Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Talk Abouts/Learn Abouts

I’ve been scrupulous about admitting when I was wrong or I messed up – I’ve decided that in the interest of balance, I’m going to start pointing out when I’m right. Case in point – this morning, a colleague asked me about a call she invited me to – I told her I’d accepted it yesterday. She said her invite didn’t indicate that – so I sent her a screenshot of my invitation showing that I’d accepted it yesterday at 2:52 PM. Extreme? Maybe, but you’re essentially calling me a liar. Again, I’ll own up when I haven’t done something, but I’ll be damned if I don’t get credit for what I did.

My fall calendar is already starting to fill up socially. That’s not a bad thing, either. But I need clothes if I’m going to party like a rock star. Basically, I could use a dress for a wedding/my company’s Christmas gig, and maybe 2 pairs of pants and a few tops. Basically, I have a fullblown case of the wants. However, I need to pay off the mofos at Vanderbilt and Chase.

I’m glad that the new season of How I Met Your Mother is back, but last night’s show, after last week’s excellent season opener felt weak. Even so, I still got a few laughs. Since I went to Zumba, I watched it off the DVR so at least I could dump the ads.

Speaking of Zumba, we’re getting back into a Monday night routine, and that’s a good thing. What’s bad is that last night, my body would NOT cooperate with the moves on one song. Specifically the right side moves – my left side was clumsy but I executed, then when we had to go to the right, my brain just shut down. I wondered if this was what it felt like to have a stroke. I don’t think I’ve had one, I just think it was a rough night in the Zumba studio. Also, the woman in front of me was super intense and all about maximizing her workout, so compared to her, I looked maybe a little amateur, but at least authentic. I’m not saying don’t take the class seriously – just, don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Words to live by.

Other than that, the week seems to be moving along. I can’t believe we’re about to finish out September. I think we all know, I love October, but I’m not in any rush. Of course, who are we kidding – Costco already has Christmas gear out – if I were to pop over to Macy’s at lunch, I bet I’d see that they’re ready for the holidays, too.

Me, I’m ready for a nap, but it will be a few days before that gets back on the agenda. Now that it’s starting to get darker earlier, I need to maximize the daylight.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Roses are red, violets are blue-ish...

So, Sunday night at sundown begins Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It’s a day marked by fasting and prayer, and though I’m not Jewish, I have to say, taking a day to think about your year and the things you could have done differently seems like a good idea.

Thankfully, I’m nearly perfect, and have nothing to atone for.

Just kidding – I have plenty to atone for – mostly to do with angry thoughts, and actions provoked by those thoughts – for example, I flipped off that mean, controlling crossing guard on Thompson Lane nearly every workday this year (thankfully we finally moved offices). It wasn’t overt, but that middle finger came out more often than not. She never noticed. I don’t think it really hurt her, but I should probably atone.

I haven’t taken Lola for enough walks. Furthermore, I have looked at puppies online when I have a perfectly good senior dog at home. Low-grade puppy lust is the bane of my existence. I lusted in my heart – and Lola deserves better.

I should floss more. I should call my sister more often. I should give more to charity. I wish I had spent more time at Zumba. I also wish I had watched more sitcoms. I need to be more active politically – even if I don’t have money, I do have time. Sort of.

I atone for my messy house, my disorganized attic, and my weed-choked garden. I am apologetic for all the times I took a nap when I could have done something constructive. Actually, I’m not sorry for napping, so I am sorry I lied about being contrite for napping, when actually I regret nothing and would take a nap right now if I could.

I am remorseful all the times I thought I was smarter than my co-workers because they used the wrong two/to/too or said something like “alls I’m saying”, “mute point”, or wrote “your welcome” in an e mail. I should realize that being literate is good, but being open-minded toward people who haven’t mastered their native language is better.

I am sorry for all the times I gossiped, and sorry for all the times I missed out on hearing good gossip, which I would have felt bad for spreading, had I heard it.

I am sorry for all the mean and hateful thoughts I have had toward my colleague who cannot seem to show up to work or come back from lunch in a timely fashion. I should show compassion for her blatantly rude and selfish behavior – and barring compassion, I should at least confront her when she parks in the 30 minute visitor spot, rather than plotting to leave a fake parking warning on her car.

