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bad news, emily!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Done Deal

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am moving into the house with my friends rather than getting my own apartment.

It turns out that my hesitations were silly and that my concerns were unfounded. I thought that my cats' quirks could be a deal breaker, but I underestimated the flexibility and nonchalance of my future housemates. Applejack & Zoe had their first play date with Tucker & Carolina and things went really well. By the end of the evening Carolina was trying to wrestle with and climb all over Applejack, which was hilarious because she's only 12 weeks old and he's full-grown. So there's a friendship that has already taken off.

The moving process will be rather slow, stretched out over the month of December. I'm eager to move everything now and be settled quickly because I dislike the moving limbo, but there's also a part of me that wants to cling to my current living situation. I will be walking into a totally different type of household and I suppose the part of me that is dragging my feet is the part of me that doesn't like change.
But the decision is made, and I'm jumping in with two feet!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Roller-skates are Rad

When I was in 4th grade I got a pair of roller skates. The white ones with the pink wheels. I loved roller-skating – on the weekends I’d go down the street to Duveneck Elementary to skate in the tiny parking lot.
In 5th grade I fell skating in front of the office and broke my wrist. It’s the only bone I’ve ever broken. It hurt like crazy, especially because we didn’t go to the doctor until the next day. Casts are really annoying. One day at school I had to go to the nurse’s office because I had gotten a pencil stuck down in my cast. I had an itch and I had wanted to scratch it.
Moving on.
A few years later I had outgrown my old skates and wanted to get another pair. So I went to Palo Alto Sport & Toy World to look at what they had. I definitely didn’t want the white skates with pink wheels this time around. The thing I loved about Palo Alto Sport & Toy was that the roller-skates were tucked into the back room with all the skateboards and cool stuff like that. In addition to my personal preference, I also knew I wasn’t going to go in there with all the cool sk8erbois and walk out with pink & white roller-skates! So I chose the black ones with blue wheels. The guy at the counter tried to talk me into buying the girls’ skates but I stated firmly that these ones were the ones I had come for.
I spent many a blissful afternoon practicing my turns in that parking lot of my elementary school, listening to a mix I had made especially for skating: PM Dawn, U2, New Order, Cliviles & Cole, Nirvana, Jesus Jones, EMF, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Pet Shop Boys. I wonder whatever happened to that mix tape…
Later on when Rollerblades became all the rage I saved up for a pair but was bitterly disappointed with them. They were awkward and bulky. More similar to ski boots than roller-skates. So I eventually sold them. It took me many more years before I could part with those black roller-skates with the blue wheels.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Turkey and mashed potatoes here I come!

Here's a special little Thanksgiving tradition I have:
Every year the stuffing looks so yummy and so I put some on my plate.
Every year I don't like stuffing.
But then every year I still put some on my plate.
I never, ever learn.
Isn't that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?

All Conflicted and Stuff

Now I don't know what to think.
Whereas I had been 90% sure I wouldn't move in with “The Family” (as I will henceforth refer to them) and would just head off to my life on my own, the last 24 hours have afforded me more time for thought.
It truly is an amazing opportunity – to move into a home with friends and live virtually rent-free. There are many things I had been longing for that living my own place would give me, but are they things that I could let go of for now and put on the back burner? How important is it for me to be independent, to have control over my space and activities?
All this time I have been viewing the transition to living in my own apartment as an invaluable experience – one that I couldn’t pass up, one that I was overdue for. I don’t think that a year ago I had really thought about living in my own place. It’s just in the last 3 months that it seems to have become something I think about all the time – a dream soon to be realized.

I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to woo my former roommate of 4 years away from The House, selfishly wanting to return to the good ol’ days of the unstoppable force of The Super Sarahs living together. But in the invitation to move in with The Family, I would get to do just that.

The hesitation I feel comes from two things: (1) all the complicated issues in bringing my two cats, and (2) moving into a home that is already established. The former concern can actually be included in the latter. With my recent preoccupation with the idea of living alone, the idea of moving into someone’s home with a community that is already established would be turning a 180. Seeing it as such reveals the truth of the matter: I want to live selfishly (on my own term, in my own space that I have full control over) and living with The Family would cause me to live with humility. I wouldn’t feel in control of anything where I live.
So it comes out! I want to be in control and I want to live independently. I knew that, but it's more blatant when I see it from this perspective.
As much as living in my own apartment would be an invaluable experience, so would living in community and keeping my pride and selfishness in check. I can’t argue that this would be a very, very good thing for me.

