Monday, April 30, 2007

Words of Wisdom

I was reminded last week of this eternal truth: If you're stopped at a red light, the best way to make it change is to start digging in the depths of your bag for something. I think it follows along the lines of "a watched pot never boils."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Day, Shakes!

I heard on the drive into work this morning that William Shakespeare is believed to have been born and died on April 23. Quite a significant day for the bard!

Some of my favorite Shakespeare plays all revolve around the circumstances in which I saw them. I enjoy "Twelfth Night" because, for a while there, it seemed like my mom and I couldn't escape it. When we wanted to see some Shakespeare in Cleveland, "Twelfth Night" was showing. We went to Stratford-upon-Avon, and you'll never believe what was the current play ...

Last year we went to "Macbeth" at an outdoor staging at Stan Hywet Hall. In London, my parents and I saw "King Lear" at the re-created Globe Theatre on the bank of the Thames.

I've never really gotten into the history plays much--probably because we never read many of them in any of the 2 Shakespeare or various other literature classes I've taken. Maybe if there's one playing this summer, that will change my mind.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Since my last post was insanely long and you'll need a few breaks if you even try to wade through it .... here's today's post:


You will all love this site--especially if you're related to me and have a cat. Of course, the day I post the link, the site is apparently down. But check back next week!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is It Really That Hard? Insurance

Alright, I'm going to try and keep this succinct, because every time I think about it, I get twitchy.

After my car was stolen and it took the insurance 5 weeks to get the car back to me (keeping in mind that it was recovered after only one), I was fed up. They raised our rates every 6 months, and I didn't feel like I was being treated like a valued customer. So we switched.

Our next-door neighbor recommended his guy. We talked to the guy and got a quote. He seemed nice enough; he even explained that he was salary and didn't make any money off our policies, so anything he recommended would only be in our best interest--not his. Plus the quote was a significant savings from our old insurance company, so we were all set!

There was one thing that bothered me, though. When discussing our rates, he made a point to remind us of all the things that could be counted against us when looking for new rates. They included:
  • My car being stolen
  • Keith getting hit (through no fault of his own)
  • Me getting into a fender-bender (through some fault of my own) over 4 years ago
He told us that NONE of these things should technically count against us when getting insurance. Insurance companies are legally required to ignore things that aren't your fault and accidents that are over 3 years old. But, he warned us, they'll consider it anyway.

Ummm, okay. Why tell me that? What the hell am I supposed to do about it?!? It just makes me feel helpless before The Man.

But we signed with him anyway, because it really was a great rate ..... then, a week later, we get the bill. And it's for $300 higher than what he'd quoted me.

I emailed him and asked what was going on. He said I was probably confused because the bill was for auto and home. I wasn't--the auto alone was $300 above the quote. He ignored me for a few days, then finally emailed back that there'd been a "miscommunication" about the quote ... but the good news is that we were still saving $133 from our old insurance.

I'm getting seriously pissed. I don't want to save $133. I want to save the $433 you promised me when I chose your insurance company. I say I don't think the client should be responsible for bearing the entire burden of his mistake, and ask him what he's going to do to fix it.

He goes on vacation for a week.

He got back on Tuesday. We needed to mail in our premium by today to make sure it wasn't late. I emailed him Tuesday morning and laid it all out: It's your mistake, your company should make up the difference between the quote and the actual cost. I understand it's a one-time deal, and our insurance would go up to the norm next time, but you should honor your quote.

I don't hear back. I email again Wednesday morning. And then I call and leave a message with both my work phone and cell phone.

8:30 Thursday morning, I call and leave another message with my contact numbers. Keep in mind--I'm calling his cell phone.

10:30 Thursday morning, I call his assistant and explain he's MIA, I want this resolved, and can she please give me the name and number of his supervisor so if I haven't heard back from him by the end of the day, I'll work my way up the chain of command.

I don't want to be doing this. I hate wasting my time and energy correcting other people's mistakes. In this instance--the insurance guy's mistake that he wasn't owning up to. But just because he was avoiding me, I wasn't going to just give up and pay him the money. What other choices did I have?

His assistant refuses to give me his supervisor's name--she says she doesn't know who that would be. But he's in today--she'll transfer me to his office number.

I leave yet another vaguely threatening message with my contact numbers.

