Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Words to Live By

Good indeed is the LORD, Whose love endures forever, whose faithfulness lasts through every age. -- Psalms 100:5

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's April and I'm shedding...

I have obsessions. They come and go. Some retain and pop their heads back into my life every now and then. Others die as quickly as they came.

Remember my obsession with watching all the Little House on the Prairie episodes? I’m 6 away.

My latest obsession is with decorating cakes. I’ve made a ton of cakes the last week simply because I wanted to decorate them.

I know that sounds weird but obsessions don’t need reasons.

Last week my obsession was Back to the Future. I don’t think I ever saw II or III in their entirety. Nevertheless, the trilogy played on cable and I left it on while flitting around the house. What was wrong with Marty’s kids that made the doc tell him to go to the future? If I went to see my future, would I be able to go back to the past and effectively change my future? How old is Einstein the dog?

Why do I bring my obsessions up? Because my cataloging obsession that has been with me since the earliest memories seems to relaxed. This was the first sign I had the same quirk as my grandfather. Can you name another 8 year old who categorized her library of Nancy Drew books and biographies and created a library with an index card file catalog?

Usually, when I start obsessing, I need to complete it. I need the wholeness of an item. Years will pass. I will wait patiently just so I can say I have a full set. However, I have a stack of items that need to be cataloged in my computer and on my desk that I don’t feel the need to address.

I’m not sure if this is a good sign or bad. I really don’t want to be disorganized, yet in a strange way I’m not since I know where the item is. Normally, I would think this is clutter and fear that I’ll be one of those people that dies under a pile of newspapers and old valu-pak envelopes. Now, I feel as if this most likely won’t happen if I leave a pile on my desk in the ‘To Do’ box.

At work, my pile of ‘To File’ stayed in it’s bin for over 2 months. Ok, this doesn’t sound like much for most but for me this is a big deal. You’re talking about a girl who has reminder tasks scheduled for filing, resorting and backing up set on her Treo. And for those interested, I file on the 30th, resort on the 15th and back up weekly with a backup of the backup scheduled bi-weekly.

Could pantrygirl be shedding a layer of her compulsiveness? Could I be slowly moving away from index cards and spreadsheets to the crazy-loose-fly-by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants idea of letting things lay?

Does anyone defrag anymore?

I had an awful dream. I was on a business trip. I was finalizing my check out via the television screen when an additional message popped up on my telly. “Thank you for staying at the Marriot of yada yada. We hope you enjoyed your stay. Please hold for a message from . want to thank you for your hard work and continued service with us. Unfortunately, as of 2pm today you are no longer under the employment of . Have a nice day. Until then, please enjoy the amenities found at the Marriot of yada yada.”

This is when the electric saw cutting through metal and the workers chipping off the old paint on my fire escape started.

Crappy morning wake up after a pleasant evening.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am and what I am perceived as. Everyone who knows me, knows I have a deep seated need to find answers. When people ask a question, I need to find out the answer. It’s how my husband keeps me busy. It’s what annoys my husband.

Sometimes I wonder if that makes me look like a know-it-all. I don’t try to be. I don’t want to be. Some people are content with answering, ‘I don’t know’ and dropping it. I need to say, “I’m not sure but I’m sure I could find out.”

Mom and I were having a conversation about perceived innocence and ignorance which made me think about the opposite sex. Is it more attractive to be perceived as thirsty or disinterested? I’m guessing disinterest is a component of attraction. We want someone to be interested but many times the disinterest sparks the interest.

Is it that ambivalence/disinterest is less threatening? Is it misconstrued as confidence?

Last night I was at a function and the discussion turned to the Virginia Tech incident and how people are going to try to search for a meaning and when they don’t find the meaning they going to try to search for a cause. It’s human nature. Someone asked a question regarding morality and requested information on church doctrine. In what I can only describe as a complete brain malfunction, I responded with something so out of context it caused everyone to look at me with giant question marks over my head. The worst part was I responded with an enthusiasm and confidence that a spin doctor would be proud of. I won’t go into the details but imagine you were asked if the UN peace sanctions were effective or merely a display of politeness and morality to offset the agendas of national interests. With a high degree of confidence you say, “Potato!” As you say this, you think to yourself, ala J.D., what the heck am I saying? Did I just say that? What the heck is going on in my brain. Brain, your cut off.

