frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Sign of Clip-Art To Come

So I was walking in my neighborhood this morning before work and...

Ok, ok, you can stop looking so shocked. Yes, I was walking. Yes, it was in the morning. And yes, it was before work. (And no, work does not start at noon!)

Ahem. When were you thinking you might pick your jaw up from the floor? Because I was thinking now would be a good time, so I can finish this story.

Thanks.

ANYWAY. As I was walking, I passed a telephone pole with an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper stapled to it. The sign was for pool and spa maintenance, and had the requisite phone numbers printed vertically along the bottom in little strips that had been scissored so you could tear them off easily. Above the strips was a black and white line drawing of a child in the air, looking terrified as he either jumped or fell (impossible to tell which) into the waiting arms of a man whose mouth was open in an apparent scream. Another man, who was also waist-deep in what I could only assume was the pool (but judging from their expressions, you'd have thought it was a vat of hot, flesh-melting lava), had a similar look of hellish torment on his undetailed face.

I had to read the headline again to remind myself it was pool service that was being offered and not, say, the ever-popular Vacation Getaway Package in Hades. I mean, who wouldn't want to call guys who use such persuasive images to promote their product? "Dying to get your pool fixed? We can help!"

So, my big question is, how much does Clip Art actually cost? Do these guys need to drum up some pool and spa maintenance business before they can afford any? Because if so, they might be in a little bit of trouble.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Excuses, Excuses!

After I posted my last entry, I had this revelatory thought: What am I waiting for, anyway??

So heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it looks like it's off to work I go! Yee-ha.

Until I resurface from the morass of busywork and errands that threatens to drown my beleaguered but unconquered spirit (how's that for being dramatic?), I wish you all an awesome weekend. And in the midst of all the stuff there is to be done, take some time to do a little bit of nothing. I'm quite convinced that it's good for the soul.

Take it from me--I'm an expert at doing nothing.

Hey, at least I know what I'm good at, yeah?

Oh yeah.

Undone and Waiting

Right now, there is a pile of clean laundry on my bed, waiting to be folded, and a pile of dirty laundry in a plastic basket, waiting to be taken down to the washing machine. There are piles of mail waiting to be sorted--one on the bed, one on top of a portable filing box, one scattered around on the floor next to the same filing box. There is a house waiting (probably in vain) to be cleaned. There is an envelope waiting to be taken to the post office.

There is a Beethoven sonata waiting to be practised. There is a piano composition by a woman whose name I can't remember, waiting to be started.

There are novels and stories and poems by other people waiting to be read. There are my stories, waiting to be written.

Ah, the day is slipping by so fast. I am leaving so much undone... and waiting.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Smile

So I was sitting in traffic on the way home from work, getting cranky because traffic puts me in a bad mood, when I looked up at an overpass and saw a man with a little boy on his shoulders. The little boy was waving to all the people locked away in their iron coffins below. Beside these two was a little girl with long brown hair, in a bright yellow dress. She kept jumping up and down like she couldn't imagine a more exciting view than the one she was looking at right then--miles of glinting metal cartops and flashing red brake lights as far as she could probably see.

In that moment, as I looked up at the cheerful little group on the overpass, I didn't mind that I was stuck in the inevitable Los Angeles gridlock. I didn't mind that I was exhausted, because of not getting enough sleep last night. I didn't mind that I have to wake up earlier than usual tomorrow because of a meeting at one of client's offices.*

I smiled up at the man, the boy, and the little girl as I passed beneath them, and I kept smiling as I left them behind.



*Of course, I mind that now.

Pensivity

It's nearly 1 a.m., and I can't sleep.

It's been a long couple of days. My mother had surgery on Tuesday, and is still in the hospital recovering. Everything went well, and she is doing fine. I'm not sure how I'm doing. Tired, I guess. Stressed.

I'm empty of things to say, but full of the desire to say something. The story of my life.

I'm so tired. Why won't sleep come?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Three More Weeks...

Well, the countdown is upon me. Only three more weeks until I hop on a plane to Kentucky, to do the first 10 days of my first semester in a graduate writing program.

