Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There's a reason why I didn't go to an All Girls High School.

Suppose you were treated poorly in your past job. Suppose there was a lot of gossip and rumor spreading, as most gossip is, was untrue. Suppose through it all, you developed strong relationships with a handful of people. Those people are the ones that know what truly happened. They were the brains. They were the reference manuals you turned to. Put them all together and you had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica. All of those people have now left and moved on. All have left, except one.

You have also moved on. Yet, you continue to receive emails and calls for assistance from past clients. Before you took your last step from the building your name was removed from the official documents yet people still locate you for help. You kindly push them back to the proper contacts and then one day; the cheese that stood alone calls you for help. It’s a small thing, nothing major. Yet, she begs you to not tell the people that spread the rumors that she contacted you. Since everyone has left, the gossip folks are in charge. They continue to spread lies but you tell yourself that the truth will prevail.

Would you feel hurt that your friend asked you for help but asked you to dissuade any affiliations?

There was no doubt in my mind, I wouldn’t help my friend. I’m just a little hurt that she asked me not to tell anyone. Firstly, I’m not the type of person to go around saying, so-and-so asked for my help. If I know something that may assist, I’ll tell you, friend or not. Secondly, by asking me out right to keep my mouth shut, I feel like the idea of an affiliation with me would put a dark mark in her record.

I’m like the trouble maker in school. If you’re seen talking to me, the principal assumes you’re a bad egg too.

She told me later, that she’s paranoid and to forgive her but it still stings a little. I suppose she has to do what she needs to in order to survive in the cliquey world she’s working in right now. She’s the only person not in the original ‘Heathers’ clique.

I’m trying to be understanding. I was in that environment. I know how crazy and irrational things can be. I know how affiliations made you or broke you there. I still feel a bit slighted. It makes me think, when the chips fell, she may not be there for me. We’ve been friends for 6 years. Is this how or relationship dies?

Bloody hell, office politics gets to be too much for me, especially when cattiness is prevalent. As many have said to me, “Be glad you’re no longer in the thick of it.” Still Lrudlrick reminds me, “It’s a small world. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

I wonder if I changed my profession and become a cashier at Starbucks would it be the same.

Monday, January 30, 2006

You're not going to see Pantrygirl on A&E's Biography anytime soon.

I was raised by Grandparents who spent most of their lives in colonized Hong Kong. Needless to say, I’ve been raised to avoid confrontation and attention getting gestures.

So when I was asked by my Head to write an introduction letter to the department, I was less than enthusiastic. The whole concept is unnerving to me.

I sat here for 30 minutes with this on my page:

Hello. My name is Pantrygirl and I am a new hire to the department. I will be implementing the new data management system.

What else is there really to say? It’s straight forward and to the point. I don’t see the need to add where I’m from or who I know. I know this is horrible for networking but I’m just not into that. There is no need for everyone in my department to know my particulars.

That’s why I’d never fair well in dating services. Could you imagine what I’d say?

Hello, my name is Pantrygirl and I hail from New York City! I enjoy long naps, short walks and have a penchant for cooking large meals. I’m pretty straight forward and prefer to skip the silly dating rituals and games. If you’re a straight forward guy, likes movies and television, enjoys a nice hearty meal and has an ample sized closet (I suppose this sounds dirty), I’m your gal.

Some people say I’m blunt. I’d like to say I’m just lazy. Why go through the roundabout way when straightforward gets me there quicker. I know this makes me sound cold. Lrudlrick and I were watching an episode from the first season of Scrubs where Sarah Chalke’s character was told she had no people skills. “You’re cold. So cold.”

I felt like I could relate. How do you change the non-touchy feely you to be more open?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty touchy feely outside of work. It’s just inside work, I like to keep to myself. Lrudlrick says I turn into someone different when I’m working. We’ve never worked together outside of a play but he says that I become a very clinical person.

I keep everything within a distance. I’ll happily discuss with you your child’s ear infection but I rarely share my personal life with others. Is it wrong? How did I become this way? How do you change?

Outside of work, I’m a different person. I’ll talk to the delivery guys. I’ll speak with strangers on the train and bus. I’m not opposed to sharing my crazy thoughts and embarrassing moments with family, friends, acquaintances and strangers.

Speaking of embarrassing moments, during yesterday’s Chinese New Year’s dinner, my mother happily announced that as a teenager I had, “a jiggly butt” to which my brother nearly spit up his dinner. My brother laughed so hard, I thought he was going to spray everyone in the room.

I had to defend myself immediately and asked her to define jiggly. “You know, big. You had a big butt.” “Mother, jiggly and big are totally two different adjectives. Jiggly is not big. It conjures images of a baboon’s butt . I’d much rather be big than jiggle. Besides back in the 90’s there was a very popular song touting big butts.” For the rest of the night, my brother ribbed me with ‘jiggly’ remarks. I fully expect a box of Jell-o to be sent to my house for my birthday.

So how do I become less clinical at work? How do I open myself up to others at work?

Hello. My name is Pantrygirl and I am a new hire to the department. I will be implementing the new data management system. I am a recent transfer from my previous department where I handled multiple implementations including RFPs for several institution wide initiatives. I also once had what my mother called a jiggly butt in high school.

Maybe that’s too much information.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

10 things I'm thankful for today.

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

I have 6 meeting minutes to transpose. Instead, I’m here trying to drop an entry. It’s not like I have a topic in my head but I feel compelled to jot something down.

So today I bring you Thankful Thursday. I’m going to list the things I’m thankful for because, well, in the day to day, you can sometimes take things for granted.

