Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Better Today

Yesterday, the shuttle bus I was riding to work hit a woman and killed her. It was pretty much the most horrifying thing I've ever witnessed/been through.

I don't really want to go into detail, to be honest. My coworkers and family heard about it, asked me about it, and I answered their questions. The police have my statement. I think that once their investigation closes, they will find that it was simply a tragic accident. Our bus had a green light, the woman, who actually used to work at the same hospital as me, just stepped in front of the bus. Maybe she was distracted, maybe she had headphones on, maybe the "walk" light on the crossing signal was faulty and lit, I don't know.

What I do know is this - be careful out there. Pay attention. Look both ways when you cross the street, even if you have the light. Drive carefully - don't run red lights or blast out of an intersection as soon as the light turns green. More than anything else, be grateful you're alive, grateful for every day that you're given. Life is short, and can end so abruptly. Even if you're tired, stressed, sad or angry, be glad you're here. That's all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas from the Ground Up

My parents house come the first week in December is a Christmas the best possible way. My mother has amassed an impressive amount of Christmas "things" over the years: dishtowels, santas, angels, a full willow tree nativity set (which I love and envy!), dozens of ornaments from trips with my dad, a set of Christmas dishes, several Christmas cross stitch pictures that replace the nautical ones that normally hang on our walls, etc. It's a holiday wonderland without being too much - I know it probably sounds like too much, but it's all tasteful and lovely.

When it comes to decorating, I do try to copy my mom to a certain degree, I won't lie. I tend to like the same colors she does when it comes to paint, prefer hardwood to carpet, don't like fussy curtains or fussy throw rugs, don't like too much clutter. I think I add a little "travel flair" to our apartment with my relics from Africa, the small things we collected in Costa Rica and Jamaica, and a few things inherited from relatives here and there, including pictures from Aruba that are painted on butterfly wings that are backed with newspaper dated from the early 40's. Naturally when it comes to the holidays, I want to have a winter wonderland too, but with a little twist of Allison...but I have not spent the last 18 years or so collecting Christmas what to do?

Decorating is a lot of work, I have discovered, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have loved every second of it, every finger stabbed with a pin sewing a tree skirt, blisters from my circle punch for garland-making, every burn I've sustained from the glue gun. I'm started to slowly transform each room. Jam mocked me at first, but upon the official hanging of the first garland, he said "Wow. Looks good! I like it!" I am not quite finished with all the decor, but I think everything is going to come together nicely, and that excites me. I'll have to share some pics later!

As for the tree, that was a hilarious escapade. I wanted a live tree because that's what I'm used to, it's what I grew up with, and there's a nursery about 1 minute away from our apartment selling trees. I arrived there at 4:58 on a Monday night, with about two minutes to run around the lot and find a tree. Jamaal had said "don't get anything huge." I chose a modest-sized tree, only slightly taller than me (or so it seemed), paid for it, and was sent out with the "tree boy" to get it onto/into my Subaru. "It's my first day" the tree boy said. "It's my first tree" I replied. "What to we do?" asked tree boy. "I could just shove it in the back," he observed, "I have the same car, and I know I could fit this tree in the back of my Forester." "Uhhhhhh. I guess that'd be ok" was my stupid reply. Five minutes later, I'm driving home with the tailgate open, the hazards flashing, and a piece of fir tree stabbing me in the neck. Luckily the drive was short. I had been irritated by my husband's lack of enthusiasm for a Christmas tree, so I bitterly dragged the tree to the door by myself. It was light, and carrying it wasn't an issue. The truly large proportions of the tree did not hit me until I tried to drag it through our narrow back door and winding staircase. The tree was, basically, too fat. I turned it trunk first and yanked, squeezed it through the door and up the stairs into our living room. All traces of annoyance that had been on Jam's face (probably annoyed that I was so bitchy about the tree) were replaced by sheer amusement. "I'm so sorry!" I said, "I had NO IDEA how huge this tree would be once taken out of the tree lot and put in our home. Ohmygod. Sorry!!!!" I think Jamaal found the situation pretty funny. He was a great help when it came time to put the tree in my Target-purchased stand, which now seemed comically small. We managed though - we got the thing upright and even, and had to "straighten and redo" the whole stand process only one time. Our tilted apartment floors made everything a tiny bit of a challenge, but in what seemed like a short time, our tree was ready for the lights I had so lovingly picked out and purchased.

