Wednesday, September 28, 2005

CUBE CULTURE

I’ve written about office cubes before. Now I’m going to write about them again. Some of you may think I am writing about ‘work’ but I’m not. As all bloggers know no one should ever write about work. If you write about work you will get fired. That is why I am not writing about work I am writing about office cubes as a general topic. So there.

I just moved desks at my office and inherited someone’s old cube. I’m pretty fascinated by how some people take cube culture so seriously. One woman on the floor has a cube full of birdhouses in various sizes. Another guy’s cube is a shrine to the New York Mets. Just the other day I walked down the hall to drop off a form at someone’s cube and she had a hot plate bubbling apple cider, tiny pumpkins lined up on her cube wall and was fluffing a frilly throw pillow on her chair. It was like a mini B&B.

These observations of cube culture aren’t criticisms. In fact I could probably benefit from a little expression in my cube instead of the current barren wasteland it currently is. The desk I inherited on Monday was big and dusty – no fault to its previous owner it just was. I immediately introduced myself to the cube mates around me. I felt like it was freshman year wondering who liked what kind of music, who stayed up late at night and more importantly who might eat lunch with me on my first day. I started using Windex like a madman to remove all the dust and then promptly stopped afraid my new cube mates would think I was a compulsive neat freak.

Under the desk I inherited were the following items:

- 1 pair of black, ladies shoes
- 5 Sweet N’ Low sugar packets
- Pistachio shells
- 1 rubbery wipe board
- massive amounts of change mostly pennies
- a good amount of soy sauce packets
- plastic utensils

And finally a huge amount of various, unrecognizable, Ergonomic office items including footrests and back and elbow pads and wrist holders. It was like a custom made cube meant for Stephen Hawking. Totally bizarre. I contemplated trying to figure out all the items and their purpose but instead stuffed them in an empty copy paper box and left them at the end of the hall.

Overall the transition as a whole went pretty smoothly even if it took most the day. It shouldn’t have taken that long but I don’t know what was wrong with me. I think I was resisting the transition to some degree. I’ve never been good with transition despite how minor. I spent half the day walking from my old desk back to my new one (just down the hall) back to my old desk and then back again to my new one. Each time I carried only three items at a time. Three pencils. A notebook. Then back again.

In first grade my teacher wrote a comment in the ‘additional comments and observations’ section of my report card. She wrote ‘I’ve observed that K resists transition’. She also wrote, ‘K is often oversensitive to other people’s reactions. She tends to think people are yelling or angry with her’. Stupid first grade.

So far day two in my new digs has gone pretty well. Now if I could only get all these people to stop yelling at me.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

HIKING HONEYMOON - NOT

Every couple has their one 'issue'. You know, the one 'fight' that when it begins both parties throw their hands up in the air immediately in that 'here we go again' kind of way. When this fight begins it seems like it will never end. Each side, despite how smart or talented in debating, argues the same points over and over again. This fight lasts until the bitter end or until eventually someone gives up and goes to bed. When the lights are out and one of the two parties sighs dramatically in the dark - back turned - there is always the other person that just can't let it go saying, 'Well...I still think that...' and it all begins again. You know those fights. Our topic for fighting now and again is of all wacky things - hiking.

Forgive me for all you hardcore hikers out there, I know this sounds ignorant but I just don't 'get' hiking. The few times I've been have resulted in heavy breathing, sweating, inclement weather, slippery footing, ankles twisting, cuts from branches, blood, starvation (ok well almost), dehydration, getting lost and bugs. My god the bugs. When hiking people like E say to me, 'but what about the view?' When I hear this I want to throw a boulder at someone. Seriously. Someone take a photo and show me later. I'll meet you back at the camp where I will be reading and enjoying a nice cup of coffee by the fire.

I used to think it was because I am lazy but I don't think that is it. I just don't like it. I admire people that do it and in fact I am a little jealous. When E and I first started dating he suggested we go hiking and stay in a little B&B for the weekend somewhere out of the city. The idea sounded fantastic. At the time my hiking issues hadn't fully come to a head and plus when you are first dating someone you pretend you like everything they do so they ask you out again.

