Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring, Is that You?

After enjoying a weekend of beautiful weather and some days where I didn't need to even wear a jacket, I am slapped back into reality with the weather report. Though yesterday was about to break heat records, tomorrow brings rain and temperatures in the low 50s. What is wrong with the world?? This weather is crazy.

Spring is my favorite time of year. I delight in the sound of the birds chirping and the pleasure of opening my windows to let the fresh air envelop my room. It feels so nice to go from the cold weather to something warm. Perhaps that's why the Fall is so sad - you just know what lies ahead, as a chill overcomes your body.

But we're over a month into Spring already and we haven't had the warming up of the weather. I like the seasons. They have their own individual characters and really put the times of year into perspective. If it's snowing on Christmas (though so cliche) it's an exciting time. However, this year we've gone from freezing to extremely high temperatures. No wonder everyone gets so sick. I want to see our tulips in full bloom. In years past, by this time they'd be there (and I know this because my birthday always had an abundance of tulips planted by my grandma).

In any case, I hope tomorrow is the last of the lower temperatures and we can finally bask in the glory of the warm sun and beautiful weather.
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Gym: Friend or Foe?

The gym. Everyone's worst nightmare. You join with every intention of being good and going as much as you can. But let's face it - you think of any excuse possible not to go. Just last week I decided not to go because it was raining. Why? I don't know - it was just an excuse. It's been raining for over a week and I went away so you can imagine that it's been a while since I've gone. And I know I have to get back into it...

When I used to travel into the city everyday for school and work, I would walk everywhere. For as long as I can remember, I've been an active gal. I started dancing when I was two. Eventually I added in some softball and intense varsity basketball in high school. College brought me to living, working, and going to school in NYC. No need to go to the gym too much because you're getting a ton of exercise walking everywhere. And I didn't just lollygag either - I'm one of those get-to-where-you-need-to-go-as-quickly-as-possible New Yorkers. So that was always a workout. Add studying abroad and backpacking around Europe for a semester and you've got your own workout that keeps you in tip-top shape (although I'd lose my breath going up and down stairs).

So when I landed a job less than ten minutes from my house I decided that I had better do something to make myself a little more active, rather than stationary. What better way than to join the gym? And it's down the block from my office so I really have no excuse not to go. I like to get there at least three weekdays and one day over the weekend. I don't always stick to that but I try to work hard when I'm there. And as much as it sucks when you first start out, it gets gradually easier. I feel so refreshed and good about myself when I leave (especially after I take a nice shower). It's also a great place to kind of think and reflect on things. I get my iPod pumping with my classic Staten Island fist-pumping music and lose myself in the machines. It's great.

But it's also so easy to fall off the gym habit. Some things I think that can help all of you who are just like me, include gym buddies and a set schedule. The fact that I'm right down the block from the gym and I don't go home before I work out helps me immensely. If I went home, I'd kind of mull around and probably not leave my house again. I need to go because I'm not one of those girls who believes in diets and, like I said, I'm an active person by nature.

In reality, I'm already dreading getting back there and I can't really explain it. Some days Gym is my friend and some days, not so much. Since I've been back from my trip, I keep saying I need to clean my room. The room's still a mess. I've made an excuse everyday. I guess I'm just a fickle gym-goer. I need to work that out...
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Clapping Isn't Necessary. Really...

Let me pose a question, if I may. Why do people clap when a pilot lands a plane?

I just got back from a little weekend getaway to Florida and when we landed there last Thursday night, there were roars of clapping throughout the plane. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic that the plane landed safely and everyone should be commended for a job well done, but is clapping really necessary? I don't really think it is.

Think about it. Do you get a round of applause after you complete each task successfully at your job? My editors don't clap for me when I write an article. Sure, they tell me I've done a good job (there's maybe a pat on the back or a handshake for some of you) and I appreciate it very much, but they don't clap for me. It's almost like when a baby takes his/her first steps. Now, there's something to clap about. It's a big accomplishment. But a pilot does this on a daily basis - sometimes multiple times in a day and they have help from the control tower to gauge where to go exactly. What is this reaction?

Perhaps people are extremely nervous and the anticipation of landing is so great that when they finally touch down, they clap to let out some tension. Maybe these people thought they'd crash and the thought that they are still alive delights them so that they need to jump for joy (but seeing as the fasten seatbelt sign is still illuminated, they settle for clapping?). Personally, I thank the pilot and the flight attendants as I exit the plane - I don't even think the pilots can hear you clap from the cockpit. I think that's polite and in order.

I know clapping shows appreciation but the sound can be startling when you're already nervous. So, my question remains to all you plane clappers out there - "Why?!?"
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Height is a wonderful thing!"

I'm five feet, eight inches tall. I'm normally self-conscious about my height. In fact, there are so many pictures where I hunch over because all the people I'm with are at least six inches shorter than me. And I'm usually wearing heels because I'm attracted to them. I love shoes!! But why be so self-conscious?? It's really a blessing to be tall. Let me explain the title of my blog.

