Wednesday, January 31, 2007

'tis the season

the lambing season, that is!
I read this lady's fine blog because she's a stitcher and lives in the general vicinity of my alma mater, plus, she's married to a farmer and has great farm stories. I truly miss Western Mass from time to time - it is quiet and peaceful and the pace of life is a tad bit slower, yet you are still in Massachusetts and still have that common masshole bond, which I totally love.
Anyways, give it a read. It'll make you long to leave your job in the city, don some carhartts and head west (if you're in Mass that is) where life isn't necessarily simpler at all, but it seems so.


Yesterday I was sitting peacefully in my office with 4 of my other coworkers.

A woman bursts in the door.

I don't even look up because if a woman is bursting in the door it's either Laura, who wasn't at work yet, my boss, or Sarah, a girl who sort of oversees our databases. I think, not too sure what she does. I see this woman making a beeline for me so I think "Sh8t, my boss" and start to close out the email I'm composing to Jam.

As I turn to look at this person, I realize it's not my boss. It's a person without a hospital ID, carrying a file folder. She stops at my desk and says "I'm supposed to meet Dr. X and he's not in the room he said he'd be in and now I can't find him and I need you to help me." I look at her dumbfounded. 1. I barely know Dr. X. I know who he is, he's the pr!ck who walks through the halls with his nose in the air and does not acknowledge your existence unless you have a MD. He also helps himself to seconds and thirds at our weekly conferences when there's barely enough food to feed the people who show up firsts. Other than that, I know nothing about him. 2. This is a private office, we're not anyone's office assistants, this is NOT our job.
In trying to be nice, I say "I know where his office is, let me point it out to you." I take the woman down the hall a ways and say "it's up there on the right." She walks away without a "thank you."

I return to my office and close the door with a groan. Everyone talks at once "can you believe that" "seriously?" "oh my GOD!" I say "this is why we need to keep the door shut!" Actually, this is not the first time we've had people barge in making demands. We've had people open the door and say "I printed something to your printer" barge into our office and start rifling through documents on the printer. We've had people want to use our phones or email someone or page someone. Once a woman barged in because she needed a tissue. Another time someone wanted the code to the bathroom, other times people want to know where the bathroom is. We even had a woman bitch us out because we didn't know where Dr. G's office was. She pulled a nutty right in our office screaming "WELL DO YOU OR DON'T YOU KNOW??!!!" It's all because we're right next to the conference room and I guess people assume that because we work in an office that's one big open room and not personal and private that we're receptionists or something, I don't know what. It's annoying too because our building is not that big and a square. If you can get to the Smith building and get on the right floor, you'll find what you're looking for.

Just as we settle down, the door bursts open again. Guess who's back? That's right, it's CRAZY. Again, she comes right to the edge of my keyboard, all up in my biz. "Yeah he wasn't there, page him for me?" Behind Crazy, Rochelle's jaw drops. "Ummm ok" I say. I open the intranet and start looking at the home page because I have know earthly idea how to page someone. "I'm actually not quite sure how to page someone" I say. The woman shifts her weight from foot to foot and kind of whines "you don't." She sights. Luckily, other Allison jumps in and says "Here, I'll do it" and Crazy migrates to the edge of her keyboard. "Ok," Allison says, "you want to page Dr. X, alrighty, and what number would you like him to call back?" "Oh ha ha" laughs Crazy, "I don't have a phone here. He'll need to call one of your extensions." At that point, I've had enough "LOOK" I shout, "wouldn't this be something that the reception desk at the front should be handling?" "Yea.." starts Allison, but Crazy interrupts her "No, no now I want YOU to do it. I want him to call me HERE at this extension." Rochelle's jaw drops again. "FINE, " says Allison, paging Dr. X

Because Dr. X is a jerkstore he didn't call back for 10 minutes. For 10 whole minutes Crazy stands in our office, right in the middle, shifting from foot to foot, scrutinizing our pictures, our files, US, everything. Finally Allison's phone rings. The conversation sounds like this "Yeah, I have her here.....excuse me??.....dead silence dead silence foreverrrrrr....Fine, 3rd floor Fine." She says to Crazy "he wants you to go to the third floor, he'll meet you at the elevators there." "How do I get there?" she asks. We explain where the elevators are. "Ok Thanks!" she says.
We shut the door again and hope she doesn't come back. Allison then says that Dr. X wanted one of us to walk the lost soul to a different building a block away so she wouldn't get lost. 'That's why I was silent for so long. That' s not my job. I want to be helpful, but there's a limit, and that limit is getting my coat on and walking some woman two blocks to meet Dr. X when he was supposed to meet her here. We don't even work for him!!"

