Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Perspective

I hate when the universe conspires to teach me a lesson.

If you've been paying any attention to my last few posts, I've been all grumpy and pissed off about life in general despite the fact that my life isn't bad. In fact, it's quite good and I have lots of things to be thankful for - including that I have the means to be able to take a vacation to get out of my snit if I choose to.

Because I was putting a lot of negative energy into the universe, the universe felt the need to put me in my place and give me a little perspective. It did that through an old professor of mine who sent me an email informing me that my good friend E, the best "man" at my wedding (even though she is female), has had a relapse of the cancer that she had treated in 1998 when she was just 21.

News like that'll take the wind out of your own personal pity party pretty darn fast, I'll tell you what.

This is not a normal cancer either. It's a bone growth that is on her skull by her ear and before she had surgery on it almost ten years ago it was wrapping itself around her jugular and facial nerve threatened to cut off the supply of blood to her brain and paralyze half her face. The surgery she ended up having had only been performed by two surgeons in the country. It kept her alive but she was left with a facial palsy. E did not start out with the highest of self-esteem and this did not exactly help it. Let's face it, anything that makes you feel unattractive and different, especially when you are in your early twenties still trying to define yourself is unfortunate. But, despite all that, she's been quite positive about things.

Besides being informed that "it's back" I don't know what is happening with her tumor at this point. I don't know if it is operable, if it is threatening her nerves and veins in the same way, or if it's found some new and different way to make her life complicated and dangerous. I don't know if it is a death sentence. What I do know is this, I received a second message from that same professor minutes after the first that essentially said, "and by the way, her Dad just died too."

Man, when the universe is trying to balance karma, it works in mysterious and unfair ways.

So, my "woe is me, I need a vacation" posts are on hiatus for now. (I won't lie, I think part of it is also that those particular hormones may have passed through my system. That was one potent round of PMS.) I left E a message and I hope she calls me back. I'll keep trying to get in touch with her. And if instead of the Caribbean I end up in central Pennsylvania so be it. Time away is time away. And time away to spend with a friend, who may or may not have a limited amount of time to spend, is priceless.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today I feel...



Can anyone out there recommend a good, yet economical, all inclusive resort?


I need to get back to:

What's my motivation?

Still here. Still feeling like I don't want to do anything.

I'm not quite sure what happened. For weeks and weeks and weeks I was feeling quite happy and content. Then something snapped in my brain and now I just want to scream. I have absolutely no urge to do anything (besides bitch here) so instead of doing work, I'm complaining to you. I figure that perhaps a little venting may be helpful. At least I'm warming up my fingers for a day of typing.

Maybe it's the weather. Negative 2 degrees is not conducive to getting out of bed.

I did end up sending my thesis advisor my table of contents, prologue, chapter 1 AND chapter 2 of my thesis last night. Here's hoping she likes them. If she doesn't, I don't know how much I can handle the criticism right now. I got instructions to do something this morning from my boss via email and if she'd been here I would have used my retinas to burn a hole through her skull*. It wasn't an unusual, or even demanding, request, I just can't seem to take it in the spirit in which it was intended.

Yup, definitely need a vacation. I think I'll surf for that for awhile.

*wouldn't that be a pretty cool superpower though?

Monday, January 29, 2007

"As you must know, your thesis is not the only project I am involved in."

I need a vacation. I'm still feeling off. It doesn't help that I got an email from my thesis advisor this morning stating "You should have been at this stage months ago. How committed are you to graduating this spring?"

Fuck.

Pardon my french but that wasn't exactly the best way to start my day.

This from the woman who has been in Argentina without easy access to email for the last month or so.

At least I know that I have made significant progress since I sent her the pieces that she is questioning. I've been working on this stupid thesis every day. While working full time, trying to go to the gym, trying to see Friendster Guy, and trying not to let all my friends and relations wonder why I'm ignoring them. "I used to have a friend named Sassy. Then her thesis took over her life. I'm forgetting what she looks like."

In the long run, this thing is so not worth it. It's not like this particular degree is getting me anywhere. I'm doing it because it happens to be a perk of the institution where I work - a mostly free Masters. It sounded good at the time. If I had to do it over again I wouldn't. That's right. I wouldn't do it. My life is not significantly richer for having done it. The only advantage is that I won't have any regrets in the "I should have done ____ when I had the chance" category. I can instead say, "I did it, I survived [although that's still to be determined], and I will never do anything like that again."

I need a vacation. A long one.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Did I already have Saturday?

I was falling asleep last night when suddenly I couldn't remember what day it was. All I could think was, did I already have Saturday?

Then I realized I had and Sunday was all I had left of the weekend.

Sigh...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I feel much better thank you

Unsettled.

That was the word I was looking for yesterday during my moments of anxiety. Unsettled. Like I was a little askew and, in all honesty, ready to smack someone if they annoyed me too much. Which wasn't going to be hard for someone to do. Looking at my calendar today, I think maybe PMS crept up on me.

I was all set to dive head first into a Friday night funk when I smacked my internal self around a little and said, "Get thee to the gym and suck it up. Even if you don't feel like a nicer human at least you will have burned some of the funk calories you are bound to eat later."

