Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy holidays!

I hope everyone has an opportunity to spend the next few days with those you love the most. I'm sure I'll be posting up a storm once I get back to the city where the online connection moves faster than those sticky toys that crawl down the wall. Until then, I wish you all the very best, most happiest, safest of holidays and will see you again around these parts very soon.

Love Cadiz

Saturday, December 20, 2008

this one's for you, supacoo

A long time ago, I tried to explain my nani's method of covering a comforter with a duvet--a "rolling" method that doesn't require that the roller have a basketball player's wingspan. But I don't think I explained it well. So I made a little video, during which I learned:

a) It's virtually impossible to demonstrate something while trying to keep only your arms in front of the camera.
b) Anytime you say something is "simple," "easy," "a snap," "a breeze" or the like, it will prove to be much trickier once that red camera light is on.
c) If you feel like you're speaking extremely slowly, it'll sound nearly normal on the playback.
d) My real voice isn't as horrifically squeaky as I thought. Maybe.

Friday, December 19, 2008

snow day--finally

It started snowing last night at about 11:30. We had been warned: Weather reports had estimated a 100% chance of precipitation and everyone was bucking up for a Big One. My mom's hospital even offered up their security guys to come and pick people up from their HOMES this morning and bring them to work if needed. I haven't been outside yet, so I don't even know if it's as horrid as we were preparing for, but it doesn't look so hot through the window (we can't really see more than 50 feet).

H is going back to cali, cali today to spend the holiday; he hasn't been back home since March. His flight was to leave at 6 a.m., which meant getting up at 3:something to get to Midway. But checking online showed--shocker--the flight was canceled. He was on the phone with the airline for about an hour, and is now booked on a 3 p.m. flight. I have to leave for suburbia in about an hour (hope the trains are on time), but I'm not going to lie: While I'm happy he gets to be with his folks, I was secretly pleased I got more time with him. By the way, I'll be staying in the land of DialUp with my peeps for the holidays and I'll miss the sweet connection we have here, too. So posting/commenting may be sporadic, and I won't be able to respond too much on twitter.

It's so ridiculous because for three years H and I said goodbye for months at a time and he's only going to be gone for ten days this Christmas. The funny thing is all those times we'd wish for a snow day to cancel flights, but it never happened.

Be careful what you wish for, and specify WHEN you want it to come true.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ri and I timed our buses so we got off at the same part of Michigan Avenue within a minute of one another. We ambled over to Tempo Cafe, had waffles and french toast, and caught up on the last few months, which have been so busy.

We headed over to the place I had a gift card for (you know, the one I got in August when the guy stopped me in the street and somehow got me to fork over money, which I later thought was a scam?) It wasn't a scam after all, and I figured I should try and use it before it expired (apparently the card said four months, but they didn't even check it when we got there).

When we got to the salon, I told Barbara (the in-her-fifties-looking woman at the counter) what I was having done and she said, "Oh that's great! I'm a cancer survivor, myself; I'll cut your hair." So right away I felt really good about what was going down.

Barbara seemed like a very no-nonsense/rip-the-Band-Aid-off kind of French woman, and she explained that we'd take off the hair in sections while it was dry so I could give the maximum amount while still keeping as much as possible. She showed me a photo in a magazine, and I was like Ok, do your thing lady.

In a matter of five minutes, the whole thing was done. Barbara the speed-stylist said it was probably 14 to 16 inches of hair* and that it would be enough for an entire wig because apparently I have great hair for this kind of thing. I must say that I do like my hair; whenever I take the trouble, it'll do what I command--straight, wavy or curly--and stay that way unless it's humid outside. And I like the unusual color (for an Indian girl, anyway), which my friend Jackie says is "Mexican-girl Brown." (Jackie is Mexican. Who am I to question an authority on the subject?)

It is quite a change, though. I told Barbara that I'm no-fuss when it comes to beauty and that I don't even know where my hairdryer is (probably rattling around my mom's linen closet). She said I could air-dry and go, put a little gel to bring out the curl and go, roller-brush with a dryer and go or do a bunch of other things. I liked the "and go" parts the best. She showed me how it would look with more volume, which she said I need on top to apparently balance the square-ish parts of my face. Barbara said the way she cut it, which sort of feels like a graduated bob (or not, I don't know technical terms here) with enough in the back to cover my neck, will make sure that it can be curly without being frizzy. Phew.

Ri and I were looking at each other in panic in the mirror because after Barbara blowed it out, my hair was WAY puffy. I mean really REALLY big. I wasn't sure what to think. We went next door to Sarah's Candies afterward for coffee and cookies (where I actually asked the lady at the counter if she thought my hair was puffy. She said no). I kept my hat on for awhile in the hopes that it'd cut the puff a little. Ri did a lot of parting and re-parting in different ways and even though she was really trying to convince me to cut some bangs and keep some of it at an angle over my tiny forehead, she decided this looked best.

Ri's signature move is getting her finger in the shot. But at least she does it artfully.

I realize this is the first photo of myself I've ever put on the blog. Whoa, big step. Then I realized a lot of you out there don't know what I normally look like. So here you go:

Sorry it's fuzzy. This was during my birthday party back in August. It was one of the few times this year that I let my hair down (toward the end of the evening when all the shot-taking was going on, and whoever was taking the photo was probably tipsy). And my hair has grown quite a bit in the last few months, too.

I'm sorry I've devoted so much space to describing something as ridiculous as hair. While it's a big change, I'm pretty happy. It's just hair; it'll grow back. And pretty much the only ones who have to look at it these days are H and the television. I think it's going to grow out to look a lot like the Best Haircut I've Ever Had (in Spain), which makes me really nostalgic and happy.

But this is kind of big. I'm NOT a risk-taker. I don't like gambling; I like a sure thing, and I HATE to lose and will beat myself up for every little screwup. But I value doing what I set out to do more than that, so I'm happy I went ahead and did this. I emailed the first picture on this post to a bunch of people who have only known me during the last 14 years or so when my hair has been long. One of my favorite responses was from pp:

"OMG? Who are you? What made you do this! I love it! So adventurous & brave. Did someone dare you? I know how you can't resist a dare."

She knows me so well. But that just goes to show that even though I'm pretty predictable, I can throw out a curveball every once in awhile. Thanks for all the support, guys!

*I just measured it and the longest part is TWENTY-ONE INCHES LONG. Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

drastic times

I've mentioned before that I have long hair. To steal a phrase from someone's twitter (velocibadgergirl? sorry, I can't remember), it's grown so long that I can very nearly tuck it into the back of my pants, which is why it's almost always in a bun or ponytail these days.

For years, I've bandied about the idea of cutting my hair really short and donating it to Locks of Love. Cc can attest to the fact that I've been talking about doing that for at least seven years. I've come close to hacking it all off a few times, but couldn't bring myself to do the deed. But something clicked in the last few months, and I've accepted that it's time for a change (plus all the stress has really taken a toll on the old hair and skin and I think nearly starting over will probably be a good thing).

One thing I've always prided myself on was that I always try to do what I said I'm going to do. Even if it takes seven years. My appointment is tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Ri is coming along for moral support.

