Tuesday, September 27, 2011

posts to come in the next few weeks

1. My experience as an amateur dog sitter.
2. a day without my cell phone
3. musings on the fall tv lineup
4. How the Tri-Cities has given me yet another reason to not move back and teach there.
5. My parents. They're getting old.

Get excited people.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summary of Summer: a few conclusions

1. Criticizing a female politician isn't sexist as often as we say it is. It's just, in most cases, leveling the playing field.

2. If I don't put a pile away before it becomes a pile, I don't stand a chance. Sorry roommates.

3. I will always be a person who has to juggle multiple responsibilities. Grad school finished? Sure I'll take on 3 other positions to fill its place.

4. Re-packaging fruits and veggies into single serving baggies creates more of a chance that I'll reach for said baggie instead of a cookie.

5. The west coast really is the best coast. Better weather, better sunshine, better bodies of water, better soda selection, better wide open spaces for road tripping. East coast is gaining ground with its occasional tally in the win column, but as of now it's not even a close race. Just don't ask me what that means for future living situations.

6. In my former life I think I was some important person's personal assistant. It's basically what I did this summer (again just one hat), but I was spankin good at it.

7. I really do want to work on my book goal before hitting 30 years old. Alyssa we need to pick a topic.

8. I am becoming the perfect blend of my parents. And by perfect I mean have taken on both of their neuroses and very few of their strengths. I can look forward to a future of increasing clumsiness, lack of spelling skills, awkward double fist pumping in the heat of the moment, excessive annoyance when businesses don't answer their phones/hire idiots to answer phones, a talent to telling a 20 minute story about nothing, and a propensity to be 20 minutes late to everything. Bring it on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday the 13th? time for shoes.

As someone with years of customer service experience under her belt (they don't call me the Slushie Queen for nothin), I've come to appreciate this usually thankless sector of work more than most I see. Nothing irritates me more than a pushy customer, whether it be a slightly botched order at a coffee shop or someone asking a question that could be answered by reading the large-print sign directly behind the employee being asked the question, usually at a louder than necessary volume.

As I work towards the Skinny Bitches 2011 program, I was in dire need of new tennis shoes. (I refuse to call them sneakers. It's too 1986). So as I perused the outlet mall last weekend with some friends, my eyes perked up at my preferred pair marked down by $10, enough to get me in the door of Famous Footwear. I tried on the 9 and, discouragingly, walked up to the front counter to place a home order for a half-size bigger. I had scoured the rack and its adjoining area for the size but saw no victory in sight for that day, but figured the sale was enough to motivate me to order them. As the woman scanned the box, her eyes lit up: "We have one pair in the size you need, according to the computer. We're going to find it." Now in most retail encounters, this would not have been the outcome. 10 minutes before the store is closing is not when most employees are at their peak energy level, especially not to dig through boxes to find a misplaced pair of Nikes.

After 10 minutes of insisting the home order would be fine, the other sales associate walked confidently to the front and said "these babies? you're taking them home tonight" as she handed her partner in crime the requested size. I was beside myself. Years of experience have taught me that another size is NEVER in the back and asking usually just annoys everyone in the store, customer and employee alike. But these two women, without overdramatised fuss or sounds of exasperation, calmly and confidently went above the call of duty.

So thank you, sales associates No. 1 and 2 at the Arundel Mills Famous Footwear on May 13th. I didn't get a chance to look at your nametags and my receipt didn't identify you by name, either. But at least someone should know that you made this service sector alumna proud.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

after 3/4 a container of hummus and a diet coke...

I feel content about...
My current accessories collection. After a life of neglecting them, I've accumulated a quite well rounded selection of necklaces, belts, and rings (although most people here would say the ring situation is out of control). Stacey and Clinton would be so proud.

I feel frustrated by...
Birthers. As I watch Anderson Cooper yet again basically call them all liars and frauds, I can't help but think we have much bigger fish to fry than what year a typewriter could have potentially been created that might prove the type in one box of the certificate of live birth is forged. Move on, people.

I feel ambivalent about...
The royal wedding. I don't really follow celebrity weddings in the first place, let alone one British celebrity to one normal person in a ceremony that will be at the ass crack of dawn. Again, move on people.

