Tuesday, October 31, 2006

true spooky Halloween story

Twice today as I sat at my desk typing away on my computer or reviewing documents or performing some such activity which was completely removed from my telephone, a very loud dial tone suddenly intruded on my task. The dial tone was coming from the speaker phone. The handset was cradled and nothing was close enough to have bumped any buttons on the phone. Weird. But what was I supposed to do about it? I pushed the "Goodbye" button and went back to working.

Then, at 4:31 pm there was a little blip noise from my phone, that wasn't quite a ring but definitely not a dial tone, startled me and was immediately followed by a voice saying my name! I recognized the voice as a partner I work with a lot from our L.A. office. I picked up the handset and asked him how he did that. He was confused. He said he just dialed, the phone rang and then I picked up but didn't respond so he said my name - which is when we were connected. We laughed about it as a fun but spooky little Halloween trick.

Any fun Halloween spooks on your end?

what's that about good intensions?

I have been so caught up in work lately I have neglected my humble little blog (among many, many other things). While you would think that I wouldn't have much (of interest) to say if all I have been doing is working, I don't believe this is entirely true. In the back of my mind a list of posts has been accumulating. Here is what it looks like in no particular order as this is the first sense of organization that has been introduced to the lot:
  1. Halloween memories
  2. why autumn is my favorite time of year - a list of what I love
  3. recap of my weekend in Boston - including my visit to the Body Exhibit
  4. thoughts of my sick grandma
  5. the interesting things I observe on my walk to work
  6. why I always buy a book when I am in an airport despite already having one or two plus a magazine in my carry-on luggage (this has been floating around back there for months!)
  7. photos of all the great children's art I now have for my office and home
  8. thoughts on dressing up, especially at Halloween (similar yet different than #1)
  9. thoughts and memories for my grandparent's 60th Wedding Anniversary celebration
  10. places I have been meaning to visit in the City but haven't had the time, motivation or people to go with

I think there may be more but that is what fell out right now and 10 seemed like a good round number at which to stop. My brain is feeling a bit creatively atrophied so part of me is tempted to go home, rifle through old Halloween photos, select some good ones to post, read some Edgar Allen Poe stories, maybe quote some favorite parts to you and then settle into my couch to watch a scary movie - I think I have a Netflix one at home but I can't remember what it is. The alternative is to make a social effort and trek to a friend's "low-key" Halloween party that will consist of a classic Hitchcock movie on her roof - could be fun but sounds cold. Since I have been (conspicuously?) absent from social events for the entire month of October and a good part of September I feel the effort should be made. But the funny thing about checking oneself out of social mode is there really isn't a strong desire to return - more of a feeling of obligation to keep one's name and face out there so as not to be forgotten and dropped from the evite lists.

I often go through a phase where being a loner suits me quite well. I enjoy my own company, I enjoy the ability to read alone, watch whatever I want on tv or dvd without compromise, eat cereal for dinner and popcorn for dessert, be messy or clean (preferably clean), organized or disorganized (preferably organized), sleep late, stay up late, wear whatever feels most comfortable, take long urban or mountain hikes (depending on where I live), listen to whatever array of music I choose, dance with wild abandon in my apartment as I clean or as I get ready to go out, meditate and contemplate without the intrusion of others, get pedicures and massages whenever the whim strikes me, walk or take a cab at my discretion, attend or take a pass on whatever social event arises. . . I think I could probably go on and on. You see, when I focus on the lonelieness that has a tendency to slip in between the small pleasures, I forget how great it is to just be with me. I don't know how this will come across but I actually like myself quite a bit. I have worked hard to become the person I am today and I am continually trying to analyze myself to make small improvements and simple adjustments to improve myself for tomorrow. The only thing is lately I have noticed I am slipping into this comfort zone of preferring my own company to the point of being highly selective of with whom I spend my time. I may not be giving myself enough room to welcome new friendships. Maybe I will go to the party afterall . . .

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

it can always get worse. . .

