158 - Sometimes I don't get it...

I don't get this. It's the same kind of deconstruction that's happening to everything around us. Words, music, food, morals, tv... sometimes it feels like everything is devolving. Thank you Wal-Mart, I blame you for starting this. And the Urban Dictionary. You're not really a dictionary, now are you? So we accept this decline little by little, and it's so slight that we don't notice it's happened until we realize that we (and by 'we' I mean 'me') own Britney Spears albums (guilty) and, when we finally hit bottom, end up watching The Bad Girls Club (also guilty, and I'm ready for Natalie to go home... she annoys me, and she can have L.A., lol). If only I understood why I do what I do. I'll end up wanting one of these damn things when I'm rich. I know I will... (note the optimism -- I'm going to be rich someday!)

Well... the New Year is just around the corner... do you feel it? It's coming for you! Step by step, inch by inch... now it's on the first step, it's coming for you... it's on the second... Oh bother.

Well I think 2009 was quite a year with a lot of moments that will assuredly go down in history, but I think it will be most remembered as the year we proved that spontaneous dancing doesn't just happen in Disney movies. I dare you to watch this and not end up with a smile on your face, come on cranky pants... And apparently people are breaking out in spontaneous dance all over the place... I'm not that coordinated... I'm sure it's not as spontaneous as it looks unless there's some kind of Vulcan mind-meld going on...

Hope everyone has an awesome NYE whether you go out and party, or simply sit on your ass and watch movies (like me). Here's to keeping your resolutions (if you made them), and having a prosperous and happy 2010! See you on the flip side! Cheers!

157 - A fine, fine day

It was a pretty good day. I got really, really pissed off a couple of times (I'm talking about you, Bank of Dumberica), but the good far outweighed the bad and the day ended on a nice note. Nice for a change. =)

So here's a little game we used to play on Myspace... write an anonymous sentence to other people (or even yourself)... things on your mind that you wish you could say, but can't. Nice, not so nice, whatever. Doesn't matter if they read it or not, and since most of these people probably don't read my blog, I could probably name them outright... but that's not the game (and you just never know). So here goes:

-- You have the potential to make me sadder than I've been in a very long time... on the other hand you could potentially make me happier than I've ever been. You're kinda scary like that, but I'm ready if you are.

-- You've helped me so many times without even realizing it. Thank you. =)

-- You can't hold a grudge forever. Sometimes you have to put the past behind you.

-- Stop only listening to the bad things and start paying more attention to the good.

-- I wish you could see how wonderful you are. You make me laugh harder than anyone I know, you've got a quick mind, and a huge heart... I wish the best for you and I hate to see you go down that road.

-- Stop being so scared to live life, it's freeing to break out of the box.

-- Stop drinking. You're fucking up your life and pushing everyone who loves you away. Prove them wrong and show them you aren't a loser.

-- You're so complacent about things. When people hurt you, you let it slide. Sometimes it's okay to let go. You don't have to be everyone's friend.

-- You make your own luck.

-- I wish you'd make up your mind.

-- I owe you an apology. I blamed you for something that wasn't your fault and I held it against you. I think I understand now. I wish I could undo it all.

-- I sincerely hope you eventually reap what you've sown.

-- I miss you so much. The world's a lot less fun when you're not around... we should hang out more.

-- You are like a ray of sunshine. It's impossible to be unhappy when you're around.

-- You're one of the few people who actually gets me. Other people think they do... but you actually do. We've had our ups and downs, but I hope we can always work through it because my life... would suck... withoooooooooooot you...

-- Thank you for putting up with my shit. I know it's not always easy to be my friend, but thank you for making it seem like it is.

-- It's nice to know you'll always be there to talk to. You're one of the keepers.

-- Sometimes we fail, don't let it eat you up. This too shall pass.

-- I wish you would stand up to the bullies in your life.

-- I feel like myself around you, and you may very well be the only person I've ever met who I can say that about. I don't even understand it, but it's delightful.

-- Thank you for listening to me whine, for cheering me on, for always believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself.

-- I wish I could help you, but I can't. You have to help yourself.

-- Thank you for coming into my life.

