Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Happy Happy

My family is suffering from a surfeit of happy couples.
Wait, that sounds wrong.  It isn't a matter of suffering, since the couples are happy.  And whether or not it's actually a surfeit could be argued as well.  What it boils down to is this: I'm the only single person in the family at the moment.  That is fact.  I'm not mad about it, I'm not whining about it, I'm not pitying myself . . .  but it makes for interesting dynamics.
When my two sisters were dating, then on the verge of getting engaged, then actually engaged, they had what I have always termed Happy Couple Syndrome.  Since they were one half of a happy couple, they thought everyone would be better off and happier if they, too, were half of a very happy couple.  Blind dates are not the norm in my family, but all of a sudden, both of them knew eligible young men that I needed to go out with.  I needed to be a member in a happy couple.
(Again, please note--I've nothing against happy couples.  I am, in fact, happy for happy couples.  At the moment, I just don't have any type of vested interest in making myself part of a happy couple)
Anyway, this Christmas has brought another all-but-engaged couple in the form of my brother and his girlfriend.  This brother, you understand, is downright mean on a bad day.  Doesn't understand me on an iffy day.  And delights in having faux-arguments with me on a good day.  (I'll admit it: the phony arguments can be a lot of fun, especially as they devolve into claims and counter-claims that become more and more ridiculous)
And now my older brother thinks I need to be part of a couple.  Because, and I quote, "I think, Katie, you'd be a much happier person if you were getting some action."  Other gems from his fount of wisdom include, "Don't say that you don't want a boyfriend right now just because you don't have a boyfriend.  Everyone wants a boyfriend."  Pause.  "Unless you want a girlfriend."  He's a charmer, my brother.
I've always had some silly notion I controlled my happiness, and I didn't need to have any particular people there--or not there--to be happy.  Then again, maybe if my older brother temporarily disappeared . . . eh, he'll get married soon enough.  I think I can do a good job of remaining chipper until then.  And after then.  And pretty much whenever I want to be happy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

. . . It feels like Christmas

It's in the singing of the street corner choir
Or the choir of Primary children lisping out a lullaby to the baby Jesus. It's even cute when a solid third of the kids are tone deaf. Cute squared, when the whole front of little girls have round faces and are missing half their teeth.

It's going home and getting warm by the fire
So my parents' fireplace is actually gas, but it's still warm. Unfortunately, this means we cannot attempt to roast marshmallows in the fireplace like we did when it was real. Fortunately, this probably means there is a smaller chance we would set the house on fire now. Also, getting warm by the fire usually means Scrabble--and with my parents and me, that's two types of fire . . . (though my mom insists it's going to be a New Year's Resolutions of hers to reform; I hope she doesn't, half the fun of playing is watching her get crazy competitive)

It's true, wherever you find love it feels like Christmas
My roommate and I knew exactly what we got each other for Christmas. It was our own dorky way of ensuring that each of us got to buy something for the other, before we bought it for ourselves. Most people would find a certain element of surprise lacking in our Christmas celebration, but they would also find it exceedingly random the way we connect and how the talking was my favorite part of Roommate Christmas 2007.

A cup of kindness that we share with another
I attended my parents' ward yesterday, what I will always consider my "home ward." The choir attempted the MoTab version of O Holy Night, which is basically a solo with choir accompaniment. The soloist, for some reason, missed her note, started crying in earnest, and barely muddled her way to the end of the song. She had not been back in her seat for two minutes before other choir members slid over to literally offer a couple of shoulders to cry on and reassure her.

A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother
If you don't think this is true, you've never seen any mother anxiously waiting by the phone on Christmas Day for a missionary to call. That call isn't really for the whole family, it's totally for the mamas. Trust me: my mom has already started looking anxious . . .

In all the places you find love, it feels like Christmas
I've felt Christmas wishes from a surprising number of places this year--people I would never have suspected who manage to overcome their inner Grinch and be nice despite it all. The office, especially, has been more tolerant of each other--making certain facets of my job much easier.

It is the season of the heart, a special time for caring, the ways of love made clear
People are surprisingly kind this time of year, including my older brother. Of course, I have to wonder if that's more the influence of his new girlfriend than anything else. But I'll keep him anyway.

It is the season of the Spirit, the message if we hear it--'make it last all year'
I modified this lyric slightly. To me, it is the season of the Spirit--the fundamental spirit of Christmas has the Spirit at its root. Not to sound terribly cynical, but people usually just don't have that type of goodwill without a little prompting.

It's in the giving of a gift to another
Whether or not they know what it is. I loved my roommate's gift to me. I'm guaranteed to love the boots my sister picked out with my help. The magazine subscription from my grandparents will make me happy. So will all of the surprises. For me, it's not how much I know--it's the intent behind the giving.

A pair of mittens that were made by your mother
I don't recall Mom ever making mittens, but until my Grandma's hands were too crippled from arthritis, we got a pair of slippers knit in our favorite color. Or colors, if we had more than one.

It's all the ways that we show love that feel like Christmas
My family shows love primarily by being together, by showing a more vested interest in each other as people and not only as siblings, parents, in-laws, outlaws. (Just kidding, there are no outlaws in my family. Yet.) I hate to admit this, but we're all much more helpful during the holidays, easing burdens so my parents don't have to bear the whole load.

A part of childhood we'll always remember
It's nice to have a day where I don't have to be a grown-up, where I can crawl around playing cars with my nephew while we're still both in our pajamas. And Christmas is one of the holidays I believe was specifically designed to help us retain a sense of child-like wonder. All of the snow globes and the lights and how everything sparkles after the first snow . . . the carriages (okay, the horses smell, but it's still a pretty picture) and everything with ribbons and poinsettias. It makes me want to skip. I don't, of course, but I still want to.

It is the summer of the soul in December
There is no other time of year when I feel closer to the Savior than this time of year, as we celebrate His birth. That makes my soul feel very summery indeed.

. . . Yes, wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas.
If you're reading this, chances are I've felt love from you in one way or another, whether you realize it or not. Thanks for that. And Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Confuzzled's Sense of Fashion

I've been tempted before to write a post about my own sense of snow, but it would be short: my right elbow and my left ankle twinge before any type of storm and they throb when it's going to snow.  End of story.  They are as reliable as Babette's ankles.  (And to all who understood that reference, I applaud you.)
Anyway, I thought I would write about my sense of fashion instead.  Alas, I have no pictures.  And though I know a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll do my best to draw a picture of myself for you verbally.  In the course of the week, I appear to be a "with it" sort of person; Monday through Thursday, I look like a professional.  If my socks are going to be visible, they coordinate with my pants and my shoes.
If my socks will be invisible--not in the Harry Potter sense, but rather in the sense they will be hidden under what my co-worker calls my "hooker boots"--I don't care if my socks match anything at all.  After all, they're hidden under boots all day.  Besides, it gives me secret delight to wear socks that are bright blue with fuzzy little yellow chickens on them and "Chicks rule" scribbled all over them in black print underneath my boots when I'm wearing them with a suit.  It's my own small way of stickin' it to the man, I guess.
If I had a choice, I would spend the entirety of my winters in hooded sweatshirts and jeans.  Summers--t-shirts and jeans.  Polo shirts when I felt like dressing up a smidgen.  Dresses--never.  Socks and shoes--what are those?  (My whole family, except my dad, is somehow wired to go around barefoot during the summers and stocking-footed in the winter.  We don't believe in shoes.  And we especially don't believe in shoes that, while cute, are uncomfortable.)
My mom, I know, laments my dress style.  She cringes if I elect to wear a pair of quirky socks with my jeans instead of regular-human-being socks.  When my dad re-gifted a pair of singing Christmas songs he'd received at work to me, my mom glared at him as I pulled them on.  (I was sixteen at the time, and some would argue I should have known better.  But I was tickled pink to have singing socks!)
She always disapproves of anything I buy that she thinks is trendy.  Good clothes last, regardless of the current fashions.  White sweaters should not be worn with green t-shirts.  T-shirts with writing on them are not only kitschy, they're downright abominable--and also distracting.  Pale people should not wear orange.  (So far, that's one of the few of her dictums I've agreed with.  Me in orange?  A downright ghastly sight.)  Shorts should not be allowed unless legs are properly tanned.  Only ragamuffins wear pants that have a hole in the knees.
I should grant she taught me important things about buying clothes: always find a place in the dressing room to imitate sitting down in a skirt to see just how high it rides.  Bend over in every way possible to make sure a shirt's neckline is not something you would be uncomfortable worth.  Walk up and down the aisles in those shoes before you buy them just to make sure they won't be too hard to break in.
These days, she's tickled when she gets a chance to have a hand in dressing me.  At 23, I've grown set in my ways.  I don't care if my socks coordinate with my pants and shoes if I'm not at work.  If a pair of pants still fits and they have a hole in the knee, who cares?  Nobody at Smith's . . .
She was excited this morning to loan me socks.  I slept at their house last night, and I neglected to stuff a pair of socks in my backpack.  She poked her head out of her room this morning to ask what I was wearing.  (It's a casual Friday; it's a given I'm wearing a hoodie and jeans)  "Pink."
She rolled her eyes.  "What color are your pants?  Everyone knows you match your socks to your pants and not your shirts."
"Jeans, Mom.  It's Friday, I'm wearing jeans."
She threw some navy blue socks down the hall.  Then she emerged all the way.  "Wait," she said, "what color are your shoes?"
A small intake of breath.  "But you can't wear navy socks with black shoes.  Especially because those have flecks of white." (Scandal most fashionably foul!)
She went back, rummaged through a door, and emerged triumphant with socks that would coordinate with my shoes and my socks.  I could tell by the look on her face that she felt I was better dressed than average--purely because of a pair of coordinated socks.
So there you have it--even though I'm a college graduate and a working professional, my mother still has little to no confidence that I can dress myself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What I Didn't Realize About Service Professions