Please forgive me for my debts, Chase Bank and Vanderbilt Hospital. I’ll get you your money eventually, and please know that your checks are in the mail (not really, but they will be once I get paid). But seriously - $570 for an ER visit for an abscessed tonsil? Let’s hope that Vanderbilt does some atoning of its own.

I am sorry for anyone in the service industry in this past year that I may have snapped at due to their lax attitude or general inability to serve me in a manner which I found acceptable. I’m not saying you didn’t have it coming, but I should have let it slide. Mea culpa.

My deepest regrets to Las Paletas, the Nashville Sounds, and the Chattanooga Lookouts – I let this summer pass me by without enjoying you nearly enough. I promise to indulge more often next year.

To my hairdresser – I am sorry I am defecting to a different stylist at the same salon this weekend, but I think you find me boring and have given up on me creatively, and also, you smell like your recent smoke break every time we meet. While it’s true that I have many requests and limitations that make me a pain in the ass, I still want to look as good as the next girl.

I wish I’d gotten to the mountains more. And swam in the waterfall more, and of course I feel bad that we killed that rattlesnake.

For every time I uttered a PG-13 (or worse) phrase, for all the times I complained, or rolled my eyes, I ask forgiveness. For the times I procrastinated, lollygagged, shirked and goldbricked, I am sorry.

I should have eaten less candy, saved more money, lost more weight and put on lipstick more often. I should have been more patient, more confident, and more forgiving. I should have been less anxious, less critical and less agitated. I probably could have argued less and listened more.

But other than that, I'd say it was a pretty good year.

Whew – I feel better.

Now, who wants brisket?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Physics and Psychology

I had a really great training class today, the clients were in-house, so all of my hand gestures became relevant, I regaled them with my best stories and recommended a few restaurants downtown. It was great. It was a job-affirming experience. And then I got back to my desk and found an e mail explaining that a case I (and several others, to be fair) handled in a less than exemplary way is now going to be trotted out as a learning experience for myself, and two colleagues.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It’s pure science. It’s also purely crummy.

I know we all can learn from my mistake, but I’d enjoy learning from someone else’s mistakes every now and again. The fact is, and my boss admits it – a lot of our customer’s complaints were things we had no control over – but we’re going address the parts we can control and come away better people.

So. Great.

Tonight should be pretty laid back at the house. I don’t have a late shift, I don’t have to rush to Zumba. I also need to figure out something for dinner. I would sell my soul for some nice grandmotherly lady to drop a hot casserole off at my doorstep – I could pull together a salad, call it a night.

Days like this make me seriously wonder where I veered off course. I should be performing SRO* at comedy clubs all over the country, or on the NYT best-sellers list, or, or…well, NOT worried about a cranky woman in California ruining my professional reputation. Ruining it to people who ultimately don’t know that in theory, I’m funny enough to perform stand-up, or smart enough to be an author.

I went to my doctor yesterday so he could check my blood pressure, which was fine. I asked him a few questions about the tonsillectomy, and he started talking about learning to accept a “new normal”. I feel like I mastered that skill last year after Dad’s heart surgery. What I really want to know is, when will I enjoy chocolate again, and can it please be soon, because the holidays are fast approaching. He also suggested that I use this time to reexamine my relationship with food. Since he’s the man with the prescription pad, I didn’t roll my eyes, nodded pleasantly, and left with the magic scrips clutched in my fat little fist.

If you hadn’t noticed, my mood is a little petulant.

Also, I’ve decided that the phrase, “It is what it is”, is merely shorthand for, “This is shitty but we can’t admit it outright”.

I know, I know – I need to adjust my attitude.

And my bra straps.

Now where is that casserole?

* SRO = Standing Room Only - that's showbiz talk.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We gather together.

All things said and done, it was a good weekend – my first two day weekend in as many weeks, and it felt very short.

I went yesterday to pick up my jelly and ribbon at the fair, and the guy right next to me is picking up a ton of different jars. I look at his claim slip, and the name definitely rings a bell. A BIG bell. And so I asked him, “Why no pepper jelly this year?”

That’s right folks, I was talking with the great Ben Englehart – winner of last year’s pepper jelly. He remembered me from last year as having that “speckled jar” of jelly – and told me that last year was his first year entering the State Fair. He also assured me that the Chambers family could not live forever – and that they all live on the same road and they travel from fair to fair entering their goods – all of which are made by a single elder member of the family. He actually said that. He further went on to explain that he and “his girl” both enter, but if she does pickle chips, he does spears – so it’s clear they aren’t cheaters. You read that right – Ben thinks they’re cheaters.

