Thursday, April 28, 2005

Later that day…

After my morning tantrum, I began thinking about my feelings of seclusion in my bunker and decided I would actively throw myself out there. So I’ve been placing more calls than usual. Of course, I’m following that up with emails, to appease my OCD. I’ve also started scheduling my meetings to take place outside of my office and at the department's office instead. This gets me out of my bunker more and hopefully will stop any further spreading my derriere has done from sitting on this chair for hours upon hours.
I’m doing the opposite of what I’m comfortable doing so this is going to be a challenge. This morning alone, I’ve developed my smile-though-this-pains-you smile.
Again, I reiterate, I’m not a hermit. I just feel that all the meetings I attend seem more often than not to be fruitless. Sometimes a project does not need a million meetings. 7 out of 10 meetings leads to another meeting to discuss the meeting. How does that help? I’m not saying this is something found only at my job. I think it’s a common issue. The NYTimes had an article a few months ago about meetings and how meetings with 5 or more people are generally less productive and increases the length of the overall project. Heck, If I’m feeling ho-hum, I should at least try to make an effort to change my routine and see where that takes me.

After my tantrum and my epiphany that things need to change and I should be the one to get the ball rolling, my co-worker comes into my office to tell me that the VP popped in and suggested we wrap up our trash at night. I look at her and she whispers, “Someone found a giant roach in their office.” She motions towards the offending office.
I’m not going to rat anyone out but if you’re guessing who I think your guessing, you’re sooooooo hot. She looks at me with a knowing glance and we both roll our eyes.

Here are two unrelated items I’m pondering:

1. Why do calculators and keyboards have number pads in descending order and telephones have number pads in ascending order?
Remember my # key issues? Today, I dialed a number as if the numbers were in descending order, like my computer. Because my phone is to the right of my keyboard, perhaps I am inadvertently confusing the two. I sat there and dialed the number three times incorrectly until I realized what I was doing. I also have the habit of dialing numbers without looking, so that may also play a part in my confusion. Do blind people get confused? Seems to me the ATM and every other important keypad in my life descends. Why not make it uniform?

2. How can I mistake the cry of a human baby for a cat?
I had a meeting at a campus building near where the daycare folk are. While I was walking, I swore I heard a cat wailing. I used to have a cat so I know a cat’s wail. Plus, in NYC apartment buildings, a cat occasionally gets locked out of his/her apartment. I’ll have you know a cat’s wail echoes through an apartment building loudly.
Once, Trixie escaped while Lrudlrick was throwing out the trash. She must have forgotten that we had moved to the 6th floor from the 1st floor a year ago. The doorman found her howling her lungs out in front of our old apartment. Poor cat. I believe she was 13 or 14 at the time so senility wasn’t helping.
Oh, where was I? Yes, well, I stopped in my tracks and sort of perked my ears up to listen. I don’t think people can actually perk their ears up. However, I’ve spent too much time around canines and felines to not pick up some of their habits, even if it’s pretend.
Professors and students are milling around me and I’m standing there like an idiot trying to find a cat. I suddenly realize that the cat is a baby. How can I mistake a baby for a cat? What does this say about any supposed maternal skills I’m supposed to have?

"They tell me he was lonely, he's lonely still..."

I’m a loner in most respects. Like a good systems-oriented person, I have the knack of enjoying being left to my own devices to do my job. Some call it anti-social tendencies but I find it’s just an efficiency technique. Because of such, I sometimes find myself looking inside rather than out. My desk faces my door and at times it really feels like I’m looking out into the workplace rather than belonging in it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not think of myself as some luminous figure. I’m not. One day, I went to work, plopped myself in front of my computer and began to work. The next day, I look up and I’m in a new office with non-system related work staring into a work environment where everything involves a meeting.
I feel like the manager in The Office; somehow I got thrown into a new position. I wasn’t planning it. I woke up and I’m sitting in at my desk wondering how the hell did this happen? Thankfully, I’m not an idiot like The Office Manager nor do I have a need to ‘be one of the guys’.
It’s just that I’m in an office where I’m totally in-between. I’m not an executive and I’m not an assistant. At systems, we had levels but because we had our own specialties, we never fell into any standard totem pole. I’d work my butt off to try to get executive but I really don’t know if that's what I want. This scares me a little because I never thought I’d say that.

The other day I was discussing benefits with some colleagues. Apparently full pension is given after 22 years of service. A co-worker, who’s wife just had a kid, totally freaked out. He did the math and the idea of working here for that many years, sent him into a funk. The other one, a newlywed, confidently stated he’s not working that long and that he’s invested everything so he doesn’t have to. He apparently has a map of when he’ll have kids, how many and where the money will come from. Ah, youth. I wish I had that confidence. Hubby and I have plans but the confidence of a stable market and status quo lifestyle has waned. Maybe I’m just tired of the rat race.
I read an article about a train conductor who is a self-made millionaire. He keeps his day job though because he loves the rails. What? I’d hop off faster than a hobo can hop on.

At what point in my life did work and career seem unimportant to me? You spend the first half of your life focusing on your career and then one day, bam, all you think about is how long before you can stop running. It’s slightly depressing.
The experts speak about the need for woman to invest early for their retirement because of their shorter careers due to family leave. Well, that seems totally unfair. To make it worse, we have longer life spans then men. So we make less, have shorter workforce time and live longer than men. Why not make the playing field a bit more level? Start women at higher pay or bigger benefits so that they can invest more for their retirement. Also, companies should offer personal business management courses geared towards women. So many females come fresh into the workforce without realizing the need to invest early and wisely. In your twenties, you have room for risk. Go for it.
Essentially, as it stands they are telling me that if I want my female offspring to not deal with this worry, I’ll have to start investing for her so that she doesn’t have to feel this pressure. Come on people.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"Now I was sitting waiting wishing..."

In a shocking twist, pantrygirl has no clue what to make for dinner. Usually, I have a list a mile long of new recipes I want to try. Tonight, I’m in the mood for fish but I’m too lazy to prepare a menu that will satiate me yet fall along the guidelines of my finicky husband. So, I’m leaning towards the old standby, London Broil and a crisp salad.
It’s not that I’m out of ideas. Trust me. I’ve got a purse full of recipes I want to try. I’m just in a backlog with home chores. Last week I spent every night experimenting in the kitchen. BTW, I’ve made the perfect spinach lasagna. Holy cow, I needed a cigarette after having a slice. Because of such, the loaf of bread I promised my MIL wasn’t made. The baby cake for my cousin’s baby shower is only 40% done and the collage I promised my Aunt hasn’t even been sketched out yet.
Since the weekends in May are booked with activities, I need to haul butt to get this stuff done. So I’m forcing myself to get the baby cake decorated tonight. I’m not being overly ambitious so I’m going to hold off on making the loaf of bread for my MIL until Friday. That way, I can pop it in the mailbox and allow for a semi-fresh loaf to arrive at her doorstep on Tuesday.
So the simplest meal, I can make quickly is beef and greens. Fish will have to wait for another day.
My husband hinted that I should look into opening my own tiny eatery. Personally, that sounds like fun but I’d need a lot of help to get it going. Plus, I have no clue how to run an eating establishment, even if it was a hole in the wall. BTW, if I were to open a storefront, it would have to be called, ‘The Hole in the Wall’, because I couldn’t possibly afford anything else.
But I’m going to let my imagination run for awhile. If I were to open up a place, it would be small and comfy. It wouldn’t be a full fledged restaurant. Instead, it would be a bakery/cafeteria style place; just like the ones I used to frequent in Boston. We’d have basic home cooking comfort food. I’d like it to be the type of place neighborhood groups come to socialize. Book clubs can have their weekly get-togethers there. I’d serve them fresh scones and coffee. Oooh! I’d make theme nights with theme foods.
Dan Brownies.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven’s Death by Chocolate.
On Walden Pound Cake.
French Women Don’t Get Fat Wine Tasting.
Great. I’m hungry now.
Ok, one more, Fonda Fondue Night. Mmmm. Fondue.

05.09 City Harvest: Skip Lunch Fight Hunger

I don't solicit for many reasons but feeding people is an obsession, passion and a cause I can stand behind.

On May 9th, City Harvest is asking people to skip lunch for a cause.
I know with our schedules, many of us skip lunch anyhow but why not skip lunch for a cause? Anything over $5 is tax deductible. Plus, there's an incredible triple match: Every dollar you give (until Skip Lunch raises $8,000) is really four dollars for the cause!

City Harvest asks you to generate support in your workplace. I've started an office collection. I ask you to do the same.
If enough interest is held in your office, you can sign up for a group contribution.
You can also donate individually.

Remember, you don’t have to skip lunch to participate. The skip lunch police won’t bust you for having a sandwich.

For more information visit City Harvest.