The first words out of one's mouth in the morning should never require bleeping. Have you ever seen Four Weddings and A Funeral? You may recall how Hugh Grant's character seemed to start each morning - frantically late with expletives flying every which way. That was how my day started. In a groggy, sleep deprived state I turned off all alarms and slept until 930. NINE THIRTY!!! I frantically squinted at my blackberry as I rushed to the bathroom only to discover a stream of urgent exclamation pointed emails that started at 7 (when I intended to get up). *@#^!*!!!!!!! I had a 2 minute shower, threw on the closest clothes and raced out the door, jumped in a cab and started responding to emails, shooting requests to my secretary and attempted to make myself somewhat presentable with makeup - a hopeless cause - as my cab sat stuck in traffic. The 5 to 10 minute cab ride felt never-ending and was made worse when the driver refused to listen to my directions and sunk into the realm of worst cab rides ever when he pulled over a block away from my office. When I protested that I said 53rd not 54th he told I could walk a block. I had the misfortune to not have precise change and had to restrain myself from taking out all of my frustration on the guy while he withheld my change as he argued with me. Not what I needed. I ran the short block to my office and remembered I had left my id badge on my desk the night before so I had to encounter one more delay by waiting in line for a visitor's pass. When I finally reached my desk around 1020 the fun really started. I was frantically revising a document and preparing for an 1130 client conference call when the client called me shortly before to inform me he was right near my office and would stop in rather than be late to the call by returning to his own office. More chaos as I rushed to book a conference room and inform all of the lawyers of the change in plans. The rest of the day galluped along like that until about 330 when I finally had a moment to breathe, eat and realize how much my body wants to shut down. Unfortunately more deadlines are looming and tonight is another late night. Maybe that partner was right, I do need a life, I am just not sure where I would squeeze it in.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

get a life

I have been working a lot lately. By a lot I mean to say A LOT. But I am not complaining, there are some pros to this. I will explain.

Most of you are probably blissfully unaware of the term "billable hour." This is the mechanism by which lawyers get paid and associates (like me) give value to the firm. I have a yearly billable target that looms fairly heavily at the end of the year if I am off my target. While my compensation isn't directly tied to my billables, bonuses and evaluation of my performance is. So they are kind of important. The tricky thing is when you hit a slow work period there isn't anything that can be done to manufacture these hours (short of bill padding which is not only cheating but also stealing since some client has to pay for it in real dollars). I had a couple of slow months early on in the year from which I have been fighting to recover ever since. So this is the long explanation for pro number 1 - I get to boost my billables which puts me in good graces performance wise and gets me closer to a bonus.

Pro number two also requires some explanation but boils down to this: when I am a workaholic I forget to worry about other problems or stresses - other than the zits that explode all over my face from the work stress. When I am racing from one conference call to a meeting to another phone call to revising documents to negotiating sessions with opposing counsel - I get the greatest surge of adrenaline. I feel valued and important and satisfied. I honestly don't think or worry about my nearly non-existent dating/social life. It just doesn't matter as much because there isn't anything to be done about it.

I get up, go to work, come home, veg out for an hour or so watching tv (to slow my racing brain down) and then go to bed for 5-6 hours of sleep to repeat the next day. This is how the last two weeks have progressed Monday to Friday. Saturday I sleep half the day and waste the other half on nonsense and then Sunday I return to work for a light 6-8 hours and repeat Monday to Friday again.

Around 10 or 1030 tonight as I was working I was trying to block out the conversation of two attorneys with nearby offices. Both are married men and they often seem content to spend ridiculous amounts of time during post-work hours bull-****ing (for the lack of a better term) about nothing. I have found it wise to shut my door after 6 to avoid being caught up in one of their conversations that inevitably overflows into my doorway. If I am here after 7 at night there is a reason and it doesn't include chit-chatting with co-workers I don't particularly care for. They are both married men and at one point earlier this evening the thought crossed my mind - they must not like their wives very much given the amount of time they are willing to waste here.

Not too long after this thought, the partner took the slightly cracked open door of my office to be an invitation to poke his head in and observe "not to be judgmental, but you need to get a life." Here I am busting my ass to work hard and efficiently use my time and increase my billables to bury the fact that I don't have a life in the one place where that is valued and he throws that at me.

