Sunday, December 21, 2008

Found: One Diaryland Blogger

If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: I suck at blogging.

I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm sure that you, Interested Party, don't mind too much. I, on the other hand, actually mind a lot. It bugs me that I can't seem to find the ability to write competently about either the trivialities of my life or deeper thoughts about the world at large. Recently my attempts at entries have gone like this:

So the other day I saw this thing and I was like "man, you know?" And I mean, I know stuff, and you know stuff, but....wait what's my point?

It's a problem.

My candidate won, and all signs point to a decent first couple months in office. I've been rather pleased that, pretty much the instant the election was called, all of the petty bitching and ignorant moaning evaporated (at least in my parts of the world). I'm excited, Interested Party. I realize that my guy is still mere mortal, and even worse, a mere politician, but I can't help feeling a tingle of hope and happiness whenever I spare a thought to his transition into office. The people he's choosing for cabinet and practically-cabinet positions warms my heart in so many ways. Science might get credibility back. The environment might be important again. Education might become more about the kids and less about the test scores. Foreigners might become our friends again. We might not have to live in a culture of fear anymore.

I couch all of my hopes with the modifier of "might", since, well, we can't know. But the right people are being put in the right places, so hopefully the machine will work according to plan.

Wee Martin turned 21 and I, myself, turned 23 not too long ago, and it's quite frankly creeping me out. We're old, folks, and the passing of my birthday has put an extra sort of pressure on my shoulders to Grow the Fuck Up. Sure, I have 3 jobs, all of which Iknow aren't "real" in the way my mind has classified job choices. Sure, I pay my mom rent every month and I buy my own gas and by and large purchase my own food and will have my student loans paid off in their entirety in two more months. By many measuring sticks, I'm doing just fine.

By my measuring stick, however, I'm failing. Most of this is due completely to a lack of effort on my part, and I tell myself that once I really start trying, I'll get that "real job" and my inner life-angst will be assuaged. Perhaps this is true. I do tend to be fairly lucky when I put some elbow grease into it.

I'm going to be honest right now, Interested Party, which is a rarity for this here blog. Not that I'm ever dishonest, but I am frequently vague and very often frivolous in my postings here, ignoring things that are actually happening in my life and mind. I've been slacking off in terms of real-job searching and apartment-leasing because I'm waiting to see what The Boy wants to do once he graduates. I decided a long time ago that while I don't know where I'm going, what I'm doing, or how I'm going to get there, I do know that I want him to be there with me.

I also decided a long time ago that my life is flexible. Whether by chance or design, I am an extremely mobile person. Because I'm living with my mom, I can pack up and leave at any time. Because my BA trained me for a field that, literally, has officeseverywhere, I can probably find a job anywhere in the country. Because my "paying for college job" was/is at a national chain, I can get an immediate position that'll earn me a livable amount of money anywhere in the country. Therefore, whether The Boy has given any thought to what he wants to do, where he wants to go, or if he expects me to be there with him, I'm ready at a moment's notice to move off to the East Coast with him, or find my own way wherever the opportunity presents itself if things don't work out like the chick flicks.

My point? I'm not sure, Interested Party. I'm at a weird place where I'm not sure if my conscious inaction makes me feel better, or worse. On the one hand, because I'm choosing to be where I'm at in life, I'm not a loser, because I know that once I choose to get a real job and choose to get my own place, it'll happen. On the other hand, how pathetic is it that I've consciously done nothing since I graduated because I'm waiting for some guyto make up his mind (let alone some guy who's notorious for indecision and apathy).

I don't know I don't know. So much going on in my mind and so little I can do about it because of my decision to wait and see. In the meantime, Boy things have been unusually wonderful, which is a nice change-up from previous months, and I'm happy, by and large, with my life.

The good news, Interested Party, is that I always find time to post an end-of-the-year recap and New Years wish list of things to pass, so I won't be absent from here for too terribly long.

Deep breath,
Catherine Elizabeth

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And this, this is my Season

I will go down with this ship

In the universal tradition of small talk, my coworkers and customers alike have been lamenting the change of the season. It seems that I am alone when it comes to celebrating wintertime, since everyone else makes a sour face when the word "snow" is mentioned.

Winter has always been, and will probably always be my favorite season. When I was little I loved it because it contained Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, New Years, and Valentine's Day. Holidays always meant days off school, and the holidays that didn't (my birthday, for example) came equipped with gifts bestowed unto me, so it all evened out in the end. I've gotten a little bit older and have faced the sad reality of having to work on holidays and have stopped caring about receiving anything more than hugs on my birthday, yet the magic of winter remains.

In addition to my continued love for hats, mittens, scarves, boots, and hot cocoa, I associate winter with peace. The world stands still as we move further away from the sun, and brings a beautiful quiet to our world. As I sit here typing, snow is falling rather rapidly outside the window, and even though it's "stormy", I bet if I were to go sit outside, there'd only be the faintest rustling of snow as it deposits itself on my car. I love the quiet, I love how nothing seems rushed and everything makes more sense.
Winter break, which will now be known simply as "winter" to me from now on, has been my time of reflection. I sit down, make my lists and figure out what's going to happen with my life for the next year. Being able to do so in the solitude of stilled life, in the calming effect of cold air, and the illusion that life is on hold until the spring thaw has a cathartic and inspiring effect.

This year brings more difficult things for me to sort out due to the fact that said "things" are emotional in nature. I'm a firm believer in keeping my feelings wound up tightly like rubber band balls which are then locked up in one of those fire-safe boxes that will probably withstand Armageddon. Therefore having to even acknowledge that I have rubber banded balls of emotion, let alone attempting to unravel them in order to plan out the road ahead is a task needing some snowy solitude to sort out on its own merits.

Eskimo kisses,
Catherine Elizabeth

1 day until wee Martin turns 21
14 days until I'm un-palindrome'd
26 days until Christmas
32 days until 2009

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mind Your Own Business: Election 2008

Our shoulders bear an awful weight, but still we trudge on just the same

As this election draws ever nearer, I want nothing more in this world than to find the courage to actually, physically, shove socks down everyone's throats. Heck, not just physical throats. I want the power to shut down the internet, pull the plug on news stations, and give every pundit a terrible, permanent case of laryngitis.