Today I am thankful for:

1. Friends I’ve made at work. Good or bad, they know the real me and don’t take the gossip as truth. We may not be best friends. We may not even hang out outside of the office but you guys are still my buddies.
2. Chorizo rice stew. Man oh man, this stuff is good.
3. My dogs, P-man and Z-girl, newly named Black Eye Z. Even though I haven’t had much time to chill with them these past weeks, they still cuddle with me in bed and occasionally offer me their squeak toy.
4. Water. Without this beverage there would be no coffee, the life force for pg as she acclimates to the 7am meeting.
5. The internet. Old friend, we’ve been through more in our 11 year tryst than any human relationship I’ve had, aside from my biological family. I missed you. I’m glad we’re back together.
6. Lrudlrick. For being an understanding husband and taking care of the dogs and the house without question. I know I’ve been a bit lax but I’ll snap out of it soon enough and the reminder post-its to take the trash and recycling out will return shortly.
7. My latex bed and Woolrich pillow. “You’d be so nice to come home to.” You make the small amount of sleep I receive that much better. Without you, I doubt my sleep would be as deep and as immediate as it is.
8. Replay TV. Without you, I’d never be able to catch up on Scrubs, My Name is Earl, The Daily Show, CSI and Law and Order. Sure, as Mrs. Saccamano said it rots the brain but they keep the voices at bay.
9. Gossip folks. Because of you, I learned who my friends are and most importantly you reminded me that work is a tiny segment of my life. To truly live my life fully, I need to focus on the important parts.
10. John. He greets me every morning and makes me feel welcome. Thanks for making the transition less painful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When your butcher asks if you've gone vegetarian, you need to get back into the kitchen.

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

I’ve begun my re-entry into blog civilization at Slashfood. This was a bad move on my part because it’s 11:15 am and my stomach hasn’t seen a solid piece of food since the honeydew melon slices I ate for dessert last night.

A cup of coffee hasn’t relaxed the hunger pangs either. The photos in Slashfood are salacious. I turn into the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. If Willy Wonka could only convert the photos into actual food for me, I’d be in heaven.

My forced sabbatical from all print media isn’t the only enjoyment I’ve had to sideline since beginning this new job. I haven’t been fiddling in my kitchen in over two weeks! My oven is about to call child services on me. The only meals I have cooked in the past two weeks have been simple breakfast foods and pasta.

I’ve found the idea of cooking after my 8+ hours of cerebral exercise daunting. So I popped into Slashfood to reinvigorate my passion. Sure enough they came through with a series on slow cooked meals.

The slow cooker to me is a wonderful appliance. It ranks up there with my pressure cooker. Unfortunately, like most people, the slow cooker comes out in spurts. I’ll go for months without thinking about it. Then I’ll be inspired to pull it out and I spend 3 months tinkering with multiple recipes before storing it away again on the top shelf over the butcher block.

I’m disappointed my enthusiasm for cooking has waned. I understand that my new schedule has left me out of sync but cooking was the one thing that relieved the everyday stresses. Now I find my back aches more and my head is more muddled than ever.

The project manager in me is also upset my goal to cook a Chinese New Year’s dish is being sidelined. My main obstacle is the ingredients. I’m ready to make turnip cakes. My mind and body is willing. I just need daikon radishes, Chinese sausages, some dried shrimp and mushrooms and rice flour.

Now call me lazy but I’m not trekking to Chinatown. Anyone who has been in Chinatown in Manhattan knows very well it’s crowded on regular days but we are 3 days pre-New Years. Crowded becomes an understatement. If you want to experience claustrophobia outdoors go to Chinatown.

The trains are crowded. Red bags of fresh vegetables, chicken and fish are everywhere. Crowds push and fight for the prettiest, roundest oranges. Tangerine with full stem and leaves are battled over. Don’t even try driving in. The idea of going down to Chinatown to pick up these ingredients is just too much for me.

I’m not letting go of the idea though. I do plan to learn to make these babies. First, I need to get back into the kitchen. Tonight, I hope to break the long absence. Andrew at Slashfood has inspired me to make Chorizo stew tonight. Hopefully it will kick start me. Who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to battle the crowds and head to Chinatown tomorrow to grocery shop.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The One where I spew every TV programming thought I've had in the last fortnight out.

Praise the Lord, I’m connected. I just got my work pc hooked up. I'm nearly caught up with my television programming. I finally had time to read the entire Sunday Times this weekend. Now if only my work schedule would let up to allow some time to catch up on my blog reading.

Yes, I’m back to the civilization. I feel like I just spent two weeks on a deserted island away from human contact. Isn’t that pathetic?

The rumor mills have it that Showtime has offered AD a two year deal versus the 13 episode deal ABC offered. I’m just hopefully someone will snag this gem of a show. For those who haven’t watched yet, please tune in on February for what has been deemed a 2 hour season finale. Now, these are just rumors so who knows when they’ll air the last 4 episodes.

Because of our crazy work schedules, Lrudlrick and I have taken to marathon viewings of or regular programs. One day, we’ll sit and watch every new episode of the Law and Order series. On another day, we’ll sit and watch every new episode of the CSI series. In between, we catch up on our half hour programs.

Watching the series this way has actually built up our detective skills. Usually, we can deduce who the killer is or what the possible motive is before the half hour mark. We’ve also learned to be quick on the fly with the commercial advances. When you need to pack in 3 hours of programming in a work night, you learn to take the shortcuts.

Last night was sitcom night. We ended the night with The Office. I defy anyone to watch an episode, British or American, and not say, “He’s such an ass” at least once. I must have said it 8 times last night before Lrudlrick told me to quit it. Sure enough at the very last scene, Lrudlrick blurts out, “He’s such an ass.”

