Monday, December 29, 2014

Shooting the Bull...et Points

A little something .you should know...I'm updating my resume.

I don't have any plans, yet.  But...

It never hurts to have it ready.

Here are some skills I wish I could highlight:

- Consummate BS Artist

- Ready to Karaoke, No Alcohol Required

- Know the layout of the Southwest Terminal at Houston Hobby by heart

- Hilarious, only occasionally inappropriate

- Know a John Hancock from a John Thomas, will work with either

- Have all the right junk in all the right places (thanks Megan Trainor)

- Extremely competitive in costume contests

- Can eat more than you would think



- Can pronounce anything on a foreign language menu with confidence

- Never been arrested

- Have Alice's Restaurant memorized

- Excellent crisis management skills unless bodily fluids are involved

- Can follow hockey and speak intelligently about it

- Look amazing in bright colors, will not wear polo shirts with company logo

- Cool under pressure - once drove in Times Square, NYC

- Able to accept whatever rental car Hertz offers with humor and good grace

- Vaccines for Hep A and B recently completed, Tetanus good through 2016.

- Not afraid to express unpopular opinions

- Sexy and I Know It (Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah!)



- Make excellent jelly, which you may or may not be ready for

- Will probably lowball self in salary negotiations

- Fresh citrusy scent

- Kept same philodendron alive for nearly 2 decades (and counting)

- Once met Lily Tomlin - she said I looked like I had promise.  I was eleven.  I think she was correct.

- I make killer meatloaf

- If I don't get the job, I can find out where you live

- I never burn microwave popcorn

- I will not heat up smelly food in the break room, nor will I eat it at my desk

- Known to bring Krispy Kreme sporadically

- Survivor of Pilomatrical Carcinoma, hardly ever mention it but will show you my bald spot upon request

- Nearly complete with the grieving process of my dog and father

- Never cry at my desk - bathroom stall or car at lunch break only

- Am not now, nor have ever been member of communist party

- Won't complain about office temperature, will keep a fan at my desk

Who wants me?

Come on!!

ae

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Heading to the end...

We got back from Atlanta this afternoon.

Christmas break was solid.  I enjoyed spending time with Mom and Matt.

We ate.  We ate a lot.  I need to not eat like that any more.

And I got a new Kindle, some new navy Converse low tops, some nice lotion, pajamas. All excellent.

Tomorrow, I head back to work and finish out the year.

I don't really have much to say, if you can believe it.

ae

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Visions of Sugarplums

It's Christmas Eve.  Mom and Matt are watching The Sting with the pugs, and I'm blogging.

Today we ate a big lunch at Lazaro's, the local Cuban place.  It was extremely delicious, and it was garlic laden.

We came home and napped.  I kept feeling panicky and woke up with my heart pounding a few times.  Finally, I got up.

Tomorrow we're going to the movies - Birdman, after some debate.  We felt that Unbroken and the new one with Benedict Cumberbatch were too WWII torturey/sad.

And then after that, Chinese food.

I'm just exhausted.  And weepy, and crazy.

So you know.  Merry, merry.

ae

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Crick...

I somehow messed up my neck and shoulder - the same one that has a perpetual knot.  If I were a fabulously rich woman, I'd go get it unknotted at the massage therapist tomorrow.

That's right, people - I have tomorrow off!  Now, in that time, I have to get some things done - like, put away the mountain of laundry currently residing on our dining room table.

And I have a few presents to wrap.  And some to buy.

And I was thinking, maybe a manicure with one of my birthday giftcards.

Why not?

We spent the weekend down with Matt's family.  Always, always a pleasure.  His Aunt and Uncle need to write a book. They have so many interesting stories.

One quick, cute little anecdote - she once lured him to the movies with a promise of seeing a Clint Eastwood film.

Of course, the movie was Bridges of Madison County, so he felt a little gypped.  It makes me laugh.

Meanwhile, I'm two nights short of Diamond Membership at Hilton.  Damn! It doesn't really matter, except that it sucks a little.

We ended up getting a room downtown for New Years Eve with some hotel points.  I'm pretty stoked about it.

I'm trying to encourage my other Nashvillagers to meet us down there - I was at a cocktail party Friday night, talking it up.

It feels weird to say "at a cocktail party".  Sure, I'm 40.  But I feel like I'm perpetually 17.