So that's it. The cryptic, and not so cryptic, things I wish I could say, but for whatever reason can't. Or sometimes I guess I have. And yes, if you like the game, you can 'steal' it. I did. =)

Next, it's really supposed to be a Winter Solstice thing, but I always do it on NYE... writing down the things I don't want following me into 2010, and burning them at midnight. Shorter list than last year and the year before. =) 2010 is going to be a good year.


156 -

...aaaaaaaaaand it's 45 degrees today. Sigh. Every day a new extreme. I'm tired of the warm/cold/warm/cold doe-si-doe. I just wish it to stick to a 10 degree variance rather than a 20-30 degree variance. That's not asking for much... is it?

This afternoon I was walking down the hall and my boss was behind me. He was walking, using his umbrella to punctuate his steps. It echoed through the empty hallway and reverberated around me (not a lot of people at work this week). It was a slightly menacing sound that, because I think as if my life were a horror movie anyway, reminded me of a scary story my grandpa used to tell us grandkids, about a black speck in a pail of milk. I don't know why it was so terrifying, but it was. I don't recall it all, but the basic premise was that there was... a black speck in a pail of milk, and somehow it came to life one night and began to come after a little boy as he was snuggled up in his bed. It began by telling him it was on the first step, and it was coming for him... then it was on the second step, and it was coming for him... it was on the third step, and it was... well, you get the idea... there were a lot of steps. I think it had a lot to do with the voice my grandpa used as he told it; a sort of raspy growly voice. And he would sort of walk his hands as we sat on his lap being regaled by this horrific masterpiece. I wish I could remember the point of the story though... but once he'd gotten the tension sufficiently built up and we were scared out of our wits, he would jump a little and then tickle us. Good times.

Today I bought (or ordered rather) Master Your Metabolism (with a few more words to complete the entire title but my pea brain can't remember them all and no that's not the rest of the title quit being silly) by Jillian Michaels. I know -- long, confusing title. I have to admit that when I started browsing (you can read the first 3 chapters on B&N's website), I wasn't expecting to be impressed. I've only recently begun watching The Biggest Loser and haven't entirely jumped on the Jillian bandwagon just yet. Oh -- first off a little housekeeping -- I used a gift card, so I am sticking to my resolution because I didn't actually spend any money, and it's part of my push for good health in 2010. Now that I have absolved myself of the guilt associated with this purchase... It looks really interesting, different than just a 'diet' book, because she's talking about hormones and metabolism. I know I've screwed mine up royally, I just don't know how to get it back on track. I have tried to eat better (more vegetables, less soda, more water, vitamins, 1200 calories or less, etc.), and I've tried exercising regularly... I've done all I know to do and can't seem to lose more than 10 lbs, which eventually comes back. I'll admit I still had room for improvement, even at my best, but still... 360 calories a day from soda should start to make a real difference at some point, especially when you take another 200-300 from exercise three times a week... should have been losing about a pound a week.

It's not going to be easy. I'm very attached to food, it's a social activity and a tasty treat all rolled into one. And unfortunately I like all the wrong kinds of food. I do like vegetables, and most times if I'm at home that's what I eat... but if I go out to eat, I'm almost always going to go for the creamy goodness of fetuccini alfredo, or the warm embrace of a nice, juicy grilled steak... or fries... or a baked potato... hell -- any sort of potato will do. At home, if I want comfort food I reach for onion dip and potato chips, sometimes carrots and broccoli instead of chips, and even though the sour cream is reduced fat, it's probably still not good for me. Sometimes I think the 'reduced' and 'free' products are worse, but I can't stick with a decision on that. And don't even get me started on ranch dressing. Or cheese. I love carbs, and dairy, and red meat, and sugar, and fizzy drinks. There's not a lot of hope for me because, like the time when I almost traded my 8 in for a 3, I'm going to feel like I'm depriving myself of something instead of feeling as if I'm doing something right.

I'm going to have to get over that and learn how to be disciplined once again. I used to be able to do it but it's gotten harder as I've gotten older and developed a 'ha! you can't tell me what to do!' attitude... even when it's the little angel on my shoulder talking... I'm much more attuned to the imp. But I know that I'm not happy with my body, not just the way it looks, but the way it feels. I'm tired all the time, I feel weak (not like 'I suddenly feel weak' but I don't feel strong like I did when I had more muscle tone), my digestive tract is all kinds of fucked up, my head is foggy, and... if my head weren't so foggy I'd remember that other thing I was about to say but... c'est la vie, it's gone. I want to feel more energetic and alert, and I want to lose weight. For me.

