can handle it.

*I started this post in earnest, but now as I read it, it sounds sarcastic. Take what you will, I guess.

31 January 2007

Think, Then Speak

In the same vein, the boss and I met with this database consultant guy to see if he would be able to make heads or tails of the "contact list" given to us by one of our clients.

In the 'pointless small talk' section of the meeting (always has to be there),

Mr. Database: I've been with the company for twenty years.

Boss: Wow, that's really something. (smiling at me) You should think about doing something for twenty years.

Mr. Database: Maybe you should try hitting your twentieth birthday. (snickers to himself)

Jackass. Yes, I look young. I understand that. But give me the benefit of the doubt, huh? Ten minutes after I met you, I could come up with at least ten reasons not to take you seriously:

10. You look like your mother dressed you.

9. You are wearing a sweater from approximately 1987.

8. The shirt underneath the sweater is wrinkled.

7. Your office is a giant mess.

6. Your computer appears to be older than my high school degree

5. You snort when you laugh

4. It smells weird in here.

3. Your pants are too short.

2. Your last name is hyphenated in some sort of pathetic nod to equality with your wife.

1. You're shaped like Humpty-Dumpty.

But did I comment on any of them or purposely make you feel uncomfortable? I did not. Don't underestimate me buddy - I'll eat you alive.

28 January 2007

Take Me Out

As part of my endless quest to "do something" despite the fact that it's winter, I went to a baseball clinic run by a local amateur men's league over the weekend. It was a blast. Guys just play sports so much more seriously than girls. Sorry, but it's true. And the added pressure of working hard not to be the worst player was actually kind of welcome.

One...situation...though. The guy who was running the clinic was obviously quite worried that we (I and three female teammates) were going to get killed. He insisted on turning the pitching machine down when our turn came to bat (to be fair, he did point out that we would only see slower pitching come summertime...okay.), literally fretted about the fact that there weren't enough of us to run our own infield practice (perhaps just *watching* the boys throw would be dangerous), and hit more softly to us when we came up in the drills (none of the other hitters did this. at all.).

So this seems almost laughably sexist, right? I mean, I was offended (but really only in an eye-rolling sort of way as opposed to a steam out of the ears kind of way) at first, but then I had to admit that I could follow his reasoning. Find a guy and a girl on the street who show some interest in playing baseball. Based solely on odds, who is more likely to get hurt by a blistering ground ball? Being protected is mildly offensive, but it's not entirely wrong.

Here's what I realized though, while watching a few of the outfielders blow it repeatedly: he assumed they were able to fend for themselves. Because they were male. Even though they were much more likely to get hurt than I was.

22 January 2007

Preoccupied...With 1985

Warning: Mildly un-PC content below. Enjoy at your own risk.

Dear New Orleans Saints,

You were going to be the saviors of the city. Everyone told us so--Katie Couric, Rick Reilly, the Sports Guy, hell even Stuart Scott, who usually doesn't fall for treacly sports crap like that. We endured your endless "tours" through the wreckage, just one noble football player, four cameras, a makeup team, and a Hummer limo. Our houses were underwater and our children in school in Texas or Georgia, but hey, football was going to save the day. Until yesterday.

Well, that didn't help at all. In fact, it was the opposite of help.

We wait out a category four hurricane on the goddamn roof and Drew Brees dithers about whether he needs a glove on his throwing hand? We lose all our possessions to ten-foot flood waters and you guys can't even hang on to the ball? If you're going to give charity, I know a city that needs it more than Chicago. And while we're on the topic, the Bears? THE BEARS?!? They have a kicker who used to work construction and a quarterback who probably should be working construction.

So, thanks for nothing. In the end, I guess it's possible a Super Bowl win wouldn't have solved all of our problems. But I guess we'll never know, will we. I'm surprised the paper bag stocks lasted the day.

18 January 2007

If 40 Is The New 30, 25 Must Be The New 15

One of my oldest friends is getting married in the spring of '08. And I'm thrilled! I must be growing up or something because I'm not sure I've ever been this happy because someone else was happy. I've had this stupid grin on my face for three days now.