I headed straight to EMS the outdoor gear store to pick up all the hiking necessities aka some hiking outfits - new boots, windbreaker, etc. I may not have been experienced in this whole hiking thing but boy was I going to look great. Talk about 'revealing all' on your first weekend away together. Halfway through the mild hike E chose for us I had a complete meltdown. My new boots gave me blisters. I was out of shape. I was starving and tired. The bugs were sticking to the sweat on my neck. I couldn't catch my breath and yelled, 'This SUCKS!' and couldn't stop crying. I too am surprised the guy married me.

The second time we went hiking I was still in new relationship mode and while it was clear I wasn't the biggest fan of hiking I was still willing to try. Unfortunately, I couldn't have picked a more intense hiking crew than the people we were with on the trip. One couple had just returned from the mountains of Ecuador where they were living and hiked miles every day to get anywhere. The other couple was training for a triathlon. The third couple just returned from a three month stint hiking on the Appalachian trail. And then E and I. E was amazing and encouraging throughout the entire hike going at my pace which was about two steps every five minutes. It was as if I was giving birth. Eventually one of the bionic women we were hiking with bounded down the mountain in the time it took me to get half way asking if I wanted a banana. A banana? I couldn't even breath or talk lady but thanks anyway.

Did I mention I even brought up this whole hiking issue in our recent wedding vows? Oh yes I did. I said something along the lines of, 'I promise to love you forever and ever even though I might not ever go hiking with you EVER again'. People at the wedding laughed because they thought I was trying to be funny. But I wasn't. Ha.

Yesterday E and I took a lovely drive through the various small towns of Maine. It was a beautiful, sunny day but windy. In our travels we came across a small town here that is a famous pit stop for hikers traveling along the Appalachian trail from Georgia to Maine. (kill me now) I didn't see many women but did see many, many men - dirty and long bearded. Small packs on their backs lining up at telephone booths and stocking up on supplies.

K: So wait...these hikers hike for months???
E: Yes. They are hiking from Georgia to Maine. It's a long trip.
K: I wonder what it is like to date those guys...

Our car drove along and passed two hitchhikers that we quickly made eye contact with - two lanky, dirty, long bearded guys around our age or younger that obviously were part of hiking the Appalachian trail. E guessed they were hitchhiking to from town where they had gathered their supplies back to the trail. Something about the two guys seemed sweet. One guy had a fire red head of hair and long beard and the other guy just seemed young and happy.

E: Should we go back and get them?
K: I don't know. Should we? What if they kill us.
E: They are prob hoping we don't kill them.
K: Ok lets do it. Go back and get them.
E: You know these dudes are going to smell pretty ripe, right?
K: That's fine. Roll down the windows.

We swung the car around and picked the guys up. They were so thankful and so nice. And yes - smelly.

K: How long have you guys been hiking?
Guy#1: Oh...since early April
K: WHAT? 6 months???
Guy#1: (laughs) Yup.
K: Do you ever just freak out and want to go home?
Guy#2: (laughs) Yup. Pretty much daily.

I was stunned talking to them. It was so fascinating. I almost didn't want to drop them off despite their smell. These are men that hike every day. This is what they do. They make small pit stops here and there but see only around nine or ten people a day. One guy was from Virginia and the other Connecticut. The guy from Virginia had a girl back home and the guy from Connecticut met a girl on the trail.

Guy#2: Yeah...I met her on the trail. But she is three days ahead of me.
E: Wow - she is really kicking your ass.
Guy#2: Totally

Right before we dropped the guys off E told them we were on our honeymoon.

Guy#1: Oh that's cool! Congrats! We just ran into a couple that were on their honeymoon hiking the trail. You guys should do it!
E/K: (exchanging smirks)
K: Ah...no. Don't think we'd last too long on that one.

If he only knew.

Friday, September 23, 2005

CITY MOUSE


When I was a kid I used to enjoy a book about a city mouse and a country mouse that were cousins and how they swapped lives one weekend and the 'hilarity that ensued'. I don't remember much of the story but I must confess that being in Maine has certainly brought out the city mouse in me.

