Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Window to My World

Okay, so the title of this post is nothing short of pretentious. I just wanted to show you what I'm currently using as wallpaper on my desktop background. It's a picture I took a month or two ago during the first real snow of the season. Here 'tis!

Hope you likes it! And, in case I don't post again before tomorrow, A Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a happy...night.... (I think I got that wrong...) :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

On Being a Writer

Here's something I wrote at Magelby's Take-out the other day:

Here's a quote to chew on: "Non-writers talk about writing. Writers write." I fear that I've been a non-writer for much to long. Of course, this leads me to another quote: "Typists pound keyboards. Writers stare out windows." I think I can safely say that I'm more of a stare-out-the-window wrtier than a get-the-words-on-a-page writer, which is really where the problem is. Despite having ideas, despite the longing I have to write, I still manage to spend a whole heck of a lot of time away from my keyboard. About the only time I've made any significant venture into the writing world is when I'm sitting at a local restaurant, waiting for my food to be brought to me, and I realize that I haven't brought a book in with me. So, to use up the seven or eight minutes that I'm waiting, I whip out a paper and pen and jot down something.

But then, as they say, something is better than nothing, and I suppose that it's better to jot down a few words while waiting for Chicken Parmesan with marinara sauce (mmm...) than to spend the time counting all my credit cards (2).

Maybe my New Year's Resolution List will go something like this:
  1. I will write at least 200 words per day on any subject whatsoever
  2. I will write at least 1000 words per week on my novel
  3. I will reveal to at least 2 people per month that I'm working on a novel, in order to promote it before its impending publication
  4. I will laugh at myself at least 3 times a day for having the hubris to think that I'll ever be published
  5. I will chastise myself severely after each laughing session for being so mean to myself.

Er. That doesn't make much sense. And, it's not very funny. But hey, if you've come here to be entertained, you've come to the wrong place. This is just me, trying to work out how to do stuff and not go crazy. And you can take that and chew on it for awhile.

Here's a picture. Enjoy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Why do songs make us sad?

Today while driving to pick up some sort-of-last-minute, but-not-too-last-minute Christmas presents, I spent some time radio surfing, as usual. This is one of the major consequences of not having a CD or tape player in my car. If I had a CD player, I would spend all my time rocking out to Vertical Horizon, crooning with Norah Jones, or relaxing to "The Soft Sounds of Ralph Vaughn Williams." As it is, I generally spend most of my time with NPR, at least until I get tired of having my brain bent towards liberal thought, or until I just feel like something upbeat or tuneful.

So, if I'm feeling intellectual, (and a little pretensious, or maybe just spiritual), I'll hit the preset for the local classical music station. Or, (more likely), if I'm feeling impatient, rebellious and surly, and/or if I just feel like jamming, I'll poke around on my various alternative music station presets until I find a song that's worth listening to.

I found one today. One of my favorite bands (Coldplay) has recently released a new song. I have no idea what the title is, but the first time I heard it (likely about a week or two ago), I was captivated by the song's inherent sweet wistfulness. The song was captivating; I found myself swept up into its emotion and suddenly felt a kind of anchorless longing for something, and I felt so sad.

It's been a long time since I've allowed myself to feel sad about things. I spend most of my time caught up with my 'daily grind' life, focused on how on earth I'm going to resolve an issue at work, trying to decide what the next step is for applying to grad school, spending way too much time on the computer or watching tv, or reading a purely escapist novel. I spend so much time away from myself. And even though feeling sad was, well, sad, it still gave me a chance to connect with myself in a way I haven't done for weeks. I felt something, and even though it was painful, it was strangely...healing.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Customer Service is Making Me a Mean, Mean, Person

So I won't tell you how many times I swear under my breath when I'm at work. Nor will I tell you how often I roll my eyes, or groan before picking up a phone, or grind my teeth, or think of screaming. Nope. I'm not going to tell you any of that. And, I won't tell you how often, right before I walk into the office, I have to kind of square my shoulders and take a deep, deep breath before I can dive into my daily work routine.