As if that wasn't enough, Dr. X calls back 5 minutes later demanding to know where Crazy is. "She's not HERE yet" he says. "Well," says Allison "I'm sure she'll make it." She slams the phone down.

I think we need to get a sign for our door that says "PRIVATE."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


1. have started posting daily pictures (you must scroll to the bottom of the page to see them!)
2. ran 4.3 miles last week, walked unknown # I forget!
3. have walked 3 miles this week, 1 weight workout, 1 pilates workout
4. have accomplished NO WORK TODAY! grrr.
5. Made a 37 item to do list :)

More later :P

Friday, January 26, 2007

Things I would like to

Take Part In:
100 miles by April 1st
I saw this on LiveJournal and on some of my favorite crafty blogs. You can swim, run, walk, job or bike 100 miles by April. I will have to figure out this week's mileage. I know I should be around 6 running miles plus more walking miles.

100 books in 2007
I believe I saw this one on LiveJournal. I've already read at least 1 book in '07, but I won't count it because it was one of my all-time favorites (Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles) and I was rereading it for at least the third time!

Put daily photos on the blog - especially since I have a digital camera!


Make my office a more pleasant place to work and live. This is what it looks like:

Ugh, oppressively boring!

More crafting for charities

So doing this one, already working on my squares.

Love this too, and it's close to home.

hmmm I'm sure I'll have more to post later. That's it for now!!

6. Count Your Blessings

Ok, so I was going to do the blessing post yesterday, but I was feeling quite unblessed. I was going to go on and on about how it was really difficult to post because the following things have happened to me in the month of January:

death of great auntie
contraction of norovirus with vomiting and diarrhea
train derailment and missing of first day of classes
pet bird picking open fatty tumor on chest and bleeding everywhere; death seem iminent
spilling entire venti latte in school backpack
man at Subway shortchanging me $10
Patriots heartbreaking loss to Colts 38-34
getting bit by a parrot - a really bad bite (see pictures)

falling walking out of Tufts parking garage and cutting my knee and palms and ripping my favorite Ann Taylor Loft pants (see pictures)

All these things amongst other small tragedies. Then I started reading my favorite blogs and realized that January is a cruel month in general that's hard on a lot of people. In fact, some people have just had a crapass year. Some people are having struggles with their kids. For some, it's just so freakin' RAINY! Honestly, my problems seem so trivial. I should know better too, I KNOW that. A ton of really and truly crapass things could've happened to me - my car could've died or my house could've been destroyed. I could've caught a deadly disease. I do know that I am lucky and fortunate, etc, but seriously, you can only do so many bad things (spilling venti latte) or have so much bad luck before you start looking for un chico grande as my friend and I used to joke in high school: The big boy. That's why I've been walking more slowly. Looking both ways. Not tailgating. My luck is only borderline right now. The big unlucky thing could come and get me at any time, so I can't put myself in a risky situation.

I have two theories about my luck lately. Theory 1: I am being taught a lesson because I have been uncharitable/ungrateful for the things I do have. Minor bad things are happening to make me realize that suckage, true suckage, does not exist in any facet of my life. I have a great family, friends, a house to live in, a crapton of food. I have a job, I'm going to graduate school. I have my health, my limbs, all my teeth, and hell, I even have a car that works! Life is good and I am blessed.

Theory 2: My luck in the near future is going to be so INSANELY good, that I am being humbled before the luck hits, so I will be all the more grateful for it when it arrives. This makes me think that perhaps I should go out and buy lottery tickets. I really can't though, I spent way too much last night replacing my ripped pants with brand new Ann Taylor Loft pants. And jeans. And two shirts. Bless me.

Sunrise this morning just before 7am, from the MBTA Parking Garage.
My car thermometer said:6 F. And that's without a windchill factor!
Stay warm, everyone.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Saga of my absence from Blogland (with pictures)

So I've been posting here and there, but not with any regularity. I have a long explanation. Here it is:

Things sort of drifted along through the holidays. Christmas was lovely, and I went to NYC for New Year's and it was fabu. Then the downward spiral happened:

January 2nd: My great auntie who was suspected to be at least 92 years old is taken to the hospital my ambulance. She had been sick with the "flu" which we took to mean the head flu, the fever and congestion flu. She meant the stomach flu - the one she caught from spending Christmas with Maine relatives. She had refused all visitors until her neighbor found her collapsed in her house after making her promise to go to the doctors and had to call the ambulance. The ER determines that a portion of her colon is dead. Bad news. She refuses all medical intervention besides pain management.