So this year is going to be all about discipline and cleaning house (literally and figuratively), because ultimately I think it's what I need in my life right now. I've been coasting, and it's time I started becoming more active all the way around... in my community... in my exercise routine... in my financial life... in my love life... and in my own life in general.

Here! Here! (just felt like that was appropriate)


155 - Makin' Money

I sure hope it's not a federal offense to make photocopies of money... Okay technically I didn't make photocopies of the money -- I used images that I pulled from the internet and I printed those off on a black and white laser printer, and then I made black and white copies of them, and they're only the front images of the bills... so really, unless someone out there is incredibly stupid, they would realize that I'm not intending to put this money into ciculation. Right? Which is why I'm worried. Because there are a lot of incredibly stupid people out there. =))) (that's a wicked grin in case you were wondering) *sigh* So now that I have 'money' I need to figure out how this system to track my 'disposable income' spending is going to work... maybe putting the 'money' in envelopes, and taking it out when it's 'spent'. I like the jar concept, but I don't want jars cluttering up my countertop... counter space is precious, and they'd have to be awfully cute to warrant a spot. Yeah. Envelopes.

Today I researched Invisalign braces. It's not that I'm vain and have to have perfect teeth or anything, it's just that as my wisdom teeth continue to grow, the rest of my teeth are getting shuffled around... meaning that it's getting awfully crowded in there. Now -- my dentist told me (when I was a teenager) that I have plenty of room for my wisdom teeth, and they're growing more or less in the right direction, so I'm not planning on having them pulled. Ever. No matter what. I even bought a smaller toothbrush so I can get waaaaaaaaay back there and keep them clean... I will find ways to make it work so long as there is no pain involved. And therein lies the beauty of Invisalign -- you don't have to pull teeth to use Invisalign. They claim to work regardless.

So anyway, my already crooked front teeth are getting even more crooked... one of them is crossing diagonally over the front of the other one, and it's difficult to keep the 'space' between the two clean. My teeth don't line up and frankly it's a little uncomfortable... but it didn't used to be so I can only assume it's gotten worse and will continue to do so. My teeth are also beginning to slant inward, or maybe they always have, but I'm beginning to notice it more when my mouth is closed (wait... does that mean I'm keeping my mouth shut more often??? nah.). I've been dealing with it, because I didn't want braces and it wasn't an urgent matter (no pain, no cavities). Mostly because I'm a little scared of the dentist. And by 'a little' I actually mean 'a lot'. But it's time to put on my big girl pants and get it taken care of.

So... for all my financial goals next year, I'm also trying to take better care of myself, and I'm honestly worried about my teeth. Conundrum. I don't want them to get cavities or rot, and I know that there is something going on because in a couple of spots when I floss (as I so rarely do) there is a noticable smell (which I hope is not noticable otherwise, but it's hard to tell when it's your own breath). So... I've scheduled an appointment to see what an orthodontist says, and to get a cost estimate, and then we'll see. I don't think it'll set me back too much... amazing how that term is relative and seems to have become much more flexible as I age... I'm sure I'm not going to like it, but at the same time I'm flexible about paying the car off, it's a want, not a need... so that allows me to do this if I decide to make it my top priority.

But once I decide on 'the plan', I'm going to stick to it... I'm such a mess.

So... engagements should be happy things, should they not? What if you loathe the person your best friend is going to marry? What if he's such a despicable human being that you know her life is going to be miserable FOREVER if she marries this schmuck? (I'm not the only one who thinks he's a schmuck in case you're wondering) And what if you've told her, and she agrees with you... but she said yes anyway? (see?) How do you come to grips with that? I can't figure it out. It makes no sense to me, and when something doesn't make sense it eats at me. It's got me a little down, which is why yesterday's blog was so blah and today's isn't much better. I see a bleak future for my best friend when I know she deserves so much more. But it's her life. I've said my piece, her friends have said their piece, I think my grandmother may have even said her piece... but she's not listening. So I'm sitting her shaking my head and praying that something happens to prevent it from coming to fruition, because it will be a tragedy, and I hope that isn't literal, but the kind of person he is, it may very well be.