But that's it for now, I suppose.

To all, a good night.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What, what?

So, I wrote a letter to Slate.com- they were soliciting suggestions for what to read/watch/listen to after the end of the Serial Podcast ends.

I had forgotten about it until this morning, when I found...

THIS

I'll spare you reading the whole thing, and cut to the paragraph where I'm quoted.

Homicide: Life on the Streets

We mentioned The Wire on the Spoiler Special, but a listener named Allison suggested an earlier TV series loosely based on David Simon’s first book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. “It’s not hard to imagine this exact crime,” Allison writes, “as a basis for one of the episodes.” She continues: “The Baltimore and criminal procedure elements are obviously similar, but what strikes me even more is how the same story looked at from different angles yields different perceptions. Within the confines of a single episode, you decide that Lt. Frank Pembleton is a jerk, a saint, inflexible, malleable, clever, dogmatic. Nobody is spared this treatment—everyone is under scrutiny.  And while there are a few tired stereotypes, the truth is always complicated and messy. Sound familiar?”


Holy shit, people.  Why, again, am I not getting paid to write?

I mean, they quoted a huge chunk of Allisonality.

In 2015, look for me.  I want to make some money for this.

ae

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ooh - lighten up!

I posted this on Facebook and had second thoughts and pulled it off.

Because I know lots of people actually love Christmas and not just in a secular way.

Here's the picture.



Basically, I relabeled all the suggested activities with more realistic ones.


Pass Out Candy Canes
Leave Santa Eat Milk and Cookies
Go Skating Fuck Yourself
Put Up Wear Stockings
Make Hot Cocoa Love
Watch Wrap Presents Video

I amuse the hell out of myself.


Ho, ho, ho, y'all.

Loveyoumeanit.

ae

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meh.

So, I'm in Raleigh, which is a lovely town.  I am not feeling great.  Kind of belchy, cranky... the usual.

I'm here for a customer I genuinely love, but I'm worn out.  I don't have any spark left.


I keep coming back to this, possibly the most hilarious/sad/true/clever ads on TV:


As you know, Weight Watchers and I go way, way back.  To when I was ten or eleven, and I attempted it for a few days, under the supervision of my parents - back in the days of exchanges.  I remember going to a pizza party and we tried to figure out how many starch and fat and dairy exchanges would be in a slice of pizza.  Who knows?  Eventually, I hit a growth spurt and evened out.

Well I took issue with the ad above, even though it's dead on and hilarious, because in the past, I felt that Weight Watchers did a bad job with the emotional stuff behind overeating.

But guess what - they now offer 1:1 Counseling - via phone/e mail.  It costs.  Oh, does it cost.  But.

I might try it anyway.

Because if it means not eating six Oreos when I'm sitting in a Hampton in Raleigh feeling melancholy, it might be worth it.

Let's face it, I can't count on another growth spurt.

ae

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Eyes Have It

I spent the weekend with Mom, who had a cataract removed from her left eye - the next day at post-op, she had gone from 20/400 to 20/40.  I'd say it was well worth it.

After that we went to Maison Robert, a chocolatier in Atlanta, where we bought a few little things for Christmas.  And then, we went to Perimeter Mall, where I used to work, because apparently we thought it would be fun to spend time fighting crowds in overheated department stores.

The capstone of the evening was Saturday, when I made Mom a huge tuna casserole.  We both love it, Matt hates it - so I got to enjoy something that's usually not a dinner option.  It was awesome.  The secret is to use more cheese than you should.

Anyway, this morning, I came back to Nashville, and now I'm packing for my last trip of the year.  I'm pretty excited about it, to be honest.  I like the customer, it's a good location, and it's MY LAST TRIP OF THE YEAR.  I mean, kaboom!

And then it's home, bake, work, craft, wrap, party, travel, party, travel, work, laundry, wrap, pack, travel, party, party, travel...

You get the idea.

I'm in a good place.  I just need to get through this week, and the rest of the year takes care of itself.

Oh, holy...night.

ae

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Different is good.

So, this year, for Christmas Eve, we're doing something a little different...

I learned that a Cuban place that Mom loves is open on Christmas Eve.  So we're having a late lunch, and in the evening, we'll have some snacky things on hand, maybe some champagne.

It sounded good to me.  So I talked to Mom and Matt, and they're on board.