January 3rd: I go to the hospital with flowers for a visit. Things look bad.

January 4th: My great auntie Elinore dies. We did find out in the course of things that she was really 95. Now a lot of people brush you off when you tell them that your 95 year old auntie died; they say "oh she had a good life" or 'she was so old." You know what? that really doesn't help. I KNOW she was old, I KNOW she had a good life. But she was very fit and feisty and was living in her own house up until the end. This was unexpected. I know the woman wasn't immortal, but still, this is not what we expected at all. And it wasn't easy, we were all still sad, especially my father, as she was really his last close relative. She was a wonderful lady. Oh yeah, she could play favorites and drive you crazy, but she totally loved us, and she was amused by most everything we did, as you can see in this old snapshot (it's a smile on her face, I swear :) ):

January 5th-9th: Life goes by in a haze. We have to deal with nasty extended family throughout the funeral arrangements. We're not looking forward to the funeral.

January 10th: "The Funeral." My last remaining great aunt arranges to have a "family viewing" of the body before the wake begins. As far as I recall, Aunt Elinore never wanted anyone looking at her dead body. Creepy! My sister and I wait outside the room until the casket is shut, despite the glares of family (not immediate family, they were like "right on, do what you think is right.) The wake was a triumph for our family though, because it was clear that we, despite the black cloud that the extended family tries to send over our family, despite the fact that we don't carry as much weight as they do (in their opinion) and despite the fact that certain cousins call my father the "black sheep" of the family (HA!) were the ones who really KNEW our Aunt. The wake was held in two rooms where the dividing wall had been slid back. Half of the room was the extended Maine family, the other half was our entire family and many many friends who knew and loved Aunt Elinore. Not that it was a competition, but we were winning. On the was to Mass, we were escorted by four Massachusetts State Police motorcycles. Ooo-rah, as my dad would say. It was badass and I know A.E. was looking down from the heavens thinking the same thing, especially when we brought East Milton Square to a DEAD STOP. It makes me laugh just thinking about it. The mass was lovely, I was so pleased that it was after being to so many impersonal funerals, the priest really put a nice touch on it. There was still a lot of Catholic things that I feel weird about (no offense to anyone, seriously, it's just what you're used to) but all in all, a lovely mass. The burial was, you know, a burial. Straightforward and simple. We then returned to Aunt Elinore's house, which was kind of weird, but most practical. There was, to our surprise, plenty of food and well-organized. I caught up and met a lot of family members and had great conversations with them. THe executor of the estate (don't even get me STARTED) was fairly well behaved and informed my sister and I that we were inheriting jewelry. Uh, OK. It was a very long day, and much beer was consumed. When we got back home, these flowers were waiting for us, plus a box containing my new digital camera. I shamelessly snap pictures of Lily for half the night because he is so damn cute.

January 11th - just chillaxin'

January 12th. THE DAY OF INFAMY. I wake up at 5 with my stomach burning. Stoooopid freakin' heartburn, I think, and roll over. Amy wakes me at 7. "How do you feel?" she asks. "Why?" "Because Dad is throwing up in the bathroom." I sit up and hear my father vomiting. He's never ever sick and he has a stomach made of steel and dragons. As soon as I sit up I realize I don't feel so good. "How are you?" I ask Amy. "Ummm. Ok I think, queasy, but not real bad." "I'm going to call Mom" I tell her. I call my mom's work number from my cell. It rings forever, no one picks up. Amy realizes that this means she's probably at home. We go into our parent's bedroom and my mom is in the fetal position. "Up since two, vomiting, diarrhea" she says. "The soup?" I ask, referring to what we had for dinner last night. "No" she says, "this is Maine." In one horrible minute we realize that Aunt Elinore had been in Maine for Christmas, where the family was sick with"flu." Stomach flu. She came home and was sick - what if she was sick with a virus and THEN had a colon problem? What if her throwing up was really the stomach bug? And what if the cousins didn't CLEAN her house before having everyone over?? Phone calls confirmed it. Here's who got sick: all four of us, my grandparents, my aunt, my dad's best friend, his wife, his daughter, my dad's cousin from Connecticut, his wife, his daughter, my cousins from Florida, who actually stayed in Auntie's house. Here's who didn't get sick: Everyone from MAINE. Food poisoning? No. Norovirus? Yes.