154 - Tired

No matter how many times I watch Romancing the Stone, it's still a good movie. Just sayin'.

Went to dinner with a couple of friends, had some good sushi, and some lovely plum wine... so I'm a little sleepy now. I'm not really a wine person, and when I have it, I tend toward dessert wines, but even for me it was a little syrupy. In fact, it reminded me a bit of Robitussin... which you might think is a bad thing, but I rather like the taste (just not a whole glass full). It was a very nice time and I love getting to reconnect with Melody. I am also quite fond of her husband, Chad (which is the way it's supposed to be... my friends are supposed to marry cool people...). And Debra, I see Debra a lot and always enjoy it.

Didn't accomplish much today, but I did come up with an idea to help me with the whole impulse buying situation. I will not go back to using cash... it's impractical for me because one of the main reasons I use the card is buildup airline points. But I like the idea of the cash jars they use on 'Til Debt Do Us Part, because it makes money tangible. When I have to use cash I do put more thought into it... I just never use cash.... So I thought that if I print off copies of money and put that into the jars, and then have to take that out every time I spend money, maybe that will make it tangible to me. Sometimes a visual can be an effective tool, and if I can pretend that it's real money, it may make me rethink my purchase. So tomorrow I'm going to print off a few fake ones, fives, tens, twenties, fifties and hundreds, and start divvying it out according to my budget. We'll see how it goes.

I'm not really excited to return to work tomorrow, but then again... I'm not a manager anymore, so I guess I should be happier about it. And we get another holiday. And I get a week's sick time soon. Guess I do have something to look forward to after all! lol

Sorry for the boring post... I'm about to nod off... Hope everyone had a great weekend.


153 - Soo-preese

Hated the Series of Unfortunate Events movie, but still can't get Jim Carry's inflections as Count Olaf out of my head, so every once in a while I find myself saying things like 'it's a soo-preese'... and... no one gets it... which is, just another unfortunate event in Kristy's life (it should be noted, however, that despite my feelings regarding the movie, I loved the books and have them all sitting proudly on my bookshelf).

Well today was return day. I dreaded it so much that I almost talked myself out of it because I assumed everyone and their mother would be clogging up a 5-mile radius surrounding the mall. I expected hours of waiting, short tempers, and maybe a fist fight or two. Instead, it was surprisingly pleasant... the worst part turned out to be finding a parking space, but I didn't mind parking out in the boonies -- I needed the exercise after all that eating!

It got me wondering... all those massive sales the stores make prior to Christmas... wonder how much of that gets wiped out by returns once Christmas is over?

So after a brief visit to Macy's and a slightly longer one to Best Buy, I went to Kohls to return the Smack... I mean, Lovely. Much longer line. And afterwards... afterwards I... *gulp* shopped... But I found the most flattering blouses... and a very cool jacket... It's not 2010 just yet... those resolutions don't kick in until Jan 1st and I had money from the returns so I allotted some of it toward purchases and earmarked some for savings... Geez... I should be Catholic for all the guilt I feel sometimes...

When I came home I went online to look at JC Penney because I had a $15 off coupon that I thought I could combine with another $15 off coupon... no dice, so no Penneys. Anyway, as I was browsing the site I noticed that they sold Skechers Shape Ups. There they were... staring at me in the face... daring me to buy them... from another store, because Penneys were even more expensive at $110... normally I see them for $99.99 and think that's expensive. So I went on Google and clicked the Shopping link and found some for $74.95 + shipping at a place called Glen's Outdoors. There was the good deal I'd been looking for... 32% off (because they too normally sell them for $110). It was, in short, a sign. So I felt a little bad about spending the money, but it ultimately fit with my fitness plan for next year. And you know what? When I checked the mail this afternoon... there it was... the final sign that it was okay... an unexpected dividend check that paid for the shoes, so all I was out was shipping. Woo-hoo! It was meant... to be...