So I did a little cardio at the gym and I actually did feel better. Before that, as I was leaving work (an hour later than usual because I felt the need to get something, anything done) I was all about the internal complaint dialogue* but the exercise cleared my head and I got my inner voice back onto an even keel and all those worries didn't seem so big anymore. Plus, some snuggly time with Friendster Guy always calms me down. It's like prozac.

My life is not as chaotic as yesterday's anxiety was leading me to believe. I can afford my life. The back and forth between places isn't that bad. Plus, I'd rather be living with someone who is ready to live with me, not someone who moves in because his girlfriend is freaking out and scares him into it. (Seriously FG, no pressure.) And if X dies and X's girlfriend wants to keep the truck I'll say "Fine, stop crying and fork over some cash." (Sometimes bitchy can be helpful.)


* My inner complaint dialogue was going a little something like this: I am so tired of living in two different places because I can't do what I need to do at his place and he can't do what he needs to do at my place and I feel bad about him and stressed about me and then the food that can make an actual meal is always over in the other place or there is no food in either fridge so we eat out and I get fat and have to spend all my time in the gym so I don't get to see FG anyway in either apartment and then I feel guilty because he pays for most of the meals out and I'm so poor and if we lived together I'd be saving money and I could pay off my car which is probably going to fall apart as soon as I have the title and speaking of titles what if my X dies while I'm still on the truck loan and I have to pay for that too and I have to talk to X's now widowed girlfriend about it and she's all nostalgic about the truck because he's dead and she won't let me sell it in order to pay it off and and and...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I've got the anxiety.

You know the kind when you don't know exactly why you might be anxious but you feel sort of nervous/twitchy/overly caffeinated? Yeah, like that.

Did I forget to do something? Turn off the iron? ( I'd actually have to iron for that to happen so it's most likely not that.) Did I forget about a project I'm now going to have to run around like a chicken with it's head cut off to finish? Or do I still have to do something that the idea of is making me anxious? Make a phone call? Tell someone bad news? Am I annoyed with something? Someone?

I don't know what it is.

Maybe it's punishment for actually finishing something this morning. Maybe I'm still in "git'er done" mode and there isn't anything I'm git'in done now so the energy is building up and making me all ...whatever.

I'm sending this nervous energy out into the universe via this post. Not to make all y'all nervous too but to dissipate it enough that it doesn't bother anyone.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I am a book whore.

It's a good thing that I am also cheap and such a thing as libraries exist or I'd have a serious problem.

I currently have 3 books on my nightstand and I just went to the library to return a few and ended up with 4 more to read by the 15th.

I can't help it. I like options and I like books.

I'm so slutty about my books that I am pretending to still be married to someone who I am claiming is still a student so I can go to the library I can walk to from work for free. (This particular library charges people who don't live in town or who are not students/spouses of students at the local college. I don't know why but they do. And as I mentioned before, I'm cheap.)

I'm a lying greedy book whore and I like it. So there.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thesis Breakthrough

I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out. I mean, I live in a college town. People are constantly working on projects and papers and such. Why did I not realize sooner that I can leave my humble abode and work on my thesis at coffee shops and restaurants and bookstore cafes? I mean, everything is better with food, right?

Yesterday, I brought my thesis in to work so that I could attempt to work on it at lunch. (It's recently been made portable. I can't seem to see the big picture when it's on my computer so I printed it out.) I had brought a salad to eat. When lunchtime rolled around the salad held absolutely no appeal. Remembering that I had $3 in my wallet I had what Oprah calls an "Aha! Moment" - I could go down to the pizzeria, get their lunch special ($2.99 for 2 cheese slices and a soda!), and sit in a booth working on my thesis! So I did. And it worked beautifully. I kept looking at my watch to see if I needed to leave to get back to the office and time seemed to stretch for me. I got a lot done in that tiny little hour.

Then, when I went over to Friendster Guy's later in the evening, I was still inspired so I worked on it for another couple hours while he sorted his accumulated paperwork and used his new shredder (paperwork is much more fun when you have a toy to play with). We were both so productive it was ridiculous. And, wonder of wonder, I actually enjoyed it. I kept exclaiming with glee because things were coming together.

One of my thesis advisors, a 60+ year old Jewish man from Brooklyn, likes to say "Shoot your darlings." (Only when he says it it sounds like "Shoot yer dollies.") What that means is you have to cut the things you love from your thesis if they don't fit. This is especially true in an oral history when people tell you these great stories about their lives but they don't work in the overall scheme of things. That is what I did yesterday. I was ruthless, shooting darlings left and right. And it helped. Getting rid of the verbal flotsam and jetsom tightened everything up and made the thread of the story that much clearer. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.

Today I think I'll head over to the coffee shop at lunch and see what magic I can perform. Eventually I'm going to have to get back on a computer but for now, I'm content to lug around 90 pages of paper and cover them with squiggles and arrows.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Boob Oogling

My boobs got oogled yesterday.

In a work meeting.

