(parenthetically speaking)

a random gal’s random thoughts about nothing and everything in general

WWJD? (What Would Jill Do?) August 4, 2009

A colleague of mine recently sent me a survey to fill out that was designed to evaluate her strengths and weaknesses. It was an interesting request since we hadn’t worked together in a traditional office environment—rather I assigned her to write stories for the last magazine I worked on—and, in fact, we’ve never met in person. But having worked with her on multiple assignments, I felt competent to answer at least most of the questions on the survey. One of the ones I wasn’t sure about, and to which I checked “N/A,” was, “Do you think your colleague is challenged by her job?”

This got me to thinking if I was challenged by my own job. Pondering my answer, I started to wonder if I have ever really, truly been challenged at all.

I’ve known and interviewed people who battled cancer but somehow never lost a step. I worked with foster children who, despite having to deal with horrific living conditions and situations so vile it makes your blood boil, still manage to keep a smile on their face. I’ve had friends who had miscarriages and yet still bravely tried again. I’ve seen family members hit rock bottom and, with all their might and against all odds, somehow climb their way back up.

But have I, like they, been challenged? I’ve certainly had my share of bumps in the road—sincerely tough times that tested my strength and spirit, but that ultimately made me a stronger person—but have I ever really, seriously been challenged? I can’t say for sure.

Even more puzzling was the question of how I might respond if I ever was to be seriously challenged. Would I crumble if I went broke and lost the roof over my head? Would I give up if faced with a deadly disease? How would I respond if an accident left me paralyzed and wheelchair bound? What would I do if I couldn’t do what I do for a living anymore? Could I go on, god forbid, if faced with the loss of a family member?
We deal with challenges big and small every day, many of which challenge us in fun and exciting ways (I don’t mean to dwell on the negative), and how we react reveals a lot about our personalities. I only hope that if I ever am faced with a true challenge, that I show the courage and resolve of so many before me.


Don’t Eat the Babies! February 27, 2009

I mentioned in a previous post how I saw this beautiful fox by my old office one night. It was totally unexpected, and the fox and I literally sat there staring at each for a second or two before he scampered off. It was a surreal moment, like something you’d see in a movie. In fact, I did see it in a movie. In the 2006 film The Queen, there’s a poetic scene where Queen Elizabeth (played by the wonderful Helen Mirren) is stranded in the Scottish wilds when she comes face to face with this huge stag she and her cronies had been trying to bag for years. Alone with the beast, she realizes its strength and beauty, and you just know from that day on that she could never shoot such a magnificent creature.

Lunch for a fox? Say it ain't so.

Lunch for a fox? Say it ain't so!

Well, I don’t know what made me think of it today, but I starting wondering what that little fox ate. What does a 20-pound carnivore roaming around in a sea of office buildings survive on? Granted, there are turtles and squirrels and fish and things in the wooded area and pond back behind my old office, so maybe he makes his dinner out of them. But there are also a few stray cats that make their home there, as well as several families of geese. The fox wouldn’t eat the kitties, would he? And, god forbid, he wouldn’t dine on the baby geese, right? The adorable goslings that brought a smile to my face whenever I’d see them waddling around, often causing a small traffic jam as they’d leisurely cross the busy road out front? I know it’s the course of nature, the call of the wild, if you will, but please, PLEASE, tell me the fox doesn’t eat the babies!!


wardrobe malfunction January 23, 2009

Don’t ask me how I managed it. Because I honestly don’t know. I mean, I don’t think I could manage to re-create the scene even if I tried.

At work the other day, I somehow managed to get the collar of my shirt caught on the hook on the back of the bathroom stall door. And the more I tried to free myself, the more hopelessly attached to that damn door I seemed to be.

What’s worse was that it was like 5:40 and the whole mad dash for home had already started, so the number of potential rescuers was dwindling fast. Add to that the fact I didn’t have my office key on me either, so even if I managed to escape, there was a good chance that they had already closed the doors and I wouldn’t be able to get back into the office to get my purse and car keys. Locked out of the office because I got stuck in the crapper—it could only happen to me!

My only hope was that one of my female co-workers had a long commute and a small bladder and would have to make a pit stop at the bathroom before they left for the day. But even then, how humiliating to have to ask a co-worker—someone you see for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and have to sit across the table from in meetings and stuff—for help freeing yourself from the toilet.

Luckily, I finally managed to twist and contort into the exact right position and was able to free my shirt from the door. And thankfully the office door was still open.

364834350_9f9a881816_m1This latest episode is just one of the many reasons I never buy nice clothes. I swear, no matter how careful I am, I’m always ripping a sleeve, breaking a zipper, losing a button. But mostly I either shrink things or stain things. I promise you there’s not one stitch of clothing in my closet that doesn’t have something wrong with it. So I’ve basically given up on trying to look presentable. And as a result, I have nightmares that any day now Stacy and Clinton from that show What Not to Wear are going to jump out and surprise me and tell me that someone has recommended me for a much-needed wardrobe makeover. To which I’ll respond, “Bring it on. Just don’t expect the clothes to last more than one wearing, because, as sure as the day is long, any new garments I get will surely suffer the same premature death.” Hmm, maybe that’s why they call those things we put our clothes on hangers, because they want to hang themselves after all the pain and suffering.