On a related note, although I'm not to found of his unkempt style, the Naked Chef needs to come to NYC to see the grub they serve kids here. Once, I lost a tooth on what was described as a meatloaf-like patty.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"We all know that crap is king"

Since I spend most of my day at work listening to LuxTV, Hubby’s news feed, I get inundated with a lot of news segments. Some are good and informative. Others are clearly a desperate attempt to fill airtime.
My husband has programmed some gems. My favorites are the rush hour NY1 broadcasts, the Daily Show re-airings and the BBC World News broadcast. Sure, NY1 cycles faster than the New Orleans tram but it’s comforting.
The worst offenders of ‘news filler’ are the big Cable news networks, FoxNews, MSNBC and CNN. CNN isn’t as gossipy as the first two but they are known to milk a topic dry. Clear example is the election of the pope. Now, I agree this is a newsworthy item. However, an hour long discussion on the color of the smoke was totally unnecessary, especially since I was in dire need of the restroom facilities. I fidgeted at my desk for well over an hour so I wouldn’t be the one person that answered, “Where were you when?” with “In the loo.”
In the last few weeks, I have been thrown some non-newsworthy items.

Here are some things that are deemed newsworthy that I have no desire to follow:

1. Michael Jackson and his affinity for boys
Vaseline, swim trunks and double locks. Too much information already planted into my brain.

2. Brad, Jen, Angelin and Maddox
I don’t care who was frolicking with whom. Why should anyone else? BTW, Maddox, be thankful you aren’t Apple or Pilot Inspektor.

3. Martha Stewart and The Party
I don’t care if she did go to Time Magazine’s shindig. However, I would like to know if she accessorized appropriately. She’s lucky the current fashion trend is mixed metals.

4. Body parts in fast food
Firstly, this Ayala chick is nuts. Secondly, the focus should not be on the chili but where she got the finger in the first place. She’s been in custody forever and no one has yet claimed a missing digit nor has law enforcement been able to ascertain it’s owner. Adrian Monk was able to determine the owner of a pinkie was a violinist. I think it's time to call in Monk, folks.
BTW, apparently someone else is missing a piece of his hand. A man found a fleshy portion of a thumb in his burger at another fast food establishment. Yummy.

Oh, and Lisa Marie, you need to practice that wannabe snarl. Daddy's probably smacking himself watching you try to be all sexy and snarly. Grab a Vegas Elvis and ask for a quick lesson.

Monday, April 25, 2005

We need interns. (Working in the coal mine, going down down down...)

One of my projects is to create a system to ensure that the proper documents have been filed with the IRS. It’s a small project that was initially given to me because of my organizational skills. I’m actually finished with the project and am now awaiting transfer to the maintenance team.
It is quite simple, actually. The one thing I request all departments to do is submit the necessary paperwork and credentials to a central office. This office will sort, review and file the documents. This process has been quite successful. Process times have increased and compliance can ascertain areas of deficiency rather quickly.
One quirk is we ask these forms be sent paper clipped not stapled to allow for easier sorting for the staff. One department fails to understand this concept. In fact, they staple everything to the point I’m beginning to think they are doing it on purpose. Firstly, there documents are yellowing and appear to have spent a fortnight as bedding in a shantytown. Secondly, there are multiple staples in the oddest of places. Staples are found in the center, the bottom, the top, the sides. To add insult, none of these staples actually staple the packets together. They’re all crinkly and never perforate to the other end of the packet. Some staples are in the middle of the packet holding only two pages.
Let’s not get into the packet’s haphazard arrangement. A sane person would assume, page 1 precedes page 2 and so on. This department feels that as long as it’s stapled into a clump, page order is not necessary.
Needless to say, the staff that is in charge of sorting, copying, validating and filing are not happy when they receive an interoffice mail package from them. In addition to the hit and miss stapling, they seem to enjoy holding all documents until a 5 lbs package can be delivered. Interoffice mail is standard rate, folks. You don’t pay by pound. For our sake and the delivery boy’s sake, please submit these damn things timely.
Since the latest packet is approximately 7 lbs, I am assisting them. I’ve received 2 paper cuts and have cursed out the copy machine and the department 3 times now. No matter how many times I go through the copious pages, a stray staple will pass me and cause a jam in the copier. The copy machine is about to passcode itself from me.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Dyson has a ball, literally.

I knew someone would eventually post about the vacuum party.

Apartment Therapy has a review, sort of.

On a side note: We have the 'Animal' Dyson and it simply kicks butt. I'm no longer nagging Lrudlrick about loose vacuum parts strewn around and dumping the refuse is super easy.
In the last 8 years, we've gone through at least 4 vacuums. It may be more, but I can clearly recall 4. We've had the Dyson for a little over a year now. Since then, I have not had to clean hair out of bristles or replace belts every two months. The Dyson is worth it's high price.

Since we're on the subject of the workplace...

Far be it for me to criticize a person’s office but the guy at the far end of the office is a pig. Firstly, he’s got this 8’ by 2’ window pane into his office that he never covers. Secondly, his paperwork is strewn all over the floor except for a patch of walk space from his desk to the door.
When I first started working here, I sat with him to see what system he developed to extract data from a monthly banking report. His guest chair had piles of paperwork on it. He took the pile and threw it on the floor, picked up the chair and plopped it on top of another pile of paperwork on the floor. “Sit.” “No, thanks. I’ll just stand. This won’t take long, right? I think something just crawled out from under there.”
Now, he’s been out of work for a while because he got an illness that most people get in their early teen years. “I don’t know how I got it.” Lord knows, man but if your apartment is as in bad a shape as your office, the culprit may very well be close by.

Baby, It's Cold Inside...

For some reason, the building’s maintenance has decided that the central air system should be turned on today. At this very moment, I am huddled tightly around my desk hoping the warmth of a tiny heater, stolen from a co-worker, will stop my fingers from falling off.
The problem is my office has two gigantic vents in the ceiling. Obviously, my office was not originally an office. These vents have been a bane to me since I moved into the bunker. The second week I was here, I walked into my office to find a pool of dirty water on the right hand arm of my desk. In an unfortunate decision, I had placed my In-box on this area, which also happens to be directly below one of the huge vents.
I called maintenance and they assured me this accident would never happen again. Three weeks later another rain shower happened. This time, it wasn’t water but debris from construction directly above me. I could hear shards of rubble bouncing off the metal grates. I looked up to see a distinct buckle on several of the suspended ceiling panels between the two vents.
Again, I called maintenance who assured me this accident would never happen again. They also agreed to replace the panels overnight.
Since then, the construction over my office has stopped and moved over to my colleague’s office. Occasionally, I’ll hear an expletive from her. We’ve all been there, Sue.
The collection of dust that has created a hideous film over the vents has irked me for some time. I’ve asked maintenance to clean them several times. They are still dirty. Lord knows what allergies I’m going to get from these dust mites.
As we head into central air season, I’d really like these things cleaned before they kick up the ventilation.

Typing has slightly warmed my digits a bit. I’m ready to dip my fingers into my tea.
Ok, the orange flip flop chick just walked past my office wearing a pair of gold sequin flats. To be truthful, they would be cute with a pair of long jeans and a Mid-East print top. However, they don’t work well in the workplace. Eh, she’s young. I suppose when I was younger I wore some un-appropriate items to work. There was the time, I wore a black tailed jacket for 3 months. I was going through a dark goth phase. Then there was the time, I showed up with braids all over my head in protest for being forced to come in on an unpaid Saturday to do paperwork catch up.
My husband’s office attire consists of a pair of jeans and a button down shirt. I miss my days in IS. Even though we needed to wear a suit for client meetings, we were allowed jeans on non-meeting days. The director figured, might as well allow us as much comfort as possible. We were working at least 10 hours a day.
Now, the most casual I get is a pair of slacks and a cardigan. I’m not sure what the rule is on opened toe shoes yet but I’ve got 12 pairs in my closet desperately wanting to come out and play. I’d take the cue of my boss but I don’t believe I’m old enough to shop at Talbot’s.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Come on-a my house, my house a come on"

pantrygirl:Yes, we were talking about how expensive day care is in the area. It’s like rent.
coworker:Yeah. Luckily, my wife and I have a nanny.