An hour later ... Keith calls. The insurance guy CALLED KEITH. That's the lengths to which he'll go to avoid me. He told Keith his hands are tied--the company won't pay us the difference. But he magnanimously offered to send us the $50 commission he was making on our insurance, to make things right.

Keith pointed out to me that he'd originally told us he's solely salary--not commission-based at all. So where's this $50 coming from?

And that's how it ends. We have to pay the $300 above the quote, and he's giving us the commission he wasn't really making. And he refuses to talk to me. Would you have handled it any differently?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Work Wardrobe

Beckett and I ran this morning before work. Unfortunately, because Cleveland is apparently unaware late April should be Spring, I had to wear my winter tights, warm top, and vest.

When I got home and went to get in the shower, I couldn't get the vest unzipped. Partway down, it stuck. It wouldn't go up or down. In the few seconds before I got it unzipped, several different scenarios went through my head.

What all were my options?
  • Go to work wearing the stinky grey running shirt and hot pink vest, complete with venting in the back (like a see-through top!)
  • Call in sick and stay home because I couldn't get the vest off.
Suddenly I pictured myself wearing the vest at all times. Taking showers in it. Wearing it over work clothes, casual clothes, evening wear. At Keith's sister's wedding. Over my bathing suit (interesting tan lines).

But then the zipper came free, and the vest came off. Anyone expecting to stand within a few feet of me should feel grateful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's My Time Worth?

I complain a lot about people and modern society. I hate waiting in lines. I hate dealing with the random public. I like peace and quiet.

I also rant often and at a loud volume about not having enough time. I value my time very highly, which is part of the reason why I hate waiting so much. That time was already allocated to something I'd rather be doing.

So, amid all this self-pity, I discovered yesterday that my time does have a price tag after all. And it's the cost of one Chipotle burrito.

Keith went to Chipotle on Saturday, and discovered that, as a tax-day gimmick, if you bought a burrito on Saturday or Sunday, you could come back on Monday with your receipt and get a free one. Perfect!

When we got to Chipotle, the line was all the way back to the door. And yet, not getting into line didn't even cross our minds. It was a free burrito! So we stood patiently in line. So patiently, in fact, that I couldn't even tell you how long we were there for. 15 minutes, maybe?

All I know is that we got a free burrito. And a free side of guac because the workers were too busy and forgot to charge us for it. Time well spent.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Office: 4/12 Recap

Michael: Pam, depression is as scary as a baler, right?
Pam: I don't understand the question.
Michael: Working in an office can lead to depression, which can lead to suicide. I mean, this is really serious stuff.... Nobody commits suicide because they work with a baler [....]
Pam: It's really hard to demonstrate depression. Their safety training had visuals.

Dwight: I'm temporarily lifting the shun.
Andy: Thank you.
Dwight: It means nothing. I need you to do something for me.
Andy: Anything.
Dwight: Okay, calm down! I need you to acquire an inflatable house, and/or castle.
Andy: You mean a moonbounce.
Dwight: Whatever you think. You have an hour.
Andy: I'm going to need petty cash.
Dwight: Shunning resumed. (raising right hand to indicate raising a screen.)
Andy: Do you want a drawbridge?
Dwight: (lowering right hand) Unshun.... Yeah, that sounds good. (raising right hand) Re-shun.

Daryl: Mike, you're a very brave man. I mean, it takes courage just to be you. To get out of bed every ... single ... day, knowing full well that you gotta be you.
Michael: Do you really mean that?
Daryl: I couldn't do it! I ain't that strong, and I ain't that brave.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You Say Tomato

I found another way in which Keith and I are opposites.

It happened on Saturday; we were running errands, so we went into several stores in a short time period. At the first store, I paid with my credit card. At the second store, he paid with his plastic.

I couldn't help but notice how quickly he swiped his card through the card reader. "Wow," I exclaimed intelligently. "You're a fast swiper! Aren't you afraid the card reader isn't going to recognize your card?"

Keith stared at me. "No," he said. "But I did notice that you swipe very slowly." Which is true; I want to give the machine plenty of time to collect all of the information it needs.

So there you have it--just another example of how opposites really do attract.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Good Listener

On Monday night, Keith, Mon, and I went to the Bob Schneider concert at the Beachland Ballroom. This is the third time Keith and I have seen Bob perform, and it's always a great show.

