Archive for the ‘…So It Goes’ Category

I can’t quite remember the first time I realized that my mom knew her stuff, but I do remember the phrase she used to show me. It’s one that has guided me through crushes, friendships, and disappointments – one that’s taught me that there’s only so much I can control before it (whatever it is) travels out of my hands.

“People do what they want to do…”

And you can’t control or change it, no matter how much you might pull your hair out trying. This simple sentence has over the years become a mantra for me to get through and deal with the people who frustrate, annoy, hurt and let me down – mainly because it’s true. 

People will say things a thousand different ways – to please you, to avoid confrontation, because it’s what they think you want to hear – but in the end, they’ll do exactly what they want to do regardless of its impact on you. It’s hard for some people to accept it (they’ll rationalize or make excuses for that person) and in the end, they’ll waste so much time and energy on someone who doesn’t really think of them much at all.

My mom told me this was a phrase Nana (not sure of how I’m actually related to her) used to say – an “ism” she’d spout off, one that made a lot of sense to Mom so that when I came to her crying about that boy in chem. class junior year or how my “best friend” started those rumors about that girl, it was the first thing that came to her mind.

“People do what they want to do, KT…and sometimes it sucks, sometimes it’s not at all what you want them to do, but more often than not, it’ll all work out and it’ll be for the better.”

So far she’s been right. So, thanks Mom. You do know your s**t.


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“So today, KT, we’re going to work to failure…”

Failure. Shit.

I stared down my trainer with definite wariness.

He’s a fifty-something black former Navy Seal who cuts to the quick both verbally and when he’s piling weight on one of the machines he has me using. His name is Vince.

I’ve never been an athlete. Never even really played a sport (except youth soccer and softball – where teams were made of various colors like Teal and Gold) or tried to hone my skills in a non-organized pastime (i.e. skiing or golf). I never had the stamina or the coordination to even try-out…except 8th grade volleyball, but that ended badly and I’m still bitter.

What I have learned to do to exercise and stay healthy is workout…I enjoy going to the gym and through that, I’ve come to appreciate the dedication that goes into manipulating your body to work towards a specific goal regardless of endzone or finish line.

I’m pretty religious about exercise and it’s for purely selfish reasons. If I’ve had a crap day where nothing seemed to click in place, I’ll go to the gym and pound my frustration into a treadmill and feel better. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s a sense of intense satisfaction when I’ve finished a good workout.

The gym where I’m currently a member offers free training for your first month and then once a month after that. I signed up for a session with Vince and knew we’d hit it off when after shaking hands he said, “ready to cry?” then swatted my shoulder with a, “let’s get to work.”

We train…to failure. Arms. Legs. Back. Shoulders. He has me lift until I am physically incapable of raising my arm again. I’m standing there staring at it and it’s absolutely, completely refusing to move. Then he says, “do one more.”

And I do. And the day I told him I was a Redskins fan, he doubled the weight, adding five extra reps – he’s not a fan of that football franchise.

“OK, we’re done here.” Vince makes a note on my chart and I hobble behind him to the next machine to repeat.

At the end of an hour, my muscles are shaking with exertion. But I feel good. And I find myself fascinated with the fact that he says this is working to failure because failure to me means not accomplishing something, not seeing it through, a cacophony of negative. Yet he sees these failures as measures of success, as an opportunity to learn and grow and build – to eventually reach a tangible goal of fitness.

I’d love to be able to apply this thinking to life where failure actually becomes a means for creation, but I have a feeling that in most cases if a person (me included) hits failure more often than not, they’ll be unwilling to ever try again. Somehow, I’d like to get out of that mindset – and in ways, I think I am.

Vince pushes my muscles to failure and I come back the next week ready to do it all again. I look forward to working beyond what I think I can do to what I actually am capable of completing. So each week I work to this end. I add more weight, do more repetitions until finally I hit failure again.

