Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Should Invest In Office Depot

Want to hear something really dorky?

I adore office supplies. I do! There is something so exciting to me about walking into an Office Depot and seeing all of the hundreds of different office supply choices that lay in front of me. Binders, and markers, and pens, and folders, and erasers, and post-its...I love it all. It all makes my heart beat just a little bit faster.

Today, when I arrived to work, I had a huge box waiting for me on my chair and when I opened it up, I realized my office supply order for work had finally come. Hooray! New Sharpies!! I try to stay casual about my love affair, but sometimes I can't help but burst at the seams as I anxiously await the moment when I get to write with my new gel pen, or use that brand new binder that smells so fantastic sitting in my cube.

I also love writing checks. But that's an entirely different post.

Make New Friends But Keep The Old

When I graduated High School, I remember being devastated at the fact that i was leaving behind some of the best friends I've ever had. It hurt to think our time together would never be the same, and that our relationships would slowly fade away. I remember crying thinking that "my girls" would soon become a distant memory and that I would soon have new friends to fill new memories with. But I didn't want new memories, I liked the ones I had already!

I of course got over that thinking, and did in fact make new friends, and I created a plethora of fantastic new memories, ones that I will never forget! But I was wrong about one thing. My relationships of my high school years didn't fade. In fact, they grew much much stronger. Sure I lost touch with a lot of my closest friends, but a majority of us still have consistent contact with one another. I have watched many of them marry their long time loves, and create a brand new life of their own. I have been with some through the deaths of parents and relatives, and have shared in the joys of new houses, apartments, and vehicles. I have danced my ass off, puked in ally ways, and sat on chairs and cried with these people. Through all these years they have remained my dearest, most cherished friends, and I will forever be thankful for the joy they have brought into my life.

People have often told me how rare it is to still have such a close knit group of friends from High School and I've often thought that maybe they were right. But then I came across this story in the Journal Sentinel this morning and I realized that we're not that strange after all. That people carry on life long friendships all the time. We're just one more group to add to that fantastic story of life.

I'm not sure where our respective lives will take us, but I hope that when we're all 75, we're still getting together and laughing about where we've all been together, just as these beautiful women are. How truly special it is, to be able to share in the journey of life, with some of your very best friends in the world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Grrr To Cell Phones

In Orlando, I went into the pool. Actually, I got pushed into the pool. And I was holding my Kate Spade purse (complete with matching Kate Spade wallet), and those went into the pool with me. And inside that purse? My cell phone. Yes, that went in as well. All of us, into the pool, fully submerged by chlorinated, peed in water.


And now? I'm without a cell phone. For the last 4 days actually. It's both liberating and frustrating at the same time. I've been trying with no success to salvage what's left of my overly priced cell phone, but alas I'm admitting defeat in that area. My cell phone plan isn't up for renewal until December, which means my only option for a new phone is to either suck it up and buy a new one (which I don't really have the money for) or live without contact for the next three months.

Believe me, that last option is sounding better and better each day.

Thankfully, my dear friend Amanda here at work had an extra cell phone for me to use, and generously saved my life by offering it to me until my plan expires. My next hurdle? Get the damn password to unlock the stupid phone from Cingular and Motorola.

"A response will be sent to you in 4 - 7 business days" Grrrrrrrrr!

Oh and by the way. My purse? She's fine. A little wet, but generally okay.

Looking Back on Summer 2007

Today in Wisconsin, it officially feels like fall. The air is cool and crisp, with hints of amber colored leaves blowing and moving below my feet. I stepped outside as the dawning sun hung lower than it has the previous few months, and I held my jacket closer to my body as I ran to my car to begin my morning commute. It was chilly, but a good chilly. The kind that makes you anticipate the coming months of crunching leaves, deep browns and oranges, and pumpkins sitting proudly at the doorsteps of neighborhood houses. I love autumn. Everything about it really. That is, everything except the fact that Winter is just around the corner.