I was glad to talk with Ben – as we all know, I’ve never met a stranger (thanks to Dad for that trait), and he was so nice. He’s one of those guys who is kind of ageless – he could be 35 or 50 – but he looks healthy, sunburned and happy. Anyway, I got my jelly – he got his chili sauce, soup mix, pickles, pickled peppers, etc. – and plenty of ribbons to boot.

The bad news is that the city of Nashville has told the powers that be that they cannot use the fairgrounds next year – that Davidson County will not be sponsoring a State Fair.

What this means, I know not. Am I worried? Yes, yes I am.

But, if this was my swansong, I’ll take it – I went over to Michael’s after the jelly was securely placed in my car, where I bought some scrapbook paper and a frame to mount the ribbon. While there, I noticed aisle after aisle of Halloween decorations, crafts, objets d’art, gewgaws, and assorted crapola. What I didn’t see was much Thanksgiving gear. In the magazine display at Kroger, there are at least a dozen Halloween magazines, already a few Christmas titles, and once again – nothing for Thanksgiving.

It’s disheartening. I am once again hosting the big family Thanksgiving here in Nashville – and let’s face it – certain members of my family are a little rigid as to menu choices, deviations from tradition, etc.

And sure, I have my quirks and preferences. No celery in the dressing, Durkee’s sauce on hand for sandwiches – and for that matter, plenty of soft, nutritionless white bread for turkey/Durkee’s/cranberry sauce sandwiches. Pickled peaches – even though I don’t even like them.

It’s just, I want to come up with something really amazing this year. And I feel stuck…aaaand I don’t want to spend a lot of money.

I ran across an old notebook from a Thanksgiving past, and it had the lists, the menus and all the artifacts I would need to replicate the same dinner as I did in either 2006, 2007 or 2008. Where’s the novelty, though?

One day this week, just for fun, I may peruse the fabric store for inspiration!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Meditations on a Thursday

- I just ate a fun-size 3 Musketeer. It tasted like nothing. I know it was sweet though, because it made my teeth hurt. I’ve decided that my best bet is to eat grits and Lunchables until my sense of taste is restored, because they taste quasi-normal, and they’re accessible. Sodium? Who worries about such things?

- I find that I have two prevailing moods at the moment – mad and sad. Neither one is preferable to the other, but if I had to choose, at least sad doesn’t make me want to punch people. I’m not a violent person – to the contrary, I’m pretty easy going – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the capacity to want to kick someone in the shins.

- I’ve really been missing my parents’ pugs since my visit last weekend. I can’t explain it, except to say that their little velvety snouts burrowing into me was pure comfort, and when a person can’t taste much of anything and feels mostly mad and sad, a little snout digging into your leg is better than the highest dose of whatever the drug companies are peddling as the miracle cure these days.

- I have a little road trip today. A client wants a warm body in their office this afternoon, and I’ve been drafted, which is to say, shanghaied. If it weren’t raining, and it weren’t a 2 hour drive, and it weren’t a boondoggle of the highest order, I might be more amenable. As it is, I’ll just plug into NPR, JACK-FM and maybe my CDs and just pretend I’m going somewhere fun, like, say – the dentist. And since I’ve been feeling mad and sad, I’ll use the drive home to sort through that debris, and see what I can do to dilute the angst. I would use the drive down there for the same goal, but I find that self-analysis often makes my mascara run.

- Zumba tonight – I need to get back in that habit, because it’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re struggling to grapevine across the studio without getting run over by that skinny young thing to your left. Plus, it’s good for me, it releases alleged endorphins, etc. After Zumba, Project Runway. Which is also good for my mental health, since it’s an appropriate place to express outrage. Over fashion, sure, but outrage is outrage – it’s transferrable.

- Enough with the crazy dreams! What I wouldn’t give for a full night of sleep without trying to catch planes, find elevators, clean up piles of dog poop, prevent office uprisings, take tests in high school, play bartender and have a babies. I wake up exhausted. I seem to remember once getting some sort of holistic walnut essential to put in my water and Lola’s to ease anxiety. But alas, the Phoenix and Dragon is no longer across the street, and I wouldn’t know where in Nashville to buy healing potions, totemistic colorful stones and readings to divine my future. What I probably need to do is buy some new pillows, wash the bedding and devote more time to winding down at night.

