Friday, July 29, 2005

Mistaken Identity

In my old group, there is another Andrea, a funny, outgoing Italian man who loves to eat. Of course, everyone on that team referred to me as Andrea A. and him as Andrea B. in emails. There has never been much confusion between the two of us.

Until now. I just received this instant message from a member of that team:

"Get your great fat butt over here and we'll go to lunch."

Uhh.. what ?!?!

Thankfully, the message sender was referring to the posterior of the other Andrea, not mine, and was rightfully embarrassed when I gently pointed out the mistaken identity.

Political correctness points: -100.
Sexual harassment points: 500.

HR could have a field day with this.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Fortune Cookie

Just opened the fortune cookie from this afternoon's most delicious Asian-style lunch. The small piece of paper inside says:

"Tomorrow's happiness begins today."

It most certainly does.

New job, new place to live, new life - all starting at the same time, right now. Today's optimism, today's passion, today's drive and resolve will become tomorrow's happiness, because I wish it to be so. I feel that I can weather any storm, as the current one passes and the sun begins to peek out from behind the dark clouds.

Today's sacrifice becomes tomorrow's gain.
Today's hurt becomes tomorrow's healing.
Today's courage becomes tomorrow's strength.
Today's hope becomes tomorrow's fulfillment.
Today's dream becomes tomorrow's reality.

All I can do is move forward, and pursue with tenacious resolve the life I know I want to live.

That little paper from my fortune cookie is now prominently displayed on my cube wall, as a gentle reminder of this path.

Carpe Diem. Seize the Day !

The Insatiable Beast

July 25th, 2005.

That date is now officially known as Christmas Push Day, 2005.

While walking through the mall on Monday, I saw a Christmas tree, proudly displayed in the Hallmark store window, its lights twinkling coyly at the passing shoppers.

Christmas is coming.

The summer is barely half over. It's 90+ degrees outside. The back-to-school stuff is just starting to appear in the stores. And yet, the Christmas push has already started.

What is wrong with this picture !?!?

You may remember that I whined about early Christmas celebrations in 2000 [2nd paragraph] and 2002 [4th paragraph]. Those years, the Christmas Push Days were August 8th and August 15th, respectively. This year, 2005, sets a new record - July 25th.

In actual fact, it started even earlier. There were two threads on the Weight Watchers message boards, on July 5th, discussing Christmas gifts. The 5th of July !! The day after our great nation's birthday, when barbecue season was in full effect and swimmers were out on the beach frolicking in their bikinis - and Internet users were sitting in front of their computers discussing Christmas ! I must admit that I was a little less than politically correct in my inflamed response to the original poster.

In the immortal words of the great Lewis Black, "Christmas is a beast that cannot be fed." No longer is only Thanksgiving overrun by this gluttonous, over-commercialized monster of a holiday. No, Christmas now steamrolls mercilessly over Halloween, Labor Day and even the not-so-happy children returning for another year at school. Chewing everything in its path, it obliterates all festivity and celebration of preceding holidays, monopolizing the consciousness of the public at large, and warping their minds into spending all they have and more on gifts and preparation almost a half a year in advance.

On Sunday, I saw a headline about Santa Claus on CNN's website. It must have been removed since then, because I can't find it now. But for the short time it was up, the insatiable beast that is Christmas was bellowing loud and clear.

And it's still the month of July.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Express Yourself Part II

I have always said that one's car is the perfect template for self-expression and delivery of important messages to the community at large. In the past two weeks, I have seen some wonderful examples of the revolutionary power of vehicle messaging. I am delighted to pass them on to all of you.

A perfect embodiment of the Silicon Valley coffee culture.

Then of course, there was this gem:

Well, that's what happens when you give your kids lattes !!! Duh !

I saw this one in LA last weekend, and it speaks to the very core of my being:

Aw yeah. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Earlier today, my coworkers were bantering over the cube walls about who was doing the most whining. Eyal was whining that Greg was whining and vice-versa. To settle the dispute, I piped up, also over the cube walls,

"You know what I do with whiners ? I b*tchslap them !"

Right as our boss walked by.

Uh-oh. Deer in the headlights. Speechless. Waiting for my boss to dish out the very same punishment that I had just threatened. Instead, a big smile crossed his face as he applauded our exchange, and said,

"That's the spirit ! I like that attitude ! Now go find some bugs in our software !"

HAHA ! I love this job.

Friday, July 15, 2005

What is Truly Important ?

At lunch this past week, I found myself consoling a friend of mine who had recently experienced the passing of his grandmother. A feisty, tenacious woman with a large extended family, she had always held a special place in her heart for my friend, her grandson. Although they were oceans apart, and had not seen each other in years, they had always remained close. Three weeks ago, she was admitted to the hospital for various medical conditions. It was there that she remained until her last day on this earth.

