Tuesday, February 28, 2006

one last grilled cheese for the road

near my work is a mom-and-pop late-night diner where you can get a decent meal for a decent price. the waitresses have husky smoked-too-many-cigarettes voices and have been at the job for years. they're very sweet and always put in extra ketchup without you having to ask. they have pictures of celebrities in oldschool frames, the most famous of which is George Clooney in a ratty sleeveless t-shirt. he looks about 17 and like he just finished running a marathon or working on his car.

sadly, the joint was bought by a developer in order to make -- you guessed it -- condominiums. that'll make the fourth big development on the same block to go up by 2007. soon people downtown will have to trek to suburbia to get a meal or some toilet paper. so sad.

on sunday, the last night it was open for business, several of us got a farewell meal. about 6 grilled cheeses (delicious!) a burger and a sundae. we called in the order and everyone chipped in a little extra for the tip. when my friend and i went over to pick up the food, there was a really somber feeling in the air. someone was sitting in one of the booths, videotaping the last night and there was none of the usual chatter and laughter. it was as though someone died. as we were paying and heading out the door, that's when it really struck us that we'd never have home-style grilled cheese available so close to the office again.

my friend: here you go

waitress 1: oh, honey, you pay up at the counter

my friend: no, i know; that's a little something for you guys.

waitress 1: whoa... that's generous. thanks. hey! look what these girls left us!

waitress 2: aww, thanks ladies! that made my day.

waitress 1: it's nice to see something make you smile today.

my friend: we're really gonna miss you guys.

i didn't get to go to that place too often. but as with most things that disappear: now that it's gone, i wish i had.

Friday, February 24, 2006

get with the dictionary, mother

Omar's recent post about report cards of yesteryear reminded me of a simple difference in semantics between my mother and i that goes all the way back to the time when i was picking dandelions from the backyard for her and then sobbing later that afternoon when i saw them in the garbage can. (to be fair, i was a little overzealous to show my love and filled the vases with those wilty, polleny, buggy things nearly every day.)

i remember working really hard on drawings or poems or crepe-paper daffodils that my teacher said were 'excellent' or 'magnificent.' i ran home to show my mother, who'd usually say something like, 'that's pretty good, cadiz!' it was always the same, with the 'pretty good.' at first i thought i just had to work harder, color a little more within the lines, make my penmanship a little clearer. but after awhile i started to think i was never going to hear anything better from my mom. one day i asked her what that was about.

'mommy! howcome every time i show you something that's really good, you only say 'pretty good'?'

'what? it's pretty! it's good! it's pretty good!'

'NO! 'pretty good' means 'just okay.' if you really like it you should say 'excellent' or 'magnificent,' mom!'

'fine. that's excellent, cadiz.'

'that's much better.'

my mom is a stubborn lady. she refused to get on the magnificently excellent bandwagon, unless it was dripping with sarcasm. and to this day, when she knows i worked really hard on something and she likes it, she'll tell me it's 'pretty good' just to piss me off. but hell, i'll take what i can get.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

four is my favorite digit

Four Jobs I’ve Had In My Life:

Fabric store fractions expert
i'm not naturally inclined toward math. so you can understand the agony of having to cut and measure fabrics in ridiculous increments like 1 3/16 yards for psychotic quilters. and let's not get started on the shenanigans involved with ribbon and fusible webbing. but i love the fabric store and that 30% discount ensured my paycheck just turned around and went back there. i spent my time ogling things i was going to buy at the end of the week (most of which is sitting in big boxes in my closet to this day). the best part was helping people plan projects and them coming back to show me pictures.

Women's Diagnostic Imaging Center Receptionist
that's just a pretty name for a mammogram joint. unfortunately, when i worked there, it was called -- and i kid you NOT -- The Breast Center. and i had to answer the phone, 'Breast Center, this is cadiz, how may i help you?' my friends thought it'd be funny to call up and say stuff like, 'uh, yes, i'd like two breasts. to go, please. BWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!' that got old pretty quickly. but cancer isn't a joke; people had to fill out history forms, and nearly 3/4 of patients were related to someone with breast cancer. it's really important to get that stuff checked out. seriously.

