Friday, December 29, 2006

Another year another set of resolutions

I don't reallyhave anything to write about today. It's Friday. It's the last day before the New Year's holiday. It's the week after the Christmas holiday. Work has been pretty slow. And I've already done enough reflecting for the year. I could write out my new year's resolutions, but I don't really have any other than the normal:

  1. Train to run the Shamrock Shuffle in 50 minutes or less

  2. Start doing more creative writing.

  3. Floss more
Ok, that's it. I only really believe in three resolutions per year. More than that is just silly.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Let them know it's Christmastime

Remember when you were a kid and you were so excited to open your Christmas presents. You just knew that you'd have a mound of new toys and clothes and stuff. And then Christmas morning you rushed to the tree to open all the boxes and bags and collapsed exhausted on the couch and it was only 8:30? Remember that feeling you had when it's all over? When you're putting away your gifts, going through them again and there is a sort of empty feeling. A feeling like...that's all?And you look around thinking you've misplaced that gift that was going to make you so happy only to realize that no, you got everything you wanted and while it's nice, and you'll have fun playing with the Hungry Hungry Hippos and listening to your new CD and watching your new DVD, it doesn't really make you happy. I remember that feeling and it used to confuse me.

I spent the Christmas holiday with a house full of people including several children. And I watched them play with the toys and games they received for Christmas. And they all looked happy. And maybe they were happy. But I think it was more fun to be the adult watching the children open the presents and play with the toys we picked out for them and be excited and happy. So do we, as adults, perpetuate this cycle of creating this sense of happiness from stuff to make ourselves happy? Do we get the kids excited about opening presents so we can see the joy on their faces and feel good because we bought them something that seems to make them so happy? Are the being happy because we expect them to be happy? But really, at the end of the day, they're thinking to themselves, I must be missing something, because it wasn't really that great.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Beer

I know I've written about the stuff I see on the way to work before, but each morning, walking from the train station to my office is really one of the few times during the day that I truly feel alone (in that good way, time to yourself, not the bad lonely way). So, I can't help but let my mind wander and watch the people walking by (as anyone who knows me, I am a shameless people watcher). Some mornings, I don't really see anything that interesting, just the same parade of people walking to work. And some mornings I see stuff that's just kinda odd. Like this morning, at 8 a.m. mind you, I saw two fairly well-dressed young men (mid 20s) walking down the street with two cases each of beer. Now, working in the financial district, my instinct is to say that these guys work at one of the exchanges in the area and there's going to be some fun time on the floor today. I'm sure they'll wait until the closing bell. Regardless, it's not every day you see men walking down the street with beer at 8 a.m. They were very happy about it. And you know, it made me happy. And that's what makes this time of year so great. Seeing guys walking down the street with beer. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

World News with Charles Gibson

Does this happen to you - You spend the day staring at a computer screen, writing emails, answering emails, playing with spreadsheets and web sites and word (I refuse to capatilize) documents, and then you go to the gym and try to better your body (by running on the treadmill at a seriously slow pace, but you tell yourself it's better than not running at all) and your mind (by watching the evening news with Charles Gibson), and then you go home (taking the long way around the Loop [here I feel capatilization is OK] to be able to [1] sit and [2] read for a longer period of time), you get home and you straighten up so your feel better about your apartment, you wrap gifts, kiss your husband, eat dinner, log on to check your email one more time, put away laundry, watch a little TV, brush your teeth and then go to bed only to wake up and start the whole thing over and think about the things you DIDN'T get accomplished the day before and are somehow going to find the time to fit them in today - but if you don't, you won't make yourself feel bad about it because what does that accomplish?

Or is it just me?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another day

This morning I saw

  • Two lost gloves, not matching
  • One lost hat, black
  • A man with one leg shorter than the other
  • A guy playing Christmas music on his saxophone
  • All the random people I normally see on the way to work

Monday, December 18, 2006

What life really is

My senior year in high school I saw a short animated film on TV. A man on a bicycle rode up to a museum and walked in. As he roamed through the museum and looked at the different pieces of art, his physical form would change. When he looked at a Picasso, he became a little more square. When he looked at a Monet, he became a little more fuzzy and muted. Each experience with the art left a physical mark on him. By the time he walked out of the museum and got on his bike, he was a totally different person.