So, in closing – make it a great day!

Uh, yeah.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Press Release from a Frustrated Writer

Persistent and Consistent, Jelly Maker Walks Away with Second Third

Nashville, TN – September 15, 2009

Nashville resident, woman-about-town and maven of all things capsaicin, Allison Breyer Everett, has placed 3rd in the Tennessee State Fair with her Pepper Jelly for the second year in a row. And though she did not move up in her placing this year, she held steady despite an increase in competition.

While last year, Everett placed 3rd of 6, this year, she arrived at the Agriculture Exhibit to find that she had beat out seven other competitors to place 3rd of 10.

Buoyed by two years of modest success, Everett is considering branching out to enter more categories for the 2010 Fair.

“I’ve looked at the winners’ list from 2008, and what you start to see is that there are maybe a handful of people who win over and over again. The two people that placed ahead of me this year (N. Chambers and O. Chambers, both sharing a last name and both suspiciously of Cumberland Furnace, TN) have wins in multiple categories. I could just as easily pickle peppers with some of my surplus crops, and that may increase my chances of winning.”

This year’s win was not without obstacles. Everett’s first batch of jelly, made in early August, failed to set properly. The following week, she was temporarily sidelined while recovering from surgery in which both her tonsils and adenoids were removed. Though the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak, and during her recuperation period, Allison Everett’s only jelly-related activity was to purchase cheesecloth for straining her peppers on a second attempt.

When Allison was finally strong enough to produce her second batch, she carefully strained the excess moisture from her fruit, doubled her usual amount of pectin and emerged victorious. Everett was elated. Last week, while taking her wares to the fairgrounds, she was surprised to see nearly double the number of competitors and her elation turned to apprehension.

Everett arrived at the Agriculture building yesterday to quickly review the standings, and was delighted to see that she had prevailed.

“I’m glad”, she said of her win. “I was kind of emotional, and I know I was crying at the exhibit, but those were tears of joy. Well, joy and fatigue and maybe I was missing my parents' pugs a little.”

Allison will return to the fairground over the weekend with her husband for official photographs and to claim her jelly and ribbon. The monetary prize $12, will arrive by mid October. Everett plans to use the money to fund part of her Thanksgiving celebration.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This may surprise you...

So, I watched President Obama's address last night, and if you did too, then we both heard someone yell out "YOU LIE!!" when Obama indicated that illegal immigrants would not be covered in his plan.

The old yeller turned out to be Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina. He immediately issued an apology, and the members of his party were quick to distance themselves from his behavior.

And you know what, I think we can let it go. The guy knows he screwed up, he apologized and the damage is done. Do we really need to run it into the ground?

Here's what I think. I would much rather have listened to his quick, impassioned outburst than watched his colleagues play with their Blackberries, hold up sheafs of paper and roll their eyes. Give me aggressive over passive aggressive any day.

The guy let his emotions get the better of him. I hate that for him. Who hasn't blurted out something at an inappropriate time or in the wrong place? It happens. And while part of me would love to engage in the schadenfreude and beat the guy down, I actually appreciate that while his timing was shitty, and while I don't agree with the guy - hell, at least he believes in something strongly enough to have an opinion on it.

So I'm going to let it go, and hope that if (or let's be honest, WHEN) I commit a verbal faux pas, people won't hold an interminable grudge.

That's my plan.

Weird, huh?

Rather than spin my wheels on Joe Wilson, I wrote my congressman and Senators urging them to back President Obama's plan. Which is really spinning my wheels as far as Corker and Alexander are involved. Sheesh!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random Thoughts for a Tuesday:

Confidential to: People in my Zumba Class – it’s not that serious. I promise. I know you think maybe the people who are casting for Fame are lurking in the room, but really – it’s just a bunch of sweaty ladies just like you – and those of us who can’t jiggle our butts in triple time like you aren’t so much jealous as we are laughing on the inside about how needlessly serious you are. Lighten up. It’s Zumba!

