Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ultimately

So, even though this year has been something of a clusterf**k, it hasn’t been entirely bad… that said, here’s a list of 2008’s Best of Times:

Time spent with friends – including, but not limited to:

- Tracey and Robert’s baby shower
- Any evening at Nick and Jenny’s, but especially if Jenny made mashed potatoes
- Our May visit to Mamma Mia’s
- “Roughing it” in the wilderness of the Yogi Bear campgrounds with the Browns
- The opening ceremonies of the Olympics with Seb and Alex – calling out fake countries and marveling at the precision of the drummers
- Mardi Gras/Super Bowl at Brad and Jessica’s
- The Silpada post-party at Natae’s (because standing around gossiping after the masses have left never gets old)
- Project Runway and Politics – Wednesdays with Rosie
- The 4th of July Party at Goshen – as the new social chair, I made it happen – and Dad didn’t give the blessing – WHEW!

Time spent with family – including, but not limited to:


- Our trip to Leavenworth – making Easter cupcakes, buying a Pack & Play and visiting the WWI Museum
- My “bear-y” special weekend in the Mountains with Dad (complete with photos of the pawprints)
- Florence, Alabama with Matt’s family - perfect timing and great company
- Dad’s homecoming! Never let stairs get in the way of what you want.
- Henry’s first trip to Atlanta/Party with the chocolate fountain (hmm…why do so many of my memories include food?)
- Thanksgiving in Nashville 3 – much to be thankful for.
- Christmas in Atlanta – this time, Lola could come and my little family was complete.

Time spent with Matt – including, but not limited to:

- Our vacation in the mountains
- A late night trip to GameStop to pick up Fallout 3
- Working our way through Fallout 3 – Are you going to show us how to fix the robots?
- The Ink Cartridge Survey of North Metro Atlanta, Winter 2008
- Buying (and paying off) our big screen TV
- A Happy 3rd Anniversary
- Barry Lyndon at the Belcourt (sans Pit Bullington, who demands satisfaction)
- Several dozen trips to Safety Town
- Even more trips to Costco/Target/Borders/Academy to search for the elusive Matzoh Ball Soup Mix/DVD/CD/Camping Equipment

New adventures at work:

- Traveling – Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Denver. I’ll go back to the last two any time I’m asked.
- Adjusting to being the “senior member” of my team…at a year and a half in.
- Realizing in April and May that my colleagues had my back when Dad was sick.
- Getting to work on high level projects and realizing I’m smarter than I give myself credit for

Awards and Honors:

- 3rd Place Pepper Jelly – Tennessee State Fair…next year, I want a blue ribbon! Even if I have to steal it.
- Company Halloween Costume – 3rd Place. And now that I have a sewing machine, imagine what 2009 will bring.
- World’s Greatest Aunt

Miscellaneous:

- Henry, of course. What a great kid!
- Started blogging, thus bringing joy and insight to all who read my prosaic wisdom
- Belmont Debate 2008 – the pre-debate rally and my awesome sign. Plus, standing behind the nice people from Channel 4.
- Election 2008 – YES WE DID!!!
- Finally got on Facebook…why did I resist for so long?
- Lola didn't require any trips to the Emergency Vet - and even with the money she ate, we still came out ahead!

I’ll be honest – there’s a list twice as long as this of things that happened in 2008 that I’d like to forget forever. But I’m not going to post a “2008 Worst of Times” list, because there’s no point. Why dwell? I’ve learned from the things that had a lesson, I’ve done my best, been the best I could be. I’ve tried to fix the things I could, let go of the things I couldn’t, and ultimately, appreciate what I have.

Which is, as you can see from the above, abundant.

Goodbye 2008.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sew What?

Behold, the hamburger – quick fast food lunch, dinner on the cheap – how we adore thee!

Matt and I took advantage of the Monday $4.49 Burger Special at Calhoun’s last night, and I have to tell you, I thought it was better than Fat Mo’s.
Yes, there, I said it. Matt thinks I’m nuts, but it tasted like something Dad would grill up in the summer, plus, the fries were, well, let’s be honest – they were terrific. Far better than Mo’s – not that I’ve given up on Mo completely. I just think this is a better sit-down, have-dinner-with-your-husband kind of option.