This is how I feel most of the time. Everything I read, all of my friends, all of the movies I see, the people I watch on the train, they all leave this imprint on me. In a way it's interesting. I think it's good to be open to different experiences and influences. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if I really am an individual seperate from other people or if the only way I can define myself is through other people and things.

As I mentioned earlier, I am reading Killing Yourself to Live. The part I read on the train this morning, Klosterman talks about how at some point he stopped doing certain things (going to meaningless keg parties - making random intense friends for only a night) and that he didn't mean to stop doing these things, he didn't concisously decide to stop doing these things, but he doesn't miss doing these things, and unless he really sits around and thinks about it, he didn't even realize how much his life had changed. I think everyone has these types of experiences. Those nights at the bar where you pratically share your entire life story with some person, feel that you connect with this person on every level, your thoughts are racing so fast it's hard to form the words, and you can barely contain the excitement in you at having found this person - and then you never talk to them again. Going out dancing, or to a show or to a movie almost every week and each time realizing how wonderful and full life is, how lucky you are that you get to have these experiences, and how they make you whole only to turn around and realize that you haven't seen a movie or show or been dancing in over six months. Some things that were important to you 10 years ago (even if they weren't all that profound), probably aren't important to you now. And these kinds of changes, these seem to me to be pretty universal events.

But are they really? Do I think they're universal because I consistantly define my life by the actions and thoughts of others? Because Klosterman says they happen to him and to everyone else, I feel they happen to me (and everyone else). Or even more importantly, because he says they happen to him, they have happened to me. And even more importantly than that, because I read this passage in a book about life and changing and whatnot, I immediately start to think how that defines me, what it means to me and how I can incorporate it into myself and then spew it back out so you believe that this is what is in me. Beginning this blog with a story about how going through life being open to experiences means being under the influence of these experiences. When maybe it's not what's in me, but a representation of what I saw in a short animated film and what I read in a novel, and these ideas were taken from other ideas and so on and on. Then again, maybe (and I'm saying just maybe - because I'm really not sure and doubt I'll ever be) that's what life really is.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fake plastic gloves

It's true, Santa's green gloves do not really go with the rest of his outfit. But I assume that the designer of this little wind-up toy felt he must insert the color green or else we wouldn't recognize it as being a Christmas toy. I mean, everyone knows the colors of Christmas are red and green, even the 11-year-old Chinese boy that doesn't get to go to school, but instead puts together Christmas wind-up toys for greedy American's to buy their husbands because it's cute.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Anyway no more

I have been taking the train, or "L" or "el" - depending on what you want to call it, though I believe the CTA calls it the "L" - to work almost every day for the better part of 10 years. While I realize this is unremarkable to the millions of people that live in cities like Chicago, New York, London, Paris etc., there are still millions of people (even in said cities) that get in a car each day and drive to work. So just as most of my family (who lives in Texas and Oklahoma) and even my husband's family (who lives in Cleveland) find it fascinating that I get on a train each day to go to work, I find it - well not fascinating, but still interesting that they get in their cars and drive to work. I can not imagine doing this every day. I have only had to do this once, and it was driving less than two miles and I only did it for about six months. That in and of itself seems remarkable, because if I worked less than two miles from my apartment in Chicago, I probably would walk - or at least ride my bike - but in the suburbs of Cleveland, one does not normally do such things - especially in winter.

The point is, if there is a point, that I can not imagine driving to work each day. And if I did drive to work each day, I would miss out on all of the interesting things that I get to see on the train, and I would have to find more time to read, as I do the majority of my reading on the half hour ride to and from work.