By a woman I'd just met.

So much so that my co-worker AND my boss noticed.

I must say, I was having a good boob day but still, show some restraint. I wasn't even sharing cleavage or wearing eye catching jewelry or anything.

Hell, I'll take it where I can get it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm Pro-Choice and I Vote


If you catch your child playing with matches is it more helpful in the long run to say "No!" and hide them, or is it more helpful to explain to your child the pros and cons of matches, the appropriate use, and the dangers and consequences? I'm pretty sure that any child psychologist worth a damn would say that educating that child is the right way to go. Not only will they be armed with the knowledge to make the right decisions about match use, but if they see one of their peers acting stupid with the matches they may have the confidence to stop that action.
Why is it so hard for some people to make the leap from that type of education to sex education? Human nature makes those matches much more appealing when they are hidden and forbidden. Education helps the matches lose their allure, or at least makes the child think twice before, literally, playing with fire.
I am pro-choice. I am pro-education. I am pro-providing information so that a person can make an educated choice and understand all their options. Would it be better if no one had to have an abortion? Yes. Would it be better if no one was allowed to have an abortion? Absolutely not. We've already seen the results.
Abortion doesn't just happen. Pregnancy happens. Pregnancy happens for many reasons - accidents (despite the best intentions), misinformation, ignorance, force, stupidity, or on purpose. It can be a happy occasion or it can be the straw that breaks the camels back. There will always be accidents but there doesn't have to ignorance.
Let's make sure every child is a wanted child. And that that child is then educated to continue that happy trend.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Membership has its privileges

You know what I like about being a grown up? I can have popcorn and ice cream for dinner and nobody can stop me. : )

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why it sucks to be a white woman - a revelation

I've been mulling a phenomenon around in my head the last few days and I need to share it with you. This phenomenon is the sheer and utter lack of entertainment role models who are both white and curvy. And by curvy I do not mean boob jobbed out to Pamela Anderson proportions. And TrimSpa nutcase Anna Nicole Smith doesn't count either even if she is on-again/off-again both curvy and white (or oompaloompa orange) because she's by no means a role model. Perish the thought. Shudder.

It took a long time for anyone non-white to get their own role models on TV or in the movies and I applaud the fact that they are there. Keep 'em coming. I'd like to think role models transcend color and gender lines, but sometimes I would like to look at a person on screen, on my TV, or even in a cheesy tabloid, who actually looks like me, i.e. a normal, maybe even slightly overweight, white woman, instead of unnaturally thin, often preteen, lollipop stick figures.

Why is it so easy for society to embrace curvy, hella sexy, Latina or African American women but throw a calorie toward a white actress and all of a sudden she's got a weight problem? Where is my Queen Latifa, Sara Ramirez*, or America Ferrera?

And on a similar note, why are pudgy even unhealthily overweight white men accepted with wild abandon? Drew Cary, Jim Belushi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Kevin James are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. And if you look at their TV wives - you discover the white female bobbleheads again. I'm sorry, but if some woman who, on an attractiveness scale of 1-10 was the same number as any of those guys, tried to have her own show it wouldn't happen. Would not happen. For some reason America needs their female characters to be unnatuarlly "hot" and the definition of hot for a white woman (really, all woman) currently is starved.

For now I'm going to embrace my ethnic sisters as my own role models and hope that the establishment comes around to understanding that there are a lot of curvy, hella sexy white woman too. In the meantime, I'm going to drown my sorrows in Ben & Jerry's.

* For the record, I saw Sara Ramirez in person at a cabaret and she is just as fabulous in real life as in fiction, maybe even more so. And hilarious. I want to be her.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Quality 80s Entertainment cont...

Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc

In an effort to bring a smile to everyone's face (at least everyone within a certain age range) I wanted to share the first song I heard this morning. Yup, I turned on my car and was greeted with this little blast from the past. Apparently this week is all about the 80s junior high flashbacks for me. Enjoy.

Don't bug me, I'm womt

I coined a new word yesterday: Womt. It rhymes with "swamped" and means just about the same thing only the literal translation is "Working On My Thesis."

I took the day off today to help fend off a nervous breakdown and potentially any sort of illness that might creep in while I'm stressed. I needed to make some headway on my thesis and I think I did. I also allowed myself to sleep late because I am just feeling dog tired. I needed a break and I needed to move forward. Working full time as essentially a writer of reports and then trying to crank out a thesis (aka a report) which is exactly what you've been doing all day already is not easy. Add wanting to go to the gym, spend time with friends and family, eating, and getting things like your laundry done and you're heading for a bad place. Hence my mental health day.

I'm getting the heck off the computer now. I accomplished most of what I wanted to today and will start fresh tomorrow. Sigh...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

High Quality 80s entertainment

We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off - Jermaine Stewart

I was at Mohegan Sun casino this weekend and this song came on while I was in the bathroom. Besides having amusing flashbacks of perms, shoulderpads and hammerpanted tuxedos, a whole bunch of people (including my sister and me) spontaneously burst into song. It was instantaneous bonding with strangers and it was fabulous.