As I prepared to graduate college, I was pretty sure I wanted to go into a service profession of some kind.  After working at the writing center, I knew I greatly enjoyed working with people and feeling that I had helped someone.  (Sometimes, this took on a warm, fuzzy, I'm-glad-to-have-helped you kind of feeling when students thanked me; sometimes it was more of an I-helped-you-dang-it-whether-you-like-it-or-not kind of feeling)
So Human Resources seemed like a good fit for me.  It involves helping people, doing some writing, and knowing the people who surround me on a daily basis.  What I didn't realize when I started this paper is that once you start a job--an 8 to 5, take-up-the-bulk-of-your-days, define-how-tired-you-are-when-you-get-home, rather-large-chunk-of-your-life-and-time kind of job--people expect certain things of you during that large chunk of your life if you've elected to be in a profession that serves them.
To be specific, the employees you work with expect you to be happy.  All. The. Time.  They want you to be wreathed in smiles, whistling as you work, name any happiness cliche you can think of . . . they want you to be the sunshine on their shoulder, members of KC and the Sunshine band, erstwhile stand-ins for Santa and his elves . . . they want you to be turning cartwheels, tap dancing if they deign to talk to you, delighting in any and all menial interactions with them.  You think I'm exaggerating, but let me illustrate:
One of our employees came in to my office yesterday, proceeded to call me "Catty" instead of properly pronouncing my name like a normal human being, and commenced making himself annoying for no purpose.  For twenty minutes.  I ignored him, except when he started whining about how I disliked him.  That I ignored him at all was to my credit, because I could have bit his head off much earlier than I did.
Finally, using my proper name, he said, "Katie, you're cranky.  Isn't it part of your job description to be happy and nice?  I'm going to talk to your boss."  My boss, glad someone finally told this heinously annoying employee off, told him it was not part of my job description, and he walked away from her office disappointed.
I thought of this as I waited in line for a cranky cashier to scan my items at Target last night; from now on, I will fault nobody their crankiness.  Everybody has as much right to being cranky as they do to anything else in this world.  So maybe some customers need to soften their expectations to account for outside disappointments, stressors, and frustrations: mean customers, bad family situations, PMS . . .

Monday, December 17, 2007

Non-discriminating Moviegoer

My older brother once complained to me that he could never take movie recommendations from me. Book recommendations, sure, but no referrals for movies. I am, to quote him, "one of the most non-discriminating moviegoers of all time." So if you believe in listening to only the most discriminatory of moviegoers, by all means--stop reading now.

My roommate, our friend, and I went and saw August Rush last Saturday. And I have solace in this, at least--even if I am, as my brother cites, an incredibly non-discriminating moviegoer, then I was in like company. We all loved that movie.

I'll admit, right now, that a good percentage of the reason I loved that movie is scrawny, brown-headed, with two adorable dimples and a heck of a lot of acting talent: his name is Freddie Highmore, and I could forgive him in those moments when he didn't sound entirely as American as he should.

Another part of the reason I liked the movie is Irish and has messy hair, and I could forgive him for never being entirely on-pitch. His name is Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

But my liking of certain actors aside, what I enjoyed most about this movie was its theme. I'm a theme girl, valuing theme over plot in many instances. And this, I will admit, is most likely one of those instances--I have a feeling that if I stopped, thought, and started to analyze the entire plot of the movie, that the plot could be shredded in five minutes or so. As has been noted, well, everywhere, it does carry a certain Dickensian aroma that does not, to many minds, work to the movie's favor.

But that is neither here nor there. I loved the message it communicated about music, i.e. music is everywhere, and it has the power to connect people across a variety of boundaries--whether they be cultural, environmental, or socioeconomic.

It also, interestingly enough, conveyed to me the same idea I'd been taught about literature: all music is communicating with all other music, just as all literature is basically communicating with all other literature. This, tangentially, led me to why I really liked this movie: the juxtaposition! I love it when you're watching or reading something that juxtaposes different genres such that, at first, it seems odd. But then, after a while, it dawns on you--it works.

Maybe because all art is talking to all art and only silly humans try to impose divisions where divisions did not necessarily inherently exist . . .

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm Dreamin' of . . .

My brain is so cluttered, there are a multitudinous number of things I could blog about right now. Strictly speaking, I should probably not blog about any of them and go back to crunching numbers. But I hate crunching numbers with a passion and I want to have a brief pause where I need not look at them--because if I had actually wanted to crunch numbers as part of my profession, I would have followed the road all men in my family have taken and been an accounting major. Especially since I've already decided I'm the one sister in the family who will not, under any circumstances, marry an accountant. I refuse to help create a practically guaranteed environment of financial-business-related nepotism.

I've been thinking lately. Judith Thurman once said, "Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground." I'm homesick, but not for home. In fact, I'm not entirely sure where I'm homesick for, except to say that I know it's not here.

I want to live in a new place to re-create myself. Not that I would change my personality in any way, sell myself out, or doing anything drastically different from how I conduct myself now. Rather, I want to be re-created in the same way books are re-created when I read them for a second time, after I've allowed time to elapse. It isn't that the words have changed or that the plot runs any differently than before; the new experience is that the book has new thoughts and experiences to interact with--thoughts and experiences that hadn't come about when I read books the first time around.

One of my professors at Weber once said it was necessary to the study of literature to remember that everything you're reading now has slept with everything you've ever read--Dostoevsky is being influenced by Shel Silverstein, your interpretation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is being influenced by Miguel de Cervantes, Louis Sachar, and Maurice Sendak.

In a similar vein, I've always believed that the amalgam of people who drift into and out of my life--as well as those who have more permanence--go a long way toward helping me understand various facets of my personality. It isn't that those facets weren't present to begin with; people rubbing their lives against mine just brings new and interesting results, because their lives are sleeping with the lives of everyone else I've known and been friends with. Oh dear, this sounds dirtier than I'd intended.

Anyway, I hope you catch the point. I am longing for a new place so I can learn new things about myself, so I can be enlightened by new people, so I can have old experiences new and let new experiences be influenced by the old.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A New Christmas Song I've Added to My Repertoire, Based on Personal Experience

O holey pants, you've been torn at the rivet.
You lived too wild and went out on a tear.
Shared a great view--though I didn't want to give it,
I'm so relieved I wore nice underwear.
I'll miss your lined and light brown cord'roy fabric,
your perfect length, your warmth on winter days.
Why did you rip, expose me to my colleagues?
O pants undone, o pants that caused dismay.
O pants, o holey pants, o pants undone.

**To the tune of O Holy Night

P.S. I'm oh-so-sad I've only come up with one verse so far . . .

Monday, December 10, 2007

Breathe, Breathe . . . In, Out, In, Out

I keep thinking my reasons for hyperventilation have ended, only to be presented with whole new reasons for the hyperventilation to continue.

I'd been freaking out for a couple of weeks, because the choir director requested another girl and I play a piano-organ duet of the Hallelujah Chorus--you know, the famous one that Handel wrote. From The Messiah . Not easy practicin', if you know what I mean. She told us two weeks before the Christmas program. If I've developed carpal tunnel in the past couple of weeks, it's not from my job. It's from practicing and practicing and practicing. I've decided practicing and playing a musical instrument is sometimes quite cruel--you work your hands to the bone (seriously, people wonder why there's so little padding on my hands--piano, people, piano) for hours on end to play something that is over in three minutes. Granted, those three minutes totally rock (like they did yesterday morning during the ward Christmas program), but it still seems less than fair.

Before that, I'd been freaking out about getting my graduate school application in to Chicago in plenty of time. Before that, it was figuring out all of the requirements for my company's Affirmative Action Plan (which, lucky me!, I get to write and assemble and analyze and ick). Before that, it was figuring out whether or not to find a new job. (Since I'm so in love with this one, th., as you guessed . . .)

After the Christmas program, I thought I had nothing left to worry about. (At least, nothing left to fruitfully worry about . . . after all, I trust all of the people writing my recommendations to submit them in a timely manner and send them off to help determine my fate. I can't control them.)

But then today, I spoke to one of my recommenders--my most important recommender, because he was my undergraduate advisor and he actually knows me quite well. (All aspects of my personality, really, and he's still willing to write me a recommendation--that's saying something) He hadn't received important links from one of the universities I'm applying to, the links that led him to their online recommendation system . . .

And then the hyperventilation started all over again . . .

Thursday, December 6, 2007

All of the Good References Are Lost on My Co-Workers

My office is right next door to the IT director's office, and lately he's been behind closed doors--on conference calls--more often than not.  This morning, a co-worker dropped by and asked if I'd seen him at all yet today, or just heard him.  "Just heard," I said.  "For all I know, he could have turned into a gigantic bug and doesn't want anybody to see him."
She raised an eyebrow.
"Kafka," I said.
"Bless you."
"No, Kafka's a writer.  'The Metamorphosis'?"
"Oooh, is it about a butterfly?  They metamorphosize, don't they?'
"And . . . never mind."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Why Can't Someone NORMAL Tell Me I'm Beautiful?

