Sunday, November 29, 2015


I heard an expression a few weeks back that kind of stuck with me.  A customer was telling me that if her kids don't enjoy a specific food she's eating she reminds them, "Don't yuck my yum."  Basically, don't be a buzzkill.

My yum gets yucked from time to time - and I just need to be aware that that final say is mine.  Don't like what I do?  Fine.  Want to make me feel bad for liking it?  Nope. Not happening.

Anyway...  just putting that out there.

Here's some more news.  I found out something pretty major this weekend.

Piper's actual date of birth.

I got an e mail the other day from the microchip people letting me know I needed to pay her annual fee.  I signed to her data, intending only to change her name from Oreo to Piper, and her date of birth was included in the information listed.

Piper was born April 28, 2014.  She is a Taurus.  She shares a birthday with Oskar Schindler, Terry Pratchett, Jay Leno and The Property Brothers. 

I watch too much HGTV   
Anyway, now I know when to celebrate her birthday.  So, that's nice. 

Life is short.  You have to celebrate your babygirl's special dates.

Hey, yeah, I am crazy.  Don't yuck my yum.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Turkey, two ways

So, I survived Thanksgiving.   I missed Dad for the week leading up to the holiday, the whole day of the holiday itself and - oh, hell, come on.  I miss him, daily.  But the holidays aren't the chronic low-grade missing - it's the acute kind.

Point being, I survived.

We went out to dinner, and the food was great.  With a footnote.  I started eating and immediately realized that the "not well" feeling I'd been having all morning was the result of some kind of digestive bug.

So, I didn't keep my dinner long, and to be honest, couldn't eat much of it.

To put it less delicately, I barfed a few times, discreetly in the ladies' room during dinner.

I don't know what exactly it was or why it happened, but the symbolism of my body essentially rejecting my Thanksgiving dinner was not lost on me.

Anyway, enough about my delicate constitution. 

Thanksgiving evening, we went to the movies. By then, I was feeling better.  So we went to see Trumbo.  It's not easy to find something that everyone wants to see.  I like fluff - sweet, dumb, but not gross.  And they all live happily ever after.  Mom likes crime, thrillers, war, love - she likes anything that isn't toilet humor.  Matt likes anything that challenges.  Foreign, avant-garde, artistic.  The deeper the better.  Think pieces.

Mom and Matt's Venn Diagrams have plenty of overlap.  For me, there are small slivers.

But Trumbo had enough for everyone.  And we all really, really liked it.

Dalton Trumbo was a real man living during the Red Scare in the 50s and 60s.  He was a screenwriter in Hollywood, and was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for being a communist.  And he was, and by the way - there's nothing wrong with that.   Anyway - he was called to testify and was held in contempt of congress for not bending to their will. He was jailed and blacklisted.  He wrote under a fake name, several of them, actually - and he eventually worked his way off the blacklist - until eventually, people realized that the HUAC Hearings were essentially a witch hunt.

Something similar happened to Charlie Chaplin - he had pissed off America time and time again with his political movies.  Rather than blacklisting him, they banned him from entering the country.  He did come back, in the 70s to accept an honorary Oscar.  And then he died. 

Trumbo finally got credit for two movies he wrote under assumed names in the 70s.

Anyway, great movie - Trumbo is played by Bryan Cranston, who is just fucking great.  I loved him as the goofy dad from Malcolm in the Middle.  I loved him as the cancer-riddled anti-hero in Breaking Bad.  He kills it as Trumbo.  KILLS. IT.

Anyway - Saturday night, we went to see a show downtown.  It was put on by Dad's Garage, an improv theater I studied with in my 20s.  It was called Merry #%*!ing Christmas, and it was filthy, funny and fast-paced.  We laughed for two hours.  They were terrific.  The plot is too convoluted, but basically, a single father, Scrooge, Frosty the Snowman, an orphan and Santa battle it out over nuclear winter, the search for self and the real meaning of Christmas.