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So you may have noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately. I’ve had blog-block. Funny, random and awkward things keep happening, but I have no clue how to sort them into coherent thoughts to share with you all. After receiving a slight onslaught of complaints for my inactivity, I’ve finally sat down to write something…

Like many of you, I spend close to and sometimes more than 8 hours a day at work. Though I don’t particularly like blogging about my job, mainly because I would like to keep it, sometimes it’s impossible not to since so much of my time is spent in the office. I’m lucky that most of my co-workers are laid back enough that if they read any post where I mention them, I think they’d just laugh. At least I hope they would.

A few days ago, I popped into my co-worker’s office. She has two little boys, so we often swap stories about her kids and my nephews. Mainly we laugh at them and their antics. This is how we digress and refocus our eyes from the blurried distortion Excel spreadsheets cause.

I shared with Co-Worker a fact that many of my close friends and family know about me and a trait most of them hate. I DETEST being teased. I do not take it well AT ALL. With that being said, I dish it out quite liberally. People seem to think that because I can hold my own in a battle of sarcastic will, I should be able to accept the same treatment in kind. I just can’t do it. But in all fairness, I am working on it.

Co-Worker commented that her oldest son, at 7, is much the same way:

“Thing#1 hates to be teased too and the other day at daycare some girl came up to him with a Cootie-Catcher (*Editor’s note: I had no idea what this was and thus asked her to explain). A  Cootie-Catcher is like a fortune teller for kids.”

cootie_partyAfter you go through various hula-hoops, you end up with a fortune. In the case of Thing#1, his fortune was his future occupation. He picked a color; LittleGirl spelled the color. Then he picked a number; LittleGirl counted the number. Then, she told him to choose the number 3 to reveal his life’s path.

It said: HOBO.

He was devastated.

She probably liked him, right?

I felt for the little guy. Heart hanging there on his sleeve as he blindly chooses a fate doomed to living beneath an underpass with nothing to keep him warm but malt-liquor in a grody brown bag. Teasing sucks. Love hurts. And so it goes…

Cootie-Catcher (I personally think this sounds like a disease — and not a pleasant one) reminded me of another fortune game I used to play with my elementary, middle, and yes probably high school friends: MASH.

Ring a bell?

M- Mansion

A- Apartment

S- Shack

H- House

My friends and I’d sit in the back of the bus and script these letters at the top of our 3-ring notebook paper. From there, we’d pick categories: Husband, Car, Money, Occupation, Pet, Bridesmaids, Color, Relationship Status, Location.

I’d get to pick one of the boys for husband, but for the most part the FortuneTeller (FT) fills in the selections under the categories. FT’d then draw slashes until I said stop, count them up and begin to run down the list for my future life. Then, when the magic number was hit, FT’d cross through everything until 1 item was left in each category. At that, my future was set:

KT will be a waitress living in a House, married to PerfectBoy in Hawaii. He’ll be a lawyer. They’ll have 2 kids, a boy and a girl (sometimes we’d give specific names to imaginary children). V will be her bridesmaid and wear blue in her wedding. PerfectBoy and KT will have a Golden Retriever and drive a Range Rover.

And I’d believe it to be so…it’s funny how when we’re young, we put so much stock into these silly games. I would have rather died than to end up with TL (the whiny kid who picked his nose in Music class) and who would actually desire to become a hobo? We’d spend hours on the playground trying to act grown up, and when someone would show us a future we didn’t want to see, we’d throw a fit.

As I’ve grown-up, the tantrums have faded, but I still remember the effects of those pastimes – how I’d cringe in anticipation of my future and how absolutely shattered I’d be when it didn’t come out “cool.” The other kids would laugh that I was marrying TL and we were going to spend our days in a Shack. And I’d remember their laughs long after the bus ride ended.

So I guess this is how I developed my hatred of being teased and later the defense mechanism to dish it back in force.

Co-Worker ended our little chat with, “As Thing#1 and I drove home that evening, I told him he needed to get thicker skin….that the little girl was trying to play a game with him, that she was joking. But he just pinched his arm and said his skin was thick enough as it is.”