Sometimes I err on the side of being too nice.

Yesterday, when I left work and went to my bus stop, there was a man there waiting for the bus. A Navajo, he told me (three different times before we got on the bus, innumerable times afteward). He thanked me for listening to him and told me I was nice, that most people usually ignored him. That made me a feel bad for him, so I didn't object when he sat down right next to me on the bus.

I did, however, object when he attempted to touch my leg. When he asked me to help him write his resume. When he attempted to touch my leg again. When he kept leaning in closer and closer. I had felt sorry for him to begin with, but my obvious cracking open of Bringing Down the House did not deter him from what he had started.

He had a slight aura of creepiness I had discounted in the beginning, but it started growing more and more as he talked to me. By the time he told me I was beautiful and he'd always wanted to be with a white woman, I was trying very hard not to hyperventilate.

When he told me he'd graduated high school in 1984, I said--loudly--"Funny, that's the year I was born." Then he proceeded to list all the good qualities a young, educated white woman like me had. Still trying to touch my leg, obviously not getting the blatant hits in the form of the book and my age.

I managed to bite down a scream when he asked for my phone number. I refused to give it to him. He asked if I had a boyfriend, and I figured this was one of the few times when lying like hell was actually the wisest course of action.

"Yes," I said.

"Very much so," I responded when he asked if he loved me.

"Oh, we're planning on getting married," I told him when he mentioned that if things didn't work out . . .

For the love, I wish someone normal and close to my age would hit on me!! Just once!!!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas through the Years

Last night, I spent the night at my parents' house in Centerville, and my parents I spent the evening pulling out Christmas decorations and hanging them up.  They had already assembled the tree (yes, it's a fake tree--a fake tree I'm fondly familiar with) and my dad had put up the lights, but we had to put on the braid.  And the ornaments.
As I unpacked a variety of things, I realized why I love Christmas so much more than I love any other time of years.  Christmas, for me, is memory.  There is not a single ornament on our Christmas tree, a single Nativity set, a single wall hanging, or a single toll-painted Santa or some such that does not remind me of a Christmas past.
The black Santa and black angel ornaments are a result of my older brother serving a mission in South Carolina.  He sent them home his first Christmas away and told us we needed to be more multiracial.
The doily-like snowflakes now officially have to move farther up the tree--again--because they are coated in sugar (to preserve them?) and my older sister and younger brother both loved to suck on them when they were younger.
The toll-painted Santa nails for 25 lifesavers, as a countdown to Christmas, always sparked a lively debate: to count from 1 to 25 or 25 to 1.  And then it would drift to whether the 1 got eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, necessitating us to start eating them the last day of November.
Our tree has always been upstairs, and we have always had a carved Nativity set on the coffee table in our living room.  My great-uncle carved it for my mom way back when, and we've always loved it.  Even though the donkey is lopsided and gimpy.
I suppose the easiest way to sum it up would be this: I love Christmas, because Christmas is constancy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ten Stages of a Monday Morning

Stage 1: Grrr.  Who set my alarm clock, anyway?
Stage 2: Perhaps the furnace will turn itself on if I exert enough mind power.
Stage 3: Why didn't I get a job in Salt Lake?  Corresponding trail of philosophical career-related musings, further delaying leaving my warm bed.
Stage 4: Fine.  I'll move!!  But I refuse to be happy about it.
Stage 5: Where's my towel?  Where's my washrag?  Where's my shampoo?  Where's my body wash?  Why must I be so very blind and also very tired, with the blurriness multiplying the blindness . . .?
Stage 6: Where did all of my clean clothes go?  Is it legit to wear red solid with gray pants that have blue and white stripes?  Will anyone notice?  Why do I care?
Stage 7: Perhaps, if my roommate and I did our dishes more often, we wouldn't find ourselves washing dishes at every meal.  This seems like a novel concept at the moment, but I won't want to do dishes once I get back to the apartment.
Stage 8: How is it possible that I can never find the shoes I want?  Until I trip over them, hitting my leg against the corner of my desk, such that I can feel the bruises beginning to formm.
Stage 9: I should seriously be losing calories for all of the times I make it halfway out of my apartment building and then remember something I've forgotten.  And roommate wonders why I leave almost fifteen minutes before the train arrives . . .
Stage 10: Sleep, sleep, sleep.  Walk into work.  Freeze, freeze, freeze.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sort of a Split Personality

I am not a shy person.  It does not unnerve me to talk to people I don't know.  I've always found it fascinating to find out new things about other people.  Though I am not always as gregarious and engaging as I may seem to people who have read a large quantity of my written work, I certainly have never felt I am standoffish or rude.  Unless, of course, I've been intentionally standoffish or rude.  It happens sometimes, when I'm talking to crazy people.
But I would, interestingly enough, classify myself as a reserved person.  This is why: I'm open, but not right away.  And I determine the extent of my openness.  My immediate co-worker is a laugh riot, a single mom, completely non-judgmental, friendly, and it was easy to open up to her.  We think similar things, and if I say them out loud, she doesn't gasp.
I got very excited when my company recently hired someone my age to perform a writing job, and I know she likes talking to me and wants me to open up.  But sometimes I feel like she's condescending to talk to me, so that makes me not want to open up at all.  Perhaps she is more like me than I realize and we are both holding ourselves in reserve, to a certain extent, and nothing will happen about my frustrations until one of us lets go.
But I have a dual nature that way: once people know me, I can be likable.  Downright hilarious, at times, even.  I've been told I am a delightful surprise once people know me.  They are surprised at my wit, my observations, and my sometimes wicked sense of humor.
I periodically wonder if it would be possible for me to not start out in the reserved stage, but the more I think about it, the more I think that's also an essential part of me.  My me-ness, I think, would decrease if I didn't periodically hold back, if I didn't sometimes prefer The Thirteenth Tale and leftovers to going to lunch with my co-workers . . .  I suppose it's how I bridge my own gap between truth and reality . . .

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Piano lessons

I've discovered the secret--why my parents actually paid for years of piano lessons for their five children. Sure, my older brother wanted to learn to play the piano, and they figured they should help him develop his talents. But I think my parents had another idea in mind when they let us all take piano lessons. They were providing themselves with entertainers they could recruit in a snap when the time came.

Piano players are needed in a variety of situations: to accompany people who sing (choirs or individuals), background music at weddings, entertainment at a boring family gathering, as helpers at Relief Society dinners.

Yes, indeed. That's where I will be tonight--playing the piano at my mother's RS Christmas dinner. Not asked so much as told, but not such a bad daughter that I would say no.

Especially after she mentioned she'd pay me in food . . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Plea to Management to Move My Office

Dear Managers,

I know I greatly appreciated my office when I first started work at this company. The window provided a lovely view of one of the main drags in Bountiful, allowing me to watch cars pass by on their way and wish I were in them instead of in my office watching them. It purveyed appropriately shiny quantities of sunlight in the spring and summer, I could dreamily watch leaves fall off the trees across the street during fall.

But now, I've discovered something I'm afraid does not suit my personality or body heat: this window conducts cold into my office during the winter. The heater, antiquated as it is, does not seem to remedy this issue. Although seeing the sparkly snow is something I enjoy, I do not enjoy feeling as though I'm sitting outside.

It has recently come to my attention that two of the members of Accounting, who are even as I write this, sitting in a toasty and warm office, have begged for my office. They have pleaded, groveled, whined, and brown-nosed. And they are too warm. (I would say that of course they are warm, because they're men, but as HR I know all about not making any type of sweeping gender stereotypes) After spending a reasonable amount of time conveniently near to their office, I would like to propose a trade.

I would like their office. I promise to not complain about a lack of windows, and I can also promise to be much more productive. Windows can be distracting. Especially when the window washers are making faces. Though I know this places me farther away from my HR colleagues, I'd like to point out it makes me more available to the rest of the company's associates. In this sense, we can make them feel closer to HR.

Finally, I fear I may become a human icicle unless you move me. And knowing how high worker's comp premiums are getting, I don't think you can risk it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Life of a Dollar

Yesterday, my co-worker and I were going crazy. Everyone was driving both of us nuts. I called it a witchy queen day for the two of us. She called it something that sounded similar. Anyway, everybody was demanding. Everybody had criticisms. Everybody wanted more attention, more time, more everything. And Human Resources, they thought, should know of a way to provide everything their little hearts desired. HA!

The only way to deal with this, we mutually decided, was to run down to Cutler's cookies and get ourselves sugared up. It's one of our ways to make ourselves feel better. And it works.

Yesterday, I got a dollar bill with a website on it:, that allows you to track the path of your dollar bill. I noticed it this morning and thought, "Oh, what fun! I wonder what sort of life a dollar bill leads."

I'll tell you: this dollar bill leads a very boring life. It's been in Layton, UT and Bountiful, UT. And that is all. Nowhere else. How sad. I relate all too well to this dollar bill, having lived in one place for all of my life. I'm bored. And at the moment, I lead a boring life. Work, church, music, chiropractor, sleep. The routineness of it all is not as bad as it sounds.

But still, I want to find a way of helping this dollar bill see more. Just so I know I can too.