And now I'm home.

And I have just a day and a half before I start the first of three work trips til I hit the end of the year.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What's my sleekret?

Dear Hairstylist - when I tell you, "I never wear my hair straight", that's not issuing you a challenge or subtly suggesting you style it straight.  What I mean is I NEVER WEAR MY HAIR STRAIGHT.  So no matter how cute you make it with a round brush and a hairdryer, I'm not going to replicate that.  My round brush fell in the toilet a few years back and I tossed it and never replaced it.  I don't know where my hairdryer is, though I do own one.  So, do what you will with my hair, but know that if it doesn't look good curly, there will be hell to pay.

Full disclosure, I've been frequenting the Aveda Institute for my cuts $12 and a master stylist/instructor oversees it.  Plus, I love the way Aveda shampoo smells.  Worth it, even if she did list one of today's style objectives as "sleek with volume" - the other was the ever present "moisturize" - I'm cursed with oily scalp, dry hair.

I went pants shopping for Matt today.  Waist size is never an issue, but he's a 34" inseam (back off, ladies), and that makes him tough to shop for.  I ended up at DXL - a specialty big/tall store.  And damn, was I impressed.  A saleslady approached me in a no pressure way giving me a quick tour of the store and offered me a bottle of water.  The last time I got that kind of customer service clothes shopping was... the time I went with my father to Macy's to buy a suit.  Men get far, far more service when clothes shopping.  Their prices were a little high, but what does that matter when they have what you need and they're NICE?  Really.

I think I need to cut back on how often I order from Pizza Perfect - they recognize me.  That said, their pizza is the bomb.

I watched The Price Is Right today, and I'm reminded of two things.  One, Drew Carey is no Bob Barker, and two - if I were to ever go on that show, I'd need to brush up on prices of cars, electronics - basically all non-grocery items.

There's this new toy out called Bunchems - they're these little plastic balls that look like cockle burrs, and they stick together to create "art":

Apparently, if you get them in your hair, they'll also stick there.  And not come out.  And parents are surprised and angry.

Verily, I say unto thee... DUH - of course these little fuckers will stay in your hair.  Seriously?  Sorry your kids are just that dumb.  Stump dumb, as it were.

I got a chair massage this afternoon at a sketchy place near the pants shopping place.  It was phenomenal, but I am growing more and more convinced that these are fronts for Hand Job Parlors.  I mean, several skittish men wandered into the place while I was there, and I can't imagine they were just really tense from all the pre-holiday fracas... at 3PM on a Tuesday.  But whatever.  No judging.

Tomorrow I have to order workbooks for my class next week. Shame on me for falling down on the job.

And then, there's housework.  We have family visiting next week, while I'm in Decatur, IL.  So, that's fun.  I'll see them Friday.

Oooh - and then Porter Flea!!!

And more travel...

Then Gatlinburg.

And more travel.

Then Christmas and New Years and... you get the idea.

It's just a big pile of travel - like Bunchems.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Laughing Gravy

I was feeling kind of sorry for myself in re: Thanksgiving.  We decided to go out for dinner that day, and I found a charming little place - a farm-to-table joint with a prix-fixe thing.  Done and done.

But you know I'm picky about things like dressing and gravy and I like the kind Dad made and taught me to make. And I was feeling sad and nostalgic about it.

So yesterday at the store, I took action, bought a turkey breast.   I bought the stuff to make dressing and gravy.

And tonight, I've had a mini-Thanksgiving.  It was OK.  It tasted like nostalgia, it tasted like salt.

But truth be told, I'd be best off to not eat any more rich food - or for that matter, any food for awhile.

I feel very Violet:

But thankful.  Always thankful.


Saturday, November 21, 2015


Random thoughts: 

There is never a time that the word "panties" won't make me giggle, even if it's just in my mind.