Note: Is that the world's biggest beret or is it just me?

Note #2: I love the background singers' moves. I took dance lessons from about 4th grade to 12th and I've totally done some of those.

Return to Sender

Good: Soldiers retiring and being allowed to go home.

Bad: The government sending 5,100 recently retired soldiers recruitment letters.

Worse: The government sending 275 of those letters to families of soldiers killed in action.*

I'll admit, I have sent letters to dead people. But I work for a college and family members don't always think to call their loved one's alma mater to update their records so it's an honest mistake. In this case, however, whoever sent that mailing is working for the institution that actually caused the people to be dead in the first place and should therefore have a pretty good idea of their status, or at least access to that information.

I do feel bad for the poor shmoe who gets the blame for this though. I know first hand that your intentions are only as good as the information you are given. Still though, good grief.

* Source = Time magazine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I just saved $475 by having Geico

Today could have been really shitty. I mean $500 less in my bank account shitty. Instead, I'm basking in the glow of good customer service and a $25 new windshield.

When I got in to work this morning I called Geico to make sure I was doing everything right when it came to getting my windshield fixed. I spoke with a great woman whose first words after I explained that my window had cracked were, "I'm so sorry to hear that!" She's in the Glass Claims department so she probably hears my story 300 times per day and says that to everyone but it definitely started the conversation off on the right foot. That was good because her next sentence was, "You have a $500 deductible so to get the windshield fixed it is generally $500." Before I could go into heart palpatations she continued, "However, you have [something that sounded like mechanical failure coverage] and so the deductible is only $50 and that's all you'll be responsible for. She laughed when I squealed in delight.

In addition to Gieco, the service at the window place was great as well. When I made the appointment they told me it would take an hour. Not only were they done in about 50 minutes, but the guy gave me a coupon for $25 off! So what could have been and easy $500 cost me $25. Awesome.

I'll tell you what, I have been a Geico customer for 9 years (as the nice lady I spoke with reminded me and thanked me for "being part of the family") and I've had a really good experience. I've paid in a lot but I've also got deals and money back when I needed to. When I was rear ended in Hartford, CT at rush hour and couldn't pull off to get the other guy's information I avoided getting it fixed for a month or so until someone else hit the truck in a parking lot and knocked off the mirror. The claims woman who looked over the truck told me with a wink, wink, nudge nudge that the mirror often pops off during accidents and she put them under the same deductible for me so I didn't have to pay twice.

Then, a few years later when I swirved to avoid a head on collision and hit a garage instead, totalling the pick-up, I got way more back than I was expecting (despite the fact that I was "at fault" because the guy, literally flying through the air at me in an SUV, never actually hit me.) Like $4000 more than the car was worth. And my insurance has never gone up. In fact, it's gone down. It helps that I've been getting older but still, I can't complain. If I have to have car insurance, I'm glad that it's been working in my favor.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ok, NOW I'm awake!

This morning, during a snowstorm, I drive to work. I'm being really careful in order not to kill myself or my fellow commuters when all of a sudden this silvery thing crosses my windshield. I think, hmm, that's a weird way for a water droplet to be going. And, hey, it's not going away. Then Holy shit! That's not a trail of water, that's a crack in the windshield!

I turn off the windshield wipers, turn down the defrost, and will the window not to break completely. Then there's a tiny 'rrreeeaakkk" and another crack spreads amazingly fast in the other direction. I have a mini-heart attack.

I debate the merits of stopping at the autorepair place on my way to work and decide 1 more mile to get to my parking lot isn't going to kill me. Or will it? I make it safely to my office and am now awaiting a call from "Windshield World" who I hope will fix it.

I'll tell you what, that got my adrenaline pumping. There's nothing like the potential for the windshield to instantaneously not be there, and snow and shattered glass to fly in at you, to get the old juices flowing. Wooh.

Friday, January 12, 2007

5 Things About Me

I have been tagged by various bloggers tagging their readers to tell you at least five things you don't know about me. Since there are several readers out there who have known me for a very, very long time, some of these may not be news to you. I tried though.

1) I've been bitten by a cougar.*

2) I consider consonants male and vowels female (It's how they were depicted when I was learning them.) The numbers are also gendered but it depends on the number (instead of all odds being female and all evens being male). 4, 7 and 9 are definitely female and 2, 3, 5, and 8 are male. The others are somewhat transgendered (6) or gender neutral (1). Don't ask me to explain why. It's just a feeling. A totally bizarre feeling. And, um, some of them also have personalities. 9 is a real bitch but 3 is a sweetheart. Yeah, I know. Totally bizarre.

3) I used to, and maybe still do, have a thing for Jeff Goldblum, as well as David Copperfield - despite the gay pirate regalia (although that's somehow come back into vogue via Johnny Depp). Interestingly enough, Friendster Guy shares many of their characteristics - tall, dark, handsome, slender, smart, great smile. He has not yet made anything disappear, except for maybe a box of Cheez-Its, but he did it without alot of flamboyance and theatricality so I don't think that counts. And he hasn't saved the world from Aliens yet. But he's still young. There's plenty of time.