If I end up going through with it, be readyfor a WHOLE LOT of crying and whining. I'm prepared for everyone to be shocked when I show up with the shortest hair I've had since 1984,* but it helps that the boyfriend doesn't care one way or another; in fact he prefers short hair (practically the only guy I know who does). What he doesn't realize is that it's probably going to take me 12 times as long to get ready to be seen in public. My reliable 20-minute routine is in for a makeover, too.

*Well there was that one other time: During freshman year in high school I put it into a ponytail and chopped--right before a big party where I was going to see the guy I liked. When I saw how awful it looked, I pretty much threw myself on the floor and beat the carpet with my fists in hysterics. Kids, don't try any hair-cutting "techniques" you read about in teen magazines. Especially when you're 14 and STUPID.

Monday, December 15, 2008

christkindlmarket chicago

Last week when there was a heat wave (it was like 35 F in Chicago), I met up with H after work at Daley Plaza for the annual Christkindlmarket they have set up there. I'm guessing it's supposed to be like the Christmas markets they have in Germany. Here are a few of the less-shaky shots I took:

The Daley Plaza tree is pretty huge. One of those golden snowflake ornaments is twice the size of my head. Or more.

There is a cute display with smaller trees, a train (which wasn't running) and some horses and caroler figures. You can kind of see the skyscrapers in the background.

There are a ton of little kiosks with red-and-white awnings that sell curios, lacework, steins, sweaters and all sorts of trinkets from places as far away as Germany and Nepal. And there were a few "indoor" tented shops like this one, which was filled to the gills with "handmade" ornaments. I felt a little silly taking this shot, which I'm sure shows in the quality. The ornaments, by the way, are hella expensive. But hey, if you want craftsmanship, you've gotta pay. We didn't buy any. Mostly because we're lucky and often get handcrafted gifts.

Of course there was food, too. And it smelled DELICIOUS. H was more practical and said we should probably pass and eat at home, but I was dying to have something, anything I could say was "authentically" German-ish. We decided to share some spiced apple cider wine, which came in a commemorative cup. That stuff was pretty rough going down, but I have to say it left me with a very warm belly. And a buzz. In shocking news, H didn't like it. But I can see why. I don't know if I'd be rushing to get another cup, either, unless I was stranded in a snowy barn in Switzerland and needed to stay warm all night.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

what's that old saying about the dead cat?

"We're going to do presents and such after you get back from L.A., right?"

"Either way is fine with me. But sure. I mean, if you need the extra time and all."

"What do you mean if I need the extra time?"

"I already got your present."

"Is that so? it in the house somewhere?"

"Sort of. I mean, I got it, but I don't have it."

"What does that mean? Like you ordered it or something and it hasn't come yet? Does that mean it'll come when you're not here? Or do you have it hidden in like one of the 2.5 possible hiding places in our tiny place? Or are you just trying to throw me off because you can say absolutely anything with a straight face?"

"We're done talking about this."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a moment to breathe

Some of you are aware that I've been working a lot lately. That's probably an understatement: For the last few weeks it has been 9-10 hours in the office with plenty of files to take home and finish before going in again the next morning. Plus weekends and all-nighters. But the last deadline has come and gone, and I'm sort of stunned at the oodles of time I now have to do things like holiday shopping, catching up on blogs and actually sleeping through the night instead of naps.

I'm not advocating the throwing of health and wellness out the door for work (it's not for everyone); but that extra cash gives me a tiny window of financial security during which I can hopefully find a job.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

looks like we made it

Ah, the last day of my third year participating in NaBloPoMo. It got kind of rough there for a few weeks, but you guys stepped up and helped me through it. A very big THANK YOU goes out to everyone who offered and wrote guest posts for me this month. I could never have done it without you guys!

In case you missed them:

Angel07 described what it's like on jury duty on the 7th
The Psychic Pimp asked about living with a boy on the 11th
My brother considered breaking up with the Chicago Cubs on the 12th
H followed up with his take on baseball prognosticating on the 13th
Alexandra got the religious take on guilt on the 21st

and Mr. Toast submitted a lovely post that I didn't get around to putting up. I'm going to keep that one in the bank for later.

On the 9th, I posted a big long list of things I did the night before a big deadline, including rolling up each extra plastic bag in the kitchen pantry for easy removal. The ever-intrepid Syar sent me an email explaining her triangle-folding method, which my brain was too fried to comprehend, so she whipped up this handy diagram. In like two minutes! She's got mad skills.

I kind of got used to posting every day. While I can't promise I'll continue, I will probably be posting more frequently in the coming days, as I procrastinate on these projects, and I'll likely be
having a lot more to say when I don't have much to do but try and find a job. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

careful what you complain about

I was settling down to tackle more of the projects I have going on when I got an email saying they'd no longer need me to do one of the monthly tasks I'd been handling since July. It wasn't a ton of money, but for some reason hearing that it was gone sort of put me into a panic.

I am still trying to figure out why it's got to be so black and white: I'm either working 24 hours a day or unemployed. I think it's time to start getting creative.

Friday, November 28, 2008

in a nutshell

I had a really lovely Thanksgiving, save for two things: People were getting shot up/taken hostage in the motherland (all of my family in Mumbai is safe, thank God, but my aunt used to work right near that Taj Mahal Hotel and often went to Leopold Cafe for lunch); and my brother wasn't able to make it home for turkey.* My parents and I got kind of teary during the Saying of Thanks right before we ate, and his little ears must have been burning for the last two days because it just wasn't the same without him.

On the other hand, we were keeping H away from his family, too. But we were glad to have him. In fact, he and my dad spent the better part of Turkey Day and Black Friday playing Guitar Hero on my parents' new Wii. They were having so much fun that we decided to stay over; besides, there were way better deals to be had out there in suburbia where we have access to a car.

I especially missed my brother when we woke up at 6 a.m. to go shopping. Unlike last year, when the kid and I braved frostbite by sitting outside in 12-degree weather from midnight until 5 a.m., this year it was like 35 degrees at 7, and while the car was all frosty, it was nowhere near as cold. Plus H was pretty quick to determine an out-of-the-way spot to go where there would likely be far less competition for merchandise that we really wanted to get.

Sure enough, we parked right in front of the store and walked in 10 minutes after it opened, and the staff went and retrieved all of the items we were looking for! There were two people in line in front of us, and we walked out with a spring in our step and in great moods to tackle the rest of the things on our list. I would specify but a) I don't want to give away the location of the magical store and b) I don't want to spoil the surprise for any of my readers who might be receiving some of the stuff we bought in a few weeks.

My mom and her friend had hit the shops at 4 a.m. and we met up with her at the local hardware store, which was BUMPING. We got some great deals, including a really sweet television console for my dad's birthday (they had been using a pretty genius contraption made of tv tray tables that totally didn't look as arts-and-crafts until you lifted the cover, but there's no reason they couldn't have a nice TV stand). I think he was pretty pleased.

H, my mom and I went to a couple more stores, went out to breakfast spent the day setting up the console and TV systems (looks GORGEOUS now) and everyone was happy. Personally, I never like leaving my parents house, and I think H was having a pretty good time, too, so we just got home at 11:40, packing lots of leftover turkey and houseware stuff my mom bought for us that we don't have room in the kitchen to store--with just barely enough time to post.