I made reservations.

I kind of think once I get through my last trip of the year - to a customer I absolutely adore, incidentally, in a city I like - then I'll be ready to think about Christmas.

I'm... guardedly optimistic. 

Of course, after the quick respite that is the holiday season, I go back to work, and I have basically a month to learn a new product.

So.  Hopefully from the 19th on, it's a lazy time.   I just booked us a room downtown for New Year's Eve.  Hilton Points!!!  Yeah, we're a quick drive to downtown, but now we don't have to drive, and we can chill out in the room and head out when we want to.  It made sense.

And I can always cancel.

But maybe I won't.

Different.  Is.  Good.

ae


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

O Yeah!

I think I've probably made it clear in past posts - I'm a loyal, liberal democrat.

And although I don't think President Obama has been perfect, I think he's been pretty damn good.  And he had a lot of shit to clean up.

Well, he was here in Nashville today, which is super exciting - he went to a Hispanic neighborhood to talk about immigration.  And then he headed to the airport.

But on the way, he made a stop for dinner.

At my FAVORITE place to get Mexican.  And honestly, one of the best places in all of Nashville.

La Hacienda.



For reals - I have been eating there since Matt and I started dating.  We'd go there before I left on Sunday afternoon.

We love it there.

And apparently, so does Barry O.

He helped clean up a soft drink that got spilled:



He ordered 5 steak tacos, 5 flautas and some chips and guac.  He paid cash, hugged the owner, talked with the kitchen staff and talked to patrons...


So, say what you will - the man knows good Mexican when he sees it, and he's a hugger.

And I like that.

Monday, December 8, 2014

North Pole Vaulting

Dear Santa,

I suppose it's up to you to determine which list I end on this year, and I suppose you could make an argument for either.

Personally, I think I've been more nice than anything.  But you know, again, up to you.

Assuming I have been nice, I'd like to ask for a few things for Christmas.

1.  Botox.  I'd love to make the "eleven lines" disappear.  I also wouldn't mind some mole removal.   Basically, a little refresh of the old face.

2. A beach vacation.  Yes.  That would work wonders for my disposition.

3. A hair sherpa.  I need someone to guide me through this awkward time and convince me not to cut it all off, which I would regret immediately.  Let my sherpa bring a gift basket of great hair products too.

4. Boot camp.  What I need is someone to beat my ass in a big way.

5. A personal grocery shopper.  Have them leave some recipes, too.

6. A puppy.  Yeah, I know - I'm traveling too much, but look at Little Bill.  Literally, that's his name:



He's 8.  There's tons of babies out there who need a little love.

I need a dog in my life.

I think really, if we looked at this, we could say I either need a lot more money, to have these things taken care of  - OR - I need a LOT more time to do things myself.  Other than the mole removal/botox.

Some things don't lend themselves to DIY.

Santa, I'm flexible, but seriously, I think it's been tough year - a nice Christmas would set the tone for a very happy new year!

Best regards,
Allison

PS - I am fully prepared to leave cookies.  LMK.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Christmas Letter I'd Like to Send...

Dear Friends,

What an amazing year!  Things with Highway 65 are really heating up - Juliette, Sadie and I are just killing it - it's the year of the woman! I cleaned up at the CMAs, my girls are just  the light of my life, and Luke and I are so excited about our upcoming wedding and honeymoon tour.  Since coming out of a medically induced coma, life has been my personal bowl of cherries.

Wait, shit - that's not me, that's Rayna James - played by the brilliant and lovely Connie Britton on the ABC show, Nashville.

You can obviously see why I was confused, though.

Nope, that is so not me.  You should totally check it out, though - super fun show. 

Anyhoodles,  I'm not Rayna, or Connie, though I am told she (Connie, not her character, Rayna) is often seeing quaffing coffee at our neighborhood coffee shop, Frothy Monkey. I've never seen her as  I don't drink much java, myself.  In fact, I can't recall a celebrity sighting of my own since Porter Wagoner downtown a bajillion years ago.  And he's dead, so...

Enough celeb talk!  Onto me, a celebrity in my own mind.

This year has had two themes, grief and travel.  Neither of them are especially interesting themes, and grief is so not Christmasy, so I'll focus on the travel.

It's been a big year for hitting the road for work.  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas - I hit all the A states this year.  And toward the end of the alphabet, Wisconsin.  And plenty in between.

