Filtering by Tag: cubicle

Do Me a Flavor and Recover From Work

Have you ever experienced the sheer terror and exhilaration (but mostly terror) of trying to meet a deadline? More specifically, like writing an essay due by midnight and you're still madly typing your conclusion at 11:58? That was what my job was like these past two weeks.

Deadlines don't go away after you're done with school. In fact, the stakes of not meeting those deadlines only increases. When we write stories, our characters have deadlines. Our own lives are much the same. At work, I'm part of team, and we function like cogs in a great big timepiece. A timepiece that stalls a lot, doesn't tick when it should, and chimes deafeningly at the most random of times (think surprise emails and fire drills).

In an effort to meet our first big deadline, I spent a good couple days inputting information as the speed of light, which required my hand to produce the same set of actions over and over and over again with my mouse. Cut, hover, right click, paste, open tab, cross the thing off the list, continue. I did not stretch my legs, talk, or go to the bathroom for a good few hours. My deskmate, who is a kind woman who enjoys feeding me spicy Indian food, was appalled that I wouldn't try one of her snacks. "If you don't eat today," she said the following morning, "I'm going to give you an IV drip."

And yet, with the looming deadline, all I could think and feel was:

By the end of those days, My hands were kinda numb. And hurting. I think my left hand only hurt because its sister-hand was in pain. Sort of like how my brother cried and screamed when he saw me crying and screaming after Alien Encounter (nightmare fuel for a little kid, I tell you. There's a reason why Disney replaced that ride).

At times like these, it's important to try to maintain what they call work-life balance. Impossible, yes. But can you come close? If you try. I've been reading a lot. Writing a little. Watching movies and TV shows that had long been collecting dust on my Netflix account. Most exciting for me, as usual, is getting to try weird food. If you haven't noticed, the Lay's Do Us a Flavor contest is upon us again this year.

I was thrilled. I submitted my own flavor idea (obviously, this year is not the year of the prawn-flavored chips, aww) and couldn't wait to taste the finalists' chips.

Last year, I had a hard time finding the chips where I lived, to the point where I tried special ordering them (and failing). Two of my friends ended up mailing me the chips - it was the only way I got to test-taste them last year.

Preparing for another chip-hunt this year, I was relieved to see that Lay's got it right: all four flavors were in my grocery store (in fact, they are everywhere). An awesome co-worker even went ahead and bought small bags of each; we ended up turning our lunch hours that week into exciting taste-testing sessions. The best distraction from work, haha.

Bacon Mac & Cheese:

Honestly, there's nothing wrong with this flavor, except that it doesn't taste like bacon mac and cheese. At all. Can't taste the bacon. Or the cheese, for that matter. If you close your eyes and ignore what the bag says, it tastes like honey barbecue - and that already exists.  

Mango Salsa:

When I saw the commercials, this flavor was the one I was most excited about. I wanted it to win; after all, I love everything mango. And mango salsa. Of course. How could this go wrong? Mango Salsa is still my second favorite choice, but I think the wavy shape of the chips don't lend well to the distribution of flavor. And as other reviewers said, it smells just like a Bath & Body Works product. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you. 


... no. I swear I tried it. I don't like coffee. My co-workers inhale it. Yet I was the one who made the plunge and ate the first chip *shudders* I don't know how to describe it. Like something plain, stale, and non-edible. 

Ginger Wasabi:

Top choice, right here. At first, I wasn't very excited about Ginger Wasabi because it's already been done with Triscuit (wasabi and soy sauce, but you know, same principle). The Lay's version is more delicate, allowing you to eat a ton of chips without suffering from watery eyes and the stinging of the nose, haha. I think it's tasty. I also love sushi, so I may be biased. 

Have you tried any of the flavors? Voted? What did you think? 

Just like my coverage of Disney's Food and Wine Festival, I think this Lay's contest is going to be a regular thing. 

