No Major Issues

Let me tell you about my day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Do you have a friend who lets you be the craziest possible person you could be? I mean someone who lets you explore possible reactions to things that happen in your day, without being judgmental or saying, "no, your wedding day is not the time to call your ex-boyfriend?" You need one. I have one.

I think of this as a kind of therapy--one time, at a "leadership training," we did a peer-to-peer coaching exercise. Yes, we did. At one point, while my coachee was describing what seemed to be an insurmountable problem for someone in our position, I asked her, "what's the craziest thing you can think of to do?" And she described something that was both crazy and completely uncrazy. In the end, our conclusion was that she'd do something based on her crazy idea, but minus a smidgen of crazy. The exercise was strangely and unexpectedly productive.

There's value in this: allowing yourself to explore the crazy, and then scaling it back to where you get to go with your gut while not leaving your mind out of it entirely.

In the context I'm thinking of: I got the brush-off from a guy I wasn't entirely convinced I was interested in. And, I got it via text message. It was completely unexpected, especially considering the mild way in which I had shown interest. After I got the text, I spent 45 minutes with my friend thinking of completely unreasonable responses--wedding dress-clad workplace drop-by? property destruction? lawsuit? In the end, I decided to just let it go, but it was so much more enjoyable to explore the possibility of hopping on the crazy train carrying all my luggage, and heading down the track at full speed.

Which, I suppose, makes me a woman.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dieting, I guess

So, some celebrity fitness person (I think it's Jillian Michaels, although I'm not doing any research to verify her name) has made the point that it's not enough to just park far away from the grocery store and take the stairs occasionally if you want to be fit. You have to work for it, and you should work for it, because healthiness and fitness are important. OK. Point taken. I don't actually do either of those things, nor do I really do anything else. I recently (actually, it might have been a year ago) worked briefly with a trainer, and she said that I should worry more about my diet than about exercising, because I won't get fit (or skinny) just by working out. OK. Point taken.

For me, though, I need to do the small stuff, and I need to be given some "good enough" points. The header says it all--yes, I know salsa doesn't actually count as a vegetable. However, I will put salsa (containing tomatoes and onions and peppers) on my scrambled eggs, when I won't bother to cut up vegetables and add them to my scrambled eggs. And I'll use my thighmaster while I'm sitting at my desk (stop laughing), when I won't go to the gym.

The small steps are important for me. I have to start somewhere, and I have to do what I can, because the alternative is what I've been doing for the last year, which is nothing. This applies in so many places to my life, though! I will do one load of laundry, even though it's not enough, because it's better than nothing. I will get three things done at work, even though it's not enough, because the alternative is to play around on Pinterest all day.

Also, salsa is delicious.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amazonian Review Power

I pretty much know I should never read the reviews or comments for anything, particularly something I care about. I remember how, after Hurricane Katrina had wiped out my home and sent my family reeling, I would see comments on news articles about how people had to stop complaining about it, or "they should know better," or, worst of all, that somehow poor people, families, and fishermen (who experienced the worst of it), "deserved it." [Actually, that's probably a good place for an aside--when some people heard that New Orleans was being destroyed by an act of God, they assumed the modern-day Sodom was being smote. In fact, the kind of debauchery that warrants the title "modern-day Sodom" is fairly limited, geographically, and that part of the city remained relatively unscathed. The suburbs (hot beds of sin!), lower income neighborhoods, and small towns supported by fishing industries suffered substantial damage.]

I also can't listen to radio call-in shows. I used to wake up to some kind of C-SPAN call-in show, during the 2008 election, and it made me want to tear the alarm clock to pieces--not a good feeling, especially when it's something you kind of hate anyway.

I know there's no shortage of opinions when it comes to people being hateful while hiding behind anonymity, but this is actually something else:

I frequently read Amazon product reviews. I figure it's part of my consumer due diligence for shopping online. I generally don't read them for books, because of the aforementioned hatefulness. I wanted to get some feedback on one book I had heard was "controversial," and I was pleasantly shocked by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the reviewers. It read more like genuine literary criticism (my least favorite class in college) than the rantings of crazy idiots. Anyway, in case you're curious--the reviews of Rob Bell's Love Wins are worth skimming.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WTF, Comcast?

Today, I spoke with Comcast. I actually started talking to Comcast on Saturday, when the rep on the other end of the line said, “I’m going to run some diagnostic tests.” And then said the modem was “depleted” (may contain uranium?) and needed to be replaced.

When can he schedule an appointment for a technician to come to my house during working hours to look at it? Um, never. OK, when can I go to a service center during working hours to drop it off? Um, never. I work during working hours. Can you mail me a new one? You have to call back during working hours. Fine.

Yesterday, I called and talked to someone who said they could mail me one. It should arrive on Thursday. Sorry for the inconvenience. Fine.

Then I got a barely intelligible voicemail saying I needed to talk to sales if I wanted a new modem, but no mention of how one gets in touch with sales. Fine.

So I called back today and was told they needed to run some diagnostic tests before they could mail me a new modem. Am I near my modem? NO. LIKE I TOLD THE OTHER COMCAST REPS, I AM NOT ABLE TO HANG OUT WITH MY MODEM DURING WORKING HOURS, WHICH IS APPARENTLY THE ONLY TIME ANYONE WILL TALK TO ME ABOUT GETTING A NEW MODEM. Please hold for a supervisor.

