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November 2002

November 1, 2002
November 6, 2002
November 15, 2002
November 17, 2002

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October 1, 2002
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September 2002

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August 2002

August 2, 2002
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July 2002

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June 2002

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May 2002

May 3, 2002
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April 2002

April 1, 2002
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March 2002

March 4, 2002
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February 2002

February 1, 2002
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February 4, 2002
February 5, 2002
February 6, 2002
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February 10, 2002
February 11, 2002
February 12, 2002
February 13, 2002
February 15, 2002
February 16, 2002
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February 25, 2002
February 26, 2002
February 28, 2002

January 2002

January 8, 2002
January 9, 2002
January 11, 2002
January 13, 2002
January 14, 2002
January 20, 2002
January 22, 2002
January 24, 2002
January 29, 2002

December 2001

December 16, 2001
December 18, 2001
December 21, 2001
December 27, 2001
December 31, 2001

November 2001

November 7, 2001
November 20, 2001
November 22, 2001
November 26, 2001

October 2001

October 7, 2001
October 27, 2001
October 28, 2001
October 29, 2001

September 2001

September 3, 2001
September 15, 2001
September 26, 2001

August 2001

August 7, 2001
August 17, 2001
August 24, 2001
August 25, 2001
August 29, 2001

August 2, 2002

Two things: First, my great-grandmother seems to have been a raging Mets fan. One day, many years ago, my mom and others were with my great-grandmother when suddenly the ceiling in the house caved in. Everyone was "having a heart attack" except for my great-grandmother. The Mets were on TV; the rest of the world could wait.

Second, my brother, who owns not a single one of their CDs, is going to a Dave Matthews Band concert tomorrow. I am not. What's up with that?

August 8, 2002

Perhaps some would consider it a fortunate accident that my access to PARC's web server was severed last night. And not just for the usual maintenance that periodically intrudes on my uploads but rather because of a university policy change that seems to simply deny outsiders access to their web space. I'm not sure if I'm blocked because I'm not accessing the server from on campus or if they've just decided students shouldn't be sending files to the main server, but for right now, at any rate, I cannot upload any new files to my dorm's web space, and I am thus forced to unleash my HTML creative powers on my own site.

Tonight I saw a community theater performance of Forever Plaid, a show featuring a dead harmony group performing songs of the 50s and early 60s. Wearing plaid cumberbunds and acting blissfully behind the times, they regaled us with harmonies, puns and gentle innuendo. Gentle because the average age of the audience was probably about 65. This crowd was roaring the whole time, especially during the part entitled "The Ed Sullivan Show in Three Minutes Eleven Seconds." On the other hand, I felt a bit lost during this part as I have never seen said show, and all the puppets and singing nuns meant little to me. But oh well, even I could appreciate their rendition of "She Loves You, Yes Siree!"

Note: Yesterday marked the first birthday of my diary. Amazing, isn't it?

August 10, 2002

I'm in the middle of ripping the lace off of my graduation dress, and I realized it was nearing midnight and if I wanted to get an entry in today I needed to start typing now.

Ripping out the lace is less complicated than I expected. It was machine-stitched on, so the stitches are nearly microscopic. I figured I wouldn't be able to get the seam ripper under them. To complicate things further, the dress is made of fine silk, which is very susceptible to ripping. However, I got into a groove after I got past the hem, and it came off fairly easily. The only problem is that the stiches are so small and close together that I'm practically going cross-eyed.

I thought I was going to write something long tonight, but alas, I've waited to long and I've lost inspiration. I will include what I wrote in my notebook in the wee hours of the morning, though. But I warn you, it's not pleasant. I couldn't sleep because of all the bad feelings swirling around inside of me, and I used the book as a way to release those emotions.

Earlier: I am miserable.

This summer has dragged on far too long, and I just can't take it anymore. I am bored out of my mind, and work doesn't help. The time there crawls. I come home achy and tired and dreading the next time I have to go back.

I feel lonely. My house is like a factory; life here is all about getting things done. Get everyone where they need to go, get everyone fed, get all the chores done, get this, get that. Life is unfulfilling.

I have nothing to look forward to except going back to campus, but after waiting so long for that it seems now an unattainable goal. I have five weeks left until I leave, but it seems like forever. I know that sounds melodramatic, but that's just how hopeless I feel right now. I just don't know how to make it through another week, let alone five. I've lost the ability to enjoy myself. I can't even sleep because I know I'll just be waking up to another miserable day here with nothing worthwhile to do and another four mind-numbing hours at work.