Wow. This is a hard decision to make.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

An Amazing Offer

(Note: There are many wonderful people in my life and I am constantly reminded of just how wonderful they are)

This story begins, quite simply, with a house.
The owners of this house are two of the aforementioned wonderful people. In the days of my impending move to my own apartment, they have offered me a room in their house, under the most amazing, generous, and humbling circumstances.
I am flattered that they'd extend to me the invitation. Sitting across from all of them at the table I felt like I was being proposed to. In fact, I'm pretty sure I blushed at one point.

And they not only want me, but they want my "kids" as well! Love me, love my cats is true. They must be confident that my two cats will get along with their cat and new kitten. That's unbelievable generosity right there - to take on more wild animals! My living there could potentially be an incredible inconvenience for everyone else. I would feel so bad about that, and that is a major reason for hesitation on my part. It's not just the couple who owns the house; they also have two other people living there.

I remain convinced that they don't know what they might be getting themselves into by inviting me into their household.

Home and an 8x10 Glossy of Me

“Sally sat down in the armchair and stretched herself… She surveyed the room proudly. It was certainly beginning to look cozy. The pictures were up, the carpet down, the furniture very neatly in order. For almost the first time in her life she had the restful sensation of being at home. She had always longed, during the past three years of boarding-house existence, for a settled abode, a place where she could lock the door on herself and be alone. The apartment was small, but it was undeniably a haven. She looked about her and could see no flaw in it… except… She had a sudden sense of something missing.
‘Hullo!’ she said. ‘Where’s that photograph of me?’”

-The Adventures of Sally by P.G. Wodehouse

As I was reading this bit, I was able to relate entirely to her frame of mind. Seeking the satisfaction in having one’s own space, arranged just as one wanted, with personal touches. I felt we were kindred spirits, of the same mind... until… that last sentence where she exclaimed “Hullo! Where’s that photograph of me?” I burst into laughter. I imagined a black & white, 8x10 glossy of her in a professional portrait pose, beautifully framed and strategically placed so that all her guests would see it and compliment her. And it instantly reminded me of Eddie From Ohio’s lyrics “eight-by-ten glossies of me-eeee!
Silly Sally.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Cheesecake Factory

I ate at the Cheesecake Factory for the first time yesterday. I know, I know, how very un-american of me to not have eaten there yet. My friend Bethany and I could have spent hours pouring over the menu but we settled on omlets from the breakfast menu. They were delicious! I definitely need to go back and try 32 other things on the menu.
There was, however, one thing about the Cheesecake Factory that was truly disappointing.
I don't doubt that their cheesecakes are amazing. They'd have to be. But for $7 a slice? And $43 for a 10" cheesecake?
I'm sorry, but that's just arrogance, plain and simple.
Cheesecake Factory, get over yourself.

In Addition to Leaves

I like the rain, too. Especially when I'm at home, curled up in a blanket with a pair of orange kitties, a cup of Oregon chai in my hands, watching a classic black & white movie.
There are also times when I love a good, soggy romp, but I've had fewer and fewer of those since college. It was always great to splash through the Sunken Gardens or Barksdale field, jumping with gusto into every puddle with my roommate Liz.
I had a poster up when I was in college that showed Snoopy and Woodstock taking flying leaps into a big pile of leaves, and it read "We love the simple things in life."
And we do.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Autumn Leaves

The bright orange leaves are beautiful!

Soon the trees will stand bare

But for now they're beautiful

I love when the wind picks up all the fallen leaves and swirls them around me, leaving a few orange and yellow leaves resting on my jacket and stuck in my hair. The sound of leaves dancing across a brick walkway... that's autumn.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Colorless Green Ideas

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in 1957 as an example of a sentence whose grammar is correct but whose meaning is nonsensical. The phrase suggests that grammar is not the only principle underlying language, as was thought at the time. It indicates that words are symbols with associated properties that will not function if they are not used in the proper semantic context. By demonstrating that "meaning" is not dependent on the grammar of each localized language or culture, Chomsky's work established the theoretical basis for machine translation and generative grammar (the study of a "species-innate" cognitive structure that underlies language development).