14 hours later we emerge from the fog of vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. We're all dehydrated and weak. My dad brings us the elixir of life, ginger ale. I sleep like a rock for 12 hours.

January 12th. We're all on the mend. I still feel sick, but am improving, eating and drinking. I've broken all the blood vessels around both eyes, my sister has broken blood vessels in her cheeks - they're from the heaving, there was a lot of it. We take it slow, but we have to clean, we have to strip beds and bleach floors and do everything we can to eradicate the virus from our house.

January 13th-15th: Mad recovery time. We do nothing but laundry and watch football.

January 16th: HAIRCUT AT LIQUID. Love it. Love the guy who did it too, he made me tea and told me that 90's movies were full of bad hair. He rocks :)

January 18th: First day of second semester classes. I rise at 6am, get dressed and get out the door at 6:30. It's freezing cold, but there's hardly any traffic and I zip right to the subway station. Sunrise is beautiful, and there is nothing foreboding about this day. Somewhere between North Quincy and JFK, my train derails. Ha, no problem, it'll move in a few minutes right? Wrong. For an hour, I glance at my watch and wipe my sweaty palms on my pants. I don't make it to Tufts until 10 minutes after my class ends. Damn.

January 19th: I make it to Davis Square on time. I spend 10 minutes waiting for the Tufts shuttle. Nothing. I start to walk to school. Time starts running out. I start running. I get to class beet red, sweaty and winded. The class is full of catty girls, catty bio nerd girls, the worst kind of undergrad. I have the worst luck and I start to wonder what the heck I did to make karma take such a bite out of my ass.

The bonus? I have a digital camera to document almost all of it.

So things are back on track I think. I feel optimistic about next week. Maybe it's because January is nearly over! Maybe it's because I have faith in the team that's gonna win it big this week. Maybe it's because I'm just a hopeless optimist, I don't know! It's been a hectic three weeks though, and I just KNOW it's got to get better than this. That being said, I'm going to go home and run errands. It's pay day and I'm feeling rich. Maybe I'll even go to JoAnn's for fabric. Such a bad girl. Happy Weekend all!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

5. Be a Sage

Be a sage. Ha. I try not to give out advice to people. It keeps you out of trouble. That way if someone asks you for advice and you wave them away saying "oh no, ask someone else" you won't be blamed if something goes wrong. In my new little book I'm following, #5 is "Be a Sage" so here I go. I am going to give you advice on 3 things, even if they sound like stupid Cosmo column. They're three things we used say in Kenya "love life and the pursuit of happiness." My friend Kristie would play a mock news reporter and interview one of us, pretending that some nerdy scientific discovery we had made. "OK," she'd say, tossing her nonexistent flowing hair (she gave herself pixie-like buzz cut a few weeks intot he program. "Allison" she'd say in a fake cheery voice "everything you know about lovelifeandthepursuitofhappinessGO!!"
Here it is.

Don't be afraid of long distance relationships. Oh yeah, everyone tells you "don't do it." Everyone told me not to. My boss said to my face "those things never last." My coworker used to cry about how she was 45 minutes away from her boyfriend. I am a healthy 4 1/2 hours away from New York City and I am telling you to do it. Don't let distance stand in your way. It's hard, I won't lie to you. Sometimes it's so hard I can't even explain the way it'll hurt when you can't tell someone something the second you get home, or curl up in bed next to them or just see their face in person. As a pretty pratical person I myself have been shocked to find this flutter of loneliness in the weirdest places - I'm an indepedent woman, why is my heart sinking when I see a couple on the train sharing a newspaper? or after I watch a sad episode of Grey's Anatomy and I just want to climb in bed and have someone to snuggle up to? I'm in a relationship I shouldn't feel anything. But it gets you. Communication is hard. Yeah, there's the phone, there's email. And there are about a million ways to misinterpret what gets said on either one. Sometimes you just can't fix it either, what gets said - one of you might not even understand that something has gone badly and the other is left on the other end of the computer or the phone completely hurt and upset while you go about your life as normal laughing with coworkers, going to the soda machine or catching the 11 o'clock news. Then there's the not seeing each other for what seems like forever. And when you do see each other there's never enough time. All this and I'm telling you to go for the long distance thing? In truth, it's probably not really harder than having a relationship with someone down the street or even in your own house. They all take work, they take time and effort. The long distance thing is just a factor out of what could be many factors affecting any couple. And it's a factor worth dealing with when you've found the one.

