Workin 9 to 5…

It has come to my attention that surviving life in the working world—specifically one spent in the cubicle environment—is no small feat. The transition to cube existence can be particularly difficult after one is used to the on-the-go lifestyle of the typical college student and at its most extreme, can even trigger a momentary mid-mid-life crisis at the ripe age of 23.

In an effort to alleviate the shock such a radical change in lifestyle can often produce, I have decided to offer a few suggestions for those making the switch.

(By no means is this an all-inclusive list. It merely reflects my experience thus far.)

Without further ado, I offer you:

Sara’s Guide to Surviving Cubicle Life

1. Chat it up. If I could give one piece of advice to the up-and-coming office guru, it would definitely be this—get to know your co-workers. Sure, they may come off as a little strange at first and you may not agree with their choice of hairstyle, but don’t let that intimidate you. There is no telling what gems lie hidden amongst those never-ending cubicle walls. In fact, I could write a whole post on office characters I’ve encountered—Big Trent, RenRon, Lunch-Date-Disaster Lance, Julie the Workout Queen...I could go on and on. The point is, you won’t discover how quirky these people really are unless you make a little effort. Besides, what else do you have to do?

(Note: If you choose to nickname your co-workers, please be advised that while this makes for entertaining references, it can put you in quite the awkward social situation if the nickname manages to slip out in everyday conversation.)

2. Stop! Hey, what’s that sound? If you are planning on excelling in the office environment, it is imperative that you heighten your sense of hearing. This will come in handy on several occasions. First, while chatting with your co-workers will teach you a lot, over-hearing their cubicle conversations with others will teach you even more. Just remember they are most certainly returning the favor. Consider yourself warned.
But an acute sense of hearing has far more meaningful purposes than mere office entertainment—it is your link to these two magic words: office treats. Donut Mondays, Bagel Fridays, birthday cake, Christmas cookies, and all the trans fat sprinkled in-between, it is that listening ear that is your key to being the first to know.
So strain those ears, my friends. The essence of your very existence depends on it.

3. Caffeine? Yes please! Will it stain your teeth? Yes. Leave you with bad breath? Mmhmm. Possibly cause stomach ulcers? You got it. However, it is time you throw caution to the wind and embrace this fact—you (yes, even you) will likely become a caffeine addict. Think of it as a right of passage.
Don’t like the strong-and-super-crappy-office coffee? No worries. Add a few (or five) Splenda packets in that bad boy and you’re good to go. Cheers!

4. Cardigans and keds—so hot right now. As with most things in life, survival in the workplace often hinges on wearing the proper attire. In an office, this consists of several wardrobe necessities.
First and foremost is the cardigan. Start stocking up now, ladies, because this is one staple you can’t live without. No matter what the temperature may be outside, the cube temp is almost always guaranteed to raise those goosebumps faster than the donuts disappear from the break room. Unless you are planning on permanently planting yourself in front of a space heater, a cardigan is the way to go.

Second, and perhaps most heartbreaking, get over your high heels (or at least be prepared to bring a change of shoes). I know what you are thinking. “I will never fall victim to the skirt and tennis shoes combo! That has my mother written all over it!” You’re right. It’s not pretty. But as painful as this fashion disaster may be, it’s a whole lot better than hobbling around the office with massive blisters because you wore your sky-high heels while walking into work. Believe me, it is not worth it.

Note: I am not sure what the equivalent of this fashion tip would be for men. However, I do know that despite the trend, no work environment warrants the existence of the mullet. Sorry, but no.

5. Office space. Sure, it takes a little work. Okay, a lot of work. But if you’re going to be completely surrounded by dull gray walls every day, you must throw yourself into making it the best-looking dull gray walls known in your cubicle community. So go ahead, plaster that cork board with as many photos as humanly possible. Tack up a few posters with cheesy inspirational quotes. Display that Dwight bobble head next to the Kleenex box and germ-X. And when you’re finished, lean back in that ergonomically-correct office chair of yours and swivel around in satisfaction. Welcome home.

And finally, when all else fails…

6. Start a blog.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just overheard something about day-old cookies in the conference room…


Chasin’ that Rainbow

“We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.”

-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters


Living in the present.

It's a simple concept, really, but somehow the tugging nostalgia of the past and the constant clamoring of the unknown future makes this nearly impossible in my everyday life.

What is it about the human mind that makes it prone to such distraction so easily? The ability to disconnect and disengage from one's present circumstances may at times be a gift, but personally it seems to do more harm than good.

For me, it is a struggle on both ends. Often I find myself teetering along the fine line between the past and my own romanticized version of life, which commonly results in a wistfulness for something that never really was and for people who no longer resemble those I have frozen in time. Am I unable--or just unwilling--to let go?

As much as the baggage of the past may weigh me down, it does not begin to compare with hold the vast Unknown has on me. Anxiety is a constant struggle, and while I may consciously attempt to squelch any rising panic during this unending time of transition, something deep within my core refuses to comply.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with looking to the past with fondness, and it is foolish to go through life without some planning. But there is something to be said about those that can fully exist in the time and space allotted them each day.

I haven't found that balance. But I am ready to drop out of this perpetual pursuit.

...I'm not much of a runner, anyway.

p.s. If you haven't read The Screwtape Letters, you should.