I finally got caught up on Project Runway.  As pro-plus sizes as I am, I thought Kelly's collection was waaaaaay better than Ashley's.  Also, Ashley needs to slow down on the foundation.  Every time she cries, her face streaks.

I need to avoid people who delight in frustrating me.  At the moment there's one in particular who seems hell-bent on making me insane.  And I need to let that shit go.  Or deal with it.  But yeah.

What is up with my digestive tract?  I am mainlining Tums, taking famotidine/ranitidine/jimmydean like it's an addiction.  Also, the amount of methane gas I've produced tonight could power a small isolated village.

We got our Christmas cards back from Costco today.  The printing of the font is a little muddy, but it's OK.  They were $16 for 75 of them.

I think Elf on the Shelf is super obnoxious.  That said, I'd have a ball doing stupid stuff with it, if that were one of three things a day I had to do.


I am completely over it with college football.  I mean, fucks given?  Zero.  That said, a friend of mine posted a video of her daughter, who received a letter of acceptance from University of Tennessee today.  The letter includes a card that, when opened, plays "Rocky Top" - that's kind of adorable.

I'm having one of those weeks (months?) where so many things make me weepy.   Songs, TV commercials, books.

I had the most bizarre sorority rush dream last night, ever.  It was like a Broadway production.  Total insanity. 

I don't like Matthew McConaughey enough to stay up tonight for SNL.  I think it's more critical that I get some rest.

I have a haircut scheduled Tuesday.  Much needed.  I wish I had a ton of money - I'd get a mani-pedi, massage and facial, too.

Okeydoke, then.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Now what?

I'm not sleeping well these days.  I know that apnea is part of the problem.  But about a year ago, I did a "take home" test that my doc prescribed.  She said I was borderline and just needed to lose weight.

But here's the spiral.  When you aren't getting enough sleep, you tend to overcompensate with caffeine, sugar, calories.

Which makes it hard to lose weight.  Which means that you wake up gasping for air, heart racing.  And you are exhausted when you wake up, and you reach for chocolate, or sweet tea, or...

Can you see where I'm going with this?

So I called my doctor's office, because I need to book my annual physical, and I wanted to talk to her about reconsidering.

And she's booked out for physicals until January.

So.  Fuck.

There's a service online that will write you a scrip for a CPAP, but they require you to buy the machine with them, and it's not covered by insurance.

So.  Fuck.

One of my colleagues suggested I call the doctor to see if I can come in because I'm sick.  And then talk about the sick being from apnea.  

Devious, but fuck... why on earth not?  I deserve to sleep well.

I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, November 15, 2015


Do you ever have one of those weeks/month/years where everything hurts your feelings or makes you sad?

I don't, I was just checking to see if you're a total pussy.  No, actually, I'm having one of those weeks right now.

I've been thinking about Dad, thinking about a friend I feel disconnected from, and thinking now, especially about Paris.

I started learning French at the age of 11.  In sixth grade, you did six weeks each of Spanish and French, then at the end of the year, you were allowed to select your language, contingent on the teacher's recommendation.  I was recommended for both, but because Dad studied it and my sister was taking it, I settled on French.

That was one major point in my French education.  The next year, I remember we were in class and the teacher took down the conjugation charts for Avoir and Etre that she kept at the front of the room.  People bitched and moaned and I spoke up saying that of COURSE we needed to memorize them - they were the foundation of the language.  And I'm sure the teacher loved that.  My classmates hated me for it.

Several years later, in high school, I was about to drop French to continue taking Chorus, and I was regretting it, and my French teacher knew it, and she interceded and got my schedule fixed.

My senior year of high school, I was at a competition for this geeky club I was in, and my friends and I ran into this guy that worked at the college we were visiting.  He was West African, and his English wasn't great. So I asked if he spoke French.  He did.  So I explained as best I could in French who we were and why we were there.  When we got back to school, my friends, who were in the same class as me, went to our teacher and told her I COULD SPEAK FRENCH. I mean, we had been studying it for what, seven years at that point?