The reason we even went to Calhoun’s? Location, location, location. We were up on Gallatin Pike for the express purpose of shopping. Matt was kind enough to invent a reason to go to Sam Ash so that I could hit the JoAnn Fabric store next door.

Forty dollars later, I walked out with some notions, a pair of scissors to be used for sewing only (but who are we kidding?), several yards of fabric, and a pattern for sleepwear. The woman at the counter told me I’d picked a great pattern with the easiest pajama bottoms in the world. Twenty minutes, she told me – tops.



Well, that’s what it’ll take to get the thread loaded into the machine. From there, I’ll be about an hour cutting the pattern and fabric, pinning, weeping, sighing, pulling my hair and reading the manual again…etc.

Look, it’s not easy navigating the shark-infested domestic seas, but I have to give it my best shot.

And, since I’m a novice, I’ll start with muslin (a buck and change per yard) then work up to flannel, calico, etc.

Wish me luck, mes amis.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pugs and Kisses

First things first - Mom and Dad have decided on a final name for their baby Pug...


Dude.


He's the Dude. So that's what you call him. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.



And he's just so darn cute.


I got a good dose of Vitamin P (for pug, natch) from him and Maggie this weekend while in Atlanta.


Lola tolerated it all admirably. After last year's banishment, you would think she'd be bitter. She wasn't. Mostly she napped, chased the Dude and chewed on her Christmas present - a large stick made of Kong material.


Life without dogs? Unthinkable.



So there's that...

I’ve broken mirrors, had black cats cross my path, and stepped on enough cracks to kill an entire PTA meeting's-worth of mothers.

But I consider myself incredibly lucky. And at the same time, hopelessly superstitious.

I believe most heavily in good luck, which is possibly why I'm so fortunate.

We all have those items or occurrences that mean something to us on a primal level, even though we know that in the real world, the significance is only in the mind of the beholder.

For me, for example, bluebirds are especially lucky. Because I don’t see them daily, when I do see them, it’s notable – and generally, around the time I see them, something good happens.

This first started my senior year of High School. On my way in one Friday morning – which happened not only to be the day of my AP World History Exam, but also the day of Prom, I saw a bluebird perched on a power line. I remember thinking, “Well, that’s a good omen.” And it was.

My World History class had spent more time as a support group for the terminally stressed/misunderstood/world-weary student – there were eight of us, plus our teacher, who was recently divorced.

We kind of played at history, with the exception of the Renaissance, which, being a favorite of my teacher’s and pretty damn interesting to boot, we covered thoroughly and extensively. It didn’t hurt that we were all pretty interested in the art, music and literature of the time, to boot.

So after we slogged through the Exam’s multiple choice section and took our sanctioned break, we cracked open, in unison, the major essay question. Which asked for a run-down of Educational Practices in the Renaissance Period. We all cackled, took a deep breath, and dug in. I ended up making a 3 on the exam, which, given my actual understanding of World History, is actually fucking amazing.

After the exam, I left to go get ready for Prom. Which, after the exam should have been small potatoes, right? No so much. I was taking my boyfriend’s best friend… how did that work out, you might ask?

Well, I was dating this guy, who we’ll call Asshole who dumped me right after Spring Break. So, I asked his best friend to Prom, and his friend, who we’ll call Nice, said yes. Well, Asshole and I got back together, but being a woman of my word, I still went to Prom with Nice. I ended up having such a good time that I ended things with Asshole and Nice and I dated for a year.

Anyway, you can see that Prom could have been a total disaster, but turned out really well, and for this, I thank the bluebird.

I have the bluebird to thank for Lola, Matt, my engagement ring and several excellent job interviews.

So, on Dad’s birthday, I’m sitting at the kitchen table looking out into the yard when I see a dull brownish gray bird too big to be a titmouse or nuthatch. It moves to reveal a flash of blue, and I recognize it as a female bluebird. She’s joined by two males. After the year we’ve had, I have to think that bluebirds on Dad’s birthday is a really good omen of things to come.

They stopped by again the day we left to, I assume, grant us safe travel.

Look, you have your system of beliefs, I have mine.

And maybe it's that I see them and set my mind in a positive frame.