4) I always have to have more than one project going on or something to organize. Right now I have my thesis, this blog, all the craft projects I want to finish this year, this mini-goal of eating the food in my house and several other things going on. I constantly need something to be working on and/or to look forward to finishing.

5) I constantly swipe my hand over my stomach to check to make sure it hasn't grown or to determine if it is shrinking.

* It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. I worked at a zoo at the time and the cougar was only playing. He jumped up on me like a dog - a really big dog - with his paws on my shoulders and proceeded to nibble on my shoulder and worked his way down to my boot. It was awesome. To have a grown cougar rub the length of its body against your legs like a house cat, except at your thigh instead of your calf, is amazing. Despite the fact that I was technically bitten by a cougar, I ended up with more of a wound from a baby bunny that scratched the heck out of my forearm the same day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Please sir, can I have some more?

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, my goal for the week was to use some of the random food I've had hanging around my pantry and freezer for the last few months. So far, I've had two surprisingly good meals doing just that.

Meal # 1: Orphaned Ingredients

  • 1 teriyaki marinated chicken breast
  • 1 package Ramen noodles

End results? A fabulous stirfry/lomein with onions, peapods and kikomans. It was just enough chicken and just enough noodles. Any more and it would have been too much. I kept wondering to myself, why do I not do stirfry more often?

Meal # 2: Orphaned Ingredients

  • 6 frozen meatballs
  • a package of "tortelloni" slated for expiration in a couple days
  • leftover fresh mozarella (from sandwiches I made this week)
  • jar of pesto

End result: Tortelloni a la Sassy Pants

Special thanks to Friendster Guy for the lomein picture and for being a guinea pig. Please note his plug for Long Trail beer in the above picture.

Coming this evening - Vegetable couscous and roast chicken using my box of couscous that expires this month (who knew it expired?) and a can of pumpkin (I'm trying something new from the Rachel Ray cookbook I took out of the library).

Other orphaned ingredients still to be used:

  • 2 cups of whole milk I froze awhile back
  • a can of cream of mushroom soup
  • fajita mix (2 packages)
  • a jar of mango chutney
  • another can of pumpkin
  • a can of evaporated milk

There's also leftover chili, sloppy joes, whoopie pie filling, cornbread and several partial bags of probably freezer burned mixed vegetables in the freezer. Most of which will probably end up in the trash. Even so, this project may take me a couple of weeks.

You know what's funny? I don't really like to cook. But when I'm doing it as a way to organize and use things up, I have a grand old time. Like I'm on some sort of Reality TV show and have been given a challenge to complete. It also helps that FG has been keeping me company and helping when I let him.

I tag anyone reading this post to go to their pantry and freezer, find some orphans, and tell me how the meals turned out - either via blogpost and comment, or email if you know me. Happy cooking!

I don't know about you...

...but if I were still single and looking, this would not get me to go sign up for True. I give them some credit for not putting someone with washboard abs in their advertisements, because really, how many people actually have washboard abs? But why couldn't he just have his shirt buttoned? Why can't this be some decent, friendly looking, guy in full dress? More, "Hi, what's your name," less "Hi, what's your sign?"And is it just me or is he wearing acid washed jeans with pleats?

P.S. The more I stare at his stomach the more it looks like Lord Voldemort. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Food on the brain

I went to the library yesterday and ended up with two cookbooks (Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2, and Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for 2) and 4 memoirs that have something to do with food (Eat, Pray, Love; Garlic and Sapphires (about being a food critic); Stuffed (about a restaurant family); and Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende that has food on the cover.
In addition, this week I have a mini-goal that also revolves around food. I am bound and determined to finish eating some of the stuff that has been in my cabinets and freezer for months. You know the stuff. That stuff you buy for one specific recipe or meal and then it sits there until some kid comes by collecting cans for a food drive. Like the homeless need fajita seasoning mix and cans of oriental mixed vegetables. Or maybe they do. I don't know. Anyway, armed with a grocery list to help round out the meals I will be cooking stuff and getting those 1/4 full bags of frozen veggies, leftovers, and random cans of whatnot the heck out of my life.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Man oh Man and Wife Part II

Read my last post first before you read this.

Ok, welcome back.

Since I was informed that my acceptance to be a bridesmaid for a fairly non-friend indicates that I may have lost the sass in Sassy Pants, I feel the need to clarify. At least a little. I didn't really have a lot of time before I said yes, but now that I have thought about it, I'm glad I did. Although I do not think I'm really that close to this woman, her family has been a large part of youth. It's all very complicated and intertwined. Ergo, pretty much status quo when it comes to my life.

For starters, I interviewed her and her entire family (mother, father, sister, 3 grandparents, AND fiance's parents) for my thesis. That means 8 out of the 19 interviews I did were her relatives.

Second, her mother and my mother are best friends, except for the fact that they live 4 hours apart and never see each other.

Third, her parents are my sister's god parents. Their other daughter is my sister's age and they were best friends when they were very small and then ended up going to college together and living in the same dorm.