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telephone1My job consists of constant interaction with Excel and Outlook and limited interaction with people. Occasionally my phone rings and I answer it and speak for a few moments. I repeat this once or twice a day. Most often it’s Boss or Colleague. They call for two reasons: one, to cover daily tasks or two, to tell a joke at my expense. Other than that, I plug formulas into a tiny white cell and hope my answers are correct.

My office has no windows, so I have no idea what the weather is outside. On days where my cup is half-full, I assume it’s sunny and beautiful, and thus I mope accordingly because I’m stuck in a windowless office where my only light is the artificial twitting of a fluorescent bulb.

Because I have minimal socialization throughout the day it’s quite possible that I will flub up the conversations I do have. For various reasons, I am unable to multi-task while talking to people, especially on the phone. I can walk and chew gum, drive and apply lipgloss, write and watch Chuck. But I am completely incapable of chatting on the phone while on the internet, driving, or eating, the latter for obvious reasons. I have to devote my full attention to the person on the other line and who they actually are and what they’re saying, otherwise…something disastrous may happen.

There are a few people in my life I talk to on a daily+ basis; Sis and Mom, sometimes Bro and Dad. We ring each other at least 2-3 times throughout the day…sometimes more. The calls are usually no more than 5-10 minutes as we’re often busy doing three other things. Whenever I’m ready to hang up, I say “okay, love you, bye.” And click off quickly, without much thought.

A few Mondays ago, Colleague called me when I first came into the office. While he rattled off some tasks for the day, I turned on my computer, logged onto g-mail, read an email, im-ed some friends and produced affirmative grunts to whatever he was going on about. After a few minutes, we rapped up the chat. I spouted, “ok…loo..long day it’s gonna be right?”

Panic. Shit. I almost said Love You TO Colleague!  Did I cover it well enough?

“Yeah…what else is new?” he asked.

Whew. Covered. I think.

“Heh heh heh…yeah typical Monday.”

Ten minutes later. BInLaw calls ready to leave. Most of you know I work with BInLaw. He sent me the job description that set in motion my move South. We are now co-workers who commute together 2 days a week. Sis packs our lunches. It’s all very cute.

“Yo…it’s 10:30. Can we leave yet?”

“Haha…no. Let’s wait until after noon today?” I typed away at an email, updated a spreadsheet, etc. as we talked about Perez Hilton’s latest gossip until he announced,

“Okay…I have actual work to be doing KT.”

“Like I don’t…”

“HA. I mean real work…not that stuff you do. Talk to you later.”

I tapped at my keyboard and distractedly said…”K, lovv…lunch time. See you at lunch time. Bye”

Shit. I did it again.

…And so it goes until I’m so conscious of the fact that when distracted, I almost say I love you to ANYONE with whom I happen to be on the phone that I’ve been forced to actually contemplate not answering. Too bad Boss sits in the office next to me and can hear my clicking as I type this, so when he calls, he probably expects me to pick up the phone.

Have you ever over-thought a conversation in the midst of one? You weigh and measure every word.

A. It’s exhausting.

B. You end up making even less sense than normal.

3. You forget what you said 15 seconds before because you’re too busy trying to come up with the next line so that you don’t say something stupid or embarrassing like, I love you.

While this is mostly a problem for me via the telephone, I have almost made the same mistake through the written word…i.e. email. Occasionally during lunches, I’ve been known to watch an episode or three of whatever current TV show with which I happen to be slightly obsessed.

On this particular day, I was watching The Bachelor. As you know, I religiously followed Jason as he searched for true love on ABC. While watching Jason explain to a heart-broken Jillian (I think it was this episode), I was simultaneously drafting an email to Boss.

Jason- “I just think there’s something missing between us. That we’re better as best friends and aren’t able to make that leap to the next level.”  (or something like that…Jason was always way verbose)

Me- typing email to Boss – Hi, Attached is the draft for the March efforts. Would you mind taking a look over it before I send it off? I just want to make sure there’s nothing missing between us.