I hate Winter.

Through my love for Autumn, I also hold a small place of remorse for the passing of Summer. That time of year when the sun shines brighter, the children laugh louder, and the idea of a front porch and a vodka lemonade never sounded sweeter. With the coming of Autumn, comes the end of Summer, and although I look forward to the coming months, I can't help but reminisce about what the last four have brought to me, and be thankful for all that I have been given so far this year.

Thank you Summer 2007, for giving me:

The chance to finally meet Tara's mom...too many years later
The Girls Next Door on DVD
My very first fishing license, followed by my very first fishing experience
My Barbie fishing bobber
The "On Your Honor Box"
An introduction to the amazing music of Jon Hainstock
A cure for my fear of flying
...lots of wine
The mountains of Utah
The ability to save
and a $300 a month savings on my loan payment
The Grand Ol Opry
A new lifelong friend
My new apartment
A sitemeter and google ads for my blog
The knowledge that thunder doesn't come from clouds crashing together
A 14 hour motorcycle ride through South Dakota
Runs by the lake
Walks by the lake
Get togethers with old, dear friends

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goodbye Harley-Davidson

In two weeks time, I will no longer be an employee of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. It was such a hard decision considering the love I have for my position, my boss, and the company. But in Harley, I was offered uncertainty. A position that had no plans to become permanent in the near future, especially considering the future health at the moment, of a downward sloping industry. I wanted to cry as I had to spit out the words "I was offered another position" and yet I felt relieved as I watched my boss's face beam with happiness as he encouraged me to jump on opportunities. At that moment, I wanted to hug him. I couldn't have asked for a better person to have worked for these past 9 months and I know that should my life take another course, I'll be able to find my way back questions asked.

As I say goodbye to Harley, I look forward to saying hello to another chapter of my life. One that provides a bit more financial freedom and a chance to express myself creatively. One that brings me back, yet again, to Burlington, WI to the city that for some reason or another I just can't seem to leave. I'm extremely sad to be leaving, but I'm optimistic about my future. I'm confident that this is one more baby step in the right direction.

A Humble Human I Am

As I flew to and from Orlando, Florida this past week, I had a chance to philosophize and wanted to share with all my blog friends, my thoughts on our existence on this planet.

Down here on Earth, humans seem pretty powerful. Standing at an average height of around 5'4" (depending on your country of origin), compared to the other living creatures around us, we're pretty monstrous. We build tall buildings that tower to the sky and drive around in vehicles bigger than anyone could have ever imagined would be necessary. Our cities become clouded with smog, we create garbage heaps tall enough to ski on, and we have recently been accused of altering the entire planet's temperature. From down here, we rule the world.

But has anybody ever taken a look at the world from 37,000 feet in the air? Suddenly, humans don't seem as powerful anymore. Massive sprawling cities become ant like in comparison and to make out a single human being would be near impossible. From 37,000 feet, it's nature that rules the world, not humans.

If we are that insignificant from 37,000 feet in the air, imagine how insignificant we become from outer space!

Are we insignificant enough to have absolutely no effect on the planet and it's changing weather patterns? I can't say for sure. But through the windows of an airplane, human life and our place on this planet become humbled against the sprawling landscape and open air around us. With our large egos and over-sized necessities I think we forget just how small we really are sometimes and take for granted just how powerful and massive the natural landscape around us truly is. I wish sometimes we all appreciated this, and wanted to care more for it, instead of trying to use it to our respective political advantages. After all, once we die...we die. And our time on this earth will be short lived. But our energy will remain here on this beautiful planet of ours, manifesting itself through heat on a hot day, or a brisk breeze on a cool fall day. It'll be carried in the wind of a tropical storm or in the rain of a Midwestern spring day. Through our death, we will become one with nature. We should care for it, as we would our own insignificant bodies. After all, it is more powerful than we will ever be or could ever hope to be in this human life of ours.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Try So Hard

I'm going to be perfectly honest here. Because I can, it's my blog!