Don't misunderstand me. I, ever so meticulously trained in the Socratic method and Aristotelian rhetorical methods, understand that the only way to get things done in this world is through discourse. Asking questions, argumentation, and debate are the pillars of our society. It is how we create change and raise awareness.


There is a time and a place, people. With infinite more importance than your message are the concepts of Time, Place, and Audience. Before you go spewing marginally true facts and bloviating about your candidate of choice, take a moment to ask yourself these questions: Is the person I'm attacking likely to take heed to any of my points? Are we in a public place? Does this argument serve any purpose whatsoever? Do you even know what you're talking about?

I'm going to vote for Obama, for better or worse. I believe he is, indeed, "The Change We Need", if only because we need a change, period. As my dad, perhaps unwisely, said to some church friends the other night, "Anyone who votes a Republican into office again clearly hasn't been paying attention these last 8 years."

So, please. My mind is made up. Don't tell me what an asshole Obama is. Don't rattle off his Senate record. Don't send me links to videos and articles telling me about all his bad points,especially if they're from Fox News or the GOP. Don't wax eloquent about how he's just gonna be assassinated, or how by electing him we're bringing another 9/11 on our heads.

Just... don't. Stupidity makes me physically ill, and I'm far too apathetic to bother telling you why you're an idiot for citing Bill O'Reilly as the source of your information.

My brain is tired and my eyes are about to fall out of their sockets from all of the involuntary rolling they've been doing.

Is it November 5th yet?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Know Your Name and Go Your Own Way

If you're shocked, it's just the fault of faulty manufacturing

Lately I've been feeling a vague tug somewhere around my heart/lung area, which I'm attributing to a sense of Wanderlust, and not, say, the plague. Between my 3-ish jobs I'm working more than full-time and getting less than satisfactory sleep, but I've got this nagging feeling that I'm not doing much. My life consists of my path beween NCC, the condo, Friday's, and the radio station. Every so often I'll drive the other way on 55 and spend a few hours staring at The Boy, or mosey a couple miles to the west to see my dad, but all in all I'm on a very narrow wheelbarrow path.

I want to get out and experience life outside of my Naperbubble. I want to move away. Just get up and go. Start my grown-up life in a place where I'll be forced to make new friends, learn new roads, adjust to a new climate, shop at a new grocery store, find new parks to walk in and movie theaters to frequent and bars to loiter in. I want a new view out my window where, for a while, every day feels strange and fresh, and perhaps even a bit lonely. I'm getting clasutrophobic surrounded by all this familiarity.

In the meantime, I'm making a pledge to myself to simply experience life. I'm going to read the newspaper and actually figure out, as best as I can, what's happening to our economy outside the scope of dwindling restaurant business and lackluster tips. I'm going to start conversations with people who are passionate about this election, one way or the other, and find out what makes us tick. Come election day, I want to be in a crowded room with other people delirious with hope, so we can be lifted up or crushed together. I'm going to take more walks where the air actually moves around me and the temperature changes from shadow to sun instead of sitting in my climate controlled hive watching crime dramas. I'm going to laugh more, think more, and attempt to feel more, so that when I do feel a minor twinge of emotion it's because it's something genuine and true, and not just a random misfiring of my robot heart.

Who wants to come with me?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And sometimes, I feel very small

But love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken "hallelujah"

I've only ever given one ultimatum in my life, and for reasons far beyond my comprehension I was tested on it today.

Ultimatums are tricky things, which is why I've only ever levied one. Not only do you really have to mean what you say in the moment, and not only do you have to be prepared to actually act upon it, but you're going to have to deal with the sense of betrayal that accompanies whatever it was that violates your terms.

If it wasn't for "Fate", I might not have been able to stand firm, which troubles me. At the time when I issued my ultimatum I was trusting more in the recipient's ability to be a good kid and not cause me to make good on my treat than I was in my ability to follow through. And so, when push came to shove, I found my shoving-arms to be malfunctioning until other circumstances helped me save face.

But now, Interested Party, I'm at a bit of a loss with how to proceed from here. I don't think my army of acrobats with their safety nets can weave me a plan big enough to deal with this. Do I issue another ultimatum, even though I just learned that I very likely don't really mean it? Should I forgive and forget? Or perhaps I should take this as a sign, put my acrobats into suitcases and bail out now.

It's not exactly earth-shattering, but my world has been sufficiently rocked. I suppose my first step should be to find my footing, then loose some arrows and well-honed barbs, enough to teach my former-"good kid" not to do it again. Maybe I'll just cry.

Smoke and mirrors,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Summary

I will walk beside you, carry on

I constructed a long list of things I would like to do to improve myself (brush my teeth more often is at the top of the list), but I think shoveling a plate of home made nachos into my mouth at an astonishing rate isn't quite what I had in mind when I added "eat all my meals at home 6 days a week" to my list.

So, history has shown and the current times prove that I categorically suck at blogging. The last time we met was about a month ago where I was freaking out about the future.

Things I've Done Since Then
-Went to Hawaii
-Used chopsticks more times in one week than all previous chopstick use in my life
-Held keys for Friday's
-Found I couldn't be mean to a douche bag customer from Olive Garden
-Acted like I knew stuff at the NCC Summer Speech Workshop
-Applied to Liberty Mutual Group to be an insurance underwriter
-Accepted a part-time coaching position at NCC
-Watched 2 seasons of The West Wing
-Read more Kurt Vonnegut

Any or all of those are topics for another day. The main reason I don't blog so much is that I lack inspiration, and today? The inspiration is lacking. My apologies.

Later, baby,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Future Freaks Me Out

I’m a dreamer, I’m not a vicious schemer

The concept of forever gives me the jibblies. I don't necessarily mean in the infinity and beyond sense, although contemplating an infinite sense of time and universe gives me an existential twinge of uneasiness. That kind of forever isn't really much of my business.

The forever that makes me curl up in a ball and suck my thumb is the kind that that many of my peers appear to have conquered, as evidenced by the myriad of facebook status changes from "in a relationship" to "engaged". I won't say that I don't trust other people, but I am exceedingly skeptical of my own ability to adapt to the changes in others.