Like hell I was going to screw up this NabloPomo thing on the second to last day!

p.s. The Thanksgiving meal was DELICOUS. My mom, of course, made too much food. And while she couldn't find key limes anywhere, she did go to several places and found H some of his favorite pie. And H impressed everyone with his mom's stuffing recipe. I got off really easy and barely had to do a few dishes. Pretty good day.

*Actually, he doesn't even like turkey. My mom always made him a steak or something separate for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I had a really cutesy post ready to write today, but for some reason, all I can think about are those people who were hurt and are still being held hostage in that hotel in Mumbai. This terrorism thing really blows.

I'm thankful that I'll get to see some of the people I love best today; something that I take for granted way too often.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

just don't ask me what day it is

So this week has been busy. Like hella busy. Monday night I worked all day, pulled an allnighter, and the next day (yesterday) worked for another ten hours in the office. I still had another file to finish up at home, and would need to come back into the office in the morning (today). Needless to say, by the time I got to the condo last night I was basically tottering around like a zombie. H made some fabulous lemon chicken, and after I ate and spent some time complaining to cc on the phone, I took 20 minutes to watch a re-run of The Colbert Report.

And then I was struck with a great idea.

What if I just went to bed then (10 p.m.) and woke up early to do my file before I had to get to the office? EUREKA! So I set the alarms, crawled into bed and nodded off.

The problem with these "great ideas" is that I always overlook my own natural tendencies when coming up with them. It was a great plan in theory, but this is what actually happened:
a) I was paranoid about oversleeping, so at first I kept waking up every 45 minutes to look at the clock. But I was so out of it that I often couldn't comprehend what the clock was saying.

b) At about 2 a.m. I probably had a dream that I'd overslept, so I bolted out of bed and into the bathroom, frantically getting ready. I was about to wash my face when I realized it was 2 a.m. I went back to bed.

c) When the alarm did in fact ring, I didn't even hear it, even though I went nearly to the other side of the room to hit the snooze button in my sleep.

d) Around the time I needed to get out of of bed (for real) I dreamt that I was misreading the clock and it was too early to get up (basically a replay of what had already happened). I rolled over and slept some more.

e) When I finally hauled myself out of bed, late, I took way too long getting ready.

f) I started working on the file, but then got distracted by realizing I didn't have a post for today.
And here we are. I think I can still finish this file, but it's going to take some serious concentration.

For those of you who think I'm insane, I am. And if you're wondering why I'm doing this to myself, it's because 1) This particular company is under a psychotic set of deadlines that are coming up fast, which is why there's so much to do. 2) After that deadline (mid-December) there may be no more projects at all. 3) The property tax bill needs to be paid. 4) I don't have a job.

Normally I get a rush from tight deadlines and projects, but this one is borderline insanity. I'm fully aware of this fact, and hope that my karmic redemption will be worth it.

Next month I'll be complaining about having nothing to do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the first thanksgiving

"So, this is our first Thanksgiving with H. I'm going to make a pie for him."

"That's so sweet. I think he'll like that."

"What else do you think he'd like to eat? How about appetizers?"

"You know mom, it's just going to be the four of us because [my brother]'s not coming home. And Dad has his no-meat-on-Thursdays fast, so don't cook enough to feed forty people like you usually do, because there just aren't very many of us to eat it this year."

"Okay, okay. No samosas, then. I have another question. Do I have to get dressed up?"

"No, why?"

"Does his family get dressed up for Thanksgiving?"

"Hang on, I'll ask...Yes, mother, he said his family dresses up in their finest Pilgrim-wear every year."

"THEY DO? Oh no, I don't even know what that is!"

"Don't worry mom, you can just dress like an Indian."


"I'm KIDDING, ma. Just dress as you always do--you're Indian every day."

"I think all that working has made you crazy, Cadiz."

"I learned from the best."

Monday, November 24, 2008

babyholding never gets old

Apparently there's a blog devoted to the Obamas and their littlest supporters.

Yes We Can Hold Babies.

I love babies, so of course I scrolled through to look at the pics. This one was especially funny, because I can totally picture how sad Election Night must have been for that enthusiastic John McCain fan with the Indian accent. Poor guy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

look at me, look at me, look at me, i'm a winner

A long time ago, H and my boss discovered they have similar musical tastes and they sort of bonded over it. Ever since, they talk about who's coming to town and my boss gave me the heads up for when Rancid was here (I got H tickets for our anniversary and the boss let us move into his front-row balcony seats).

They both like The Aquabats, so when the boss found out they were coming to Chicago, he went ahead and got tickets for both of us to go. H had been looking forward to it for months, because apparently the band knows how to put on one hell of a show.

Described as a "zany ska unit" from California, I knew this would be right up H's alley. And I was very curious as to what they'd do. I've been pretty stressed from overbooking myself on work projects, so this was a much-needed break.

I haven't been to the Metro since the bouncing bird's nest I encountered with cc at the Lupe Fiasco show two years ago.

When we got inside, I immediately realized I was way overdressed with my sweater and peacoat--everyone there was in comfy T-shirts, jeans and stretchy clothes. Evidently they were prepared for some heavy-duty skanking (dancing, not that other kind). I got a drink.

This girl was in front of us before people really showed up. I was sort of sheepish about taking her photo, which is why I didn't get more of her man's super-pointy hair (you can see part of him in front/left of her in the black; his hair stuck out at least six inches in fat spikes). While we were waiting, I worked out a whole soap opera about them: She is atypical late-teen/early twenties trying to figure out her identity. She kept glomming onto her guy from the back and he seemed indifferent. There was another guy to her right who kept trying to put his arm around her--this one I pegged as the one who liked her before she got all edgy and tatted up, and he could see her for the beauty she had in the inside. There was a THIRD guy (this one very small and nerdy-looking) in green, to her left (maybe her little brother?). She kept bumping him to the music, which he seemed to be enjoying but was too self-conscious to even bop his head. I would have taken this story farther, but then they started jumping around hard-core to The Rikters (Chicago band!) and H suggested we move unless we wanted to be splattered against the wall we were leaning against.

Then Suburban Legends, from California, came out. They had a lot of energy, and I especially liked the way they had choreographed moves between the lead singer, trombonist and trumpeter. Smooth. Apparently somewhere up the line they had played a lot at Disney, so they busted out "Under the Sea." I was shocked that I still knew all the words, even though the last time I sang it was at a sixth-grade chorus concert. They were fun.

When the headliners came out, people went ABSOLUTELY EFFING CRAZY. They were throwing up the non-gang sign that looks a lot like The Aquabats' icon (couldn't get a good shot of it). These guys are all about fun. A few of them are the creators of the children's show, Yo Gabba Gabba!, because they weren't happy with the programs that their kids had to choose from to watch. It's a pretty successful show. I was amazed at how dedicated their fans are, and the wide range of ages they were, too. I notice quite a few people came dressed in their signature teal tight-fitting shirts and goggles, and there were several small kids there, too.

Everyone was really into it, especially when they played "Pizza Day" and "Pool Party*," which were the only two songs I really knew, aside from the title of this post, which is played during the credits of my very favorite indie film of all time.

There was a lot going on stage; small video vignettes, montages of oldschool film clips on the screen, a huge person dressed as a chicken, you know, the usual. But I was entertained. Also, the energy level stayed cranked up to 11 for the entire show. The lead singer, "The MC Bat Commander," had total control of the crowd.