How is that lucky? We’re you inferring that luckily you are so well off, you can afford a nanny? Ok, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you hired an illegal nanny which may be less of a stress on the wallet.
Hubby and I have decided that we’ll either join a daycare co-op or join a nanny circle.
Maybe that’s the problem. The reason we’re so reluctant to jump onto the baby bandwagon could be that we’ve researched too much. Maybe we should jump in with our eyes closed. It seems to work for some.
The baby train keeps rolling along. My cousin, Amy is due in June and I’m busy making her babycake for her shower. It’s her first. She’s the type of woman that doesn’t cut corners. She’s blunt as blunt can be. The first thing she said when I called her to congratulate her was, “Don’t believe the hype. Pregnancy sucks. I’m always uncomfortable.”
My ex-co-worker’s wife is due in June as well. Since a baby shower would probably send him to the loony bin, we decided to give him one last taste of man-dom; we’re taking him to a Yankees game. They’re having twin girls so his house will be overrun by Y-chromosomes shortly.
Personally, I guess mommyhood wouldn’t be as terrifying for me if there wasn’t so much flippin’ pressure. “Oh, you don’t want to wait until you’re too old.” “Shelf life decreases rapidly.” “You will have an increased chance of defects.” “I’ll have the Alzheimer’s by the time you two make up your mind.”
Now, a study finds that there is an increased risk of miscarriage if your male partner is over 35. Great. Thanks for the added pressure. I feel enough guilt and pressure to use my dairy ingredients before its shelf life expires. I really don’t need my eggs and his sperm stamped. BTW, NYC milk seems to have a shorter shelf life than suburban milk. Am I to assume this holds true for other things?
Well, my coworker, P.A., didn’t help my concerns. He talked about the first three months and how he’s been able to catch up on syndicated sitcoms because his daughter will not sleep through the night. He spends the hours between 10pm and 4am catching up on old episodes of That 70’s show while bouncing around the living room with his spawn. Great. Can you picture me with a cranky baby? Heck, I get cranky when I can’t open a jar of pickles. Lrudlrick will have to pacify a cranky newborn and a cranky postpartum woman.

BTW, Lrudlrick is the best! Not only does he live with my OCD with Anal Retentive tendencies, he feeds it. Every so often he feeds my Donna Reed tendencies by giving me a present. Feminists would squawk at my gifts of glee. Past gifts include a food processor, a set of china, a juicer and most recently a scale.
Today honey sends me this:

He went during his lunch hour to a sample sale. Man, nothing says loving like a pair of spaghetti servers.

Honey, tonight you get parfait!

You live in a strange era of consumerism when a vacuum goes on tour.

"With the release of the new DC 15 they've done it again — this time replacing traditional vacuum wheels with a ball, making it impossibly easy to twist and turn around furniture, pets, and that stray lip balm you never can quite manage to pick up off the floor.
But you should try one out for yourself. (Really, now. Would you buy a dress without seeing how it fits?) Vacuum yourself silly at the Dyson Technology Test Drive Tour, an interactive exhibition housed inside a 90-foot yellow ball. Check out the variety of tech-friendly activities — a 3-D video presentation, a microbiology exhibit (get set to cringe over all the tiny critters living in your carpet), and a living room-style obstacle course.

The best part? Everyone who shows up will get a chance to win the latest Dyson vacuum.

Will becoming a cleaner person make you a better person?

Heck, yeah. There's a sucker born every minute, and, thanks to Dyson, you won't be next.

Dyson Technology Test Drive Tour, W. 62nd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus. April 22-24, Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. " -- Daily Candy

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"

Surviving Mom had this link to a quiz about linguistics.

For those interested, Here are my results. BTW, I have no idea what #10 is.

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English

30% Yankee

10% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

kids what's wrong with these kids today

I've noticed that many of the blogs I lean towards are of women my age with kids. I'm not sure what this means but maybe I'm reading them to get a feel on what life would be like with a kid.
The whole idea scares the living daylights out of me. I've always thought kids would be in my future but now that it's sort of looming, I'm finding myself backing away from the whole idea.
I suppose one of my biggest fears is that I won't be a good mom and that I might be like my mom. I'm not that disciplined of a person to be a person's mother.
I suppose a kid could have a worse parent than me. For one thing, his/her books will be immaculately covered in contact paper and book covers.

"I'd change her sad rags into glad rags if I could"

My husband bought new rollerblades. After the brake fiasco and the inability to find the right brake, he went to Paragon and picked himself up a new pair. Like a kid with a new toy, he ran home to show me the gadgets and doodads it can do. Apparently it doesn’t have laces but something that resembles really strong dental floss that tightens with a pull of a cord in the back. And to tighten the ankle portion, you use this crank-like gizmo to tighten it around your ankle. He’s quite proud. Actually, they are a kick ass pair of blades. Too bad I don’t blade. I did try blading once. It’s just that the weight of the blades themselves pull me down. I feel like a rag doll in them.

One of my co-workers has taken to bringing me a Krispy Kreme donut or an Au Bon Pain treat every other morning. She’s extremely sweet and although I love these treats, I don’t need my ass to get any bigger. It’s bad enough that I spend over 8 hours potted to a chair. I’m pretty sure adding a Krispy Kreme every other day will only aid in roots growing.
But how do you tell a person, thanks for your kind gesture but I don’t want it? So I take it, thank her and occasionally bring it home to Lrudlrick. I know. I know. I’m just spreading the love. No pun intended. Sometimes on my way home, I’ll give it to a homeless guy. Once, the guy told me the donut was stale. Leave it to a New York homeless dude to complain about the freshness of a donut. "Dude, it’s a free donut. If you don’t want don’t take it." Easy for me to say, right?
Well, I’m beginning to feel guilty about these breakfast treats. Yes, occasionally, I bring in cookies or candy but clearly, this woman is lapping me in saintly deeds and I’m ungrateful to boot. I guess, I’m going to have to bake something to get this conscience thing level again. I promised my mother-in-law a loaf of bread last week, anyway. So this weekend, in addition to working on my cousin’s baby shower present, I’ll be busy baking. At least it’s not park weather.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

We all need some sort of fix.

With the advent of online shopping, I rarely do my grocery shopping at the supermarket. I leave my visits to the grocery store for small trips for staples and for items not found online. It's not that I hate grocery shopping, I actually love grocery shopping. A mega supermarket is an OCD girl's dream. It's also a nightmare for the spouse of OCD girl. I make a list of all the items I need but I'm compulsive and need to drive my cart down every aisle, even the aisles I don't need. There really is no need for a city person to drive down the summer bbq aisle, yet, I feel I'll miss something if I don't. My husband finds this grating and is quite reluctant to go grocery shopping with me. When he gets antsy, I usually send him to the deli to wait online. With the advent of deli kiosks, he’s stuck playing backgammon on his IPaq while I check out assorted jams and jellies.

Since I buy most of our groceries online, it leaves us with some strange grocery outings. Last Saturday we went to the grocery store for our bi-monthly stock up on Diet Peach Snapple Iced Tea. My husband is addicted to this stuff. It’s like crack except my husband prefers to call it, Nectar of the Gods. We need to go twice a month to keep my husband's addiction at bay. Each trip brings back at least 3 cases of the Sweet Morphine back to our pantry. I wasn’t joking about his addiction.

Since I don’t want the checkout girl to know my husband’s dark secret, I usually help myself to the self checkout counters. I like these self checkout counters because they remind me of the old Fisher Price cash register every child had as a kid, except it’s more complex. You don’t just get Flintstone sized coins anymore. You've graduated. You now get a scanner, blinking lights, a coupon slot, a computer generated voice directing you and a slot to scan your super adult credit card. What they don't tell you as a child is adult credit cards come with crazy interest rates. Plus, self checkout allows me the opportunity to pack my groceries, correctly. I have a method to my packing madness that every checkout girl in the tri-state area fails to understand.

Well, this time around my husband didn’t want to wait at the self checkout line. I was extremely reluctant but gave in. The cashier must have thought we were junkies. In our cart were the following:
  • 3 cases of Diet Peach Snapple
  • 1 package of Hershey’s Nuggets with Almonds
  • 1 package of Hershey’s Nuggets with Raisins and Almonds
  • 1 3-pack package of Dentyne Ice, Peppermint
  • 1 package of Lifesavers, Wild Cherry Flavor
  • 1 package of Kellogg’s Cereal I blame Darren for this one.

    Now, in my defense, the candy wasn’t all for us. I planned to bring it to work for my candy jar. Plus, if you think about it, we did have our essential food groups, sort of. Still, if Lrudlrick and I were both 40 lbs lighter, we’d probably look like prime candidates for a methadone clinic.

    Now at the checkout, my husband donated money to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering fund and won a scratch off card good for Clorox bleach. Of course, this was the one thing I forgot to get and I yelled out, “Great! We need bleach too. It’s the one thing I forgot.” The cashier looked at me with a look that could only mean one thing, They have a Meth Lab. I’m not sure if Bleach is needed to make meth but I can only gather something bleach-like is needed for the chemical reaction.
  • Just one of those days...

    coworker: Are you ok? You look confused.

    pantrygirl: I must be really out of it today because when I went to check my voice mail, I pressed the # key on my keyboard.

    coworker: It's only Tuesday.

    pantrygirl: I know.

    Monday, April 18, 2005

    Two tailwags and a pant...