As for the lights, remember those berry lights I loved? The LED ones? Yeah, when we got to Target, there
was one box left. I bought those and some round lights, both in soft white, thinking "they'll match, and next year, I'll buy the berry ones for the tree, and use the plain rounds to decorate something else." I bought three boxes, thinking that there'd be plenty of yardage for our tree. Ha ha stupid. The three strands covered about half the tree. Not to be deterred, I arranged to get a ride home from work from my sister the following night so we could stop at the Target at South Bay for a more extensive search. She found two boxes of soft white led round lights. How she did this, I have NO idea, because all I could find were blue and pink. She's a rockstar. Thinking that five strands would seal the deal, I rushed home to complete the tree. I was short AGAIN. UGH. The following Thursday I went to two Targets, in Hanover and Abington, in search of more lights (because these were LED and a specific brand seemingly only sold at Target, I was trying to match what I had....if I weren't so frickin' type A, I would've gone to Home Depot, bought the first strand of soft white lights I saw, and called it a day). Anyways, my lights were gone. Totally gone. I finally dug out my old twinkle lights from my college dorm days, threw them on the tree, and was DONE. Actually, it doesn't look half bad:

Now that the ornaments are on it, and the rest of the house is in the Christmas spirit, it actually looks quite lovely. The family came over yesterday, and they all gave it their stamp of approval. I love how we went from fiasco to success :-) I love how I managed to create my own little Christmas explosion. Next up: decorations!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Isn't it kind of amazing when you an encounter an adult that will not take responsibility for his/her actions?

I work with a doctor. I'm in Boston, but she's at least a thousand miles away. She couldn't make a meeting and had her assistant try and set up a way for us to get in touch. I told her and her admin that it REALLY might not work and worse comes to worse, call my cell and I'll put her on speaker. The meeting comes. No calls. No emails. We have no way to get in touch with her, because I gave her MY cell and had no contact # for her office  (though this is my fault entirely, I should've asked for one...but to be fair, I was emailing her from the airport the whole time...still though, that bit is my fault). This morning I come in to find an email forwarded to me from my boss, and scroll down to find this whole big exchange about all the ways the other doc and her admin tried to get in touch with me and how my phone went right to voicemail (we had terrible reception in the conference room and NO INTERNET) and how the doc had a webcam and was ready to participate but she couldn't and she's *soooo* upset because there were things she had to say, etc, etc, etc, blah damn.

The thing is, it's not like she had to be at this meeting - there's not consequence for her not being there, and we weren't even able to discuss the things she had on the agenda, we need to schedule another call for that. My point is, why wouldn't you say "I guess we had technical difficulties and I wasn't able to join the call despite trying - can we schedule a call to catch up?" But no, it's "Allison's phone went right to voicemail and I tried to get in touch but SHE was unavailable. Now I don't know the status of my project.

Really? Grow up. Take some responsibility for your own sh*t. Ugh.

Pandora "Peaceful Christmas" *switching on*

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rage! Rage!

I wrote a rage work post....
Rage at the stats people, rage at my former boss, rage at the microwave hogs.
Rage, rage, and moRE RAAAGE.

Then I turned on Pandora's "Peaceful Christmas" station.....

And I kinda got over it.

Except the microwave rage...that's still there....don't hog it for five minutes, take your food out, eat it in front of the microwave, then decide it's not warm enough just as I'm about to warm up my leftovers. UNCOOL.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

32. Go to the Top of a Lighthouse

As we climbed to the top I said "Wait! I think this is on my 101 things to do in 1,001 days list!"

It was! I can't believe I actually completed a task on this list without any planning, completely last-minute on the fly. Love it!

Negril Lighthouse, Negril, Jamaica

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

I landed in Orlando

Figured out the rental cars, picked some subcompact thing, programmed the GPS and set out...

As I curved around an on-ramp and saw a marshy area with palms and egrets and looked out to the flat land beyond the highway, all I could think was "Kenya."

Could I be any crazier? Something somewhere every day reminds me of Africa... I suppose this is good in a way...I'm not forgetting it, it's always on my mind. Ha. I am sure everyone is sick of me talking about it too...but it's like malaria, it gets in your blood and it never never really goes away. Ever.

I wonder when I'm going back? I hope I don't have to wait too is really really lovely and wonderful.

In other news, I'm swimming with the dolphins tomorrow....which is nothing like anything I did in Africa, so for a while, I might shut up about it and just talk dolphins!