Oh what a morning

Not beautiful.  Just a morning.  And feeling like it.
I thought it might not go well when I ran to Trax and barely made it aboard, when the bus almost drove right past me, when I almost missed my stop for work.  Granted, there were a few things I saw that made it feel less like a morning:
1. For the second time this week, I saw someone wearing spandex to . . . wait for it, rollerblade.  And I'm talking full-body suit spandex and not shorts or a suit.  This image will be emblazoned in my brain for a couple of days.  Until something more disturbing/amusing comes along.
2. I think of her as the burqa girl. The way she wraps her head . . . well, let's just say it would probably fly in a Middle Eastern country if she weren't wearing her Einstein bagels t-shirt and jeans. And the fact it looks like this: she has her Einstein's ball cap on, and then she usually wears a hooded thermal shirt.  Today it was super-flowery.  She always pulls the hood over her hat, and then she wraps a scarf or two around her neck and her face.  In the end, all you see are her eyes.  Today the scarves were black and pink and green.  The overall effect, as you can imagine, was one of eclecticism.
3. I can smell the snow.  It's coming, and it makes me happy.  Once it's here, I want to go and ice skate outside at the Gallivan and be freezing, but oh so happy.
Now if I can focus on these things and not on the peppermint tea I just managed to dump all over myself . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Can they really not be wrong?

My trains of thought always take lesser-known paths. For instance, I've started thinking about the title of Bon Jovi's collection-of-music package (what, last year? The year before? I'm too lazy to look it up... okay, I reformed. It was released in 2004.)

The musings are odd, but my arrival on the topic is also odd. I was watching Gilmore Girls, Season 7, Episode 6, and in the course of the episode, Lorelai and Christopher visit Yale for Parents' Day. There are a cappella groups everywhere, since Yale is famous for that (can we say Whiffenpoof? I can't say it three times fast, but that's neither here nor there) and at the end of the episode, Lorelai and Chris walk past an a cappella group singing Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer."

Wrong, right? So, so so so wrong to have a six (or is it seven?) person a cappella group singing a Bon Jovi song. Choral-style. *shudder* This train of thought, including the words "Bon Jovi" and "wrong" led me to think about the aforementioned title: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong.

The implication, of course, is that Bon Jovi must rock because they've sold 100,000,000 copies of their albums. (And let's be honest, I won't argue that at all, especially since I had to pop in a Bon Jovi album of my own to listen to the good version of "Livin' on a Prayer" instead of the oh-so-wrong a capella rendition.)

But the more I think about it, the more this irks. For one, I highly doubt 100,000,000 discrete people bought their CDs. Take, for example, Exhibit A. My friend, whom we shall call BJ-Luva, has bought of all their albums twice. Because she ruined them all by over-listening and then re-bought.

Second of all, it presumes all 100,000,000 people who bought CDs are fans and cannot be wrong about Bon Jovi. It's indisputable fact I'd recommend Bon Jovi, but not everyone in the world can be a Bon Jovi fan. Otherwise, other musical genres would not exist. Besides, I can think of a handful of recommendations I followed and deeply regretted later. (*cough* the Jesse McCartney CD *cough* and yes, I'm ashamed I even listened . . . not to mention a couple of other close scrapes with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and . . . I'm stopping there)

Finally, my brain is pondering all of the things 100,000,000 people could be wrong about, outside the world of rock 'n' roll--that mushrooms taste good? that 'magnanimous' is synonymous with 'fabulous'? that reading could not possibly be fun? that George W. Bush is one of the best presidents we've had?

It's mind-blowing!

Friday, November 9, 2007


So there's a scripture in the Bible that says God will spit us out if we're lukewarm.
A couple of the managers I work with, on the other hand, will not even put anything lukewarm into their mouth for more than an interview-length period of time.  Any person who causes debate of any kind (as in, any person they mentally debate about hiring) is automatically disqualified.
I've yet to decide if this is a good system or not.  Many interviewees are horrible interviewees and great employees.  Some people have no experience but they learn their job quickly and do it more efficiently than the last person who held it. 
I wish there weren't so much spewing go on around here.  Jobs would get filled faster.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Purposeful Misinterpretation

I told my brother-in-law today I didn't appreciate it when he purposefully misinterpreted my statements. This was after "Single people can still relate with married friends, on some level, decently well--as long as said friends are still both in school" was translated to "So Katie says that single people are boring." (Thanks, Joe. Thanks a lot.)

But then I had to eat humble pie. "This coming from the girl," Joe said, "who cornered me yesterday and said 'So I'm unmarriageable?' after your sister told you that I thought you'd be the last sibling to get married."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Confuzzled's Sense of Gravity

Smilla had a sense of snow. I have a sense of gravity--that is, I fall a lot. I didn't really think about this until I visited a chiropractor for a consultation this week. He's the first person who has seemed like he could offer some helpful suggestions as to how I can feel better. Anyway, he's positive I'm one of the most mis-aligned people he knows (possibly also one of the most maligned, but I kept my puns to myself).

He asked if I had every had any kind of traumatic fall. The first thing that leaped to mind, of course, was my experience gracefully plummeting off the Trax train this summer. The short answer, obviously, was yes. But then my mom and I started talking about all of the times I've fallen.

Age 5: I was innocently walking to kindergarten, accompanied by my older sister and her best friend, when the sidewalk suddenly decided it hated me. Really, that's the only explanation I have. An unevenness I never noticed before caught my foot, and my face collided with the cement. If any of you know me, you'd be greatly amused by how distraught I was--that I wasn't going to school that day.

Age 6: My parents had a pole structure that held a porch swing--the same structure as a regular swing set, we just rarely bothered to hang the seat on it. It became, my default, our monkey bars. My older sister and I decided to chicken fight. (Actually, she decided and then bullied me into participation) In the course of the fight, she yanked too hard on my legs--I lost my grip, tumbled to the ground, and broke my arm for the first time.

Ages 7 thru 13: All of the usual falling, if a little bit more than usual. It never helped that my balance has always been awful.

Age 14: So I'm out in the front yard, playing Horse with my dad. We're bonding. It's good. But then he overshoots the ball and it bounces into the street. As I was standing nearer to the street at the moment, I was told to get it. What I didn't realize: I was standing next to the not-even-two-foot retaining wall. I didn't see it, because it was on my blind side. I turned to take a running step and . . . you guessed it, tripped and fell over the wall.

Fast forward to age 23: The Trax train incident. How embarrassing. And then today. Today I came to my parents' house in Centerville because my sister and brother-in-law are here for the weekend and because a girl I grew up with is going to speak in church tomorrow before leaving on her mission. This is, I freely admit, also a Stake Conference avoidance tactic.

Anyway, when I came inside, I was carrying all essentials: a backpack with church clothes, my purse, and my very full laundry basket. I set the purse in the living room and ditched the backpack, but then needed to proceed downstairs with the laundry basket. Let me emphasize again--that laundry basket was very full. Making it very heavy. And skewing my already practically-non-existent center of balance forward. In my defense, I made it halfway down the staircase. Well, I actually made it all the way down the staircase--I just made it down the second half by missing a step, losing my balance, and sliding the rest of the way down.

I believe I made a graceful noise at the bottom--"oof" as I recall--and listened as I heard my dad fighting the urge to laugh. "I'm fine!" I yelled. "Just a little banged up." Out-loud laughing now. I got up, picked up my laundry, and started dragging my now-sore body to the washer and dryer.

So yes, chiropractor, it could be said that I've experienced some traumatic falls. And my one regret about the most recent is that all of the sweet bruises I'll get from that fall (I bruise ridiculously easily) will be in places where I can't show anyone.

What I Love People For

Or rather, the reasons people think I love and see them.

My Mother:
Her cooking
Her washer and dryer
Her willingness to play Scrabble with me
Her literary bent, which she passed on

My Dad:
His sense of humor
His willingness to take me out to lunch every two weeks
Ditto on taking me out for frozen yogurt
My place on his insurance card

My Older Brother:
His ability to argue
His sense of humor

My Older and Younger Sisters:
Their impeccable taste in clothes and shoes
Their ability to make me laugh

My Younger Brother:
His mad musical skills
His ability to laugh at his own bad grammar. And spelling. And writing skills. (But at least he writes)

My Roommate:
Her Stargate SG-1 DVD collection.
Her randomness.
Her willingness to drive.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here's some irony for you

I now work in Human Resources, and it's leading me to believe people less. I don't necessarily like people less, but I'm becoming more heartless. Then again, perhaps this is unsurprising. After all, my professions refers to actual people as "resources," so maybe it is only naturally that I de-personalize people. Also, when it comes to most excuses and whining and anything in that family, I don't believe people anymore. I've heard it all.

Another irony: English major. Creative writing, to be exact. And I'm the worst regular correspondent in the world. My brother has been on a mission for more than a year, and I think I've written him three e-mails. (For the record, this is the younger brother I've always gotten along with, and not the older brother--I only sent him two letters) My average turnaround time for most regular e-mail correspondents is somewhere in the neighborhood of a month. I'm surprisingly communicative in other ways and in other arenas.