Meanwhile, I've also been celebrating the release of Sandy Hall's debut novel, A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

Sandy's book was the first chosen by Swoon Reads for publication. I enjoyed reading the ARC, but nothing beats holding the real book in your hands. If you haven't gotten your copy, you need to get on that. Or at least, go to your local bookstore and pet the cover. You'll be glad you did.

A School Morning

Ahhh. There's nothing like waking up in the morning by the sounds of three alarm clocks. I slowly opened my eyes and fumbled for each one, feeling calmer with each button I found to turn them off. Alarm clocks scare me. They always do. And if their alarms don't frighten me, I end up sleeping through them. Alas, that is why I must keep giving myself heart attacks when I need to wake up at a certain time.

My trusty cell phone is always the first to off. It's pretty scary because it vibrates at the same time, so it makes really loud buzzing noises when it skitters across the side table. The last thing I do is force myself to sit up and touch my lamp three times - tap, tap, tap - to turn it on to it's brightest lights. It's a terribly old touch lamp, but I love it because I feel like a magician when I turn it on and off.

These actions have turned into almost a set of loose rituals because without them, I'd probably just flop back onto my pillow, pull the covers up to my chin, and indulge in a little more shut eye - which can't happen, since I have to go to school.


It's a pretty word, isn't it? There's something very soft about the c and the o sounds. But it carries such weight with its meaning. Who else had to get up early for school in these past few days? Okay. And then I ask: who has to get up before the sun rises?

It's funny to think that, because of the time changes, the sky is so dark in the mornings now. If I leave for school at just the right time, I drive mostly in darkness and watch the colors slowly light the sky with through the hazy lens of my windshield. The stars wave "Good Morning," and pack their glittering lights for another part of the Earth, for another planet that watches their beauty while we go to work or walk our dogs. The moon turns spidery silver and high-fives the sun. Another day and another night accomplished.

I leave early because I teach early, and I teach early because I like to be done with it. As hard as it is to wake up, I believe it is harder to troll around for a near impossible parking space and then worry about making it to the classroom in time. I'd rather rub my eyes and yawn while presenting a PowerPoint. The long days crawl by in my cubicle and my legs, unused to staying in the same attitude (they just don't remember last semester), turn to legs of pins and needles. I tap my feet so fast that even Sonic would be jealous. But when night comes again I'm in another classroom - this time as the student - whispering secrets about writing craft, and, for this semester, studying the most delicate and archaic forms of romantic comedy storytelling.

Yesterday I turned the key and opened the door to the large room full of orange cubicles (we affectionately call it the Pumpkin Patch) and stumbled past the old couch to turn on the lights. In the back, near the corner, I peeked into my own private scholarly haven for the first time since winter break began. The scraps of poems and story excepts pinned to the walls still hung next to posters of faraway landscapes and a rather large Tangled poster I had put up behind my old computer. That poster, as pretty as it is, caused me a lot of pain in my knees and hands from balancing on the table to get it successfully tacked up. Totally worth it. And, lastly, the blow-up doll of The Scream, the painting by Evard Munch, still gaped its mouth next to the computer. My home away from home. My den. I dropped my bags into the table space and plopped into the chair. I rocked back, stared at the ceiling. Another semester.

I thought about how I'll probably get antsy and need to walk up and down the stairs a few times to check my mailbox - not because there is anything in there, but because I don't know how else I'll get exercise. I imagined all the trips I'll be taking to the library, right next door to my building, and how I'll show off the treasures but never get to them under the piles of red inked papers. The last and most important thing I thought of was how I'll be continuing to write.
I can't yet see where and when new stories will come to me this semester, but I'm excited and waiting for them. To the stories I've already been writing: I'll finish you all. Some faster than others. And to others more, who might still be collecting dust until the time comes to unearth them, I will one day yet add those bows and sparkles to you.

I wish you all, who are still in school, no matter what form, a very happy and productive semester. Let's do this!