Tuesday, October 05, 2004

LoL #50: It's Gold!

Why do they call it Ovaltine? The jar is round, the mug is round, they should call it ROUND-tine!
Or not.

Sorry. That's my random Seinfeld reference for those of you out there that understand why soup is not a meal and what that first line has to do with the subject of this LoL. And for those that are reading this and just going, "Huh???" all I have to say is "No soup for you!". Anyhoo, I made it to LoL#50!! So welcome I guess to the Golden LoL!!! (Actually this is pretty pathetic because had I stayed with this actually being a weekly thing I would be on #104 or something but that's kind of a scary thought so we'll just celebrate the first fifty and take it one rant at a time from here.)

It's Tuesday today and let me just state for the record that Monday gets a pretty bad rap because I highly aver that Tuesday mornings are hellishly worse. At least on the M-day you can roll into it with the thought of "Hey at least I got to sleep in yesterday". And by Wednesday the weekend is at least visible, but Tuesday it seems is without either saving grace.

Especially when you have Tuesdays like today when autumn's darkness does nothing to promote waking and the temperature outside is tragically barely approaching freezing. I've long believed that waking up is a process and not an event and it's days like today when that process takes considerably longer than it has any right to. So now is where you ask yourself, "Self, if lisa had such a hard time waking up, how did she possibly get to work early to write out this randomly pointless LoL?" The answer to that is as simple as it is delicious: Coffee.

I don't know who invented the stuff but it's pure liquid genius. I think I would've liked to have been there when someone started pulling beans off a plant and said "Hey maybe if we grind these suckers up, pour boiling water over 'em, .....add in some of that ground up cane plant ....and a little of that white stuff that came out 'o the cow... Whoooo-eeee! I think we got ourselves a drink!" Or maybe not but at the very least Juan Valdez should've won the Nobel Peace Prize decades ago.

In honor of my tribute to this hot caffeinated concoction I give you - both Good and Bad - The Top Ten Things That Could Never Have Happened Without Coffee: (Disclaimer: Okay so there's nothing accurate or scientifically correct about this list, it's just for amusement and yes, without coffee they all could have come about anyway. There is after all, such a thing as Mountain Dew)

(10) Travel Mugs - Now it might seem rather obvious that without coffee you wouldn't really need travel mugs but seriously, have you ever stopped to consider how many millions of dollars must be spent each year on the design and production of Travel Mugs? I think that - based on the uniqueness of colors, shapes, forms and the constant invention of newer and better temperature tolerant materials, plus the aerodynamics involved in spill proof, tip proof, scald proof, drink proof designs - the travel mug industry must have been birthed as an offshoot of Vogue meets NASA.

(9) Really Bad Commercials - I'm not trying to say that something as cruel as cramming Sarah Jessica Parker and Lenny Kravitz into thirty seconds of audio-visual tormentia is solely the fault of coffee but the execs over at GAP should at least have the courtesy to spare us from the type of psychedelic strutting your stuff in all our clothes will make you super cool propaganda that can drive anyone nuts. Either the producers of this half-minute trash have had way too much coffee and can't quite connect the common sense and action parts of their brains or they need a little bit more coffee to stop and think through such questions as "Why in the world would anyone layer eighteen tank tops when it's the middle of summer???"

(8) Toys 'R Us - Ah yes. The Happiest Place on Earth Where a Kid Can Be a Kid... Or is that the ShowBiz Pizza at DisneyWorld? Either way Chuck E. Cheese never stood a chance against Geoffrey the Giraffe. And Kay Bee? Don't even try! Toys 'R Us has to be the most caffeine and consumer and caffeinated-consumer inspired store ever to anchor the outskirts of the Fox Valley Mall. Toy stores were created with caffeine in mind and even now, I begrudgingly type this knowing that my keyboard can never give proper tribute to the backwards R sandwiched so elegantly between Toys and Us. Just don't go near there around Christmas time....

(7) Infomercials - Anyone who's seen a self-tanning accident with gaudy jewelry trying to sell you the world's most useless kitchen utensil at three in the morning knows exactly what I'm talking about. Coffee is certainly responsible because no decaf individual could possibly get that excited about a free tote bag and insomnia - caused by coffee - is the only reason an audience for these 90 minute flea markets even exists!