I am defeated.

Does anyone know where I can get a life?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thanks to Ethan

my humble little blog got a shout out on KSL Nightside radio tonight from host Ethan Millard, the "edgy, confrontational political" pundit who blogs here. I have to admit this was my first listen to Ethan's show (my excuse is living on the other side of the country) and I have to say I can't believe how great Ethan sounds on the radio - it is Ethan but more "radio voice" somehow. Very impressive. Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

do you think I'm in a rut?

This morning I walked into the deli next door on my way into the office. Before I had a chance to place my order and while the cashier was still assisting the customer in front of me, she asked me "Irish with cinnamon?" (Irish meaning Irish oatmeal) I responded "yes, please" and handed over my $2.44.
At lunch I waited in line at the cafeteria sandwich line and when I got to the front Kenny (my preferred sandwich maker) pointed to the grill and asked the person behind me what he wanted. My turkey sandwich with swiss cheese and tomato on multi-grain bread was already in the sandwich press. I went to the refridgerator case to get a Diet Coke and when I returned my sandwich was there waiting with my side of steamed veggies.
A short while ago I logged onto a website called seamlessweb to order my dinner (yes, third meal at my desk today). I didn't need to select a restaurant, I just went to favorites and pressed sushi. My dinner order was already completed: 1 spicy crunch salmon roll, 1 eel roll and edamame. I hit okay and I should be getting a phone call any minute summoning me to the lobby to collect my food.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

failure

[feyl-yer], noun
1.an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.
2.nonperformance of something due, required, or expected: a failure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear.
3.a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency: the failure of crops.
4.deterioration or decay, esp. of vigor, strength, etc.: The failure of her health made retirement necessary.
5.a condition of being bankrupt by reason of insolvency.
6.a becoming insolvent or bankrupt: the failure of a bank.
7.a person or thing that proves unsuccessful: He is a failure in his career. The cake is a failure.

Despite the valient efforts of my many friends and their talented children who answered my desperate plea for artwork to save my silent auction, definitions 1, 3, 7 and a little bit of 2 describe Friday night.

To back up. I want to do good things. I want to be able to make a difference in people's lives in some way. I am often at a loss when it comes to how to act on that desire. I make small, half-hearted efforts here and there but I am usually at a loss in terms of where to focus my efforts. Last spring an opportunity presented itself: assist with a banquet to raise funds for need-based scholarships for LDS youth in the New York area. I introduced the idea that we solicit children to submit artwork and auction it off at the banquet to raise additional scholarship donations. The idea was received with enthusiasm and I was put in charge of the endeavor. I made failed attempts to contact the Church's public affairs office to help spread the word to solicit entries. No response. I decided to pitch directly to the wards in my stake. I created flyers, sent people to every ward to make personal announcements, I put announcements in the ward bulletins and I personally went to 3 wards to try and collect the entries - only one came in. No one responded. No one cared. In an attempt to save my doomed plan I begged many of you for your children's masterpieces and you responded quickly to my urgent request and I thank you.

I mounted the little masterpieces, created bid sheets for each piece and gave them $5 minimum bids. The display came together beautifully:

Unfortunately, the bidding did not. I walked around during the "mocktail" hour encouraging and often nearly begging people to take a look at the artwork and place bids. I received a total of 5 bids by the end of the night - 4 from the same guy who thought he was just "starting things off" and only followed through on 2 of his $10 bids. To that I say - cheap ass!
This was not a shabby event. It was held in the Marriott Marquis in Times Square! There were people in attendance with significant incomes - professors from Ivy League schools, the dean of a certain school formerly known as Ricks College, the movers and shakers in the LDS "professional" arena and even a former governor of Utah! Did any of these people even bother to place a single $5-10 bid? No. I pointedly requested a bid from from Olene Walker (who I didn't like to begin with) when she was looking at the display tables and she muttered some excuse about have to "haul it home" with her. I was infuriated! These people missed the point entirely! I also blame the president of the organization running the banquet. He never paid attention to the details of my project and I don't believe he ever caught the vision of it. He certainly didn't look at the display and only half-listened to my pleas to make announcements encouraging people to bid. Then he forgot to make the announcement and finally gave a weak one near the end of the program. You have to cajole people into parting with their money, my weak begging was not enough.
We did raise some money but hardly enough to justify the work. By selling one of my sister's paintings (who granted isn't a child but nonetheless responded to my desperate pleas) to a friend and a handful of others I think I collected $90 in total. Not a complete failure but it definitely qualifies under #1 or #3 above.

