Thursday, January 31, 2008

i'm sorry, nephews' mama, but sometimes your problems make me laugh.

n.m.: "i'm sorry, but i have to go now. my two year old has reached monsterous levels of trollishness."

me: "ooh, sorry."

n.m.: "well, he just dumped his entire dinner on the dog."

can we all just agree that sometimes, you should just ask for what you want?

because you might just get it.

seriously? seriously.

today new boss reached truly impressive depths of scorn and derision and condescension. it was amazing, and i had a witness (who had to turn away because she was so baffled by what was happening.)

mamacita, who has excellent cowboy expressions for most situations, would say that new boss is "greasing the chute." i think i'll be departing before i reach the conclusion of my countdown calendar. it goes all the way until june, but i don't think i do.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

here is something that makes me less cranky.

haiku. specifically, accidental brother bear-created haiku.

that works out well, then.

four year old: "i like to give kisses to [littlest sister]. i'm always saying, 'here, i'm going to give you kisses.' it's good because she always wants to get them, and i always want to give them."

they are really cute.

times when i do not want to talk to anyone at work:

1. when i am balancing a piece of cake and holding a mug of hot tea while trying to unlock a door to my other office so that i can hide there for my ten minute break. (especially if you are YELLING at me to tell me about an email you are about to send me that contains information that isn't really very important, and especially times two if this information has already been conveyed to me by someone in person, someone else in a telephone message, and yet another person via email.)

2. while i am ALREADY IN THE BATHROOM STALL AND SITTING ON THE TOILET. (especially if what you are asking me could not be less important. and especially times two if you yell, "SARAH???" and i reply, after a moment of stunned silence, "can i talk to you in a minute?" and then you ASK ANYWAY.)

i hope i find a winning lottery ticket or something soon, because this is getting ridiculous. i need to find someone who will pay me to bake cookies in my pajamas and complain about things on the internet all day long. cranky.

can we all just agree that if you're moving away, you should probably hang out with me first?

can we all just agree that this is an interesting first ever thing to say to one of your employees who is doing you a favor?

me: "hello, [new boss], i have your keys."

new boss: [loud and derisive snort] "it's about TIME!"

i'm not sure how long this is going to last.

Monday, January 28, 2008

it's okay, you should laugh at them too.

two nights ago i had a dream right before i woke up about scientologists. they were presenting something or another at a conference or something like that, and because i had read in their promotional literature that one of the kids i know from camp had recently started hanging out with them and was going to be part of the presentation, i decided to go. i was really concerned about this kid, and i wanted to try to talk to him about it if i could get him away from the scientologists.

so the presentation began, and not too far into it, a scientologist who was sitting in the back of the auditorium next to me started FREAKING OUT about the importance of outlet covers (you know, the kind that normal people use to keep little kids safe from brilliant ideas about sticking forks into the wall?) but in this case, their purpose was to block evil spirits out of the house. apparently, the evil spirits were outside and liked to enter via electrical outlets. the presenters were clearly quite flustered, and it seemed like they were really trying to get him to tone down the crazy since there were members of the public around.

the whole outlet cover-as-protection-against-evil-spirits idea struck me as ludicrous, and in my dream i started laughing uproariously. the audience, which until this point had been pretty quiet and respectful, started laughing along with me. then the presentation started devolving pretty quick. the presenters were starting to get rattled, so they would lose their trains of thought, and i would laugh or trash-talk almost everything they said (which i really don't think i'd do in real life.)

then, they invited out a bunch of people who had been participating in their modeling classes/acting school, and it turned out that i knew all of them (or maybe just almost all of them). they were folks i grew up with, who i went to a summer program with for years. and some of the scientologists were making mean jokes about some of them! and i was mad about the mean jokes, and concerned that my friends might have been brainwashed by the scientologists, and a little hurt that i hadn't been invited to hang out with the scientologists myself.

and then i woke up.

i also had a crazy dream last night; i don't know what the deal is with all the dreaming action lately.

seventeen times.

that is how many times my phone buzzes when someone calls when it is set on "meeting" (because i'm in a meeting, at work.)

i tried to look extra-attentive, but it was kind of awkward.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

also, while i'm bossing you around on the internerd,

donkey punch. t4toby, who you might remember from such fine sites as sadly, no! and wherever else he likes to comment, writes this. you will like it, and he will also occasionally tell you good secrets like "go read exploding unicorn."

also, t4 brings you debra cagan. (WTF???)

now it is time to try to wake up mamacita and get crafty. enjoy your internets.