It was his grandmother's wish that she speak to my friend one more time. His aunt had given him the number at the hospital where he could call her. Every day, he thought about calling her. Every day, he became buried in the endless avalanche of work, emails and other pressing tasks. Every day, he promised himself that tomorrow, he would speak to her.

Tomorrow never came.

Returning home after a busy Tuesday afternoon, my friend received a gift from his grandmother in the mail. It was a beautifully stitched tablecloth, made with her own aging hands, out of love for her grandson in the twilight of her life. He gently unwrapped this treasure, and prominently displayed it on the dining room table of his new house for all his guests to admire.

That very evening, his grandmother passed away.

He never had a chance to thank her. He never had a chance to say goodbye.

For those three weeks, the phone number sat on his desk, buried by the papers, tasks and obligations of the day. He thought he would always have time to call her. He thought she would always be around for when he had time to pick up that phone. But sadly, her stay on this earth came to an end, the very same day her final gift reached the hands of her cherished grandson.

How often do we all become engulfed in the minutiae of daily life ? It is so easy to allow ourselves to become slaves to the various crises of our waking hours, thinking that these things are essential, urgent, and significant. But as this sad story points out, we often do not make time for the relationships and the people that enrich our lives and make the daily grind worthwhile.

What is truly important ? Is it how clean our houses are, how many emails we respond to, how many problems we solve, how many items we've stroked off our ever-present to-do lists ? Or is it how many lives we have touched, how many smiles we have inspired, how much love we have shown for those who are close to us ?

The next time you say to yourself, "I'll call that person tomorrow" may be your last opportunity to do so.

Don't wait until the tablecloth is in your hands before picking up that telephone.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Take It For the Team Part II

This is the same injury, four days later. It still hurts somewhat, but only when I used it during the seemingly never-ending blocking exercise in karate on Saturday.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Take It For the Team

During last night's game, a hard grounder was hit near me at second base. As I scooted to my right to backhand it, it took a wicked hop and impacted my forearm at high velocity. I won't mince words that it hurt like all heck. But today, I sport a really funky badge of honor for taking it for the team:

Those eight red dots are courtesy of the stitches on the ball.

It still hurts to move my fingers around. But stitch-mark imprints are just too cool.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Nature's Majesty

This past Fourth of July weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to my good friend Katrina's ranch in Reno, along with various family members and friends. I set out Saturday afternoon for the 215-mile trip, eagerly anticipating the chance to spend the holiday with this very special group of people.

As is my custom, I maintained a brisk, aggressive pace throughout the almost three-hour drive. However, when I ascended to the summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains, rising to approximately 7,200 feet, I had no choice but to slow down and marvel at the majestic, breathtaking beauty that surrounded me.

On all sides, 360 degrees, I was enveloped by the stunning display of nature's elegant handiwork. Mountains, some peaks still dusted with snow, rose sharply from the valleys below. Their sides were were dotted with lush, bright green vegetation, their faces glistening with the warm, gentle touch of the midday sun. My little red car, and the road traversing this natural wonder, just seemed so out of place.

I had driven this route two times previously, but this day, for the first time, I was rendered speechless by that which encircled me. I had forgotten how incredible it truly was. No photograph, no video camera, no description could ever do it justice.

Had I forgotten the breathtaking beauty of this place ? Or had I never really looked before ?

Sunday night, a group of us hiked up and around a small mountain behind the ranch houses, straying off the beaten path, talking, laughing and joking with one another. As the sun started its descent into the horizon, we came upon the steepest, toughest part of the journey. At that moment, I was inspired. I slung my purse over my shoulder, centered myself, and raced straight to the to the summit, some 100 feet up. At the peak, I feasted my eyes on the towering mountain range off in the distance, the city lights twinkling below, the sunset casting a rosy glow around it. I breathed deeply, drawing in the warm, clean, untainted air, filling my lungs with its healing energy, spreading it through my body, cleansing my soul.

The power and the beauty of nature has always been around me. I'd never truly appreciated it until now.

Today, it was back to the grind of the working life. It was also the day that I officially started my new job, helping test a technology product that will ultimately be used by EMS, Fire, Police, FBI and related agencies to save lives and to help others. My mind is clear, my body is refreshed, my spirit is recharged. With this, and with the deep passion in my heart for this product and its cause, I feel like I can take on the world - one small step at a time.

Never again will I let the daily minutiae of commuting, errands and busywork overtake my life. Never again will I forget to truly appreciate the world around me. Never again will I lose track of what is truly important. I will always have time for the people and the activities I care about, and I will always take the to reset, refresh, and nurture my inner spirit.

Today is the perfect day to start.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Work to Live Part II

I just drove past a sign for Citibank on the 880 freeway. It was in Spanish, but in essence, it said:

"Nobody keeps a photo album of their greatest moments at work."

How true that is.

To all: have a safe, happy and relaxing 4th !
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