I've lived nearly a quarter of a century, which is no time at all, yet freaky when I phrase it that way. What have I learned? Love your old relatives. They might drive you crazy, but suddenly one day they'll be gone and so will your link to the past. Visit them and ask them questions and make them tell you their stories. Don't hold a grudge. I'm a bit Irish, I know the old adage "we Irish forget everything but the grudges." DON'T DO IT. It's so not worth it. If you have a grudge and don't want to have one anymore, may I recommend a friend named Captain Morgan. I got sh*tfaced on Captain and Cokes one night and resolved all the old grudges I had. And while those old friends aren't my friends anymore, we smoked the figurative peace pipe that night. Since then, I haven't had any grudges, not real ones. I'm not saying "don't get mad" because hell, I have a temper, a good one too (must be the damn Irish in me, though the Scots are stubborn) and sometimes you just need to get that anger out, but don't hold on to it. Not to sound like a cheesy email chain letter, but if you died tomorrow would you want people to come to your funeral? I would. I'd want a whole freakin' parade, I'd want the traffic to stop my funeral would be so big. Not gonna happen if you hold too many grudges. I truly believe that forgiveness is divine. Not to sound too, you know, hippie-ish or whatev. Take care of your body. I will pause so you can roll your eyes. Seriously, I work in a cancer hospital where people who've taken care of themselves their whole lives get sick. So why should you take care of yourself when you could live it up because you might get cancer anyways you ask? Because for every person who took care of themselves there are 5 who did not. They smoked too much, drank too much, didn't exercise, had a very very bad diet. They didn't go to the doctor when something felt funny, or they had a headache or a weird mole or a strange bump. Please, take care of your body, because it the end you can lose everything, but as long as you have your health, you've still got something. Don't be afraid to treat your body to a bonus once in a while either. A pedicure, even the cheap ones you find in the city can make you feel like a new person.

Pursuit of Happiness
Do something you love, or at least work towards whatever means it takes to do that thing. Don't languish in a thankless job for years only to become bitter and washed up. One of the best teachers I had in high school was a man who turned 38 and realized that he didn't want to sell office furniture anymore, he wanted to be a teacher. He cried when we, his first students, graduated. I think he knew then for sure that he had made the right choice and the going back to school for undergrad courses and slogging through the masters work at night was totally worth it. I bitch and moan about working where I do sometimes, and I complain about hauling my butt to grad school, but while I'm there I can't help but think "this is my way out." Find your way out, and go do something you love. Even if you have to go back to school, even if it will cost you money. Even if it's something small, like taking the train to work everyday instead of driving because it raises your blood pressure THAT MUCH. Do it. Your happiness will be worth every penny. Find something good to do for the world. It can be small. It can be picking up a piece of trash. It can be planting a tree. It can be giving a cold person your gloves or sharing an umbrella. These things make 2 people happy instead of 1. Maybe your small thing will turn into something big. Paying for my Kenyan friend's sister's school fees was one of the best things I ever took on. So many people have contributed to her schooling that I can't even name them all and enough people have heard about it that maybe, just maybe, they'll try something like that on their own. It makes me feel good to know I'm helping someone. Even going to Foster Parrots makes me feel good. There's a bird there now who is so lonely, and just needs to be loved. It is gratifying to be needed, even by a little bird who just wants you to put your hand under his wing and hold his little body close to yours so he can feel your warmth and your heartbeat and finally feel safe and wanted. Stand up for what you believe in and don't let people walk all over you, but also be willing to listen to the opinions of others. Be willing to change your mind. Be willing to change. Never stop being your own person.

I think my sagely work is now finished. Maybe you will laugh at my advice but maybe you won't. It's all I have to give to you really. Maybe it will get you to think or write your own bits of wisdom down to share with all of us.