Lastly, my step-mother was also really good friends with her mother for a time. They had a falling out at some point so aren't any more. This woman's family lives on the street where I lived as a child until my parents got divorced*, and then later on my father moved back to that street with my step-mother**, up only two houses from my childhood home, and lived there while I was in high school and college. I didn't visit often but enough to sort of keep up with them.

So I guess I'm not really doing it for her, I'm doing it for our families.


* In case this isn't confusing enough, when my parents were divorcing and selling their house, my stepmother came to look at it with her then 1st husband.

**Between my father living on the same street twice with two different women*** and my boyfriend living in the same apartment complex with my X and his new girlfriend, my whole life is just one giant vortex circling in on itself.

***My father is a serious creature of habit. This is the man who not only got married both times in the same church (My Mom's church, not his. It's Lutheran, he's recovering Catholic) but also honeymooned at the same Inn in Vermont. Like there aren't 3 bazillion Inns in Vermont to choose from.

Man oh man and wife.

Phone rings.

Sassy Pants: Hello?

Female Voice: Hey, it's Amy!

Sassy Pants: (Amy who?) Amy...?

Female voice: Amy So-And-So!

Sassy Pants: Ohmygoshhi! (What the heck is she calling me for? She's never called me before. Oh yeah, she just got engaged.)

Amy So-And-So: What going on?!

Sassy Pants: (I hate that question. I mean, I could tell her that before she called I was heading into the bathroom to treat a yeast infection but that might be too much information. Or, I could fill her in on the last year of my life since that's at least how long it's been since we've spoken.) Not much. You?

Amy So-And-So: Have you heard the news? I'm engaged!

Sassy Pants: My sister told me just today! Congratulations! (Sort of. When I met your boyfriend he was an overbearing jerk and I was hoping you'd dump his ass. Sigh.) So when's the wedding?

Amy So-And -So: Not until Fall of 2008.

Sassy Pants: (Oh good, she'll have plenty of time to back out.) Great! Are you going to do it in town?

[interlude for requisite wedding discussion. I'm sure I put plenty of people through this myself back in the day. Payback's a bitch.]

Amy So-And-So: So anyway, um, I was wondering...would you be in my wedding?

Sassy Pants: ( 1) I don't like your fiance, 2) We were friends from age 3 to age 8 when I moved 4 hours away. Granted, there were a few times when I saw you over the years and when I did we got along fine but really, I don't even know you.) Of course! I'd be honored. (I'm such a two-faced bitch.)

Amy So-And-So: I'm so glad! I thought back over my life at the people who are the most important to me and it was you, my sister, my cousin and my friend Somebody and I want you all to be in it.

Sassy Pants: (You, my dear girl, have some weird nostalgia thing going on but since you are now engaged you are allowed to be a little crazy in the head.) Thank you for including me!

[commence requisite "now I have to get on the treadmill," "Looks like I should start counting carbs" conversation." Blah, blah, blah. Bye. Bye. Hang up.]

Sassy Pants turns to Friendster Guy: Looks like I'm gonna be a bridesmaid for Amy So-And-So.

Friendster Guy: Isn't that the woman with the boyfriend who's a jerk?

Sassy Pants: Yes! (That FG, he sure pays attention and remembers a hell of a lot of stuff.) You free in the fall of '08?

Friendster Guy: Sure. At least she'll have plenty of time to back out.

Sassy Pants: Exactly! [Then, to no one in particular] Did I even invite her to my wedding?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Thesis-izing Galore

Joy! Rapture! I have finished step # 6 of my thesis which was to take all the paper files I had created for each of the topics within my thesis and make them into electronic, i.e. Word, files. Whoo hoo!!!

Now that I've figured out how the individual voices come together to talk about a topic I have to figure out how the topics (family, entertainment, school etc...) go together to form a story. I may have an honest to goodness first draft of this sucker by the end of this week. Holy crap.

You're all probably having a difficult time figuring out what exactly I'm talking about when I talk about my thesis. So I'll give you a preview. This particular topic is "Rink Collapse." In 1969 the arena in my home town collapsed killing one person. Instead of me writing about it in the third person, I'm using other people's voices to tell the story (FYI: Denis and Susan are my parents. And yes, it is spelled "Denis", not "Dennis."). Here you are:

David: The Notre Dame arena looked like one of those new metal fabricated buildings, semicircular. That was one of those years when we had had so much snow there was no place to put it.

Denis: We ended up with two hundred and eighty, three hundred inches of snow. I played baseball that year and the first half of the season we had to play all away games because there was so much snow. They had no place to put it so they put it on the ball field to get it off the streets. I don’t think we played our first home game until June.

Elaine: The night that the rink collapsed there was a huge, huge snow storm. I was a cheerleader but I was being punished so I wasn’t allowed to go to the game that night. My girlfriend, a cheerleader, was at the arena. She ran home and called me saying that the arena had collapsed.

Denis: Norm B and I had walked down to the rink together. Norm lived one street up from my house. We went to school together. He was the goalie on the high school team. That year I was the manager. We were playing Berlin High in a junior varsity game. We were playing in the afternoon before the varsity would play which would have meant twenty-five hundred to three thousand people in the arena.