I mean, I like The Boy well enough, and all signs point to him tolerating me pretty well. And, to be perfectly honest, I don't foresee either of us breaking up with the other any time soon. But I cannot guarantee that at any given time, The Boy won't do something to irreparably change my esteem for him, like voting for Bob Barr in November or deferring his imminent graduation to follow his dream of living in a cardboard shack in Belarus.

I also cannot guarantee that I, myself, won't suffer a psychotic break and glue feathers to my arms and terrorize children for the rest of my life. Some things just can't be predicted.

So, when I contemplate forever it's always with an elaborate system of "buts" and "ifs" so forever is neatly dissected into more manageable pieces. If everything works out. If we want the same things. But I don't mean wedding bells. But only if you want to. Etc...
Sometimes, I curse my penchant for foresight.

I rock the Haro sport,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Armageddon, she comes

Many times I'd planned to be much more than who I am

Dear customers,
Stop stealing my pens. This is your last warning.

Call it hubris, but I like to think that I'm fairly successful in most things I do. Sometimes I have physical proof, like trophies or some sort of certificate with official looking calligraphy. Other times it's simply a mental comparison to the people around me who are doing the same thing.

I don't think it's any sort of innate talent or Jedi mind trick that allows me to float near the top. If that was true, I'd be "the best" way more often, then, well, almost never. I'll leave being "the best" to the Lindas and Sarah Bradys of the world. I don't recall exactly what my parents raised me to be or do, but I do know I have a tendency to want to be "good" at anything I do.

It's a bit of a matter of pride, I think, instilled in my wee years as a Haughty Gifted Student. I was always set apart from my peers, so I naturally tend to want to be in that (generally inconsequential) "upper echelon". I'm Cathi. I'm good at things. I do things well. It's what I do. I don't necessarily want to or need to (or, hell, can) be the best, but I do perform above average.

These somewhat boastful thoughts are brought to you by a conversation with a regular customer who commented that it's rare to find people, like myself, who care about their job, especially in the restaurant business.

I felt the compulsion to clarify: Yes, I care about my job, but not because of the job itself. I couldn't care less if I build sales or uphold "the brand". I care about my job because I'm Cathi Martin. I care that I do things well, and therefore care about doing my job well. I'm okay with being ego maniacal, I'm not okay with being a tool.

And so, I will continue to bartend and continue to hold my place on the laughable Quality Team, because it's how I roll. But please, don't ask me for ideas on how to increase customer attendance. I don't know, and I don't care.

I, robot, will never die,

PS If I die in a tornado tonight, I want my tombstone to read "Damn you Joliet Jackhammers"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sometimes it's a long time

A chance to build it from the ground

I'm not sure if it's possible to fall in love with someone based on their voice alone, but if so, The Boy better watch his back. Jason Mraz is stealing me away.


As a compulsive list maker and proud owner of a BA, I think I'm somewhat qualified to make rational decisions. As a relatively successful speech-maker and debater, I also think I'm somewhat qualified to weigh all sides of an issue, or at the very least acknowledge that there are multiple sides to an issue. As a communications and foreign language double major, I can't promise that my skills will lead me down a profitable or logical path.

So please: as I weigh my options for what to do about my living situation, let me do it my way. I know about the financial benefits and drawbacks. I know about the social benefits and drawbacks. I know about the mental and professional benefits and drawbacks. Whatever the decision is, trust me that I've thought it out rather painstakingly and ultimately had to flip a coin.


Despite bets placed on the contrary, The Boy and I did not wind up hating each other after our long D.C. roadtrip weekend. He came away hating Washington, and I came away hating The Boy's tendency toward tight-waddiness, but I'd say that over all, the trip was a success.

He and I are both characteristically reticent, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that, when I scolded him for picking up his book when we literally only had 20 minutes left of our drive home, his response was a rather whiny, "...but I've been talking to you for the last two hours!"

While our nation's capital might not have dazzled me or filled me with a newfound respect, I emerged with a better sleep schedule and a heart filled to bursting. Our two-year "I love you"-versary passed with little more than a text message acknowledgment, but we're not the gushy type. We finally have nice pictures of us together, and while we may not have a lot to say, it's clear neither of us mind too much.

15 days until Hawaii!
18 days until Miranda is a palindrome!
20 days until Jaci is a palindrome!
21ish days until Illinois again!
Month and a halfish until on my own?
71 days until NOT SCHOOL!

Miss Tinkles, 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

No inglés, sorry!

I'm not scared to die, I'm a little bit scared of what comes after

I've generally abstained from discussions about immigration (as pertaining specifically to Border Jumping Mexicans and wall-building lobbyists) and the subsequent topics that follow (If You Live Here You Should Speak English, to be specific), largely because I am a) uninformed and b) apathetic. Largely, I'm uninformed because I'm apathetic. My potential jobs are not in danger of workforce sucking illegals, my welfare is not being drained, and my culture is not being threatened. If anything, I'm pro-Border Jumping Mexicans because man, their food is delicioso and their tequila gets the job done.

As a scholar of a foreign language (and a tourist of others), I'm (academically) of two minds about the whole America = English issue. Mind One says that languages are beautiful and interesting and we should encourage the use of as many as possible. Mind Two says that if I can learn one language and passably babble in two others in under 3 years, then learning English shouldn't be too terrible of a task.

I will admit, however, that when it comes to real world application of my vague convictions, Mind Two wins the fight and feels compelled to join up with the legions of poster-waving conservatives.

I don't mind needing to know basic Spanish to communicate with some of my co-workers. I actually sort of appreciate having an excuse to broaden my lingual horizons. But I do mind when my Spanish-speaking co-workers don't pay me the same courtesy. "No inglés, sorry!" as the sole phrase in your English repertoire doesn't cut it with me.

No más hablo español, Maria.

