A poem

My friend in Columbus is a poet. She is involved in competitive Slam Poetry and is quite talented (in more ways than one). She brought to my attention the poem below. I thought it was so simple and lovely, I felt compelled to share. Enjoy.

The Quiet World
by Jeffrey McDaniel

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allot
each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it
to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point
at chicken noodle soup. I am
adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long-distance lover and proudly say:
I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond, I know
she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you,
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.


Banana Clips & Boobies

Catchy title, eh? I have to apologize in advance for this particular entry being primarily an inside joke. I hate inside jokes - unless of course I'm on the inside. But really, it's so annoying when someone relates an anecdote that's supposed to be funny, and then when you don't laugh, they say "well, I guess you had to be there". So, that's why I'm apologizing. Because even though the title of "Banana Clips and Boobies" sounds so enticing and full of hilarity, afterwards you're probably going to be like, "ya know Cathryn, that really wasn't very amusing" And inevitably I will feel obligated to say, "well, really, you just had to be there".

So, Friday night Jen and Terah and I went to Jonathan's (even though it's a chain, it's a fun sports-bary-live-musicy place that just happens to be conveniently located in our hood) for dinner and drinks...and more drinks. Now, all three of us are basically very genuinely nice people, but ya know, sometimes you just can't help being mean. And the other patrons of Jonathan's were making it SO SO easy to be mean. For instance, there was the table of 80's Ladies: presumably middle-aged divorcees with their teased-out bangs, denim jackets and banana clips. Then there was Orange Shirt Guy who was sporting very perky and prominent man-boobs. We're talking teenage-girl perkiness. Then there was the table of geriatrics sitting next to us trying to be charming and flirty - when really they were just old and creepy. Sitting at the bar was a couple who MAY have been mother and son or who MAY have been out on a blind date after having met on MySpace - it was seriously hard to tell. Needless to say the mean-spirited, red-faced laughter accompanied by an occassional snort of beer out the nose ensued throughout the evening.

Funny stuff, eh? Well, I guess you had to be there.

Death March

Saturday morning it was sunshiney, the skies were blue, the temperatures were well above freezing, and so, I met some friends for a nice little hike through the woods and over the hills at a local nature preserve. Typically, we take the blue trail which is a 2.5 mile trail and designated as 'moderate'. Perhaps it was the sunshine, perhaps it was simply the light feeling of being happy and out-of-doors on a lovely Saturday morning...whatever the cause, Jen suggested a new trail endeavor.

Studying the map at the Nature Center, we noticed the Mossy Ridge Trail at the adjoining nature preserve. The Mossy Ridge Trail was marked in red and the map indicated that it was 4.5 miles and was also considered to be 'moderate'. It sounded like a fine idea!

A fine idea until we began hiking up mountains at an 80 degree incline! And then hiking back down, and then back up, and down again, and back up. You get the idea. Moderate, my ass! Moderate for a triathlete maybe. And I'm not completely out of shape...true enough I need to lose weight and am making efforts to that effect...but even so, I am fairly active regardless.

After about an hour of this torture, and seriously feeling like I needed to throw-up, I breathlessly yelled, "okay, I am simply NOT in good enough shape yet to be doing this, you guys!" Terah (far up ahead of me) merrily calls back, "you're doing great!" I mumble, "no...I can't BREATHE...that is NOT 'doing great'!" After weighing my options of curling up in a pile of leaves or continuing to painfully plod along, we finally came to the end of the trail. I didn't even throw-up.

And as a consolation, we went out for breakfasts of eggs and toast afterwards (with LOTS of water). Jen said I would be thanking her later for the Mossy Ridge Trail decision...and I must admit, I'm feeling pretty good today...my butt muscles are sore, but otherwise I feel great. I might actually get talked into doing it again next weekend!


Career Considerations

I think it's safe to say, you know you've hit a wall when you start seriously thinking prostitution might've been a better career choice. Yesterday late afternoon, amidst a frustrating onslaught of plan changes, equipment shortages, and time constraints, I offered to my equally frustrated co-workers the suggestion that the option of flipping burgers as a career choice was looking very favorable at that point.

But then Kelly wisely pointed out that we probably wouldn't be able to afford to live on a burger flipper's salary. So then Melissa suggested maybe a more lucrative but equally less stressful option might be prostitution. Sure, there are the STDs to consider, but hey, advancements in protection have come a long way! And if you got into one of those 'high-end' Vegas brothels, you could lead a fairly stress-free, relatively cushy life, right?

After a collective, daydreamy sigh, we returned to our frantic world of reflected ceiling plan updates, casework revisions and pulling equipment out of thin air. For now I guess we're sticking with architecture, but if the Cottontail Ranch should happen to call next week during crunch time, I can't make any guarantees!


Art & Fish (and some other stuff)

Okay, I think I can officially consider myself busy. Maybe not busy enough to warrant a nervous breakdown or curling up in the fetal position and rocking back and forth in a corner, but definitely busy enough for it to have affected my rigorous blogging schedule (well, not rigorous exactly...but my blogs DO seem to be getting more infrequent lately).

Of course, a big chunk of the busy-ness stems from work. When a deadline is looming on the horizon, long hours at the office are inevitable. And as a friend of mine amusedly pointed out last Friday over egg rolls, there always seems to be SOME kind of deadline. Which really isn't exactly true, it's just that the project I'm working on at the moment is on an expedited schedule, so the deadlines have appeared steadily one right after the other - but this is not the norm on every project, thankfully.

In addition to the recently heavy work schedule, also contributing to the general state of busy-ness is school. Yes, I'm back in school. Granted, it's only one night a week, but still, having been out of school for many years now, it's somewhat of a shock to my system. I'm taking classes to prepare for the CDT (construction document technician) exam. It's a little dry and WAY more than I ever wanted to know about the intricacies, legalities, and technicalities of construction documents, but it's probably good information to know (at least that's what I'm telling myself).
In addition to the work-related activities, last weekend I had a full schedule as well - a full schedule of fun, that is!