    "Canine focus groups selected from over 200 dogs nationwide were assembled and questioned by Dr. Ogden as to their preferences in music and content. The dogs' responses were then used to create the music and lyrics resulting in a unique CD of dog friendly songs which dogs (and people) love." -- PR Newswire

    Who knew there were Canine Focus Groups. I'd love to read the feedback.

    Oasis in the city

    Just when I said I needed sun, the weather brought in the best day by far. I felt replenished by the sun’s rays. On Sunday, we spent the day leisurely at the park. At first, we brought the dogs. We did have to cut it short though. Firstly, I forgot their water bottle and half way up a hill, I realized, we weren’t going to make it for very long without dehydrating them. Secondly, Lrudlrick’s brake on his rollerblade was completely shredded after his imitation of the Iditarod.
    Picture a man coming at you at full speed with two dogs in front of him pulling him up and down hills. Imagine one of these dogs is a hyper retriever and another just wants to hunt every squirrel in the park. That’s what many people saw on Sunday. At one point, P-man got distracted by a tree and crisscrossed in front of Lrudlrick which nearly had him run over. All that pulling and running took a toll on our pooches and my husband’s brake. I guess a rubber brake isn’t meant to control a 60 lbs dog, a 40 lbs dog and a ??? lb man.
    We barely made it back home when Z-girl looked at me with this look of complete bliss mixed with complete exhaustion. We dropped them home, gave them their summertime treat, doggie ice cream (Yes, I spoil my dogs something rotten.) and went back out together, sans blades to enjoy the sun before it set.
    It’s amazing how many people were out. We walked past a gridlock of strollers and carriages and realized the local parent association was having a get together. I found it amusing that all the strollers looked alike. There were a bunch of couples lingering by trees and benches and a few kids biking or skating in circles. I love walking in the park on a sunny day. In a crowded park, NY’ers seem to be able to find their own slice of tranquility. One guy made a makeshift hammock between two trees. A few women found little nooks on rocks to sit and draw. A lady was practicing Tai Chi. Me, I like reading the weekend paper in the park but I find people watching much more fascinating.
    This wonderful weather is making me long for my old office. This lack of natural light is more depressing now than ever. It’s not humane for a person to be locked in a windowless room for extended periods of time. With that said, I'm going out to find a nice spot on the lawn to enjoy my lunch.

    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    Paradise by the oven light...

    Part of my obsession with cooking is the dinner table. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood where food was aplenty and a place at the table for a guest was a standard. I spent many nights at my friend’s home eating lavish suppers with everyone at the table. I recall the desire to have the same convivial atmosphere in my home when I grew up.
    In my mom’s house, dinners with the family disappeared when my Grandparents moved into their own apartment. My parents’ work hours became longer. My brother and I had after school activities that brought us home after dark. My mother wasn’t much of a homebody so when Grandma and Grandpa moved into their own apartment we mainly had take out.
    I remember my Grandparents fondly. My Grandparents can be likened to Peggy Sue’s Grandparents, warm, loving, all-knowing and kooky. They were from a different era, an era of innocence and civility. I occasionally get a glimpse of the era when I see elderly Jewish couples in the neighborhood. On Saturdays, I see them walking leisurely to the park. They’re dressed in suits and dresses as if a walk in the park is a special occasion. I remember walking with my Grandpa to the park on Saturday afternoons. He’d have his suit on with a matching fedora. He’d grab my hand and we’d leisurely walk to the neighborhood park. When we got there, there would be other older gentlemen smiling and enjoying the atmosphere. In the summer, a jazz band would play a concert. People would come out with their lawn chairs and listen and sometimes dance.
    I’ve been thinking about the innocence of years past and I wonder if children of this day and age will get to experience it. There is something supremely wholesome about the past that I miss sometimes. Childhood innocence is not clouding my vision. There was something simply pure and natural.
    Mealtime with my Grandparents provided me with that 50’s innocence. When I was a child, lunch with my Grandparents was promptly served at half past noon. Tea was served at 4 and dinner was served at 7pm. I knew to be home at those times. My Grandparents met me with a smile and we sat and enjoyed each other’s company. As I grew older and went off to college, lunches weren’t always together yet my Grandma kept a plate for me just in case. Sometimes, I’d come home and even though I had eaten dinner, I’d let her warm up a plate for me. I’d sit at my Grandma’s table as my Grandma sat on the opposite side. She’d have a Winston in her mouth, her leg propping up her cigarette hand and she’d ask me how my day was. As I filled her in, my Grandfather would be cataloging something in the living room. As you can surmise, the OCD came from my Grandfather's side of the family.He’d come out just in time for tea and make me promise to be home in time for Tea the next day.
    If we have children, I hope to instill the same appreciation of the dinner table as my Grandparents have on me. Sharing a meal with someone is one of the most intimate things you can do. It can be leftovers or simple Mac and cheese from a box; it’s not what’s on the table but who’s at the table that matters.
    This idea of dinner at a table seems odd in NYC where one barely has room for a table in one’s apartment but to me, it’s one of the most important parts of my home.

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Survey says...

    "I have great memories of eating sausage with my family. Do you Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Slightly Disagree, Slightly Agree, Agree or Strongly Agree?" -- Jimmy Dean Sausage Survey

    TGIF: "If the weather's fine an' you got the time."

    Recently, I’ve noticed I have a Friday morning theme song. It usually pops into my head as soon as the alarm goes off. It’s usually a cheerful tune. Today, I have two, my Herman’s Hermits standard, Something tells me I'm into something good and The Rascals’ It's a beautiful morning. It’s crisp outside yet sunny. It’s a beautiful Friday. The dogs looked at me as if I was possessed. I found myself skipping to the garbage pail with their leashes in one hand and a bag of fresh poop in the other. Life is good.

    Lrudlrick just told me we may be seeing some show off Broadway called ‘Orgasm.’ I’d do a search but I’m afraid a keyword search with ‘orgasm’ would illicit a meeting from the security division of our IT department. I don’t see why it would since the University has a free speech policy but I’m not going to be called into the Dean’s office to explain how a google search of ‘orgasms’ pertains to my work at the University.

    Now that it’s spring, I’m slowly getting the family get together invites. Confirmations, Communions and Graduations are filling up my weekends in May and June. Lrudlrick’s family sends invites to the shindig afterwards. The first few times I went to these events, it threw me off. In my family, you were invited to the entire deal. I swear the parents do this because misery loves company. If they have to sit in a non-air conditioned gymnasium watching a graduating class of 200 kids talk about their friendships and potential then you need to sit beside them. It’s a welcome reprieve from the stuffy semi-formalness my family has established.

    Returning to my theme song, I was sitting at the bus stop, soaking up the sun, humming my theme songs. As I sat there and allowed the sun to warm my cold hands, I realized, I really need some sun. I lifted up my pant leg and the stark whiteness of my shin was shocking. It was if I had a pair of ivory chopsticks for legs. Gone are the days when I would soak up the sun. Back in the 70’s and 80’s sunscreen was unheard of and baby oil was your tanning lotion. Now, even my chapstick has SPF but I do believe that people need to soak up the sun a few times a year. I’m not talking about basting yourself. I’m talking about laying out at the park with a good book and a bottle of Coppertone sunscreen. Hubby isn’t a sun guy. If my legs are ivory chopsticks, he’s a walking ream of bright white paper with freckles.

    This need for sun though is getting itchy. Hopefully we’ll have a warm weekend where I can just stretch out on my blanket, my NY Times and a bottle of Vitamin water filled with my favorite wine.

    Strange news article of the day

    Just in case you weren’t sure:

    Viagra is Kosher

    Now I know that this is important for many people but I can't help but wonder who was the first person to step up and ask their rabbi.

    BTW, I find the technology to by pass contact with the body quite interesting.

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Fish sticks galore and an iPod Jukebox odyssey

    Last night I went crazy and made enough fish and chips to feed the entire floor of my apartment building. It was delicious. Mrs. Paul has nothing on me. However, I did learn that 4” strips are way to long for fish sticks. Once the batter is on the sucker, it fries up like a giant fillet. My husband said they were intimidating fish sticks. Of course, my imagination gets the better of me at this point and I’m picturing gangster fish sticks. I watch too much television.
    Aside from the flock of fishsticks, I also made chicken and veggies and a meatball sub. Ok, I occasionally go overboard. I know this. For some reason, I thought a meal of fishsticks wasn’t dinner. Thinking I needed some type of veggie, I sautéed some string beans, carrots and mushrooms. Thinking this would be perfect for that sad piece of chicken cutlet I’ve been meaning to cook, I sliced that up and added that to the veggie medley. Then I figured my husband probably wouldn’t want fish sticks so I reheated the leftover meatballs and heated up a ciabatta roll and made him a meatball sub with melted mozzarella. My husband came into the kitchen and asked me if I was trying to kill him.
    Now, during this cookfest, I did think I was going overboard. I did think that this was too much food for two people but I didn’t stop. So I think we’re pretty much set for dinner until at least Saturday. What’s worse is that I’ll be stuck eating soggy fish sticks for three more days. If you ever have a hankering for fish sticks, know that 1 lbs of fish is sufficient. Like an idiot, I thought 2 lbs would be ideal.
    I did make a quick horseradish dip for the sticks. I ran out of tartar sauce and forgot to buy malt vinegar. It was an accidental discovery that will turn into a ritual.

