Monday, February 14, 2011

Arts & Crafts pt. 2

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Out With The Old

Today I did something new. I went to a new eye doctor. Up until this point, only Dr. S has had the opportunity to get intimate with my eyeballs. But she lives in the suburbs, I don't have a car, and she's not close to the train. It was time for me to make a change.

I broke up with my lifelong dentist last year, too. Since however old one is when she first gets her teeth cleaned, I've only gone to Dr. J. But there's the same issue with the suburbs.

I know people try new doctors/dentists/opticians all the time. But I hadn't. So I was all nervous and stuff. And believe it not, these new doctors I picked, both within walking distance of my apartment, were better than the ones I had been going to all my life. I was in and out of the dentist's office in 30 minutes with sparkling clean teeth and my complimentary toothbrush. My old dentist would take at least an hour, plus she would always talk about how French people have horrible teeth hygiene (although France is one of my favorite topics of conversation, I don't really care about the country's teeth). And same with the eye doctor. He was a really nice guy, didn't put those weirdo drops in my eyes, then make me wait 20 minutes for my pupils to grow to the size of pepperoni slices, then shine gazillion-watt light bulbs in my eyes. In and out and it was all relatively painless.

Trying new stuff can be hard, especially when you are pretty okay with whatever the status quo is. But just remember people, you could have something so much better. Like an eye doctor who is hip to your hipness and thus doesn't try to sell you clip-on sunglasses. Nothing against Dr. S and staff. But I never wanted clip-on sunglasses and they always tried to get me to buy them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Back to Reverbin'

Remember that reverb10 thing I did all throughout December? They sent a prompt for the month of February: One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living? Are there any prompts/questions that arose during #reverb10 that are still resonating in your life? Are you living new questions?

Questions? I’m always living questions. Is what I am doing is right? Am I making a big enough difference? Should I clean the litter box today?

I need someone to ask me some questions, so I shall respond to this list of “20 Questions That Could Change Your Life.” Thanks Oprah. Or Martha Beck, who wrote these questions on

1. What questions should I be asking myself? I already answered this. See above, especially the one about the litter box.

2. Is this what I want to be doing? What, like my job? I don’t really talk about my job here. My writing otherwise? It’s going okay. I could be more ambitious. My French class? Well, my last French teacher, who was very good but also very lazy, suddenly quit the Alliance Française, so I’m trying a new teacher. We’ll see. He has a weird accent. And by weird I mean not Parisian, so I’m not used to it.

3. Why worry? I know I know I know I know. Stop telling me that. I’m working on it.

4. Why do I like {cupcakes} more than I like {people}? (feel free to switch out the words in the brackets) Because cupcakes are delicious and people are not.

5. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it? I would like to bring the world more compassion. I am working on making myself more compassionate, then I can push it out to the rest of the world.

6. How do I want to be different because I lived in this world? Fluent in French? Also I want to travel more in the world. That’s what the savings account is for.

7. Are {vegans} better people? (can change the word in brackets) I don’t think they are better, no. And if they are judgmental of non-vegans no freaking way. I hate you judgey people. Sorry that I like cheese. Actually no I’m not sorry. Why should I have to apologize for liking cheese?

8. What is my body telling me? A couple weeks ago, it told me to stop it. Stop trying to do so much at one time. And I did. But I’m back to my old self, heh heh heh tricked ya body!

9. How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk? I am hosting a clothing exchange at my apartment in a couple weeks, that will be good.

10. What’s so funny? I was making these chicken legs for Super Bowl and had to roll the raw chicken around in flour to batter them before baking in the oven. I thought it was really funny to pick up the legs and move them back and forth like they were living, breathing chickens. No one else thought it was funny.

11. Where am I wrong? Ooooh…. Good question….. Lots of places. Remember when I said I hated judgmental people? That would also mean I hate myself. I don’t really hate myself. But I need to work on that judgmental thing.

12. What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price? I don’t understand this question. I think I could if I tried, but I don’t feel like it right now.

13. Am I the only one struggling not to {fart} during {yoga} (Can swap out those words) I oddly don’t have this problem. Just watch. I bet I fart at my next yoga class.

14. What do I love to practice? French, reading, writing, cooking, baking, being a better friend and family member.

15. Where could I work less and achieve more? I’m an achiever, so this question is not relevant.

16. How can I keep myself absolutely safe? Better health insurance? But it’s more expensive and I never get sick. That money is better spent on the savings account travel fund.