"recommended" isn't really strong enough, in this case.

i know i mentioned it once before, but seriously, dudes, bikesnobnyc is worth your reading. i'm having trouble figuring out how to quote him in a concise fashion, so here's a big chunk of an entry from the other day:

Trackstar Champion Scarf

One of the first things you learn when you start riding, just after how to fix a flat and not to wear underwear with your cycling shorts, is that it’s extremely dorky to wear pro team kit, grand tour leader’s jerseys, or World Champion stripes while you’re riding. (Unless of course you’re on a pro team, are leading a grand tour, or are a World Champion, in which case it’s only mildly dorky.) It would follow then that wearing a scarf in the World Champion colors is completely unacceptable, unless you’re an actual World Champion with questionable Euro tastes who’s susceptible to chest colds. (Or maybe some kind of drunken Belgian superfan.) Apart from that, all the scenarios in which this scarf might be worn are almost too awful to contemplate. If you’re wearing it on the bike, you’re committing a double crime: wearing the World Champion stripes; and wearing a scarf of any kind while cycling. If you’re wearing it off the bike, you’re just a peacock of dorkitude. In any case, I’m issuing a recall on the Trackstar Champion Scarf, as wearers are at risk of strangulation by me.

"peacock of dorkitude"? go read. he's hilarious. (also, i tried to hit on him once over at sleep is the new sex. [which you should also be reading. if you don't believe me, start with this post.] i don't think it worked, but i don't hold a grudge.)

the material out of which many of my recent plans appear to be constructed? fail.

last night the mamacita and i left for a weekend retreat that was going to be awesome. good place, good food, fantastic friends, etc. we were going to make the (very familiar, pretty, fairly pleasant) 72.4 mile, 1 hour and 35 minute drive together, and it was going to be excellent.

but it was apparently BIBLICALLY-PROPORTIONED RAINING TIME. after four hours, when yet another road was flooded out (we had been forced off the freeway long before that, because of flooding), we realized we needed to call it a night. so we went back into a town to find a motel. the first one was full. the second one was...inaccessible, because a creek had overflowed. i was on the phone with a guy at the motel, trying to make a reservation so that we could get one of the two remaining rooms, and i told him, "oh, [name of street] is flooded. is there another way we can get there?" he immediately replied, "i don't know."

just when we were scoping the best place in the best parking lot to sleep (funny how quickly our "civilized" lives break down in the face of nature, yes?), we spotted an expensive fancy chain hotel. mamacita, who has more money than me (not a particularly difficult attribute to attain) decided we were going to go for it.

so we had pretty good nights' sleep there. i had two dreams: one funny and food-related, and one crummy and make-me-sad-ful. the beds were really comfortable, though. and the soap smelled excellent.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

algo más sobre bolivia / something else about bolivia

mientras estaba allí, fui con una amiga norteamericana y un amigo boliviano a una heladería. habían sabores comunes, como vanilla y chocolate, pero no podía pasar la oportunidad de elegir "oso cremoso," helado azul con gummi bears. fue un poco extraño, pero bastante rico.

queríamos sacar fotos, pero los empleados nos dijeron que no podamos. vas a tener que imaginarlo.


when i was there, i went with a northamerican friend and a bolivian friend to an ice cream shop. there were common flavors, like vanilla and chocolate, but i couldn't pass up the opportunity to choose "oso cremoso" [literally: "creamy bear"], blue ice cream with gummi bears. it was a little strange, but pretty good.

we wanted to take pictures, but the employees told us that we couldn't. you'll have to imagine it.

the nephews' mama's awesomeness. let me show you it.

"you can look forward to grad school, i can look forward to preschool, that way we both have something to look forward to."

-superstar nephews' mama

no, don't worry. there's no such thing.

"can i get sick from eating too much goats cheese?"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

can we all just agree that this is absolutely wretched weather in which to be single?

non-native spanish speakers say stupid things / hispanohablantes non-nativos dicen cosas tontas

1. dicho: "estamos verde por las llaves."
significado: "[las montañas] son verdes por la lluvia."

2. persona #1: [hablando de un muchacho de 18 años subidiendo en piedras altas] "¡no tiene miedo!"
persona #2 [yo]: "¡así son los hombres de ochenta años!"


1. said: "we are green because of the keys."
meant: "[the mountains] they are green because of the rain."