    On the way to work, I sat near a young mother dropping her toddler to daycare. We talked about daycare prices and I wasn’t wrong in saying that daycare is essentially rent. Some daycare centers offer grants and scholarships. Scholarships for naptime? How the hell do you qualify for that? What’s the competition like? Anyway, she said that prices fluctuate but be prepared to pay the equivalent of a studio or Junior 4. At this point, the sticker shock must have registered on my face because she kept talking about how a child has brought this and that into her life.
    Can a person get over the sticker shock of having a kid? It’s blowing my mind. I still want to know how our parent’s did it. Sure, the economy wasn’t like it is now but things weren’t better in the 60’s and 70’s.

    Gwen Stefani’s new single is quite catchy but it may be catchy because it borrows from Queen. Lrudlrick has been busy cleaning out his iPod playlist. The only time Lrudlrick gets insanely organized and anal retentive is when it’s time to clean up his playlist. He needs to categorize and give ratings for each song. The category creation ‘soul-rock’ led to a discussion on the possible creation of ‘disco-rock’ which by Lrudlrick’s definition is an oxymoron. Every night he’s there with his iPod headphones going through his music and re-categorizing. This is a never-ending quest, in my opinion, but he’s trudging along. He’s going alphabetically. I think he’s up to The Clash. He started this two weeks ago. He’s going through websites and downloading album covers and what not. Last time he did this, his iPod died on him. Granted it was one of the first generation ones but still. It’s a sign.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Martial Arts Uniform Depot...

    My husband has taken to martial arts.

    It started out with twice weekly sessions of hapkido.

    Now in addition to the two Hapkido classes, he’s taking Shuai Chiao.

    This isn’t a problem and in fact, my brother is now taking the classes with him. But now, I’ve got twenty million different colored belts floating in my house along with a bunch of uniforms. Apparently, each style has it's own type of uniform. His Shuai Chiao uniform looks like a burlap sack but without it's softness.

    Anyone have an idea on what to do with the old colored belts he has? Right now, he has them laid out on our one-seater in the bedroom. Ok, laid out is not the right word; it’s more like they are strewn about.

    Any thoughts or ideas, let me know. Otherwise, those bad boys are heading to Goodwill.

    Walk-a-thon to raise awareness that Pantrygirl isn't a money tree

    We’ve officially past Girl Scout cookie season. However, we’ve smacked right into Walk-a-thon season. The same rules as Girl Scout cookie season apply during Walk-a-thon season except it’s that much harder to say no to a co-worker when they add some story about someone in their family having Lupus, MS, Spina Bifida or Athlete’s Foot.

    Why can’t they space these ‘thons’ out? Sure you want nice weather for these walks. So why not do another type of ‘thon’. What about, Sit-on-your-ass-a-thon, where you get paid to sit on your ass for a day. Honestly, these walks nowadays aren’t even required. For goodness sake, when I was a kid, contributions were based on the mileage walked/ran/biked. Now, it’s a flat fee regardless if he/she walks.

    One request came from a friend in Vermont who has taken to adding their dogs into their plea for money. “Cookie & Robbie will be placed in the MS Best Dressed Dog contest. Please contribute. Did I mention my second cousin on my step father’s side by marriage has a friend that was diagnosed with MS?” Of course, I contributed. How can I deny their second cousin on their step father’s side’s friend by marriage.

    Now, don’t think I’m a grouch. I truly believe in volunteering. I don’t believe in the ‘Cure for’ Walks because I believe that many pharmaceutical companies would prefer a for-profit drug then a non-for profit vaccine. If they stopped making twenty million erectile dysfunction drugs and concentrated a bit more on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, I’d be more open to donating to these organizations. What I do believe in is donating to causes that help families and patients.

    When a serious illness hits a family, they need so much support not only financial but also emotionally and physically. I recently donated to the Living Donors foundation in the hopes that it would help educate others about the prospect of living donorship. What’s Living Donorship? It’s when a living human being donates a kidney, marrow or part of a liver to another living human being. Many think you need to wait until some tragedy happens and to donate organs but this is not true. For more info, check out the living donors site run by the National Kidney Foundation.

    Anyway, back to the office and the many donation requests. My husband doesn’t get as many or at least he hasn’t told me. On the other hand, my office is home to every bake sale, walk-a-thon, cub scout, girl scout, theatre camp, soccer camp and parochial school parent within the Tri-State area. Ok, not my current office. But friends and co-workers from my old office have left me in their rolodex for such an occasion. So if you’re signed up for the Bike-a-thon for potable water, email me soon. Supplies are going fast. Priority attention will go to those who offer to buy me lunch since I’m broke from all this donating.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Panacea surrounds my toilet.

    A few weeks ago, I mentioned the creepy rooms I pass to get to the bathroom. Here are some photos I took last night. Lord knows what weird experiments are going on in the rooms around my bathroom.

    Creepy door #1

    Creepy door #2

    Creepy door #3

    Strange hissing tanks

    Addendum: I just noticed the photos don't include my favorite warning sticker, 'Combustible Gases'.

    Pantrygirl likes it hot and sticky. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

    Last night I made the perfect sweet treat to satisfy any woman with a sweet tooth, Hot Chocolate Pudding made with bittersweet chocolate. Without the pre-requisite guilt, I dolloped a gigantic scoop of cold vanilla ice cream into my hot gooey cup of happiness. All I can say is, it was better than sex. Nothing against my husband but hot chocolate pudding takes less energy and requires less cleanup.

    Men, if you want to impress your woman with a sweet fix, try these. Ladies, if you need a sweet treat during your visit from Flo, try these.

    Baked Bliss

    8 oz of bittersweet/semi-sweet chocolate

    1 stick butter

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup flour

    4 eggs

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Melt chocolate and butter.

    Combine sugar, flour and eggs. Stir into melted chocolate.

    Pour into buttered ramekins/muffin tins.

    Bake for 15 minutes or until sides are set and top is cakey/cracky.

    Serve warm.

    I guarantee that you will be filled with euphoria all night.

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    They're the people that you meet each day.

    Living in the city, I have developed the bad habit of knowing my neighbors through happenstance. I know my dry cleaning lady by face but not by name. I think it’s Jennifer. She knows more about me than I do about her and I’ve past that point of getting to know you. I’ve past the threshold to ask her what her name is. Every week, I hope that someone in the store will mention her name. Every week I am disappointed. So my greetings to her turn into, “Hi! How are you? How are the kids?” I know she has two girls because of the picture by the register.

    Same goes for our delivery guy. I know one is named Omar but we’ve got two regular delivery men so who knows which one is Omar. It’s not like I didn’t make an effort. When we moved in, I made an effort to say hi and introduce myself. Since then, I’ve forgotten half the names I swore I’d try to remember.

    On Saturday, Lrudlrick and I bumped into one of the lectors at our church. He was busy picking through the flowers at the local market and didn’t’ notice us.

    pantrygirl: Wasn’t that Mack Daddy Dave Foley?

    Lrudlrick: Yup.

    pg: Busy picking flowers for his hot date tonight.

    L: Yup.

    Yes, folks, since we’re too NY, instead of learning about a person’s life, we make up stories about their life. It’s not that we don’t want to know who are neighbors are. We do. It’s that in NY, we respect each other’s privacy. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism. When you’re packed in like sardines, you learn a lot about each other. Some of these things are of a private nature. Knowing that the neighbor above you uses the bathroom at least three times during the night makes it difficult to look them in the eye. So Hal, did you see the doctor yet about your urinary tract infection?

    Maybe it isn’t defensiveness that drives us to respect each other’s privacy. Maybe it’s sheer paranoia. I spent Saturday morning shredding old documents for fear some stranger will rummage through our garbage and find out I bought a pair of super low rise jeans last fall. I’m quite embarrassed by this. You see, a person’s ass should not hang out of one’s pants to provide carnival amusement to some drunk at a bar with a stack of quarters. If I ask my neighbor for personals, he may think I’m stalking them. It’s best to be friendly and provide as little information as possible. It’s bad enough these people get to see my ‘Incredibles’ pj set when I’m doing the laundry.

    BTW, my neighbors do the same thing. On the way to the elevator, a neighbor told me he calls us the Yuppie Puppies because we're always walking our two dogs. I wasn't sure if that was a compliment since our dogs aren't puppies and I don't define myself as a Yuppie. Although a Yuppie sounds better than a Dink.