Monday, October 09, 2006

P.S.

I recommend trying these if you ever want to try hiding various lumps and bumps under a fitted dress. It worked great under my dress at the wedding and other than a little bit of roll-down effect that I attribute to the rest of my undergarments they weren't bad. I tried this one on at the store which may have eliminated the roll-down problem since it connects to your bra but the extreme nature of it scared me away, the whole "body suit" description and the fact that it connects to the bra and includes features such as "The Great Divide." I think that is just the next step..... unless I can get my butt motivated to go back to the gym and eliminate the lumps and bumps!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Wedding

If ever I were to compare my life to Sex & the City it would be with these three friends of mine. We met as summer associates in a law firm in NYC 6 years ago and became close shortly after 9/11. None of us work at the law firm that brought us together anymore and we view our friendship as the best thing we got out of the experience there. The similarity is this: we catch up on each other's lives over brunch. Our goal is always monthly but months often slip by without a brunch.
Saturday's wedding was a first. K was the first of the four of us to get married. It was a beautiful Hindu/non-denominational-Christian ceremony with an adaptation of the 7 steps of marriage from the Hindu ceremony as their vows. The wedding was at an old Loew's movie theater - the historical kind that has been restored and is quite elaborate. And contrary to one friend's fiance's speculations, the ceremony was not on a stage and we did not have popcorn to throw at the bride and groom. However, the marquee did display "The Wedding of. . . " with their names. The ceremony was on a mezzanine overlooking the main foyer where the dinner and reception took place. The food was Indian and the music was a combo of 80s (K's choice I'm sure) and Bhangra (watch Bride and Prejudice, Monsoon Wedding or Bend it Like Bekham for a listen).

Here is a photo of the happy bride and me. She wore a red sari which is traditional in Hindu weddings.











And this is the rest of the four-some. Right now it looks like I will be the last of this group of friends to be married the same as every group I seem to find a place in. The middle friend is getting married in January (in St. Lucia, can't complain about a Caribbean destination wedding!!) and the one on the right is semi-engaged to her live-in boyfriend of 8+ years. I guess there is still a remote chance to beat her to the altar since she hasn't accepted an engagement ring or set a date but I'm not holding my breath since I don't have even the remotest of prospects.

Thanks for your votes on the dress, I was happy with the dress and received several compliments - although my decision to wear these platform heels was not my best even though they looked super sexy, they are not made for dancing or standing or walking and definitely not for running across the street to steal a cab which I did anyway. After waiting 20 minutes for a cab on the corner outside my building and fearing we (one of my friends got ready at my place) would miss the wedding I ran across the street to grab an open cab despite the fact that one of the seemingly endless stream of stumbling college kids making their way to my corner was eyeing it. I was called more filthy names than I have ever been called in one sitting (at least that I can remember since I have blocked out most of my short marriage which often involved similar name-calling) for doing it too! I told the kid I deserved it for waiting so long and running in platform heels. I then gave our cab driver an extra big tip when he told the foul-mouthed kid (who was drunk before 4 in the afternoon) he deserved it!

Overall a beautiful and fun wedding.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What I Crave

"'We found that holding the hand of really anyone, it made your brain work a little less hard in coping' . . . any sort of hand-holding relaxes the body. . . . Perhaps [that] is why so many people crave it."


This article from the NY Times punctuated my craving for the simple pleasure of human contact. Living alone in a City known for its impersonal attitude (something I actually like) can be physically and emotionally isolating. I can go great lengths of time without any significant personal touch from another person aside from shaking someone's hand in a professional setting, accidentally brushing up against someone in a crowded elevator, on a crowded sidewalk or in an over-capacity subway or a fleeting hug hello or goodbye from a friend I've met for dinner.