I'm a little nervous for lots of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I apparently cannot pronounce the name of the city where I'll be staying—Louisville—correctly. I didn't even know I was saying it wrong, until I randomly met a sweet Southern lady at a friend's parents' going-away party, who kindly informed me that it isn't pronounced "Lou-ee-ville" as I thought but "Loovle" or something like that. (If I can't even WRITE it, how am I supposed to say it?! Gah.) Anyway, I dutifully repeated the word "Louisville" after her a few times, doing my best to train my barbaric say-all-the-syllables West Coast accent into something that sounded like I was swallowing my tongue. The sweet Southern lady finally said that I got it, but I think she was just being, well, sweet.

Aside from not speaking Southern, I am excited about all the attractions and activities that Louisville offers to the tourist. Not that I am going to have time for touristing, but anyplace that puts The American Printing House for the Blind at the top of their sightseeing page gets an appreciative round of applause from me. (Also the coveted Frogg Award for Excellence in Irony.)

This is going to be fun.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Left My Heart In San Franisco!!!

If by "heart," you mean "favorite jeans EVER" and if by "San Francisco," you mean "the outer limits of the East Bay."

I cannot adequately describe my severe trauma upon unpacking my bags from the weekend trip and NOT seeing my favorite pair of jeans. Apparently I left them on the floor at becca's house. I have no idea what I am going to wear until I get them back. Oh. My. Gosh. WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!?!

My "skinny" jeans, I guess. Thank God I still have those. Whatever would I do without them.

Besides breathe, that is.

I am so depressed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wine Tasting Tips(y)

So on Saturday, I went wine tasting with friends in lovely Sonoma, CA. In addition to spending too much on wine (I bought a pinot and a zin from Gundlach-Bundschu, and a very refreshing moscato from Ravenswood), I also learned a valuable lesson, which can be summarized most succinctly as follows:

Don't go wine tasting on an empty stomach.

Er, not that I'm saying I learned that by personal experience or anything. Because of course I wouldn't do anything so silly.

Ahem.

Let's talk about something else now, shall we?

Such as the weather. Getting cold, isn't it? The high today in SoCal was only 75 degrees F! Brrr. Sweater season has arrived in the Golden State...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fleeing The Scene

Sometimes, I think I go to the Bay Area specifically to experience the drive. Don't get me wrong; I love arriving and being there, of course, but I find myself oddly looking forward to the six hours I have all to myself in the car, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Six hours of a long, flat (except for the Grapevine) and straight road that keeps heading into a far horizon, between groves of citrus trees, cotton fields, and emptiness. Six hours to think, to sing along with whatever music I'm playing, to pray, to daydream, to think some more.

I'll be taking that drive today, because I feel desperately the need to get out of town. It's been a very tiring week and I'm, well, tired. But not too tired to hit the road... speaking of which, I need to pack so I can get going!

While I'm away, be good, play nice, and enjoy your weekend. Do something fun! Read a book, or part of one. Watch a movie. Eat pizza. Try to survive the Apocalypse, if it happens.

And as always when I leave — miss me, my darlings!

Kisses from the frogg princess...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pat, I'd Like To Buy An "L", Please

For $40,000.

Swamped

Been a crazy couple of days in agency land, big red project folders flying everywhere.

I am not sure why we have our projects in red folders. I suppose to draw attention to them, so we don't forget to work on the projects they contain, but their sheer size should ensure our rememberance--I mean, they're like 2' x 3'. Kind of hard to miss, I'd say.

Frankly, I hate the red folders, because they're so alarming. Around 1 pm, the traffic manager (who monitors where and at what stage all the jobs are as they go through the agency process) came over and dropped off not one, but FOUR of these giant red folders on my desk. That was in addition to the three she had put there just moments before. I immediately felt my heart rate increase in stressed response.

"I'm sorry," she said, "but these are all rather hot." (She's British, as you can tell from the "rather.")

Well, of course they are hot. They are in red folders! How could they be anything other than a rushing, life-and-death emergency? I could probably count the number of times a project landed on my desk that wasn't due the exact same day on one red-ink stained hand.