A few seconds after the extremely awkward pause I did the Elmer Fudd/Porky Pig stutter and apologized with a simple, “My brain went out on break.” A few people looked at me and laughed. Others just looked at me as if I was Melanie Griffith. Some tried to distract me with a treat.

If my brother was there he’d respond openly with a comment alluding to my vacant brain. I could swear I felt the synapses misfiring in my brain.

With the silly response though, I felt more comfortable. Sure the initial feeling was one of embarrassment but then it was gone. I suppose in all aspects of life, we’re trying to so hard not to embarrass ourselves. Well I did and I suppose it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Sure there will be other chances to embarrass myself but at this moment, it was done and I could move on.

Maybe I desire to know the answer to avoid embarrassment. Maybe I search for answers because the questions I ask don’t have concrete answers. Maybe I search for answers to share with others because I hope someone has the clues for the answers I seek.

Maybe I should go grab a cup of coffee away from the sawing, drilling and chiseling and let my brain reboot.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Little me.

This week has been filled with anxiety and apprehension over impending deadlines and a scheduled upgrade during the Easter weekend.

I’m not sure who thought Easter would be a good week to do a large project but the powers that be said it would happen on Saturday.

I generally don’t complain at work. I do what I can and pray that things will be fine. I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I get my job done and try to do things above and beyond the call of duty.

This week was a crazy week for me. I like to exude confidence but the testing performed on the new upgrade didn’t sit well with me. Add the need to test two interfaces simultaneously and the coordination of a go live scheduled for May 1st and I had a big ball of crazy going in my stomach. I felt like a duck in the water, calm and peaceful above but flapping like a mad woman under.

Still, I brought my apprehensions to my superiors but emphasized, we’ll do what we have to do to move one.

Through it all, I still tried to maintain my promise, to attend service Tuesday and Thursday evening. I made a promise last Sunday. Every week, we go to church and petition. This week, I told myself that petitioning Jesus for anything during the most important week of his life was rude. Instead, I would visit him and be there if he needed me. I know it sounds silly but bear with me.

So I worked my schedule around so I was able to attend mass on Tuesday and Thursday. It was going to be hard and I knew I’d be tired and exhausted but it was the least I could do.

Last night, just before I prepared to head out to the Last Supper mass, I received several calls from my job. The upgrade was postponed by a week. It was sigh of relief. Sure we had work to do and the anxiety would reappear but it was just what I needed.

I went to church smiling. It was a packed house. Everyone squished into the pews. Many stood on the sides. I was minding my business when it suddenly hit me. I don’t know what you would call it. I do not consider myself super religious. I don’t say the rosary every week. I question many of the beliefs of the church.

Last night, while watching the processing to the Altar of Repose, I realized during the biggest week of his life, moments before he would begin the longest night of his human life, Jesus looked out for me, little me.

Ok, you can say it was coincidence, but I disagree. Why moments before the last supper? Why didn’t I receive the call two weeks ago when I first expressed concerns? Why was the executive decision handed out exactly at the end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum?

If you knew you were going to head into the worst night of your life, would you be able to stop and think about someone else? Think about it. Have you ever had a restless night that never seemed to end? You toss and turn. Whatever you do, you cannot get comfortable. You become so fixated on the fact you can’t sleep you anger yourself. The darkness seems to get darker and darker. The end seems like it will never come and just when day breaks, you realize you’re at the end of the night but you’re just at the beginning of what promises to be a rough day. Would you be able to get out of bed and think about helping others or would you prefer to call in a sick day?

I don’t think I can forget that feeling I had sitting in the church watching everyone sitting there with Jesus, trying to understand the agony, trying to keep him company. Just before the darkness fell, he reached out to me.