Emergency Room paper pusher
you know those annoying people, who by the way, are NEVER shown on Grey's Anatomy or ER or House or Chicago Hope or any of the other medical shows on TV? if you've actually been to the ER, you know the ones. they're annoying. they're unwelcome. they're the ones who timidly come into a room and say, 'ma'aam/sir, i understand that you're broken/bleeding/vomiting/screaming/high/have a 2X4 nailgunned to your hand (that really happened)/passed out, but would you mind if i took a photocopy of your insurance card and ask you a bunch of legal/clerical questions?' yeah. but at least i got to put the name bracelets on people and make charts. and the paramedics were almost always really cute.

Dungeon Diva
that pretty much just speaks for itself.

Four Films I Can Watch Over And Over:
(please note that i didn't have cable and was VERY sheltered. that being said, i have a low tolerance for re-watching, except in the cases of the extremely cheesy.)

makes me happy. but it works. every time.

sleepless in seattle
totally ridiculous in so many ways, but who can argue with true love?

dilwale dulhania le jayenge
bollywood at its best. dance sequences involve 20 costume changes, 3 countries, 400 extras, and a mandolin. c'mon, do the math.

troop beverly hills
i don't even have anything to say to defend myself. and he's going to deny it, but my brother loves that movie, too.

Four Places I have Lived:

Naperville, IL
Champaign, IL
Granada, Spain
St. Paul, MN (but mostly Minneapolis where i crashed when i was too lazy to drive back at the end of the night)

Four TV Programs I Love To Watch:
(please recall that i do not have cable and that i work nights. my tv viewing is at the mercy of what i can get my roommates to leave the tv alone for in order to record it)

keeps you paying attention, that one. and i'm very details-oriented.

the amazing race
i refuse to categorize this as a 'reality' show. racing around the world doing stunts to win more trips and a million bucks? does it GET any better?

desperate housewives
prime time soap opera. i'll admit it.

though i think the kid who does his voice is maturing. and i'm getting up too late to catch it anymore.

Four Places I Would (will) Have Visited, Had (when) I Had (have) The Money:

Cinque Terra, Italy

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
(not necessarily in this order)


Four Of My Favorite Foods:

my mother's chicken curry with piping hot chapatis

beef congee from a mom/pop chinese restaurant, or BETTER from somebody's mom's kitchen, who unfortunately moved to Taiwan. :(

maki rolls


Four Places I Would Rather Be:

not in the dungeon
not in the dungeon
not in the dungeon
not in the dungeon

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging:

jon was right; but as much as i love these things, i have no idea who's already gotten tagged and i suspect i'm at the end of the line. and i hate when people say, 'whoever wants to do it, do it,' but say it i must.

four really is my favorite number. even though it sounds like 'death' in Chinese.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

a very ugly kind of groundhog's day

today i looked back at my planner from last year. this time last year:

i slept till 2 p.m. every day
i ate at 3 p.m. and 3 a.m., if i felt like it
i paid for my cellphone but hardly used it
i bitched about my commute
i knew it was time to go to bed when i heard my roommates getting up for work
i watched a movie every day from netflix
i sat in the dungeon

yeap. pretty much the same.