Deadlines will be deadlines regardless of chromatic affiliations, but if anyone had asked me (and as usual, no one did), I would have chosen a different color for these stress-inducing folders in the interests of, well, reducing at least some of that stress. Like, say, the color yellow. It's hard to be angry and irritable in the face of such a cheery hue. Unless, of course, you get mad because it has no business being cheery when you are so stressed.

Ok, so maybe not yellow. Blue? No, that would be too cold. You wouldn't want to touch it for fear of the arctic chills. Orange? Eew.

Maybe green. Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think it would be the ideal color. Not hot, not cold, not ugly. Just a pleasant shade that reminds one that there is green grass somewhere beyond the cubicle walls, and outside the building where the sun (one hopes) still shines.

On second thought, green is depressing. Boo.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Adventures in Proofreading

Some may think that proofreading (my profession du jour) is boring. I say it's an adventure. You just never know what you might find.

In the interests of not getting fired, I will refrain from posting some of the more intriguing errors, typos, innuendos, and awkward grammatical constructions I've found in client material as it goes the rounds in our agency. But don't worry — I find mistakes all over the place, not just at work, and sometimes it can be quite entertaining.

As in this sentence, culled from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review (via Critical Mass):

"DeYoung, a prize-winning Washington Post reporter, is the kind of biographer every pubic figure hopes for, or ought to: judicious, thorough, unstinting." (emphasis mine)

Classic. Gotta love the typos that don't get caught by spell check because they happen to be reel words.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Memory

My favorite earrings were given to me by a girl I met at a university in Ramallah, two years ago.

She had a pale face, dark hair, and very light blue eyes. When S-- saw her, she wanted to photograph her. The girl seemed hesitant at first, wary, but she said ok. S-- asked the girl if she wanted the boy she was sitting next to in the picture as well, but the girl shook her head emphatically and drew away from him.

(We did see co-ed groupings sitting together and talking on the campus, but it was much more common to see girls with girls and men with men. Apart from the tendency toward gender segregation, I was startled to realize that I felt as if I were walking around any university campus back home. The atmosphere of eager learning and potential was the same.)

I think the girl's name was Fatima. I made the mistake of telling her I liked her earrings, which are long and dangly and have old Palestinian coins on them, at which she immediately reached up and began to take them out of her ears.

"Here," she said.

"Oh no," I protested. "I can't take them."

"You like them?" she asked.

"Yes, but I don't want to take them from you."

"It's ok, I can get more any time," she said, holding them out to me.

I still tried to refuse, but the virtues of giving and hospitality are so important to Middle Eastern culture, and I began to worry I would hurt her feelings or dishonor her if I did not take the earrings. Also, in truth, I wanted them. So in the end I allowed her to put them in my hands.

"I have nothing to give you in return," I said, uncomfortably aware of the weight of a necklace at my throat, which in fact was something. But my cousin in Egypt had given it to me, and I felt wrong about giving away another's gift. Also, in truth, I wanted to keep it. So I did.

"It's ok," she said. "That would not be proper anyway."

She gave me her cell phone number in case I had any free time to meet with her later. As it turned out, we left Ramallah that afternoon, and in our short time remaining in Israel, did not go back. So I never saw her again, and probably never will.

But I think of her whenever I wear her earrings.

Now I wish I had given her the necklace. It broke before I even returned home, which was only a couple weeks after I met her. I still have the necklace, somewhere, but I cannot wear it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Conversation With Steve: The Pot Luck

So yesterday the redoubtable Steve and I were chatting about his upcoming talk to a group of high school students from his church, and, as tends to happen in our conversations, we went off on a tangent. In this case, the tangent was: pot luck food.

The pot luck has a long and inspiring history, which is far too fascinating to go into here, but read on and you just might learn a thing or two about this unique culinary phenomenon. And when you're done, please post your comments voting for your favorite pot luck food or sharing any fun pot luck stories! I always love to hear from you.

A votre sante!