Source (yeah, I've regressed to beginner-level academese, so that wasn't me talking) and where to read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorless_green_ideas_sleep_furiously

As a registered Linguistics Nerd, I have always found this brilliant and exciting.
The year before I "joined" it, the Linguistics Club at W&M had made a t-shirt illustrating this idea. Oh, how I coveted those t-shirts.


Conveyor Belt Dream

My insecurities have been seeping into my dreams.
Last night I dreamed some seriously weird dreams, one in which I was checking out at the register at a grocery store. There was one of those little conveyor belt things and though I was 3 people away from the front, I was still able to put my groceries at the end of the belt. Somehow the machinery went out of control suddenly and it just kept conveying and everyone's stuff got piled up at the end, making a big mess with all the loose produce (I noticed kiwis, apples, and potatoes) and stuff. The guy at the register was freaking out and we all tried to sort it out so the person at the front of the line could check out.
Then I found myself there with many of my coworkers and my supervisor was there accusing me of being responsible for the problem. I kept trying to tell her that it was the machinery that got messed up, but she kept saying in an accusatory tone "well, I don't know, but somebody messed it up", implying that it was me, and wouldn't let it go. I just stood there, embarrassed, with all my coworkers looking on, feeling like I was now viewed as a screw up and knowing that there was nothing I could do to convince my supervisor of my innocence.
It was rotten and the residual feeling of insecurity has yet to fade away completely.
Then I came in to work this morning and felt like I was the trouble-maker again. She hadn't posted on the in/out board that she'd be out - but she had put it on the online university calendar (which sucks and only a few people use) - and she kept insisting that she had told people. In our office, we all post things on the in/out board so everyone knows. I had to be the one to inform her that people had been looking for her all day and that she ought to post it on the board next time.
A trivial thing, maybe, but it certainly did nothing to dissipate my insecurities about how my supervisor sees me.

"Arrrrggg!!!!" she exclaimed out of sheer frustration. The day had not begun well. She resolved to make herself a cup of chai to console her ego and warm her hands.

Leopard Print

I have to be honest.
I cringe at the sight of leopard print. I must have some lingering impressions from my childhood that stemmed from some movie or tv show I watched which associated leopard print clothes with prostitutes and loose women. That and the indecent ads from places like Victoria's Secret. This came to mind because I just saw a woman in a leopard print jacket this morning, and I had the thought "I wonder if she knows how that makes her look" and then I had to try to figure out why I thought that.
Strange how things get tainted by the context we first encountered them in.
So this holiday season, please refrain from gifting me with matching leopard print scarf and gloves. I will have no choice but to return that leopard to the wild.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Woman, Thou Art Loosed"

For years and years I hated this book every time I saw it on the shelf at a bookstore. I've never read it, and I've never wanted to. My understanding was that the title was a fancy bible-ese way of saying "you are a loose woman" and it was 100% condemnation. It embarrassed me to see it on the shelves in the Christianity section of bookstores. It wasn't until my 20s when it was explained to me that the author, T.D. Jakes, is really offering hope and healing to women who have been hurt and abused - breaking off the chains of pain and depression that have held them down for years.
That's much better! A great book, I'm sure.
But I still really hate the title. He should have titled it "Woman, You Are Free!" for people like me who don't get it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

There's Nothing We Can Do About It

Some friends and I watched "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" last night.
I woke up this morning around 4am from a very clear and convincing dream. The world was going to end shortly and I was the one who had to tell everyone. Upon waking, I actually said outloud "...and there's nothing we can do about it."

The night before, I had another dream that was "inspired by actual events". Some girlfriends and I spent an evening unintentionally talking about all kinds of crazy medical stories we'd heard/seen - amazing laparoscopic surgeries performed on fetuses in the womb and some truly bizarre physical abnormalities (like a twin-within-a-twin and a baby born with two heads, etc.)
I had a dream that night that I was in a class that the professor had taken outside. There were about 8 of us and our assignment was to effectively compliment our instructor's appearance. Thing was, he was only a head sitting on the grass. I was nervous and when it was my turn I said something about how I liked how his eyes crinkled when he smiled and how he looked like my grandpa and I started crying with nostalgia.
I think I got an A.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Filmplakate auf Deutsch