For Kristie because I've finally answered her "questions"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

4. Exploit the Youth

So today I am supposed to be posting about something a kid said to me and then using that for my blog. Honestly though, I'm so rarely around children these days I actually have nothing much to contribute. The last time I was around young children was when I visited Jam over New Year's. I did exploit them, however, in order to beat Jamaal at the game of "Sorry" so I could lord my board game superiority over him for one short day ;)

Anyways. I was hoping to have pictures to post, but I don't. In their infinite greatness BH got my camera to me OVERNIGHT. I paid $6 extra for 2-day shipping and they still manage to get it to me overnight. I love those guys! What's even nicer is that despite the fact that we were gone from our house for a total of 12 straight hours yesterday, no one touched the box on our porch. It's not like we live in a high-crime neighborhood or anything, but it's always nice to get your stuff unharmed. So yeah, I have no pictures because I brought all the camera stuff to work except for the CD that came with the camera, containing all of the important software you need to jive camera and computer. I mean maybe it's not absolutely necessary, but I'll be honest, I don't have the technological balls to plug my brand new camera into my computer without the software and go against everything the manual is telling me! I do have my camera with me though and I think I'll make a little felted case for it and carry it pretty much everywhere I go. You never know what you're going to see.....

In place of camera stuff, I've been contriving to-do lists in my head - sure there are the extraordinarily boring ones like: dust, vacuum everywhere and under everything, clean bird cages and fish tank, but I like the more exciting ones: make felted camera case, make 2 house warming presents, work on log cabin quilt for class. Or the even better ones: "Stuff I want to buy" New and bigger cage for Lily, camera tripod, fabric for St. Patrick's and Valentine's pajamas. Now that's the good stuff.

I'm going to cut this post off now. I'm so tired. Yesterday's funeral events were exhausting and like I mentioned, took us away from home for 12 hours. There's something about the whole process that is incredibly stressful, even though you really can't do anything. The person has died, the funeral home has pretty much taken over the burial process, the minister/priest/shaman does the funeral prayers, etc, and then someone else takes care of putting the casket in the ground and everything. So why am I so tired? I think it's the emotional aspect of it, plus meeting a crapton of cousins, trying to be fakely nice to so many people ( though I pat myself on the back for it. I may not like some of my extended family and I might not like what they did to people like my father and grandmother, but I'll be damned if they could ever go through life describing me as anything but "lovely" grrr!!) and then getting to fly solo to pick up everyone's dinner that just wiped me out for good. Of course, I have bookclub tonight :P I might go only for a while though. Grey's is on with a new episode!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

3. Give Us Something

This post is supposed to be about meaningful gifts.
I come from a family that believes that Christmas, Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day all warrant gifts, and also anniversaries - though gift giving and receiving is limited to the couple whose anniversary is taking place. I say this because I was verbally assaulted at work when I said that I was shocked that some families didn't do any gifts. I just never thought about it, OK? You would've thought I said "I think Saddam Hussein was a good person" LOL.
Anyways, because my family is into gifts (not ridiculously into it, like "Honey I got your a Mercedes for your sweet 16) I've been blessed enough to receive many, many meaningful gifts throughout my 25 or so years. So many that I can't even list them. I would just go on and on. I think I will try and mention just 10 for now, sticking with the top ten list, but these are in absolutely no order whatsoever.

