Category Archives: Work

The Road Not Taken: A Lesson in English and Life

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

==

This is one of my favorite poems, for three reasons.

1. I love the rhyme and the meter of the poem. I love reciting it. There’s something so musical about the ABAAB and the iambic tetrameter. I loved studying poetry in school, and sometimes I really miss it.

2. I love the message of the poem. But stay tuned. Because:

3. This poem doesn’t actually mean what everyone thinks it means. And here’s your English lesson for today:

In the early 1910s, Robert Frost became friends with another writer, Edward Thomas. They would go for walks through the woods, and Thomas was constantly moaning about the fact that they had taken the “wrong” path – and missed something amazing on another path. Frost wrote this poem in 1915, a sarcastic answer to Thomas’ worry that he was always making the wrong decision.

If you dissect the poem, there are three instances where Frost admits that there is no “better” path:

“as just as fair”
“the passing there / had worn them really about the same”
“both that morning equally lay”

The closing stanza is a sigh from someone looking back on opportunities lost. Frost is gently mocking the narrator (and Thomas) for fretting over missed opportunities, and for not seizing the opportunities that one is presented with.

I freaking love this poem and the story behind it.

==

Today was my last full time day at my theatre job. On Monday I start a new job as an Executive Assistant, in an office full of brand new people. This was my choice, my decision, and it was a hard decision, but I still think it was the right decision.

Every new path brings change, something new to learn, and new opportunities for joy.

Two roads diverged in a wood. And I.

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Filed under Beauty, Dreams, Friends, Love, Nature, Nonfiction, Self improvement, Sentiment, Theatre, Travel, Work, Writing

Happy Halloween 2013!

So much to catch up on! So many blog posts behind!

First things first: I’ve been doing all the Halloween things possible. This includes reading Stephen King’s new book, Doctor Sleep, which I am loving so far; seeing Carrie the Musical at Ray of Light Theatre in SF, which was fun and campy and had some great effects; and carving a pumpkin for our office Halloween party pumpkin carving contest. (I threw together a very last-minute mime costume for the party.)

Also, I made B a dragon costume.

Halloween collageI realized about last weekend that he didn’t really have anywhere to wear it, so I decided I should take him to work. I picked him up from his grandparents for the party, and then he hung out with me at my desk for the rest of the afternoon. He did a really great job actually. I put up boxes in front of my cubicle, put down a blanket and a bunch of toys and books, and let him crawl around for awhile.

Also: I’m pretty sure today (at work) was the first time I saw him drink from a bottle while sitting up, and just tipping the bottle up (we usually have to recline him a little bit. Also, he’s been chomping at the bit to really break out and start walking, and today he went crazy at work, running all over the place by himself. So I think it’s official: we’ve got a toddler.

It’s so freaking cute. I wonder if he’s been kind of testy lately because he’s been on the verge of breaking into a glorious new skill? Let’s hope so.

My other project has been a costume for myself – not for Halloween but for a work event I have on Saturday, that happens to be a costume party. I think I’m going to do a dia de los muertos thing (although now I’m seeing stuff all over Facebook about how that’s just appropriation of an actual holiday, and it’s offensive, so oops). I still have a couple other things to put together for the costume but I’m sure it’ll be done by Saturday. And I’ll be happy to have it all behind me.

My other, non-Halloween-related, project is the Bench Project 3, which is a night of short plays taking place in San Jose, and mine is one of them. We are teching on Sunday morning (after my sure-to-be late Saturday night) and then going up on Monday night. I am excited, but this is also another weekend that makes me tired just anticipating it.

Happy Halloween!

 

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Filed under Baby, Children, Drew, Holidays, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Theatre, Work, Writing

Part-time optimist

I’ve been trying really hard to be more optimistic. Not just optimistic in the glass-half-full way, but also in everything-that-comes-out-of-my-mouth kind of way. Like, I’m trying not to complain about every little thing.

Some parts of my job are less fun than others, and if I give voice to the constant commentary going on in my head about these parts, I would probably spend a lot of time bitching to people around me. I try to keep a lid on that. (Drew still gets most of the splatter, though.) I try to be really aware of what I’m about to say, and whether it’s useful information, and whether the person I’m saying it to will have heard it a thousand times already.

A lesser version of this is badmouthing your friends. I’m going to guess that a lot of people do this, based on my experience. But I guess I could be wrong. I admire people who never say a single bad thing about their friends. (Or at least I would, if I’d ever met one.) I can be judgmental, I’ll admit it. But it comes to a point that even I have to say, Enough already.