My suitcases are damaged and full of tiny soaps.  My liver is a little damaged and filled with tiny fatty deposits.

I guess that we could say that a sub-theme of my time on the road was geographical gastronomy.

Why is it, dear friends, that they decide to bring in barbecue to every training session?  Here's a great idea, folks - let's fill people full of beans, and slaw and greasy meat and throw them in an enclosed, probably overheated room.  And we have to overheat the room because the poor, delicate, wispy ladies will sit there in full on Snuggies looking so miserable and blue.  Ladies, my advice -quit picking at the barbecue, put on a protective layer of fat and let's turn the A/C down to a tolerable 68.

I've eaten barbecue in Arizona, sushi in Oklahoma, and stuffed dates in Alaska.  Always an adventure!

Speaking of adventure,  Matt and I both turned 40 this year.  I've taken up recreational sleep apnea, and Matt has taken up earplugs.  They won't give me a damn CPAP machine, but instead want me to focus on losing weight.  And yet, I keep hearing the siren call of that damn Oklahoma sushi!

For Matt's 40th, we went whitewater rafting with some pals, and I got a huge bruise on my ass.

For my 40th, I had a party here at the house and got some giftcards for pedicures.  My people, they know me.

On the puppy front, no news is no news.  Another year without Lola, and I miss her.  There's something about dogs that just make it feel more like Christmas.  I also don't feel it's Christmas until I've been to the liquor store, though, so - perhaps my judgment is a little flawed.  That said, I don't believe we'll be hearing the pitter-patter of paws any time soon.  Unless I get a small one that I can travel with, and put an emotional support vest on.  Did you know you can just buy those fucking things and you don't have to provide any proof or documentation?  It's true.

Perhaps by this time next year I'll be traveling less, and I'll be thinner, happier and healthier.  And I'll be able to include a picture of the newest member of our family, Skittles, or Maybelle or - whatever.  

Until then, deck the halls with lots of Matzo (war on Christmas my ass).

Love,
Allison



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Travel Razors



In May 2002, I was driving to Charlotte to visit Matt – he lived there from April-July of that year.  It sucked, and we rarely speak of that dark, dark time.

I mean, nothing sinister happened, except that the day I met him there to help him move, a guy at my office had gotten fired for sending out a harassing e mail about me.  Like I said, dark time.  Let’s let that be it.

Anyway, I was en route to Charlotte, and I ended up getting an NPR station on the radio – I tuned in while this guy was talking about being born into an Italian family, and how he was darker skinned than any of his brothers, and his family attributed that to his Sicilian heritage.  Meanwhile, they flashback to his mother, who in High School worked with a group of classmates on helping integrate, and she fell in love with a black student on her committee.  So, she, a nice Italian girl, is dating both her long-standing Italian boyfriend, and the other guy, and she becomes pregnant.  She breaks it off with black guy, but… as it turns out, he was the father.  But the Italian family doesn’t know about him, so for years, they assume that this kid just got the Sicilian genes.  The kid buys into it for years – even though, in school, his black playmates question him about how he has two white parents.

Finally one night, when he’s in college, he gets drunk and confronts his mother in a phone call, and she admits, yeah, your Dad is a black dude I dated in High School – she’s divorced from the Italian “father” now – so that statute of limitations is long played out.

And the guy feels this enormous sense of relief.

Obviously, I’m not telling the story that well.

But I was hooked on what I was listening to.

Turns out, what I was listening to was This American Life.

If you’re an NPR junkie like me, then you have heard of this gem.  If not, look up  http://www.thisamericanlife.org/  and pick any episode that looks interesting.  I’ve never heard one that sucks, though the one about prisoners performing Shakespeare was amazing.  As was the aforementioned piece, from an episode entitled Family Physics.  The segment about the black/Sicilian kid is called “Occam’s Razor”.  I’m coming back to that – it’s important.

So, a few weeks ago, I read something, somewhere (probably on Slate.com), about a spinoff show they were doing as a podcast.  I basically filed it away vaguely in my gray matter, where it gathered dust until last Tuesday.  I was at a birthday dinner for a friend, and a guy I know only slightly started telling us about this thing called the Serial Podcast that he’d been listening to.  This his boyfriend came over and extolled the virtues of it as well.