I kind of get freaked out easily. Not in an annoying way where one thinks to themselves, 'why did I bring this chick up here' - well ok it's best you ask E to confirm this - but rather more in a...city girl kind of way. For example two incidents come to mind since we have been up here:

THE CHIPMUNK INCIDENT
Ok. I don't know much about chipmunks. In fact I think it's safe to say that this trip was the first time I saw a chipmunk and while it's cute and stuff...I don't need one to be loose and running around on the inside porch. When it got in and bounced around from place to place on the porch like a pinball I locked myself inside and watched through the living room window as E ran around and chased it outside again.

Thinking that was done with...but it wasn't. Later I saw a chipmunk run into the shed where I had left the door open by mistake,

K: ACK! CRAP!
E: Jesus...what's wrong?!
K: A chipmunk is in the SHED!!!!
E: Honey, it's fine. It will run back out.
K: I mean...doesn't it eat wood?

(insert long stare from E, a laugh and then a long lecture on what chupmunks eat...ie: not wood sheds)

THE MOUSE INCIDENT
We were sitting by the fire having drinks and doing a puzzle. As E said we are practicing for our retirement. Have you ever done a puzzle? Puzzles as great as long as they don't have too much 'sky'. I start with the edges and E starts with the 'stuff' you know, the truck, the apple, etc. I also never look at the box while E holds actual pieces up to the box to see where they fit. I'm not sure what this says about us but it works in our favor because often we join our parts together right when things could potentially start to get annoying about doing a puzzle.

So back to the mouse...I grew up in an old house with mice. I am not afraid of them really but again much like the chipmunk I don't need to be best friends with them. I was sitting on a tiny stool doing the puzzle when the first mouse ran right past my leg. Each crackle of the fire later or shadow cast I was jumpy and couldn't relax. That night E put out traps - the nice traps where you can release the mice the next day. He got one. Day two he caught two. Day three one more. For all we know it's the same damn mouse over and over again coming back to the cabin hoping to catch another whiff of E's delicious pork tacos.

MARRIED IN MAINE

Hello from Maine where I am MARRIED. That's right. Last Saturday on the top of a roof in Brooklyn with the most amazing view of the Brooklyn bridge we got MARRIED. Then we had a rockin' fun party with a mariachi band at a local restaurant just down the block. I'm still on a high from the whole thing.

We've spent the first part of our honeymoon week in Maine acting like total love-struck idiots,

K: Um, HUSBAND...can you pass the milk?
E: Sure...WIFE
(giant beams of hearts streaming to and from our eyeballs)

As I said to E in the car the other day - thank god the honeymoon is only for the people that got married. Otherwise one could potentially lose friendships over how gay we are acting should we subject anyone else to this.

The wedding was a blast I have to say. People just seemed so happy, relaxed and excited. Not only did we have everyone we know and love in one place (almost everyone) I also had the pleasure of having all of my best friends from college there a few days before. I think it really helped me to chill out. I barely saw E. It was kind of good for the both of us. When seeing one another for the first time after a bit I think it added another element of WOW to to the whole experience.

My obsession about crying at my wedding was all for nothing - yes - I was totally obsessed prior to that I might cry at my own wedding. I know I know. Silly. I kept thinking, 'What if people see me? I'm not a 'pretty' crying person - instead my face gets all red and puffy.' Blah blah blah. In the end I didn't cry at all and not in a bad way. I was just so happy I couldn't believe it. Not only that but I think I was stunned by everything going on around me. I kept thinking to myself 'this is really happening...woah'.

I don't know if it is the blogger or writer in me but often I am always looking at situations - even ones I am experiencing at that very moment - from the outside in. For example this huge major life changing thing was happening to me and during the first five minutes of the ceremony all I kept obsessing about was how much the woman performing the ceremony was over pronunciating everything. I know she was doing so in order to speak clearly and loudly enough for everyone on the roof to hear but still I kept thinking about how much she reminded me of LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow when he read stories to kids. I'm such a freak.