Staying informed is completely overwhelming to me. How do people do it? Every time I think I have a handle on a particular situation, someone else shows up in a debate and spouts out a million facts, figures, and quotations about how much I actually DON'T know. Where do people find the time to do all of this reading? When I open up the Journal Sentinel Online it takes me about an hour to read through everything. AN HOUR, and all I'm doing is trying to stay up to date on what is happening in the world! Now take into consideration that I like to get an all encompassing perspective on the news so I try to read through additional sources, from all ends of the political spectrum, to stay as up to date as I can about what everyone is thinking and feeling on certain issues. That's a LOT of information to take in in one day! And I certainly don't have the time normally to do it! Thank god it's been super slow at work otherwise I don't think I would find the time!

I feel as though staying up with all the issues is a full time job, and I'm feeling very stressed out about it. Clearly I am doing something wrong. What is the secret to staying informed, without it completely overtaking your life?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Supplemental Income

Guess what? I hit the $5.00 mark yesterday in my quest to make a living off of sidebar advertisements through Google! Horray!

Unfortunately, I don't get paid until that number reaches $100.00 which only puts me at $95.00 left! Therefore, going at this rate, by November 2010 I will have made enough money through blog clicks to get my first paycheck from Google Adsense in the mail. Maybe I can use it towards a down payment on my new house or condo. that I'm hoping to have around that same time. Or maybe I'll just buy a new pair of shoes.

Or a candy bar. Because lets face it, I have no idea how much they actually pay me. But I'm still excited, and even if it is in the realm of $ least it's $.85 more that I can add to my "vacation fund" change jar!

::cough cough:: get clicking ::cough cough::

Monday, September 17, 2007

Going Out...Smoke Free

In the past, whenever the topic of a citywide smoking ban in Milwaukee has ever come up, I would be the first one in line fighting against it, arguing that it's not necessary to over-legislate! I LIKE living in a free country where we have the freedom to make our own choices, even if that choice includes lighting up a cigarette after I'm finished with my meal. Sure the stink in my clothes, the burning in my eyes, and the deep clouded breathing I would have to take care of after a night out was irritating, but it was something I learned to deal with over the years. After all, I had the option to not go out or to frequent establishments that DIDN'T allow smoking...although establishments like that are very hard to come by.

But then I began to realize that while I was looking out for the smoker's rights and fighting for their right to smoke, I was completely overlooking the NON-SMOKER'S rights and THEIR rights to NOT SMOKE. To NOT be exposed to second hand toxic smoke every time they go out. To NOT have to come home smelling like an ashtray every time they want to meet up with friends for drinks. To NOT have to put their own health at risk, every time they step into a public facility. And as a non-smoker, I can't believe my own rights never occurred to me!

My feelings on the matter were only elevated as I completed a night out in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin this weekend, which is one of the cities in Wisconsin that is already implementing a city-wide smoking ban. At the end of the night, my clothes didn't smell, my eyes didn't burn, and in the morning, i could breathe just as easily as I had been able to the night before. To know that I could throw on my jacket from the night before, and run out to get the morning paper without holding my breath the entire way was reason enough for me to know that something has to be done in Milwaukee.

I'm still not entirely convinced that a city wide ban is necessary, but I do believe that businesses should receive some sort of incentive for CHOOSING to go smoke-free. The City of Milwaukee should then PROMOTE these businesses so that us non-smokers can be sure to patronize these establishments and hopefully it'll encourage other businesses to follow suit, without having to get the government involved. At least this way, the rights of ALL parties are being considered...not just the rights of one side.