Unlike ‘The Comeback’, I find myself repulsed yet anticipatory for each new episode. Both characters are desperate for attention. Both characters feel superiority to others. Both characters want to the authority over others but the camaraderie with compatriots. Yet, in ‘The Comeback’, it hits that fine line beyond pathetic. I just felt bad for her and didn’t want to watch her subject herself to the humiliation. Steve Carell’s character in ‘The Office’ is also pathetic but the communal aspect makes it bearable to watch. When his employees look into the camera it’s as if they are saying, “Aren’t you glad you don’t work for this schmuck?”

I just found Dwight’s personal blog and it’s hysterical. Check it out if you are a fan. For you NPH fans out there, check out Barney’s blog from ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

In the words of Lrudlrick, “Already? How long has it been since they’ve been off the air?” I was a late bloomer to ‘Friends’. I still find them funny in re-runs but do we honestly need a reunion episode so soon?

Finally, for those following the ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ saga, there is a petition to air the program. There are still protests but the winners and some of the neighbors in the neighborhood are publicly pushing for the series to air. The NYTimes mentions some politics involved around the promotion of The Chronicles of Narnia that may have assisted in the shelving of the program.

I’ve said it before, I’m not a fan of reality programs nor am I fan of the premise but you spent $10 million dollars on this thing. Nearly a year later, people are still talking about it. Just air the darn program and let the people decide. Air it on one of your cable networks if you are concerned about advertising and public dissent. Let the people decide what they think.

Which reminds me, if Trios has the rights to air Brilliant but Cancelled programs, why doesn’t someone box them in a DVD and sell them? Is Andy Richter saves the Universe on DVD yet? Even better, why don’t you take these programs and make them available on iTunes so I can watch them during my commute?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pg's 60 seconds on the couch with Jung.

Resolution: Don't make a person regret caring about you.

I had planned to make a dish for Chinese New Years but my attention and time have all been diverted towards my new job. This is my third week. My body is slowly adjusting to the crazy times. Although it wasn't too much of a chore to wake up at 5:45 to get to a 7:30 meeting today; I'm still pretty miffed that I was stood up. My mind is swimming with new information to process. My back is terribly sore from walking from building to building.

In order to understand the operational changes that may take place within an area; I'm spending half days at different offices. Most of the time I'm there, I'm shadowing someone. Space is limited so I stand most of the time. I think it's time for another massage session at my favorite spa, Oasis.

Going back to Chinese New Years, we spent all Saturday morning and afternoon cleaning. It's tradition to do a thorough spring cleaning the week before Chinese New Years. The best way I can explain it is you want to sweep out the old to make way for the new.

It's one of the few traditions I can relate to and try to abide by. I'm not a fanatic though. My spring cleaning is still completed during the 4 weekends in April. My New Years cleaning usually entails a lot of vacuuming, polishing, dusting, clarifying and fixing any odd items that have been overlooked.

As I've said before, I've never been a New Year's fan. I don't mind it but it's not one of those holidays I look forward to. Chinese New Year's has a different feel though. New Year’s for me holds sentimentality. Chinese New Year’s is time to look towards the future. Although my mother makes some extremely strange demands for a person who isn't traditional, I still look forward to it. Why? Well Chinese New Year to me isn't about the passing of another year in my life. Chinese New Year is the welcoming of a new year filled with hope. Everything involved in my mother's Chinese New Year's plan is surrounded by hope. From the food that she buys to the pre-requisite items I must show up with in hand, my mother is symbolically hoping for good things in the New Year.

My mother surrounds herself with it. Now, I'm not saying that living entirely on hope is a good thing. I think she gets herself in trouble sometimes because of such things but we all need to have hope. There is a difference between having a realistic plan with a side of hope and hope with a realistic backup plan.

Lrudlrick once told me that my mother, brother and I live in hope and sometimes don't realize the reality of things. I'd like to think I'm more of a realist than my mother but I can understand where he gets this notion. My mother prefers to hope things will work out instead of realizing that consequences can be altered if the cause was addressed.

Consequences in my mother's eyes are different. My actions always lead to some hassle or change in the status quo. I was made to feel that I had inconvenienced someone. So I tried to do everything myself. I did my own laundry. I found my way to afterschool functions. If my parent's didn't have to attend a school function, I'd rsvp they weren't coming.

If I couldn't find a way and required help, my mother reminded me that her plans had to be changed. I began to resent the feeling that people would go out of their way for me. That's why, to this day, I get upset when people suggest or hint at doing so. It's not a personal thing. I just don't want to ever feel like I'm putting someone out.

I also don't want to feel second guessed on my personal decisions. Every child makes mistakes. That's how he/she learns. As a parent it's difficult to allow some of these mistakes to happen but as a good one you refrain yourself from coating your kid in a protective bubble.

For me, I developed hatred towards my mother's need to inform me that my approach was faulty. There are a million ways to get to the finish line but for some reason there was always a better way.

That's why I overreact as I do when my husband asks me if I want a spring roll with my order. He'll ask me if I want a spring roll with my order and I'll tell him no. Then he'll ask me again. "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm sure." "I know you like the spring rolls." "Are you getting a commission on spring rolls? No I do not want a spring roll."

I know I need to change this view. I know I need to stop feeling so upset and realize that by doing so; they people that really care about me will only resent doing so. It's not easy for me though. This sucker is deep rooted.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Confessions of a 30 year old serial pantyhose killer or how I nearly did a Sharon Stone to my new officemates.

They’ve never done anything to me so there is no reason for me to be so malicious. It’s involuntary really. I can’t help myself.

I know I have a problem. I try to avoid wearing any type of hosiery. When I can get away with bare legs, I do so but the weather has dipped I find myself forced into this torrid relationship with these nylon temptresses.