I've really gotten spoiled with all this time off. It's hard to get out of bed in the mornings... I'm gonna hate Monday with a purple passion. Luckily I still have one more day to vegetate. Tomorrow my normal routine resumes... lunch with the folks... with a slight twist because instead of going home afterward, I will go to dinner with a couple of my friends from high school. And that... except for NYE... is the last commitment on my social calendar. After the 1st I will be flying by the seat of my social pants! Sounds fun doesn't it? Wheee!


152 - I resolve...

This year as I got ready to go to mom and dad's for Christmas dinner, I began thinking about my new year's 'resolutions' for 2010. In past years, I never put much thought into what I wanted to accomplish in the coming year so it's really no wonder that I never felt as if I had succeeded at anything... This year I want to be different, I want to put thought into my goals and do my best to accomplish them.

So here's what I've been thinking:

This year I will get back on track with my charity goals:
1) Clean out my closets and donate usable clothing to Goodwill (pretty much a done deal already but there's still more to do)
2) Pick a different charity, and donate to it each month.
3) Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity at least once to see if I like it, and stop making excuses not to do it

This year I will attempt to either pay off my car, or a couple of credit cards (depending on what happens with minimum payments and interest rates... if nothing changes the car is the priority... that's also assuming that I get the tax refund I expect to receive.)

This year I will cut back on my impulse spending. If I want to buy something online I will put it into my shopping cart but not actually purchase it until I've thought about it for a couple of hours. That should help cut down on impulse buys that I fall victim to when I find 'deals' in my inbox. Ideally I won't purchase it at all, instead I will build a wishlist for my birthday, or next Christmas.

This year I will set aside at least $100/month for savings (travel, emergency, etc.).

This year I will put more thought into what I eat:
1) I will plan my menu, not just grab random items at the grocery store and toss them into the cart
2) I will not reward myself for a hard day by eating fattening foods because I 'deserve a treat'
3) I will not have dessert every day
4) I will learn to snack, and I will eat healthy snacks like blueberries and almonds

This year I will try to have a people over for dinner once a month.

This year I will go to Florida and see a shuttle launch.

This year I will exhaust what I have before I buy something new (specifically makeup, soap, shampoo, bubble bath, and candles). I have plenty of these things already, I don't need more of them.

This year I will exercise more regularly. To that end, I have already purchased Your Shape for the PC, and I will use it. I will also get back on the treadmill... haven't been doing it since I got back from my trip.

This year I will clean out and organize my garage.

This year I will take better care of myself. I will not skip my well-woman exam (like I did this year), I will go to the dentist for a cleaning, and I will get my eyes checked.

This year I will try to have no more than 24 oz of soda a day, but preferably no more than 12 oz. I will drink more water and fruit juice. I will purchase either a water filter for my faucet, or a water pitcher with a filter so I can save money on water and have it more readily available (when I forget to restock the bottles in my fridge and the only cold thing I have is soda I can easily get off track).

This year I will be more open to meeting someone special. I will not talk myself out of guys by making assumptions about their (perceived) intentions / flaws. On the other hand, I will not give in on the things that are important to me... I will not try to make a square peg fit a round hole (shush Brian and Greg, I'm having a serious moment), or overlook things that oughtn't be overlooked. I will also not be so hard on myself. I need to begin to believe that I have attractive qualities instead of continuuing to believing myself to be an unexciting, dull, and unattractive woman that ultimately can't hold a guy's interest for the long haul.

This year I will get back into the habit of writing, not just blogging.

I think that about wraps it up for now. I'd like to say that I will be better about going to bed and getting sleep, but that would just be crazy talk, especially if I said I would try to get up earlier. I don't know what it is about mornings but I just don't like them... I'm a night owl.

I felt so bad... mom and dad tried to surprise me with a couple of gifts that I didn't know about, and they would have been wonderful, except that.... they bought me a digital picture frame last year. I used it maybe twice, and after about six months it actually fell apart. They forgot they'd bought it so they bought another one this year, a better one, but... to be honest, having the last one made me realize that I don't really care for them... it's something else to plug into the wall, the old one only had memory enough for 8 pictures, and it was just something else that took up space. I can accomplish the same thing by setting my screen saver to show random pictures, they'd be bigger and have better quality and I wouldn't be limited to a certain number... so that's going back to the store. Then... they bought me a Tom Tom... I had already asked for a big ticket item, so it didn't cross my mind that they would get me another big gift. Unfortunately I also didn't tell them I had bought a Tom Tom on Black Friday because it never crossed my mind that they would get me one... So they were all excited about their surprises and I felt like I burst their bubble... But I did appreciate the thought... and the intent...