Friday, September 14, 2007

When I'm Bored, I Play Racing Games With The Internet

Okay you guys, I just spent the last 20 minutes racing the little "runtime error" box that pops up on my screen and I'm seriously laughing out loud, at work, at myself, at what an absolute FOOL I am. It goes something like this:

Log onto a website
Move mouse cursor a bit
Box pops up disabling mouse cursor saying "Runtime error. Debug?"
Hit No
Move mouse cursor a bit again
Box pops up disabling mouse cursor saying "Runtime error. Debug?"
Click No again
Move mouse more quickly this time to get to link I want to click on before box pops up
Box pops up disabling mouse cursor saying "Runtime error. Debug?"
Click No

And by this point, I'm racing it. With every No I press I try to move my mouse that much quicker and more accurately this time to see if I can somehow get to the link before the box pops up. I'm also not kidding you when I tell you that after a while, I was mentally calculating the distance between the No button and the link so that in one swoop of my cursor I could hit the link before the box even had a chance to pop up

"Runtime error. Debug?"


I was defeated. But highly amused.

And now you all know what a geek I am.

The End.

What To Do With 300 Extra Dollars a Month

Up until today, the greatest feeling I have had to date was the feeling of crossing the finish line after the Chicago Marathon. The feeling of accomplishment, of sheer pride, of knowing that after months and months of rigorous training the goal I had been striving towards had been accomplished, was almost too much to handle. In fact, the feeling was so overwhelming that I cried when it was finished like a big ol' baby. Then again, that's what I do. I cry...a lot.

I always said the only thing that could ever compare to the feeling I experienced on that day would be the feeling of holding my first child in my arms. Because, what else could bring about such intense emotions?! My wedding? Possibly. My first house? Maybe. Finding out I'm going to be saving $300 a month on my loan payment each month? Wait, now THAT can.

Okay, I'm being fairly dramatic, after all I am comparing a monetary issue with the production of LIFE, but then again it's been a HUGE stress on my back for the past year and a half and to have that tremendous stress lifted feels really good. Overwhelmingly good! I may cry actually!

You see, when it came time for me to apply for student loans I found that the only way I was going to get enough money to cover my costs, was to apply for Private Funding. The Federal Government had decided that my parents made too much and therefore, denied me Federal funding. Bastards. Enter, my HUGE chunk of Private Loans which at the time didn't seem like such a bad thing. Then, a year and a half ago, they came into repayment and I found myself with a 13.75% interest rate and a $680 a month loan payment. I could do nothing at the time but sit and stare at them, as consolidating a private loan is about as easy as convincing a gay man to make out with me. Mmmm. Okay bad example. But you get what I'm saying.

But then, about a month ago, Sallie Mae provided me with a rare opportunity to consolidate my Private Loans. I don't know why, but I wasn't going to ask questions and I filled out the consolidation application that day...then found a gay man to make out with. Within a few days I heard back and while I was approved, I was approved with the stipulation that I had a co-signer. They probably got word from the Federal Government that my parents make a butt load of money so now they're trying to dick me out of all they can...but i could just be paranoid.

Anyway, long story short, my parents co-signed and I just got word today that as of October 10, 2007 my loan payments will be dropping $300 and my interest rate down to 9%!!!! The excitement is bursting out of me. Yes, you heard that right, I'm excited to be paying money.

It may not compare to the marathon or my first child...but it feels damn good.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Nap In Exchange For Your Smoking Breaks Seems Fair To Me

Sometimes, I wish I smoked. Because smokers don’t have to work as hard, and that makes me jealous.

Smokers get AT LEAST two hours every day that they get paid to not work. Seriously you guys, I’ve done the math on this. At any given moment, many smokers at this facility are 5 minutes away from the designated smoking areas, and I’m being generous with how quickly they’re walking to said areas. So, 5 minutes to smoking area, 10 minutes to smoke, and 5 minutes back. That’s 20 minutes it takes these smokers every time they need to go out for a cigarette break. But it’s not as though they can have one and be done with it for the day. Nope, some of these people are out smoking once every hour!!! That’s 160 minutes just in daily smoke breaks!!!!