I never had a problem before. Ever since I was 5 I’ve had to wear some form of hosiery. I attended parochial school. Opaque tights were the best way to keep your legs warm while wearing a plaid skirt. BTW, in grammar school, my uniform was the exact uniform used in the 25th annual Putnam Valley Spelling Bee. I laugh every time I see the Asian girl in the billboards.

I was in the brownies and girl scouts. Brown and Green tights were standard. I took ballet where I wore pink tights. So my entire day was spent in some form of colored tights. I always kept my tights in good condition too. I disliked the look of torn stockings. I never understood why there always was a girl with a 3 inch hole around their left knee.

My legs had their first taste of freedom in college when hosiery was replaced with jeans and long hippie skirts. My jobs after college all were in the IT sector where personal interaction was kept to a minimum. The jeans and sneakers phase though came to an abrupt end when I moved to client/vendor relations. I guess that’s when I started my killing spree.

A day would not go by where I didn’t rip or tear my pantyhose. I resorted to stockings so I could easily change the leg that was mutilated. I tried prevention measures. I’d wear gloves to put them on. I took off all jewelry that may cause a snag. I’d purposely walk the long route around a desk to avoid getting caught on corners or protruding objects. No matter what I did, I’d always have some mishap.

My budget for hosiery steadily increased. If you calculate the price per item and its life expectancy, I’m pretty sure I surpass my budget for any other clothing item, including shoes.

I’m not sure if these mass killings are signs of a rebellious nature or if by sheer fate Ha. Sheer I’ve become a repository for those who in a past life did something terribly wrong to a human leg.

I suppose I could try to recoup the money I spent on pantyhose by selling my torn ones online. Aren’t there ripped pantyhose fetishists? There seems to be a fetish freak for everything. I’m just not sure that’s the right road to be following. Maybe that’s what leads to reincarnation in the form of Pantrygirl’s pantyhose.

This confession comes after I ripped my favorite pair of Victoria’s Secret low waist sheer pantyhose. It’s not that I ripped them that caused the confession but how in spectacular fashion I did it.

I wear my id on a lanyard. It contains my building pass key and my office key. During this morning’s faculty meeting, (Yes, the 7:30am one), I got up to grab a copy of the case review. As I began to sit down, I felt a tug on my right leg. I looked down and noticed skirt was pulled up and my key fob on my lanyard was stuck in my inner right thigh. I felt the burst of the nylon and knew my pantyhose was ruined. In less than 2 hours, no less.

I tried to sit down so I could release the id without every single faculty member watching me fiddle with my inner thigh when my lanyard tensed. I was stuck in a 45 degree angle with my butt jutting out in front of the person behind me. I tried straightening up but this too was not doable. With each movement I made I continued to cause running.

I fervently arched my back forward to try to loosen my id necklace from my pantyhose but the key fob hook somehow shimmied its way into my pantyhose. In front of my new colleagues, I had to hike my skirt even higher and detach my key fob from my inner right thigh.

Talk about making an introduction.

I’m now sitting here with a 1 inch hole and half inch wide run that goes from my thigh down to my calf. I’d change but I have three meetings and an office party to go to tonight and I don’t want to run the risk of being without pantyhose for tonight’s party. So I’m waiting until 5pm to change into the fresh pair.

Now that I’ve shared my embarrassment with not only my fellow colleagues but the blogosphere, I’m going to wallow by eating a blueberry scone.

It’s like I’m working with Pete from Pete and Pat

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

Office banter doesn’t work on everyone. Some people are just too literal. One of my colleagues reminds me of the current president in ‘24’. Our relationship has not been established so it’s hard to interpret his reactions. I’m not sure if he’s dry or if it’s a personal thing. I’d like to think that he doesn’t know me well enough to dislike me but first impressions are lasting and if I somehow rubbed him the wrong way then cie le vie.

I have a sneaky suspicion that most people dislike the office banter. Ok, I dislike office banter. Most prefer being left alone. As much as many hate the cubicle, they enjoy the semi-privacy one receives.

I’ve worked in open offices. I’ve worked in single cell offices. Just like most relationships, there comes a point where the minute details of a person become annoying and almost unbearable.

There is the one who is a slob, the one that is overly exuberant and the one that clips his fingernails during conference calls. There is the one that masks her insecurities by increasing her voice a pitch and speaking sugary to everyone. There is the one that bangs her desk with her foot to the rhythm of any Bruce Springsteen song out there.

When a new person comes into the pack, he/she is usually smiling and trying to look interested. Secretly, they wish they didn’t have to do this horse and pony show and just get down to work. Most people understand this one act play and play along.

Newbies are fresh and see things in a different perspective. They are anxious to learn and adapt to their new environment. They are also excited about their new responsibilities and duties. Forgive them if they are a little over-enthusiastic.

Others are abhorrent to change. They become bitter or just down right annoyed at the newbie. They take it as a personal affront to the status quo. Bloody hell, the first few weeks you’re at a new place you stick your head out of your hole and visit your neighbors. That’s just what you do. You get to know your neighbors. The disenchantment doesn’t hit newbies until after the paycheck arrives. That’s when you begin to tone down the enthusiasm and ease into your little hole of an office. The nod becomes the only form of communication between you and the person sharing the same floor as you.

If I’m being polite and chit chatting with you, there is no need for you to be snide. I’m just telling you that that I’m glad you made it in one piece. The wind outside is fierce. My neighbor’s puggle was swept up like a balloon.

There is no need for you to retort, “Well I’d like to think I wasn’t in mortal peril.” Next time I’ll just stick with “Good morning.”

I know I’m just being cranky. I’m not enjoying this morning routine and to make it even worse, I’m refraining from more than one cup of coffee a week to avoid the 9 cup addiction I had a few years back.