I’m sharing this not for anyone in particular but to remind myself of that night. It was the strangest feeling. I wasn’t embarrassed but the emotions were a bit strong. I had a hard lump in my throat. I could never imagine what was going on that night for him but he could empathize with me, little me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Farm in the City

Dyckman Farmhouse in Upper Manhattan

Model of a Hessian House built by Dyckman sister's husbands, an architect and a curator in the early 1900's

A smokehouse used to stand where the platform is. Mmmmm.... Cured farm fresh meats mmmm....

A map of the property. The second farm reached from 213th to 190th from Harlem River to the Hudson River.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Battle of the Family 'XX'

I need to be more like my brother. I need to let go and take the back seat sometimes. I’m so stupid to think that by taking care of my own plans I can avoid a family confrontation.

I need to realize like a wedding, if you allow your mother to plan it and realize it’s her day not yours you can avoid the inevitable guilt trip.

Ok, that’s a bad example because I change my wedding plans three times to avoid the ‘mother/mother-in-law wedding’.

From now on, whenever it’s a family affair, I’m just going to let my mother take care of everything. She seems to like getting stressed over it. Why allow myself to stress as well. Just tell me when and where to meet you mother.

“I tried very hard to coordinate this.” Well, I honestly didn’t know there was coordinating required. We all need to get to Long Island so we just show up. Why do we need to do a 5 borough car tour to pick up everyone? Just get your ass to the restaurant by 7pm.

I should just shut my mouth. If mom wants to drive to Brooklyn to pick up cousin Louie and then swing back up Manhattan to pick up Aunt Selma before driving to Long Island I should just let her. Forget that she lives next to the Throggs Neck Bridge which is like skipping stones to Long Island. Just follow orders.

I’ve decided my mother and I are a battle of wills. For us it’s struggle for control; as a mother she feels controlling and planning are essential. For me, I just want to control my life and take the most logical route.

I’m also obstinate. My entire childhood my mother reminded me that people didn’t have to do what they did for me. People did me the favor so I should be grateful and not selfish. I was ungrateful and just like my grandmother, I was reliant on others.

As soon as I could I tried to prove her wrong. I did my own wash when I was 9. I found my own rides to certain afterschool activities. I started walking to school and taking buses and trains from school. I left home as soon as I could.

Something about her telling me I was always reliant on others set me off. I don’t know why that hit me so hard but 20+ years later I know that many of my actions stem from the desire to do things without asking others for help.

I need to realize that if I let my mom plan these family events, however illogical in my brain the plans may sound, I need to let her do it. That by letting her do it her way I am not relying on her. By letting her do it I’m not dependent. It makes her happy. She thinks it makes a better family to do everything together. Make her happy. It’s not going to kill me.

How do I do that without sticking a fork in your knee or pushing splinter between my fingernails?

I need to start taking Focus Factor.

Lrudlrick, if I ever have a conversation like this with you, please put me down.

Mom: I made this blanket for my mother in law.
pg: That’s nice mom.
Mom: I figured it would make a nice throw on her bed in the old folks home.
pg: I’m sure it’s a good talking point with the residents.
Mom: I made one with red hearts and a beige outline.
pg: That’s pretty.
Mom: The hearts are red.
pg: I kind of figured.
Mom: The border is beige.
pg: Complementary.
Mom: They are big hearts linked together by the beige border.
pg: I get it. What’s the point mom?
Mom: Huh? Oh yes. So I made it for my mother in law.
pg: For her bed.
Mom: Yes for her bed. She used to have a queen bed and now at the assisted living home she has a twin bed.
pg: Ah.
Mom: She doesn’t have a lot of twin sheets and blankets so I thought she could use a twin size blanket.
Mom: Huh? Right, well, why was I telling you about the blanket?
pg: I’m not sure.
Mom: Oh yes, the old lady gets me so angry sometimes.
pg: So you made her a blanket? Wait. Nevermind, I don’t want to know. Don’t make her anymore blankets.