Friday, December 5, 2008

Peace, Quiet

I've always wondered who those idiots are who sit in Panera all day with their Macs and their lattes. Where do they work? Can I have an application? So today my vacation-lovin' self decided to try it out. I took my Mac in and ordered a sandwich (I don't drink coffee) and found a spot to sit and be cool. I lasted about fifteen minutes. It's total mental chaos in there - the noise level drove me bonkers. I'm so used to living alone and my quiet life. I wanted to smack the little kid at the table next to me who was telling his mom every thought he'd ever had in his head. So now I'm at home in my cozy living room, the television is off, the cat is asleep under the tree, and I feel totally relaxed. (It might be the Flexeril for the back pain.)

I have exactly 61 Christmas cards to write. I addressed all the envelopes, stamped them, and put return address labels on last night. I love sending (and receiving) real mail and taking a huge stack of cards to the post office to be mailed is my idea of fun. I wish I could send all my blog peeps holidays cards. I love taking a minute to think of the person and how we're connected - friend from Japan, cousin who taught me to play chess 100 years ago, friend from high school - and then writing a brief personal note on each card. I really enjoy the ritual every year. 

This morning I went and mailed all but one of my holiday boxes to Japan. The subtotal this year (for postage only) was $169. I say this every year, but honestly, next year it's cards with a candy bar shoved in the envelope. It's crazy to spend so much money and it's even crazier with their culture of reciprocity. You will never out-give a Japanese person. I just love finding little treats and goodies throughout the year and then wrapping them up to send for Christmas. I picture the little kids freaking out with excitment when they receive the box with English writing on it. I miss those little cupcakes. 

The other day I mentioned seeing Meaghan Smith live. I'm still listening to the few songs she has on iTunes over and over, and maybe my favorite is called, "Five More Minutes." It's about that time when you're little and playing with friends in your backyard in the evening and it's summer, so it's light out late, but you parents call you in to get ready for bed. She sings it in a slow, rich, dreamy voice that is almost too good to be true. You can smell a summer night when you listen to it. 

This is my last official day of my two-week vacation. I'm glad to have the weekend left, too. I've never stayed home for a vacation, and as much as I've missed traipsing around a new country, I have to admit it's been great - I feel chilled out to the extreme. Today I filled up the washer fluid in my car and marveled at how good it feels to have free time to do those kinds of things. It's so hard to find the time and energy to do stuff when you work 10+ hours a day and your job is a total bitch. I have no idea how folks work exercise into the picture when they work full time. But I've been incredibly productive these past weeks and have had plenty of time left over for movies, sleeping, dinner out, catching up with sister, shopping, wrapping, and more. I'm really grateful for the break. I needed it. 


  1. dude, i tried the sitting-with-my-mac-in-a-caribou once and it drove. me. bonkers. i don't know how/why people do it.

  2. It's funny you'd mention Panera...because we've noticed the very same thing. Laptops out, food sitting next to people, college kids, everyone. Weird. (If you haven't tried their hot paninni sandwich with sun dried tomatos and mozarella, you need to)

  3. I've tried a few times to study in Starbucks and there was no way that was happening. But, here's the weird thing...there was also no way that I could concentrate in a library nowadays given the noise level in there. Remember when library were quiet places? My apartment is the one and only place I even bother trying to get work done in nowadays.

  4. A. Soma is way better than Flexeril. Srsly.

    B. I LOVE working on my computer in diners, etc. Somehow, I manage to turn all the chatter into white noise, occasionally glancing up to see some beautiful or hilarious moment. I suppose your Panera folks are just freaks like me.

    C. Speaking of freaks, how can you make it through life without coffee?

    D. Merry Christmas. :)

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  6. I find background noise in Korea very easy to tune out - but whenever it's in English I can't. Apparently I'm a horrible person for listening in to total strangers.

    I'm doign the whole staycation for the first time in years too - a week at Christmas and then two 4-day weekends in January. I'm saving for a longer trip and have a bunch of other stuff going on, but I can't say I don't miss the idea of a beach...

  7. Haha I also have the problem with using laptops in the coffee shop. My biggest problem usually is when I see freaks in the coffee shop and I can't stop staring at them in case they do something crazy that would affect me.I guess one way to get by the noise is to use a headphone and crank up some music. But that itself might already defeat the purpose of relaxation.

    Oh, I know what you mean by "you can't out-gift the Japanese". On top of that, everything they give is just so darn cute! Like little sticker here and little stamps here.

    I would love to send you real Christmas card, but I don't want to create awkward moment for asking for address...