I hate feeling dependent on anything and if I get into the habit of coffee every morning, I’ll only get crankier. It’s a battle. Either outcome only leads to me being cranky. For the love of Pete, when is alcohol consumption at work going to be standard policy?

Addendum: It’s not personal. I just heard a conversation with him and his son and he speaks just as literal to his offspring. “I’m glad I can appear to be helping you because that’s my goal in life…” Plus, I’m not as cranky.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My husband's gym

My husband purchased a workout bench, weights and doodads.
The man has a membership to the gym, takes classes in Hapkido and sometimes Shiao Chiao and we have a gym in our building.

However, these modern conveniences cannot substitute for weight lifting in your own home while watching repeats of ‘Law and Order’.

Since I was against any type of equipment lounging in our bedroom, he had to find another location to park his toe killing instruments. Don’t tell me I’m the only person whose toes have a natural pull towards this objects. I’ve spilled many an expletives kicking these suckers.

He came up with this:

This, my friend, is my husband’s closet. He installed rods on the top of his closet, moved most of his clothes to the top rods, moved his sweater bins to the top racks and put the old electronics junkyard boxes on the right hand side. This cleared him to lean his bench and workout towels and bric-a-brac on the floor. He placed the weights and poles under the bed.

My husband has made his closet into a workout storage space. If he knocked out the wall to the utility closet which adjoins his closet, I’m sure he could even workout in there.

Ingenious? Well, yes, I suppose. His old lady can’t say squat about his workout equipment but convenient? I’m not sure how convenient keeping your sweaters and suits on the ceiling rods is a good idea.

It’s been several weeks now and he hasn’t complained. When he needs to work out, he pulls the bench out and pulls the part where the weights rest out of the closet.

I’m quite sure that this could never have been accomplished in my closet. I’ve got shoes up to the rafters and I barely have room for another suit.

I told myself I’d simplify my life but I will have a difficult time doing so in my closet. In the Times there was an article about a professor who wears the same brand of Costco bought cargo pants everyday to simplify his life.

I simply cannot do this. Honestly, my clothes for work revolve around a pants, skirt, dress system. I try not to wear a bottom type two days in a row. For example, today I’m wearing a skirt which means, tomorrow, I’ll probably wear a dress or slacks. I couldn’t even fathom wearing the same pair of pants in a week, unless I’m traveling. I know this is ridiculous but it’s an OCD thing. My husband finds this simply ridiculous, especially since, I’ll live in jeans for the entire weekend.

Simplifying my life in every other aspect other than my closet is doable. I’m nearly paperless in the office, even though I still have no computer. My kitchen is stocked with simple black and white dishes.

When it comes to my clothes for work, I become a crazy diva. I try not to wear the same sweater more than once every two weeks. If I wear slacks more than once a week, they have to be a different color or shading. Shoes should not be worn more than once a week.

I know. I’m a nut. That’s why it takes me 45 minutes to pick out my outfit and prepare it (press it, de-lint, etc) every night. You’d think with a new job it would be easier, since no one has seen my outfits yet but no. I find it even more difficult because I’m not yet comfortable enough to be business casual. So I need to rotate my suits appropriately to ensure I have enough clothes to wear.

If anything, this new job has really made me realize that I really do have a compulsive disorder. I heard it only gets worse as you age but I hope it’s the opposite. I hope I become less focused on these finite details and just enjoy life for what its worth.

The overextended child

I read this article in the NYTimes on Sunday regarding responses to the loss of innocence in today’s youth. It was a quick follow up piece on a story about the heavily scheduled children of 2006. Long gone are the hours left to entertain oneself. Children are booked for so many activities most do not know the joys of downtime. Anyone my age knows downtime. It’s that time after school where you and your siblings would either play outside on the street, your neighbor’s backyard or in your living room. You’d make up adventures and set up elaborate set designs and props to enhance your imagination.

Henry mentioned to me how his daughter is signed up for 4 sports and in some she belongs to 2 teams. He spends his weekend coaching and shuttling her around while his wife spends the weekdays chauffeuring their two daughters to their functions. He refuses to allow them to take mass transit let alone walk anywhere. There have been weeknights where she returns home from back to back games at 11pm!

Now I know there are fears out there. I know abductions happen more frequently now then in the 70’s and 80’s but is this healthy for a child? How will this affect their independence and self-reliance?

The article points out parents are now investing more time than their parents on their child’s schedule, not bonding time with the child but time planning their children’s activities. More and more families have refrigerators with multiple calendars to manage. Heck, I remember reading in a time management magazine about software designed to interface your children’s schedule, your work schedule and your husband’s work schedule online for the entire family to view and edit.

With the proliferation of electronic gadgets to ‘streamline life’ are we losing the fundamental basics? Kids should be kids. They grow up too damn fast as it is. The internet and television subject them to concepts and ideas earlier and earlier. They know more than their brains can comprehend.

I know many will say I don’t have a foot to stand on. First, I’m not a parent. Second, when I was a kid, I was in every function imaginable in school. Well, I don’t have to be a parent to see the loss of innocence in many of our youth. Plus, there is a strong difference between wanting to join activities freely and having to find transportation to said activities by myself versus being booked and chauffeured! Sure when the event was outside of my parent’s designated kid-safe area, they assisted with a ride or car pools but for the most part, I walked or took the local bus to the event.

The article points out this phenomena happens more frequently in the coastal states. My theory is many coastal parents are dual income families. With the cost of living at outrageous numbers, it’s difficult for one parent to stay at home or take a part time position. Overbooking a child is a means of ensuring the child isn’t home alone. Sure they have to leave early or take their lunch breaks late to shuttle the kids back and forth but it’s worth it to know he/she is safe and that their college/high school apps will be enhanced by their extracurriculars.