I have what I might dare to call a brilliant idea for decorating my soon-to-be new apartment. I love classic movies and I love German, so why not combine the two!
I had been looking for mini-posters of classic movies on www.barewalls.com and found some great ones like "Casablanca", "Rear Window", "Sabrina", etc. I found a bunch of cool ones (amid a bunch of lame ones) but then I hit the jackpot: They have a few classic movie posters in German!
Zum Beispiel (for example):
"How to Steal a Million" ("Wie Klaut Man Eine Million")
and "Philadelphia Story" (translated to "die Nacht vor der Hochzeit" which literally means "the night before the wedding")

What a great find!
Ganz toll!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

CrackMouse Update

I gave Zoe & Applejack the green and 5th CrackMouse on Monday and it is still in play. They have not lost it and they have not hidden it from us. Granted, it's been shot under closet doors and under the stove a couple of times, but it remains on the radar.

It's an exciting week in Kitty World.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Obligation, Revisited

Maybe this will help make some sense of my line of thinking in my "Jerk" post.
Another illustration on the theme: The obligatory “How are you?”
Often, if I know I’d be asking out of habit or social expectation, and I don’t want to force them to lie and say “fine” out of habit or social expectation, then I just don’t ask. If they ask first and I don’t want to lie and say “fine” then sometimes I won’t answer the question, but rather jump to the “Hi, good morning” and bypass the whole routine of insincerity.

I find some genuine satisfaction that at least I’m not lying and pretending I’m nice if I’m really not.

I hate being a hypocrite, so I'm trying to avoid it.

I Think I Might Be A Jerk…

But I can’t be sincerely 100% sorry about it because the source comes from a conviction that, after digging to the root, I’m convinced is honorable. Dare I try to make my case? Here it goes...

I am uncomfortable with holiday gift giving.
I have an aversion to the routine practice of giving gifts under duress.
Translation: I’m strangely not keen on giving gifts out of Holiday Obligation. My approach to gift giving in December is tainted by that whole inflated, commercialized element of Christmas.

This issue is revisited by my brother and me each year around Christmas for the last… maybe 5 years? We have sincerely asked our parents and our relatives (through our parents) to not give us gifts at Christmas. We have never succeeded in pursuading them, much to our concealed frustration. But, having said that, we know and respect that they give us things purely out of love and not out of a sense of obligation. Do we refuse the gifts we receive? No, because they were given out of love. Are we ungrateful? Never. Do we feel pity for a world full of people who give gifts on a schedule? Not with any sense of blame. Do we enjoy giving gifts to the people we love? Of course!

I’m not standing on a platform decrying the generosity and joyfulness of people all over the world. I don’t bah-humbug the trimmings and trappings of the holidays either. I love Christmas. I love the warmth of it. I love the smells, the garlands, the lights, the wrapping paper and ribbons, the cheer, the cookies (oh, the cookies!) and the cascade of fond childhood memories.

But I still find myself caught in conviction limbo because I think it’s wonderful that people find joy in giving gifts. It's a good thing. God was the first and ultimate Giver of Gifts. I love giving gifts to people when there’s no occasion. I love giving gifts to people when I come across something that I know they’ll just love. I love giving things to people when it means something. I love the feeling of anticipation and watching them unwrap something I think will make them happy.
But it's the practice of making a list of the people every November and in the next six weeks checking off their names once you’ve gone through the strategizing and agonizing to find the "perfect" gift. Check. That task is done. That person is taken care of. Move on to the next.

It all comes down to this:
I should be a more generous person, I know. I just can't get past my distaste for the commercialization of Christmas and this affects the way I do and don't give gifts during the holidays.
There are millions of Christians who are saddened that the glitter and gifts have overshadowed the true meaning of Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the fun things associated with the holiday. Make pies! Sing carols! Trim trees! Bake cookies for your mailman and hand out candy canes at work!

The fine print:
I apologize to anyone who has ever felt slighted by my lack of gift giving. Just because it’s the least of my own “love languages” doesn’t mean I think there’s no value to the practice. I am not ungrateful, I enjoy and appreciate the gesture of giving a gift in general and I certainly don’t judge others for their generosity during the holidays. It’s a conviction I hold as my own.

If this doesn't make sense, that's fine. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to me. Don't over-analyze any gifting or non-gifting from me. You can just ignore this whole post if that makes it easier.