Sometimes if I have something to prepare the time flies by. But going back to school is just too far away.

I don't know how people hold down jobs like the one I have for years. It makes me so unhappy -- and this is the best part-time job I've ever had. I hope my work isn't always as uninspiring as this job. It's depressing to think of an entire life spent in this kind of drudgery.

I am depressed.

August 11, 2002

Is life more than mere coincidences?

This classic, clichéd philosophical question was the subject of the movie Signs, which I saw recently with some of my friends. While it's advertised as a scary movie (which it is), its main purpose is to explore the role of faith in life. Is it just a coincidence if you miss a plane that crashes, or is a sign of a higher power? Is life a series of choices and consequences, or is there a greater plan controlling each individual's life?

Something different I've found at school is that most of my friends there don't really ponder these questions with any degree of seriousness. Rather, they seem to have already come to definite conclusions, and those conclusions skew toward the skeptical. I've never met so many atheists before in my life.

It's a stark contrast to my experience at home. In all my years of Catholic school, the most unusual person I came across went to a nondenominational church. That's not to say that all of my friends were church-going Catholics. Actually, many of my friends in high school were Protestants -- it was kind of ironic, considering the setting. But the point is that all of my friends had some sort of faith in their lives.

After the movie was over, Emily and I went to a restaurant to get some dessert and discuss the film. While I tried to get through my huge chocolate chip cookie hot fudge sundae and teased Emily about yet again ordering something she didn't like because she didn't like it, we went over the highs and lows of the movie. Emily said she liked the movie -- except for the part when the main character says he hates God.

It was startling to hear that after so many months among people who'd probably think the whole film was a crock. I could imagine some friends from school pronouncing the climax corny or a cop-out. And here the complaint was that the film didn't show enough faith.

I responded that it was only human nature for the character to say something like that after he'd been so crushed by the traumatic death of his wife and was suddenly faced with the possibility of another heart-rending tragedy. I pointed out that his lingering bitterness clouded his judgment and that sadness caused him to say something horrible like that. But Emily would not be convinced; saying something like that crossed a line in her mind. The character couldn't be redeemed in good faith after saying that.

I have my beliefs, and they don't conform to any of my friends'. Maybe I'm a fence-straddler, but I prefer to think of myself as understanding. While I don't personally embrace all creeds, I accept the positive value of all of them. I think religious expression is a function of culture, but the basic faith is the same. In other words, it's universal.

Religion's not such a bad thing. I've learned the faith-based and science-based arguments for this statement. But I also understand that some people would prefer to live without it. In other words, I understand how people may choose to interpret the signs as "signs." I believe in free will myself -- here's where perhaps it seems like I want it all. But it's true -- I don't believe in the grand plan. At least not on an individual scale. It makes sense if there's a creator then there was the plan to begin, the plan to let live, and eventually there may come the plan to just do away with it all. Even the end may simply be built into universe in the laws of nature which govern it. In my view, everything happens through individual choices.

I don't claim to be everything. I claim only to be flexible. I am a Catholic, and I accept what makes sense to me in my religion, but I don't let doctrine intrude on what I believe. I make my own decisions.

Sometimes I feel like I am on the dividing line. I can see both perspectives on faith. Or rather, religion -- religion is a more specific kind of faith. Everyone who lives has faith in something, be it spiritual or secular, but not everyone has a religion.

But what I learn from observing both sets of friends is how important their beliefs are to them. No matter what belief it is they treasure, they treasure it, holding it strongly to heart. As do all people in matters of faith.

August 15, 2002

I am truly traumatized. Today I rang up whole, fresh pig feet. It was worse than when I unexpectedly found I was grasping some kind of fish torso later. These were not the dog treat kind of pig parts. They still had the pink skin and hooves attached. The tops still looked kind of bloody and ragged from where they were severed from the rest of the legs. Definitely some gross anatomy I could have done without.

August 16, 2002

I find that on nights after I get back from working at the grocery store, my thoughts are completely dominated by the job routine. As I lie in bed before falling asleep, all of my dreamy musings, no matter what they are ostensibly about, seem to incorporate the belt that brings products to my scanner. I often imagine talking with my friends only to find that I'm having the conversation from behind my cash register. Cans and boxes float ceaselessly through my mind (but fortunately not pig feet). And I'm only working about sixteen hours a week right now. I think I need to get some help.