I’m also certain many of the parents my age probably felt a little abandoned by their parents. The 80’s parents focused a lot on their personal and professional growth. Don’t start telling me that I’m saying 80’s parents were bad parents. They weren’t. 2 car families were a luxury. Mothers in the workforce had to resort to padded shoulders and boxy suits to carve a niche in the boys club. The idea of taking time out of work or flex time for family was professional suicide.

As humans we constantly try to give our offspring what we didn’t have. If mom was there to push me into soccer, I wouldn’t have had to pay full tuition for college. If dad had time to coach my football team I’d probably have a better relationship with him. That may be true but you wouldn’t have the 10 page script and storyboard for the Adventures of Little Brother and the Dumbbells of Doom or the blueprints of the escape hatch you drew for the secret hideout you masterminded in your attic.

Whether or not I become a overbooked child’s parent is not known. If Lrudlrick and I have children, we’ll hit the hurdle and see what happens. Who knows, I may change my stance but I truly feel a child needs scheduled time to be a kid, not some wunderkind just a plain old kid with bruised knees, dirty hands (don’t get me started on the anti-bacterial freaks) and a chocolate milk grin or in my brother’s case a pistachio stained grin.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I just don't want to be the kid picked last in dodgeball.

It seems that all I can think and talk about is work. I suppose that’s the number one topic on my mind since I’m still in newbie-land.

I really dislike the banter one plays the first few weeks they start a job. I know we all have to do it but honestly, I thought it would be over after college. Seriously, every time I walk down the long corridor to my office, which by the way is the 4th door on the right, I feel like I’m walking past the lockers of the cool kids, the rich kids and the Seniors. Does the fear of alienation ever go away?

I’ve been told that I’m intimidating when I want to be. Honestly, I feel more like a mouse than a lion. I can understand how I may be unintentionally creating the vibe that I’m a dominatrix. I come from a tough circle of women who are highly opinionated and desire nothing but the best.

A friend of mine that I met from a previous job told me that I was the most intimidating person during the interview process. I looked all business and thought for sure that she wouldn’t get the job because of me. After she got the job and passed the freshman period, she said she laughs off the idea. She says I have a way of appearing more overbearing than I really am.

If you guys truly knew what went on inside my brain. I’m just a nervous, shy girl who just wants to feel like she belongs somewhere. I’m not a follower or a groupie. I very much enjoy my independence and the separation between my work life and home life. I just want to feel like when I’m at work, I’m not the outcast. I guess we all feel that way.

It’s difficult for me though. I’m a self-starter and enjoy working independently. Making small talk isn’t my strongest traits. Still, I make an effort but most of my efforts fall into the ‘Oh my god. She’s a weirdo arena.’

Last week as I was making banter with someone re: the temperature of my office I said, “I prefer it colder because I can always take my clothes off.” I meant to say, “I prefer it colder because at least I can wear layers. When it’s hot, you can’t always take your clothes off.”

Then there was the meeting in which my boss inquired about blocking websites or monitoring web activity. The technician said that it would be too expense to monitor and maintain and that there would be no blockage of the internet connectivity. Of course, the topic beforehand was my concern about internet connectivity and redundancy protocols. My brain forgot we moved on and I immediately responded to the technicians thoughts on web surfing, “Well that’s a relief.”

Of course, I found myself in desperate need to explain myself after the meeting. I don’t need my new boss to think I’m surfing porn or shopping on Amazon.com while I’m at work.

I’m still sans pc and I’m about to ask the IT guy to loan me a temp IP for my laptop so I can clean the 200+ pieces of mail I have sitting in my inbox.
I haven’t had a chance to do anything outside of work after work and it’s bumming me out a bit. Everything that does not pertain to my job has taken a backseat. Leisurely reading, internet surfing even cooking has been shelved.

I’m hoping that I can hit a comfort zone as soon as I get my pc. Then I won’t have to spend my nights researching for work.

Lrudlrick has been wonderful through my first week. The stress levels have been a bit high because of the constant newbie spotlight. I get home and all I can do is think about more stuff I need to do for work.

This week I have a delayed Christmas party to attend and a Client mixer at my husband’s job. They both fall on the same night and I’m contemplating if leaving my party to go to my husband’s party is a good career move.

Personally, I’m not sure if I can deal with being the newbie at the office party when I don’t have a single soul to cling to. I only know a handful of people and although everyone is friendly, everyone has their cliques and I’m not a part of any yet. I figure I’ll just make a showing. Introduce myself to the big wigs and then bee line home, change and head down to Lrudlrick’s shindig. Last year they had a great mango cheesecake. If I’m lucky I can snag a piece before they run out.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Stick an internet addict in a room with 4 walls, a large clock and 8 hours to kill...

Day Four sans pc.

The pain is unbearable.

The addiction is terrible. The shakes and cold sweats aren’t making a good impression.

So cold.

Mailbox is busting but I can’t file them appropriately, let alone answer them on a timely basis.

What did I do before the internet?

Lack of blog reading terrible.

Lack of Gawker, Gothamist and LifeHacker tidbits trying.

Resorting to spending my days typing my hand written notes on my laptop and printing them at home.

I feel so barbaric.

Used up two gel pens writing copious notes already.

Developing a ridge on my right index finger from the pressure of the pen. Is that a work related injury?

List of TV shows to catch up on too long to list.

List of reading and research for work too long and boring to list.

Lack of internet impeding research leading to less downtime at home.

Narda says it takes 30 days for the body to conform to new schedules. Will I make it?

Coffee isn’t helping. I’m beyond coffee. How can you go beyond coffee, legally?

Thank God it’s Friday.