Either way, I'm lucky.

Tweet!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What's a seven-letter word for tired as living hell?

All this Christmas merriment is wearing me out!

Today is Dad's 68th birthday, and we're glad to be celebrating. Tonight - beer and hotwings. I'll be the designated driver.

Mom and I have been working a huge crossword they put in the 12/25 AJC.

And honestly, that's about it.

More soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pies and Pashminas

Bad news, kids - no sugar free pecan pies at the WalMart - instead, I went with an apple and a peach. It's the holidays, so why not?

It's still cold as living hell here in Nashvegas - current temp 37 F, though my feet having not yet thawed, are still a balmy 12 degrees.

That said, I have on my trusty pashmina, which I talked Laura in to buying me on the street for $5 in New York last fall. It's brown, and I keep it at my desk to fight off the chills. My only regret is that I don't have it in several other colors. What a pity.

I'm trying hard to keep it real for the next five hours, but I really just want to get on the road. I stayed out too late last night, stayed up too late once I got home, then couldn't fall asleep for anything.

So now, I am dragging.

It's all good, though. Right?

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the Mood

It's starting to feel a little Christmassy, finally.

I spent a day in Matt's hometown gathering with the family. There's something really affirming about going to his Aunt and Uncle's house. Basically, they love us a bunch, think we're terrific and aren't shy about telling us.

It's a happy place.

I drove back yesterday and felt so sleepy. Once I got out of my warm car and into the bitter arctic wind, though, I was wiiiide awake.

It's currently 16 degrees (fahrenheit) here in Music City, and there's no mistaking it. I have to make a quick run out of the office at lunchtime, but it's tempting to skip it altogether.

Tonight, a stop at Rumors Wine Bar for a Christmas toast with Rosie. Then, home to pack, gather my presents and take a short winter's nap. Tomorrow morning, a quick pitstop at the Local WalMart for sugar free pie. Please let them have pecan!

Then, a solid eight at the office, a solid four on the road, and then, a long weekend with parents, puppies and my husband. I can't wait!

For now, though, I have to concentrate on ending 2008 at the workplace - made much easier by the fact that my five-day grind is only two days this week.

On Christmas Eve, I have big plans for a brow wax. I can't wait!

May your day be merry and bright!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, We Have No Bananas

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Hebrews, 13:2

Yeah, I know - a bible quote coming from me probably scares the daylights out of you. As well it should.

It's a good quote though, and these days, more and more applicable. Matt and I have been in our house for three years now, and in that time, we have had more than a few strangers knock on our door and ask for help.

Why us? We're not sure. We tend to help when we can, and maybe our address got posted somewhere like back in hobo times. "For a good time...".

There was a woman who asked Matt for money to get a sandwich one day while he was out washing his car in front of the house. She secured some loose change, then pulled out a condom and asked if Matt wanted a "date". He declined stating I'd probably not appreciate it. What a gentleman.

One New Year's Eve, a woman came to the door with a story about her developmentally challenged grandbaby, food stamp delays and the need for a pair of socks. I gave her some money, some socks and a bottle of water. I kind of think if you're asking a stranger for used socks and water, you're probably in pretty bad shape. Maybe it's a scam, I don't know. If I hadn't been in the middle of cooking dinner- which, to show you how rough we have it, was filet mignon (granted, a gift - I don't actually buy filet), I'd have taken her to Kroger, bought her some milk, soup, bread, tuna, peanut butter and a bag of apples. And whatever else she needed. I have a soft spot for people going hungry; as plentiful as food is in America, and as fat as many of us are (myself especially), it's inexcusable that anyone not have access to basic nourishment.

Matt once gave a ride to a guy who was, in retrospect, kind of messed up on some kind of extra curricular chemicals who thanked Matt for getting him out of "that bad neighborhood". Since I was the one that gave Matt my keys and encouraged him to take the guy, I feel kind of sorry about that one.

We have neighbors who offer to do odd jobs for a little dough, and again, I'm down with that - we often enough have something that could be done better and faster if we delegate. Local economy and all.

Tonight, we had a repeat customer. Nice enough guy, but usually a story about a busted car part and the need for either cash or a ride to a pain-in-the-ass location (thus making cash a more convenient option). He's asked for our help before, and up til tonight, we've done what we could. This time Matt politely explained that we couldn't help him tonight and he went away.