Monday, February 20, 2006

tales of a six-year-old shrimp

when i was a kid, i was small. pretty tiny, really. in fact, when i was a six-year-old in Mrs. Bryan's first-grade class, these boys thought it'd be cool to call me 'shrimpy' out on the kickball field as some kind of intimidation tactic. it pissed me off so much that other kids thought it'd be fun to join in. soon nearly the entire class was on the bandwagon. i'm not sure how long this went on -- in my memory it stretched for eons longer than it should have -- but you know when you're in first grade, an afternoon is an eternity.

i had always been kind of a feisty little girl. i didn't take any shit from anybody, even my parents, and in my opinion, being ridiculed on the playground was simply intolerable. my recollection of the following incident is a little fuzzy, but it was related to my mother later that afternoon during a phone call from my teacher. Mrs. Bryan and my mom were already pretty good pals since she had called my mother to out me for hiding summer dresses in my bookbag and changing in the girl's room every morning and afternoon. (i despised being forced to wear jeans or corduroys, especially with long underwear underneath during the winter; i'd rather wear a crumpled frock any day.)

After recess, Mrs. Bryan had left us alone in the room gluing little crepe paper squares onto construction paper off the ends of our pencils to make daffodils or fish or something of the like. absence of authority was a perfect opportunity to start the 'shrimpy'-taunting again. but by this time i had probably had enough, so i cleared my desk, climbed up on the table and screamed something to the effect of, 'i might be small, but I'M SMARTER THAN ALL OF YOU!' at the top of my lungs. and while the other kids looked at me, stunned, i climbed down and calmly went back to my perfectionistic crepe-gluing. Mrs. Bryan came in a second later, having seen the whole thing from the window in the door. i think i would have remembered if she had said anything to me, but no one in that class ever messed with me again.

the other day, my mom was telling me about some of my other childhood antics. we were remembering how bossy i was when she'd brush my hair because it had to be done just so and though i demanded to keep my hair long, i wanted her to be fast about it. in the middle of laughing, she sort of paused and said, 'it was always your way or the highway, cadiz. you knew what you wanted and you never put up with anything less. what happened to that girl?'

at that point i couldn't do anything but shrug. but to be honest, i think about that little girl all the time. i really miss her.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

why i love gay men

when they tell you that you're beautiful, funny, smart or awesome, or that your booty looks nice in those jeans, they really mean the compliment. they're not just trying to get into your pantalones.

plus they're often very fun. and pretty.

Friday, February 17, 2006

u bst bettr rcogniz spllng, btchs

in an effort to streamline our communicative lives, Motorola has been introducing slimmer, more tote-able phones. and they have slimmer names to match, which seem to need all capital letters:


are these secret acronyms to represent some sort of weekend golf game inside joke among the suits? did some ad agency advise them to try to be all --forgive the pun-- cutting edge? or maybe it's just a cost-effective measure: remove any absolutely unecessary letters and save some cash? dude, pat sajak and vanna white want their little wheel of fortune charge-for-vowels trick back.

whatever the reason, it's annoying. and confusing. btw, that last one they have is supposed to be 'sliver' not 'silver, which is what i thought when i first read it. see? placement of the vowel can completely change the meaning. this, coupled with the bastarization of the english language that probably started with instant messaging is why kids can't spell for crap anymore. just watch, they'll bump televised spelling bees up to regular ESPN -- it's competition that takes a rare and dying skill.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

when your dirty past catches up with you

yeah, so you know i've boasted about waiting till the last minute, languishing around the house instead of getting going but still scraping by on a wing and a prayer?

i knew that kind of behavior was going to come back and bite me on the booty one of these days.

this morning i was supposed to be on an 8:05 a.m. flight out of LAX. i know i have bitched about chicago traffic before, too. but L.A. is a different jungle altogether. we meant to leave around 6:15 to get to the airport by 7. except for that gd snooze button that entices me every freaking morning. i skipped a shower to sleep longer with the excuse that i would do online check-in from the house to save even more time. even so, we ended up leaving around 6:45. the kiss of death, i tell you. but what i don't get is how the carpool lane moves just as slowly, if not slower than the other lanes. and it's as though people have nowhere to be! good LORD, i would go berserk having to drive in L.A. all the time. it's bad enough here. laid-back attitude? no thank you, ma'am.

to make what could be a very lengthy rant concise: i missed my flight. by MINUTES. it was 7:58 and we were about a block from the terminal. i had seen people make flights by showing up mere minutes before -- and done it myself a few times -- but no such luck today.