Thank God it’s a long weekend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

“What’s with the big chair? You look like you’re on ‘The Apprentice’.” – EAX

“You don’t have to deal with the bureaucratic nonsense.” I met with my former boss yesterday to compare our first days. She started her new job on Friday. We both are suffering from culture shock and what we’ve deemed, the first week auditions. Essentially, the first week (or the first few weeks) at your new employers is a song and dance. You’re constantly smiling, listening and absorbing.

Your brain which has lead a rather routine life is rejuvenated. You’re new surroundings cause your brain to flood with sensory overload. You struggle to remain composed while memorizing new faces and places. You listen carefully to learn the new jargon. You quietly absorb and assess the office politics and you try not to look stupid by asking the right questions. There is a fine line between looking retarded and looking like a know-it-all.

The general rule, in my book, is to remain visible yet invisible. Like in ‘Survivor’, you need to make a good impression and form the right alliances. You also have to remember to not be brazen and assume you fit into the new terrain right away.

Unlike my previous job, I’ve been visited by many people since Monday. Many people pop by to introduce themselves to me. I’m not a social butterfly but it really is a nice change of pace from my last office.

To reciprocate and to continue to week myself from my hermitude, I’ve made a pseudo-resolution to give salutations. Every morning, I try to greet the people I pass on my way to my office. Every evening, I make an effort to say goodnight to the secretaries.

This is highly unlike me. Sure I’m fairly friendly to my neighbors but I’ve never been the social type at work.

I’m slowly moving my stuff in. I’m still without a pc and I don’t have office supplies so my desk looks weird with a lamp, phone and mini file cabinet but eventually I’ll personalize it.

Judy mentioned her husband is a darkness dweller too. I don’t know how he does it. Well, actually, he’s one up on me. The man doesn’t primp like a woman primps. I’ve been relegated to putting on my makeup by candlelight! Candlelight! I don’t want to wake up my husband so I’m tiptoeing everywhere and lighting tealights around my vanity. Lrudlrick, I know you moved the fire extinguisher into our bedroom as a little jib.

Narda says it will take approximately 30 days for me to get used to my new schedule. I’m not sure I can make it. Yesterday, I made myself a cup of coffee to keep myself up for my 5 hour marathon of meetings. By 8:30, the coffee had not kicked in and I swear my face looked like Droopy D.

I’m just counting the days ‘til Friday when I can finally get some shut eye.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My first day at work...

It’s been years since I set my clothes out for work however, since today was my first day at my new job, and because I was expected to be at work at 9am, I spent Sunday night preparing my outfit and laying it out.

I even had my jewelry and shoes readied and hanging from a shoe bag and jewelry satchel. I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of getting to work on time.

I know. I know. 9am is nothing to most of you but you’re talking to someone who has spent 6 years working 10am to 6pm,7,8,9,10+. Yes, I’ve worked over 12 hours in a day on numerous occasions. I’m a night owl.

My new job now requires me to be a morning person. The administrative assistant greeted me this morning with a week long calendar with pre-scheduled meetings, some of which are at 7:30am! Gasp! For those interested, I’m really considering not sleeping the night before these 7:30am meetings.

Lrudlrick surprised me this morning and walked the dogs for me. Thank you. Wait until I tell him that I need to leave the house at 7am Thursday. We may need to give in again and hire a dog walker for the morning walks.

What can I say about starting a new job? It’s not like your first day at school, at least not for me. I was the geek that got excited about the first day of school. I had all my books wrapped and my notebooks were color coded by subject. Still, there is a level of anticipation. As you may know I haven’t been enthusiastic about the whole new job. I don’t understand why I’m not doing back flips, especially after the low morale I’ve had to endure for the past year and a half.

I suppose, the time spent in clockwatcherland has hardened me. I arrived on time,a rarity, to an administrative assistant ready with paperwork to get a new id and security clearance, a mailbox in the mailroom, a working phone, a pc and printer on order and an office with my name on the door! Ok. This stuff might seem like everyday stuff to you but I just spent a year and a half doing all the above for myself. Heck, I spent 6 months without a desk and a pc. For half a year, I used a personal laptop and a dial up connection to work.

Oh, and this is the best part. On all the signs and directories, they had the correct spelling of my surname. Since I got married, I’ve been plagued with people not only spelling my name wrong but also pronouncing it wrong. My husband’s family name is not a hard name however, everyone seems to get it wrong. They skip a syllable. It’s like calling Maria Sharapova, Maria Sharpova.

This was a huge bone of contention with my husband when it came time to get married. The one pre-requisite he had for me was to change my name to his. I’m pretty happy with the name my father gave me but he was quite insistent. So I use my maiden-surname at work but they still butcher it terribly.

Going back to my first day, people came out of the woodwork to introduce themselves to me and I even received a hug from a few people. I’m not sure if I’m working for a cult but the culture so far is much welcomed after my time in limbo.

My office has a large clock. When I say large, pre-laser surgery Pantrygirl can read the time sans contacts. It’s also analog so it ticks. Since I’m still waiting for a pc and my office has no personal items, I feel like I’m in an obscure student film. As I locked up for the day and made my way to the elevator in silence, I pictured a superimposed ‘Fin’ on my back.

It’s too soon to tell whether I’ll hate it or like it here but I’m slowly realizing that I definitely needed something to change. For better or worse, I need this and I’m going to try to be as open-minded and OCD person with anal retentive tendencies can be.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

See what eating sweets after 11pm does to you?

Two nights ago I had such a wacky dream I had to share with you what I recalled. I rarely remember my dreams as vividly as I did this one. Any dream interpreters out there share your thoughts. And no, I do not want to bed Mr. Bowie. I never did in the 80’s. I never did in the 90’s and I still don’t. I just like his music.