I mean, it's pretty much as low-tech as you can get. So it's not a "Show" with pyrotechnics and fancy lights, etc. But he always engages the audience, and talks between songs. He, personally, is funny and entertaining. This time, he went around the room and let people pick out which song they wanted to hear. That was the majority of the concert. How cool is that?

We got there early enough that we had a table off to the left-hand side. The Ballroom has very high ceilings, and I was cold for most of the night. Not shivering, just slightly chilled. I did eventually take my coat off, but I left on my scarf and either had my hands in my pockets or my arms crossed.

As blogged about previously, when the singer/band can actually see me in the audience, I'm a little lost. I don't really know how to act. I just go to see--not to be seen.

This time, I knew that he could see me because when he pointed to our table for a request, I asked for "Bullets" and he played it. So for most of the show, I felt guilty whenever I had my arms crossed. Because in Communications 101, you're taught basic body language, and that someone who has their arms folded across their chest is closed off and not listening.

But what if she is listening, and she's just cold? Can't she still be enjoying the concert? I'd like to think that, if Bob ever looked my way during the rest of the concert, he knew I was a good--if chilled--listener.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Pursuit of Happiness

I feel like I've been hearing a lot about happiness lately. About how we as a society are obsessed with it, and the pursuit of it. How we haven't achieved it.

"The Pursuit of Happiness in Perspective" by Darrin McMahon puts "the pursuit of happiness" into a historical perspective. I found it's conclusion interesting--that you can only find happiness when that's not your main goal, you're actually working towards something else.

Similarly, "The Science of Lasting Happiness" by Marina Krakovsky suggests that no matter how much we achieve/earn/do, happiness will always seem just out of reach because we adapt to our current state.

So what does this mean for me, personally? I think that I have fallen into the trap of chasing happiness. Feeling that there must always be something out there that will make my life complete. Trying to do more and see more to finally be enough.

According to, the definition of content is " Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied." I think, in the future, I'll try to focus more on being content than being happy. The competitor in me instantly smells the reek of defeat, in giving up the race. But I prefer to think that I'd be joining a kinder, gentler competition. The kind you were in as a kid, where everyone gets a ribbon just for competing, and everyone feels better for it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I'll take two!

I got some really good presents this year for my birthday. Keith got me a fabulous scanner, that I can't wait to use for scrapbooking, etc. I also got CDs and a Margaret Atwood book and the gift that keeps on giving--a Borders gift card.

However, in case I couldn't figure it out on my own, I have a surefire way of telling that I got great gifts: my sisters bought them for themselves, too. Amy gave me a really cool deck prism. It's a glass prism that's meant to sit flush with a wooden ship's deck, and distribute the light below deck. It's quirky, elegant, and useful! I love it. As I was exclaiming over it last night, Amy admitted she couldn't resist buying one for herself.

Erin got me some cute clothes for work. Dark grey pants, light turquoise shirt, and a scarf with both colors in it, among others. I'm very excited to have new clothes for work instead of the same old. Erin said I could return the clothes if I wanted to ... but she did try them on and they looked fabulous. Her pants are brown, but the shirt's the same.

I think that's one of the highest compliments a present can get, if the giver wants one for herself too. They really are fabulous gifts, and I think we'll all enjoy them. As long as Keith didn't secretly buy himself a second scanner!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Must holidays always be happy?

According to, today is a traditional Chinese holiday roughly translated as Grave Sweeping Day. It's a beautiful Spring day, you get outside to enjoy the fresh air, and also to clean off the graves of your beloved, respected, deceased ancestors.

Of course, I think the concept loses some of its hopefulness on a snowy, cold, windy day like today. Especially when it was 70 degrees a mere 48 hours ago. If it were a nice day, one could contemplate death as a part of life and the cycles of nature, while surrounded by the renewal of life that comes with spring.

If I were to go to a graveyard today, however, I would not see the affirmation of life. No birds would be chirping, and any early spring flowers would be bowed under the weight of snow. Maybe in China they can commit to an outdoor holiday early in Spring. Around here, even Memorial Day can be iffy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Through a typo, a slip of the left ring finger, I have found my blog Doppelganger.

And it frightens me in so, so many ways.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Birthday, Self!

Happy Birthday to me!

Maybe, if I'm lucky, when I get home from work tonight Keith will have a cake waiting for me. Complete with two arms and a happy, happy face for me to eat. Fingers crossed!

I hope everyone enjoys my birthday, even without an animated pink cake.