It's also ironic that I should study so long and not do as well as I wanted on the GRE. In the end, I think the studying is what hampered my progress. Now THAT'S irony . . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Work and such

Sometimes I stop and think: if I stopped working, would my world move forward?  The obvious answer is yes.  The world would move forward.  Roll recklessly, perhaps.  It would move forward more quickly than I wanted it to, with its bills and its demands, and the moving forward would involve me starting to work again.
I'm afraid I'm beginning to be a workaholic.  I stay home sick--and still end up putting in five hours of work.  (Granted, it wasn't the full eight, but doesn't it say something that I had work at home with me that I could actually do that?)  When I come into the office, I feel an instant energy drain.
To what can a girl attribute something like this?  Looking back to January, I remember a perky girl, all excited to buy dress pants and dress shoes and button-up shirts and "play professional."  That girl was excited about playing dress-up.  The girl sitting here right now, typing, wants to go home and find a book.  Drink some cocoa.  Curl up on the couch and not have to go anywhere for days and days if she doesn't want to.
Responsibility is a gift, I guess, but it's also a burden.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Empathy vs. Sympathy

Wind your clock back--far back.  To the year 1998.  In my ninth grade Honors English class, all of us are complaining about the assigned reading we had completed the night before: "The Lottery," we have decided, is twisted and creepy and just a few steps short of just plain evil.  I mean--sacrificing a woman so your crops go?  Come on.  Did people ever do anything like that?  Our teacher comes in, bearing a box full of slips of paper.
"Our lesson today," she says, "is on empathy.  And here's the deal--someone is going to get stoned so they understand what the protagonist of the story felt like.  I'm going to divide you into families, and then each family will get a scrap of paper.  The family who gets the paper with a black dot will have to draw papers again.  And whoever gets the black dot will, at that point, be stoned."
I've always had abominable luck.  I got stoned that day.  (Ha, that statement is even more funny taken completely out of context)  Anyway, I felt horribly ashamed.  And that is when my teacher started discussing the difference between sympathy and empathy.  "All of you, when you read the story, felt sympathy," she told us.  "But Katie feels empathy.  She knows how the protagonist felt.  How do you feel, Katie?"
My response, I believe, was something along the lines of "Hmm mumble grumble."  Interpretation: I feel humiliated, obviously.  At that point, my fourteen-year-old self decided something: she did not want to feel empathy.  Being able to be empathetic was no fun at all, because empathy seemed to be decidedly involved with intimately knowing how bad other people felt.
Fast forward a few years.  Okay, nine years.  As an HR professional, I deal with a lot of cranky people in the course of the week.  They are frustrated with the company, with the insurance vendors, and with the situations they are in.  I try to maintain a nice demeanor on the phone (so much easier, by the way, than maintaining a nice demeanor in person), even when I think that they have pitifully small concerns.
Well, fate has seen fit to teach me again what it means to have empathy.  I now get to jump through some insurance hoops of my own, and I am beginning to understand why people are often anxious, agitated, whiny, and just plain stressed by the time thye talk to me.  Some of these issues can be a pain, and many of the people on the other end of the customer service line have next to no clue about what they're talking about.  (Also, many have them have no personality and no sense of humor, but that's beside the point)
I have a new resolve: though they cannot hear me after I hang up the phone, I will not laugh at the (metaphoric) stones being cast at them.  After all, I should know: stoning hurts.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Americans Unhealthy--Not When We're Doubly Insured

When I got my first real-life, 8 to 5, corporate-world job with benefits, you have no idea how excited I was. I felt like an adult (till I looked down at my feet, at least, and remembered the whimsical monkey-and-banana socks I had donned in the morning--after all, they were going to be more than covered by my work pants). So responsible. And as I reviewed the information, I thought of how wonderful it would be to be doubly insured--under my father's insurance and my own. No more medical bills ever!

Ha! Bills came when I sprained my foot, and now my father's insurance company has decided they were mis-billed for insurance, since the insurance provided through my place of work should CLEARLY have been billed as primary.

Except here's the thing: when my work insurance became active, we checked and double-checked and triple-checked the guidelines for both companies to see which should be primary. Neither of them had any guidelines that specified when they should or should not be secondary. How evil is that?

So today I came home to find an itemized list from Daddy's insurance company, demanding payment from my other carrier. This is why I'm tempted to use the medical insurance plan Shawn Spencer talks about in Pysch: "Don't get sick." Seems much easier than dealing with a bunch of bureacratic crappy, crappy red tape.

This, I have decided, is why medical costs skyrocket--taking care of the costs causes unmitigated levels of stress, and we all know where those lead . . .

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Mom and Technology

They haven't always been on the best of terms, those two. Let's be honest: they've always been on horrible terms until the last few years, when they were forced to reconcile somewhat. In the beginning, I believe it might have been a jealousy--my dad works an IT director and has always had the latest "toys."

She, on the other hand, well . . . let's just say she only agreed to the creation of an e-mail account when we told her it would help her with her family history work. And even then, it took two years before we convinced her to attempt attaching a picture to an e-mail. And I think the Post-It note with step-by-step instructions for that only disappeared from her desk last year.

This is the woman known to says things like: "Who's URL (pronouncing it "Earl")?" and "There are faster methods than e-mail?" and "What's a blog?"

Except I'm now officially floored: she has actually visited a blog. (Doesn't visit mine, I don't know if she even remembers I have one) But she visited a librarian's blog. Because she heard it mentioned on Good Day, Utah. Though her source isn't exactly outstanding, I'm proud!

My techno-impaired mommy is growing up!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Credit Card Companies: Killers of Hope

I don't like credit card companies, though I do have two credit cards. (I find them to be something of a necessary convenience, something I could write an essay to explain at some time that is not right now . . .)

This is why: they mock me. I don't get any mail, with the exception of the gas and utilities bills, at my apartment. No cards or letters or anything real--because I didn't want to forward my mail from my parents' house when I still come home for dinner practically every Sunday.

They mock me, because I come home and see stacks of mail. And I get excited. Only to find that 96% (this is an exact statistic) of those envelopes are evil-demon credit card offers.

The Reality is Paler than the Dream

That's what I told one of my best friends when I first moved to Salt Lake; I was having a difficult time because my roommate frequently found herself venturing to other corners of the state due to family concerns, former-mission-comp concerns, and other such concerns. I wasn't mad at her, but I was lonely. Very, very lonely.

In addition, I felt isolated: no car and no real knowledge of anybody who lived remotely near me. And I felt apathetic: no urge to explore, to randomly talk to people on the train or bus. And my job, not so hot then. (Honestly, not the best now, except they gave me a 30%+ raise, and I couldn't leave after that)

But when I told her that, everything turned around because I started doing something I hadn't done with consistency since I'd graduated from college: I started writing poetry again. Granted, some of it is very, very bad. And will never see daylight until I revise the crap right out of it.

But some of it is good and has helped me retain my sanity. Story writing, while fun, has never offered me this type of catharsis. It has been escapist, certainly, as stories by nature are--but it has never been this cathartic.

I think that's why some of it is so bad--because it was so cathartic. But now that I'm writing it for more-than-cathartic purposes, I hope it's getting better. Because I'll need something to keep me sane . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm a Schemer

But only when it comes to good things. My roommate made Savior of the World (she's going to play the part of one of Mary's cousins) and I am now machinating with HRAFR on how we can pleasantly surprise her this Friday with a "congrats" party/cake/etc. My portion of the scheming involves selecting the locale, creating the guest list, and deciding which cake to make. His portion involves figuring out where to take her to dinner and then asking her.

This bodes well for their relationship, should it develop any further--he's good at working with me to make her happy. And he can keep a secret.

What I Learned in Church Today

If anybody asked me about the top three things I remember from church today, they would be the following:

1. It's unwise to joke with anybody about getting engaged, and then forget to tell them you aren't kidding. My Sunday School teacher did this to a co-worker of his this week, and it resulted in an angry call from his mother--who was demanding why she knew nothing about the girl he was choosing to marry.

2. We, as members of the Church, should be educated about sex. But not in a bad way.

3. Honeybees are a microcosm of how functioning society works. And one of the reasons society is not working so well anymore is because honeybees are finding it difficult to find their way back to the hive.

Adventures in Hiking

Last week, my roommate and I ended up on a double date. Sort of. Not really. It only seemed that way in numbers and not in relationships. A couple of weeks ago, a few of us "newbies" in our student ward talked about going on a hike. The ultimate conclusion: we should go on one. And the conclusion stayed there until the middle of last week, when one of the guy newbies called my roommate to see if we were still game.

That was how we got invited to go on a night hike for last Saturday. Several other people were supposed to go with us. They bailed, and that how is my roommate and I ended up on a night hike with two guy roommates--and, in the course of things, had some interesting conversations. I shall refer to one as Stodgy Roommate, because that's the only word I can think of to properly describe him--he seems wounds just a little too tight. The other one I shall call Hilarious Random and Fun Roommate (hereafter abbreviated to HRAFR), because he was.

Anyway, starting at a hike at 9:00 PM on a Saturday with two wussy flashlights leads to adventure: I can't see many tree roots in the light, but in the dark . . . I'm hopeless. We ended up walking in pairs, because each guy had a flashlight. I ended up with Stodgy and his flashlight, while my roommate ended up with HRAFR.

The conversation wove this way and that, and when Stodgy found out I enjoyed literature, I was-er-treated to one of the most lengthy analyses of the Wheel of Time series I've ever heard. This progressed into a lengthy analyses of Lord of the Rings, citing all of the Christian overtones that appeared in the works despite Tolkien's statement he didn't purposefully include obviously Christian elements.

My roommate walked behind us, and she and HRAFR were laughing. I envied them. The conversation segued when Stodgy walked too far ahead of me and I had to pause for the other two. Stodgy, looking back, said, "Sorry. I guess it helps when you can see." It earned a fit of giggles from my roommate when I shrugged and said, "I'm normally used to it, but the dark doesn't help in situations like this."