I decided I’d download it and Matt and I could listen to it on our trip to Atlanta.

And that’s kind of what we did.  Matt dozed through parts of it, but by the time we hit my mother’s house, I was stone-cold hooked.

I listened to another episode before bed, and then finished them up on Thanksgiving day.

And then, on the flight to California, I listened again to a few of them. 

I’m hooked.

The story for this, the first season, is about a kid in Baltimore accused of killing his ex-girlfriend.  He was sentenced to life in prison in what appears to be a very thin case. 

The journalist telling the story was contacted by a friend of this kid saying, “What do you think”?

And for nine weeks, the journalist has picked apart every shred of evidence she can get to answer that question.  And in every episode, sometimes multiple times within the episode, I change my mind as to who did what to whom, when – it’s like the best episodes of Homicide,  The Wire and Dateline: Investigations that you will ever, ever hear.  And because it’s all audio, you get to fill in the visual blanks in your mind.

And as it turns out, I’m not the only obsessed Serial Podcast fan out there – although, I’m certainly late to the party.  There are going to be 12 episodes, and I joined at Week 9.   The next episode drops on Thursday, and I am counting the hours.

Anyway, it’s amazeballs, check it out.

Why am I telling you about this?  Well, it’s kind of a roundabout way of getting to my point.

The point is that, in this show, there’s an explanation of how the crime went down, and it’s flimsy, maybe – but not out of the realm of possible, so… OK, is this a case of Occam’s Razor, where the simplest explanation is the most likely?

And now that I’ve asked that, let’s apply the question to a real live issue.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m onsite with a customer – I also mentioned that I was definitely faking my system knowledge… well, they kind of copped on to that.  I got pulled into a meeting with their COO at 5PM where he basically said that their office manager had concerns about my mad skills, and I admitted they weren’t that mad.

It was awkward,  but to my credit, I managed to fake it for one whole day, and in the interim, I have learned some things.

Like where to get a sandwich for lunch quickly.

You can’t put a pricetag on these things.

Anyway.  They’re having trouble with a process, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what they’re doing wrong.

I have theories.  It’s either happening when they add the appointment, or it is a bad configuration.  It’s one of the two and I suspect the first one.

They, on the other hand, think it’s a glitch in the software.

So their Occam’s Razor and mine are different.  It’s easiest for me to blame them, easiest for them to blame me, or at least the software I’m repping.

I will say this.  Everyone has been exceptionally nice.  I cannot complain about being mistreated – although, one might argue that feeling that I needed to sneak out to get a sandwich smacks of either mistreatment or paranoia.  Maybe both.

That's what my day has been like... you?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Exhaustipated

So, I'm in Awkwardtown.  Population, Me.

I am spending my week working with a customer.  They are all as nice as they can be, but they have a perception of me that does not match my reality.

They think I'm an expert on a product that I barely know, and have never trained.

I'm all about "fake it til you make it", but this is just... not good.  Not at all good.

I'm managing to not look like a total idiot, so far, but I'm tired, and it's only 10:40 AM.  The clinic doesn't close for the day til 5:30.  So, seven more hours, basically, of pretending I'm someone and something I am clearly not.

Add to it, I have just learned that the doctor who owns the clinic has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and has about a month to live.

Seriously?

This is my AYFKM?!? face.  I also need a haircut.




SERIOUSLY?

The fact that I'm in with Hispanic nurses and their flawless transitions from Spanish, to English to Spanglish and back, makes me feel like I'm playing a bit part in a low budget Telenovela.    I'm in a four episode arc playing, Allison, the trainer from Nashville with a secret to hide.  Not a very interesting secret, and nothing that will bring people closer together - but she will support the new software.  Badly.  And maybe say something marginally kind to someone in the breakroom as a reminder that everyone has a story.

And I'm hungry, but I have no idea whether it's OK if I go somewhere to get food, or what.  I am camped out in the conference room, with the occasional visit from Mike, the contract IT guy.  He's the one who gave me the 411 on Dr. Cancer - don't know which one he is, but I'm on the look out for one who looks like he's still coming into work on his deathbed.

Who does that?

I mean, I'm dedicated, but if they told me I was dying... I'm pretty sure I'd take some PTO and ask someone to water my philodendron for me.

So, that's what's up out here on the Left Coast, albeit inland.

ae