1. Books. I've received books since basically before I was born. My mom is a librarian, and started out as a children's librarian, and she is a children's book guru. She bought books starting maybe even before she married my father, and then handed them down to me and my sister. I have two bookcases full in my room, plus some stacked here and there, nevermind the rubbermaids I have in storage full of books. I am grateful for these gifts because I swear to God that that's what made me a good student and an imaginative person - reading and being read to from a very young age. I was given thick 100+ page books as soon as I could read, as was my sister. My mom and her librarian best friend were always feeding us books - my sister could read by the time she was 4 because of all the books in the house, as well as the fact that I was learning to read when she was 4 and she hijacked my mad skillzzzzz. Anyways, we both turned out to be fairly normal, imaginative and smart ladies. Thanks to my parents and the books they gave us.
2. Savings bonds. My great aunt Elinore gave us savings bond twice a year every year. When I was little, I didn't get it. Now that I am older, OH HOW I GET IT. They're maturing in the fireproof safe in my basement. For as long as they need to.
3. Cameras. I think I first got a camera for Christmas in 1990. Since then I've bought 2 and been given 3. See the thing is that I believe that I've observed so much by looking through the lens. I'm hyper by nature, and while I don't have ADD or anything, when I'm on vacation I want to take everything in. Photography slows me down. Some people complain that they miss the sights and sounds when they're responsible for the pictures, and resent the fact that they're the one carrying the camera. Not me. It gives me time to pause and observe. For nearly 3 months, my eye was pasted to the viewfinder of my dad's Canon AE-1 Program, while I traversed the Kenyan countryside. I saw things no one else did, I'm sure of it. I had a nice zoom on there, and I would zero in on something and just watch it. I took time to compose shots, sunsets, savannas. I got up early to go on birdwalks and game drives because I knew the light would be good. You wouldn't think that a hunk of metal and wind-bits could impact your life like that, but it has.
4. Sewing machine. I got it for Christmas this year. I'm ecstatic because this means I can make gifties for other people, it makes me so happy!
5. Quilt. A girl I went to school with made me a quilt for graduation. It was one of the single-most touching gifts I've ever received. The amount of time and effort she had put into it all the while maintaining her busy schedule at school AND keeping it all a secret amazed me. It is on my bed every single night.
6. Birds. My grandparents bought me 2 parakeets for my 17th birthday. I think it was my 17th. Those sweet little things brightened my day. Plus they were the pathway that led to us letting Lily infiltrate our household, led the way to volunteering at Foster Parrots, and brought Lucy and Charlie Brown, the handmaiden and butler to Satan into our blessed home, LOL.
7. Jewels. Oh yeah, Allison's gotten some jewelry in her life. My birthstone is a diamond, and I always thought that this was an inaccessible stone. Not at all. I've received some beautfiul things with tiny, perfect and tasteful diamonds on them. Some of my favorite jewelry is fake though: I treasure my grandma Kitty's pearls and pearl ring. Fake as hell, but they were hers and she loved them and that's why I love them. I also treasure the necklace my friend made for me. I was shocked when I opened it, it was so lovely, and then it was all the more special when she said that she had designed it and made it herself. My sister gave me a necklace of baltic amber for graduation. I love it. She also bought me a black pearl drop this Christmas. Jam's gifts of jewelry are always stunning. I consider myself especially lucky for his exquisite taste in jewelry - so many women complain of receiving a blender or dust buster for Christmas. Jam gives me jewelry, and nice jewelry too, unique and creative things, like black pears and tanzanite. Gorgeous.
8. My painted box. My friend Rachel surprised the hell out of me one birthday while we were in college with a painted box. On the top of it there is a scene of rolling hills and a giraffe striding across the plains. THEN SHE TOLD ME SHE PAINTED IT HERSELF. Where had she been hiding this hidden talent? I DON'T KNOW! I adore it though, it's always had a special place in my room, right near my computer where I can see it every day.
9. College. Ok, it's not a gift as in a gift you put under the tree, but my parents paid for a huge chunk of it. I don't even want to know what they could've done with the money instead - we'd probably have a vacation home and 3 new cars, but they made sacrifices and helped me out a crapton and never once said "You can't go to Smith because it's too expensive." That makes me smile.
10. The small things. People have given me any number of little things over the years that have touched me more than they know. My cousin Catherine gave me a small pendant shaped like a swallow - I adore it. During finals senior year, my neighbors Krystal and Kate made me an African animal mobile out of paper. My friend Melu hunted down some Nars "Chinatown" nail polish when we were at school and gave it to me for Christmas, no easy feat since the nearest place selling Nars was probably 50 miles away. My "big sister" in college gave me a mini music box that plays "when you wish upon a star" which I still wind and listen to once in a while. My sister brought me back a lacquered box from Spain which is one of my dearest treasures.

It doesn't take much to make me happy but my friends and family still put so much thought and kindness into their gifts. I'm so lucky :)

I'll post some pictures later I hope. With the present I bought myself today: a Fuji FinePix F20 digital camera. BOOYAH!

Monday, January 08, 2007

2. Fess Up

Ahhh I took a long blogging break there. It's because my Great Aunt Elinore passed away. Or died because "passed away" is an annoying term. The person died. As in DEAD, DEATH. No need to pretty it up! Anyways, my auntie died and there was just not too much to say about it. I actually wanted to write a nice tribute to her, but I'm not ready yet (because I need a picture, which means I'll have to 1. find one of her, which will be hard 2. scan it, which is tricky because I am lazy). For now we'll leave at this: she was awesome - 95 years old and living in her own house. She was independent and feisty to the very end, and we'll miss her, but I'm glad my Grandma Kitty has someone to hang with again, as they were fairly inseparable when GK was alive.

Anyways, it's confession time according to my book.