One of the things I like the most about riding the train, is it really shows how small the world is, even when it is so clearly huge. This morning I walked to the train behind a woman with long blond hair and a blue bag. Once I climbed the stairs, we went our separate ways and I didn't notice her on the platform or on the train. I spent the next half hour reading. As the train pulled into the Quincy station, my stop, I prepared to rejoin the world, putting away my book, and as I stepped off the train, there she was right in front of me again. This happens all the time. I see people that for whatever reason I notice when I am getting on the train or walking to the train or sitting next to them on the train. And then they get off at the same stop I do. This means we live and work relatively close to one another, and yet, I have no idea who she is, what she does, where she lives or works. All I know about her is that she has blond hair and a blue bag, lives close to the Southport Brown line stop and works near the Quincy stop. Even though we don't have a connection, we do. And that is one of the great reasons to ride the train to work.

On a completely unrelated topic (I really want to say ANYWAY here, but I can't say that anymore. I am reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live and to make transitions from rambling story to rambling story, he uses ANYWAY. Obviously, he is not the only one who has used this technique. I think anyone who reads through my journals, letters, and even previous blog posts - paltry though they may be - can see that I like to use this transition rather than actually composing a transition. However, I feel that I can no longer use it because I don't want people to think that I am blatantly ripping Chuck off - even though I feel that I have partly started blogging because of people like Chuck and David Eggers who write in that very self referential style. Regardless, I will attempt to revert back to actual writing technique and come up with genuine transitions. Right now, however, the best I can come up with is On a completely unrelated topic) I was telling my husband, JP, that one of my coworkers (we'll call him Pierre) always has a smart-ass response to anything you ask or say to him. Of course I can't remember an example right now, but just believe me on this one. His smart-assedness is not the point. The point is that I too tend to be a bit of a smart-ass. Much like Pierre, I acknowledge and am aware of this trait. I think I'm being funny. I assume Pierre does too. And sometimes it is funny. Since it takes one to know one, I understand that this is not done to be rude (though that is one of his defining characteristics also). However, I do find it a tiring. Just once I'd like a straight answer. And so now I realize - though I really did know this before, just not as clearly as I do now - that I am sure my smart-ass remarks are probably tiring to those around me, most specifically to JP and my sister, J, as they take the brunt of it. So, JP and J, if you're reading this, I will try to be less of a smart-ass around you, and instead concentrate all of my smart-ass comments at Pierre, as he deserves them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jackson Dreams

Walking down Jackson Blvd. this morning, I remembered a strange dream I had last night. I don't know what it was that reminded me of this dream. Some little glimpse of something, a smell maybe, or just thoughts cycling through my head and I got to the dream and it came blossoming out. Anyway, this dream was about my cousin Laura, who lives in Texas and I rarely see. She's about 18 or 19. She ran away from home or left home or something, because of this guy. Well this guy turns out to be this total jerk Chris that I used to work with at Barnes & Noble. For reasons too long to go into here, the last time I spoke to him was via an email and I told him that I never wanted to talk to him again, and that if he saw me walking down the street I'd advise him to turn around and go the other way. So as you can imagine, I was not too happy about my cousin hooking up with this guy. There were lots of other weird things going on in the dream. I was at college, in our main student building, and I was helping with some sort of festival, that Chris and Laura were at too. Several people were dressed up in different costumes, and we were making Swedish food and serving it to people. I know it's a common question, where dreams come from and what they mean. And lord knows I'm not the person to answer that question. But sometimes I wish someone would...then again, it's a nice mystery.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The first...maybe the last

I recently went to a party where I was talking to some college kids. They asked me what I did. Whenever I hear this question I always feel the need to explain that while I currently do "internal communications" for a financial company, my background is in journalism and that I am a writer. Invariably people ask me if I write a lot, which of course I no longer really do outside of the daily emails for corporate types. Anyway, I mentioned that the one type of writing that I had done fairly consistently since I was a kid was journaling and that I had a shelf full of journals going back as far as second grade. But of course, I barely journal anymore and half the entries are me catching the un-named reader up on current events in my life. I think my current journal covers more than three years.

So, all of this brings me to my new blog. Maybe taking a few minutes each day, every other day, once a month, whatever, will start my creative juices flowing (which is the main reason I like to journal anyway) and I'll have something else to share with future generations that will invariably laugh at my musings, but at least they're not taking up precious shelf space.

Popular Posts