Susan: So many kids would have been killed if it had happened during the Varsity game. Everybody would have been there.

Denis: Before the game started all of a sudden the arena came down. I remember hearing something and just diving underneath the bench. It didn’t come down where I was.
We were the first ones there so we took a quick accounting of who was or who wasn’t there and just started looking. They had me listed as missing for quite awhile but I didn’t know about it until the next day.

Elaine: Of course all of the people of the town if they had shovels, if they had anything, they all started running toward the arena. I remember my older brother and my father going down. A lot of people tried to help, tried to shovel, tried to do whatever they could.

Denis: Very quickly there were hundreds of people there to help. There had been a bunch of players on the ice. Our net was where the biggest piece came down and Norm happened to be where the bulk of the roof landed. When we found him you could see that he had skated away from the net and he was trying to get to the door to get out but he didn’t quite make it. We found him with a beam across him.

Elaine: My boyfriend, Norm B, he was the goalie that died in the collapse. I was about a freshman or sophomore in high school. That was quite a tragic thing for the town. I think Norman was the only one that died in that collapse. Which was enough.

Denis: There were some people that lived in a building attached to the arena, the caretakers, and they were Norm’s Aunt and Uncle. His aunt was washing the dishes, looking out the window, and saw the roof come down.
My father came down and we walked home together and all of a sudden there were all these people on their roofs shoveling. That year they lost a number of buildings. One other person, an older man, was crushed under something if I remember right.

Elaine: It could have been a lot more devastating than it was. Someone was watching over us that night. The arena wasn’t rebuilt for some time after that.

There you have it. It's still very drafty and it's taken awhile to get all the voices to speak together. There are at least 20 more topics that I have had to edit like this. Now I have to weave them all together into one big story and then edit, edit, edit. Slowly but surely!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wastin' Time Stroking My Ego

So I saw this celebrity look-alike thingy on Queen Geeks page. I blog anonymously so I don't want to show my real face but since I look a lot like my grandmother (at least from the nose up) I figured I'd see what would come up for her. The Judy Garland is a definite - although that particular Judy Garland pic is atrocious.



Ooh! I figured out how to do it without showing my picture in the middle. Here's one. Pretty good for the ego.



Here's another using a different picture. This one's even more ego stroking. Who doesn't want to be 96% Angelina Jolie? (At least during her good, non-blood toting days) Of course, it's total bullshit and I look more like Rosie O'Donnell but whatever.



This is a dangerous, time-wasting website. I love it!

Sticking by the courage of one's convictions is a bitch

Friend/Co-worker: Yeah, my friend managed to Jew-down the tire guy and I got them for 70 bucks a piece including labor.

Me: Oh! That's good. *Smile, smile, smile.*

Commence internal dialogue: Did she just say "Jew-down"? That's really not appropriate. I should say something. Should I say something? What do I say? How do I say it? What if someone besides me had heard her? What if I was standing next to a Jewish person? What if I was Jewish? That person shouldn't have to be the one to defend themselves. I should make sure she knows that that's probably not the best way to say what she was trying to say. It just came out of her mouth like any old phrase. I don't think she even really gets why that might be offensive. I'm sure if I pointed it out she'd get it. She's not dumb. Conditioned perhaps, but not dumb.

Meanwhile, Sassy visits the ladies room and continues internal dialogue.

I'm just going to have to say something. But now time has elapsed and it'll seem like I've been mulling this over and I don't want to make her feel bad. Of course, I have been mulling this over and she would have made someone else feel bad if they had heard. Damn. Has the moment passed when it makes sense to comment? Is it my place? Of course it is. If not your's, who's? Ok, all right. I'll do it. I'll walk out of the bathroom, into her office and tell her it's probably not the best turn of phrase. Ok? Ready? Go.

Sassy goes by co-workers desk and totally chickens out.

Shit.

Sassy Pants writes blog post about situation. And continues internal dialogue/turmoil. Gets up out of chair to say something. Sits back down. Has heart palpitations. Realizes that if she ever wants to be a manager she's going to have to handle tough situations like this and could probably use the practice. Decides, who wants to be a manager anyway?

Sassy Pants screws her courage to the sticking place...

Sassy: Um...this is kind of awkward but um... you know the phrase "Jew-down?The tire story...

Co-worker, without letting me finish the sentence says,: Oh my god! Did I say that?

Sassy Pants: Uh, yeah.

Co-worker, looking horrified and embarrassed: I'm so glad you were the only one who heard it. I never say that! My friend used the term when he was getting me the deal. I try so hard not to say things like that but you hear it all the time.

Sassy Pants (infinitely relieved): : I figured you were unconsciously quoting. Like when I say "Close the light" instead of "turn off the light" after talking to my French Canadian relatives. I was so afraid to say anything, you know? And then time went by...

Co-worker: You should have just said "What!?" when I said it and called me on it right there. Thank you for telling me! I'm horrified.