The Commander had so much crowd control, in fact, that toward the end of their performance he announced that there was a small man in the audience, and pointed to a boy sitting on his dad's shoulders whom we had seen jumping up and down to the music earlier. He proceeded to call the kid, Alex, up to the stage, where everyone cheered for him uproariously. The Commander took the kid (who can't be older than six) in his arms and asked him if he'd ever been on a stage before: "Alex has never been on stage before!" Then The Commander asked if he'd ever been to a punk rock show before: "It's his first show!" And then there were a couple more questions before he asked if Alex had ever surfed on an ocean of people before: "Hear that ocean?!?"

And after he mentioned something about another Aquabat giving the dad some paper to sign, he asked Alex if he was ready, doublechecked with the dad, counted to three...and then The Commander HEAVED THAT SIX-YEAR-OLD HIGH INTO THE AIR AND INTO THE CROWD.

I will have that image--the look of pure joy on that kid's face, his arms and legs splayed out and how his orange T-shirt caught the light--burned into my memory forever. The crowd went ballistic, and it "waved" him all the way back to his father.

At first I was outraged. To be honest, I was already mentally chastising all the parents who brought kids and didn't give them headphones or earplugs (like my boss does with his kids). I'm a silent scolder like that. But after seeing that The Aquabats checked with the parent, I've decided that this is probably one of THE coolest things that could ever happen for any six-year-old--he's probably a concertgoer for life, now. Just seeing it gave me the kind of fuzzy, twinkly feeling I get when I watch a little kid open a present she really wanted for Christmas. I think everyone in that place channeled some of that excitement. That alone made it a fantastic show, but the rest was good too.

He's not as open-minded as I am when it comes to music, but I wonder if H would have this much fun accompanying me to a Missy Elliott show.

*If you only click on one link in this post, make it this one. How can you go wrong with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

feelin froggy

Ok, so while it was my last "official" day at the office yesterday (the boss is hoping we get enough biz to bring me back in January), I have taken on the equivalent of two fulltime jobs in temporary freelance projects, which are all due at roughly the same time and keeping me EXTREMELY busy.

So if you've been trying to reach/hang out with me lately, I'm not avoiding you (email/text message is best.). I've just been pulling more all-nighters than I have since college. Working from home is rough—you can't turn it off and you feel guilty if you take time to watch The Colbert Report during nonmeal times when you could be working. On top of it, the laundry/housework is sitting there mocking you, and you need to remind yourself to take a shower. I do NOT know how cc does this fulltime.

I am plugging away at these projects (which will likely dry up at a moment's notice) hoping to squeeze in some time to find a permanent job, and after all that is taken care of I plan to regain my sanity. Until then, I check email/blog in spurts, so forgive me if my posts/comments haven't been making sense (thank God for guest posters!).

On a completely unrelated tangent, when I heard that Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz named their kid "Bronx Mowgli," I immediately thought about how "Mowgli" isn't even an Indian word (like Baloo, Bagheera, etc.). Rudyard Kipling made it up. I heard somewhere it's supposed to mean "frog." What's wrong with the Hindi word for frog, "Mandek" (maen-duck)?

Here's how people say "frog" in several languages.

Sorry, tangent over. Back to work!

Friday, November 21, 2008

guilty as charged. and then some.

Today's guest post comes all the way from the Netherlands. It's by my real-life good friend and very first blog pal, Alexandra. More than three years ago, we made a pact to start blogs and accomplish our goals, one by one, and we're actually doing it! She even made the leap from New York to Holland and recently moved into a new home with her man, Vito. Holy paint chips, life can change a lot in three years!

This post is pretty timely, as I was just explaining to someone the other day that not only do I have Catholic guilt, but Indian guilt, daughter guilt and oldest-child guilt. Trust me, that's a heavy load to walk around with every day. I blame the Auntie Patrol.


In the Netherlands, presents are exchanged on December 5 instead of December 25. This is also due to the fact that the Dutch have "Sinter Klaas" (in lieu of SANTA CLAUS and of course COMPLETELY different from Santa Claus, even though both are big old men with white beards wearing big red coats). Anyway, this Sinter Klaas comes to Holland bringing gifts a bit earlier then Santa Claus, thus the exchange is earlier in Holland. Maybe it is a good thing after all, because the whole gift-exchange craze does take over Christmas completely and people forget why exactly they are exchanging gifts in the first place. But at the same time I think the anticipation is completely heightened when you get to see those gifts under the tree multiply through all of December!

I have been thinking about what gifts I would like to get and to give...every time I think about it, I can't help but to feel guilty, thinking about all those people in the world that need a gift more than I do. However, I want gifts too! I like getting them, besides I know it makes loved ones feel good to give ME gifts, just like it makes me feel good to give them gifts and see them smile. So why this feeling of GUILT???

I've heard of the various phrases, the "Catholic guilt", "Jewish guilt"—I'm not Catholic and due to my Jewish background, I always thought that "Jewish guilt" was when mothers scolded their sons for not calling them enough (every five minutes).

Well, maybe we can clear up some of this by going to the "experts." And by that of course I mean Google!


Here is an excerpt from that states that guilt, to a certain degree, is a positive thing as it moves us to change and improve our actions to get positive result. However sometimes guilt gets to a point that it simply discourages us to improve because we feel hopeless that anything we do won't be enough. The advice is to understand where guilt becomes a negative thing and basically nip it!

A simple test is suggested to distinguish good guilt from the bad:

"Ask yourself the following question: I did the wrong thing, I feel bad, I am sorry I did what? Is this feeling of guilt motivating me in a positive or negative way? Am I getting too depressed to continue doing the right thing (I am in "shutdown" mode) or am I determined to succeed the next time? The answer will help you decide what kind of guilt you are feeling. Keep in mind, if the guilt is unhealthy guilt, DON'T LISTEN TO IT. Fight it. Pull yourself out of the slump and do the right thing. You will see an immediate change in the way you feel."

Here is an example of an explanation of the "Catholic" or Christian guilt in a huge document from 1904 called "Explanation of Catholic Morals."

I just read the beginning paragraphs, and interestingly enough it pretty much talks about the same thing: Guilt is supposed to help you to act in a positive way. For example, feeling that we are indeed responsible for doing the right thing even though God will step in and help us along... but ONLY if we stand up and actually start doing something.

"God helps those who help themselves. A supernatural state does not dispense us from the obligation of practising natural virtue. You can build a supernatural life only on the foundations of a natural life."

So basically, in order to accomplish something good we actually have to take action and not just sit in the corner and pray and hope good stuff will happen and if it doesn't—feel guilty about it.

How does this all apply to my little guilt dilemma of receiving gifts? Well, from both the Jewish and Christian advice I realize that it's OK to not be able to cure world's hunger single-handedly. I should NOT feel guilty about not being able to do that. My "good" guilt should, however, propel me to DO something. Even if it's something small. I should not let the "bad" guilt get me so down and feeling hopeless about the situation that I just sit and do nothing...spiraling into feeling even more guilty and bad.

So! I can do the gift exchange but ask for a smaller gift and for a cash portion that can in turn be donated to my favorite charity. YEY! Problem solved!