Now it's been a lovely week of relaxing. Currently my 'husband' (HEE HEE) is snoring on the couch under a fort of pillows and I am blogging with a glass of wine. Not much has changed in married life. And I have to say...that is a good thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Photo thanks to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/overshadowed

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

WHAT YOUR BODY TELLS YOU


Last Saturday E and I enjoyed an amazing home cooked Korean meal at the lovely home of J and R. They are both smart, talented, funny and interesting people. J is also an amazing cook. They have the world's most adorable baby too that they were kind enough to let me kidnap on my lap for a while.

Sadly towards the end of the night I began to fade. My body was detoxing from all the recent stress at work and home. A lovely meal and interesting conversation forced me to relax for the first time in a long while and by Sunday I was wiped out entirely.

While at dinner R and I talked about the body's reaction to stress. R confessed that when he is home he occasionally suffers from allergies and various ailments now and again. When he travels they all seem to disappear. I confessed about my 'stress eye' - a red bump that appears in the same spot under my right eye when I feel stressed. Sunday, the morning after the dinner I woke up and there it was. The same red bump under my right eye. It was as if I'd called it up from the dead.

Since Sunday I have been resting. I am not a good rester. I get anxious. I look around the house at all the things that need cleaning. I feel guilty taking time off of work. I think I should be writing. I so badly want to check the 3,000 wedding items still left to do off my list but can't. I get angry. I ask myself, "How can all this laying on the couch watching bad TV be the perfect cure for stress?" I just don't get it. I think I am stronger than this. And then I cough and cough and cough until it feels that my chest is on fire and I am forced to get back on the couch again for more resting. It's funny what your body tells you. It feels the need to remind you how much stronger it is than you on a constant basis.

The minute I do rest and let go the better I begin to feel. Funny how that is. The things that don't get done for the upcoming wedding will have to go undone. I look forward to having my strength back and am starting to remember what really matters. For now I'm off to make some lunch and finish watching Days of Our Lives.

Monday, September 12, 2005

GEEK LOVE


As part of our wedding planning we've asked various family members to contribute photos from our past as a little something we are gathering as a surprise. I have to say the photographic gems that have surfaced as a result have been quite a treat...and a horror.

Take for example this photo. The one of my sister and I. Me dressed like the biggest uptight 80's teen you might ever meet. How long it must have taken me to press those triangle patterend pants, so long to roll those cuffs, part those bangs in the middle so perfectly, wipe off those white shoes of any stains, etc. The thing that kills me most about this photo is my kid sister's face. For whatever reason she used to smile like this in photos for years as if someone were touching her inappropriately from behind. I can honestly say it still cracks me the hell up to this day.

I showed E this photo and he said:

E: Nice hair! (sarcastic snort)
K: What's wrong with my hair?! (defensive for no reason)
E: Um..it's BAD. And parted down the middle. And big and puffy. Nice pants too.

And then I pulled out the big guns:
K: Oh yeah? Well nothing can top this!

E: Oh god. Where did you get this?
K: That's right. Oh...but let me tell you...your hair looks GREAT here.
E: What happened to my nose?
K: Did you have plastic surgery and you haven't told me?
E: NO!

EMPTY NEST


I never was an animal person. It's not that I dislike animals it's just that because I didn't grow up with any I didn't understand them. Aside from two dime store fish named Tex and Rudy that my younger sister and I owned briefly - for many years we were a petless family of four.

It wasn't until years later did we all realize what we were missing. When I was away at college my freshman year, my mother suffering from empty nest syndrome back home took things a bit too literally. At Thanksgiving I came home to a cardboard box by the woodstove in our kitchen housing three chicks and a duck. By Christmas my parents had purchased a jet black Chow puppy. Come summer vacation I was afraid to come home. I couldn't imagine what would be waiting for me next. A cow? Some ugly snake? Who knew.

In my previous relationship, my husband at the time decided to buy a cat so I (me - the person with no pet experience) wouldn't get lonely when he traveled. Somehow convinced this was a good idea, I went with him to a house in the country where a woman was selling kittens. I watched as he reached his long arm into a cardboard box of kittens all looking quite cute but sort of like how I thought of other people's babies. Cutest for an hour or two and then it was time to go home. He decided to pick one, the wildest one in the bunch. The orange tabby male that clung most to his arm trying to scratch and bite him and I thought to myself...great. When we got back to Brooklyn I got a call from the woman who sold us the kitten. She was crying because she 'missed her baby'. I thought the woman was nuts but I listened politely on the other end of the phone.