The only birds I see around our new office building are crows and buzzards. Circling. I don’t know what this means, but it is a little weird. I also kind of like it because it’s proof that maybe the airport area was a little creepy, but the scariest bird I ever saw there was a starling. And I love starlings. They’re so freckly and industrious and friendly.

My impaired sense of taste has a name – it’s called dysgeusia. It is probably temporary, and eventually, I’ll get to where cookies taste like something again. Although, given what the scale told me this morning, perhaps this dysgeusia can hang for a bit. Also, yawning doesn’t hurt anymore. Sneezing…still weird.

I need to buy my nephew a present - I wonder if Katy K’s would have anything that his parents might actually let him wear.

I also need a big pile of money – if you see one, let me know. I’ll cut you a share.

Avanti Press makes the best greeting cards ever – if you like animals in kooky outfits and silly backgrounds. If you do: http://www.avantipress.com. If not, well, whatever, man.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Let me cut to the chase...

Ok, here's the deal. President Obama wants to go on TV and tell our young people to study, stay in school and dream big.

And people are losing their fucking minds over this.

I had to listen to a lot of shit in my school days, and my parents never pulled me out because it wasn't exactly what they believed.

Instead, I learned the valuable skills of politely disagreeing, asking thoughtful questions, and occasionally, keeping my mouth shut and not changing my point of view. All have been helpful in functioning as an adult in the real world, where not everyone believes exactly what I do.

If you think letting your kid hear Obama speak is going to screw her for life, it doesn't speak well for the job you're doing as a parent. Yeah, I'm talking to you, asshole.

And if you pull your kid out of class that day, great - your kid is going to be one day stupider than the rest of his class - I hope they teach fractions, cursive and give the menstruation talk that day and your kid misses all of it. All because you are a mouth-breathing fucktard.

Now, sit down, shut the fuck up and move on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Verbosity

My mood has improved drastically in the past 48 hours - in that, specifically, I’m feeling feisty.

This may sound like a problem, but I love being feisty. It’s proof that I’m really alive. And it’s not about being mean – it’s about being alert and aware of things that are ridiculous and pointing them out and or secretly rejoicing in them.

I haven’t felt feisty since pre-surgery last month, and it’s good to be back!

I got an e mail from a customer today thanking me for the training session I gave them this week – that feels good. Even with diminished pipes, I can still deliver the goods.

To that end, it feels like my last remaining scar tissue is attempting to shed (or molt, or slough, or exfoliate) and it’s a weird, narsty (which is one step above nasty) feeling, and I’m ready for it to end. As for pain, the left side hurts when I swallow, and sneezing and yawning are still just completely horrendous all the way around. And I mean ridiculously painful.

That said, tonight is Zumba with Lorenza. Not my favorite instructor, but a workout is a workout. After that, we have Project Runway. I’m going to attempt a nap before Zumba so I don’t doze off before Nina Garcia says something snarky about the couture du jour. Nina Garcia is totally feisty. She would probably cringe if she had to critique my fashion sense. Michael Kors, however lovely his clothes may be, can suck it.

Excellent news! My pepper jelly jelled, and I am ready to enter the Tennessee State Fair and with any luck, bring home a ribbon. It’s very pretty, and I am proud of it. I am going to miss the first weekend of the fair, being in Atlanta, and that’s frustrating, but – I’ll be glad to visit with Mom and Dad, and see Laura and Henry, albeit briefly.

If only I had a ton of money to go with all my travel plans. I want to pick up a little something for Henry – something very typically Nashville. Don’t know what that is, but I’ll get there. Is he too young for Goo Goo Clusters? A mandolin? Hmm.

We’re working on plans for the long weekend, and I’m hoping to do a little triage on the closets and chiffarobes. We’re also planning to have friends over at some point. I can’t wait.

At the moment, though – my primary goal is sleep. I had to get to work by 7 AM today, and even with an early bedtime, I still feel a day late and a dollar short as far as sleep is concerned.

So that’s the ramblings from this end…

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shalom, September!

Ok, so last night, I attempted Zumba with our new Gal Monday, Jessica. She's fun, has a few songs and moves similar to Cacilda, and I think I'll enjoy her brand of working out.

I will say, it about killed me, but I did it, and that's what counts.

Tonight, we have jelly redux, and Lola gets a bath.

And then, I'm going to sleep the sleep of a happy jelly-maker with a clean dog.

Keep it real, yo.