2. person #1: [talking about an 18-year-old boy climbing on high rocks] "he doesn't have fear!"
person #2 [me]: "that's how eighty-year-old men are!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

the trip was huge.

i'm still having a tough time coming up with something concise to say about the trip to bolivia. it was good and i am so glad that i had the opportunity to go. those things are true. it is a country in transition right now, and there is a lot of hope and fear and excitement because of the promise of the future and the dangers of the past.

it was a powerful experience to be a white, comparably wealthy, north american in that post-colonial country. we stayed at a hotel where my (shared double) room was about $47 (US) per night. the average monthly income in bolivia is about $100 (US). i kept thinking about how crazy it would seem to me if someone came to the us and stayed in a $12,000 per night hotel.

and it wasn't the nicest hotel in town, either. don't misunderstand——it was nicer than anywhere i've ever stayed in the us, and the staff, from the doorman who stood at the door all day to make sure that i didn't have to open it myself and to keep other people out, to the kind desk clerk who was calling me "sarita" by the second day, to the polite 60 year old men who snatched my suitcase and sprinted up the stairs with it——it's just that there were fancier places in the city.

i certainly don't want to seem like i'm complaining. it was just another observation, and not a particularly comfortable one. being confronted with one's privilege is rarely (if ever) a pleasant thing. but it is important.

i've seen it other places, even here at home, but the free pass that my pale face so often provides is such a strange and unsettling thing.

i am tired, and it's been a crummy day, and i need to go to bed. but i would like to recommend "white privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack," by peggy mcintosh. it is a good essay for generating discussion and for getting a start on thinking about these sorts of things.

more later, i promise.

update: my cousin asked me what i meant by "being confronted with one's privilege." i mean that it was uncomfortable to see when i was being treated differently because of the fact that i am white and american and much wealthier than the average bolivian person. because i was definitely treated differently. i didn't do anything to deserve this special treatment, of course, but because of systemic racism and classism (that is by no means unique to bolivian society), people were politer and quieter and more subservient when dealing with me. and that felt gross. it was particularly upsetting when i was with bolivian friends and acquaintances, because in some cases the differences in treatment between me and them was really striking. was it because my friends were acting substantially different than me? no! it was just because of how i look and where i'm from. thanks for asking, dawson.



Saturday, January 19, 2008


i really did intend to keep you up on my travels. but then i ended up traveling. i will have some stories and perhaps fotos for you in the next couple of weeks, but if you're really curious, please ask me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

adios a bolivia / goodbye to bolivia

manana me voy a salir de bolivia. tengo muchas cosas para contarles. hoy fuimos a las ruinas de tihuanaku, y estaba pensando en esta cancion todo el dia. es de neil young originalmente, pero aqui tienes built to spill. buenas noches.


tomorrow i'm going to leave bolivia. i have a lot of things to tell you. today we went to the ruins of tihuanaku, and i was thinking of this song all day. it's by neil young originally, but here you have built to spill. good night.

update: this is not the video that i want it to be. i was trying to find it while using one of the public computers at the hotel, so i couldn't listen to it first. i didn't want the jammy version, i wanted you to hear the lyrics. but i've scoured the internets and i can't seem to find it. i have a scratchy cassette tape with a live version on it, and it is amazing. i hope that you can encounter one as well.

"cortez the killer" built to spill

Monday, January 07, 2008

¿podemos estar todos de acuedro que es fantástico estar en bolivia? / can we all just agree that it's fantastic to be in bolivia?

¡de veras! un poco menos fantástico es tener enferma de altitude, pero gracias a dios por hojas y té de coca.

más pronto, amig@s.
for reals! a little less fantiastic is having altitude sickness, but thank god for coca leaves and coca tea.

more later, friends.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

i'm bringing cranky back

here are some bad ways to spend your two 10 minute breaks from a job that makes you feel dreadful anyway:

1. navigating the phone options of your health insurance's member services department in an attempt to speak to a real person (your fifth call in three days) to find out if they have finally received your application that will allow you to spend a very large sum of money on kind of crappy coverage because people chose to be dishonest about your benefits;

2. making your second call (because they didn't call you back the last time you called over this) to the dentist to find out why they have suddenly started sending you large bills (complete with finance charges!) over an appointment you paid cash for months ago (because you don't have dental insurance);

3. trying to get in touch with people who are both failing to hold up their part of a group project AND being incredibly passive-aggressive about it.

awesome news!

jesse has a blog. it is called "I Punched a Flower in the Face." you should go read it. you can learn some theology, or just make fun of people who have made new year's resolutions to improve their lives. so pretty much, it's like having a conversation with jesse. but with more punctuation.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008