Conversation with Steve: The Pot Luck

5:25:34 PM steve: well i can wrap [my high school talk] up with- "So where does that leave us?"
5:25:42 PM steve: and then emphasize community
5:26:03 PM steve: finish it
5:26:04 PM steve: pray
5:26:08 PM steve: and go eat cookies

5:26:17 PM grackyfrogg: the main goal of any christian get-together
5:26:24 PM grackyfrogg: survive till cookie time

5:26:28 PM steve: i love circus cookies
5:26:36 PM steve: and for some reason they are at EVERY christian event

5:26:46 PM grackyfrogg: i dont think it would be christian otherwise
5:27:00 PM grackyfrogg: or do you mean specifically that circus cookies are at every event?

5:27:05 PM steve: ive eaten whole meals of circus cookies

5:27:22 PM grackyfrogg: lol

5:27:57 PM grackyfrogg: i should write a blog about how being a christian makes you fat

5:28:03 PM steve: i KNOW
5:28:08 PM steve: single even more
5:28:21 PM steve: well fat and/or unhealthy
5:28:51 PM steve: its hard to be in shape or try to eat healthy being a single christian
5:29:00 PM steve: pot lucks are the worst
5:29:02 PM steve: i hate those
5:29:10 PM steve: im anti potluck
5:29:31 PM steve: "there no luck in that pot!"

5:30:39 PM grackyfrogg: you shouldn't talk, though
5:30:45 PM grackyfrogg: you have NEVER been overweight in your LIFE

5:31:18 PM steve: but trying to eat healthy is hard

5:31:27 PM grackyfrogg: thats true

5:31:35 PM steve: and i need to because i have high cholestorol

5:31:38 PM grackyfrogg: right

5:31:43 PM steve: which is worst than being fat really

5:31:46 PM grackyfrogg: its funny the stuff that people bring to pot lucks
5:31:53 PM grackyfrogg: like that weird ambrosia stuff
5:31:56 PM grackyfrogg: what IS that?

5:31:59 PM steve: lol, i like that!

5:32:08 PM grackyfrogg: goopy marshmallows and random bits of unidentified fruit?!
5:32:22 PM grackyfrogg: gross

5:32:23 PM steve: yeah!!!! it rules!!! the savior of the potluck in my opinion

5:32:28 PM grackyfrogg: ewww no
5:32:36 PM grackyfrogg: its like vomit
5:32:42 PM grackyfrogg: i mean, look at it

5:32:48 PM steve: hmmm maybe that explains why i like it

5:33:00 PM grackyfrogg: hmmm, maybe you're right!

5:33:19 PM steve: and then there are those potlucks where 35 people bring Doritos

5:33:23 PM grackyfrogg: LOL

5:33:30 PM grackyfrogg: at least doritos come in different flavors
5:33:32 PM grackyfrogg: that helps
5:33:40 PM grackyfrogg: although... probably not 35 different flavors
5:33:46 PM grackyfrogg: what are some other weird pot luck foods?
5:34:02 PM grackyfrogg: casserole always makes an appearance in some shape or form

5:34:19 PM steve: lasagne

5:34:19 PM grackyfrogg: some sort of macaroni dish, with meat mixed in and some kind of sauce baked over it
5:34:22 PM grackyfrogg: LOL
5:34:34 PM grackyfrogg: thats funny
5:34:46 PM grackyfrogg: i wasnt thinking of lasagna, but i described it! i realized that after i read what you said

5:34:58 PM steve: but see its just not good because you put like 22 different things on your plate

5:35:08 PM grackyfrogg: yeah, you never have enough plate

5:35:12 PM steve: thats not normal

5:35:13 PM grackyfrogg: and then there's dessert

5:35:17 PM steve: and then things start to mix together

5:35:18 PM grackyfrogg: dessert is the savior of the pot luck, for me

5:35:20 PM steve: on your plate

5:35:24 PM grackyfrogg: yeah i hate that
5:35:33 PM grackyfrogg: especially if there werent separate plates for the dessert

5:35:37 PM steve: the lasagne and ambrosia MIX!