As we continued hiking, Stodgy and I somehow managed to get ahead of HRAFR and my roomie, and I paused to ask if we didn't want them to catch up. (All of the truly entertaining stories were being traded between the four of us--how Stodgy fell flat on his face in a humiliating fashion in front of the first girl he ever dated, how HRAFR broke his arm snowboarding, how my roomie had never broken anything but had been embarrassed--she promised!--and how I've broken the same arm three separate times in a variety of dumb ways). Stodgy sagely shook his head no and said we were "giving them an opportunity."

Unfortunately, they began catching up to us quickly then because otherwise I would have asked if his roommate would have LIKED an opportunity . . . especially since she's smitten with HRAFR because, well, he actually has a personality.

My favorite part of the evening, though, by far was when Stodgy drifted away to a different outcropping of rocks once we reached the summit to be by himself. HRAFR, my roomie, and I spent twenty minutes tracing new constellations. In the form of Disney characters. And rearranging the cosmological workings of the universe . . .

Also, I found it hilarious this week when my co-worker noticed an excesses of bruises on my legs and asked if the boys had, um, hiked nicely? The boys were nice to me--the rocks, not so much.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Apologies to Any People who Read This

I've been remiss in my blogging. Tragically true, but I had a few weeks where I was otherwise occupied. And I don't have a lot of time right now to type anything. Also, I desperately need a nap. But here's a teaser for things to come: half-blind girl (me, of course) on a night hike.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Just Another Family Gathering

Another family gathering has passed, with all of the standards of any summer social activity that involves my clan. Those standards would be: 1) Someone who fell asleep while we're visiting (today, my grandpa--who insisted he was awake but just breathing heavily with his eyes closed to block out the effects of the sun. (Just a note--it's overcast today.) 2) We ate baked beans. A standard for any gathering that occurs between the months of April and October, because as all of us know: baked beans go with anything. And 3) Someone got sick. (In this case, my two-and-a-half year old nephew, who is now clinging to the stuffed pig I gave to his almost-one-year-old sister, whose birthday is the reason we gathered. That, and because my aunt and uncle had flown up from Arizona for a visit.

At least it didn't involve standard 4) a fight between my older brother and me (sometimes played out subtly and sometimes involving yelling, screaming, name-calling, and physical contact if either of us gets mad enough--maybe this is a sign we're both maturing). Of course, he couldn't resist throwing in a jibe when I commented that mom has offered to pay my current roommate $50 if she can convince me to attend graduate school in Utah. He told me he'd pay me $200 to leave.

Ah, what are families for . . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Story Time

Once upon a time, there lived a fantastic young woman with a prosthetic right eye. This brilliant girl was a student of English literature and had a Women's Literature class. In said class, the professor enjoyed having everyone sit in a circle to acknowledge they all respected each other as peers. Also, she had diabolically discovered this was a way of keeping students' attention, as they were robbed of their ability to surreptitiously text message their friends while pretending to pay attention to her lectures.

Before I proceed beyond this point, I must tell you that this astounding girl of extraordinary intellect didn't have a complete glass eye. Rather, it's more like a tiddlywink-hard-contact with an eye painted on. (And it's so genuine that 98% of people don't even realize it's a fake) Anyway, it feels much the same as a hard contact lens.

In this Women's Lit class, tardiness was a peril--because tardiness meant the late party had to assume the last available seat in the circle, which was--you guessed it--the seat to the immediate left of the professor.

Now this prosthetic reacts much as contacts do to material (e.g. eyelashes, dust) that gets caught underneath it. To be short, it makes the wearer feel as though a cat with viciously long claws is scratching the surface of their eyeball. The natural reaction, of course, is to remove the offending material.

On this particular crisp day in November, the heroine of our story got distracted crunching leaves and found herself arriving late to Women's Lit. On this day, the class had been assigned a particularly confundling story by Toni Morrison to discuss. All eyes were already trained anxiously on the professor when our protagonist traipsed into class. She plopped down in the chair, pulled out her anthology, and promptly began to feel a horrendous irritation in her eye.

Naturally, she did what she deemed best: she began to subtly scoop her fingernail under her prosthetic to remove the offending particle. But oh no! disaster occurred when she unwittingly pulled her bottom eyelid down just a fraction too far. The prosthetic began to slip. Trying to stay as calm as possible and not look out of place, she frantically tried to poke her eye back into its proper place in her socket, but to no avail! Finally, she remained composed and casually let it slip into her hand.

At this point, it may be noted, the entire class had shifted its attention from the professor to the drama occurring to the immediate left of said professor. Every member of that class witnessed the descent of the fake eye into the student's hand. (And many jealous girls envied her composure in such a potentially embarrassing situation) This remarkable girl stood up, quietly excused herself, and strolled to the bathroom--where she rinsed out both eye socket and fake eye.

After class, the girls all remarked to her how composed she had been and how utterly disgusting it had been to watch her eye fall out.

All of the boys asked if they could see it again.


The Dangers of Having the NY Times Book Reviews Delivered Straight to Your E-mail

I'm a nerd. I admit it, I've always known it, and I've learned to cater to those tendencies that make me happy. And if those tendencies involve spending whole Saturdays at the Salt Lake City Public library--writing poetry, reading, and occasionally opening books just to smell them--then so be it. I'm a book geek and I'll gladly admit it.

A friend once complained of what she called her movie quandary: with as many movies there were in the world and as many movies there were continually coming out, she didn't see how she could possibly see all of the movies she wanted to see in the span of her lifetime. To be quite honest, I didn't understand the particulars of the movie-ness of her quandary, but I began to understand the quandary itself when I began to think of books.

I have the same quandary myself, you see, only my quandary is with books. In my defense, I really do think it's quite impossible for me to read all of the books I want to read before I die for a couple of reasons. Reason 1: The publishing of books has gone on for far longer than the making of movies. I mean, if she's talking motion pictures with sound, she is only dealing with less than a century's worth of reel.

On the other hand, when did Gutenberg invent the printing press? Ah yes, I believe it was in the fifteenth century. And what century are we in now? Ah yes, the twenty-first. I have six centuries filled with literature. And more books are coming out all of the time. Reason 2: My reading sparks new reading interests--exponentially. It works something like this: I read one book that leads me to think about three different things: sometimes historical events, sometimes people, sometimes genres. And I have to explore each of those three things, which lead me to nine more things (and really, let's be honest--three is a low number when it comes to connections for me).

This exponential issue alone is a difficult problem. But it isn't the one controllable source of my ever-growing book list. No, indeed, that problem would be that I get the New York Times book reviews delivered straight to my inbox. It's a handy little feature for those nerds who, like me, are registered for the online version of the Times. All you have to do is provide your e-mail address and presto! weekly e-mails arrive in your inbox. And you find yourself scanning the book reviews for interesting titles. And finding many. And then seeing links in those reviews to similar books. And then following those links. And then before you know it, you're spending all of your free computer time online in various local library catalogs, desperately seeking those books that you just have to read!!!!

I was born a book lover . . . but this is how book junkies are made.

People Pleasers Anonymous

Hi, I'm Confuzzled. And though I don't like to admit it, I'm a people pleaser. An anxious, worried, I-swear-I-just-have-everyone's-best-interests-at-heart people pleaser.

Here's the deal: I love to think I have a very independent mindset, a "to heck with the world, I'm me and deal with it" kind of attitude. And to be honest, sometimes I do have that mindset. When I'm speaking to my older brother, for example, who wants the rest of the world to exist on his terms--and his terms as I understand them are that people should be like him. It's very easy to have that mindset when I have something--or someone--antagonizing me. In such situations, I find it extremely easy to be antagonistic right back.

But, on the whole, I try to quietly be myself while also being a people pleaser. I've been in denial about this for a while, but here's the truth: I hate conflict. I don't like feeling like I'm screaming my individualism at the top of my lungs for everyone to hear. And I really, really, really want to make as many people happy as I can.

This occurred to me today at work, when I lamented (for the million and twenty-second time--no really, I've been counting) that I had to go into a service occupation because I had to have a job that involved working with people and I had to have a job where I felt as though I had a certain amount of influence on how happy people around me were. Most days, I enjoy it.

But today it occurred to me that I could sum up my job in two sentences: I bend over backward to make people happy and to be as accommodating as I possibly can. And I get distraught when people do not want to be happy or when I cannot be entirely accommodating.

It's a matter of guilt, I suppose. If I cannot make a person happy, I feel guilty. This leads to tremendous amounts of guilt when I can't make myself feel happy, but it leads to far worse and even more tremendous amounts of guilt when I can't make others feel happy. And the rational part of my brain (which, if you know me, is actually relatively small--but nevertheless quite vocal at times) emphatically tells me over and over that I have no influence on making others happy. Only they can determine that in the end.

Problem is, I'm entirely used to drowning out that voice . . . It's my age-old quandary that friends from all of my jobs--and especially the Writing Center--will remember: I just can't say no to anything that could help make someone happy. But I've decided--to heck with it!--if I'm going to make just one someone happy, that someone is going to be me! Any person who becomes happy as a side effect is just a positive extratonality.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Observations (as we play Balderdash)

My older brother can be suckered in if you write any sort of answer about the South. Or mention black people. Doubly suckered in if you mention both. Extra points, sometimes, if you make him laugh hard enough.