and what's worse is that i had planned on getting home at 2 p.m. to have a couple hours to go home, shower and get my work stuff together before fighting my own local form of hell to be at work by 6. um, yeah. i was on standby for a flight that got in at 4:10 p.m., essentially the time i'd have to hit the road to be able to clock in on time. so my dirty, tired, sleepless (there was an old lady bumping my seat and yammering for nearly FOUR HOURS behind me on the plane) ass dragged itself straight to work. no work gear. dressed in the ratty jeans i'd worn all weekend, a crumpled t-shirt and a pilly, stretched out tie-up sweater that i covered myself with as much as possible so the boss wouldn't see the cracked iron-on lettering of 'rosalie's diner' on my shirt peeking out from under it when he called me into a meeting. which only had three people in it.

it gets better. this week i am the late person, so as soon as i get in, it's catch-up time. which is cool, except for when the only thing you've had to eat all day was a tall mocha from starbucks and you have probably slept about 3.5 hours in the last 30 hours. and you have a headache. AND you have dungeon duty.

so here i am. my temples are throbbing. i'm waiting for reports. i'm resisting every last urge to put my head down on this cool formica tabletop and pass the hell out. i'm making my good old dad haul his booty all the way out here to pick me up at 3 a.m. but the poor man has to wait down the street because security won't let him into the parking lot. so i'll have to truck my happy ass out there to the corner. a block away from the seedy YMCA where people are always loitering about and leering. my poor sweet old pops.

i'm sorry i'm so cranky. i think i'm in a bad mood. but i guess i had it coming.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the everyman in joey tribbiani

recently i caught an old rerun of 'Friends' on tv after work. it was the one where the only way Ross and Rachel can get their baby daughter to laugh was to sing 'Baby Got Back,' to her. that was the main story, but per usual the other characters had storylines, too, including phoebe meeting her boyfriend's park avenue parents and joey and chandler checking out monica's exboyfriend Richard's apartment.

Chandler: There's a tape here with Monica's name on it!
Joey: Ooh, a tape with a girl's name on it. Probably a sex tape! [Thinks a moment] Wait a minute! This says, 'Monica.' [Thinking more] And this is Richard's apartment... [Still trying to put it all together]
Chandler: Get there. FASTER!

it's all laid out. right in front of him. ready to be put together to form a logical conclusion. but as loveable as he is, for joey there is just something that keeps him from seeing the obvious.

happy valentine's day.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

sometimes the ice just ain't your friend

okay, i know i haven't posted in a while, but things have been crazy and haven't gone as well as i had hoped. i've been frustrated and restless and couldn't seem to figure out why until i had this weird, superstitious idea. i'm not sure if it's all in my head, but as soon as i followed my instinct, things seemed to get a little brighter. all i needed to do was get rid of the bling.

i come from a long line of women who believe you're running around practically naked if you 'don't have anything in your ears or your throat.' meaning, of course, that a proper woman never leaves the house unadorned, even if it isn't anything fancy. so over the years i've accumulated bit of jewelry -- mostly because my family members love me and hope i'll like it, but also partly because i don't see most of them for years at a time. let's face it, unless you're considerably large for your age, a necklace or earrings is gonna fit.

because of this i have a shelf on my bookcase full of containers. one big box with stained glass on the little doors and revolving hooks and drawers, furry linty boxes that open on a hinge, tiny round and square plastic boxes with scripty store names engraved on the lids, zippered velvet bags in all kinds of shapes and sizes. all holding trinkets and baubles. and all of them beautiful. (well, except the one really hideous silver necklace/earring set with several black stones the size of quarters hanging off it. i would never be caught dead in anything so flashy. it's pretty, but really not my style.)

