Tuesday, January 08, 2008

In condemnation of bad shipping

Dear FedEx, and specifically the two employees I encountered last night,

The last time I checked, your job was to ship things. Why, oh why, was I greeted by a cashier/packing clerk last night who told me that she was too busy to pack and ship my flute? Why was I told, "I can't do that." You can't do that? "We're closing in like 45 minutes, and I still have other stuff to pack. I don't have time to ship your flute." I was greatly confused. Don't you pack things as they are dropped off? Perhaps I am mistaken. But you telling me you don't have time to do your job and take my money does not amuse me.

In her defense, this employee did recommend that I seek out another nearby FedEx and see if they might have time to pack and ship my flute for me. And so I trotted back up the street and went to another place.

"Can you pack and ship my flute?" I inquired.

"But of course," the new employee cheerfully responded. Hurrah! You can take my precious baby and wrap her in bubble wrap and paper and popcorn, and send her to her place of repair! Glorious. "Let me find a box," she smiles. She returns with something far too large, but I hazard a guess that that just means she'll wrap it well. Lovely! My new favorite FedEx employee then proceeds to test out the box size by dropping my flute into the box. And I do mean dropping. As in, it made a *thunk* sound as she let go of it from several inches off the counter.

I was too terrified by what I just saw to even react and say, "Excuse me, please do not drop part of my livelihood so carelessly into the box." I could have let one time go, but no, she had to do it again with a different box. Again, a sad *thunk* sound as my case dropped to the bottom of a box, this time one too small for it. By this time, I am nearly in tears. My no-longer-favorite FedEx employee finally gets the bright idea that she should measure my case and then find a box based on that. How clever!

My heart eased some as I watched her carefully wrap bubble wrap and paper and popcorn around my already-too-abused baby. Okay, everything is going to be fine.

"Can I get insurance on this?" I query.

"Of course you can! How much would you like to insure it for?"

"$xxxx, its replacement value."

FedEx lady's eyes got very wide, as she solemnly explained to me that she could not insure it for anymore than $500, in an effort to combat fraudulent item claims.

At this point, dear FedEx, I am about ready to snap. Not only do you tell me you are too busy to ship, not only do you abuse my instrument, but you tell me that you cannot insure it for its value. "I understand," nearly choking back tears. By now I am starting to get angry instead of just sad. "Then don't put any insurance on it, because $500 won't even come close to replacing it if something does go wrong."

"But I have to put something down, so I'll just put $500." I sigh and acquiesce. "That'll be $40," employee says solemnly.

I am paying you $40 to ship something that you can't insure for replacement value?? Why? "Okay."

Dear FedEx, I am never, ever, ever, ever, ever shipping anything with you. EVER.

An irate flutist who's just crossing her fingers her flute makes it to the repair man in one piece.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year: Silly

I present, for your second-annual reading pleasure, my year in review according to the first sentence of each month on this blog.

January: New Year's Eve 2006/2007. Three days. Two girls. One mission.

February: I, as a lover of flute and of Tchaikovsky, am absolutely thrilled to read of the premiere of his long-lost and lately reconstructed flute concerto.

March: Do check out the latest addition to my links section: Tidal Art. This kid's got some talent!

April: If you haven't already, I highly recommend checking out MindSprocket's April issue, featuring the literary stylings of Edward Atkinson and myself and introducing the fine work of Jacqueline Johnson to readers.

May: One minute you're a proofreader at one company, and the next, you're an editorial assistant to the senior acquisitions editor at another!

June: Lessons I've Learned from This Month's MindSprocket Piece:

July: I have not followed the evolution of the evolution of the most recent Motu Proprio as closely as some of my fellow bloggers have, but not wanting to be left out, I have to post and say that it gives my heart and spirit much cause for hope for the future of the Tridentine liturgy.

August: Because that's about all I do lately. This was in a friend's profile, and I wanted to share.

September: Oh I dream a highway back to you love

October: I am not writing enough, and it saddens me. :(

November: In the midst of my novelling flurry, I feel strangely compelled to start writing song lyrics.

December: I have found a new favorite place, I think: Baltimore's Cafe Hon.

New Year: Serious

The New Year is almost upon us. In typical AnnaClare fashion, I decided to go through my blog from the past year and found this post: a list of where I wanted to go with my life.