Fifth grade brought on the basketball years. This is when I decided that I couldn't do basketball and dance because of the time commitment. I went with basketball, even though I knew I didn’t know the first thing about playing. And I had been dancing for ten years. What a change! My coach threw me on the court and I basically ran around like a chicken without a head. I looked completely ridiculous. I guess it paid off though because I eventually became captain of the junior varsity team in high school and everyone banked on Amanda leading the team to victory.

My mom still tells the story of one of my first games. She was sitting there watching (as I ran like a clueless little fifth grader around the CYO gym) and there was a parent from the opposing team sitting behind her. The woman kept referring to her tall drink of water for a daughter. "Height is a wonderful thing," she would utter in her screechingly high-pitched voice. My mother wanted to smack her. And here I come, running down the court. I blocked this tall girl's shot. And she did in fact tower over me. My mom was so proud. That silenced the woman pretty quickly. But now, I think back to that time and that woman's statement.

There's no need to be self-conscious. How many models are really tall, with really long legs? That's apparently attractive. (Not saying I'm model material). But being tall is what makes me, ME! That's just one of my characteristics. And while I'll never be able to date a guy who's shorter than me, I have begun to accept my height. It's funny actually because everyone knows to call me when they can't reach something in a high cabinet. In fact, my friends will comment on how tall I am and then say how they hate being so short. The grass is always greener...

Height certainly IS a wonderful thing!
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Monday, April 9, 2007

Ode to the Post-It

The post-it note. It's one of my favorite things. I can't pinpoint exactly why or when I became infatuated with them, but I love those colorful squares with a burning passion in my soul! Ok, maybe I'm a little exaggerated but think of how great the invention of the post-it really is.

It's the ultimate organizational tool. That's probably why I like it so much. I like to have order in my life. And with bright colors and shapes (because clearly I'm five years old) what could be better? You should see my desk and my Mac desktop at work. It's loaded with various colors that remind me of certain appointments or stories that I need to work on. They also serve as quick reference sheets of little things that you may forget from time to time.

For example, being grammatically obsessed as I am (see prior blog), I always have my AP Stylebook on hand to double-check how to represent different words. Since I work with education I'm always making sure that I keep bachelor's degree and Bachelor of Arts correct with respect to the possessive. But for some reason I can never remember which is acceptable in which case. So, I wrote out a little post-it with the acceptable spellings and possessives. These post-its happen to be a little larger and ruled with lines, but it's a great way for me to just glance over at the note and not have to flip through my AP Book! I know it's crazy but they are fun.

One day, I discovered the program "Stickies" on my iBook. It was pretty exciting but I could never live without my physical hard copies of the original post-its. And I have pretty pink hearts too. I gotta say, I'm not a fan of the original pale yellow. I'm ridiculous. I realize this. But (in the words of Sheryl Crow) if it makes me happy, it can't be that bad. Right?
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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Generation iPod

I was in the City this weekend and I was on the train, minding my own business, listening to my iPod. I'm sitting there just kind of moving to the beat and wondering if anyone else can hear my music at all because I realized it was so loud. But I was on the train and the train is loud so why not pump up the music? As I looked around I realized that probably no one could hear me because they were all listening to their own iPods. Everyone has got one these days!

I guess I had been mildly aware of this fact before, but it never hit me just how many iPods have been sold. Apple really does have an empire. But I got to thinking, what are those people actually listening to? It seems you can come up with a lot of clues to a person's musical tastes just by looking at them. There was a man sitting across from me, well-dressed, probably in his mid- to late-forties. He wasn't in a suit, but rather more business casual. But since it was Friday it's likely that he does work in a professional place - business casual is probably his equivalent to my dress-down-in-jeans Friday. Before he put on his iPod he was holding his ears, for what looked like dear life. Sure, the train was passing a screeching point in the tunnel but I hardly think it was reason to hold your ears like a five-year-old. In any case, in the time that I perused the rest of the car for more iPod victims, I guess he realized that playing loud music would be better. He had put one on himself! He began tapping his foot to the beat (and though I don't know exactly what he was listening to, I'm pretty sure he had no rhythm!). I'd have to peg him as a classical music listener.

But don't judge a book by its cover either. Suddenly, the doors opened at City Hall and this tall, lanky teen got on. He had longer blonde hair and was wearing cargo pants with a long-sleeved thermal shirt underneath his short-sleeved polo. Of course he had his iPod in hand, and at first I thought it was pink - it turned out to be red (so he was probably supporting the RED campaign). In any case, I immediately pegged him as the California-surfer stereotype. He was probably listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or maybe Weezer. And just as I thought I had him all figured out, he pulled a CD out of his Virgin Megastore bag. Tiziano Ferro. Now, I'll admit, I had never heard of this guy. But from my worldly experience I could tell that he was an Italian singer of some sort. When I looked him up on Amazon, he was indeed an Italian pop singer. So what could he have been listening to? Maybe some Josh Groban? I don't even know.

And just as I changed my mind and decided he was an international Swiss student studying abroad, he pulled out the Family Guy DVDs. Kid's got lots of interests...
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