...unless we consult those whose religion is Atheism... They would say that this exercise here we just did is simply rationalization of guilt:

"In psychology and logic, rationalization is the process of constructing a logical justification for a belief, decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process. It is a defense mechanism in which unacceptable behaviors or feelings are explained in a rational or logical manner; this avoids the true explanation of the behavior or feeling in question."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my turn on the table

I had EXTREMELY MINOR mouth surgery this week. Something my doctor said she could probably do in the office, but didn't want to be stuck without cauterizing tools in case I was a bleeder. So she referred me to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist.

For some reason they had me come to the largest same-day surgical center in the Midwest to have this thing taken care of. I had no idea it would be such a big ordeal. Dude, this little bump? The one over here that is only sort of annoying in a completely-not-painful way? Did it really require all this stripping-down, open-in-the-back-gown, non-slip-padded-socks, hairnet, no-jewelry drama?

My mom took the morning off to go with me, even though they'd said I could drive myself. She probably felt it was only fair that she be there because she's always been at my brother's side, no matter how small the test or big the open-heart surgery. She even took pictures of me to show him how I looked in all the regalia. I rolled my eyes, but when I had to sit there for like two hours in the pre-op room, I was really thankful for the company.

They sat me in a recliner and gave me magazines and heated blankets. All these years when I've waited in pre-op with my brother before his procedures, I thought getting blankets out of a warmer must be so awesome. Yeah, not really. They stuck this locker-mirror-sized sticky pad with wires in it on my back—the wires hooked up to the "vitals" machine. That thing was really effing annoying because every time I shifted just a little bit, it pulled on my skin in a really awkward way. I just wanted that thing OFF.

When I finally got to the operating room, they strapped me to the table. They took my blood pressure about 14 times. And they stuck this really cold "grounding" pad onto my thigh in case the incision needed to be cauterized. I lay there, helpless, and watched the medical people walk around the room adjusting things, pulling out tools and talking about their Thanksgiving plans.

And then I felt the tears well up in the corners of my eyes.

All I could think about was how much my brother has had to endure. Here I was irritated they stuck a few things on me that I'd be able to remove in about 15 minutes. In his life, doctors have sawed through my brother's sternum and propped him open, sometimes for 15 HOURS at a time—on more than eight occasions. Every time I shifted and that sticky pad annoyed me, I remembered all those dressings he's had to keep stuck to his chest for months, itchy tape that gave him the hives. The countless shots, IV lines, soreness and never-ending regimen of medicines. Not being allowed a drink for days, just a wet swab, when his mouth felt like the desert. And yet, he hardly ever complains.

Lying on the table, looking into the masked faces and the bright lights before I got local anaesthesia and a whopping total of THREE stitches, it became even more clear that if our lots in life had been reversed, I never would have survived.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

too much to handle

You know it's going to be a long day when you open a file and Microsoft Word immediately and repeatedly gives you this warning:

"There are too many spelling or grammatical errors in [filename] to continue displaying them. To check the grammar and spelling of this document, choose Spelling and Grammar from the Tools menu."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a mother's love is a double-edged sword

"Mmm, this kichidi is delicious, Mom."

"It's just a simple dish. And I made it even blander than usual so you could eat it today."

"I know, but for some reason, anything you make tastes so much better than when I make it. And nothing tastes better than your food when I'm not feeling well."

"I felt exactly the same way about your nani's cooking."

" you think you could make some Sheera, too?"

"Of course. Give me fifteen minutes."

"You know, if I ever get pregnant I'm going to make you absolutely miserable with my cravings for your cooking."

"That's fine with me. But what you don't realize is that I'm going to make you miserable by making sure you eat foods that you don't like."

"Ugh. As long as it's not bananas."

"Honeybunch, three to five servings of fruit a day. And bananas are at the top of the list."

Monday, November 17, 2008

too bad i can't stand to watch her on film

I'm normally not much for quizzes, but hell, I'm busy today. Plus, I saw that Becky took this quiz and was amazed that in two questions, it had her pegged dead-on as an Ingrid Bergman–type. Intrigued, I had to take it myself.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz ...

You Are a Marilyn!


You are a Marilyn -- "I am affectionate and skeptical."

Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me
  • Be direct and clear
  • Listen to me carefully
  • Don't judge me for my anxiety
  • Work things through with me
  • Reassure me that everything is OK between us
  • Laugh and make jokes with me
  • Gently push me toward new experiences
  • Try not to overreact to my overreacting.
What I Like About Being a Marilyn
  • being committed and faithful to family and friends
  • being responsible and hardworking
  • being compassionate toward others
  • having intellect and wit
  • being a nonconformist
  • confronting danger bravely
  • being direct and assertive
What's Hard About Being a Marilyn
  • the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
  • procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
  • fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
  • exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
  • wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
  • being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations
Marilyns as Children Often
  • are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
  • are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
  • form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent
  • look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
  • are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent
Marilyns as Parents
  • are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
  • are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
  • worry more than most that their children will get hurt
  • sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

I certainly wasn't abused as a kid and my parents are wonderful, but I did learn how fragile life can be at a very young age and constantly fear for the safety and well-being of my loved ones. Oh, and I take my tea every morning with two lumps of paranoia.

Find out who you are.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

he can't get out of his current phone contract until december 7

"I have a headache."

"Why don't you take some medicine?"

"I think it's because I don't have an iPhone."

"So I guess you're going to have to live with the pain for a few more weeks, huh?"

"Yeah. Provided it doesn't kill me before then."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

my stars and knickers, they're canceling MADtv

I can't say that I'll miss it, because I've only seen about three quarters of one episode all the way through, but just yesterday I stumbled upon this clip and thought the impressions were pretty solid—especially the imitations of Cat Deeley and Mary Murphy. And the political impressions in this sketch seemed better than those on SNL this season (Tina Fey excepted).

As a fan of So You Think You Can Dance as well as an avid consumer of the 24-hour news cycle, I enjoyed this one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

it's all in the stars

I'm pretty superstitious, but no devotee to astrologists. However, I do like to check my horoscope from time to time, especially when things get rough. Sometimes this particular woman's predictions for Leo seem specifically written about what's going in my life in such an uncanny way that I send them to my friends, who often agree with me about how weird the coincidences are.

These days there's a lot of uncertainty--what with the job and housing situation sort of tenuous--so I thought I'd check to see what Bridgett says is in store for me this month:
For November 2008: You finally can relax, even if it's just the calm before the storm. Your instincts were right, your hard work produced better than projected results, and last but not least, others absolutely love you, baby! So even if your celebration is brief this month (there's so much work to do!), it's glorious, victorious and feels like the party of the century. Congratulations, Leo!! Job well done. Next step is to line up the best and brightest cohorts to assist you in getting things organized and underway. Use your judgment when selecting friends, advisors and experts. It appears that you've already got a superb core team to rely on but may need additional people because of gargantuan tasks ahead. In the future, people will extol your accomplishments and refer to you and your team as miraculous - something to remember when you're herding and repurposing a number of overfed sacred cows. The mood and lexicon of friends, family and general gossip about you changes dramatically, beginning on the 4th and accelerating on the 5th. This flurry of energy, curiosity and hero-worship continues throughout the month. You'll have about five fabulous minutes to party hard - and the rest is all about bracing for a prodigious amount of work and responsibility. You're more than up to the challenge, FYI. A feeling of coming together and building a far better mousetrap (on a grand scale) occurs around the 13th. People you've asked to join you in a challenging but worthwhile endeavor unanimously say YES on or before the 13th. More good news arrives on the 21st, 23rd and 25th. Holiday or not, you're still focused on the hard work ahead on the 27th and examine various strategies that not only get the desired results but also conserve money and other resources. You end the month feeling on top of the world - because you are! Monthly touchstone: Paraiba Tourmaline.