This is why I need to stop buying so much stuff. And why we definitely need a buying freeze two months before Christmas.

At this point I'm think I will do the responsible thing and take that money and put it toward my debt. I might take part of it and buy some of those Skechers Shape Ups, but I haven't decided yet. That's a lot of money for a pair of shoes, and I keep waiting for a sale... I guess when it gets to the point where I need a new pair of shoes I might be able to justify them as a replacement pair / fitness equipment, but for now they just seem extravagant. Right now I have a functional pair of shoes. Ironically, they are Skechers.

All in all turned out to be a good Christmas though. We went to church, watched A Christmas Cottage while we ate our snacks, then opened gifts, and watched An American Christmas Carol. Today we had lunch and we were joined by my cousin Bobby, who is always fun to have around, then we watched A Night at the Museum 2, and Up! I'm now sitting on the couch, miserable and bloated, because I ate too much. I'm dreading tomorrow because I want to start returning things... the picture frame... the Tom Tom... the horrible-smelling Lovely I bought... and I know I will be one of millions out there... hopefully there will be more shoppers than returners... hopefully...

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!


151 - Christmas Eve and humbuggery

Watching Sandra Lee put together a holiday party and wondering how anyone can be so damn creative. She took white pearl-tipped straight pins, threaded on a colorful bead and a sequin, stuck it into a candle, and voila, fancy candle (well, there was some repetition of this maneuver... one didn't do much to fancify it). It's pretty.

Had a couple of 'these people are real dumbshits' moments over the last couple of nights as I watched television... no better place to find dumbshits than on the television (unless you're on the freeway)... First off... doesn't matter if you believe or not, you can still find the irony in this one... Paranormal State (my favorite show, don't judge), these people are seeing shadowy figures, the claim their toddler is spouting expletives, and that her bed is levitating. Is it happening? I don't know. Anyway, Ryan asks when this activity started happening. About a year ago. Any idea why it all of a sudden started happening a year ago? No... no idea. He talks to a relative, who stayed with them about that time, and asks if he has any idea. Nope. No idea. Ryan notices a pentagram tattoo on his forearm... sigh... He asks if he's into witchcraft. Yes, he used to be. He asks if they ever practiced in the house. He says, yeah, one time... about a year ago... they did some kind of circle and summoned a demon, and before they could close the circle, those two ran out of the house screaming. Hmm. Ya think maybe that's why there's a problem? Think maybe you did this? Dumbshits.

Then last night I'm watching a show about three people who are addicted to plastic surgery. It's like a train wreck... can't look away... This guy has spent a quarter of a million dollars making himself look 'good' (lucky you, in the video you get to see 'Barbie' too). Last night he had more surgery... wires drilled through his cheek (yes! like the Blue October song!) under twilight anesthesia (Twilight world domination continues)... he's moaning, says it hurts... doctor says 'he won't remember the pain.' Comforting that he won't remember it... better if he just doesn't feel it, eh doc? I don't understand how anyone can look that plastic and not be upset about it... I'd never leave the damn house, but he was happy as a lark... except that by the end of the show all three of these people had already scheduled more surgery. Dumbshits. Leave well enough alone. You claim you haven't overdone it, you claim to look natural (?), but you do not look natural, your eyes and your lips and the fact that your forehead never moves give you away... and shame on you Dr. Chugay (with the ironic name) for continuuing to butcher this guy's face. For all his grotesque out appearance, he seems like a genuinely good-hearted man, and you're just a leech who sees dollar signs -- you should be stripped of your license.

