Monday, January 30, 2006

Temporarily suspended from technology

My delay in posting is not because I've had better things to do but instead, I've been busy breaking every computer in my possession. I am now working on my third and loaned, laptop. I will be back after I am convinced that I don't have some type of electostatic vibe running through my body.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wilton's Hip Downtown Scene (is non-existant)

A former co-worker and I wanted to meet somewhere 1/2 way between our offices and homes for a drink. We concluded that something on Route 7 is the best way to go. Two spots stand out in our mind: Omer's diner and Sky bar and restaurant. Funny thing is, Sky is located ground level in a strip mall and filled with earth tones. Despite that, my friend was running late so I had a Guinness and waited... After about 20 minutes I figured I had been deserted (this girl is punctual) so I ordered a crab cake. Surprise, this little joint actually has good food! My friend showed up and ordered the seared tuna and a grilled portobello appetizers - both were very good. We had another round of Guinness and called it a night. I would go back if I was in the neighborhood. The drawbacks? A light homogeneous suburban after work crowd and no beer on tap.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

January update

Maybe its the new year or maybe its just me, finally deciding to take better care of myself. The last couple weeks were, I believe the worst I've felt in ages. I have had terrible allergies since moving into my new (old) home last fall and with the added commute, I haven't been exercising like I should. My skin was freaking out and the straw that broke the camels back happened, I got a big old whopping cold sore or something equally nasty, on my eyelid. LOVELY! Oh yes, I was feeling so sexy. So, enough was enough and I went to the eye doctor for some meds. Done.
My skin is starting to clear and my energy is increasing almost as if my body is finally adjusting to the allergins... time to get my butt to the gym. Done.

Next on my list for the new year is to reverse some damage I've done to my body & self-esteem. I've met with an awesome surgeon and am hoping to have this done and taken care of before bathing suit season (I have to have a goal to keep working out, come on!). I've been reflecting on this a lot in the past year and I am SOO ready to reclaim my body. I have to say, my husband is really supportive of this. No, I'm not going in for liposuction or anything like that, I'm undoing something I did when I was a wee 21 years old and apparently didn't like myself.

It is really strange to think back to a time in my life when I believed my mom when she told me that I could be 'really cute' if only...a, b, c and d. I actually believed her. This woman that told me I didn't need to go to college because I was smart enough to get a job on my own without the education and I'd find a nice wealthy husband. Wow. Thank God I'm old enough now that I can look back and laugh at that. It also took about 4,000 miles between us for 5 years to see it clearly. What was she thinking when she told me that? I don't know. My mom is a really good person but I wouldn't really say she offers the best 'mom' advice.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

What's a girl to do?

I met with my manager on Monday afternoon all set to go register for school and he side-swiped me. Unexpectely giving me sage advice. They don't pay this guy $,$$$,$$$ per year for nothing - I have to listen to what he says. He also has two daughters that are my age so he understands more about who I am...I think.

I told him that since it is the new year and I'm starting to map out my review, I'm thinking about my goals. He will be retiring in the next couple years and so I need to impliment a plan of course sooner rather than later. What I came up with is explained in an earlier post: International Business with an emphasis on Women's Studies. This would open doors into HR to focus on diversity and promoting Women in Business. Well, my manager told me bluntly that I would most likely hate any business courses that I took and I really would not fit into this environment. He said that I'm not that 'type' of person and I should really take another look at this. He said if it is really what I want then I should meet with some people in that field and get a good idea that this is the direction I want to go into. And with that, design the degree around the job. Well, OK, he has a point but still (stomping my feet) I feel that I should have a degree!!! Now, his words might seem harsh but I must admit that as an administrative assistant, I love a lot of the freedom's I am afforded that a tradional office job does not allow. I rarely take my work home with me and I have plenty of job security - I can pretty much move anywhere and know that I will be able to find a good job at a reasonable pay rate.