It was a good cat. Well. Maybe not good. A loving cat but a wild, knocking over the garbage and the flowers and the magazine pile devilish type cat. It was a cat meant for the country not the urban indoor life of Brooklyn. It felt cruel never letting the cat go outside. Not to mention the fact he grew into a HUGE cat - just enormous the kind of cat you'd bring to the vet and everyone working there would go 'WOAH'.

When our marriage broke up the cat went with him. I told him to take it because I didn't want him to get lonely. During the break up a friend reminded me of years ago - the night before our wedding when I was trying to sleep and awoke repeatedly to the sound of the cat crunching on something. At the time I flicked on the light and was finally able to catch the cat in the act. It was chewing on a tiny wooden box of Guatemalan worry dolls a friend had recently picked up for me on a trip and had given me the night before the wedding. A sign? Perhaps.

All I know is that in the midst of the breakup I felt pain and loss on so many levels including my loss of having a pet. Somewhere along the line had I turned into that woman that had sold us the kitten way back when? Maybe. Pets are amazing and on some level when you bond with them they are like your babies. You get used to their funny little quirks and they yours. They give you little signs for everything. As crazy as it sounds, I had a bond with that cat and the two of us had a little routine that was different from the one it had with my ex. I felt guilty when I passed him the cat carrier. I felt like a mother having her child ripped away from her.

When I moved in with E he and Jane - his orange tabby female had been living together for many, many years. Believe me. Jane let me know this was the case. At first, Jane gave me the cold shoulder and liked to remind me who was boss with a few scratches here and there. Now it's hard to believe that was ever the case seeing how we seem to love each other equally. When I come home she runs to the door. When I sleep a minute over my alarm she jumps up and lets me know it. When I am sick she curls up right next to me. When I am cold or sad she licks my cheek and rubs her head against me. She lets me pick her up and spin her around while singing crazy songs. She even lets me call her stupid names that make me laugh and E cringe such as 'Fluffy' and more recently 'Bobby Christina' (child of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston).

Watching all the Katrina coverage has been devestating on so many levels. Hearing a best friends tales of her missing father. Hearing tales of another friend unable to still find her mother. Watching the footage of people suffering and the poor animals. Animals stranded on rooftops or driking contaminated water. Today I made a donation here because I began to cry when I saw a little orange tabby cat swimming for it's life to the nearest landing. It's the least I could do to give back to the animals that have given so much to me. The animals swimming, hungry and tired, sad and searching for the people they once loved and that loved them back.

COOKIE WUSS




Maybe when Bush is done getting his photo taken with more black people in New Orleans he can get back to the office in time to host a proper goodbye party for the recently resigned director of FEMA Michael Brown. After all, wasn't it Bush that said Michael did a "heck of a job" managing Katrina relief efforts despite news reports that Brown admitted he was not 'aware' of the 20,000 evacuees at the New Orleans convention center until 24 hours after it was blasted all over the news? Maybe Bush will get Michael a proper goodbye cake for the party. Perhaps a Carvel Cake. Maybe a Cookie Wuss.

Friday, September 09, 2005

THINGS THAT HAPPEN RIGHT B4 YOU GET MARRIED

People are weird. Right before you get married they say strange, strange things. Things that are bold and inappropriate even if they don't know you like, "DON'T DO IT!" and slap you on the back cackling like a drunken sailor. Some people say, "Good luck with THAT one!" or even "So much for your sex life now, huh?!" to which I want to say, "Um...weird person...can you just SHUT up?"

Mostly people say things (nice people, people that love you, people trying to be nice) that they perhaps think they should ask you like, "ARE YOU EXCITED???????????" (no. not excited) or "COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS??????????" (to what?). Again. Nice people, people that love and know you but don't know what else to say. The other night I told E that I hope we have stuff to talk about after the wedding - only half joking.