(6) Alternative Pop Music - Say what you want about the influence of Ecstasy and Mary Jane on today's rockin' youth I'm going to make a bold claim here that caffeine is responsible at least in part for the hyperactive nature of the rock videos that I've seen recently. I'm talking more about the Blink 182 crowd than the Brittney Backstreet waves of the early 2000's and I'll refrain from commenting on the irony of how a knock-off band like Good Charlotte makes it big with an anthem about not being like everyone else. (??!??!?) But with singers that speak quicker than senatorial spin doctors and can jump around more than a monkey on hot asphalt I honestly think caffeine must come into play somewhere.

(5) A Passing Grade On The Final Exam That You Didn't Study For Until 13 Hours Before The Test Began - That first late night cram session was probably how most of us got hooked on the delectable brew and all I can say is that from my experience, it was the start of a beautiful relationship!

(4) The Taster's Choice couple (and other psycho coffee commercial people) - Okay in all fairness I haven't seen the Taster's Choice couple around for the better part of the last twelve years but we can all look back with some fondness on the insanity of these ads. MAN: Darling, doesn't this coffee remind you of our vacation last summer? WOMAN: Oh yes, honey. You mean when we went to that sidewalk cafe in Paris? MAN: No that's what the Parisian Blend instant coffee reminds us of. This is the Swiss Chalet Roast. WOMAN: Oh you're right. Now that I taste it I definitely recall that hotel of ours in the Alps. MAN: Wasn't that a fun time? That great view of the mountains.... WOMAN: Hiking through the snow.... MAN: Fighting off that bear.... WOMAN: Using our last match to cauterize your massive skull wound.... MAN: Struggling with hypothermia after the search party found us.... WOMAN: And that really great coffee that they served when we were released from the hospital!! MAN & WOMAN: That was a great vacation! *kiss kiss kiss*

(3) My relationship with God - I had to throw in a serious one here because I know that some of the best Bible studies and most amazing things I've learned and taught about God and theology and Christian living have been in coffee shops and that's just cool. God and coffee - what can I say they make a great combo and are, in a nutshell, how I make it through the worst of my work days. ;)

(2) Astrophysics - I was reading this article in a science magazine about quantum physics versus the theory of relativity in trying to explain black holes and the potential for information to ever be released from them (what you thought I only read Dan Brown novels?!??) and it hit me just how deep astrophysics really is. And the more I thought about it the more I realized that it's one area of science that would vanish entirely - or at least cease to propagate - if not for the existence of caffeine. Not only is caffeine essential to getting your brain to work fast enough to follow the trains of thought from the great physicists of our time, but without caffeine none of us would stay awake long enough to even try.

(1) The LoL - It's long been assumed, stated, irrefutably proven that none of this insanity would ever be coming to you without the unbridled assistance of massive doses of caffeine. So if you like what you read, thank coffee, if you wish for my prolonged periods of incommunication, blame coffee. Regardless, you should drink coffee because you just never know what it will inspire next.

Cofeefully Yours,

lisa :)

Friday, August 27, 2004

LoL#49: Lime Green Spandex Monkeys

It's August 27th!!! Time to Celebrate!!! And for all of you that aren't Lauren (today's her 24th b-day) you can celebrate a very special 2nd Anniversary of The LoL!! (LoL= Life of Lisa, Lisa on Life, Lisa Online, Lawrence of L'Arabia....okay maybe not that last one...) But that's right friends! It's been two psychotic years of randsane quasi-deep thoughts littered with Matrix references and imaginary Celebrity Death Match pairings!! In honor of this momentous occasion I'm going to go buy some COTTON!!!!! WOOHOO COTTON!!!!!

(You know how "you learn something new every day"? Well, consider this your educational moment for those that aren't following me: According to some ancient books of wisdom and probably Hallmark too, the traditional anniversary gift for a second anniversary is cotton!! Granted, Hallmark has probably since changed this to say that the traditional gift for any aniversary is a Hallmark card but I guess they figure you'll buy a card to go with your cotton studded gift. In fact it could even say "Happy Anniversary! I hope it's not Rotten. I heard it's your second, so I bought you some Cotton!" *****Pause as Lisa considers a career change to Hallmark Greeting Card Writer***** Hmmm...maybe after we cure cancer....)