The next day I was talking with my friend/coworker/therapist about this and she recommended Myers-Briggs and talking with a career counselor. Then she asked me about Personal Training - I told her my experience in Seattle, writing fitness articles for a CBS affiliate...and I've also trained her for fun (no charge) then she interrupted the conversation: she said my face lit up talking about it. It's true - I love helping people get healthy. The drawback is the stereotype of what a trainer is: a meat head, a pool boy/pool girl (sex toy), status symbol for the client, etc. I'll have to think about this some more. In the meantime, I saw this article about people starting to accept that we are 'larger' now and we're acclimating to that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Planning for your three day weekend? Don't forget it is a holiday!

Someone at work yesterday told me how much they are looking forward to the upcoming long weekend and how they have no plans at all. It got me thinking about things. Well, I suppose in our culture there is seldom a holiday where people really gather to reflect on how they can improve their lives and strengthen their community. We have lots of opportunities: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Presidents Day and the only ones that pop into my mind are the Sader (for all you Jews out there) and Thanksgiving which is really a family nightmare.

This coming Monday is Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Now, like a lot of 'whites', I grew up not thinking much about this man. I grew up in an area that was mostly white, some Asian and Hispanic and only a few Blacks. I was pretty sheltered and remember after high school talking with some Hawaiians about race. I grabbed my HS yearbook and realized that there were only two black kids in my senior high class. I never considered them 'different' they were just the guy that always cracked jokes but was really nice and the girl that dressed like a fan of Prince. Anyhow, my point is that, as a white person, we take for granted our rights. Martin Luther King Jr. did not just represent blacks but all people of all races, man, woman and child. He was OUR hero and well, the man had balls to do what he did. So, with this holiday coming upon us we have an opportunity to reflect upon what he did for us as a people. I invite you to find a local march and join it. Regardless of what your skin color is, get out there and show that we can unite as a people.

Still not convinced this is a holiday for all of us? Read on:

"I Have A Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr,
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Goodbye, Manhattan

You know... just because you've lived in New York City, doesn't mean you're interesting and cool. It's something I thought you should know. I just finished reading the Real Estate section of January 8, 2006 weekend New York Times and am rather annoyed by it. The article, "Goodbye, Suburbs" was telling the story of several couples moves away from Manhattan only to find the suburbs a complete dissappointment and the need to return to Manhattan within as little as three months.

Both my husband and I grew up in semi-rural areas where our homes were on at least a couple acres. Once we graduated high school, both of us were drawn to cities (me to Seattle and LA, Paul to Chicago, New York & Paris). We met in Seattle in the mid-90s and lived there knowing we both loved New York so we moved to 24th & 6th and have also spent a couple years in Chicago on 1254 Bosworth. We reached our mid-thirties and thought about what we wanted - Paul a music studio and me, a garden where I can grow organic food for my family and friends (if the damn deer don't eat it first). So, we rented in a town we thought would be nice. We spent a year there and drove around looking at different towns trying to figure out what we wanted before we decided to ease into suburban life by buying a house that 1) we could afford and 2) is walking distance to the downtown area 3) wasn't a piece of crap that required constant upkeep. One of the benefits of living in the city is that you can walk everywhere - this was our way of keeping something we love while still getting everything else that we wanted.. So, back to this article and our topics, Anna Hillen and her husband, Gerry McConnell and one year old son moved out of TriBeCa after 9/11 - fair enough. But what they did next is made a mistake, they bought a 6,000 square foot mcmansion on three acres in Pound Ridge, NY. Which is a town, if you can call a collection of 1/2 dozen buildings consisting of a deli, inn, museum and a couple other non-descript buildings. Suddenly, they found themselves bored and isolated. As their kid would probably say: "well, duh!" Just because I put on a glass slipper doesn't mean Prince Charming is going to come to take me to the magical ball. This stuff takes work and they had no idea what they were doing. The article fails to mention this but only talks about what the couple gave up by leaving New York City (friends to go out with at night, late night food delivery). What should they have done? Well, researched the towns, made sure there were social things to do in a close proximity and promised each other to get their asses out and make friends. In New York, it is difficult to live there but once you get the rules, it is easy - stand on the near corner of the street to catch a cab, don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk because it is a traffic arterial for people, etc.. But once you understand them, the mental stimulation is easy: walk outside. There are things happening ALL around you and you just have to walk down the street to find something exciting going on. That's what is great about it. Well, in the suburbs, you need to go out and actually find things that are interesting to do! It is here and there are LOTS of people that are very creative and interesting but you need to make an effort to find them (just on my block is a painter and a New Yorker cartoonist!). The catch is though, is that YOU will need to be interesting too. This means you can't just go out and expect people to entertain you because just being from Manhattan, doesn't make you automatically interesting.

