Monthly Archives: October 2011

This summer, I developed an allergic reaction to my contact lenses and was forced to wear my glasses for several weeks.  All. The. Time.  At work.  While running. On a boat.  Needless to say, I was unamused.  So unamused, in fact, that my friends began referring to me as “less-enthusiastic Daria.”

And thus was born this year’s Halloween costume.  All I needed was the glasses–Daria’s were a little rounder than the ones I actually wear–I already owned the clothes and, for better or worse, the personality. More than a few people at the lovely home to which I will likely never be invited again found the whole thing, well, too accurate.

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Perhaps there are people for whom every simple task does not turn into a saga that pits ideology against ambition and self against world; people who engage in minimal wailing, gnashing of teeth, and adventures with dry-active yeast on Sunday nights.  Maybe these people exist, maybe they have blogs, maybe you should start reading them.

In the meantime, I will be contemplating the role of cinnamon rolls in the workplace.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that women are never supposed to bake for coworkers.  Read any career-oriented literature aimed at women and you will learn that bringing baked goods to the office–along with crying, sleeping with the boss, and discussing any health problem beyond the sniffles–is strictly verboten.

But my workplace, falling slightly afield of the corporate model, is a bit more egalitarian when it comes to things culinary.  Some of us cook, some of us bake, some of us do neither, and some of us do both while drinking–but the camps have very little to do with gender.  In any case, it has already been well-documented right here that when it comes to food-preparing-and-sharing, my motives bend less soulful and more egomaniacal.

Thus I choose to believe that The Great Cinnamon Roll Misfortune of 2011, which is unfolding as I write and will likely keep me awake until the wee hours of tomorrow, is actually a calculated professional power-play on behalf of myself and employed women everywhere.

Also tomorrow is my boss’s birthday, and somebody else already claimed cupcakes.

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It would seem, in between praying over our soybeans and attending meetings at our local mega-church, Midwesterners are also writing books.  Books!  Jennifer Wilson’s “Hello From Flyover Territory: 3 Midwestern Novels”–today’s installment in NPR’s “Three Books” series–gives quick recommendations and addresses “the curse of the Midwestern writer in action.”

Extra points for seamless reference of “The Mitten.”

(Sidenote: Wilson’s winky “Can you im-ay-gine?!” routine about Midwestern writers put me in mind of the June 2010 reviews published of books by Emily Gould, Sloane Crossely, and Meghan Daum, most of which, Choire Sicha points out, could have been seriously titled “Three Women Wrote Books?!”–except that Wilson is in on the joke.)

When I was looking at my apartment, the leasing agent repeatedly stressed how much I would enjoy the “community bookshelf,” located conveniently in the industrial hallway wedged between the trash compactor and the boiler room (and across from the bikes!).  Fact: In the first nineteen months I lived in my apartment I visited the community bookshelf exactly once, and picked up all 560 pages of An Isaac Bashevis Singer Reader, as well as a Newsweek printed during the Clarence Thomas hearings. I have never read either (although I know how the second one turns out).

But two months ago I changed up my workday transit routine and starting exiting the building by a route that takes me past the community bookshelf twice a day.  Two chances each day to pick up choice titles! The possibilities are…

…extremely limited.  As it turns out all the floors and floors of neighbors in my building that I’ve never met fall into three categories:

  1. Readers of nursing, electrical engineering, and business text books (DePaul students)
  2. Readers of all manner of terribly-titled paperbacks (old people, people who travel for work)
  3. Readers of books about birding and spirituality (weirdos)

While I have scored the odd Blind Assassin (hot new fiction! eleven years ago!) or This Year You Write Your Novel (plainly offensive self-help lit by a man who chose to wear a fedora in his jacket photo)–as well as a book of stamps and a picture of someone I don’t know, both forgotten inside of one of these gems–my community bookshelf luck really turned around today when I saw this book:

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I’m usually too busy in the morning oversleeping and trying to turn a collection of mismatched items that I hate into an ensemble to catch the local news portion of the The Today Show.  In truth, this is a blessing.  Have you ever watched the local news?  The 500 block of everything is literally always in flames.

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