Friday night, after leaving work a little late, I rushed home in an attempt to quickly change clothes and "freshen up" (the phrase "freshen up" sounds innocuous enough, but as a girl, I know that a simple freshening up can sometimes take much longer than anticipated). Needless to say I was late getting to my friend's house which, incidentally, made us late to the art show. I take full responsibility for our tardiness, placing some of the blame on my uncooperative hair and lacking wardrobe. Though we did manage to have fun, sadly, I had to make it an early evening as I had to set my alarm for 5 AM.

Yes, you heard right - 5 AM on a Saturday morning. I had to be on the road to Atlanta by 6:30 AM. Why were you going to Atlanta?, you ask. I was invited to an opening gala (heck, I'll go to ANY event that utilizes the word "gala") for a hospital our firm designed. The festivities were beginning at 7 PM Saturday evening. For the record, it only takes about 3.5 -4 hours to drive from Nashville to Atlanta. BUT, my friend and co-worker who I was driving with, thought it would be a fun idea to go check out the much-lauded Georgia Aquarium before checking into our hotel. And hey, who among us can say they are immune to the siren's call of fish and aquatic mammals?

To help assuage the pain of such an early departure, Michelle DID bring a bag full of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yay! Things don't seem so bleak when cookies are involved. We got to the aquarium around 11:30 - had plenty of time to admire both the building and the marine life housed within. I'm partial to the Belugas and the Sea Otters.

We also had plenty of time to relax and "freshen up" at the hotel before the evening's celebratory gala where we donned gowns, drank champagne, dined on delicacies, and generally just basked in the congratulatory glow. Of course, I had no hand in the actual design or construction admin. of the building, seeing as how it was already in construction when I arrived at the firm. So, I was there more in a supportive capacity... and that worked just fine for me.

After the late Saturday night, Sunday was spent leisurely - getting up without an alarm, dawdling at breakfast, and then driving the 4 hours back to Nashville. Why is it that driving long distances is tiring? Am I the only one who feels drained after a long drive? I mean, you aren't really expending any energy, you're just sitting there in the car. It could be I'm just a sissy, but when I got back to my apartment around 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, I didn't feel like doing ANYTHING, much less going in to the office to work for a few hours (which was my original intent). So, I did manage to drag myself to the grocery store for some much-needed groceries and then did a little laundry and called it good!

Yesterday at work we were told our deadline of January 29th got pushed back a week. This does not make me happy. This is not a blessing in disguise - or any kind of blessing at all. This is simply going to extend my busy-ness phase. Ah well, I plan on staying in town this weekend and laying low - but of course, even best-intentioned plans often go awry.


Opera, anyone?

I really cannot claim to be an opera afficionado. I'm not quite in the category of ardent devotee. I don't own any operatic CDs. I don't watch operatic productions on the public television station. But, I would consider myself an opera appreciator with a growing affection. The seed of affection was planted back in college when I had the opportunity to see La Boheme. Since then I have been fortunate enough to attend a handful of opera productions at various venues over the years (the challenge is usually finding someone who will go with me - apparently opera is not an easy thing to love).

It would be hard for anyone not to love the decadently rich sets and costumes typical of opera, but I also love the abstractness...the exagerration...the formal and somewhat ritualistic performances that are inherent in operatic productions.

Saturday I attended a showing of The First Emperor by Tan Dun at a local theater being broadcast live in HD from the New York Metropolitan Opera House. I had never done this, and in fact, didn't even realize this was an opera-viewing option. It was enjoyable if a little bit strange. Of course, live performances (of just about anything) are always more exciting, but I'll admit it was cool to be watching the opera live in real time as it was being performed in New York. And, it was highly amusing (or highly annoying according to the friend I went with) when audience members in Nashville applauded the performers.

Overall, it was enjoyable entertainment and managed to further expand my growing affection - maybe someday I'll be able to claim the title of afficionado.


TV Crack

My name is Cathryn and I'm addicted to TV crack.

Shocking I know, considering how little tv I actually watch. As a kid we never had cable and as an adult I have never had cable willingly (having your boyfriend refuse to hang out at your apartment unless you have cable is NOT willingly - besides, he paid for it). However, there have been a few shows during my life that I have watched religiously. It started in high school with Beverly Hills 90210 (don't laugh - you know you watched it too!!) and then in college it was Ally McBeal. From there my addiction progressed to Sex & the City. And then Donna introduced me to Buffy and I was almost instantaneously hooked on that genius television goodness. So you see, up until a few weeks ago, my television obsession preferences have been in the category of "critically-acclaimed-award-winning" tv (well except for 90210 - but hey, it was high school).

And THEN my friend Terah made me watch a couple of episodes of the MTV "reality" show Laguna Beach. It's all been down-hill since that night. This is not quality tv. Laguna Beach is decadent trash tv. It is not smart or clever or creative. It is tv crack and I love it. The show follows various groups of high school seniors in the California coastal resort town of Laguna Beach. When I put a new DVD in and hear the Hilary Duff opening credits soundtrack, I can feel my brain cells screaming and jumping ship. . . .and yet, I can't seem to stop watching it. I have always had this strong repulsion to the whole "reality" tv show movement - scoffing at Survivor, mocking The Bachelor, ridiculing The Amazing Race. . . you get the picture. And ironically enough, Laguna Beach is "reality" tv at it's worst! It's so unbelievably BAD, it's good.

So now if you'll excuse me, I need to go start the Season Two DVD, I have to find out if Kristin and Stephen hook up over Christmas break! I'll keep you posted.