Here are some confessions:

1. I crap in the work bathroom. Now that's not really anything scandalous, but few people would confess that they actually do it, kind of like peeing in the shower, which I have done before, but not with anywhere near the regularity with which I crap at work. I DO. I AM A WORK CRAPPER.
2. I pick my nose from time to time. Ok, this is so foul and germy, I totally understand. But I have allergies and the nostrils, they get clogged. Sometimes I have a nostril emergency and must evacuate. This is especially true in places with a lot of dirt - in Africa, we all picked our noses. They don't really have kleenex in pocket packs over there, snot rockets are a way of life, and when there's a lot of dirt up there, you do what you need to.
3. I tend to be a non-violent person. I don't kill bugs in my house if I can help it. I wouldn't hit a child unless they did something dangerous. As a rule, I hate hunting and guns make me nervouse. That being said, my father bought a 10 gauge automatic shotgun yesterday. He let me hold it and I raised it to my shoulder and looked down the barrel. I was overcome with a feeling of power and felt slightly god-like "the power of life and death lies in my hands." In that moment, I wanted to do something I thought I never would: learn how to shoot a gun and kill defenseless animals. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!!!!
4. Sometimes I drive rudely on purpose simply to uphold the reputation that Massachusetts drivers are a**holes.
5. I farted in the middle of the transcendentalist exam in 10th grade. It was me. I confess. I also fart on the train and at work. Often. I'm sure this isn't a real confession cause people know I do it.
6. Sometimes after I go to the gym, I go to the store and buy a coke and a Snicker's bar, cause hey, I earned it! Luckily I stopped buying Drake's pies after I found out they contained 90% of your daily saturated fat. That's just gross.
7. I hit the garage with my car waaaaaay more times than I actually admitted.
8. I wear pants that say "dry clean only" nearly every day (not the same pair, many pairs that are dry clean only.) Truth is, unless I get something obvious on them, they're only dry-cleaned about twice a year. ewww!
9. While on the bus or train, I put my headphones in my ears and pretend to listen to my iPod while I really listen to other people's conversations. So far I have heard about: the entire mental history of several psych ward patients at a nearby hospital (thank you, ladies on peter pan bus) and who really robbed a local restaurant, in addition to countless diatribes against various people, ranging from the president right down to so and so's ex boyfriend.
10. I have voted Republican. It's true. I did it because I can't commit to either party - they're both evil.

There are my 10 confessions. No murders, no robberies, pretty mundane stuff. Maybe I'll go do something bad later to convince myself I lead a wild and crazy life, but probably not, hahahah.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why I am a bad person

Because when I saw this, I cackled:


Awesome, a F, a new academic low for me. I've never failed anything before. Aw, well, first time for everything I suppose! This is why I'm not crying about it, just for clarification:

So there it is, my beautiful and lovely F! Unfortunately I do not have my ecological modeling grade yet. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

1. Reign Supreme

Maggie Mason writes in "No One Cares What You Had For Lunch"

"All of us should just learn to tolerate stupid people. But what if we didn't have to? If you ruled the world, things would be better, at least in a few small ways."

Here are the Top 10:

1. Strollers would have a dedicated car on the subway, thus making all other cars stroller free.
2. Spike heels would be programmed to collapse when in contact with human flesh.
3. Bostonians would get over themselves and learn to use the Charlie Card and shut up about it.
4. People with SUV's would stop driving them. If not, they'd at least learn to park them without having to go back and forth 7 or 8 times to get into a parking space.
5. The counters in the women's bathroom would be heated so the excess water that's always hanging around on the counters in ladies' rooms would evaporate. That way if you made the mistake of leaning against the counter while washing your hands, you wouldn't have a water line across the front of your shirt.
6. Tampons would come in a box of 100 for 3.99. I am so damn sick of tampon boxes getting smaller and smaller while the price stays the same (4.79 for a box of 18? Are you sh*tting me?!)
7. There would be a gate at the end of the self-checkout line that would prevent the next person from encroaching the register before the person already there finishes their transactions. It would only open when the current purchaser takes their receipt.
8. People who leave their carts in the parking lot or take up handicapped spaces when they don't have handicapped tags and aren't handicapped would be flogged. Ok, not flogged, that's too violent. Maybe just shocked with an electrical current when they tried to get into the grocery store??
9. There would be a book drop that led to the local library in every home.
10. We'd have Mountain Day, just like Smith.