I don't mind helping people out - not because I expect or even hope that they're angels, but because it's the right thing to do - and I think people should help other people out whenever they can. That should be human nature.

But at the same time, I'm wary. Which is also human nature. I mean, I don't doubt that this guy needs help of some kind - and I try not to be cynical and assume it's for something other than why he requested it. But Lola once again ate some money we had lying out (no kidding - I'll be curious to see how/if/when she passes it) so we quite honestly couldn't help him. Although we later considered telling him he could have whatever he could shake or squeeze out of Lola.

So entertain strangers, yes - but if for some reason you can't, don't feel like you're a bad person. And because not all strangers are angels, lock your doors at night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A little something for meeeeeeeee!

My mother often jokes that she gets into the Christmas spirit by buying her first present, which, as it happens usually ends up being for her.

I'm down with that.

Neither Matt nor Santa can pick out clothes very easily for me. For one thing, I have a vast range of sizes that fit, based on the article, the cut, and the designer. For example - I have three pairs of jeans, all the same style, all the same size purchased on the same day - and because I was in a hurry, I didn't try them one. One pair is perfect, one pair has a saggy butt which makes them nearly fall off, and one fits my butt perfectly, but is tight in the waist.

I mean, WTF? I'm not a mutant. Or am I?

So, anyway, I only have a few little gifties left to pick out, but today, I pointed my car in the direction of a clothing place I like, and well, you know how these things are - if you spent $100, they took $30 off your purchase. So I bought an adorable little quilted vest in magenta. Lock and load, bitches! MAGENTA. I passed right by the one in blue and the one in white. Booooring.

Yeah, I like the bright colors. In a perfect world, it's the exact color I would have foisted upon my bridesmaids 3 years and change ago. Luckily for them, Matt's sister is a redhead and even I'm not that cruel.

So, I bought four shirts, a sweater and my vest, all under $100. SNAP!

Well, why not? Having fun playclothes is insurance that I'll actually go out and play.

And, in re: yesterday's post, a special shout out to Sebastian, colleague and friend extraordinaire who came to my office today and quoted verbatim the line I wished customers would say to me.

And thanks to Natae, because she checked in on me this morning.

Mad props to Alex as well. Because he's Alex.

It's a better day, for sure.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm sorry, who are you?

This day is one that I'd like to have as a do-over. It's a given that as a support worker, people aren't ever going to call me just to say, "Hey, champ - great job - everything is perfect and we're completely happy."

Still, I have to answer the phone, open the e mail.

That doesn't mean that sometimes I don't still get to feel a little nausea resulting therefrom.

I've got two customers playing dueling banjos today for the right to my complete attention. What I want to do is tell them to take a chill pill, give me what I need to get my job done, and rest assured that I'll do it. But that they are only 2 of many, many customers requesting my time and energy. And let's be honest, sometimes you're thinking "fuck off" when you're saying "how can I help you?". Human nature, mes amis.

And as much as I tell people no job is worth my tears, today I've felt so sick and frustrated, damn if a few haven't leaked out despite my best efforts.

Back to it, now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

R-O-L-A-I-D-S

I need to buy stock in the antacid companies.

Due to obscene amounts of baking and tasting yesterday, I had a sleepless, heart-burny, crazy dreams night, and I cannot seem to shake it.

I have been fairly productive today, but in my mind, I'm thinking, I need to go pick up my boss' holiday present. Which I hope I can find.

Why did I even offer to be the point person on this?

Because I'm fundamentally good and kind? Naah.

We've lost power three times for all of about 5 seconds today. Enough to disrupt workflow, but not enough to allow for daydreaming or any lollygagging.

I have gotten some more shopping taken care of. Not nearly enough done - and so little time left.

I hope Matt's co-workers are enjoying my handiwork from the weekend.

For now though, more Tums and Spreadsheets. Now there's a title for a contemporary Christmas Carol...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow Days and Sausage Samplers

So pretty much all of Metro Nashville and surrounding counties called a Snow Day. It snowed last night, some of the roads are icy, and voila. Three day weekend.