on top of that, i'm lazy. i usually wear plain hoops and a thin chain, maybe with a small pendant like the cool-looking hollow one that looks like a bullet and is full of holy wax from a famous church that my aunt traveled really far to pray at. the only items i wear with any regularity are my silver anklets, and i haven't worn them all winter because my boots are form-fitting and cause them to dig into my ankles. other than that, i change my jewelry about once every couple of months. if i remember.

about a month ago, i was looking for something my mom wanted and started feeling guilty for having nice stuff and never wearing it. i knew i'd never be on top of things enough to change it up every day, let alone match my outfits, so i decided to bust out something out of the ordinary. i found these gold studs my uncle's wife bought for me -- two sets, for both sets of my ear piercings, with one little smaller for the upper ones, and both with just a little bit of bling in them. diamonds, i guess. then i found a matching ring my mom bought herself to keep her wedding ring from sliding off after she'd lost a few pounds with a few small stones in it. very pretty. i decided i'd try it out for awhile.

it was hard to remember to put it on in the morning, but i got into the swing of it. the ring would be nice to fiddle with during boring meetings or while i was waiting for the shuttle bus. but i swear, the day i started sporting the bling, things started to go wrong. everything i tried to do with the best intentions seemed to hit a snag. meetings didn't go according to plan, i seemed to always say and do the wrong thing at the wrong time and what did go right wasn't always received well. i got into stupid tiffs with people i loved, and was paranoid about what the people i liked thought of me. i caught all the red lights when i was in a hurry, and the store was always out of what i was looking for. the post office lost my netflix dvds, so i had nothing to watch for almost two weeks. i got the flu. and then the stupid new blind eyebrow lady yanked out more than half of my brows but left annoying stray hairs that i had to spend 2 hours taking care of myself. i just couldn't catch a break. and i'll look like a constantly surprised freak for another two weeks.

again, maybe it was all in my head. but it was starting to get me down and i couldn't figure out why everything was going so very wrong. until this morning. when i traced the start of my misfortune to the day i changed the jewelry. so i took it off and put it back in the box. today i didn't have to wait in line at the bank. or for my haircut. and even though i took off five inches, i'm pretty happy with my hair. the store had a full supply of the conditioner i was looking for, which is constantly sold out. i managed to do an afternoon's worth of errands in an hour and a half and was EARLY for work. i prevented a big mistake during my shift. my lunch order, and that of three other people, was somehow not all screwed up. my car just happened to be close enough to under the bridge that there wasn't too much snow to clean off of it when i got off work. and i actually have a couple of days off this weekend.

who says the sparkle in your life has to come from a diamond? i'm rocking some boring silver earrings i bought at Claire's Boutique in 1997 for ten bucks.

and i feel great.

Friday, February 03, 2006

just don't call him Doctor

'they're going to use Mr. Spock in one of the Superbowl commercials! ha ha!'

'hey, isn't he dead?'

'no, that's Scotty. i don't think Mr. Spock can die. Actually, i don't think he's a mister, shouldn't he be called like 'commander' or something?'

'i don't know much about it, but my husband's a trekkie. i think it's lieutenant commander or something.'

'yeah, why don't you ask him?'

'...okay, thanks, bye. In the beginning he started out as a science officer. then he became an admiral.'

'then who's Dr. Spock?'

'oh brother, that's a whole different kind of Spock all together.'

Thursday, February 02, 2006

i followed your suggestions

and i was doped up, drunk, smelly, sticky and really really had to pee.

but i feel better.

i was a little scared of the concoctions, we were out of mustard and i couldn't get a hold of that mustard oil, but i did a lot of sleeping, zinc-ing, fluid-taking, and whining. overall i think the continual shots of nyquil are what have worked the best, but i'm a little buzzed from it as we speak, so really it's anyone's guess.

please people, save yourselves! wash your hands obsessively, don't share breathing room with anyone and swab down those phones and keyboards. take it from someone who's going to have lost at least 5 pounds from not being able to keep food down and will have abs of steel from all the coughing.

three boxes of kleenex in five days. that pretty much says it all.
but thanks for the good vibes and advice.