That was surprisingly hard but all's well that ends well, right? I did my good deed for the day, got some karma points, and managed not to alienate or offend a co-worker/friend at the same time. Phew.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Like I don't have enough to do.

This is an interesting activity. This Guy decided to do the following:

I turned 40 on January 12th, 2006, and I wanted to mark the occasion in some positive fashion. So I got this crazy idea: I know! I'll write 40 words (no more, no less) every day for a year, and each day I'll write about a different person (in no particular order--in fact, in a shuffled order) who touched my life in some way. But not just anyone, it's got to be someone I've actually met in person, someone whose name I still remember, and someone who was interesting.

Try this: make a list of 365 people whose names you remember and who were interesting to you. Even if you don't want to write 40 about each, at least try making the list. And then, if you can, write down a few words about each of them before they're gone from your memory. If you can't do this, it might be wise to spend the next 365 days meeting more people in person who are interesting to you. Learn their names.

If you decide to embark on this or a similar project, please let me know, I'd love to follow along with yours. Yes, that's a challenge.
My email address is your favorite word, whatever that may be, at logolalia dot com. Really.


My only problem is that I blog anonymously so putting other people's names out there probably isn't a good idea. And 365 nicknames might be a little crazy. But I may just make that list off-line. I think it could be a good exercise.

Thanks Jessi for the link. She's doing it too.

Taking Compliments

I had lunch with my friend J the other day. J and I have known each other since junior high and although we "went steady" two separate times in high school, niether times worked out so well (what does in high school?) and we are much better as friends. Anyway, he's been in Japan for half a year so we got together to catch up.

After the lunch I received an email from J as a follow up:

J - It was good to chat and see you! You look awesome.

I literally sat there looking at the words "You look awesome" going, Huh? What crack is he on? Awesome? Then I proceeded to stand up, look in the mirror near my desk and examine myself. Hmmm...I'm not so bad I guess. Better than some people from high school. Probably better than when I was in high school. Still...

I couldn't quite accept the compliment. So I wrote:

Sassy - Thanks for the compliment. I get so few I'm not even sure what to do with it. I'll file it away for a rainy day.

And I really didn't know what to do with it. Luckily, J gave me some perspective.

J - LOL... I wouldn't store those compliments because that's like keeping money... that's no fun. Spend it and share it around?

Sound advice to a woman who was taking herself a little too seriously and being overly critical. But don't we all do that? At this time of year when we are all looking at ourselves more critically it's good to be reminded to stop and take a compliment.

So take one and pass it on.

By the way, have I mentioned you look awesome?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Brand New Office

I don't think I mentioned it before but I got a new office for Christmas. Well, I got a new office and it happened to come just in time for the holidays. See, since my position was brand spankin' new and they filled it before they could get a new space up and running, for the last 6 months I have been in a temporary space. A closet really. A closet with all my office's filing cabinets in it. Not an ideal space by any stretch of the imagination. In order to even close the door I would have had to remove my desk chair, which kind of defeats the purpose of closing the door. Also, my back was to everyone and therefore my screen was visible to everyone. (This may have been a good thing productivity-wise.)

Anyway, I am now in my new corner office. I only got the corner because it's the smaller of the two offices in our new suite, not because I'm all that special or anything. So now I'm sitting here post-holiday break not wanting to dig into my To Do list. Instead I want to blog and enjoy the fact that no one can see me. I'm sure I will eventually get up the impetus to do some work but for now, la dee da.

Happy New Year!

So I'm a day late. Whatever. I was busy. Sort of. I was alternately working on my thesis and sitting on my duff. Despite the many hours of doing very little I had a breakthrough and finished one of the steps of my thesis. Here's a breakdown of the steps I've completed and still have to do. (Reminder - my thesis is an oral history of the town I grew up in.)

1) Perform interviews (about 19)- DONE
2) Transcribe interviews - DONE
3) Edit interviews so that when someone speaks about school (or some other subject), all the times they speak about that subject are together. Also edit to make it sound good. - DONE
4) Print out all interviews, literally cut them apart, sort the pieces by topic, and put them in folders - DONE
5)Go through each folder and determine how the pieces fit together to tell a story on that subject - DONE
6) Take the now sorted pieces and make them into a Word document by cutting and pasting those pieces from the various interviews - STARTED YESTERDAY
7) Once all the subjects are made into documents, determine how they go together to tell the big story, i.e. the thesis.
8)Write an anotated bibliography
9) Send the thesis piece by piece to my thesis advisor to edit.
10) Fill in the gaps with my own words and observations.
11) Write an intro.
12) Write my interviewees mini-bios.
13) Fix whatever my thesis advisor wants fixed.
14) Edit
15) Edit
16) Edit
17) Make sure my format jives with that of the thesis office.
18) Get signed off on my final version.
19) Turn it in.
20) Figure out if I actually want to walk in graduation.
21) Rejoice and bask in the rapture of being done.

That's it.
Actually, in the grand scheme of things, steps 6-21 won't be as hard as 1-5. At least I'll have a chunk of information to work with and can sort of see the final product. I'm in the home stretch people. The home stretch.