17. Where should I break the rules? Writing! It is so much fun. I am a huge stickler for grammar, but love to play with it, too. Also, making up words is fun and I am not sure if I have the authority to do that really.

18. So say I lived in that fabulous house in Tuscany, with untold wealth, a gorgeous, adoring mate, and a full staff of servants...then what? Meh, sounds boring. I’d do it for a week, maybe a month. But this is not something I strive for.

19. Are my thoughts hurting or healing? Hm, well probably both depending on the thought in question.

20. Really truly: Is this what I want to be doing? Oh, I get it. You REALLY want me to think about this one. Okay I will think about it this weekend and get back to you.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Mystery Arts & Crafts Project

What do you get when you combine these things? Hm... stay tuned.

Doing Good Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

A coworker passed on an interesting website to me because “You like to save money on food.” (Read: you are always getting weird stuff with your coupons.) raises awareness about the realities of unemployment and living on minimum wage by having you play a game. The purpose of the game is to not run out of money by the end of the month. It’s sponsored by Urban Ministries of Durham, an organization that provides food, clothing, shelter and other services to those in need in Durham, North Carolina.

At the beginning of the game, you can get one of three jobs, each of which has as low of a paycheck as you’d assume.

You pick your job and throughout the month have some decisions to make. Opt-in to the $275-a-month insurance? Live close to work and pay more than you make in rent, or work an hour away and pay oodles in gas? Every choice you make gives you some more information, such as the fact that health insurance premiums are so high that many low-income workers opt-out, and the lack of affordable housing is the number-one cause of homelessness.

By having to actually (theoretically) make these decisions yourself, you realize that working a minimum wage job can be a losing battle. Your car might break down. You might get sick. Your kid might get made fun of for eating free meals at school, and you might have to decide if it’s worth it to just put in money for lunch food. Or, your kid might get a birthday card from grandma and grandpa with $10 inside. Should you take it?

And sometimes, the best option is to ask a friend for help. This is one of the most creative uses of Facebook integration I’ve seen as of late. For example, when you have to move to a smaller, more affordable apartment, you have the option of renting a storage unit, selling your stuff or asking a friend to store it. When you ask a friend, you have the option to share it on Facebook, which is a great way to share the game and its message with your network. You can also ask a friend to babysit or take a look at your car when it starts making funny noises.

At the end of the month (if you even make it that far), you have the option to donate money to the organization or learn about other ways to get involved.

I poked around a little bit and found out that the game was designed by McKinney, a Durham-based agency. I like that a local agency did this. Also, I read on their blog that their employees are allowed to bill 10 percent of their time to “innovation” and “trying cool stuff.” I really like that.

Have a look at the game yourself and you’ll see what I can’t really sum up here. It’s cool, well-designed and effective. I really hope the Urban Ministries of Durham gets some more donations and volunteers because of it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Actual Conversation

Me: where can I buy a swim cap close by?
Coworker: in the convenience store downstairs
Me: are you serious? they have them?
Coworker: nope
Coworker: but they do have socks
Me: I don't need socks I need a swim cap!
Coworker: I had to buy a pair once cuz I stepped in a snow puddle
Me: hahaha. is that real? did you really buy a pair of socks from that store?
Coworker: yes, which is why I almost wouldn't be surprised if they had swimcaps

Thursday, February 03, 2011


As you may or may not know, Chicago got dumped on by a whole lotta snow over the past couple days. Braving the blizzard yesterday would have been simply silly, so most of our office worked from home. I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today, ready to go in early and dismiss this cabin fever as a thing of the past. The public transportation system had something else in mind. I waited on the platform for about an hour with hundreds of other people trying to get to work. Only a few trains came by, and none had room for more than one or two people. I wanted to believe a train would come by with enough room just for me, but I had to give up to save my fingers and toes. So it was back to working from home for yet another day.

It ended up being not so bad. I was super productive, working from my desk in our reading room that looks out onto piles of white, pristine, only-a-little-dog-peed-upon snow. Here are some other pros about working from home:

1. Doing laundry at the same time (I didn't do it)
2. Making your lunch in the oven instead of the microwave
3. Sweatpants
4. Cats (although she ignored me. Jerk)
5. Roommate bonding

But some things never change, no matter where you work from. Like the fact that it's work. And that you have the same space heater in your home office as you have at your work office. Except a cat is sitting in front of it in one office.