    Sidenote: Check out this website to find out the demographic in your area. They don't have Dinks or Yuppies but they do have categories like Young Digerati, Money & Brains & The Cosmopolitans.

    But pantrygirl, tell us about M.D. Dave Foley. Ok, Mack Daddy Dave Foley was so dubbed by us because he looks like an older version of Dave Foley, pre-Newsradio days. During the summer we saw him every Sunday with a younger woman. It’s not Anna Nicole and wrinkly old guy. She was about 40+ years old. He looks to be about 60. Anyway, come September, he was no longer walking this lady home. Instead, he’s walking another young woman. The following month, we saw him with yet again another young woman. So put together that he looks like the cute Dave Foley, he’s got a younger woman by his side every time we see him, he wears a suit and shades ala David Caruso and you’ve got Mack Daddy Dave Foley. His real life story can’t compare to this story.Until I read in the news that M.D. Dave Foley is the Menopausal Murderer of Manhattan.

    So if you ask me who are the people in my neighborhood; some of the names you’ll hear are: Indiana Jones, Cat Woman, The Yuppies, Cigar Man, Selma Bouvier, Ugly Fat Topless Guy, Captain Stubing, and SWF. Remember, I’m not callous and rude, I’m just a NY’er.

    And Now for Something Completely Disgusting

    This morning, I saw a Gorg. I’m not joking. The Gorg was in front of me buying a cup of coffee. A photo of me and this giant would have produced chuckles. I don’t think his head would have fit into the frame. I think my head reached his thigh. For those who don’t know what a Gorg looks like, here is a picture.

    Courtesy of

    Now I only wish I could find a picture of a Fraggle next to a Gorg to emphasis the height differential between 5'3" me and this giant beast. The Gorg walked into the building and had to crouch down to get past the door.

    Anyway, this past weekend was absolutely lovely. We had planned to go to Hershey, PA for the special ‘flat fee’ admission but decided to stay in the city and just enjoy the spring weather. We took many a long walks with the pooches. Now, we both know that P-man is a stud. I don’t mean in the dog realm. P-man attracts humans like Brad Pitt attracts throngs of screaming women. I think it’s the curly question mark tail he has or it could be his stocky yet muscular build. In any case, he’s cute as hell and when he works his charm he looks like the Fox in Foxy lettuce.

    Going back to my dog’s model looks, every old lady turned and stared at him. In every language, I made out, ‘cute dog’. Like a true supermodel, P-man just ignores the gawkers and continues his strut down the sidewalk. There is one thing that bugs me about P-man. I think he has ADHD. Can dogs have Attention Deficit Disorder? If not, I’d like to present my dog as proof that it is possible. He must have it bad too because he is so easily distracted that he could be in mid-poop and he’ll stop and stare at something that attracts his attention. He’ll do the circle-circle dance and begin the bearing down. Sorry for the graphics, guys. Then the wind will blow and he’ll look up and walk away.

    Now, I’m not talking about the fake-out. I can smell a fake-out a mile away. Sorry for the bad pun. It had to be done. All dog owners know the fake-out. They pretend like they need to go but in actuality, they just want to walk further down the block and they know you don’t. You can tell a fake-out by how they keep looking back at you. It’s as if they pretend to pop a squat and then at the last minute walk away, you’ll feel guilty that they need to go and continue down to the corner just so they get a second chance.

    At this point, I’m going to say that I’ve personalized my dogs way too much and I admit it. I’m sure my dogs aren’t intentionally faking it but when I’m running late and all they want to do is take a stroll, I feel mighty guilty cutting the walk short.

    Going back to my dog’s ADHD. Once he loses his rhythm, it takes him two more blocks before he gets the urge again. This drives me insane. Maybe old age does that to a dog. He’s 9 years old. Personally, I don’t understand why they have to be so damn discriminating. The tree three blocks down and to the left is perfect but the tree across the street is off limits. It’s a damn fine tree. In fact it’s prettier than the other tree. I suppose in the dog’s eye, three block tree is the Cadillac of toilets and we live across from the Gas Station toilet.

    Sunday, April 10, 2005


    My obsession with toilet paper continues.

    My cousin and I think a square of tp should flap to give a bit a realism to the roll.

    Friday, April 08, 2005

    Things heard around the office today.

    I still can't get over the orange foam flip flops. Why does a person wearing flats feel the need to change into flip flops?

    Today, I heard the assistant ask another assistant, “How do you spell ‘too much’? Is it t-o-o?”

    We’ve all had brain farts but to brain fart on a three letter word? Once I stared at the word ‘special’ at a grocery store and swore it was misspelt. ‘Special’ is understandable. It’s got that soft ‘c’ and the ‘e’ and the ‘ia’ thing going. ‘Too’ has two letters. A second grader can’t mistake ‘to’ for ‘two’ or ‘too’.

    So I googled spelling demons and found a list of homophones and their definitions. Did you know that people mistake ‘paw’ ‘poor’ and ‘pour’? ‘There’ ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ is understandable. ‘Paw’ ‘poor’ and ‘pour’? Ok, maybe in Boston.

    I’ve been told I have a strange accent. It’s a mix of Bronx, Boston and a weird Midwestern mix that can only be taught through years of speech, debate and journalism classes. You think that’s weird, you should hear me speak Chinese. Lrudlrick can’t understand why ‘Boston’ comes out ‘Bah-ston’ instead of ‘Baw-ston’. With this strange mix of influences, I still am able to properly pronounce and distinguish between a cat’s foot and being destitute.

    Years ago, I had a manager that had the worst accent every imaginable for an Asian woman. Firstly, she wasn’t an immigrant but she still had a sing-songy tinge to her speech. Add a Brooklyn-like accent and the high pitched voice of a Powerpuff girl and you’re close. My co-worker and I would take turns translating what she was trying to convey.

    “Who made da dirt dee copies?”

    ”No one. It’s set to make one copy only.

    “No. Der arr dirt dee copies on da copier.”

    ”No, there aren’t.”

    pg: She wants to know who made the dirty copies.

    ”Oh. That was Jim."

    Don’t ask what the dirty copies were. It wasn’t even dirty, maybe a little smutty but definitely not dirty.

    Cadence troubles me. NY’ers have a tendency to speak fast, walk fast and eat fast. So I’m willing to give non-NY’ers a break but if I’ve finished my dirty water dog, drink and mustard pretzel before you’ve gotten your point out, we’ve got issues. My cousin from Milwaukee visited last week. I love him to death but the first day we were speaking caused cogs to halt in my brain. I could feel vessels popping. To make it worse, we were speaking via cell phone with shoddy reception.

    When we finally got together, we sat on the couch and did the catch up talk. Throughout this talk, I patiently listened. I kept telling myself to be patient. At one point, I pictured myself inserting a crank handle onto his neck and winding him up like a Jack-in-the-Box. By the time we went to MoMA, my brain was able to slow itself down.

    Now I’m not saying my cousin is slow. On the contrary, he’s not ‘Franks and Beans’ slow. Again, it’s that NY’ers are always rushing and if you scanned a NY brain during a normal day in the life of a NY’er, you will see two little hamsters running their little tiny hearts out in their wheels. When you suddenly tell them to slow down, they get confused. One goes fast, the other goes slow. That folks, is a migraine.

    In any case, while sitting on the couch, I realized just how crazy a NY’ers life is and we don’t realize it. Our senses get hit with so much, I’m surprised we don’t get sensory overload. No wonder we don’t notice the person sitting next to us on the train was picking his nose for over ten minutes. No wonder I didn’t notice the giant pothole I stepped into last night nearly breaking my ankle. Since my cousin has left, my hamsters have returned to the regular schedule, peddling their hearts.

    I'll leave you with the last thing heard at work today, “She said ‘peddle-stool’ instead of pedestal. Hahahahha.”

    Da na na na na na. Na na na na na. Ok, that sounded funnier in my head.

    "This Just In ... COMEDY CENTRAL's 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004' DVD to Hit Stores on Tuesday, June 28

    An Uncensored Three-Disc Boxed Set Featuring Original Material From Jon Stewart and 'The Daily Show's News Team,' All Episodes From the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 'The Bush-Kerry Debate: The Squabble in Coral Gables,' 'Election Night 2004: Prelude to a Recount' and Highlights From Throughout the 2004 Presidential Campaign

    NEW YORK, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Bush vs. Kerry. It was a political year to remember as reported by the best fake journalists in the business. For the first time in "The Daily Show's" nine-year history, a DVD will be made available to the American people. Released via COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004" DVD hits stores on Tuesday, June 28 and will be available in retail stores nation-wide and at

    "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004" DVD is an uncensored three-disc boxed set featuring original content produced exclusively for the DVD by Jon Stewart and correspondents Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms.