The high points:
  • Contemplating grad school
  • Finding a challenging dayjob
  • Writing more
  • Making more music
  • Moving to Baltimore, Washington, or Frederick
  • Picking up flute study again
  • Becoming a decent guitarist
  • Becoming financially savvy
  • Getting my own apartment
  • Beginning to carve out a life that I would be happy to share with another or content to keep for myself through
Amazingly, somewhere in the midst of all the trouble that I seem to create for myself ;), I managed to accomplish the italicized items on the list. Okay, well, I didn't quite make it to decent guitarist yet, but I got a good start on it. ;) And I've only begun carving out a life for myself, but it's a damn fine start!

Not a bad year over all, I believe, even it was a challenging one.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A writing thought

A friend of mine from college recently hit me up on facebook to ask me about some of my sentiments in my article on writing fiction on MindSprocket, and I realized my little response turned into something of a short manifesto on writing, so I thought I'd repost it here.

And you also asked me if I thought that giving myself away in my writing isn't bound to happen in spite of my best efforts. And even if I don't want my story to say much about me, if that fact alone still doesn't end up saying something about me in relation to my work.

I think the answer to both of those is a yes, even if it's a reluctant one. I can't help but give away myself in my writing, even if I think cleverly disguise it. I still give away a lot about who I am and who I am not by what I write (and as much by what I do not write). And if I try to keep myself out of it, that still makes a strong statement about how I view myself in relation to my work, trying to be a conduit of something beyond myself rather than making a personal statement.
I think that tends to summarize my artistic approach on the whole, especially the last part. I want to be a vessel rather than a super-star. I want to be a channel for art rather than someone celebrated for the fact that she is an artist.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another poem

I have never
given everything
to anything

I have always
reserved something
even from myself

I have ever
feared giving
something meant perchance for the divine

I have always
guarded fire
under the veil of virtue

I have never
been willing
to plumb my soul's depth

And now furiously
facades fall
before me

And now abandoned
I wonder
if I ever really can

Or rather if
ever I
might find courage to try

Or instead if
I'll embrace
my deadly silence

A poem

A friend sent me this today.

by David Whyte

This morning on the desk,
facing up,
a poem of Kavenagh's
celebrating a lost love.

"She was the sun," he said,
lives in the fibre
of his arms,
her warmth
through all the years
folding the old man's hand
in hers
of a Sunday
Dublin morning.

Sometimes reading
Kavenagh I look out
at everything
growing so wild
and faithfully beneath
the sky
and wonder
why we are the one
part of creation
to refuse our flowing.

I know
in the text of the heart
the flower is our death
and the first opening
of the new life
we have yet to imagine,

but Kavenagh's line
reminds me
how I want to know
that sun,
and how I want to flower
and how I want to claim
my happiness
and how I want to walk
through life
amazed and inarticulate
with thanks.

And how I want to
know that warmth
love itself,
through the sun itself.

I want to know
that sun
of happiness
when I wake
and see through
my window
the morning color
on the far mountain.

I want to know
when I lean down to the lilies
by the water
and feel their small and
perfect reflection
on my face.

I want to know
that gift
when I walk
innocent through the trees
burning with life
and the green
of the pasture's
first growth,

and I want to know
as lazily
as the cows
that tear at the grass
with their
soft mouths.

I want to know
what I am
and what I am
involved with by loving
this world
as I do.

And I want time
to think of all
the unlived lives:

those that fail to notice
until it is too late,

those with eyes staring
with bitterness,

and those
met on the deathbed
whose mouths are wide
unspoken love.

Every year
they keep me faithful
and help me
realize there is more
to lose
than I thought
and more at stake
than I could dream.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


A bitter wind screams past my windows, my doors, on this dark December night. The days seem incredibly short; the nights, interminably long.

I will welcome the solstice on the 22nd with open arms: I am eager to greet the coming of light again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cafe Hon

I have found a new favorite place, I think: Baltimore's Cafe Hon. It vaguely reminds me of sitting in my great aunt Anne's house/restaurant in western PA when I was younger. There's an awesome bar running the length of the place, and lots of tables and chairs everywhere.

Okay, so that's not a very poetic description. ;) The point is that it feels homey and awesome. I'm also a big fan of the shelf with statues of the Holy Family and the Infant of Prague and the lovely picture of St. Cecilia hanging on the wall (which looks identical to one that I lost two moves ago...).

Long story short, fun place. ;) And I just felt the need to share.

Friday, November 30, 2007


I have written my 50,000 words!! And I wave officially won NaNoWriMo 2007!!