I dreamt, Lrudlrick and I went to a silent auction held at Rockefeller Center at the SNL studios. Lrudlrick brought our broker. It was a benefit for who knows what but everyone was there. Horatio Sanz, Tina Fey, that Hispanic guy that does Prince were mingling with the guests.

I made my way through the benefit, smiling and looking at the auction items when Lrudlrick called me to sit on a couch near a bit tv screen. We both sat and looked a podium where David Bowie was standing. I recall that although I was excited to see Mr. Bowie in person, inches away from me, I wasn’t doing my usual nudging and whispering “Ooklay. Itway isway Avidday Owiebay! Iway amway andingstay extnay otay Avidday Owiebay!”

Lorne Michaels was finishing a speech thanking David for donating his $4 million dollar apartment to the benefit, again for what, I’m not sure.

Then Mr. Bowie, leaves the podium and sits right next to me! Lrudlrick turns to him and says, “Mr. Bowie, this is my wife.” We begin a conversation that somehow leads to a discussion on my mother-in-law’s profession as a social worker for a correctional facility. Apparently this was fascinating to him and he kept asking me questions about my mother-in-law’s profession.

Meanwhile, Lrudlrick was passed two forms by a stage assistant and asked to complete the documents.

The dropdown screen turns on and a countdown of winners is announced. Unlike most silent auctions, this benefit not only announced the winner but also the top five bidders for an item in increasing order. Mr. Bowie and I turned to the screen and began to view the countdown when Lrudlrick whispers, “FYI, I just put a bid on the Bowie place.”

pg: What?!
L: smiling It would be so cool.
pg: We don’t need that big of a place! It includes a fulltime nanny, maid and maid quarters! Why does David Bowie need a nanny?
L: I thought you’d like it.

At this point, I didn’t think about cost but why we’d need such a big place. That’s when Mr. Bowie put his feet over the arm of the couch and placed his head on my lap! I turned to look at the other guests and everyone seemed to be lounging in the same casual manner.

They get to the winning bidder and sure enough it’s Lrudlrick. There was applause and everyone got up to leave the benefit. Lrudlrick leaves to finish some paperwork and I’m left standing by myself confused over the proceedings.

Then Horatio Sanz passes me and asks me to start breaking the set. “Breaking the set?” “Yeah, we can use some extra hands. Go down to makeup and see if anyone else is there to help.”

As I walk towards makeup and costume, I spot my previous ex-boss talking to Tina Fey asking for shout outs during the next weekend update for colleagues. My ex-boss spots me, politely smiles and says, “Oh, and Pantrygirl too. She’s cool.”

Tina smiles and sits on a stool by the door for makeup and I stop to tell her that I’m a fan and that calling my name is unnecessary but would be cool. That’s when I woke up.

Bizarre, right?

Goodnight sweetheart, well it's time to go...

Today is it. Today is the last day at my old job. Ok, I still need to come in on Thursday for a meeting and a luncheon but today is definitely the last day.

I didn’t want to come in today. I had hoped that miraculously my office was packed up and delivered to me. Unfortunately, I like my lamp and fridge too much to leave them behind. Notice I say nothing about the paperwork.

I just finished packing everything except my external drive, my lamp and my plant. A sense of relief has hit me. I’m still not looking forward to my new job but I guess it will take time.

I spent the day before New Year’s saying goodbye to one of my favorite haunts in NYC. Miss Elle’s is a local dive bar/home cooking restaurant. After years upon years on the UWS, it closed on January 2nd. Rent increases are driving out our mom and pop shops left and right. A slice of the neighborhood is slowing being eaten away with each closure. I had my last chicken parm and said adieu to the little enclave Lrudlrick and I loved to hide out in on cold Saturday nights.

New Year’s brunch was a series of good eats. Crisp glasses of mimosas, fresh blueberry muffins, chorizo potatoes, quiche Lorraine, crepes, croissants and what my husband has now deemed The Matilda Cake. At first we were going to have chocolate fondue but we had just finished watching Matilda and Lrudlrick asked for chocolate cake. What came out was a chocolate raspberry devils food cake with raspberry liquor ganache so rich that an entire quart of milk was needed.

This feasting now has a little reprieve before Chinese New Years which hits in two weeks. Then the gorging begins again.

If you were wondering Lrudlrick had a very nice Christmas. In true Shredded Mini Wheat style, he got both grown up and kid gifts. The grown up in him got a nice workout bench and free weights. Since I didn’t want this monstrosity hanging out in our bedroom, he has converted his closet into this den of workout gear. I’m actually impressed at his feat. I’ll post pictures when I get home. Check back later.

The little kid in him (the frosted side) got, you guessed it, an Xbox 360. Boys will be boys. After tons of searching, chatting, calling and hoofing, he got one. He was so bloody excited about getting his hands on it, he ran to Best Buy with every gift card he received for Christmas and purchased games. Oh, he didn’t forget me. He felt bad he put me through all the craziness and obsessiveness he bought me both seasons of Arrested Development. Thank you, dear.

I’m not helping the situation either. I know this and freely admit it. I’ve introduced him to Zuma. If you haven’t played Zuma, you don’t understand the addictive quality it possesses. Microsoft has this game and more available for download onto the 360. Between that and Joust, he is immersed. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of use for the 360 myself when my favorite games, Burnout and SSX Tricky, become available.

Now that I’ll have a small reprieve from work, I hope to catch up with my fellow bloggers. I’ve been lax in reading. I never realized how limited in time I am during the holidays. I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe and happy holiday week. Tomorrow, I’ll begin revisiting everyone. Tonight, I’m off to make some ‘hot ham water.”

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Words to Live By

It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.

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