    In addition, the DVD will include the following: all four shows from the Democratic National Convention taped at Boston University; all four shows from the Republican National Convention taped at COMEDY CENTRAL's World News Headquarters in New York City; "The Bush-Kerry Debate: The Squabble in Coral Gables," a special live presentation of the first presidential debate held on September 30, 2004; "Election Night 2004: Prelude to a Recount," the culmination of the show's "Indecision 2004" coverage that originally aired as a special one-hour primetime presentation; and highlights from the 2004 campaign.

    Unforgettable moments from the DNC include Colbert's side-splitting commentary regarding Barak Obama's "Son of a Goat Herder" story; Corddry's "Welcome To Boston" field piece which shows the Bean-town native being razzed by his buddies; and the faux John Kerry biographical film. Guests who appeared that week include Governor Bill Richardson and Senator Joe Biden.

    Memorable moments from the RNC include Bee and Helms at the convention asking the "tough" questions; Colbert on the convention floor during the night of Bush's speech where he feels like "a turd of liberty being squeezed out the colon of independence;" and the faux George W. Bush biographical film. Ted Koppel, Dan Bartlett, Senator John McCain and Chris Matthews were the guests who appeared that week.

    In 2004, "The Daily Show" was honored for the second consecutive year with the Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. The show also won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. This marks the third time (and second consecutive year) that the Peabody Award-winning "Daily Show" was recognized in the writing category.

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    Visit to learn more about Paramount Home Entertainment's new releases, as well as other classic Hollywood films, television programs, animated titles and family and special interest programming. Paramount Home Entertainment is part of the operations of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.

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    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Does your podiatrist know your walking around in those?

    Why do people think that flip flops are acceptable forms of footwear in the city of New York?

    The first signs of spring weather and people pull out the flip flops. Do you see the muck in the streets? Do you see the decomposing dog poop on the street? Flip flops should not be worn in the city streets.

    Furthermore, flip flops of any kind (Birkenstocks, platforms, $5.00 chinatown bin with tassels) should not be worn in the office place.

    I’m standing by the office cooler, filling up my cup with hot water, when I spy with my little eye, the International payments coordinator sitting at her workspace. She’s staring intently at her screen. Her black flats are dangling off her bare foot. Ok. I’m guilty of kicking my shoes off every now and then but I do it under my desk. I’m not dangling my calloused heel for the world to see. Two hours later, I’m at my office minding my business when she walks by my door to talk to the assistant. She’ standing there with her back to my door with orange foam flip flops! Foam flip flops do not make office attire. Firstly, she really needs to paint her toenails. Secondly, orange foam flip flops do not make office attire.

    I’m all for comfort. Sure, I wear ungodly high heels. Blessed with height, I was not. Teetering on 4” stilettos, levels the playing field. Yes, I’m slightly obsessed with shoes but that doesn’t stop me from wearing sneaks home. Two long walks home during 9.11 and last year’s blackout have taught me that feet are not meant to be stuck in pointy shoes for over 12 hours. Flip flops are not comfort. In fact, I’ve found them to offer no support and cause more discomfort than some of my cushioned heels.

    Your foot should have some type of protection from the goo that bubbles up on subway platforms. Once, my husband was on an elevator with a Victoria Secret model. I want to say Stephanie Seymour but I’m probably wrong. She is brunette, that’s all I remember. You would think I’d be jealous my husband was confined in a tight quarter next to this lanky two-dimensional ‘super-goddess’. However, the only thing my husband could think of is how her pinky toe was dangerously dangling out of her flip flops. He was hypnotized by the toe.Just to clear the air, my husband does not have a foot fetish, folks. Granted, she probably doesn’t take to the mean streets like us NY’ers. Her feet aren’t hoofing cross town dodging people traffic and street vendors. If she spends most of her time in an air-conditioned chauffeured car, she should be able to keep a pair of comfy flats in her bag.

    If you disagree with me, try walking cross 59th Street with flip flops on. When the wind blows and that horse manure filled hay flies between your toes, come back to me and tell me that flip flops are the wisest choice.
    At this point, I do have to confess I have at least 15 pairs of strappy sandals and yes, I do wear them to work in the summer. Yes, I have taken the train with said sandals on my feet. Yes, Lrudlrick finds this repulsive. The difference, although slight, is the 4 inch heel keeps at least 60% of my foot safely elevated from the ground and my toes don’t dangle out of them. Again, I know this is a flimsy reason but I really look cute in my tan strappy Weitzman’s with matching handbag.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    Excuse me as I babble a bit...

    You ever have one of those elevator conversations that go on too long? Those quick, “How are you?” meaningless chats you have with your neighbor that expands past the wait for the elevator. This one went past the trip down the elevator, past the front door and past our entranceway.

    During our conversation, my backpack, martial arts, budgets, teaching at the university and being on campus for student hour were discussed. Ok. To be quite honest, it wasn’t a conversation. I just nodded, smiled and occasionally added an affirmative, “Uh huh.”

    It made me think of the times back in college when I’d fumble with conversation with the opposite sex. What was supposed to be a nice conversation turns into a non sequitur soliloquy. Men do it too. Many a time, I recall sitting at the cafeteria trying to figure out if the guy in front of me liked me or wanted to skin me. I can only imagine what guys thought when I did it.

    I think there is some chemical imbalance that happens that affects a person’s speech and thought process. You can actually see the switch turn when it happens. Everything is fine, then click. The portion of your brain that keeps your foot from entering your mouth goes out for coffee and you’re suddenly rambling about toothpaste, whether you turned off your iron and do not resuscitate orders.

    Nowadays, I do it with everyone but not as frequently. I’ve done it with my boss when she was in my hotel bathroom borrowing saline solution. I’ve done it with strangers waiting on line at a book signing. The problem with doing it in areas where you’re left with the person for a long period of time is you’re stuck with that person after you ramble. Unlike the elevator incident which although long, had a near conclusion. With my boss in my hotel room, I had to see her that entire night. With the stranger, I had to continue on the never-ending line of hell in dead silence.

    To end on a non-related note: why does every female reporter on Fox News today sporting a Farrah feathered look? Neil Cavuto just had two female reporters and both had the feathery look and pale shimmery lips. I’m waiting for the Dorothy Hamill bob to be back.

    Disgruntled Worker Bee

    Ok. I've been at this new position since October/November 2004. I have yet to get business cards. Whenever I go to meetings, I have to embarrassingly say that they are still on order.

    How the hell did the assistant get his cards before I did? And why does an office assistant need business cards? Call me petty but I'm just having one of those, what-the-hell days at work.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    The cultivation of Pantrygirl

    With a nudge from my cousin, I got some culture this weekend. I gave my cousin a tour of midtown west and east in the process. We did all the touristy things we never did as kids because our parents decided that vacations should be spent sitting at each other’s home watching television and killing each other in the backyard with lawndarts.

    We went to the Time Warner Building, The Plaza, The Paris, FAO, St. Pat’s, Times Square, Central Park Trump Towers and a whole other list of crazy touristy places. I was tempted to stick my head in every picture he took and do that ‘V’ sign that every Japanese tourist does in photos. Somewhere in Trump Towers, we bypassed a queue of German tourists and because of such, we wound up in a line that extended longer than one would imagine to get inside MoMA at 11 in the morning. We finally got in to find out we were in the wrong line. Damn those Europeans and their queuing. We finally did make it in and we made our way down from the 6th floor, the Special Exhibition floor. Just a hint for those who haven’t visited it yet, it’s warm inside. Incredibly warm. My face was flush for most of my visit. I’m used to the cold marble rooms of the Natural History museum. I was not expecting to look at art while stripping down to my skivvies.

    I’m trying very hard to gain some culture when my cousin turns to me and says he’s been counting the the number of artworks donated by a Ms. Bessie something or other.

    pantrygirl: Are you kidding me? You’re counting by donator? I’m busy trying to remember the different periods of Picasso and you’re keeping track of how many pieces the Rockefeller’s donated?

    Tim: You called pointillism, dippy dots.

    pantrygirl: And last night, I called a teabag a dunkie-do. You’re point is?

    What I did learn was that Picasso’s wife must have had many a fight with him for using household items in his sculptures. A very nice pie server was used in his absinthe piece and he had an affinity for his three goldfish in a bowl.

    There was one portrait of a man in bed as interpreted by his wife that I would love to know the name of. If anyone knows it, comment me. The title alluded to the husband not knowing how beautiful he was to her. The painting itself was of a strangly angled man in bed. He’s not the kind of man you’d want to wake up next to. Anyone? Anyone?

    Whole lotta love, karaoke-style

    My Uncle Plank, became extremely animated this weekend. At my mother’s he asked if she would set up the karaoke. BTW, ‘karaoke’s’ true translation is ‘device to torment offspring with’. It is an especially effective tool when used in conjunction with Mandarin Opera.