Maria: Excuse me. Please, food to go. Two. Thank you! *walks away*
Cathi: Wait! What food do you want to go?
Maria: No inglés, sorry!
Cathi: Food to go?"
Maria: Sí.
Cathi: What food?
Maria: No inglés, sorry!
Cathi: Um..... qué?
Maria: ¿Qué?
Cathi: Qué
Maria: No inglés, sorry!
Cathi: *racking brain for vocab from Spanish class* Qué... comidas?
Maria: Ah.... pizza.
Cathi: Kid's pizza?
Maria: Sí. Con.... ah... jamón y piña.
Cathi: Dos pizzas? With ham and pineapple?
Maria: No inglés, sorry!
Cathi: Dos pizzas para niños con jamón y piña?
Maria: Sí.
Cathi: *rings it in*
Maria: *hands over money*
Cathi: *cashes it out immediately*
Maria: Dave.
Cathi: What?
Maria: No inglés, sorry!
Cathi: Dave?
Maria: Dave. Menos dinero.
Cathi: Oh.... you get a shift meal?
Maria: No inglés, sorry!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Checking In

There's more than blood that beats through my heart

Things That Run In My Family
hanging out with my cousins June 2008 edition
-Sense of humor
-Dance skills
-Enjoying alcohol at all hours of the day

Books I Have Read Recently
being retired from college edition
-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
-I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, Joanne Greenburg
-The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
-Inda, Sherwood Smith
-The Fox, Sherwood Smith
-Devil In The White City, Erik Larson

Number of Jobs I Have Applied For: 2

People I Have Beaten in Golf
I'm kicking ass edition

Life Lists,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Congratulations, Class of 2008

I've got a plan: we walk out the door

Despite being rather insistant than I'd rather be shot in the face than have to sit through graduation, I realized tonight that missing it is robbing me of something I've overlooked: the goodbyes.

While sitting in the June sun, watching 500 people I don't know walk up and shake a drunk collge president's hand while wearing the most absurd clothing known to modern man is clearly not a situation I'd gladly sign myself up for, I'd forgotten that the formal ceremony would be not only my last chance to see some people who were a big part of the latest chapter of my life, but also an excuse to let myself cry a little.

I'm not the sentimental type, not really, but it struck me rather hard tonight that I will probably never see some of my college acquaintences and friends ever again. I went to the bar, as per usual on a Thursday night, with the usual crowd, but when I left, I knew it was for the last time, for real.

I will miss college and I will miss the people who I now realize I took for granted. My buddy Nicky D, who somehow always managed to earn the title of "friend" despite the fact that we only really hung out a handful of times during the last four years. The wily Bug, whose molestations weren't necessarily welcome, but always made me feel included. Monk, who was always around, always friendly, and always hilarious. Even Paige, who I never particularly liked due to one of my first encounters with her, but was a part of my life nevertheless. These are people who made up the landscape of my college experience, who I will not necessarily attempt to stay in contact with, and will assumedly never see again except for the odd reunion-esque get together.

There were no false promises of staying in touch. I told Nick it was a pleasue mostly being friends, gave some hugs, and waved rather casually, and that was that. We're all going on to a wide variety of things, all of which can be deemed "the real world". We will get jobs, have families or new groups of friends who seem like a family, get old, break hips, and eventually die. For most of the people I knew at NCC, all of this will happen without my notice and right now, not being afforded a formal, official goodbye, is weighing rather heavily on my heart.

The end of an era is scariest, I think, when you see it coming.

And so, my friends at NCC, I will miss you. Thank you for being a part of the last 3 years of my life. Thank you for making me feel like I belonged. Thank you for laughing with me, gossiping with me, and learning alongside me. I wish you the best, really.

Class of 2008,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Auto-Blogstalking Revelations: Part Two - On Lunacy

"If you're seeking objective reality," she muttered to herself, "this is one hell of a place to start."

There's a phenomenon that occurs that I believe exists in everyone at all points in time. Now, I cannot be sure of this but, like Herr Doktor Freud, I can only assume that because I have this experience everyone else must as well. I'm not quite the speshul snowflake as I like to imagine myself to be. As for this phenomenon: I'm pretty sure that everyone, barring some sort of masochistic inferiority complex, always considers him/herself to be on at least an even playing field with everyone else both in intellect and maturity. I distinctly remember being 7 years old and wondering if I actually needed to finish elementary school, because my dad and I had many smart conversations and he'd finished college and stuff.

Even looking back into my own memory, I find what I feel to be an even level of maturity and level-headedness, of intelligence and logic. However, from the loftiness of my hot-pink pedestal, reality can become a bit blurred. It took a good dash of stalking myself via my old blog (ask me for the link, if you dare), to realize that High School Cathi was bat-shit crazy.

Because I view everything down my pointy nose and have the clever ability to conveniently forget the less flattering aspects of my life and personality, I can't provide you with a coherent reasonfor much of the cold hard lunacy contained in Old-Blog. All I can tell you is that it made sense at the time.

But honestly, why didn't anyone kick me in the shins, slap me upside the head, and make me watch "Hotel Rwanda" for some perspective? I think between the ages of 14 and 18 I succumbed to, well, being a teenager. I was narcissistic (my biggest worry a week after 9/11/2001 was boys), impressionable (my gay friend convinced me I, too, was gay), dramatic (I broke up with my boyfriend in a tearful, "It's not you it's me I'm probably a lesbian" confession, outside, in 30 degree weather with no coat), attention-whorish (I lied on my blog. A lot. I think the only person I was actually honest with was my internet buddy JD who couldn't give me bona-fide, "real" attention), and an all-around headcase.

So much for maturity. I suppose the lesson in this somewhat pride-wounding expedition is that a constant stream of self-analysis is somewhat warranted. Also that I'm counting on you, Interested Party, on keeping me grounded. Starting right now I'm going to rely on you for shin-kicking and upside-head-slapping if/when my blogging crosses the line from "silly" to "ludicrous".

"I think I'm a lesbian" indeed. Sigh.

Interlude: A Thinly Veiled Rant

She broke the cardinal rule; never fuck with people who handle your food.

I know it might be hard to believe, but it's come to my attention that a substantial portion of the population is incapable of eating in a restaurant. I know, I know, it seems so simple! And yet, day after day, I am reminded that there is no play book, no wikipedia page on how to properly enjoy your meal at TGIFriday's, no special 900-number to whisper sweet etiquette into your ear.

And so, my friends, I present to you: The Insiders Guide to Eating Out.