What's that??? Don't tell me you're not totally stoked about Cotton as a gift?!?!??

Just think.... I can go buy myself some cotton balls!!!
Or maybe some Q-Tips!!!!!
Some yarn, perhaps??

No make it a t-shirt!! Definitely a new t-shirt! And some SOCKS!!! YES! SOCKS!!! And then I can dance around like a spazz the way they do in the commercials while a little logo grows out of the center of the screen and says in that breathy commercial jingle voice "The Touch, The Feel of Cotton: The Fabric of our Lives"! SCORE!

But before I get too carried away - What's with that slogan anyway? Shouldn't time be the fabric of our lives? Or is that too metaphysical? I'm willing to accept that cloth can somehow act as an analogy for life but why Cotton? Puh-lease!! I'm almost offended that the commercial would insinuate that something as normal and ordinary as cotton could represent the "fabric" of MY life!

Can't Spun Silk be the fabric of my life? That would be pretty posh.... Oh wait I just remembered that I read something on MSN about how silkworms spin cocoons of one continuous thread of silk that when unwound can reach lengths of up to 3000 feet - and as cool as that is I don't know that I want the fabric of my life to be woven from something that originated in a worm's butt. Cancel that idea but I'm still not saying the fabric of my life is cotton. It's just too plain. Too standard. I'm not living the cotton life.

I'm probably living more of a Rayon-Poly Blend with 1-3% Spandex. And I'm probably some weird brightly colored fabric too. I'm like that bolt that you find on the endcap of the fabric aisle that's so retro it's cool and usually classified in the "Kids" section just because it's too wild and spastic for anyone over the age of 30 to take seriously. None of these primary colors that you see on the TV commercials. It's orange and lime green or hot pink and electric blue with the colors jutted up against each other so that when you stare at it you get that weird illusion that the shapes (which in my case would be monkeys) are moving of their own accord. Lime Green Spandex Monkeys. Yeah, that's a little more me.

Or maybe not. But at least it's not cotton. Happy 2nd LoL Anniversary everyone, have fun, keep smiling and thanks for reading!

Lime Green Spandex Monkeyfully Yours,

lisa :)

p.s. This message is brought to you by Taco Bell and the genius invention that is the New Blue Mountain Dew. Just when you thought Code Red was as good as it gets - they introduce Baja Blast. Thank you Pepsi-Cola!!

p.p.s. For those of you that missed out on any of the randsanity that the past two years have inspired, stop by and visit The Archive at ***edited: http://bloggerarrow.blogspot.com ***

p.p.p.s. Sorry I stink at remembering birthdays too - I owe a ton of shoutouts:
July & August birthdays: Beth, Agnes, Emily, Kris, Jason, Jessica, & Lauren (and I know I'm forgetting some too - I'M SORRY!!!)
And one more random shoutout to Kristy cause I have to tell you that my sister met Bebo Norman!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

LoL#48: Reflections on a Turkey Sandwich

****Disclaimer: The following "lessons" all arose from a lunch table conversation yesterday. It was kind of one of those situations where I was sort of trying to be funny but was told that I was making some really good points. I figured I'd recapture some of my thoughts here and share them with you guys. This isn't a manual on how to live life or anything so do me a favor and don't take me too seriously. Enjoy!****

I've learned that trying to be cool is a pointless endeavor. Here's the deal, if you try to be cool and succeed, it comes across as arrogance. If you try to be cool and fail, it makes you seem a loser to an even larger degree because you were, after all, trying to be cool. However, if you don't try to be cool and you're not cool, it's okay because hey, you weren't aiming for coolness. Also, if you don't try to be cool and by some stroke of luck you acheive coolness, then it's magnified to some exponential factor because you're in the sort of auto-cool zone of being effortlessly cool.

I've also learned not to try too hard to be attractive. Mostly because people that put too much stock into their own appearance have a hard time not coming across as really self-absorbed. Since too, most people are naturally self-absorbed, I figure being self absorbed can't really be appealing to those that are self-absorbed. This kinda ties into the coolness theory too because people that are attractive without really trying are generally a lot more attractivce than the ones that try too hard.