Dude, Bridgett is way off her game. While I have been working hard lately, no one is going to be hero-worshiping me anytime soon, and I doubt I'll be on top of the world around the time I'm out of a job... Wait a second. Does this horoscope coincide with what's going on for somebody else I know of? A certain President-Elect, perhaps? "...job well done..." "...November 4-5..." "
...bracing for a prodigious amount of work..." "...people...say YES..."?!?

Turns out,
Barack Obama's birthday is August 4, making him a Leo, too. I guess I'll have to check back another time to see a horoscope a little more tailor-made to my own life. But for right now, I don't mind sharing with the soon-to-be leader of the country. I could really use his help in the very near future.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

leave the punditry to the indian scholars

The Major League Baseball playoffs were a tense time for me this year. First off, it was NEVER ENDING. Second, I couldn't get away from the superfans, which actually made me care less about what was going on. Third, my boyfriend and my brother are each devoted to teams who were battling it out in the first round of National League playoffs. My daily conversation during those several weeks included far too much baseball talk, and my loyalty was often called into question. It was enough to drive a girl to want to knock herself out with a bat.

But I maintained my ground. FOR THE RECORD: I will always root for Chicago, no matter what. And any children I may create in the future will have plenty of Cubs influence, but they will have the freedom to choose which team they'd like to support.

I thought it'd only be proper to have H post his own thoughts about this past baseball season after my brother had his take. Above all else, I always try my best to be fair. And while I hope that this will be the last sports-jargon fest on Do They Read Obituaries in Hell?, I realize that's probably just wishful thinking.

So here is H's perspective.


The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies are everything that's right with baseball. It's not easy for me to say that, but it's true. What I really wish I could say is that the 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers are everything that's right with baseball, but they didn't win the World Series and that still stings. But the Phillies, and even more so the Tampa Bay Rays, represent the greater good for fans everywhere. Neither of those teams were anywhere near the top of the list of World Series contenders, and yet there they were, competing for the ultimate prize in baseball. And while it pains me greatly, I can recognize the value in this.

This year's World Series should give hope to fans everywhere (not surprisingly, I'm still miffed it wasn't my team). The greatest (and worst) thing you can give a fan is hope. This year showed us that next spring, it doesn't matter what happened this year, it's all up for grabs again and there are no guarantees. All you have to do is make the playoffs and get hot at just the right time.

I was born and raised in Southern California. So when it comes to professional sports, that's where my loyalties lie.* I bleed purple, gold and blue. It never ends either, much to the dismay of Cadiz. When the Lakers were dismissed by the Celtics in the NBA Finals, I drowned my sorrows in many, many Dodger games. It wasn't therapeutic at the time, but then something extraordinary happened: We got Manny. Sure, I've heard the stories about him in Boston, but we gave up surprisingly little in the trade. We finally had a Big Bad that other teams would fear (by the way, did this feel like when the Lakers traded for Gasol? You bet you're a$$ it did, but nothing will ever be as lopsided as that Gasol trade. Nothing.).

Manny did the unthinkable. In two short months, he gave people everywhere a reasonable argument to nominate him for National League MVP while having played little less than a third of the season there. The Dodgers ended up taking the National League West Division title and ended up facing the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the playoffs.

I moved to Chicago right before the baseball season started. I sat through six months of "Go, Cubs Go" and "W" flags flying all over the place. Apparently, you "can't stop TheRiot" and Fukadome is people's "homie." I wore my Dodgers hat every day and thanked every Cubs fan for his or her valuable insight as to how much my team sucked. It didn't help that the Cubs swept the Dodgers during their only visit to Wrigley. (I attended two of those games personally.) I will say this though, Cubs fans at Wrigley were much more civil after a victory than the Cubs fans I've seen at Dodger Stadium after they win there.

But that was prior to the Ramirez trade. Leading up to the first game of the playoffs, I was amazed (especially given their history) at the confidence Cubs fans exuded. More than a few people I ran into had the Cubs locked into the World Series. Worse yet, the sports pundits were saying the same. That's usually the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned. So I issued my own warnings about how the Dodgers' pitching staff is better than they thought and how Manny had really opened up the lineup, but they seemed to fall on deaf ears.

We all know what happened now so I won't recount history, but I'd like to say a few things about what it's like to be a fan of the team that beats the most cursed team in all of sports—not counting the Washington Generals. First of all, it feels fantastic. Second, I don't really have anything against the Cubs. If my team isn't competing against them, I don't mind if they win. Really, they are the lovable losers that everyone makes them out to be. But I'd be lying if I didn't relish every single victory my team claimed. That is the life a true sports fan. And this is how you justify things like beating the Cubs.

After the Cubs' elimination from the playoffs, all the sports pundits (including some ludicrous simulation that said the Dodgers prevailed 67% of the time, which is apparently an overwhelming number in those obviously useless simulations), picked the Dodgers to easily beat the Phillies. I'll go on the record as saying that I hate sports punditry and prognostication.


*He also follows the St. Louis Rams (which incidentally have gold and blue as their colors) because they originally were a Los Angeles team.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

we're on a break

Today's guest post is actually the first one I received--even before I realized I ought to think about having guest posts this month. I can't even say why I saved his for today. It just felt right. There's not much I can say about my brother, except that I love him as much as he loves the Chicago Cubs. But I guess that's saying more about his love for the team than anything else, because if you've spent any time reading my posts, you know how much I love my brother.

Apparently, he still loves them even after the disappointment of this past baseball season. This post was sent to me on October 8, after the once-promising Chicago Cubs were eliminated from the playoffs.

In 2003 as I sat in a local bar in Cajun Country sipping on the last of my Bud Light, I drowned my sorrows as I watched my beloved Chicago Cubs once again find a way to collapse. I thought to myself How much more can a long-suffering fan endure? The previous night I had been in the same bar watching the events of Steve Bartman as he reached over the stands to basically rip out millions of Cubs Nation hearts and end any hope of the world series. That incident, not to mention an Alex Gonzalez error in the infield, changed the complexity of the enitre series and led me to sorrows the next night. I could not explain it. I was not in Chicago, thank the good lord. I could not believe my eyes and thought nothing could be worse.

Let's fast-forward to 2006, three years after the Bartman incident: new team, new life etc. Alfonso Soriano, D Lee,* Aramis Ramierez--this was the year; we caught the Brew Crew to end the season and won the NL Central. We were on fire going into the playoffs facing a difficult road, but it wasn't impossible. I, however, was nervous as usual but enjoyed the fact that the Cubs were not the front-runners for the NL pennant, but they still had a legitimate shot. Game 3 came before I knew it and the brooms were out already in Roll Tide Nation, where baseball was just an afterthought because Nick Saban and his 4 million dollars had entered 'Bama. I was ridiculed because I was a sucker for a team who just could not win the Big One or smell anything close to it, but I hung in there, thinking that things could not get any worse.