It's not that my work is terribly difficult. I sit at a desk all day, take phone calls, print orders, and in between that try to take care of any issues that come up on our online forum. It's not even that the people I deal with every day are unpleasant. For the most part, they're usually quite nice. It's that I dread them. I dread dealing with them, and it's even gone so far that I now dislike them collectively (not individually). I don't want to talk to them, I don't want to take their orders, and I don't want to solve their problems.

In short, I have a bad attitude about customer service.

I wasn't always this way. I used to enjoy talking with customers. I was understanding and patient, and I wanted to help them get the right product, or a refund, or whatever the heck else they wanted. Now, I just freaking don't care. I just want all of those pesky, irritating people to leave me alone. It reminds me of a poster I saw at "If We Don't Take Care of the Customer, Maybe They'll Stop Bugging Us." Classic. And oh, so true.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Pennies on the Sidewalk

I know I was an adult when my mom told me about this--I just can't remember exactly how old I was. But my memory has that adult-feeling to it, and feels more recent than any adolescent or childhood memory. My mom and I were walking down a sidewalk somewhere, when she saw a penny and stopped to pick it up. She asked if she had ever told me what finding a penny means to her. When I responded that she hadn't, she explained: at some point in my mom's life, she decided that whenever she found a penny on a sidewalk, (or elsewhere), that it was a message from God that He loved her, or that He wanted to remind her that He was there.

I'll admit: it's rather difficult to remember all the little things your parents tell you, especially those pesky bits of advice like "Be home by midnight," and "When you're sliding on snow, turn into the slide." But, for some reason, this little tidbit has stuck with me over the past few years, maybe because it was simply something I needed to remember. Whatever the reason, whenever I find a penny now, I'm reminded, given a brief touch, a little prompt, that God is thinking of me, and that he wants me to remember that.

I love finding pennies. I found one today, and, in the midst of chastising myself rather too severely for being late to ward choir practice, it was a comfort to have a small reminder that God does think of me, and that just as He's mindful of my foibles, He's also mindful of my needs, and the good things I do, and that He loves me. It was a timely reminder, and a very good thing to know.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm a poet, and I didn't even...nevermind.

I wrote a poem today for the first time in months. I had forgotten what a satisfying sensation it is to take a phrase, or an idea, and spin it out into something held together with a few choice words. (Well, I guess that's more of an ideal poem-composing situation than actual reality, but you get the picture. *smiles*)

I don't write enough. I know I don't, but more than that, I just haven't been creating enough lately. I've been so focused on the little pleasures of life (like watching a good TV show, or even a really lame TV show, or playing on my laptop, or *gasp* trying to figure out this whole scrapbooking thing). It's so easy to let my time get sucked into doing these things, none of which are bad, but if they make up your entire life, then you really don't have much substance. I guess that's kind of how I've been feeling lately--like my life has no real meat, no soul. It's been a cotton candy existence. Not unpleasant, certainly, and good in small doses, but with very little nutritional value--it melts into nothing the instant it is consumed.

Maybe that's why it was so good to write again--I did it during my lunch break while I was waiting for my chicken parmesan to be cooked. (Gosh, I love that stuff.) I was treating myself to a slightly nicer lunch than usual, since today was payday, and I felt rather rich. (Well, 'slightly rich' might be more accurate.)

Anyway, about a week ago, I had the chance to be one of two attendees at a piano recital my younger sister Joanna was giving. Her senior recital is this Saturday, but she's doing a few warm-up performances to give her a chance to perform her pieces before the main one. While watching her play, I noticed that the reflection of her hands and arms on the surface of the black piano almost looked like a painting, so I wrote down the observation on a program. Today, that observation evolved into a poem. It's not a very good poem, (I'm really not a very good poet), but the mindset that comes with condensing your words into a poetic format is stimulating, to say the least. I was glad I ate chicken parmesan today. Glad, at least, that it gave me a few moments to do some needed creation.