There are a few things an aspiring "Guest" must know before entering the hallowed halls of an establishment such as TGIFriday's. These are key facts and figures that will make your transition from the dark rock you live under to the wide and varied world of dining easier.
-The person who greets you at the door is your Host. They will direct you to your table and possibly provide you with information pertinent to the rest of your evening. This person is not, strictly speaking, endowed with the responsibility to fetch you anything but a booster seat.
-The person wearing a little apron who asks you about what drinks you might like is your server. This person has many responsibilities, but duties that your server does not perform include... your food
...setting the prices
...controlling restaurant temperature
...making sure that all food and beverage items are stocked at all times
...picking the music or controlling its volume
...creating the menu
...deciding on food portion sizes, drink strength, or the way food actually tastes

The Entrance
-DO expect to have to wait for a minute or two to find a Host. There will likely be other Guests who have arrived before you.
-DO NOT ask for a booth if you also need a high chair, unless you want your child teetering high above you as the Host will put the high chair ON the booth, so as not to make your child a fire hazard.
-DO NOT arbitrarily pick a table you would like to sit at unless the table the Host is leading you to will give you cancer or cause immediate death.
-DO NOT give your Host your drink or food orders. That is not their job.
The Initial Greet
-DO NOT respond to inquiries into your day or well being with a drink order. "Diet Coke" is not an appropriate response to "How are you doing today?"
-DO speak to your server. He/She has not yet completed his/her mind-reading training, and as of this moment cannot psychically predict what you would like to drink or eat.

-DO know what you would like to eat. If you are not sure, you may ask for more time to think. Your server will, indeed, come back. Holding him/her hostage at your table will only make your server more inclined to forget your soup.
-DO order something from the menu. It is a handy list of all the meals the restaurant offers. If you do not see what you want listed, chances are your server will not be able to make it magically appear in front of you.
-DO verbalize what you would like to eat. Pointing at pictures or simply describing the concept of your choice may lead to confusion, and you know how much you just hate to send food back.
-DO be sure of what you would like. Once your choice has passed your lips it is, indeed, too late to change your mind.
-DO know what you are ordering, and if it contains something you are allergic to or do not like. Buffalo wings are spicy. Alfredo sauce contains lactose. Hamburgers might contain meat.

-DO be patient. Your food must actually be cooked and plated. Your server did not attend Hogwarts and cannot just make it appear in front of you.
-DO NOT wonder why a table who came in after you have already received their food. Their steaks are probably not "extra-well done" and their wings are not "extra crispy".

Delivery of Food
-DO pay attention. If you ordered the Triple Stack Jack Quesadillas, then be sure to tell the person who is standing there, holding them, the first time they ask .
-DO speak up if you got the wrong food.
-DO NOT begin to eat food that you did not order.
-DO tell your server right away if you need extra condiments or refills or foresee any needs. Do this once, and in bulk.
-DO NOT ask for something new every time your server returns to your table to give you something you have already asked for. He/She is a server, not a marathon runner.

-DO make sure you have enough cash on you to pay for everything, or make sure that your credit card will not be declined.
-DO NOT complain just in case you can get something free. If you ordered it, you should expect to pay for it.
-DO NOT try to be cute and say things like "oh, you didn't have to do that" what your server drops your check. It's not cute. Yes, he/she did have to do that.
-DO leave a tip.

-DO realize your tip is going to not only the server, but the Host, Food Runners, Bussers, and Bartenders who have helped you out tonight.
-DO understand that your server did not make your hamburger overdone. It is not his/her fault the restaurant is too cold.
-DO NOT take petty complaints out on your server financially.
-DO realize your server is paid HALF of minimum wage. He/She relies on your tip to survive.
-DO realize the 10-15-20% rule is a mere guideline. If you ordered a $20 meal but sat there for an hour and a half, do you really think a $3 tip justifies the time your server spent on you? That's $2/hr, and even added to their wage, still does not meet minimum wage.

If you still have any questions, please, show up at the very end of the day and ask one of the servers. I'm sure they will be more than happy to clear up any confusion.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Auto-Blogstalking Revelations: Part One - The Lost Year

No room left to move in between you and I

After discovering the magic of the "history" function of my old blogging site, I spent most of my evening brushing up on PastCathi. The musings on the sheer lunacy of PastCathi will be revealed in Part Two.

There's not much that I remember about my freshman year in high school. The blog I kept that year died when the blogging site I used went under, and I kept no physical diary, so it's almost impossible to even jog my memory. I can pretty much accurately describe myself for most of my other conscious years, but my freshman year is, frankly a mystery.

I have a few memories of things I did. Being lab partners in Biology with Myron Lo. Being HDA partners with Missy Grahn and having to do a Jersey accent. Auditioning for the Harry Potter Group Interp. Being at State for said GI. Watching Brian Barber throw Renee Meschy over his shoulder one day after school and being insanely jealous and wanting to fit in. Doing the Velveteen Rabbit with Miranda. "Going out" with Cameron, finding out he was only 12 years old, never officially breaking up with him (so, technically, we're still together). Eating homecoming dinner at the Heald's. Riding the bus. Getting two PM schools my very first day of high school. Never wearing a tanktop again after some outspoken chick in World History cat-called that I was showin' some cleavage. Being twins with Allison Frost in the One-Acts. Dancing in the rain with Sam Alaimo.

But what I don't remember, at all, is who I was. I don't remember what I thought of the world, how I felt about myself, who I hung out with, what we did and what we talked about, my opinion of my peers, what music I listened to, what I did for fun, or even what I looked like, really. It's so strange, and slightly unsettling. All I have are these flashes of memories and references from my blog sophomore year that "Freshman year was hell" and that "My personality changed practically every day".

Sounds like an awkward, growing, learning year, and perhaps one best lost to the annals of repressed memories. Still seems strange to me, though.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

View From Afar

Get out of the desert and into the sun, even if it's alone

One of my defining characteristics, as evidenced by a myriad of sources and situations, is my ability to be level-headed and to stay above and apart from the fray. I'm always the last to know and least likely to care about workplace drama, and it seems no matter how closely I ally myself to the Evil Villian my part in the tyrrany is overlooked or seen as peripheral or unintentional at worst. I've had people turn to me for advice, as if this enviable power is a marketable skill, when really all I do is go about my life with an elevated level of perspective.