Personally, I'd love to have the day off. I need to finish up some Christmas shopping, the house and laundry situation are dire. We need clean clothes, then, once they're clean, I need to put them away.


And I've got to get cracking on the baked goods. This day would be ideal for that.


But, I don't have training today, so this would also be a good time to clean out the inbox, hunker down on a few lingering tasks, and maybe see if anyone wants to leave the building for lunch.


The bossman is working at home today due to the road conditions and the traffic resulting thereby. But the rest of us are here and it's all good.


I don't know what Matt has planned for the weekend - what I have planned for him is some errands to pick up a few presents. Money for the ones we're giving cash to. A present for the next door neighbor, something for his best friend and his best friend's teenage son. I suggested movie tickets and a gift cert for dinner so that he and his girlfriend could make a date of it.


Mom has given specs on what she wants, and that's easily done. As for Dad, well, the conundrum continues. Like my brother-in-law, and my husband, if there's something he wants, he'll get it for himself. And that leaves me...well, screwed.


Nice fancy smell-good soaps are an option, but that's not really much. He has clothes, CDs and DVDs we've bought him in years past sit unlistened to and unwatched. He's still awaiting cataract surgery #2, so books are kind of a waste. I can't see buying foodstuffs for a recovering cardiac patient - ditto alcohol. Aside from which, he already has those things.


I did see a kit that is a frog habitat that allows you to mail off for tadpoles, then you raise them, but that seems both juvenile and labor intensive.


He doesn't wear bathrobes, he doesn't need slippers - and his cabin in the mountains is so decked out, nothing sticks out to me there.


I've given Dad two great presents in my lifetime. One was a neon Foster's beer sign featuring a crocodile - the other, we found in the basement of our house 3 years ago this month. We had just moved in, and we were scoping out the basement, which, because we access it from the outside of the house, we have been told is technically a cellar.


We were looking through a set of cupboards which was used back in olden days, I would suspect, as a canning pantry.


We pulled an old bottle out of the cabinet. It had a manufacturers label with a homemade label stuck over most of it, so that all you could see at the end was "ted".


I said to Matt, "Wouldn't it be something if that were a Delited bottle. Delited being the Jams and Jellies (and other condiments) company owned by my great-grandfather, Julius Breyer.


Matt worked on the damn thing for an hour, slowly removing the homemade label, and sure enough - it was a Delited bottle.


We cleaned it up, wrapped it and gave it to Dad. As presents go, it was one of the good ones.


But.


That doesn't help me in the here and now...


Oh well - it'll come to me.



Or I'll have to get him a Cheese and Sausage Sampler from Swiss Colony.


Actually, back in my college days, that was a pretty nice thing to take back to school for late-night snacking.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Peep this, homeslices!

So, I am one present away from taking Laura, Tom and Henry's Christmas package to the nearest Goin' Postal (http://www.goinpostal.com/) a company worth patronizing for their name alone.

That last present is getting picked up on the way home from work.

It still leaves me with Matt, Mom and Dad and of course, any dogs who haven't been too naughty. And the little boy next door, who is just fun to shop for.

Speaking of neighbors - ours that live across and to the left - Matt and Marisa, brought cookies over last night - they were delivering door-to-door to meet the neighbors- I actually rang their bell to meet them on Halloween, so I one-upped them there, but the cookies. Oh. My. God!

One was an almond/pine nut cookie - which sounds weird, but WOW. Of course, I looked it up - the recipe I found requires a pound of almond paste. You really can't go wrong with almond paste.

I actually plan to cook tonight, which is weird - other than Thanksgiving weekend, I haven't cooked in forever. But, you know - we are what we eat, and I can only eat so much garbage.

I took some iron last night and will keep it up through the week to give the Red Cross another shot this weekend. We'll see. I also have big baking plans for the weekend - time to get cracking!

ae

Monday, December 8, 2008

Any questions?

I love e mails that end by directing "any questions" to one person or another. Usually not the sender of the missive.

Especially when you know that what that really means is, "We're done discussing this, and we dare you to have the ovaries to ask any questions."

I've decided to put my ovaries on ice til after the first of the year, then maybe I'll pull them back out and lay them on the table.