(EDIT: I forgot a CRUCIAL element of my thought process. The concept of "making a list" for people to work off of in their gift shopping. That whole practice is what makes it feel forced a lot of the time. It's incredibly practical, of course, because you want to give people things they want and will enjoy, but it still feels forced. I like it when people make lists if I'm not sure what they'd want, but since high school I've felt extremely awkward doing it for myself.
Basically, this post was motivated by an email from my dad asking me for my "Christmas list.")

Heck, I might as well have just re-written this entire post based on this last edit, but I simply don't have the time or the energy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Two Thumbs WAY Down

DON'T EVER SEE "DOGVILLE" starring Nicole Kidman. It's about a tiny little town that shelters a woman (Kidman) who is on the run from gangsters. It started very innocently - the scenery was very creative with just the outlines of buildings and maybe just a wall or a few pieces of furniture, as if it were performed on a stage, so the focus was all on the characters. I was fascinated by this creative approach and was enjoying the movie until I fell into a peaceful sleep about an hour into it.
Then I awoke toward the end of the movie to a horrible horrible scene. The gansters had found her in the town and were gunning down all the people who lived there! It was absolutely horrifying and so discordant with the first part of the movie. I wish I had never seen the end, but now I know to dissuade others from seeing it. Don't see it unless you just watch the first hour.
Sad. It had started off so wonderfully...


This was a license plate I saw this morning. On a mini-van. Probably a mom with 4 kids or something.
At the summer camp I went to there was a fun song we all learned that outlined the rules of the camp. The verse about swimming at the lake ended with "and pee before you go, pee before you go." That's the only part of the song I still remember - definitely the most useful thing to remember.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Right now I would be SOOOO satisfied with a turkey bacon guacamole sandwich from Quizno's. I wonder if they're open now. Mmmmmmmm.

No Doubt About It

I like nice people. People in general are great. Nice people are especially great.
I would like to say "thank you" to all those friendly people out there that I have the pleasure of interacting with.
But yeah, people in general are great. Everyone is different, everyone is quirky. It's great.

Hurray for people! Thanks God!

Wanted: Personal Space

I want to take a moment to revisit a topic I addressed in an earlier post.
Today it's anecdotal.

I rode the bus to my car after I got off work, like every day. The bus was packed to the gills, like every day. I'm not great in stature, so holding onto the top handrail isn't really an option for me. I was in a tight spot trying to hold onto a vertical bar almost an arm's length in front of me (so there were times when I had to shoot my free arm out to brace myself on the wall behind the heads of the seated passengers beside me; my apologies to the girl in green). There was a guy right in front of me in that very crowded space, which would have been just fine but for the fact that he was facing backwards... facing my face. Personally, I think it's ridiculous to not face forward on a moving bus - why would you want to? But here this guy was. Way up in my space so that when the bus jolted over bumps we came dangerously close to getting waaaay too intimate. I was so surprised he didn't turn around. At least he didn't smell bad or have a creepy way about him. But really people, can we all just face forward on the bus so our faces would only just pressed up against each other's backs? I wasn't in the mood to be kissing any strangers today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Snow White & the Policeman

I simply couldn’t resist.
I found some adorable Halloween costumes for Zoe and Applejack for $4 at Target.

Applejack seemed to be a natural Keeper of the Peace,

but Zoe wasn’t entirely convinced she wanted to be Snow White.

I love her little black wig and hair ribbon!

CrackMice MIA

Zoe & Applejack go nuts over these little toy mice that are made from rope and seasoned with catnip. They make the cats crazy, so we’ve christened them CrackMice. We got a pack of 6 and all 4 of the ones we’ve given them so far have disappeared. Completely disappeared, each within a day or two of having given them to the cats. It’s like there’s a black hole out there that the kitties drop them in. I’ve refused to give them CrackMouse #5 until one of the others is found.
This red one took a swim before disappearing.

I feel like I’m going crazy because I’ve look everywhere for them – in every crack and crevice and under the stove and everywhere.

Always and Forever

My brother made me a "Bad News, Emily!" t-shirt for Christmas last year, which was probably the awesomest present I've ever gotten.

And I recently had another one made...

Why do you love me?
Why do you need me?
Always and forever

We met in a chat room
Where love can fully bloom
Sure the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me "salvavate"

Yes I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever

Our love is like a flock of doves
Flying up to heav'n above
Always and forever
Always and forever

***Both shirts courtesy of www.Neighborhoodies.com