August 17, 2002

In case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to change how I create and present this portion of my site. (I've also been trying to stay away from site-referential entries, but I'm putting that on hold for now.) As I find most people like to have near daily updates, and as I find that updating the whole site navigation and all is so time-consuming that it makes me disinclined to write new updates, I'm going to try for some regular shorter entries. That's not to say I won't still get in those long rants. But I hope to produce some vignettes to fill the space between those entries. And if all goes according to plan, shorter entries will mean more frequent entries.

Of course, I've tried this before to no effect. Thus, I now plan to change my approach to writing each day's entry. First, I'm going to keep Notepad or something like that open all day (how I wish I had Stickies on Windows) to catch my random thoughts instead of attempting to save them all in my head throughout the day for a long entry at night, at which point they've likely been forgotten or I don't feel like writing. Second, I've created this new front page dedicated exclusively to the most recent entry. While I'll still have all my entries archived on the old pages, if I decide to make a quick update sometimes without updating all the navigation, everyone can still access that day's musings.

Well, there's the grand scheme. Wish me luck in executing it.

Later: I finished pillow number one a little while ago. This one is yellow fleece and turned out to be slightly rectangular in shape. I had immense trouble sewing the pillow at first, as the machine kept eating the fabric and creating large knots. however, after struggling with it for a while this afternoon (my mom tried to help, but couldn't find a problem with the machine), I finally realized what was holding me back. i had loaded the bobbin (that's the spool of thread in the bottom of the machine) backwards, so the thread got tangled every time the machine attempted to sew. after i flipped that baby around, I stitched those sides together like a master tailor. then I stuffed the pillow with a great deal of fluff in an attempt to create a smooth, comfortable surface. I'm glad I got the extra bag of polyfill as it looks like I'll definitely need it. In fact, I'll have to buy more if I end up making small pillows with my leftover fabric. Yeah, I know, I'm being way too domestic. I prefer to call it crafty.

I hear another random rain shower starting. This summer, rain has drifted in unexpectedly some days, often several times a week. But we're not talking a light sprinkle here -- these are honest-to-goodness downpours, albeit ones that last only a few minutes. Just short, intense bursts of rain followed by equally strong blasts of sunshine that dry up all the moisture. In another words, we're having a summer of flooding droughts.

August 18, 2002

As I was driving home from work today, I caught a radio show an the evolution of U2. It was at least half over, as I turned it on when the host was talking about the making of Zooropa and the ZooTV tour. The format was pretty simple, a nice-sized chunk of U2 history, followed by a song from the album discussed, and then some more U2 information, often sprinkled with some soundbytes from band interviews throughout their career. When I got home I flipped on the radio in the house to continue listening -- something I never do with the radio. I listened again as I drove to get gas and dinner. I heard up until the aftermath of the Passengers project and the beginning of Pop; I missed the rest while waiting for my food. I wish I could have heard the whole show -- it's rare to find something worth listening to on the radio.

Of course, I should probably point out that this was a Canadian station. I doubt I'd ever find such a program on a local station. But it can't be all that hard to do; this minidocumentary could easily have been made by stringing together old promotional materials. And certainly any station could access songs from every album released over an artist's career to provide a retrospective. So why don't I find real shows like this more often?

August 19, 2002

I'm finally getting used to my job. I no longer dread going there the way I did the first couple of weeks. My time there is still pretty boring, but at least it no longer makes me feel miserable. Plus I'm becoming more efficient. My "items per minute" speed is up from fifteen to seventeen, putting me at the average expected speed for a cashier. Of course, the ideal speed is twenty-one, but I figure I really don't have the motivation to become an ideal grocery store cashier. Besides, I still have plenty of other stuff to worry about while I'm on the job -- the manager still often hears me calling her name. But I'm getting better, so at least my time there is becoming tolerable.

August 20, 2002

I made another pillow today. It is purple fleece and smaller than the other two. It is very nice. I have the fabric cut for a fourth.

I am mad. I have to spend all of my days off chaffeuring my brothers to all their stupid camps and practices. For crying out loud, the high school is less than a mile away; why do my brothers need to be driven there?! It's a waste of precious natural resources and my time. And I don't care what my mom says, brother Kyle is freaking 14 years old and a high school freshman, he is perfectly capable of walking or biking somewhere without getting killed.

The transmission broke on our van today. It needs to be "rebuilt." My brother Dan moves in at the University of Pittsburgh tomorrow, and we no longer have a van. It will be in the shop for a week. My parents had to borrow my grandmother's minivan, but my mom insists there won't be enough space. She doesn't believe me when I say that there was plenty of extra room in the van when they drove me to college, and I had to bring everything myself as I lacked a roommate. However, I saw the van, and I know it was not full. My mom is nuts.

I want to go back to school.