15 minutes elapse. New rep answers the phone: how may I assist you today? Uh, I’m waiting to speak to a customer service supervisor. New rep works in billing. Doesn't know how I ended up in her call queue. Please hold while she tries to get someone in customer service on the line.

10 minutes elapse. New rep answers the phone: how may I assist you today? Through clenched teeth, I explain that I just need someone to ship me a new modem, and I will gladly mail the old one back. OK, it may be 3 – 5 business days for me to receive it. She can overnight it, but it will cost me $30. Can’t you waive the fee? Sure, she can do that.

So, hopefully it’s done? Perhaps a mere 5 days later, I will have internet service again? I have to imagine that this is the plight of all people who are dependent on a single company to provide a service they consider necessary. Cox doesn't serve my side of the street, apparently, and Verizon needs phone lines? Or cables? Or something?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hey Y'all

So, hey.

I'm back, after one heck of a hiatus. In truth, I didn't intend to stop blogging, I just got caught up in a vicious cycle of not having anything to say, then having something to say but not being near a computer, then doubting the merits of that thing once I was back online. Not particularly exciting.

I just returned home after a long trip to visit my family for the holidays. Going home makes it emotionally harder to live far away, but I'm honestly exhausted and excited for a return to my work-work-sleep routine.

My new year's resolution--after I failed miserably at my one and only resolution for 2010--is to be more environmentally conscious. Not to be a perfect Eco Ellie, but to actually make an effort to bring old newspapers to the recycling bin instead of throwing them in the trash. To use my reusable shopping bags, a la Swistle. To throw my empty cans in the right bins. I already do these things, to some extent, but I want to get better about it.

On my frequent walks to the Metro, I often see the huge trains of trash cars chugging along. That is a lot of trash. I should make the effort to lessen my contribution to that.

Also, I won't call this a resolution, but I have gotten out of the practice of cooking for myself and packing lunches and I want to get back on the ball with that, as it's good for me for a number of reasons, including my finances and my health.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Among the Best Things Ever.

Going to McDonald's, mid-afternoon, to get a chocolate-banana milkshake and an order of fries.

Waking up to the classical music radio DJ expounding exuberantly on the piece he's about to play.

The end of a long streak of very important, very stressful, and very time consuming meetings.

Those are the things that have made my day today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Kinder, Gentler Black Panther

The other day I saw a guy walking down the street in a Black Panther beret. A homeless man raised his fist in a Black Panther salute and shouted, "Hey, Panther!" and the Panther turned and waved and smiled quite cheerily. It was a very nice interaction between strangers. Maybe this is the new, less-militant M.O. of the Black Panthers?

In college, I once gave a presentation on historic events in the civil rights movement, including the attempted assassination of James Meredith. The source I was using just said, "he was shot in the head." This, to me, meant death. Naturally, I did no further research because, like I said, I was in college and checking to make sure my report subjects actually died is too rigorous for me. Yeah, I don't remember that going over well.

These two things are related because of (a) civil rights and (b) my concern that my report on the Black Panther walking down the street would make it seem like I didn't understand the Black Panther movement. I am here to assure you that I have done no research.

Let's Split the Bill

For someone who spends a lot of money, I think I might actually be cheap. I loathe going to big group dinners at restaurants, because I hate when everyone throws into the pot with little regard for what they ordered. What I don't understand and never understand is how people so grossly miscalculate what they owe. And this seems to happen just about every time I go out with a group. At some point, someone will say, "OK, everybody throw in another dollar." No. No, I will do no such thing. Why this bothers me is because I tend to order according to what I feel comfortable spending on that meal. It really irks me when I'm expected to pay more than my share because someone else isn't giving what they should.

Last night I went to dinner with a group (it worked out fine, I'm just using this as an example), and I ordered a $4 appetizer and a $12.75 entree. I drank water. I put in $20. I worked it out thus: $16.75 for food, plus 10% tax (a gross overestimate) would be about $18.50. I throw in another $1.50 to account for a margin of error in my calculation. The tip gets added in later. I always work in pretty much the same way--over-contributing slightly so there's no squeeze. Why don't other people do this? I really don't like splitting bills. Yep, I'm definitely cheap. I'd rather eat alone than have to pay an extra $12 for my meal for wine that I didn't drink.

Bag Lunch

Yesterday and today I have packed a bag lunch for myself! Woooooo! I'm hoping I can get into the habit of doing this so that I can save money and overeat less frequently. Even if I splurge slightly--good turkey from the deli, rolls instead of sliced bread--I still end up saving myself a good bit of money. And, on nasty, rainy days like today, it's pretty nice to not have to go out and find something to eat. I can instead sit in my office with the door closed and my shoes off and eat my little turkey sandwich.

Clean House

So, Operation: Keep the Dang Dining Room Table Clean is going quite well. I've even managed to extend some of the neatness to the living room and my bedroom! Maybe I can take some pictures soon! It will be pretty magical if I manage to get everything in my apartment clean at once because I don't think it has ever happened.

I was actually inspired by my brother and sister-in-law's place when I went to visit them. Somehow, they have a very tidy, well-cared-for apartment that feels welcoming and friendly. I think they're just consistent with it, and that's how it works out for them. But, I know my brother--he is a slob. He is also a hoarder. We are cut from the same cloth. So, I figure if he can do it, then I can do it.

I just want to get to the point where people stopping by unexpectedly is a pleasant surprise, and not grounds for panic. I think I'm getting there.