I arrived at UGA for Orientation, and they gave me a test to see what French I would place into.  I made that test my bitch.  I remember there was a passage (in French) about a shepherd who left his lunch in a cave for a week, came back and discovered he had invented roquefort cheese.

When I met with my new advisor, she informed me that I had tested out of all but a single term of French.  So I enrolled in FRE 201 at 7:50 AM, where I met Ben.  He was a TA and he taught the class, and I adored him.  He was funny as living hell, and cute and I just enjoyed it.  At the end of the term, we all had to meet with him in his office and give a 5 minute presentation on a topic of our choosing.  I decided on explaining how e-mail would take over handwritten letters (this was 1993).  After I was done, he looked at his grade book and told me I was making a 96 in the class.  He said, "This has been easy for you, hasn't it?"  I told him it had, and he asked me if I'd picked a major.  I told him I was working on getting into J School and he suggested I get a minor in French while I finished my core classes and waited to get into J School (you didn't apply til the end of Sophomore year).

And so, by the end of my Sophomore year I had a minor in French, a pin and certificate from Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society. And an admission letter from the College of Journalism.

I am very proud of my French studies.  I've been to Paris three times (once in my early teens, twice in my 20s).  And the acts of terror there make me very, very sad.

I don't have any answers.

Just stories of why I care.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Spare change?

I'm in the office today, and it's the last time for...awhile.  In fact, I realized earlier, I won't be back til after Thanksgiving, and that is probably a good thing.

Hampton Inn sums it up nicely.

My BFF Jim has moved into an office down the hall.  I hope he won't let success go to his head.

He asked if I was mad - I said no.

And I'm not.

I'm never here, how can I be mad?

I'm home for the whole weekend - time to do laundry, pack, wash dishes, get some groceries.

It's a routine, but surely not a life.

I also need to go cancel the membership at the Y.  I can already feel them looking at me sideways  - I clearly still need to be going to the Y - but again... I'm never here.

I feel like a broken record. 

Oh well.  I guess I'll get started on my Friday.

Right after I hang my out of office sign.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

oh, hi

I'm sitting in a BBQ joint in Oregon, Ohio. Just outside of Toledo. Why am I here? Because I didn't want to drive the extra five miles into downtown for dinner. In daylight, it looked sketchy. At night? I'll stick with Oregon and Q.

Toledo, mes amis, is depressing. Wow. Gray, industrial, and just meh.  My hotel is brand new and nice.  The customers are nice, but it feels a little like there's some subtext that I am missing.

So here I am waiting on a barbeque salad.


Before I went to the cafeteria for lunch, I Googled "How depressing is Toledo?"

On my way back from lunch, I got a sign:

Yes. It says Suicide POSTvention. I looked it up. It's a dumb way to describe aid/support to people who lost a loved one to suicide. It's awkward. But also...a sign.

No. I'm not suicidal. It's just an answer to the depressing Toledo question.

I'm sure that my next set of trips to Newark NJ, Decatur IL and Lodi CA should be uplifting.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Spice is the Variety of Life

My BFF Jim moved into his new house today.  He's a first time home buyer, and that's pretty exciting.  Because I love him like family, I, along with a few other friends who also love him like family, helped him move.

I haven't done a move with anyone since my own move as a first time home buyer ten years ago.   Well, that's not entirely true; I've moved office buildings a few times.  But in terms of moving into/out of a domicile?  No.  Not in a decade.  Although, ten years ago, I did it twice in the same year, which was... whew.  Yeah.

Anyway.  Jim had himself and two young, healthy men to help with heavy lifting.  He was also really organized, and had just about everything ready to go - but he left me the kitchen to pack. 

There's something very personal about kitchens.  Like, why does my friend have so many jars of maraschino cherries?  Which spices does he have?  What will he buy generic and what is brand name?  Does he own any weird gadgets that I should consider buying?  Is there something he needs that I should get him as a housewarming present?  Is keeping the condiment packets from fast food places a guy thing? 