And what's with registering places? AGH. Both of us browsed and browsed and created so many friggin registry lists only to pick one or two things from each and then finally turning to one another to say, "We don't want any of this. No Really." Literally. None of it. Beds and bookcases and dressers and chairs and tables - all types of furniture created from fake, ugly, stained wood made to look old. It all reminded me of a Universal Studios set. If you took a deep breath and exhaled you might blow the whole room away.

These places also sell things that sound like SNL skit props. Things like (and these are real) 'Maple Leaves, Set of 24'...we have friends coming from Maine to our wedding. What would they think of this? Or how about the 'Portable Ice Cube Maker'? Because just think of all those times you were at the beach or the park thinking what a better day it would have been if you'd brought your Portable Ice Cube Maker.

Not to sound so PC but why can't people just donate to the Red Cross? Or give us one of their drawings or photos? I really, really want a Nikon D50 but that isn't nice and wedding like now is it. Ok I admit I want one wedding type gift - towels and sheets, sheets and towels. Smother me in them. I want so many I could wrap a building in them. Like Christo.

Friday, September 02, 2005

SO MUCH BLOGGING SO LITTLE TIME

Let the entire page load first. Scroll down. Click on my face here.

GIRL IN A BUBBLE

When E first met me he nicknamed me 'girl in a bubble'. The nickname was fitting because it seemed everywhere I turned I had some new ailment brewing and it almost seemed unwise for me to step outside. I had allergies and skin rashes and stomach pains and asthma and bloating and pains in my legs and extreme extreme extreme fatigue and extreme weight loss and weight gain and blah blah blah. Granted at the time we met I was going through some severe stress and I am smart enough to know it is all related but still...for a youngish, seemingly healthy woman it all seemed a bit confusing and a little much.

Now that we've been together for so long things have been a 'tad' better (I can hear E snorting from the other room) however things come up now and again. For someone who has all these stupid things happen to them it is almost better when a physical thing that everyone can see happens (like a rash) rather than just describe myself as suffering from 'extreme fatigue'. It's crazy but it's like unless I have a giant skin rash everyone can see no one will believe me. Ok. Me crazy. Back into my bubble now.

Perhaps you may recall the past incident when E and I and went to meet a friend of ours and his Christie Brinkley like beautiful wife for dinner. We went to New York's famous Katz's deli. Everything was going great until slowly I started scratching my face and had the sensation my lips were a little swollen. Ignoring it I continued with my story and finally our friend's beautiful wife said, "Um...I think you may have gotten bitten or something under your eye..." Shrugging it off I said something about always having allergies and I'm sure it was nothing. By the time we left the place and we all walked to the subway, I noticed people STARING at our friend's beautiful wife and I. Little did I know they were thinking to themselves, "Awww...isn't that nice! Christie Brinkley made friends with that scary egor guy from the movie GOONIES."

Needless to say I woke up the next morning and headed straight to the emergency room looking like THIS:



I still to this day don't know what happened. I had corned beef and some pickles. Did I get bit by something? What did I touch except E's leg under the table now and again or the Katz's menu. Add it to the filing cabinet of KDunk ailment mysteries unsolved.

This year I've had my fair share of ailments. An incorrect diagnosis with Celiac Disease. And increased asthma over the past three months. I used to use and inhaler once a year and now close to three times a day. When this happens it feels I am sucking through a pinhole opening of air. Can't ever get enough. Yesterday I was in a meeting at work with the CEO of a major TV network and I felt like I was going to die. Scary.

So yesterday I went to an allergist. He wrote with a fountain pen. He made jokes. He stuck a thin long tube down my nose/throat and took a video which he burned me a CD of because I so geeked out and wanted to post it on my Vimeo. He gave me a bunch of shots in my arm to see what I was allergic to.



In the end he said this, "When you say you feel like you are sucking air at times through a pinhole it is because you are. Do you see your voicebox here (pointing to the video of my voicebox opening and closing rapidly) most people's voice boxes stay open at all times. Yours is closing because of a minor infection in the throat." I found the whole thing fascinating except the part where he told me I had to come back in two weeks or so and do it all again.

Overall it was a positive experience and I was happy to hear what was going on with my breathing. But um...in case you don't believe me you can check out my Vimeo later.


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