I am a tactile person. I love cuddling on a couch - whether it is romantically with a boy or with a family member. My sister hates my cuddling tendencies. Sometimes she tolerates it but often she will balk when I sit close to her on the couch or if I latch onto her arm when we are walking - unless it is bitter cold like last Thanksgiving when we were running last minute dinner prep errands.

But what I often miss the most is holding hands. Do not underestimate the comfort, security and thrill that can come from someone you love (or even just "like") reaching for your hand. But I think the article is right - hand-holding can be very complicated. I generally wouldn't want to hold hands with a boy I didn't want to kiss and very few boys have ever held my hand before kissing me. Funny how those steps get reversed. And an unwanted hand holding is excruciatingly awkward!

I remember going to a movie in law school with a couple of guys in my class. I was sitting between them in the dark theater. At some point during the movie one of the guys reached over and held my hand. I don't remember what I did but this was not something I was seeking out and I remember feeling awkward and distracted and paranoid that the guy on the other side of me would notice.

Even worse, a couple of years ago I was on a blind date when the guy tried to pull my hand out of my coat pocket in an attempt to hold it. My hands were in my pockets for a reason. We had not even made it in the restaurant yet and he was reaching for intimacy. I told him I am not touchy with guys I don't know. He persisted but I held my ground.

I think public hand-holding is important and essential to a relationship. I had a boyfriend once who had very little to no experience with this but was open to training. Despite his often gruff outer shell, he held my hand walking down the street, on the ski lift, in the car, at a restaurant, even at my parent's house (the hardest for him). However, he created the Home Depot Rule - he would mockingly explain that Home Depot was a no hand-holding zone. Something to do with it being a "manly" kind of place. Then one evening we were at a baseball game with a couple friend of his. I jokingly asked him if the Home Depot Rule also applied to baseball games or if this was a hand-holding friendly forum. The wife of his friend laughed and asked what we were talking about and I explained his rule. The boyfriend was embarrassed to reveal that he had a soft, romantic side in front of his mountain biking, mountaineering, adventure-seeking buddy but was shocked to have his friend's wife reveal that they held hands all the time: in the car, on walks, at the grocery store, in bed, at baseball games . . . even at Home Depot.

I miss many things about not being in a relationship (and many of them are also touch related) but hand-holding represents a different level of intimacy. I love it when I witness a hand-holding moment between my parents - when my dad will reach over and squeeze my mom's hand and they exchange a look. I envy my grandparents who are approaching their 60th wedding anniversary in December who still hold hands when they share a couch. My heart melts anytime a child trusts me enough to offer their hand to me for guidance and security.

I think the article is right - holding hands does make the brain work a little less at coping because holding hands is a physical affirmation of emotional support.

I miss holding hands.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

12-13 Reasons Why Working 12-13 Hours a Day Sucks

  1. pale skin from prolonged exposure to fluorescent lighting
  2. knots in the neck and back from leaning over a desk too much
  3. eye wrinkles from squinting at a computer screen
  4. inappropriately fast eating behavior due to eating 3 meals a day at my desk
  5. increased waist (hip, thighs and butt) size as a result of incessant snacking to help pass the long hours of the day
  6. staying up too late watching tv just to have a few hours to unwind before going straight to bed (and having tv shows like Project Runway be my main motivation to get home by 10)
  7. snoozing through the alarm and skipping the gym in an attempt to get one more hour of sleep
  8. new addiction to Diet Coke to fight fatigue
  9. zits from all the stress
  10. only wearing "comfortable" pants to work even though they are a) not flattering; b) the dress pant equivalent of sweat pants; and c) getting those little ball things in the well-worn areas
  11. inability to squeeze in necessary waxing to remove unwanted, out of control facial hair
  12. the week is a count-down toward the weekend which is generally wasted with too much veg time catching up on Netflix movies
  13. realizing my job is, and will likely remain, my boyfriend

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Advice Please


I am attending a wedding on Saturday that calls for "festive" attire. I am trying to decide which of these two dresses to wear. What do you think?

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