I feel liberated by...
Skirt weather. My calves are tired of being secluded from all daylight.

I feel unsure about...
The economy. Luckily Baltimore isn't a school district that (as of now) is laying off a large quantity of teachers, but as I look at the federal government basically scrambling for loose change in the couch and China sitting in its high-backed leather chair at a mahogany desk with a shifty sneer on its face, I can't help but wonder if I should be stockpiling bottled water and Spam in our sketchy basement.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Cleaning: 2011

Once I finish another bazillion loads of laundry I'll finally be able to do what I've need to do for the past 6 months: the closet purge. I've been telling myself that I'm out of hangers and can go this long without totally having laundry done because I'm in between seasons (it's been a record cold spring in Baltimore) or because most of my wardrobe is work and play appropriate; cardigans are the best invention for business casual since the trouser jean.

But as I look around at my perpetually cluttered life, I can't help but wonder if I just keep clutter, or in this case clothes, around because I'm scared of the possibility of losing the possibility. The possibility that if I just could find the perfect outfit it would somehow be the game changer in a situation. I obsess before an event or outing that I want to blend in while standing out, that I won't be too formal or too casual but at the same time won't look like everyone else. That somehow having 10 options to choose from means that the one perfect option will have to be in the mix. And that getting rid of these possibilities would mean getting rid of that one option, that one day could have made the difference somehow.

This is why I usually have to enlist consultants (Sarah or little bacon, in most cases), when the purge arrives. I need someone else to convince me that the dress really does make you look fat, or holding on to the 4th grade soccer trophy won't change the fact that you really sucked at soccer and they give every kid a trophy.

I haven't decided on a number yet for this year's purge. But I know that it's just plain selfish at this point to keep buying hangers instead of investing in the life I live in the clothes. Anyone sizes 8-12 is welcome to take dibs on the results.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

questions no one bothered to answer

I try to be OK with not being a "real" journalist for the time being. I really do. But when I see HUNDREDS of stories covering the avoided government shutdown, I expect to find at least one that goes beyond just "but what will we do about the cherry blossom festival?" Here are my suggestions for interviews, in place of regurgitating press releases, or (and how no one thinks plagiarism isn't a problem is lost on me) regurgitating other people's reporting without citing it:

1. What part of the budget allows for senators and representatives to be paid in a government shutdown, but not their staffers who do most of the actual work?

2. What would be the cost comparison of one day of missiles used in Libya to the combined budgets of Planned Parenthood, NPR, Teach for America, and Head Start? I can guess on this one without even asking a low-level appropriations intern.

3. Who forgot to change the desk calendar in Donald Trump's office? I'm pretty sure it's still stuck on April 1st.

4. How are some conservatives, who are so bend on sticking to the Constitution, reconciling making funds illegal for an act that the Supreme Court has deemed Constitutionally legal?

5. What is the process for admonishing elected officials for lying on the Congressional floor?

Luckily at least one staffer at the Washington POst came through with a great feature on the Capitol's "non-essential" staff and the shutdown's potential impact on them. Now if only the other 99 stories could bring their A game.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's: a one act play

On the phone with my parents:

: So, what are we gonna do on Friday? (They're coming to visit this week and I took the day off)
Me: Not sure yet, I have some stuff I need to do in the morning.
Dad: Like what? We're going to that Quaker school in the morning
Me: Yeah yeah I know, but I think I'll need to just drop you off so mom and I can take care of something.
Mom: ooh, what?
Me: Well I have an ultrasound.
(long pause) Mom: you're shitting me. Ok so what's the real news, did you total your car?
Me: Um, no. I mean I was gonna tell you guys when you got here but I really want you to come.
Dad: (silence)
Mom: you're shitting me. (long pause and heavy sigh) Oh, Joy. Oh, Joy. Oh, Joy. So what's your plan?
Me: I mean I didn't plan it. We just had those snow days and you know it happened.
(more heavy sighs from mom. Still silence from Dad)
Mom: Ok, well is the other participant involved at this point?
Me: Well he probably would be if I had remembered his name...

I had to break it off after about 10 minutes because my roommate was literally crying in hysterical laughter, and I was worried they'd show up tomorrow with a priest and every translation of the Bible in tow. It's all about quality over quantity when it comes to April Fools.