I just think of the people I really like: optimists and positive thinkers. Versus the people I avoid: pessimists who complain about every single little thing. (We all know these people.) (Some of us are these people.) And since, at the heart of it all, I really want everyone to like me, I’m striving for goodness here.

I have this memory of when Drew and I first got together, of him telling me that a good friend would just do things for another friend, and not expect repayment. You just do things for your friends because they’re your friends. He likened it to Jesus, in fact, which as I recall made me feel really terrible about whatever I’d just been saying. I think he was even doing dishes while he said it. I’ve never forgotten that.

I want Baby B to grow up to be a kind person and a good friend. I want him to be friendly and quicker to smile than to complain. I want him to be happy in general. So I’m hoping that bringing him up in a household of laughter and positivity will help ensure he grows up to be the kind of person that I would want to be friends with. (You know, even if I weren’t already so biased.)

It’s just on my mind tonight.

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Friends, Self improvement, Work

over the rainbow

Let me start out by saying, I really like my job.

But it’s hard to be away from B for 9+ hours a day, counting my commute. So sometimes I find myself wondering, Where is that Perfect Job for me?

The one that’s a career, not just a job.

Flexible hours, but generally 9-5.

Preferably there’s a daycare onsite.

They pay me what I think I deserve to get paid. Plus awesome benefits (including dental and vision) for me and my whole family. Plus a retirement package.

There’s the possibility of advancement.

It’s something I enjoy doing, ideally in the arts. It is both challenging and satisfying on a daily basis.

Casual dress code, friendly work environment, fun coworkers.

A boss who’s also a mentor.

Maybe I can work from home some of the time.

I guess as long as I’m reaching for the stars, some Google-style cafeterias offering free lunches wouldn’t be so bad. And maybe, like, an on-site gym? I guess it’d be cool if they issued me an iPad too. And paid for my personal phone? Which I use for work stuff occasionally.

So if anyone hears of a job like this, ideal for a San Francisco-based almost-30-year-old with an English degree, could you let me know?

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Appreciating volunteers

I think I may have overdone it yesterday a little bit. I was part of this trio at work planning an appreciation party for all of our volunteers. Luckily it was a fun team of people because we spent a lot of time stuck together, and had to get creative several times.

Yesterday was the brunch, and I left home at 7:45am to pick up food and get to the venue. Then at 10:15 I went on another run to pick up the rest of the food, and all of the coffee. The rest of the time, when I wasn’t in the car, I was on my feet. I didn’t have to move or carry anything crazy, but even just standing around is kind of exhausting. The party was from 11:30-1:30, and after that it took us another hour to break everything down and pack everything back into our cars.

After I got home, Drew and I went to Ikea and bought two lamps and two shoe racks. Like we’re outfitting two identical houses. We also went by Old Navy where, walking past a clearance rack, I saw a pair of jeans sticking out with a tag on them that said $.97. These jeans just happened to also be my size (well, my pre-pregnancy size). I figured, this gives me something to shoot for, and they were less than a dollar. I mean, when does that ever happen?

(Last night after we got home, I tried on the jeans, against my better judgment…but they totally go on! I mean, aside from the whole buttoning-and-zipping thing. But that will come. I’m just happy that they almost fit!)

Anyway, after all the walking around yesterday, this morning when I stood up I was so sore from the waist down. As the day has gone on it’s gotten better, but I think I might have overdone it slightly yesterday. At least now that the party is behind us, I know that it’s pretty much just smooth sailing until you-know-what in a week and a half.

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Filed under Exercise, Fashion, Food, Memoir, Pregnancy, Work

Lying at a wedding

We went to a wedding yesterday. At the reception – which was a full-on 9-course Chinese banquet, although I counted 11 courses before the cake – the girl next to me started making small talk. Her date (fiancee? husband? boyfriend?) was part of the band and so he was up and down through most of dinner, so somewhere between the shark fin soup and the abalone with mushrooms, she asked me what I do.

When I told her I work at a theatre company, she asked me which one, and it turned out she’s actually kind of into theatre. She’s actually been to see shows that we have put on, the most recent 3 years ago, but that’s still far better than most people I find myself making small talk with. I immediately upgraded my conversation from the standard “talking about my work with people who don’t care about theatre.”