Friday, January 06, 2006


This past week I've had a couple strange dreams. The one that was the most perplexing happened as I am kind of considering going back to school to complete my undergraduate degree (something West coasters consider less important than East coasters). I'm paid a reasonable amount as an Executive Assistant and the hours are great but I'm still missing something.

With the possibility that X company might pay for my education, I am weighing all of my options for what kind of degree would fulfill me personally and provide me with a real education, while at the same time prepare me for a new job within GE. As a person that has spent my career in an Administrative capacity (I've dabbled in events marketing and barista to name a few stints), my options feel limited. This is the United States of America - I should not feel limited but alas my self-esteem gives me a punch in the belly and I relent: Communications or Marketing. Now, both of those avenues would be challenging and interesting and would even move me to the next level in my career but the thing is, I feel I could really learn those required skills 'on the job' and I'm not sure I really would want to commit a lot of classroom hours to either one. My college degree should really give ME something aside from teaching me how to learn. It is about knowledge, real meaty information that only those in your field or people with that specific interest would get. Whether it is an accountant or a Spanish literature major, the degree topic has to be a noun not an adjective.

Thursday night I went to sleep after reading a bit from Landscape Architecture (sexy!). As I woke up in the morning, I was having the following dream:
I was at a dinner with people I work with in a large room that was almost resembling an old banquet hall with round tables filled with my co-workers. There were over a hundred of us eating, talking and drinking and it was very relaxed. Someone stood up and said "OK everyone can I have your attention?, Julia's husband is outside of the room but refuses to enter until we all have our burkas on." People started pulling out cloths of satin in all ranges of color and covered their faces and some covered their hair. I looked around in disbelief "Did you know we were doing this?" I asked the guy next to me "Yeah, of course, didn't you bring yours? My wife and I might have an extra, let us look..." Sure enough, he pulled a black mesh veil out of his wifes handbag and gave it to me. I put it on and then immediately ripped it off "Who IS this guy and why should I cover myself for him?" I yelled out. I heard a "sshhh, Kelli, he is Muslim and refuses to join us unless all of the women are veiled". "Umm, that is fine if I'm going to his home but give me a fucking break! I refuse to make myself less of an equal because this guy 'refuses' to enter until I become passive. If he cannot suppress his own sexual thoughts about me or any other woman, that is his own issue but I cannot condone his behavior in a public place. I would never ask him to say a Christian prayer prior to our meal so why should I pull on a burka?" Another voice says "Kelli, you're over reacting, just do it so we can enjoy the evening". I saw myself storm out of the room with doors flying and saw him standing in front of me. I turned around and spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear "As long as there are people demanding that we conform to their religious beliefs outside of their private homes, there will never be Peace on Earth. It is only until we accept others as they are without judgement and keep our faiths within our heart and to ourselves, that there will be Peace." I left the room... At this point, I woke up and was really pissed off and realized what my degree is going to be: International Social Studies with an emphasis on Womens issues. How easy was that?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Paul and I spent last night, celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary: walking in the snow to a local 'trendy' bar for a quick bite to eat, a couple drinks and then a snowy walk home at 11:00. Once home, we turned on the music, had some eggnog and found some songs that I could possibly sing (after just recently finding my voice). We went downstairs into the studio and Paul on his Les Paul guitar and me on drums, played for over an hour and a half. The next White Stripes? Possibly. At least in my own mind. We had a great night and talked about our friends that we miss, how much has changed with them and our relationships with them, their kids (CONGRATULATIONS TONI & JAMES, WHO HAD A NEW YEARS EVE BABY GIRL!!!) and how this year has actually been pretty damn good. We finished off the evening by watching 200 Cigarettes. I hope that your New Years was as nice (without the blisters from drumming). Love, Kelli