Another good lesson is not to be attracted by attraction. (This is the whole I like a person because they like me syndrome.) Granted this is the basic principle behind the sophisticated art of flirtaion, but taking that into consideration, how many solid relationships have ever been built upon flirtation? There's a gaelic proverb that says that the best mirror is a friend's eye and I think when you consider whether you really like a person you should think about who you are when you're with them and whether you like the person they make you want to become.

The sooner you realize that relationship and responsibility go hand in hand the better off you'll be in life. Yeah, it applies to the whole guy/girl thing, but even more so it applies to every relationship in life - think offices and families as well as just friendships. To be in a relationship is to enter into some intangible mental, emotional, possibly physical, maybe even spiritual contract. And what people don't seem to always grasp is that when you do that, you have to bring something to the table. It's about unselfish living. It's like when kids grow up and want nothing else to do with their parents or siblings. They've taken all they needed and see no reason to give anything back. Then you look at kids that grow up and make friends with their parents and you see that they're giving back - giving time, conversation, and love - and by putting something new into a preformed boundary of a relationship there's suddenly an opportunity for new growth.

I'm not sure if variety really is the spice of life. I think variety in your own perspective can do more to spice things up than any actual changes in atmosphere or situation. Or maybe I'm just too afraid to admit that I don't particularly like change. And yes, I realize that that's a rather odd statement for one with an attention span as short as mine.

Listen to me going on about all this, maybe I should write a book. ;) Truth is, I don't have it all figured out. I can talk a big game, but I'll be the first to admit that there's a lot - no, a ton.... (what's bigger than a ton?) ...I'll be the first to admit that there's a gigaton that I have yet to learn but I will say I'm very eager and anxious to get started learning as much as I can with the time that I have.

Turkey-Sandwich-Thoughtsfully Yours,

lisa :)

p.s. So yeah, as for what's up with me, I moved back in with my parents last month. There's a whole saving money for the wedding aspect to it plus I just have to achieve extreme nerdiness in admitting that *shocking as it is* I actually like my parents! It was a sad day to say farewell to The Holodeck but the future is looking exceptionally thrilling and Tony and I actually bought a condo in The Ville (Bag End - I'll explain later) so it's gonna be a great place to move into after the wedding - 162 days to go. And speaking of wedding news too, I'm not the only Baker girl to be planning a wedding these days! My sister Laura just got engaged to her boyfriend Dan! Cool beans, ain't it??? Anyhoo, I hope you all enjoy what's left of summer!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

LoL #47: Never was a corn flake girl.

Never was a Corn Flake girl. Thought it was a good solution....

Okay I have no clue where that analogy is going but it was one of those songs that I heard on the radio the other day that hadn't graced my ears for the better part of the last decade. But if there's any relevance of the song in my life it's that I never have liked Corn Flakes. The frosted variety is much preferable but, in truth, if a breakfast is to consist of such an outrageous number of sugar grams one might as well eat Lucky Charms because at least the marshmallows are in shapes much more fun to ponder.

The way I see it though, breakfast cereal could very well be the analogy I want to run with in describing my life at present. I can't go so far as to say that my life derives it's name from the Roman god of corn but to start with, I must point out the obvious comparison that both life and cereal (and I suppose also, Life cereal) have become exceptionally sweet - and life somehow manages to attain that sweetness without pasty white icing, dehydrated marshmallow pellets or being interspersed with sugar coated raisins. [And how Kellog's manages to cover every square nanometer of a raisin's surface with sugar remains one of the universe's more compelling mysteries...]