I described this phenomenon in reference to the AFA national tournament as "a zen-like state". Whether an event I loved died in preliminary rounds or I was thrown into a high-pressure national out-round, my level of excitement and disappointment remained the same. This could be chalked up to the fact that I don't let emotions into the ice box where my heart used to be. Or perhaps the massive amounts of Benedryl running through my veins deadened most sensations.

I'm taller than the average girl and loftier than the average mortal, so I view life events from a laboriously crafted pedestal. Mine is hot-pink and made from patience, priorities, pro/con lists, and a deep appreciation for irony. Being able to take a look at life from up here offers more fresh air and an ability to see the present in relation to both the past and the future. From up here, annoyances look smaller, pressures not as great, and harsh words as nothing more than hot air. It does lessen the impact of happy things as well, but being on a hot-pink even keel feels better than being thrown into the depths of petty drama.

Try building one for yourself. If you can't, wear heels.

Sail with me,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Missing Pieces

Life goes easy on me, most of the time

It occurred to me the other day that I am teetering on the precipice of "The Rest Of My Life". I understand that "life", in general, cannot be planned out as effectively as I organize my days or computer files, but I am of the planning persuasion. I create plans and follow them until something interferes. Then I create a new plan based on a highly scientific pro/con list analysis to deal with the situation accordingly, and then continue on.

That said, there are certain major factors for TROML that I have to be able to plan for, at the very least in theory, right now. Career. Debt (or the elimination thereof). Buying a home. Buying a car. Getting a retirement plan. Marriage. Kids. Travel. Despite my easy-going nature, I can't just sit around and expect life to happen on a "wait and see" basis. Not having some idea of what the future may hold makes me nervous, sick, and quite frankly, outright terrified.

It's not necessary for me to have clarity and promises. I don't need to have a job lined up with a 401k, a financing plan on a new Jetta, a ring on my finger, or a relationship with a travel agent to feel okay about my future. I just need a general idea, an outline. I have some of that. I know what industry I want to work in, and thus I know where I need to be sending resumes and over letters. I know what car I want to buy, so I know how much money I need to save. I know how much I owe to the government for school, so I know what my financial situation is likely to be. I know I would like to own a house, not rent forever.

Other things, however, remain on a "wait and see" wavelength, which irks me because not only do I not have control over those particular aspects, it seems to me that I don't even have control over whether I get to know about how things might play out.

Alls I'm saying is that it's hard for me to make decisions that need making now, when I don't have all the data I need.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

O rly?!

I am heaven sent, don't you dare forget

Post-school life isn't nearly as relaxing as I imagined it to be. Doing nothing takes a lot of energy. There's naps to fit in, coffee to make, clothes to put in random yet purposeful piles, beds to unmake after an annoyingly helpful mother makes them up, dishes to dirty and leave about, among many other tiring, toiling tasks (alliteration creation, for one).

I keep finding excuses to put off sending my resume out. First I needed to take a week off from life. You know, to relax and do all of the aforementioned tiring, toiling tasks. Next, I need to help my mom move me into her new condo. Now I need to wait for her to get cable/internet so I can finish my resume and do research. And so on. The real world is scaring me a bit, and while I realize it won't be so bad once I get there, I'm continuing to put it off. I'm not good with change. Where my leg warmers at?

Work is becoming increasingly more interesting. A year into it and I finally feel like I'm beginning to develop what it takes to be a legitimate bartender. I've become pretty good at multitasking, but now I need to work on multitasking with a smile. My "concentration face" is not a happy one. Idle banter is coming more easily, and I'm really working on trying not to let casual flirtation from patrons freak me out too much, and my army of "regulars" is slowly growing. Let's just hope Drew "totally didn't kill my wives, bro" Peterson doesn't join up.

I love my parents for a variety of reasons, but among these reasons are the following:
-After picking up The Boy, looking dishevelled and rightfully like he had spent the night wandering drunkenly around the city, and taking him to my mom's place to get him cleaned up and tucked into bed, I overheard my mom talking to her bff on the phone, saying how "cute" Alex was and how he seemed to have a bit of a rough night, "poor little thing".
-After attempting to explain the O Rly? owl to our dad, Linda sat him down to a) find said owl, but also b) showed him some lol!cats. My dad then asked if she could save the lol!cats to his bookmarks.

9 days until I officially graduate!
11 days until I fly to Austin!
12 days until AFA!
24 days until I leave for Nashville!
25 days until NFA!
29 days until I'm done with my competitive forensics career!
66 days until Kate and Travis' wedding!
66 days until my friends graduate from NCC!
86 days until DC with The Boy!
103 days until Hawaii with Linda!

You tricky devil,

Friday, March 14, 2008

Es ist fertig!!!


Look... look at how beautiful it is...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Burn it to the ground

Dear Comcast,

Fuck you.

No, seriously. I don't normally use that language, and it takes a lot to get me really frustrated and really upset, but congratulations! You've done it!

Whoever trained the people in customer service really did a bang-up job, because they've been just as useless as rumored to be. I don't see what was so hard about sending out a simple sheet of paper to my address. Obviously you know where to send the bills. I've gotten two bills since I've tried to straighten this out. Couldn't you have just sent the form with the bill?

E-mail sounded like a great option, I even spent 4 minutes with the woman whose accent muddied up the "what letter was that?" conversation making sure my e-mail address was 100% correct. Three calls later and no one knows why the e-mail wasn't sent. Was the internet broken? Whose job is it to send that e-mail? Find them and poke them hard in the side and tell them to wake the fuck up and hit the "send" button.

So all that's left to do is show up with the roommate who hasn't BEEN my roommate for 3 months to the service center which I swear to God, doesn't exist. We went looking for it once, didn't find it. So now I have to call her, organize a time when we can both show up, even though we live in completely different towns and have completely different lives.

You're not even sorry! That's what's really getting to me! Not once did I hear an apology for the three months of frustration you've put me through! Not a single "I'm sorry this happened to you" or "We're really sorry this has been so complicated". Not one.
So thanks for nothing. Your cable quality is shitty, your internet connection is sub-par, and your service people smell funny. Here's my new plan: I cancel service, and my ex-roomies get new service, and YOU waive the installation fees because YOU fucked up for three months.