So I'm reading Terry Goodkind's Law of Nines (short cheesy book trailer that looked better when I first saw it). I had no idea what it was about going into it, just that I loved his last series and when I like an author I continue to read their books. This turned out to be a continuation of that series, but on this side of the magical barrier. It's been difficult for me to get into it. There are a lot of question and answer sessions, rife with 'we don't really know that yets' which mean the author really doesn't know that yet and that frustrates the crap out of me. For one thing, it gets tiresome to read a litany of questions, but mostly, if the author doesn't know the answers, the there's no point in reading the book. So I'm wading through it, but I'm about halfway through and feel like it's just now starting to go somewhere... though I'm not entirely sure it is. What bothers me is that for whatever reason, his writing seems less polished, like it wasn't as thoroughly edited... I find myself changing words around in my head, or substituting them, and I don't usually do that with books I paid money for. All in all, I haven't been impressed by this one, and it pains me to say it, because I was such a big fan or the Sword of Truth series.

It still doesn't feel like Christmas to me. I'm just not in the mood. Doesn't help that it's still 60 degrees outside... Right now it feels like any other day when it should feel special. I should be feeling some anticipation, some excitement. Maybe watching my parents open their gifts will help, but honestly, there's nothing really special under that tree to light their faces up. I didn't manage to come up with any surprises this year... Hey mom, here are those dvds you wanted... There you go dad, here's some money. Woo. Hoo. But it's nice to hang out and spend time together, so Christmas or not, it's still a good day.


150B - Hilarious

I love CJ's blog, and this post almost had me crying (from laughter)... not good to have your workmates glancing at your monitor, trying to see what you're doing when you're not doing work... eh, there's hardly anybody here and besides, I'M OFFICIALLY NOT A MANAGER ANYMORE!!!! WOOOOOO-HOOOOO!!!! Is there a cloud ten? I'm about to find out!

150 - Recycling

Allow me to present to you, my Sixth Annual Eagerly Anticipated Virtual Christmas Card (or Fifth Annual Eagerly Anticipated Virtual Christmas Card version 2.0)

My how time has flown… Reminds me that it’s almost time to let something else fly… that’s right kiddies -- it’s Christmas time again, and soon Santa’s sleigh will begin blanketing the sky with some nasty greenhouse gases as he makes his way around the world performing home invasions and eating you out of house and home. Well Santa may not give a fig about Mother Earth, but I’m certainly not willing to play a role in the destruction of our planet, so I’m doing green one better… not only am I sending a virtual card -- I’m recycling last year’s virtual card… Unfortunately my Christmas creative-tree has remained bare, and I’m afraid that it’s this or nothing (if you’d hoped for nothing I think the Stones said it best: You cain’t always get whatcha want):

Time to overextend the bank account and the waistline, fight traffic in the malls and on the roads, and most importantly - turn on the tv and watch Rudolph forgive that raging anti-dentite we call Santa... all so he can lead the sleigh on Christmas Eve and the little boys and girls of the world can run around the house with yet another, more expensive version of the Elmo doll... which (I'm sorry to say) will be recalled in January. It's a message we would all do well to heed... no matter how poorly someone has treated you, whether they laughed or called you names, if you have a red shiny nose (and who doesn't at this time of year?), forget about all that and think of the greater good. It warms my heart... there are a lot of suckers out there.

Also, let it be a reminder to us all that dental visits are of the utmost importance. Schedule yours while you can still afford the dental insurance.

And now... my holiday wishes to you... from the very... very... very… bottom of my heart (I'm reaching down further than I ever have before).

· In past AEAVCC’s I have wished you luck to win the lottery… well, I wish one of you would win the dang lottery already. They say that if you believe in yourself you can do anything you set your mind to, but apparently I have a lot of non-believers on this distribution list because this is the sixth year and no one has said "Yay-hoo! I done won me some money!" Come to think of it... a couple of you do seem to have disappeared. That really hurts guys... I’d share with you… and I can say that with complete honesty since I can never remember to play the lottery myself.

· I hope that each of you finds peace and contentment in the coming year. In that vein, I've heard that a) it's better to give than receive and b) giving makes you feel good. Not being a selfish person I'm willing to receive gifts of up to $5,000 from each of you so that you can feel better about yourselves... hell, we’re in a recession, I’d wouldn’t turn my nose up at $1,000… and if you feel like giving more - spectacular! I also accept gift cards and travel vouchers.

· Watch out for those sleighs! If our morning safety moments are any indication I'm surprised anyone ever makes it to work alive. Good luck to you all (and stay away from my car)!