More so than the sugar factor though, life right now seems all about variety. Anyone who's been anywhere near a grocery store lately can attest to the fact that nowhere exists a clearer manifestation of the essence of variety than in the limitless infinity that is a cereal aisle. With cartoon charcaters to rival a fast forwarded Saturday morning marathon and colors reminiscent of an exploding circus tent, the choices are virtually endless. Similarly so are the choices involved with coordinating the details of wedding planning. [I'm sure you're all in the loop but just in case anyone missed the news, Tony and I got engaged Easter weekend!!! :) Wedding date is December 31st 2004, aka New Year's Eve wedding aka 227 days from now - woohoo!] Dress, Flowers, Hall, Cake, DJ, Photographer, China Pattern, Wedding Party, Tuxedos, Pastor, Ceremony style - I've decided that this is why people advise not to date anyone you can't see yourself marrying because any girl who gets engaged and still questions choice of groom would most likely suffer a severe brain meltdown from an overabundance of decisions to be made. Tony's the part of the equation that I'm very glad to be certain about. In my cereal analogy, he's the toy at the bottom of the box. Remember when you had to eat bowls of cereal every morning just to get one of those freaky squid style wacky wall crawlers? Well, all this crazy decision making stuff is fun and cool (like eating cereal) but the real joy (the toy at the bottom) is the fun of our life together. And anyone thinking me cruel to compare such an awesome guy to a cheap piece of sticky plastic doesn't understand how cool I thought wacky wall crawlers were and should also know that Tony and I routinely exchange such endearing compliments such as "You're like McDonald's" and "I'd rather talk to you than scrub my toilet".

But yeah, enough about wedding stuff. This is weird too because some of you are probably at the gag-me-with-a-spoon point of being sickeningly disgusted by my gushing about this all while others of you want details galore. In other news though, work is going well. I learned how to do mouse surgery today. A more valid statelment would be that I learned how to entangle my enormously large fingers in suture thread and attempt to form minisculely smalll x-shaped stitches in the abdomen of a tiny rodent. It's not a procedure I see myself mastering any time soon and all I can say is that luckily the subject was deceased during my practice trial. *Yikes* It was - in one word: bad. Or messy....no, we'll stick with "bad". In better news, my sister's baby is due next weekend too so I've been virtually glued to my cell phone eagerly awaiting the going-into-labor news. I was going to use the analogy of being surgically attached to my phone but after my earlier exploits in suturing (why do they make it look so easy on ER?!?!??) I decided to scratch that idea.

Well, I'm sure I've said enough by now and I hope that this e-mail finds you all well and happy and enjoying a sweet life free of abnormally sugar-coated raisins but filled with variety. That's all I really have to say for now.

Sweetfully & Varietyfully Yours,
- You bet your life it is -

lisa :)

p.s. Shoutouts to all the May birthdays like Kristy & Erika (I'm sure there's more of you out there but they're the only ones I'm remembering right now - sorry)!! Also a shoutout to everyone who got the whole Tori Amos connection with the first and last lines of the e-mail......nnnnnevermind.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

LoL#46: L. Baker, Eavesdropper Extraordinaire

I didn't mean to be rude.

It's not even like I was trying to listen in. I just overheard.

Besides, it's not like they were talking in code. They weren't even talking quietly.

And when she's on one side of the train aisle and he's on the other side facing me, I'm practically TRAPPED inside their conversation. It's amazing how much people reveal about themselves in forty minutes. And with me engrossed in my latest needlepoint project, how can I help but hear?

He's an accountant. Works in Chicago. He's been with his company for the last twelve years. Went to college in Indiana. Worked in Skokie before that but the commute was a killer. Likes his job but hates the month of April. Too many people filing taxes at the last minute. He has a daughter in high scool and a son in college. It was nice having his son home on spring break for a while but it's not like they really talk much anymore. Son had a date on Saturday, but dad never heard the girl's name, how they knew each other, where they went or what they did. Only thing dad does know is that son was out til 4 am and had to leave to go back to school at 9 the next day. Dad laughs at son's irresponsible actions. "He's a party boy," he says with pride. Son even left dorm keys at home. It gave dad an excuse to go into son's bedroom for the first time in years. Dad laughs at finding beer bottles and condoms all over son's room. Son's a minor but dad laughs at this too. "Show me a nineteen year old who says they don't have a fake ID and I'll show you a liar". Dad says that he and his wife threw out the bongs they found in son's closet. He jokes about waiting for son to come home again to discover they are missing.

And he laughed. Through it all he laughed. He joked with pride at his son drinking, using drugs, and being sexually active with no more concern than saying he was involved with basketball, soccer, and wrestling. His Chicago accent dripped with cynical acceptance that all kids at that age are willfully breaking the law. It's normal. They're teenagers, right?