I hope some old lady storms in with a hammer and breaks shit at your offices again.

No love,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Well State'd

It turned my whole world around, and I kinda like it

You know a team is a bit jaded when their "inspirational song" is the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice".

Right now my life consists of a series of countdowns, and the latest event to get checked off the list was the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association's State Tournament. It was one of those events that ultimately weighed in on the emotional-experience continuum at "bittersweet". I'm going to blame it on that Suburban-Equilibrium I've discussed in the past. When something amazing happens, something else needs to balance it out to make sure life don't get too too.

The person responsible for typing these words to you today is the 2008 IIFA State Champion in Parliamentary Debate, an honor I share with my esteemed debate partner, SB. We were hardly expecting to do quite so well, and I feel like my mental process whilst standing up on the stage during the awards ceremony should be documented.

One thing you have to understand is that at forensics competitions, when announcing awards, it always sounds like this: "In Whatever Place, from Some School, So and So!". You also have to understand that the team SB and I were up against were from Northwestern University.

So there we were, standing up on stage, a little dumbfounded in the first place that we managed to get there.

This is insane, this is crazy. The presenter is talking. Listen....Listen...
"In 2nd place, from North..."
Shoot. Well it figures, this was only our 4th tournament everanyway.
"....western University..."
...that's not North Central. What's happening? The boys from the other team are shaking Judy's hand. Why does the rest of my team out in the audience look so happy? Sarah's looking at me. I'm confused.
"And your 2008 IIFA State Champions in Parliamentary Debate are from North Central College..."
That's me! That's us! Sarah's still looking at me. Um what do I do? Hug Sarah. Smile. Remember to smile. Don't throw up. Walk. Keep smiling. Shake Judy's hand. Oh, get hug from Judy. Take trophy. Don't cry. Keep smiling.

It was a bit intense. The moment was bittersweet because even though SB and I kicked a bunch of ass, two of our good friends who should have been standing up there, being state champions, were not. It's a little difficult to be happy when you know that you just lived the strange, alternate universe version of what really should have taken place.

The Boy and I are in a bit of a fight, but I'm not sure if he knows it. The problem with being good at talking about stuff I don't know a scrap of information about is that the ability to talk about personal issues gets sacrificed, so for now I'll just be content to be upset with him and assume he'll figure it out eventually. I'm a girl, it's allowed.

10 Days until No More School
11 Days until Lazy Week Extravaganza
33 Days until AFA-NIET
45 Days until NFA

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This is the Countdown

This is going to be the best thing we've ever seen

In two and a half weeks I'll be done with school forever.


School and I have been together for 19 years now, if you count the stage where we just fooled around and played with blocks. My parents were only together for 17 years, so this is the longest relationship I've ever experienced, and I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to break up just yet.

I had a friend go off on me the other night, telling me it was about damn time for this madness to end. He thinks the last 3.5 years of my life were unnecessary and that I've wasted my time and money on school--something he views as worthless, pointless, and downright tool-ly. I'll be honest, it hurt m feelings. I mean, school and I have had our ups and downs, and I'll have to admit to having quite the sordid affair with innumerable naps, but I love school. We have a long history together, and for the most part we've been good to and for each other.

Getting beyond the metaphor, I've fallen into a bit of denial about the end of my participation in formal education. Honestly, school is all I know, and I haven't adequately prepared myself for the impending immersion into Real Life. I keep track of years on a Fall-Spring schedule. I know that I'm doing well in life if I'm getting A's. I keep track of the days by knowing what classes I have and when I have tests or papers due. I even like school. I enjoy the classroom setting, I love class discussions, and I like having an excuse to carry a messenger bag.

I've heard the platitudes about how "education is a life-long process" but come on. Give me a break. If life is anything like summer break, I will quickly fall into a painful monotony of a bad sleep schedule, poor nutrition, and dreading having to get out of bed and put some pants on. What do people do when they're not in school? When do you decide to hang out with people? What do you do to occupy your time when you don't have homework looming over your head?

This freedom of time gives me the willies.

Taco Tuesday,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Remembering the past, living the present, avoiding the future

When we were made we were set apart

On Motive
----I've been spending a lot of time avoiding the local news, trying not to think of DeKalb, or Northern, or anyone I know connected to that community, because my delicate senses are still freshly wounded from the shock. The one exception is that I'll take time to pause whenever some splashy headline involves Steven Kazmierczak (who, by the way, I'm really glad has an unpronounceable name. No more household-name killers like Charles Manson or Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris). While I might need some time to process the complex emotions involved, knowing the why always seems to help. In this case, there doesn't seem to be a reason, and that, strangely, makes me feel better.

I think in any tragic situation, being able to blame God, Fate, or simply Dumb Luck is much easier on the soul than having a tangible person or incident to blame. This could not have been stopped. There was nothing NIU officials, students, security, or admissions counselors could have done differently. In some cases, being completely helpless feels just a bit better than feeling like you, or someone else, failed at some responsibility. There were no warning signs, there wasn't even a reason for him to be in DeKalb at all. It's. Not. Anyone's. Fault. And that gives me some comfort.

On Time
----I've semi-unofficially been dating the same person (officially known as "The Boy") for two years now. The funny part is, I'm still feeling caught up in that "honeymoon phase", which I've been told is supposed to fade after a bit. No one's scientifically measured how long that "bit" is supposed to be, but you'd think that after two years we would at least hate each other at least just a little.

On the flip side, these last two years in every other aspect of my life have seemed like they've taken forever. I can barely remember being an intern, being "on my own" is a distant tickle in the back of my hippocampus. The weird part is that, while I have a whole two years of Relationship Memories, they often get jumbled around in my Other Life mental timeline. I've been just as enamored, just as fascinated, and just as happy with The Boy since day one that it's difficult to pin-point where any one happy memory occurred. Which means that even as we've gotten to know each other and learned about each other and spent so much time together, I'm still finding things to love, things to enjoy, and things I still want to know.

On (pre)Occupations
----I've not yet embarked upon The Great Rest Of My Life Hunt, largely because The Great End Of An Era has been heaping work upon my doorstep which I, of course, have been ignoring violently. Unfortunately, there are some things that one must do in order to, like, graduate and stuff. For now, I'm content letting life come at me as it will, because I'm clearly not motivated to grab any bulls by their horns. Besides, I can always just bartend for the rest of my life.