“What have you seen around here that’s good?” she asked me, and I reached out for anything, anything we’ve seen lately.

But it appears I’m a theatre major failure, because it’s been months since I’ve seen anything. Well, I guess I’ve seen shows at my work. I resorted to fibbing and talking about shows at other companies, that I’m sure were very good, but they closed before I had a chance to see them.

Erin recently saw Chinglish at Berkeley Rep, and she raved about it, so I almost said that I’d seen that, but luckily something stopped me, because it turned out that my tablemate LOVES David Henry Hwang and saw Chinglish last week. Yeesh, that could have been messy.

After the reception I got to thinking: we should really see more Bay Area theatre. There is so much here. It’s just that a lot of it is so spread out and/or difficult to get to. And let’s face it. I’m into being at home and in pajamas by 8pm these days. I missed opening night of my own company’s current show, and haven’t actually managed to see it yet – and this is the last week of performances.

But I think I might see if I can get tickets to see Chinglish. I’ve heard such good things.

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Filed under Fiction, Friends, Memoir, Not awesome, Theatre, Work

It’s not rocket science; or, “Sandwiches Snadwiches”

Yesterday I found myself back at the Safeway in Mill Valley, which has given me great stories in the past.

I stopped in there to pick up a sandwich for lunch before the final 2 performances of God of Carnage at MTC. Sandwiches are great, and probably on my favorite things list, even though I’ve been eschewing turkey (and that’s just one of several things) because of potential harmful effects during pregnancy.

So I just wanted to stop by and get a cheddar, avocado, and veggie sandwich on sliced sourdough.

A good sign: there was no one in line when I walked in. So I went straight up to the counter, where a super polite young man said, “I’ll be right with you.” Then, he went on to say, “Good afternoon, what may I get you?”

Wow, such service. I started explaining what I wanted.

“So you want a veggie sandwich – would you like me to describe the veggie sandwich to you?”

“Um, that’s okay,” I said, “What I want is actually a “California Dreamin'” without the turkey and bacon.”

“The “California Dreamin'” now goes by the name “Turkey Bacon Avocado,” he said.

“Okay.”

He began to assemble the sandwich. Kind of sloppily. I don’t understand why sandwich-makers at Safeway don’t know how to make a sandwich. They always pile everything on the center of the bread. Don’t you know you have to spread the avocado to the edges? And you shouldn’t just stack all the tomatoes in the center? It’s not rocket science, people. Make the type of sandwich that you would want to eat.

And it’s not just Mill Valley Safeway. It was in Mountain View that I watched a guy squirt mustard on one slice of bread, and then pick up both slices, one in each hand, and stare at them, puzzled, until he slowly smashed them together and rubbed the mustard around.

Wow.

When Mill Valley guy was finishing up (having just placed a large pile of pickles in two square inches), he said, “Now, our policy dictates that I charge you an extra fifty cents.” For avocado, I assume? “But I’m debating in my head whether or not to charge you that. That policy is in place to deter people from ordering sandwiches like this. But I don’t think we’ll suffer any damages – any long-term damages, that is – because I don’t think many people will order sandwiches like this.”

“Um…okay.”

WTF? For the record, here is the part of the menu that makes me think that it’s acceptable – nay, encouraged – for you to actually order what you want to eat, rather than just choosing from the 8 pre-designed options.

The key word here is “choose”…

Finally he handed it over. And I walked 10 feet away, found the voice memo application on my phone, and dictated what he had just said, because I was worried I’d forget part of it.

Then I called Drew and told him about it.

When I got to the theater, I found he didn’t even cut it in half for me. Which is kind of the most annoying part. I mean, who wants to pick up an entire sandwich?

Apparently the bane of Safeway’s existence – a product of theirs that someone ordered and paid for.

First world problems, am I right?

When the actors started arriving, one of them (with whom I had just bonded over orchids the prior day – I’m starting to think we might be some kind of soulmates or something) started telling a story about how he’d just stopped to pick up a sandwich at Safeway. We then went on to bond over our annoyance at the crazy people working there, and how in New York, you can just order food and then get it and then get out in record time, but here it seems to take people forever to get anything done.

Yeah, we were those people.

Anyway, the sandwich was okay, the shows went great, I was home by 10:30 and in bed by 11:15, and I got to sleep in until 8:30 this morning. So overall…life is good.

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Filed under "Other people", Food, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Pregnancy, Theatre, Tomato, Work