What’s with that?!

I wish I could get two hours a day to spend doing a leisurely activity and still get paid for it! (Okay, I kind of do when I play on Facebook…but let’s be realistic. Whether we’re smokers or not, we ALL have periods where we take care of personal stuff ahead of work stuff…which then just ADDS to the grand total of how much less work smokers do!!). I vote that we non-smokers get to cash in those two hours the smokers get and utilize them for a napping hour. The smokers can smoke all they want, as long as I get to enjoy my cozy bed for two more hours out of every day. I should form a Union. I bet they would support that equal trade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11, Six Years Later

In all, 2,974 victims were killed by the Sept. 11 attacks: 2,750 connected to the World Trade Center, 40 in Pennsylvania and 184 at the Pentagon. Those numbers do not include the 19 hijackers. - Associated Press, September 11, 2007.

Today, I read the above statement while catching up on my morning news on this morning. In six years I have heard the death toll numbers stated over and over to me and never once had I stopped to think about the 19 hijackers. I don’t want to say that I assumed they were counted in the deaths, but I guess I never stopped to think that they weren’t included either. On four planes, in a matter of hours, 2,974 people had their lives taken to them by 19 men who will never be remembered as anything other than “the hijackers”. Their own cowardly deaths remain unaccounted for, while our own innocent citizens receive celebration for their courageous and tragic deaths on that fateful day. The number 2974 will never be tainted by evil, but will be remembered in reverence.

And I have to admit that that simple fact alone made me smile from within.

Friday, September 07, 2007

My Couch Arrived!

Yesterday, my couch arrived. Yes that one...the one to the left. And's not pink. It's red and it's fabulous!

I arrived to my apartment following work yesterday and excitedly ran into my new living room to see if that adorable little Steinhafels furniture piece looked as good as I hoped it would on the showroom floor.

And it does! It's a perfect size, perfect color, and it's 100% me! I'm so excited to begin decorating around it. I have big plans with no money, so I'm not quite sure how I'm going to accomplish it yet but I'll find a way. Believe me!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Didn't Graduate With a Fashion Degree For Nothing

Just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her. ~Wilhela Cushman

I love great clothes. More importantly, I love the image you can project about yourself simply by throwing on a great pair of stiletto heels. Clothes have the ability to make whatever statement about yourself that you’d like to make, to transform you into a completely different version of yourself, and all you have to do is change your shirt!

When I walk outside with my Betsey Johnson heels on, and a great fitting pair of jeans, I am transformed from every day broke Christi, to confident, successful, over the top Christi! Forget the fact that I have a car that is seven years old and is falling apart from every crevice imaginable, or the fact that my student loan debt leaves me frustrated and stressed out at the end of each and every day. Never mind the idea that I’ve been running on the same running shoes since I ran the marathon THREE years ago, or the fact that I have to do all of my interneting at work because I can’t afford it at my own apartment. With great clothes, none of that matters! Because when you look great, you FEEL great, and people notice that!

Clothes can make you become just about anybody! When I want to be lazy Christi I throw on my sweats and a tank top and lounge around my apartment. When I want to hide out from the world I throw on my baseball cap and everyday jeans and wander through the city trying to go unnoticed. I can be a Goth princess for a day, a sporty jock, or a successful business woman! I can liven my mood with yellow, darken it with black or calm it with blue! Clothes can suggest, persuade, insinuate, insult, and even lie! All of that power wrapped up into a few tiny necessary pieces of our every day lives. It’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

With that, I come to you. Do any of you have that ONE piece in your wardrobe that just makes you become a different person? Does it make you more confident or more creative? Does it make you feel sadder, darker, or sexier?

Another Google Search

Want to know how else you can find my blog? Search for the following:
"buses going to cranberry festival from milwaukee"
What's funny about this search: I hate cranberries.
Except for Bacardi/Cranberry...which is probably why this person found my blog.
I'm just staying.