On Farewells

Friday, February 15, 2008

Contemplating Cole Hall

There's a lot of things in life that don't make sense to me, like why "domestic partnerships" are more threatening to the Religious Right than "gay marriage", or the way guy's brains work. As I sit here on the morning of Friday, Februray 15, 2008, I'm attempting to make sense of the series of emotions that have been tumbling around whatever area of my body where emotions reside. I'm thinking the stomach.

For at least half of my high school career I was semi-obsessed with school shootings, in the sense that they horrified me, and I saw the stirrings of how it could happen at my own school and took active measures with my more creative friends to raise awareness. There's something exteremely, intensely personal about a school shooting. Schools are places where people go to be safe, to make their lives better, and bringing in fear and hate and anger and sadness in such an extreme, violent way makes me feel so...violated.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I'm hoping that what happened at NIU won't earn some horrifically cheesy title, like "The Valentine's Day Massacre", partly because that's already taken. I also hope that the school's name doesn't become synonymous with this tragedy, like Virgina Tech.

It's strange to me for something of this magnitude to be so near to me, and yet I still remain so far removed. On the one hand, I know people who attend NIU from high school and the speech circuit, I know people who teach there, work there, and I felt justifiably worried about them. But on the other hand, these people that I know are acquaintences. I don't have any of their phone numbers stored in my cell, I had to call second-parties to check up to make sure that my acquaintences were okay. Overall, I'm struggling between being overwhelmed with the absolte terror of it all-- imagining what it must be like to be a student there, and feeling like I should just go on with life as usual.

The latter is probably the best and most reasonable option, and the one I will probably employ. It's what you do after any major tragedy that doesn't personally affect you, right? But this one was so much closer, just personal enough that I can't help but to feel like I'm a part of it, in just a little way. I just can't help but to think back to a couple weekends ago when I was in Cole Hall, celebrating the success of my teammates and speech friends, laughing, joking, being alive; now juxtaposing that image of the lecture hall with terrified, wounded, dead peers. It's something that keeps threatening to overwhelm my usual placid emotional balance.

If you're the praying type, pray for NIU, pray for parents, students, friends, family. Pray for other schools, because this sort of thing seems to be catching.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Farewell, Heath Ledger

Every new beginning is some other beginning's end

A number of years ago some older actor died and I remember my mom being shocked and saddened for a bit. I thought she was being a bit silly, as were all the people on TV who had gathered at the actor's home to cry, lay flowers, and mourn. These weren't friends, family, or community members. They had seen the actor on TV and in movies, that was it.

Giving my mom the benefit of the doubt, I tried to imagine how I'd feel if Lance Bass died. I decided I might be sad about it, but crying about it seemed a little much.
Heath Ledger died today, and I have to admit, I'm still in a little bit of shock. He was somewhat near and dear to my heart, seeing as Linda and I once went on a double date with him and Jake Gyllenhaal. I honestly can't describe how I'm feeling about it, because my life isn't really affected by the discontinuation of his. Yet I'm feeling stunned, saddened, even a little teary-eyed.

This vague shadow of grief seems ludicrous in the face of the fact that 4 days ago a friend of the family succumbed to cancer and while I was sad, especially for my mother's best friend whose brother is the deceased, I did not get weepy. I listened, I processed, and I moved on.

I will admit, however, that my first thought (after realizing my customer wasn't pulling her friend's leg) was "I hope they'd finished all the filming for Dark Knight."
In other news of the day, I declared my first jihad against whomever is responsible for plowing NCC's parking lots. After being forced to park on north end at 2am due to my south end parking lot being closed, I had to spend half an hour this morning kicking/hand-shovelling a 3-foot pile of snow out from behind my car. I was rather put out.

10 Things I Hate Love About You,

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ah, l'amor

This love isn't good unless it's me and you

Disclaimer to The Boy, should he read this: You're going to try to read between the lines, or think I'm hinting at something. I'm not. Don't freak out, love. Kthx.

I mentioned in my Late '08 entry (one click away ala the "previous" button!) that I'm mere weeks away from Real Adulthood. I'm soiling myself in fear on a daily basis and have metaphorically thrown up in my shoes so many times a metaphorical DSW could buy out Microsoft. Metaphorically.

On one hand, The Great Unknown is terrifying in of itself. I don't know where I'm going, what I'm doing, or how I'm going to get there once I figure it out. On the other hand, The Great Unknown is...freeing. I'm no long on the great conveyor belt of life. I've reached the end and I can do anything I want. I can move to Berlin and teach English, or move to Aurora and get a meth habit to occupy my time. Anything my heart desires.
The problem with these infinite possibilities is that as they come rushing in at me, they all crash abruptly against the great Relationship wall and then mingle about in confusion and panic. I've realized that The Boy and I are important enough to each other that whatever it is I do with my life will also affect his.

And that's a responsibility laid upon my shoulders that I'm not entirely equipped to deal with.

I'm a product of late 20th century feminism, whether I like it or not. While I might feel that factoring The Boy into my decisions is a good and right thing to do, the part of my brain that absorbs American Culture revs up and starts shrieking at me. "Factor him in?! Are you nuts? You're letting a man interfere with your future?! Don't let the patriarchy tie you down! You can be anything you want to be and he will only hold you back!"

And thus, I can see why so many people get married right out of the college gate. Factoring "some guy" into your big, beautiful future is limiting, silly, stupid. But factoring in your husband has an entirely different societal connotation. Marriage is a bond more important than many things. Marriage is about compromise. That's what we hear. So, when trying to figure out what to do, getting married in order to narrow the Big Scary Playing Field seems like a great idea! Even if you're not ready quite yet, you will be eventually, right?

Obviously, this sort of nonsense is easily sorted out by having rational conversations, but when one is standing on such a large precipice, irrationality has a way of creeping in and presenting scenarios in ways that don't seem so ludicrous.

I'm mostly just counting on my historical good fortune to kick in when I need it most. Things almost always work out for me, I don't see why that should end now.
Don't panic,