August 21, 2002

I'm sorry, I'm really tired today. Excuse my lack of thoughts.

August 23, 2002

I spent yesterday morning sitting the mechanic's waiting room as my car went through a state inspection. I had to wait as at that point, we were down to one other car, which my mom had at work. However, the inspection took over two hours, during which I was tortured by daytime television. First I sat through two episodes of Crossing Over, in which a "medium" relays messages from his "gallery's" deceased loved ones. I felt bad for all the people sitting there swallowing this guy's swill, eating it up to deal with the pain of a loss. It's almost a form a denial, I think. Not that I believe there's nothing beyond death, but I don't think that this guy (or anyone else, for that matter) can communicate with those in the great beyond. He was so clearly grasping onto and elaborating on details spilled by the people he's talking to, it's sickening. And since these people are hurting, they believe his schlock and feed him more. It's really terrible.

Though maybe not quite as crass as the next show, The Price Is Right. But then, can you really call an hourlong commercial a "show"?

At any rate, they finally told me after my mom called wondering what had happened to me that the car was going to take all day to fix. To make it up to me, they drove me over to my mother's workplace (though I had to wait about another twenty minutes for this courtesy). From there I drove home and was lazy for the rest of the day, not knowing what to do with myself when I was no longer in a car.

August 24, 2002

I'm about halfway through another work week now. Counting by days, I'm half done; counting by hours, I haven't quite reached that point. I have my first seven-hour shift on Monday, and as you can imagine, I'm just jumping for joy. At least I'll get a full half hour for lunch on Monday. That's a slight consolation. Alas, I only get two straight days off after the weekend this time; my work week's been extended onto Thursday. I just keep telling myself that working is at least a decent time-killer and that working more will mean more money to spend during school.

I spent some of that money today at Wal-Mart, the enormous store I easily get lost in. I like to have my mom around when I shop there if only because she seems better able to navigate. I get overwhelmed as soon as I enter, and I wander aimlessly for several minutes before finding the proper direction. But anyway, today I bought more pillow stuffing and some new Tupperware. Except none of it was from Tupperware, of course. I got a lovely new two-quart pitcher that I'll use for storing water in my room (I just hope it fits in my tiny refrigerator). This way I will have it at the ready to fill the nifty new cups my mom bought me on sale. In fact, she got me a whole new set -- four big, blue plates, four large cups, reusable ice cubes, and a plastic bag for storing it all. And in addition to the pitcher, I bought some new food storage containers. I debated this in the store for quite a while; I could spend $2 on a large, sturdy one or $2 on five reusable but less sturdy ones. I finally decided the new Rubbermaid Take-Alongs were worth the $2 as they looked hardier than the Gladware we've used in the past. Well, those are sturdy enough, but I always hated the lids, but these new ones seem to have better designed caps. Thus I hope we will have a wonderful relationship -- the containers storing my falafel, and me eating it.

August 30, 2002

When I was a child, I often spent the night at my grandmother's house. I even had a special suitcase specifically intended for these first sleepovers. When my brothers and I were there, we'd spend the evening playing with blocks and trucks and creating masterpieces of Lite-Brite art. When night fell, we'd put on our pajamas and pull out the sofa bed in the living room. Then, with bags of kernel-free popcorn, we'd sit with my grandma and watch reruns of "The Many Loves of Doby Gillis" and "The Donna Reed Show" on Nick at Nite. The innocent situations and gentle humor put us all in a happy mood, and after being sure to stay up well past our bedtime, we'd fall asleep with smiles on our faces.

August 31, 2002

It's now the end of August (stating the obvious). By now, in years past, I'd have been in school for at least half a week and starting to lose the feeling of novelty that accompanies new classes. Today, though, I just thank heaven that there's only about two weeks to go.

I've started (I hope) the process of leaving the job I started just about a month ago. I'll be gone before I lose my "new" status. Of course, I only stuck around about this long for my last job at the teleservices company (and, except for my last day, I believe, I was stuck in on-the-job training the entire time). However, since just about everyone there was "new," you didn't feel any more isolated than a soul-draining corporate machine generally makes you feel.

(Yes, I realize most of my friends will find that last bit particularly amusing, but alas, no other phrase is appropriate for describing the feeling of being an insignificant and easily replaceable cog in a place where nobody knows your name.

(So there!)

Okay, everyone remind me never to buy a bag of Doritos once I get back to school. I think I'm addicted. Someone needs to take these away from me now before I finish the whole bag. Help!

(As she reaches for another morsel of cheesy goodness.)


Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002