    For the next 45 minutes, he serenaded us with Beatles medleys. There are some songs that should not be karaoke’d. This includes ‘Across the Universe’ and ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’.

    As if he heard my comment an hour earlier about how men should not sing an entire song in falsetto (I’m talking to you, John Ondrasik) he puts on the one band I give exception to, The Bee Gees.

    Which leads to my all time rule for karaoke;

    If it takes a kick to the crotch to sing it, skip it.

    Ladies, this includes Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey insane window shattering high notes.

    We don't need another dry cleaner. Leave our hardware stores alone!

    Just when pantrygirl gives a round of applause to all the local hardware stores in NYC, I read about one such hardware store that is forced out by our insane real estate market.

    Evil Pantrygirl. Insert maniacal laugh...{snort}

    My dog has an aversion to gates and cages. I know. What dog doesn’t? My retriever has a serious aversion to them. Back in our old apartment, we bought a mesh cage for her to keep her from running all over our apartment like a wildebeest. The first day, she gnawed off the zipper on the top and by the second day she learned to wedge her large frame out of the tiny hole she created. I have this on video and it’s funnier than watching a cat get stuck in a milk bottle.

    Now in our new apartment, we have babygates. When she sees them, she runs and hides. She doesn’t completely hide because she wants to see what you are doing but she hides herself well enough that she within safe distance from them. Well, on several occasions, I’ve accidently dropped these gates while putting them up. They make this loud clanging sound and apparently, this hasn’t helped her get over her aversion. The other day, I touched the gate with my hand and true to Pavlov’s dog, Zee ran into our hallway and hid behind the wall. Our other dog, stayed in his bed and looked at me as if he’s somehow superior to Pavlovian conditioning. This scene made me laugh all the way to the busstop. Then I got all maniacal and tried to figure out ways to torment my dog with the gate. I could put the gate up and eat bbq ribs on the other side. I could keep the gate next to the bed. I could gate her bed up. Then I realized that I was thinking of ways to traumatize my poor dog. What kind of dog owner is that? Of course the guilt set in and I gave them a hunk of my steak dinner. Man, I need to be my dog in the next life.

    When life gives you lemons, you make lemon pavlova.

    As I said earlier, I started my ‘wireless’ living early. In all honesty, I was so busy with household stuff that I wasn’t touching my laptop or pda. I did have to use my cellphone though. My cousin from Wisconsin was visiting and we were playing phone tag for the first 48 hours.

    His mother wanted to visit and she asked him to meet her in the city. Here begins the craziness of my family. She lives in Indiana. They both took separate flights. My aunt feels she needs to have one child by her side during any trips, even to visit extended family. It’s sort of like a security blanket, I suppose. So my cousin spent endless hours coordinating flights so they both could land relatively at the same time. What they failed to put into account is that their respective airlines had different terminals. Long story short, my family acted like a taxi service between terminals B and A at LaGuardia.

    During his first two days, my mother took them to AC to play slots. My aunt doesn’t gamble. So essentially, my cousin and my mother spent all night gambling while my aunt napped in the hotel room. Throughout the two days, my cousin kept trying to call me. Bad reception, meetings, missed calls and just plain idiocy led to an endless game of phone tag until I finally left a voice message saying I would call him at 1:30pm sharp and to be in an area of good reception.

    My cousin and I both agree that our family cannot make a plan and stick to it. Nor can they make an easy plan. Everything is complicated. It’s not that they don’t try. Ok, they don’t try but us young ones do. Take meeting up for a family lunch on Saturday.

    My cousin tells me my mother and aunts have suggested a get together for a lunch on Saturday. To make this easy the parties involved shall henceforth be, Manhattan, Bronx and Long Island. My brother, cousin and I say, “Fine. Tell us the time and place and we’ll be there.” This is typical of our family. If you want to suggest it, you plan it. Every day for the next three days, we’re calling our parents. “Have you figured it out yet? Let us know.” You would think by Friday evening, a plan would be in play. No. It takes us calling our parents to tell them they need to give us firm plans.

    The Golden Girls: “Well, Long Island wants to make it a late lunch in Queens.”

    The Young Ones: “If we’re supposed to go visit our grandparent’s grave in Upper Westchester, why the hell are we going to go to Queens for lunch?”

    The Golden Girls: “Anyone else hear it’s going to thunderstorm? Let’s just wait until tomorrow and play it by ear.”

    The Young Ones: “If we wait, it won’t happen until god knows when and I’m not spending the last day of my vacation waiting for you guys.”

    The Golden Girls: “Well, why don’t we all go when we go.”

    The Young Ones: “That means no lunch. Is that ok with you guys.”

    The Golden Girls: “Whatever.”

    The Young Ones: “Fine.”

    Anyone else get the impression that we’ll all do our own thing and leave it at that? Exactly.

    Now, I need to just give you some background info. It’s customary for us crazy Chinese to visit our dead ancestors at least twice a year if you live close by or at least once if you don’t. Since our grandparents are here in NY, my family, (mainly me, only because I know how to get to the cemetery with my eyes closed.) escorts the pilgrimage for visiting relatives.

    Friday night after dinner my mother asks us to get in touch with my brother to inform him about the plan. Since my brother is with his girl, we get his voice mail.
    Fast forward to Saturday. Tim and I have agreed to leave at 11am and get the cemetery stuff over with. We’ve left two more messages for my brother and decide as a courtesy to call my mother to see if she needs a ride. If my brother isn’t home, then she’ll need a ride. All hell breaks loose at this point.
    At some point my mother got insulted that we weren’t going together. When we agreed we’d go our separate ways, she didn’t include Manhattan as a separate entity. Because she’s insulted she tells my brother to go without her. Now, the whole damn visiting of the cemetery was for the benefit of the old folks and now it seems as if the old folks have not gone. So there we were, my cousin, my husband and I soaked to the bone standing next to our grandparents grave asking ourselves, why the hell are we here?

    I get a call from my brother that the whole thing is ridiculous and that he’s not going to the cemetery in the rain. He goes shopping for furniture. Can someone hit me with a 2x4?

    Well, at least my mother can’t say I’m defaming the ancestors, I think. We drop my cousin off at my mom’s and the ride just gets better.

    The next two hours are spent with my mother in tears, chain smoking while my cousin and my husband ask her what’s going on. I spend the first 20 minutes just listening. When I finally say something, she screams at me and asks why I keep interrupting. My cousin points out that I haven’t spoken a word. Long story short, everything she said to me during our phone call was reiterated. The three of us reminded her that although her relationship with her parents was of a passive aggressive nature, our relationship was not. If she wanted us to know how she felt, she’d need to tell us. If she keeps bottling it up, it only hurts herself.

    Mom: If I let everything out, this family wouldn’t be a family. It would be a family always arguing.

    Pantrygirl: Instead of a family that doesn’t speak to each other?


    A few more bursts at me and allusions that I take my husband’s side over her side came out. I let them roll off. I kept quiet. I’m wasn’t going to sink to her level. Lrudlrick finally got her to stop freaking out after he told her that no matter what, children or otherwise, we’d take care of her. Which is all she wanted to hear anyhow. Like I said before, my dad took care of her. My stepdad takes care of her. All she wants to hear is that someone is going to take care of her.

    Now, before you guys wig out. I know I’d go nuts if the day came where I had to live with my mother. I also know that what she thinks of being taken care of is completely off the definition Lrudlrick and I define as ‘take care of’. Do I feel like there was enabling? Hells, yes. But after 2 excrutiating hours, there was no where else to go. We left it vague and ended it.

    Will I call my mother? No. I’m not closing my door. I’m just not going to be a part of what she calls a conversation. My cousin came up to me later and said, “Your mom is living in a dream world.” No shit. What struck him as impossibly unrealistic is the notion she has where all your money should go to the family member with the most need and vice versa. We told her, if you can’t take care of yourself first, then you won’t help anyone by perpetuating the cycle. She looked confused and I’m sure she still doesn’t understand.

    Our door is extended to our respective in-laws but if we can’t take care of ourselves, it would be that much more difficult to take care of them. Everyone gets it but my mom.

    So how do I feel after this insanity? Frustrated, as always. I’m angry my husband married into my crazy life. I’m tired but also a bit sorry that I’ve in essence given up on ever having a good relationship with my mother. I just know it is what it is and it will never be the picture my mother has nor will it be the one I’ve desired. You get the cards you’re dealt and you make the most of it. I wish my mother could understand that.

    SO much to fill you in on...

    I started my 'wireless' living a bit early. I'll fill you in on Picasso's habit of taking household items much to his wife's dismay, my uncle and karaoke, family get togethers, dogs and conditioned responses and my showdown with my mother.

    Right now, I have to get back to earning that paycheck that helps keep the roof over my head.

    Friday, April 01, 2005

    Words to Live By

    Live life with Compassion, Patience, Simplicity and Selflessness.

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