But this complacent approval wasn't coming from a friend. It wasn't some resigned "kids will be kids" statement coming from a teacher or coach who's hands are tied with a difficult rebel. It's from a parent. This kid's own father is laughing at his son's reckless and even illegal endeavors. Maybe I'm too old fashioned. Too conservative. I don't know his son. Maybe he's a straight A student with a brilliantly bright future. But I still just think that some things are wrong. And enabling your own children to do whatever they want and then having the gall to laugh about their indiscretions in front of total strangers while on your way to work tops that chart.

I'm not gonna stand on some soapbox and say that sex, drugs and alcohol are evil and I'm not going to condemn anyone to hell who thinks all three make a life well rounded. But the thing is, life is about choices and it just seems to me that a life centered around that trinity doesn't have much to stand on. And there is some truth to the fact that kids will be kids. They make a ton of choices without always knowing right from wrong - in the saddest cases their parents don't either. I've been asked more times than I can count why I volunteer with youth ministry. The best answer I can give is how broken my heart felt as I unintenionally listened to this stranger's tale of his son's life.

I didn't ask to hear it. But neither can I turn a deaf ear to the all too familiar, and all too true, story I heard. I'm not gonna laugh at the poor choices young people make, I'm gonna do what I can to be a positive role model. I'm gonna impact youth however I can.

That's all I have to say. Thanks for listening in.

Eavesdropfully Yours,

lisa :)

p.s. I've been a little behind on the shoutouts lately. I missed them last time cause not much rhymes with "shoutout". Regardless, happy belated birthdays to
Maria J, Stacey L and Jigga Jess M!!!!

And Happy April Birthdays to
Karrie M, Ty G, and Derek B!!!!!

Happy Birthdays! Love to all!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

LoL#45: LoLapaSEUSSa

Greetings my readers of this LoL!*
I thank you for reading, I've a great deal to tell.
Yesterday marked the birthday of a doctor named Seuss**
And in honor of him I've got rhymes on the loose!

Things in my life have been normal, you see,
But there's never much "normal" about life when you're me.....

Birthdays galore made February quite sweet
Chocolate cakes and ice cream were the much favored treat.
See, my brother, his wife, and the whole clan Guerrero
All have their b-days the month after "Enero".***

As for work, all is well and my cells are all happy
I'm still sad when I kill mice - does that make me sappy?
But it's for a good cause, one quite noble, I'll say!
I really do think we'll cure cancer someday.

Who would have thought, I would so love this lab?
After one point five years it's anything but drab!
It seems every month I learn something new,
I'll prob'ly stay here one more year, maybe two!

After that, who knows, but my future is bright.
Back to school? Into teaching? Whatever seems right.
I'm open to much with no need to decide,
'Cause for now in my life I'm enjoying the ride!

Things at church are cool, though my students are spastic
Next weekend in St. Louis should be quite fantastic.
We're goin' to a confrence from Friday to Sunday
(All that time with the kids might make me long for Monday). ;)

It's a trip on a bus so I don't have to drive
And retreats like this one make me feel quite alive.
My seventh grade girls - they all think that I'm odd
But at least they have fun when I teach them 'bout God.

Not much else is new. Not much left to say.
Reply if you like, tell me how was YOUR day?
I assure you it's true I always like to hear
What's going on with my friends far and near.

I've said quite enough for this LoL song
And I know some hate poems that are overly long.
So before I write out stanzas here by the scores
I'll just end this now as......
Seussfully Yours,

lisa :)

* LoL stands for "Lisa on Life" or "Life of Lisa" or "Lisa Online".
** Yesterday March 2, 2004 was the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss.
*** Enero is Spanish for January.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

LoL#44: Happy New Monkey Year!

Before I say anything, it's time for some shoutouts!!!! First to Chriskapher and Skirv Dog - I figure I'd go ahead and add y'all to my list of monthly lisa updates (LoL = Lisa on Life or Life of Lisa or Lisa Online or something like that). Be warned that it's as random as I am but if you like what you read check out the archive - ****edit: http://bloggerarrow.blogspot.com ***** - and see what you missed. On the other hand, if you find this to be an annoyance to your daily life and consider it to be one more piece of meaningless spam, let me know that too and you can get off the list. Next shoutouts go to the January birthday people and while I'm at it I'll go ahead and mention the Feb's too so that if I've forgotten anyone (and I'm sure I have - DOH!) you can let me know and you'll get a s.o. in February. So let's see that's James L, Igor K, Heidi E, Katie B, Danny S, and my sweetie Tony G (who'll be blushing now that I called him "my sweetie" - hee hee).