My younger sister has the family perfectionist gene, which doesn't often shows itself . . . although I still remember the first time she got lower than an A in college. Somewhat distraught, but she knew nobody else in her class had gotten such high grades. (O-Chem, if you're interested--a class I've heard is just plain evil)

My dad's answers grew increasingly more easy to pick out. The man has a highly logical brain that doesn't allow for very many silly anomalies. Not that he can't be silly. He can't just do it off the cuff.

My mom voted for anything that sounded a) random, or b) just too dang funny. And I pride myself for getting one of my best reactions-ever-from my dad. We were supposed to write about "Larry Kahn"--so my Larry was a far-distant relative of Genghis Khan, who sells world-famous hot dogs. In Brooklyn. My dad couldn't breathe for five minutes.

And my brother-in-law, unsurprisingly, always went for the laugh. "Bumclock: a pocket watch kept only in your back pocket." And now I realize where I inherited any and all BS skills I may have. Also where my lack of a poker face comes from.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Feet are Fickle Things

I'm sure all of you would be glad to hear that my foot is no longer the size of a watermelon. It's regaining it's usual shape and size, even if it still has a distinctive hue (a sick shade of lilac, aside from the dark bruise on the bottom of my foot, which can't decide exactly what shade of purple it should like to be).

Now, I'm experience some rather curious sensations: I have the sensation you get when your foot is falling asleep, except somewhat painful. I can't turn my foot at a ninety degree ankle. And three of my toes (the three outer toes, in case you were curious) don't move. I can't curl them. I can make the third toe move a little if I strain, but then I get a bit of extra pain.

And out of curiosity, are there no teasing insults for someone who has difficulty walking aside from "gimp", "hopalong", and "lame"?

Books and Me

A good friend from college once told me the following: "If books were fashion, dear, you would be super chic." I seem to cotton on to bestsellers and excellent literature before it hits the mainstream: the most notable example being Harry Potter--I read the first book roughly six months after it had been released in the United States, read the third almost immediately upon its release. The public didn't cotton on to these novels, not really, until the time for the fourth approached.

And by then they were huge. I credit the Harry Potter series for many connections I've seen forged over the past several years, for an increase in the number of people I see reading--and a corresponding increase in the willingness of people to talk about what they're reading. It's made my life a bit easier, because, you see, books are my language.

But as of 5:40 this evening, they are a language I wish I had taught myself a little bit different. 5:40 was when I finished the 7th and final installment of the Harry Potter series. And I had a twinge of sadness as I closed the book and set it down: what, if anything, will fill the void left in me now that I'm done? I wish I knew how to get absorbed in a book in a slow way--how to savor it and draw out the experience--but I don't. When it comes to books, once I'm in, I'm all in. No turning back.

The anticipation builds up to such a point it almost (almost, mind you, but not quite) becomes anticlimactic. And, for me, the anticipation means channeling awesome amounts of energy into other things. Nothing else I've found gives me that type of energy. Nothing. Nowhere.

And this is the other thing about reading Harry Potter: I can't write anything for a week or two afterward without crumpling it up, throwing it away, and wondering, "What's the use? It's not like I'll end up writing the next 'book blockbuster' like Harry Potter . . ."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Story--for Kassie's Benefit

Once upon there was this girl named Confuzzled. She was practically perfect in every way (hee hee-rather like Mary Poppins except many people found Mary Poppins much, MUCH more creepy). Anyway, one morning this absolutely fabulous girl left the apartment she shared with another girl who was also practically perfect in every way and embarked upon a great journey - to the Trax stop that was a block away.

Confuzzled managed to get ON to the train with absolutely no incidents, except for that unfortunate zealous Christian guy who tried to tell her she didn't REALLY believe in Christ because she was Mormon, and everyone knows that Mormons aren't Christian. But after that, the ride was peaceful.Until she attempted to disembark from the train, when DISASTER occurred.

Her cute little strappy sandals with the kitten heels snagged on the top step of Trax. And since she was going home to visit her family and attend a trek meeting, her bag weighed much more than usual. She was, to be short, done for. She crashed onto the eagerly waiting cement (rather like a shark, this cement could smell blood and feasted on it), wrenching her ankle in the process. Then she walked a block to catch the bus. Then she walked three blocks to work after disembarking from the bus.

Finally, at 9:20-when she was suffering more pain than she'd like to admit-she kindly requested her co-worker to run her to the urgent care facility (her co-worker, coincidentally, was also practically perfect in every way). The doctor there told her she had sprained her ankle rather nastily, but hadn't broken anything and was, in fact, lucky that she had not fallen on her head instead of her ankle. (Confuzzled silently scoffed at this, because she already coped with a great deal of head pain) The doctor indicated the ankle SHOULD heal within a couple of weeks, but instructed her to return if anything else untoward happened or if the ankle had NOT healed within a couple of weeks.

Long story short (not), this dear girl is no longer practically perfect. Indeed ,she has been called a gimp more than once. If she had a camera, she would have taken pictures of her atrociously swollen ankle and ferociously bruised legs, but alas . . . you shall have to imagine.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Livin' in the City

Moving is an arduous business--especially for a girl who seems to have acquired a significant library of her own. I moved to Salt Lake a week ago Saturday--fourteen boxes total, and anyone who knows me can guess the exact number of boxes that had books in them.

Living in Salt Lake has proved interesting so far. My older brother insists that my roommate and I have moved into a third-world country because there seem to be a plethora of Hispanic people in the small apartment complex we have moved to, but my roommate has actually lived in a third-world country and insists that we live in a second-world country. (Meanwhile, I'm having serious difficulties reheating food without a microwave . . . )

The move has brought me closer to a huge library, so if I said I was sad--obviously, I'd be lying. I'm greatly looking forward to the day the postal service delivers our first utility bill, because that will mean that I have enough proof of residency to get a library card from said huge library. My parents seem to think it dangerous--me living so close to a library--but they ceded their position today at dinner when I pointed out that loaning books from the library is free and that it would be much more dangerous if I lived that close to a Barnes and Noble or Borders, where I would be tempted to spend massive amounts of money on the written word.

Also, the move has caused massive amounts of prayer on the behalf of our parents--who, I hope, feel gratified by the fact that we stumbled into the correct student ward for us this morning--quite unconsciously. Of course, my parents weren't feeling quite so entertained when I recounted my adventures of Friday in getting to work on public transportation (Jehovah's witnesses attempted to convert me on my way to Trax, I almost plowed over a rabbi getting onto Trax, and then I endured catcalls from two half-drunks Mexicans, followed by some Spanish laments "Ella no tiene corazon" and some others that I wouldn't repeat, on the off chance anybody reading this had a grasp of Spanish).

I told my dad about my adventures yesterday when he took me out to lunch, and he found them entertaining. But my boss insists she will feel much better about my travels to and from work if I had some pepper spray or something, and my mom is inclined to agree with my boss. So . . . in the interest of humoring people who care about me and who I also care about--does anybody know where a girl can get some pepper spray??

Saturday, June 23, 2007


If you have ever written me any note on any piece of paper or sent me a birthday card through the mail . . . if you ever sneaked notes into my folder when you worked at the Writing Center with me or placed notes under my pillow when we roomed together, you will be glad to know: I kept them. I kept them all. And I can't bear to part with any of them. The shoebox full of notes that I've received over the years is one of the few things I can't bear to throw away. Ever, I think. Probably because I remember the stories behind every single birthday card and every single note.

For instance, I found a gem someone gave me on my 21st birthday. It requires some context: my friend, at this point, had undergone foot surgery on her right foot, causing her to gimp along and me to dub her "Hopalong." In due retribution (and because it's just too easy because my right eye is completely blind and is actually, in part, a prosthetic--by the by, one of these days I'll treat you all to the fabulously hilarious story about how my eye fell out in the middle of my women's lit class when I was at good old WSU), she dubbed me Lefty. The card she gave me for my birthday that year reads like this (except that I've corrected the purposefully included typos, a strategy that all of my friends have been using for years to drive me slightly crazy on my birthday--but again, that is neither here nor there):

"Lefty, Remember: just because you are now legally an adult [doesn't mean] that you still can't act like a kid. Happy Birthday! I hope your birthday went well. I look forward to the ones to come. I promise you that when we become the crazy ladies up the street that if you remember to tell me to watch my step, I will remember to tell you if your eye is in straight. Or in at all. Hopalong"

(It still makes me giggle! Now you will all understand why it takes me so darn long to pack!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I have one.

Way back in the day, I went to BYU and took this honors writing class . . and there was this super sweet girl in it who wanted to go into counseling someday.

I think I have discovered her blog . . . but how do you establish identities in this fickle, fickle online world???

Read the Signs

Something at work has been bothering me since I started at the end of January. It's a sign on the inside door of a stall that reads:


It irks because a) the universally capitalized command makes me feel rather like a child who is being yelled at and b) because their spelling of the word "completely" seems . . . er, less than complete.