5:35:41 PM grackyfrogg: *gag*
5:35:48 PM grackyfrogg: thats the apocalypse, right there
5:35:52 PM grackyfrogg: it should NEVER happen
5:35:58 PM grackyfrogg: when it does, the world will end

5:36:18 PM steve: maybe thats the secret formula for a nuclear bomb?!?!?

5:36:25 PM grackyfrogg: LOL
5:36:37 PM grackyfrogg: yeah, the deep dark secret... the nuclear bomb was invented at a church picnic

5:36:51 PM steve: there it is! the title for your blog entry
5:37:43 PM steve: i suck at bringing good potluck food

5:37:50 PM grackyfrogg: what do you usually bring?

5:37:50 PM steve: im "dessert" guy

5:37:55 PM grackyfrogg: yeah, good call

5:38:30 PM steve: i go to safeway and bring the typical "Gross cookies in a plastic carrier"

5:38:42 PM grackyfrogg: LOL

5:38:43 PM steve: or a safeway "pie"

5:38:51 PM grackyfrogg: you mean the cookies with giant fake m&ms

5:39:00 PM steve: yeah! that would be them

5:39:21 PM steve: or if you time it right you can get some sort of holiday theme like hearts for valentines or pumpkins

5:39:29 PM grackyfrogg: what is the deal with the fake m&ms tasting so different from real m&ms?
5:39:40 PM grackyfrogg: i mean, how many different ways are there to have chocolate surrounded by a candy shell???
5:39:54 PM grackyfrogg: but they DO taste different
5:39:57 PM grackyfrogg: the fake ones taste icky

5:39:58 PM steve: one costs .000002 cents and the other .000001 cent

5:40:03 PM grackyfrogg: lol
5:40:22 PM grackyfrogg: i'm trying to think of what i've brought to pot lucks
5:40:25 PM grackyfrogg: i think i usually don't

5:40:45 PM steve: there is ONE item that, according to mark, is universally loved

5:40:46 PM grackyfrogg: either i don't go, or i don't bring anything

5:40:49 PM steve: can you guess?

5:40:49 PM grackyfrogg: hmmm
5:40:51 PM grackyfrogg: let me think
5:40:53 PM grackyfrogg: is it a drink?

5:40:56 PM steve: no

5:40:59 PM grackyfrogg: dessert?

5:41:01 PM steve: dinner food

5:41:10 PM grackyfrogg: spinach dip in the bread bowl

5:41:13 PM steve: LOL
5:41:16 PM steve: thats a good one

5:41:18 PM grackyfrogg: you KNOW thats good

5:41:18 PM steve: but no

5:41:20 PM grackyfrogg: oh
5:41:24 PM grackyfrogg: ok, second guess

5:41:33 PM steve: thats always there though, the bread bowl thing

5:41:37 PM grackyfrogg: kentucky fried chicken

5:41:43 PM steve: YYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5:41:45 PM grackyfrogg: HA!
5:41:50 PM grackyfrogg: yes!!!

5:41:54 PM steve: good job

5:42:02 PM grackyfrogg: its annoying when people bring that though
5:42:08 PM grackyfrogg: because there is NEVER enough to go around

5:42:09 PM steve: you cant go wrong with that one

5:42:13 PM grackyfrogg: so you have to fight for your position in line
5:42:24 PM grackyfrogg: and there is never white meat, because the white meat is more expensive
5:42:28 PM grackyfrogg: i HATE it when they bring KFC!!!

5:42:38 PM steve: its "potluck in a tub"

5:42:57 PM grackyfrogg: its "get an elbow in your eye as you jockey for first in line" in a tub

5:43:12 PM steve: lol

5:43:27 PM grackyfrogg: i think i grew up with the pack mentality when it came to food
5:43:34 PM grackyfrogg: i still have trouble not being near the front of the line
5:43:39 PM grackyfrogg: like the food is going to disappear if i wait

5:43:42 PM steve: jeez thats not noticeable

5:43:45 PM grackyfrogg: comes of being in a family of 6
5:43:46 PM grackyfrogg: oh ha