I did end up asking Jim about the cherries.  They were from last Christmas, when he planned to make a recipe of his grandmother's (for some cookies), but never got to it.  A likely story.

Anyway, it was a fun day, we all chatted and moved boxes, helped unpack, laughed and of course celebrated Jim's big day.

The kid(s?) that lived there before wrote on doors around the house.  Bible quotes on what was the closet in her room.  And in the garage, this:

Welcome home, Jim.

Friday, November 6, 2015

So, what had happened was...

First, I would be remiss if I didn't offer many thanks to the ever lovely Chuck Baudelaire, whose readership has kindly rallied to get me out of a pretty deep funk. 

This is how I described my situation to Chuck.  And told her all I could do was "keep chewing".

So, thanks, Chuck and Drunkards.  You can (and should) read her blog here.

So, the flights from Grand Rapids to Baltimore and Baltimore to Nashville were both highly uneventful.  The large Utah Family made their way to the back of the plane and I don't even remember who sat next to me.  I read my Real Simple magazine and zoned out.

Here's my question about Real Simple.  What about the perfect pair of black pants that cost $349.00 is either Real or Simple?

I may not be in the right demographic for this magazine.  Although, they have some really good recipes.

So, I survived my Grand Rapids trip. 

Next up is Toledo.  Sadly, no fun dinner plans with friends on this one.  I'm thinking I'll just use my hotel evenings to do some writing.  I have an idea that I'm futzing around with.  It's a little overwrought, but the process is kind of fun.

I'm helping one of my BFFs move into his new house this weekend.  I'm stoked for him, even if it means I have to pack his apartment kitchen.  He's worth it, barely.

The other major thing going on at the moment is the time change.  We fell back last week, and in Nashville, that means it starts getting dark at 4PM.  It's kind of brutal, but the good news is, if I can gut it out for about six weeks, the days start getting longer again.

So, we keep on keeping on.

Sleep tight, y'all.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I'm checking in from the airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's the Gerald R. Ford Airport, which is fun because he was POTUS when I was born.

The airport code here is GRR, hence the title of this post.  But it also indicates my mood. It's 4:30 am, and I'm on day three of no enough sleep.

When I checked in this morning, I was behind a huge, weird family. Two parents, eight kids all headed to Salt Lake City. Five of the kids are teens. One of them is wearing a hijab and appears to be visually impaired. Three of the kids are 10 or under and one has a broken leg and is in a wheelchair.

Mom just came around and passed out gum to the kids. Hijab took watermelon.  The non-Hijab kids are all dressed in sporty clothes. Mossy Oak, Nike, Under Armor.  Lots of what I call "soccer sandals".

Hijab is wearing a long skirt, a sweater and ballet flats.

It's interesting. They bunched up in TSA cluelessly, but now they're sitting in a row, all too tired to do much other than sit and maybe look at their phones or tablets.

They seem to get along.

That said, I'm hoping it isn't a full flight, I don't end up sitting with the modern day Bradys, and that I can sleep from here to Balmer and from Balmer home.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Balmer, hon.

I cannot land in Baltimore without thinking of the local pronunciation. Balmer. The "hon" is equally iconic. Look it up. Or watch Homicide. Actually, watch Homicide regardless because Andre Braugher is a fucking genius. I would watch him eat a sandwich.

Here's something at the Balmer Airport that stresses me out:

What is the grammar violation here? This does not make me be relax. I don't be relax at all.

I'm actually a little PTSD at the sight of this because once upon a time, I spent the night in Balmer in a chair next to this quasi spa.  It was unpleasant.

At the moment I'm en route on trip one of six business trips between now and the end of the year. I specify business because there are four family trips as well. So, that's a lot of Allison not at home time.


Reporting live from Seat 6C. Departing Balmer.