So......Happy New Year because this is the first LoL of 2004 (yes it really is already 2004!!) and Happy New Monkey Year because a week ago was Chinese New Year and it's the Year of the Monkey!! Like many of you other soon to be 24-year olds I was born in 1980 also a Year of the Monkey and supposedly it's a good luck thing to be born under that sign. Am I lucky? Sure. Am I any luckier than the myriad of people I know also born in that same year? Nah. But I figure monkeys usually sybolize fun, silly, clever creativty so let's just say heck with any horoscope superstitions and we can all just have a Monkey kind of year. Besides, my year was off to a rather chaotic start (got mono, missed two weeks of work, my dog got killed by a hit and run driver...) so hopefully now that it's the New MONKEY Year things will be a little more "normal".

But back to the subject of the new year, I was looking back at last January and I realized that I actually was fairly successful at all three of my New Year's Resolutions. I figured that after a year like that I deserved a break so I immediately resolved not to make any New Year's resolutions and then got mad at myself for failing already. But seriously, what is it about the new year that makes people so anxious for change? Is it the whole "turning over a new leaf" deal? I cringe everytime I hear people invoke that analogy. There's something inherently foolish about believing that a new day week or year can simply erase the previous. The difference between 2003 and 2004 is a simple case of 24 hours. There really is no magic in the ball dropping over Times Square (although there is something decidedly suspicious about Mr Fountain of Youth, Dick Clark...). Perhaps the whole resolution mess can be attributed to the curse of saying "there's always next year". Aside from the Cubs fans that still want a price on Steve Bartman's head, is this really something anyone should say? Don't try again next year, do something NOW! Life's too short. Maybe the audition, the game, the test, is next year, but ask yourself, what can I do for it now? New Year's Resolutions have to be about an attitude change and you'd better believe that the dead of winter could be one of the most challenging times to initiate changes within ourselves. Why not have Mid-Year resolutions? The summer sun would be a much more encouraging time to decide to start a new hobby and what better motivator for breaking a bad habit than the increasing hours of daylight in May and June?

As for me, I'm not really resolving to change anything about myself right now. Yeah I could go down the same list as everyone - healthier food, more excercise, less caffeine, saner thinking - but with the exception of actually eliminating my entire caffeine consumption (which, trust me, AIN'T gonna happen!), none of these goals can ever be actualized. There will always be a healthier diet, there will always be a few more pounds to shed, there will always be saner thoughts than those that I think. Is it all fruitless? Meaningless? Nah. Goals have purpose but they're so much easier to grasp daily or even weekly. Monthly, maybe, if you're really ambitious - but a yearly thing? Are we in that much of hurry to get through life???

So, you ask, what IS lisa looking for this year??

In a word, ADVENTURE!!!! Not adventure as in lisa's life as a Jerry Bruckheimer film (although Pirates of the Carribbean would be cool... YARR!!), I mean adventure as in new experiences. I'm not planning any world traveling. I'm not even planning any in the country traveling. But there resides inside me a desperate fear of the static and mundane. In my book "routine" should be a four letter word! I'm looking back at 2003 and the year held a lot of firsts. Meeting new people, doing new things, learning new skills, reading new books, hearing new bands, trying new foods, going new places - a whole hodgepodge of experiences that I had previously never experienced! Some of you may read this and be further convinced of my mental instability. You see nothing pleasurable about The New and The Different and may attribute this whole rant to the fact that I've been cooped up with mono for too long. But I'm the kind who never orders the same menu item twice (unless it's coconut shrimp....) - I thrive on the chaos of unpredicability. I'm hoping that 2004 will be as thrilling as 03 and I fully intend to do everything in my power to make it so!

Here's hoping that this year's adventures will include you and if not, may you have plenty of your own!

Adventurefully Yours,

lisa :)

p.s. To S.P. who's right there with me - and encouraging me - to try anything once!! You really are the kind of friend that makes life more fun!!