This year was different. I'd had my heart broken twice. I'm not old enough to remember '69, '84 and '89, but I had read and heard enough about "the goat," etc. to believe many others were suffering far worse than I.

2008! One hundred years without a title, a weak NL--the cards just felt right and this was the year. I went to Chicago in May after graduation to see the Cubs as much as I could: six Cubs games in a span of two weeks, even inviting my roommate from LA (Lower Alabama) because I wanted him to visit the Friendly Confines the year that the Cubs were going to finally go All The Way. By mid-September, the Cubs had acquired a pitcher who would complete the rotation and take them to the promised land. Big Z threw a no-hitter, the first since 1932. We had wrapped up home-field advantage. Many said this team was better than every other team that had a realistic shot. 97 wins, an NL best. Repeat NL central champs, All-stars galore. The stars were aligned...

I had been counting down the days until late October. My flight was on stand-by and my mom had already talked to several connections about a game-three ticket to the World Series. "Go Cubs Go" became my ringtone as well as the first song on my iPod. Man the Kool-Aid was tasting great. I was talking so much garbage that people were starting to believe. Game 1 against the Dodgers came quick, and I was ready to see history made in front of my eyes. I was decked out in my Cubs gear, including my new pajamas (thanks mom), standing with excitement as I watched. Then happiness quickly turned into sorrow when James Loney hit a grand slam and Game 1 was over quicker than Usain Bolt in the Olympics. I should have learned my lesson from '03 and '06. Big Z took the mound in Game 2, and an error occurred at every infield position. It looked as though I was watching a movie; it was like God was just standing there as the ball was hit and he paused it and moved the ball, laughing his fanny off in sheer enjoyment.

An erie feeling came from my stomach, and just like that we were SWEPT in three straight games. I was sick with disgust, heartbreak and betrayal. First off, I know it is just a game and no one should care about something that they can't control. My love for the Cubs goes deeper than anything I can imagine. I have read many columns and read the newspapers; many fans are saying that it will never happen. I have even heard of drastic approaches like going to the South side or the Red Birds. And many have given up and said To hell with the "loveable losers." It has been almost a full week since the nightmare, and I sat there and watched the BoSox win yet another series and get one step closer to the World Series. They got over the hump in '04 after 86 years. Even without Manny they are still winning. I'm really not asking for much, just one series. One great October. One magical season that is complete.

One column writer went as far as to say that he broke up with the Cubs on Saturday night. I'm not going to go that far. However I think I need to re-evaluate our relationship until I can get a committment to winning. Until then, we are definitely "on a break."

*That's my favorite player!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Living with a boy: Yay or Nay?

Today's guest post is by pp, my college roommate. I can't begin to describe all the stuff pp and I have been through together. She was certainly a big influence on my formative years in Champaign, and I'm so thankful to have been randomly assigned to live with her, even though she hates holiday music. She's the only one I know who knows random things like when Kirk Cameron's birthday is, and she always gives great fashion advice.

I was around when she met her boyfriend, whom she occasionally refers to as "the male version of Cadiz." MB and I have a lot of the same habits, including procrastination. I don't know how the heck she puts up with either one of us.

You all may not be aware but MB & I have been together for nine years now. As he likes to say, he was barely legal when we met. We live by our own relationship “rules” and we’re happy. My friends and loved ones know not to be pushy with the whole marriage thing, but I must say they are getting antsy. They are wondering when we'll take that other next step: living together. MB has tried, but I’ve nixed the idea on more than one occasion. The way I see it, I don’t want to live with a dirty boy until I have to (i.e. when we’re married). Even then I have contemplated starting a new trend where he has his place across the street from mine, a la Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Recently MB stayed over for about a month straight—and I liked it. So I’ll admit that lately I’ve been toying with the idea of inviting MB to officially move in. I keep going back and forth. Shouldn’t I enjoy these last couple of years of living alone because later I’ll have a hubby and eventually some kiddies? Or should I welcome MB with open arms so we can work out all the roommate kinks before we’re married?

So I’m seeking advice from those who are in this current situation. What are some pros and cons of living with a boy?

Monday, November 10, 2008

thing is, not too long ago he might have gotten away with it--with a smirk

"I just got my license renewed, do you want to see it?"

"That's a pretty good picture, Dad. You're looking really young!"

"Yeah? Well, no one at work can guess my age, you know."

"Do you remember when I was like five and you told me you were 14 when I asked how old you were?"

"Ha ha. Yes, I remember that."

"And I was like, 'WHOA, you are OLD, Daddy!' "

"Oh, by the way, I just want you to understand that I don't want any presents or any kind of big deal this December."

"Why?! It's your big 6-0!"

"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm only 28."

"Nice, Dad. Your daughter is 30 and you're 28?"

"Fine, then. I take that back. I'm 35."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

there's a big deadline tomorrow

So before I sit down to tackle the task, of course I first must:
*sweep the floors
*rearrange the pantry (soups grouped by thickness, crackers grouped by graininess)
*roll up each extra empty plastic bag for easy retrieval
*take out all the tupperware and put it back, stacked with lids
* wash the whites
*dry the whites
*feed the plants and worry about the ivy, which is looking sickly
* rearrange the bottles in the refrigerator door
*take the summer shoes out of the hall closet
*wash out all the jars/cans for recycling
*take out the recycling, making sure that I've read all the pages of the newspaper first
*take out the garbage
*get caught up in a historical program about the Jonestown mass suicide, which now doubles the time it takes to do even the most mundane task
* sweep the carpet for stray hair
*vacuum, especially thoroughly inside the closet
*re-pair the socks
* wash the darks
* dry the darks
*make the bed
*clean up the bathroom
*arrange the magazines
*dust the top of the fridge
*clean out under the sink
*text message
*begin freaking out about how little time I have now
*remember that I haven't posted for NaBloPoMo yet, and there's only 15 minutes left in the day.
*resume freaking out
Sigh. It's the story of my life.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

the new classics

A long time ago I must have stumbled on this meme somewhere and made a draft of it to pull out on a busy day like today. From what I can recall, this is a list from some publication or organization of "new classic" films, and I am supposed to mark the ones I'd seen with italics and the ones I particularly enjoyed in bold. And yes, I've never seen The Matrix. I've also never seen a James Bond movie, a western or a whole bunch of stuff that people just can't believe I've missed.

Before you get all incredulous on me I ask you: How many of you have seen Seeta Aur Geeta?

Here's the list:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)
25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998)
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Friday, November 07, 2008

it sure ain't like law and order

A few weeks ago when I looked at my schedule but went ahead and signed up for NaBloPoMo anyway, I realized I was going to need some help. So I put out a request to people I have talked about on the blog asking if they wouldn't mind lending their own voices to a few posts.

My first guest-poster is angel07, a really awesome person I met toward the end of college who I still love to hang out with. I'm disappointed I hadn't met her sooner!


When Cadiz asked for guest’s posts, I thought “Sure! Why not? I’ve been a loyal reader almost since the beginning! I'll talk about some of my favorites that made me laugh out loud, embarrassingly, at work.” But then I hit a stroke of luck. Bad luck:

I got picked to serve on a jury.

Now, notice I didn’t say I got “summoned” for jury duty. I’ve received a summons for jury duty five times in the last eight-ish years, so that really wasn’t anything special. This was the very first time I was picked to act as a juror. It was for a first-degree murder case, and the courthouse was a hike for me every day. (Lucky for me, gas prices have been low!)