Ovaries on Ice! Sounds like something I'd see at the Sommet Center. Featuring Dorothy Hamill or Tara Lipinski. Or, noooo! Tonya Harding!

Hell YEAH. Ovaries on Ice! If you only see one ice spectacular this year - don't MISS the all-new OVARIES... ON... ICE!

Count me in, bitches.

Ah, my kingdom for a pair of testicles!

Honestly, I think I'd benefit from drinking a big tall glass of shutthefuckup and calling it a year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go iron my clothes for tomorrow.

What a fool believes...

In an attempt to lead a happier and balanced life, I think I'm going to try to live more in the moment, stop worrying so much. I'll try to focus on the joy in my life rather than the irritation.

Most importantly, I'll eat better and try to get some damn exercise.

I went to the Y this weekend, only to learn that this is the weekend that they were redoing both "wellness centers" - ie, the rooms with all the machines, weights, etc.

I put in 2 miles on the track, then came home.

Well, actually, before I left, I grabbed a tag off the Y's "Angel Tree" - this is a charity thing they do every year. Kids ask for what they want/need - you pick a kid and get it for them.

So, the first year, we got our angel a coat - really nice - lots of zip out liners, cool pockets - the kind of thing a nine year old boy would like.

Last year, we had an 18 year old girl who wanted a copy of Bob Marley's "Catch a Fire" and a mall gift card. Being a Jamerican as I am, I couldn't resist that request.

This year, I took a look, and found that lots of kids were asking for an XBox. And if I had the funds, I could have done that - but how do you pick which kid deserves an XBox the most? There was a 4 month old baby that wanted toys and needed a crib. That felt like a punch to the gut. I didn't pick that either, because I knew a crib would be an undertaking. Later, Laura suggested we could have gotten a Pack n Play. Oh, well. Sorry cribless baby!

There was an 18 year old girl who wanted a BabyPhat coat. Well, ok. You need a coat. That's a given. But BabyPhat? Sorry, sweetie. When I worked at Macy's, my department was right next to Juniors, and stupid girls would bring over their BabyPhat to try to scam me - they'd take a ticket from some other inexpensive item, then switch tags. I'm square, yes, but not stupid. They never fooled me. I'd always tell them that the ticket wasn't scanning, I'd just go get another of the same item and we could scan it. They were never there when I got back. Also, Kimora Lee Simmons doesn't get any of my money. I've seen her show, and I think she's a kook. And kind of a ho.

I ended up selecting a 12 year old girl who wants a CD/Radio Boombox, and needs socks and shoes. I figured Matt enjoys shopping electronics, and I can take care of socks and shoes at a lot of places. That said, finding a CD/Radio Boombox that isn't a piece of crap isn't as easy as you would think.

So the search continues.

I still don't know what we're getting Mom and Dad for Christmas, either.

Oh, and in a follow-up to songs I hate at Christmas...here are a few I love:

"Santa Baby" - Eartha Kitt

"Feliz Navidad" - Jose Feliciano

"Blue Christmas" - Elvis Presley

"White Christmas" - Bing Crosby

"Sleigh Ride" - The Ronettes

Huh - all 2 word titles...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Naughty/Nice

I wrote my letter to Santa the other night and handed it to Matt, who promised that he'd get it to St. Nick.

I've been fantasizing about the Christmas letter I'd like to put in my cards this year, but as I explained to a colleague today, the phrase "shitbag" probably doesn't belong in Yuletide Greetings. As in, "This year has been something of a shitbag."

Explaining that with Dad sick, etc... the year has been hard. She pointed out that everything was OK now, though.

And she's right. But the thing is, I didn't deal with anything while it was going badly, and it's catching up with me now.

But since most people see it as fixed, and thereby, a non-issue, they're mostly interested in cauterizing the wound whenever I start to kvetch.

Who can blame them? Nobody wants to see months-old agony on display.

Still, I may write that letter and post it here for your amusement, or, so that you can recommend that the doc up my dosage on the meds.

It's funny - speaking of docs - when I was meeting my GP for the first time, he was asking if I was under any stress, and I was trying to give him a sense of the preceeding few months, and about halfway through, he indicated that he got the point. I remember thinking, "Please don't interrupt my narrative - I have worked very hard to develop it."