Yes. That’s what I wrote. Thankfully, I proof my emails before I hit send. In a panic of nervous energy that I had just almost sent that email, I called BInLaw.

“Dude…listen to the email I just drafted to Boss.” I read him the email, “I was watching the Bachelor and Jason had just said that line. Clearly my subconscious found what he said important enough to type out.” (BInLaw knows who Jason is…so luckily he got this story without much prompting.)

“Oh man KT. That would have been rough. Imagine if last week you had actually said I love you to Boss and then this week sent that email. He probably would have had to go to HR and been like…I think I have a problem on my hands. My direct report is in love with me.”

BInLaw laughed at this.

I did not.

Lesson Learned: Do not multi-task when on the phone or drafting emails to your employers, co-workers, relatives or anyone with whom you would not end a conversation with “ok, love you, bye.” Click.

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This is probably the closest I’ll get to the 25 things fad I’ve previously discussed. As mentioned, I’m not likely to ever do it, but do enjoy learning the occasional tid-bit about a friend/acquaintance. The aforementioned “This” is my Ash Wednesday confession. No I’m not Catholic, but…recognizing this day on the religious calendar gives me an excuse to share a little known fact about me.

While not life-altering or jaw-dropping, it would probably surprise some of you who know me. So here goes…

Whenever I go to a pub or pub-like bar, I’m compelled to snatch a pint glass, especially if it’s one I have never seen before. I know I know…who cares? But whew…not many people know this about me and it feels good to get it off my chest. Grant it, I don’t do this every time I step into a bar. It’s only when I see a glass I like that the little voice starts rationalizing…guinness-2

Is my purse big enough to hold the glass?

Should I really take it?

Are the bartenders going to actually miss it or even notice?

How many steps are there to the door?

I lifted my first pint glass in 2006 from a small pub in Oxford when I was a student studying abroad in England, where pints are obviously served in abundance. It was a Guinness glass, traditional and simple. I’m pretty sure I took a couple of coasters with it.

Now…believe me, I had a moment of regret, a quick pang where I thought I should remove the glass from my purse and return it to the empty water-ring on the table. But I didn’t.

And pretty soon, I had a Magners, then Foster’s, then I went on a jaunt to Ireland and came back with a Bulmers pint.  At this point, I did share my propensity towards “borrowing and not returning” barware with an advisor in my program. He actually laughed at my conflicted state and the words of wisdom he shared with me have been the sole reason I still occasionally pinch glasses at pubs.

“KT, how much do you think it costs the Queen to produce those glasses?”

“I dunno,” I replied.

“About 3 pence. That’s it. Don’t worry about it. They make so many that they’re practically begging you to take them. Think about it either you snag ’em or they just end up broken in a bar fight.”

This made perfect sense to me. And so I justified my kleptomanic tendency.

He then additionally advised, “Now that doesn’t mean you should go waving around the glass before you put it in your pocket, but I think you’re safe if you keep it on the down-low.” Yes, he said down-low. He also informed us at our orientation that we shouldn’t walk up to a bartender and say “I’d like some head with my beer.”

So if it only costs manufacturers 5 cents (exchange rates may fluctuate) to make the glass, and bar managers order extra because they expect party-fouls, then obviously they won’t care/notice if little old me takes one teeny glass for her expanding collection. Right?

The dictionary defines kleptomania as “an obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need, usually arising from an unconscious symbolic value associated with the stolen item.” How to see if this applies to my situation? Well, I do have an economic need for a glass from which to get my daily allowance of water and other favored beverages. And I guess I do associate that these particular glasses are actually breakable and thus have value as opposed to plastic or paper cups. But I wouldn’t say I’m obsessive….

My latest pilfer was an American Beer glass with an NHL team logo on it. It was 3 weeks ago that I took this glass.

My name is KT and I may have a slight problem.