Lynne Truss would be proud.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Worker Incognita

Ha! That's what I'm not. Here is a list of the various perceptions people I've worked with in the past have had of yours truly:

1. The very old, very cool, very silly babysitter who could cook a killer hot dog. When you're three, that's about all you think of the girl who is watching you. If you're the parents of that little boy, you're thankful any time your kid messes up and says "oh my heavens" instead of more colorful alternatives.
2. The very cranky college freshman. When you wake up at quarter to five to go into work and you were never a morning person to begin with, your co-workers think it's impossible there is a less than surly bone in your body. It probably didn't help that I (I'm incidentally quite gregarious and articulate at decent hours of the day . . . and unholy hours of the night, but never in the morning) communicated mostly in grunts.
3. The tremendously efficient girl who could type 100 wpm, carry on a conversation in which she dissected Harry Potter with co-workers, and instant message someone else--simultaneously. True talent, I tell you.
4. The girl who was never content with a simple lead for a newspaper article. Instead, I had to compare the destruction of trees on campus to Dr. Seuss and "The Lorax," insisted on an elaborate cooking conceit when covering foreign language classes offered in restaurants, and compared George W. Bush's answer to the question of the war on terrorism to Michelangelo's answer to the Pope in The Agony and the Ecstasy. ("When will it be done?" "When I am finished.")
4. The girl who read a book a day for two semesters, except during finals week when she was actually required to proctor the computer testing center.
5. The resident Writing Center femi-Nazi. All right, femi-Nazi might be a little harsh, but I gained quite the rep as an advocate of the intelligence of women, the capability of women in the business workforce, and the voice of the persistent opinion that women can learn anything men can. (These ideas didn't seem that extreme to me, but my boss labeled me as quite the feminist and the label stuck. Possibly because I'm quite ready to offer my opinions about pretty much anything at any given time, invited or not.) The WC folks also noted my bluntness (I believe my fellow tutor's exact words were: "Wow. You just say it like it is." Thus my evolution into the self-proclaimed Tactless Tutor . . . although the fellow recanted backward a little to say blunt and honest might fit better than tactless)
6. And now, the resident (office) politician. After working for the State, I've got a pretty good idea of how bureaucracy works and how to play the system to my advantage . . . this might be my best work role yet. As HR, I am part of the system I'm manipulating . . . and oh, but the manipulation is fun! Someday, I think I will write a whole novel about office politics.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Measure My Life In . . .

So I've been thinking recently. The thinking part, incidentally, is nothing new--but this is the first time I've pondered this topic to such an extent. The topic is how I measure my life. Prufrock first led me to ponder this my freshman year of high school, and any time I revisited his pathetic existence: he admits he has "measured his life in coffee spoons." And not too long ago, I was watching Rent and listening to the variety of things they sing about measuring a year with in "Seasons of Love": daylights, sunsets, midnights, cups of coffee, inches, miles, laughter, strife . . . the first conclusion I reached was quite simple: obviously, I could measure my life in many different ways.

At first, I thought that logical and chronological ways of measuring time were limited, but I've expanded my thinking to include a vast number: years, days, months, minutes, seconds . . . this line of thought can break down to all sorts of things, including ticks of the clock and measurement by milestones. None of which, incidentally, I decided would be the best way of measuring my life.

Measuring my life by measuring emotions proved quite the headache to think about. How, indeed, do you measure by using heartache or happiness, excitement or apathy? And do certain negative emotions cancel out the positive? How do I reach a sum of emotions, all of them distinct--some of them stark opposite, but some subtler shades of others?

In the end, I have decided that one thing has served as a constant in my life (aside from my religion). In fact, I have owned some of these for as long as I can remember. In short, I would measure my life in post-it notes. As long as I could interchange them with index cards, because these two things have been constants. If there existed a way to resurrect all of the post-it notes that I have ever written, I think they would describe my life astonishingly well. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am of my conclusion . . . and it worries me a little.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A Book

Everyone in the world who has ever loved any sort of novel should read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If they don't like it, then something is seriously wrong with them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jane and Me, Kindred Spirits

My friend had an epiphany about me the other day. As we rode in chummy conversation to an outing at the park with a bunch of other people our age, she began talking about a conversation she had with other friend recently. Armenia (the friend in the car, whose name obviously isn't Armenia, but it's what she talks about the most, so it seems a fitting blogonym) and Shummy (who refers to herself as Shummy and has called me K-VAN for as long as I can remember, because "It sounds so cool -- like the call sign for a radio station or something") spent long hours mulling over what book characters they most resemble. Armenia concluded she quite resembled Lizzy Bennet, while Shummy remains steadfastly certain she bears a distinct resemblance to Anne Shirley. (Despite, sadly, a lack of red hair--but she still shares a certain element of feistiness with the girl of Green Gables)

Armenia, in the course of the conversation, glanced at me. She admitted that they had tried to determine which book character I most resembled, but had suffered a dearth of adequate characters. Then, she suddenly exclaimed that she had a revelation: I was not a book character at all! Whereas she was definitely Lizzy Bennet and Shummy was, without question, Anne, I was Jane Austen, who knew how to sneakily and somewhat profitably make fun of every class of the society that I lived in. I take this as a sincere compliment, especially because I know she meant it to be. Still, I won't mention what I said when she asked why I hadn't written a novel . . . if you saw my every workday, you would know that it wasn't from a lack of things to mock; rather, it comes from a lack of oomph. Not motivation, oomph. They're quite different.

And oddly enough, my co-worker the financial analyst decided today that I was funny, but he couldn't express in words exactly what type of humor I employ. "It's biting," he said, "but in a genteel way. You could probably mock most people to their faces and they wouldn't realize it until some time much later. Lots of people probably wouldn't even realize it." He doesn't know it, but he more or less called me Jane Austen.

This ego boost will help me to float through at least two more workdays.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Self-Inflicted Sadism (Oh wait! There's a word for that . . .) ahem, Masochism

Nostalgia hurts. If you've got an emotional wound that you want to neatly seal itself at the edges and disappear with only a hint of scar--no infection, no gangrene, because we know that infection and gangrene are bad--live in the present. Stay firmly entrenched in the now. Dig yourself an at-this-minute foxhole and hunker down! It's the only way to stay safe.

Of course, this whole living-in-the-present thing does involve some tightrope acrobatics. Nothing too big--a little turn of the head to the past here, a nod to the future there. But you need to perform these maneuvers strictly from where you stand. In the present. With a nod of acknowledgement to the future, a glance back at the past . . . and that's all. You have to learn to let yourself glance.

It is unwise to pull out the photo albums for any more than twenty minutes at a time. In fact, twenty minutes is pushing it. You've got to know your boundaries. Exceptionally strong people can elbow their way through infrequent half hour intervals, but I don't recommend it. Slightly insane people attempt to write intervals. Those who succeed show the aftereffects. (I mean, come on, have you ever read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius?) *Note: I'm not egging Eggers (pardon the pun, unless you liked it--then please, don't pardon it all), he just has a different sort of thought pattern than the rest of the world.

In fact, I admire memoirists. There has to be something cleansing about the experience, or else I think fewer people would do it. I mean, I know why I read memoir: Hey, Eggers is disenchanted with his life on occasion too. And sometimes his life sucks. I'm starting to feeling a little better about myself . . . wondering if I could make money off myself somehow . . . I won't go into the whole my stream-of-consciousness bit because I will lose you somewhere around the ophthalmologist office and myself somewhere around the pining for places that don't exist (oh Stars Hollow, would that you and your inhabitants were real).

Anyway, my ultimate conclusion (to save you the mental acrobatics I would otherwise make you endure) is that video CDs from my last semester of college are bad. Very, very bad.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

And My Job ALSO Includes

Babysitting my boss's tomato plants while she is in Cancun. Sounds relatively simple, right? No, I said babysit for a reason. In a bizarre twist of fate, the girl whose thumb could only be called black (certainly not green, unless perhaps it somehow got infected--giving my siblings another incident to talk about on my future birthdays) will for a week:

1. Fight the attack-killer twenty-five-plus-year-old miniblinds at work to let the sun shine upon the little darlings.

2. Water every other day--with a Dasani water bottle and at specific intervals over the course of twenty minutes.

3. And talk to the plants.

I kid you not. But at least my boss didn't request the same thing that, last year, she asked my co-worker to do: sing. Still--we're going to leave the radio on. Just in case.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A More Accurate Job Description

As with so many of the other events in my life, I didn't know what I was getting into when I accepted my job. Human resources, I thought, sounded like a piece-of-cake profession. All it boiled down to was keeping people happy. I had no idea how many people I would need to keep happy: my boss, the current employees, the prospective employees, some of the past employees, "them" (those in the faraway HR department in the mother company--if anyone in my department says to give it to "them," I know exactly where to mail it . . . if only the same logic applied to the other omnipresent "them" people refer to outside of work) . . . not to mention the advertisers and the recruiters.

I am quite schizophrenic about my job at the moment: I either love, love, love it or loathe, loathe, loathe it. The middle ground, which I suppose would consist of me being rather impassive and noncommittal, remains untrodden. In the spirit of being forthcoming (though I don't know if anyone is actually reading my blog at the moment), I am trotting out how I would advertise for what my job actually entails. Here goes:

Company would like a talented, enthusiastic, optimistic, and tireless individual for the position of Human Resources assistant. This job entails keeping everyone within the company happy and completely informed of their insurance status at all times. Ideal candidates will have a working knowledge of HR, insurance, human nature, and the anatomy of the complaint. They will be happy in the face of surly coworkers, cheerful as they attempt to wrest past-due paperwork from un-obliging employees. They will happily enforce the rules without seeming to, and will feel genuine regret any time a person needs to be laid off. Unless, of course, nobody liked that particular employee. They will be prepared to talk to any member of the staff at any time of day for any given reason, including: offering fashion critiques, correcting spelling and grammar, answering all questions people pose, and listening to all decibel levels of moaning and groaning. They will finish and file all paperwork in a timely manner, respond to their e-mails as soon as they appear in the inbox, and will find time to help the receptionist when she is on break. Anyone who gets exhausted easily need not apply.