Clearly, I think highly of my storytelling abilities. Which is good - what is a corporate training session if not a very technical bedtime tale?

Well, mes amis, it's Friday. What does that mean? Well, it means that I'm doing a lot of laundry this weekend, as I again find myself running low on the essentials. Hopefully, it means a trip to the Kroger for basics (which basically means everything), and it for sure means a haircut at 8AM tomorrow.

My salon starts every cut with a scalp massage. That alone is worth the price of admission.

And finally, Mom and Dad have named their new Pug. His name is Rocky, after an old friend of theirs from Jamaica whose real name was Vincent Harriet.

In my mind, though, when I think Rocky, it's in Tim Curry's transvestite growl... 'Rrrrockeh!"

I may have to put some eyeshadow on the dog. At the least - paint some glitter polish on his claws.

Mmmm, festive!

Sorry Santa, I've been nice all year, I gotta throw in a little variety.

Christmas 2008 Update

Good news, everybody! The Toys R Us order, containing the duplicate Infantino Tummy Time Surfboard has been cancelled:





Seriously, though. How adorable!


Oh well, back to the drawing board.


Still, mad props to the R Us folks for helping a sister out.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Shout-Out and a Shout-At

Two sides of the customer service coin:

Ordered my favorite nephew a few things today from ToysRUs.com, only to find out in a convo with Mom that he already has one of them - natch, the nicer of the two items. Laura, if you're reading this, pay no attention, but basically, it was this little play mat shaped like a surfboard (which you already have - excellent taste). Bummer. So even though the order was already in process, I called their Customer Support, and this nice guy offered to try and get it stopped, but assured me that if they couldn't, he'd help me return it in the easiest way possible.

I will be using ToysRUs.com again. And again and again.

Worked late tonight, and so I called Pizza Hut to try and order dinner for Matt - part one, the online site tells me my address doesn't exist, ergo, I cannot place my order online. Curses! Part two, I call the location nearest our house, and in telling the kid who answers the phone about my coupon, he interrupts me, argues about the coupon, then puts me on HOLD and hangs up on me.
I shouted something like, "Oh no you didn't put me on hold then hang up on me you little c**ks**cker!"

At which point, I called Dominos.

I know, I know - I shouldn't even be eating pizza, but Pizza Hut and I are through. For good.

Folks, I work in customer service, and as much as I've wanted to hang up on people who frustrated me, I never have.

Seriously, what is this world coming to!?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday One-Offs

Memo to Lola – seriously, girlfriend – you barf once, you get mentioned in my blog – anything thereafter is just going to piss me off.

Why is it that the Salvation Army Bell Ringer on the TV ads is an attractive middle-aged woman in a uniform, but the one at my Kroger looks like a homeless dude in a trucker’s hat? I’m still going to give him spare change, but…

I suggested that Mom and Dad name their new pug “Trig”. They haven’t gotten back to me on that yet. Hmm.

People at the Post Office – we can see you skulking around the counters trying to look busy – we know you’re not actually working – so go ahead and open up another register so that I can get my Nutcracker Christmas stamps and get going.

Crossing Guard on Thompson – I don’t know how you do it! You weren’t even out there this morning and the traffic was still FUBAR! Nice work, mammajam.

Dudes everywhere – when your significant other asks what you want for Christmas, that’s a cue for you to ask her what she wants for Christmas.

I bought a new shirt to wear to the company Christmas party last night.

I’d love some cute, strappy sandals to seal the deal, but I’m not that into getting a pedicure before then, and let’s face it, my feet are scaly. Plus, I’d only get to enjoy the results for a night, then I’d shove my hooves back into sensible shoes again til March.

I’m getting a haircut on Saturday. The receptionist apologized that only appointment available was at 8AM –hell - for me, that’s ideal. She’s not going to be running behind, and I don’t have to watch her chat up some skinny young client as she dries and styles the chica’s perfect flaxen hair while I contemplate how much we’re going to hack out of my graying bird’s nest. I’m not jealous. Really.

They need to invent a lotion gun. Something like a paint gun, only it heats the lotion before spraying it out onto a person’s desiccated carcass. I also wouldn’t mind a paint roller covered in heated lotion. Basically, I have dry skin, OK? And yes, I do drink lots of water.