Rather than go on and on about the ins and outs and objections and side bars, here are some key points I’d like to highlight:

-The U.S. judicial system is slowwwwww. This crime happened in 2003!

-Through the jury selection process, you learn of the horrific situations your fellow citizens have endured.

-Once someone describes one of the defense attorneys as a cross between Ursula from The Little Mermaid and an Oompa Loompa, you can’t really help but think about that every time you see her.

-Criminal court cafeteria food quality is a step above airplane food. It’s more of a tiny hop really…

-When stuck in a room with 14 other people, after a week and a half anything can become amusing. Taking bets on how long it will take for the grease to soak out of a stale doughnut onto a napkin can be fun.

-Not everyone knows how to read—not even a 19 year old witness. (No Child Left Behind?!? Yeah RIGHT!)

-Some deputy sheriffs sleep on the job! I saw three of them do it!

-If two defendants are on trial for a murder, they can each have their own juries.

-There is no concrete way for a scientist to determine an exact time of death. Take that CSI!

-After 12+ hours of sitting around, you can forget where you parked your car.

-You are legally guilty of first-degree murder if you take part in, well, any step involved in the events that led up to the crime. (Even if you weren’t the one holding the gun.) So if anyone ever asks you for help doing something shady, say NO!

-No matter how patient I try and be, if you continuously talk over me we WILL have words!

-Nothing speeds up a unanimous verdict like the word “sequester.”

As I drove home just before midnight last night, we finished the trial and I have no regrets. Especially when the judge came to talk to us afterward and explained that the man we just sent to jail was a past convicted felon. No one mentioned that to us previously, as it would have led to prejudice. But I will tell you this: If I EVER get summoned for jury duty again, I will have five reasons in my back pocket as to why I cannot serve. Once in a lifetime is enough. ;)


If you would like to write a guest post here during the month of November to help me out with NaBloPoMo, just drop me a line at cadiztwelve[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks, angel07!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

hear it from my own mouth

Ever since junior high when I discovered that Ri's older brother and younger sister were referring to me as "Squeaky" every time they had to tell her I was on the phone, I've had a bit of a complex about my voice. I'm terrified I sound like Brittany, Jeanette or Eleanor to anyone who is not in my head (where my voice sounds a lot lower).

I guess I was swept up in the celebratory vibe of the city, but I suggested Jazz, Jon and I record how we were feeling after having experienced the rally Tuesday. Jon uploaded the audio file, which hasn't been edited after all. H seems to think it doesn't sound much like my actual voice, but I think his ears are so full of my yapping that he's more finely attuned to the nuances. It pretty much sounds like me, just a little less boisterous than usual--I was holding back slightly, afraid that someone would yell, "Hey! Squeaky's on the phone!" But Jon and Jasmine sound lovely, as they always do.

So take a listen if you have an extra five minutes. And if any of you were curious as to how I pronounce my own handle (even though it's not the way people in Spain say it), here's your chance.

Oh, and by the way, I'll let you guess which one of us is the hard-core Democrat.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"nothing like watching CNN with 125,000 of my best friends"

It's hard to describe being in Grant Park last night for Barack Obama's victory rally. Apparently there were 125,000 people (likely many more) in and around the area, and we knew there was going to be a crowd, but as Jazz said last night, it was really hard to fathom just what that many people would be like until we actually experienced it. The event was not for the claustrophobic.

As I said yesterday, the grad student and her friend were saving our spots in line. It was publicized that they'd open the gates at 8:30 p.m., but actually started letting people in much earlier, when I was still at work and Jazz was still at Obama headquarters. So we grabbed something from the deli and headed down Michigan Avenue.

Right away I felt the anticipation collecting in a bubble above everyone walking south together toward Grant Park. We saw what looked like a whole lot of people in front of the Congress Hotel, but that was nothing compared with everyone in the neverending line into Hutchinson Field.

There were several checkpoints. As soon as the field came to view, we joined a bunch of people running toward it, which ended up being a gigantic up-and-downhill detour that put us way behind a tightly packed mass of people waiting to go through metal detectors. And that line was BRUTAL—for good part of it, an older woman with a big blond bouffant was leaning on H and I. At one point we were about five feet from Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers, who posed for somebody's iPhone with a lowkey thumbs up. Jazz led us into open pockets, but really there wasn't much to do but stand and wait. And wait and stand. And wait.

When we gained entry, the rally was broadcasting CNN on the jumbotron. We made our way to a spot with an okay view of the screen, the tent and the podium and a fantastic view of the back of an 8-foot-tall man in a brown corduroy jacket. But no one else wanted to stand behind him, so we had plenty of breathing/stretching room.

During the wait, people were restless and at times concerned (especially about Virginia); some were reporting results from their handheld gadgets. But as time passed, it became clear which way this election was going to go and the energy started to build. The uproar was probably at its peak when CNN called the election: People were hugging each other, cheering and wiping their eyes. And the buzz was infectious. The overhead cameras pointed at us several times during the evening, so if you were watching any television coverage of the masses in Grant Park, you probably saw a sliver or two of us.

A Bishop said a prayer, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and this woman sang the National Anthem—unfortunately she used some incorrect words, so the crowd joined in to help her out. It's amazing that someone asked to sing at an event like this wouldn't drill the lyrics into her memory, but I'm sure she was very nervous up there.

When the President-elect finally took the podium, he looked as exhausted as my feet felt. Barack Obama had everyone's rapt attention. There were chants of "Yes we can," "Yes, we did," and a whole lot of cheering, but the vibe in there was mostly that of solemn pride in the historic moment brought about by a lot of individuals who got up off their couches and did something about their dissatisfaction:
"If there is anyone who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

I'd say the best part of the evening was actually leaving Grant Park, and not just because my body was screaming to sit down. Michigan Avenue was PACKED—the city had closed it from Illinois St. down to Cermak, and I could never have imagined the street so completely full of people. Not only that, but the streets going west were also completely jammed, and cheers traveled up and down in waves. The fools in cars trying to crawl up the underground parking ramp realized before too long that, for those hours after the rally, the streets were owned by the pedestrians (for once!). They weren't going anywhere, so some of them climbed out of their vehicles and joined in the festivities.

The nearly one-mile trek from Congress Parkway to our condo took about 45 minutes, but we were lazily strolling along past the flag-waving, hooting, honking, dancing on the medians—one red-headed guy with a pretty good operatic voice was singing "God Bless America" at the top of his lungs to applause.

And there didn't seem to be any troublemakers (it probably helped that nobody was drunkenly obnoxious). For the most part, the police were standing by and taking it all in, too. I left my brother a message saying that being on Michigan Avenue right then, with all those people so happy to just be there, felt as though all the sports teams in Chicago won the championship on the same night.

It's amazing what can happen when you get a whole lot of people together to make something happen. I just hope the momentum of this election is not lost in the future when we realize that our nation's problems are not going to be a fast or easy fix. The new guy is going to need even more support to get the job done in the next four years. But something about being there amid all that energy made me feel a teensy bit little less scared about what's to come than I had been the day before.

The crowd as it leaves Hutchinson Field on November 4, 2008.

See more pictures people took during the rally here.