It does make me wonder, though, if there will ever come a time when the idea of marriage doesn't feel like dress up. I remember asking my mom a couple of years ago when she had truly felt like an adult. If I recall correctly, she said that bringing home your own child helped, but that in some sense she still felt like the 17-year-old living in her parents house and dating my dad.

When I was in high school, I guess I just imagined that I would feel like an adult by the time I was 24 (and a half!). Like somewhere in college, perhaps at graduation, there would just be this schism, and I would come out the other side knowing how to...decide on finance terms for my car and light the pilot light and deal with frustation sans tears and stuff like that.

It didn't really work like that though. I can tell that I'm more mature, certainly, and I often realize how much I've relaxed since I was a child (I know it usually happens the other way, but most of you didn't know me as a child...). But inside, closer to the surface at some times than others, there's still that same 12-year-old I used to know. Or be. Or something.

(How my mom's inner child got five years on mine, I'll never know)

Quote of the day:

J: Hello?
Me: Hey, want to go see some country music?
J: Yeah, but I'm in the middle of a freezer emergency. Can I call you back?

07 January 2007

Auld Lang Syne

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I haven’t been posting as much lately.

I think there are two reasons for that: One is that I’m just busier. The new job requires maybe 8-10 more hours per week than the old one. Actually, I’m mildly surprised to say that I LOVE that. It’s honestly really nice not to have everyone drop everything and go home at 5:00 on the dot. Whether we leave at 5 or 6:30, we get something accomplished and line up the next day. It’s easier to feel like the work matters, like I’m part of something.

The other is that, frankly, I’m happier than I was last spring when I started this. That’s not to say that I only write when I’m unhappy, just that when unhappy, I tend to feel that I have no one to talk to (cat excepted, but she falls asleep too easily...in fact, she's basically always asleep) and writing is a nice alternative.

One big part of that happiness is that I've all but stopped doing things (socially) I don't want to do. Of course there are instances when you do things (or invite people) you maybe wouldn't because it's not that much skin off your...and you know it will make someone happy, but I guess I've learned which events require my presence and which don't. It's a good thing to know.

I guess my New Year's resolution (not that I make them...you can change things at any time of year) is to figure out the remaining parts. And keep them true.

03 January 2007

Still Roaring (After All This Time)

Holidays were great. Two four-day weekends, a lot of time with my family, tons of football (no rant from me about how we need a college playoff as the complaint practically writes itself by now--go Boise State!), and surprisingly, five or six reruns of the X-Files.

I don't know why I didn't watch when it was on for real, especially since it was on after the Simpsons, which I caught pretty religiously. Maybe I was too young. Lately though, I've been thinking about how much I would have liked it. Intelligent dialogue, a real female heroine, David Duchovny, and sci-fi. What's not to like? And I can't honestly say I've never read fanfiction on the web. (Do other people do that? I feel like it's kind of weird, but some of those writers are actually really good). Anyway, I was interested and began tivo-ing reruns.

In one of 'em, that little Lone Gunmen guy happened upon Agent Scully in a casino lounge surrounded by too-smooth men, giggling, smoking, feigning stupidity, pulling her shirt obviously off one shoulder, etc. Now, that's just not the no-nonsense Agent Scully he knows, so he takes her upstairs, where it's discovered that someone has given her some kind of shot that impairs higher brain function to promote suggestibility.

Tell me this isn't hilarious. Our tough, proud, razor-sharp Scully has her higher brain function impaired, and all of a sudden she's acting like half the girls (sorry, women now I guess) I know. The episode was written roughly ten years ago, but man, right on the money!

Quick football notes:
I just had the best time watching Notre Dame get crushed. Who knew I was capable of such hate? Delightful!
Oh yeah, and if you didn't see the Fiesta Bowl (Boise State - Oklahoma), you can apparently download it on foxsports.com. If you have ever liked college football, watch the last ten or fifteen minutes. So amazing I couldn't sleep for hours.