The only baby I want daily updates on is my nephew. I don’t know your kid – I think you’re at best only mildly interesting, and your kid is a byproduct of you, so…it’s not that I don’t care, it’s…well, actually – it is that I don’t care. If I’m not asking, I’m not interested. And maybe I’m only asking to be polite, so keep it short.

Panera - can you please open a location near my office? You too, Chick-Fil-A. I’ve eaten more McDonalds, Popeye’s and Krystal than one person should. I need options. Well, really, I need to bring Lean Cuisines, but a girl has to leave the office every now and then to preserve her sanity.

And wouldn’t you know – I was scanning my stations last night on the way home to work – the radio landed on “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

Friggin’ scary ghost stories.

ae

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Early December Rant

It may surprise you to learn that as much as I love Halloween and Thanksgiving, Christmas leaves me a little cold.

Maybe it’s all the years in retail – listening to hours and hours of piped-in music starting in late October. To say nothing of the rude shoppers, would-be kleptos, , the people who ransack the dressing rooms, and the ones who duck in five minutes before the store closes then stay for a half hour, etc.

That’s not to say I hate Christmas entirely. I enjoy the baking, I love the pretty lights and the smell of a live tree. But I can’t stand the fact that traffic goes haywire, or that you can’t get near a shopping center without nearly hitting a wayward pedestrian, and then, there’s the whole absence of sunlight – especially here in the Eastern part of the Central time zone.

But the thing I hate most about Christmas is one special, loathsome song: “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” - made famous by one Andy Williams. Evil, evil Andy Williams. See - doesn't he look creepy?

I remember one Christmas about ten years ago, I was newly dumped, recently unemployed, and generally feeling down about my life. That song came on, as I was driving on the interstate, and I about took a sharp left turn into the retaining wall.

First of all, it’s not necessarily the most wonderful time of the year. It’s cold, it’s damp and dark, and if you’re like most people, you’re worried about money and strapped for time. You’re hoping the gifts you bought are well received, and maybe you’re also hoping that you’re going to get something really awesome. You’re eating all the crap that vendors and fellow employees are putting in the breakroom at the office, and if you mindlessly munch another handful of that bright orange cheese popcorn that comes in the tri-flavor tin, you’re going to plotz (Yiddish for burst or explode). Your clothes are tight, and every place you go is either too hot or too cold. You’ve got chapped lips, dry skin, and hair that just won’t stay put.

Second of all, have you actually listened to the lyrics of this song? There’s a line about “scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago”.

Ok, the tales of glory, fine. But scary ghost stories? What the hell? Gather ‘round, kids – tonight Auntie Allison is going to tell you the one about the elf with a hook instead of a hand! No. Just…no. OK – so admittedly, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” features three ghosts (plus, the ghost of Jacob Marley, so – four ghosts), and they’re probably terrifying to Ebenezer Scrooge, but we’re in on it that he’s a real bastard about to get a come-uppance. So, not scary. Scarier is Tiny Tim hobbling around on his tiny little crutch. Shudder.

In the interest of full disclosure, as a Freshman in High School, I performed a version of said story in the form of a play – “What in the Dickens Happened to Scrooge?” It was fucking great, if you want to know the truth. The fact that we performed it in February is another story altogether, and also reminds me that we knocked down the Christmas tree in the chorus room during rehearsal that year, and I about had a nervous breakdown. It’s funny what you remember. Real funny.

Anyway…

There’s also a point in the song where they rhyme “jingle belling” with “telling”. Precious! But seriously, could they -and by they, I mean Eddie Pola and George Wyle, the writers of this oeuvre- not have come up with something better than “scary ghost stories” to rhyme with “tales of the glories”? Give me five minutes and I’ll give you a few ideas.

I would like to point out that George Wyle was responsible for one of the greatest songs ever – “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle”. I postulated some years back that more people know the words to Gilligan than to our National Anthem. I’m just saying – the man can write a catchy TV theme song.

So, yeah. If you hear that song, and see me coming, quickly turn down the radio. Maybe this is the most wonderful time of the year, but I’m not going to let a 1963 pop song dictate it for me.