Still Blowin' in the Wind


And hear

That faint whisper—

A murmur.

Gentle, yet steady

And mighty.

Dancing across broken lands,

Crossing oceans

And borders of tears,

It whistles a low promise

Of hope.

Its swelling song grows louder

And soon its mere stirring

Will become

An irresistible


And suddenly,


We will be swept away

By these winds

Of change.


Flashback (Part II)

Part II: Keepsake

Another lazy summer afternoon. Another ridiculous nickname.

Inspired by the tale of the infamous red-head with wacky braids, Ashley had deemed herself “Pippi” until further notice.

Losing patience with her constant clamor for attention, I retreated to the living room and curled up on the couch to find solace in the Disney princess that I so adored—Cinderella.

Unfortunately, Ashley/Pippi had other plans.

“Whatcha doin?” she asked as she plopped next to me.

“Nothing, Ashley,” I said flatly.

“Who’s Ashley? I’m not Ashley. I’m Pippi! Remember?”


As I struggled with the rising desire to tie Ashley/Pippi’s ridiculous braided hair into one massive knot, her mother entered the room and sat in the easy chair next to me.

“How are my favorite two girls doing today?” she gushed. “You are just too precious! Best friends already. I knew it!”

If she only knew.

“Ashley—oops! I mean, Pippi!” she continued, “tell me about Pippi Longstocking’s latest adventure.”

I turned to listen as Ashley /Pippi basked in the spotlight. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Hold still, Sara, honey,” Ashley’s mom interrupted.

Obediently, I froze.

“You have a runaway eyelash there,” she said.

I waited for her to brush it away.

“Give me just one moment…now hold still…” she said with a furrowed brow as her two fingers lightly pinched my freckled cheeks.

“Got it!” she shouted triumphantly then deposited her trophy into the nearest ash tray.

I shot her a quizzical glance.

“I like to keep them for good luck,” she said smiling.

I scooted away.



Part I: What's in a Name?

It was an honest mistake.

After all, there's only so much one can learn about a person from an interview or two, and Mrs. Doubtfire herself would fall short of the ideal standards my parents had for our baby-sitters. Besides, she looked normal.

As Mom dropped me and baby Brian off that sticky June morning, I paid no attention to her forced smile and when she hugged me extra-tight, I wriggled free, anxious to explore my new surroundings.

Just as my confidence was beginning to falter, a beaming chubby lady crossed the room, "Well aren't you cuuuuuuute!" she said smiling. "Why don't you join Ashley in the living room? She's been just dying to meet you."

To my mother she whispered, "Don't you worry 'bout a thing. Ashley is just her age and in no time they'll be two peas in a pod!"

I looked up at Mom as she gave me a wink and nudged me forward.

"Have fun sweetie. See you this afternoon!" she said brightly.

I shuffled timidly into the living room and peered in the doorway to see the shaggy carpet covered in all things Barbie.

"Hiya!" Ashley chirped. "My name is Cricket. Wanna play?"

Puzzled, I let out a small, "Hi," as her mother entered the room, still smiling.

"Ashley, this is Sara. You guys are going to be friends this summer. Be sure to share and..."

"I'm not Ashley. I'm Cricket!" Ashley/Cricket yelled.

"Oh, well I'm so sorry!" she laughed, not misisng a beat. "You'll have to excuse our silly little--Cricket, is it?" She glanced at her daughter before continuing.

"She's quite the creative one. You just call her whatever she decides. And what should we call you?" she asked with a grin. "You can go by whatever you want."

"I'm still Sara," I mumbled and sank slowly to the floor.



Day one:
She shuffles in head bowed, eyes down, a threadbare sweater bunched around her thin frame. Her feet are wrapped in thick wool socks, stuffed in sandals a few sizes too small and on this unbearably cold winter day, bundled tightly into plastic sacks. Her movements are slow as her bones creak a steady, painful melody.

"Excuse me, ma'am, I was wondering if I could borrow this pen," she says apologetically, a crooked smile playing on her lips.

Before I can respond, she continues in the same breath, "I promise I'll bring it back."

My heart breaks.

Day two:
I pass her huddled in a forgotten corner, sipping from a two-liter of orange cola and reading a well-thumbed Bible.

I can't bring myself to tell her beverages aren't allowed.

Day three:
Same sweater, same shuffle, but no plastic bags on this sunny day.

"Hello," I say looking her straight in the eye, "and how are you today?"

Her eyes dart between my face and the floor and her chapped lips part to reveal two missing teeth.

"Well, the sun is out today, so I am just beautiful."

And she's right.


An experiment of sorts

To be honest, I'm not so sure about this blogging thing.

I've been thinking about giving it a whirl for awhile, but my reservations continually got the best of me.

However, with some encouragement from a few fab females, I decided to test the cyberspace waters. I mean, really, what's the worst that could happen? (Okay, actually, I can think of several horrible scenarios but that's just because I can tend to be melodramatic on occasion.)

Besides, it's no secret I love to tell stories. Mainly about the fascinating characters that are woven into my daily life and the all-too-often awkward interactions with said characters (the Ultimate Gamers, RenRon, and the latte` lady at McDonalds, just to name a few).

I guess that's it then. Welcome to my humble corner of cyberspace.