New Yorker Cartoon: Leo Cullum: ID: 122801, Published in The New Yorker September 4, 2006

Anyone have any confessions they’d like to share?…I’m all ears.

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“You appear to have caught that bug that’s been going around my waiting room.”  by Mick Stevens

Yeah…I’ve got that.

One thing you should know about me is that I rarely get sick, but when I do, my whole body ceases to function as a coherent unit. My brain takes leave, my ears pop out for a break, my legs race in opposing directions…you get the point.

People notice. “Wow, you don’t look so hot,” becomes their signature greeting. Thank you folks. As if I already didn’t know that it looks like I have two rotting prunes beneath my eyes.

I become sort of manic. I don’t want to be touched, and then want nothing more than to be coddled by my mom. I’m hot, then shivering cold. The sight of food makes me nauseas before starvation (and throat aches) forces me to eat a gallon of ice cream.

I fixate on one thing. Ginger Ale. Sleep. Maury. And I lose the ability to multi-task, thus if I’m watching a marathon about how your man slept with my baby’s daddy, I’m likely not to eat for hours, and so on and so forth.

I descend into insomnia. If I try to lie down to sleep, I start coughing. I cough until I pass out. I wake up because I can’t breathe. I sit up, focused on the fact that I can’t breathe. I worry; wonder when I’ll fall back asleep; wonder what time it is; wonder if Grey’s will be good this week. I get frustrated that I’m thinking about stupid things when I could be sleeping. I have to blow my nose. I blow my nose. And so it goes…

Since I’m normally a healthy 24-year-old, I don’t often take sick days, so I’m usually in the office when various bugs begin to hover outside people’s cubicles. I hate nothing more than listening to other people cough. And I’m not talking about the dry hack; I’m talking about the prolonged “productive” cough, the one that starts in the throat before working its way down to the deep recesses of your lungs where it rattles around trying to get something loose when after some additional rigorous breaths, it finally shoots free and up the esophagus and into your mouth. Yeah. That cough. The Shrek-green-eugh cough.

Well, that’s what I have. I’ve spent the last several nights inhaling vicks and sucking down ricola’s. This cold has sucked the color out of my face and the life from my body. I’m totally drained. It’s not even fun to yodel Ricola anymore.

I’m listless and dirty. Did you ever notice how you don’t really feel clean when you’re sick? Or is that just me? I mean, I’m literally covered with cold remedies. My mouth is thick with cough syrup, drops and phlegm. My hands are dried out from numerous squirts of antibacterial gel. I’m only comfortable in the same ratty sweatshirt and sweatpants that are clearly starting to show vicks, soup, and decongestant stains because I always seem to miss my mouth (I think it’s an equilibrium thing; I swear I’m off-balance when I have a cold).

And this absolute misery lasts for almost 9 days. Three days where I start to think oh I think I’m coming down with something. Three days where I’m saturated with whatever virus has weakened my body. Three days where I’m still sniveling, but am slowly beginning to see the light. But by this point, what does it matter? I’ve been out of commission for over a week. Too much has happened. It’ll be exhausting to catch-up.

And I’ll bet all of this came about because I shook hands with that man in the meeting.

So sickness also apparently makes me paranoid, among the many other neurosis listed above. I can totally sympathize with people who are hypochondriacs. Luckily, I’ll be “well” soon enough and this will have been nothing more than a short-lived feverous rant. But I may or may not keep the antibacterial on my desk permanently.

*Cartoon: ID: 121840, Published in The New Yorker February 6, 2006

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Happy Valentine’s Day.

Check out this article by the Washington Post. It may make you smiggle or groan. And it may shock you at how much a person can say about a relationship in six words.

He brought me breakfast in bed.

The string holding my ring–broken.

It’s kind of fun to describe love in six little words.

One call–his clothes through window.

Close my eyes, see just him.

Happy or sad memories compressed. Give it a try with your own six words. You just might be surprised at what you come up with.

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