· I hope it drops below 60 for Christmas...

· May your gas bill always be lower than your IQ... I think most of you are safe... for those that aren’t, you probably won’t get the joke anyway.

· And finally, since it's the thought that counts, I want you to know that I'm thinking of each and every one of you. You're welcome. *hugs*

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Happy Birthday Christa and Beth and Kato (I know it already happened, I'm just sayin').


149B - I forgot...

I forgot about this because I was at lunch when I read it... Ian's been a busy boy! He has posted his comprehensive best blogs list for 2009, and I've been nominated at least a thousand times! If you are looking for more blogs to read this is an excellent place to start. Thank you Ian for putting it together, and for the nominations!

149 - It's in the bag...

Farf-egg-noggin. I thought I had a gratis post for this afternoon's blog. Every year I send out an Xth Annual Eagerly Anticipated Virtual Christmas Card and I was going to post it here for you to read... but I forgot to forward it home and it didn't find its way into my Drafts folder, so I can't pull it up off the server at work. Figgy pudding! Misteltoe! Elf*!!! The virtual cards are just me being silly (imagine that), but regardless of whether anyone else enjoys them or not... I do... and that's what this season is really all about... me (lol). Guess you'll have to suffer tomorrow like everyone else.

This year I have not been inspired. My creativi-tree, if you will, is bare. I'm so devoid of Christmas cheer that I can't, for the life of me, come up with a clever litany of comments peripherally related to Christmas. So I decided to peruse years 1-5 to see if I could find a muse for this year's Sixth Eagerly Anticipated Virtual Christmas Card. Didn't happen. But I was so pleased with last year's card that I decided to recycle it... and it even works with the whole green movement... in fact, I'm taking it one step further by recycling a virtual card. Hold me back!

* This afternoon I realized that 'elf' is the holiday version of 'smurf' and can be just as easily integrated into your expletive-laden sentences... Go elf yourself. Elf off. What the elf were you thinking you elfing elf! Quit elfing around! Not quite as eloquent, but more suited to the season.
So... you'll just have to live with what I've thrown together. You'll live with it, and you'll like it. And I don't want to find it under your plate, or wadded up in a napkin...

Was excited to find a package from Kohls on the doorstep when I arrived home this afternoon. I screwed them out of free shipping and an extra 15% (again they attempt to offer me 15% when I know they're offering 30% to other people... sigh...) and was thusly able to forgive them for that Black Friday debauchle. Was on cloud nine -- my Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely fragrance gift set was here... It was here! It was here! Imagine my disappointment when I dabbed a wee bit of the lotion onto my wrist and it smelled like smokey old lady perfume. Harsh... not lovely at all. They should have named it Smack! because that's what it does, it slaps you around and calls you beyotch. It's going back. I'm not liking it at all... I don't know what was in that little paper sample they sent me but it was false advertising, or my nose wasn't working. So now the shoe is on the other foot, and Kohls is laughing, because I have to drive to the store and return it. Bugger.

And finally... was working on a spreadsheet at work this afternoon (it's what I do) and tried to use the TODAY function. The purpose of the TODAY function is to allow me use TOD... sorry, today's date in a mathematical equation. Welp, in the latest version of Excel... the fucked up one with the weird menu... I got a rather amusing message:

In fact, I think this is a message from Chuck Norris: Translation -- don't mess with this function or Chuck Norris will kick your ass.
Food should be getting here soon... I'm starving... I have a fridge full of food, mind you, but it's so overwhelming that I couldn't even wrap my mind around it. It's mostly junk for Christmas Eve snack time anyway. Doorbell! Gotta go!


148 - My favorite letter is Z...

... and that's because if you have at least three of them, you have sleep. I like sleep. In fact, it's what I did today. I called in to work, and I stayed home and slept, because for the last several days I've been exhausted and felt slightly feverish. I fought it, because I had a party to throw (responsibilities, ugh), but I can fight it no more. When I woke up Sunday I had a nasty cough with a metallic aftertaste which portends green phlegm in my near future... and nothing good ever comes of that.

Sleep is how I get over illness, so I decided to take a rather large dose of it... I slept until noon. Noon. Really. And I may go to bed early tonight, just for good measure. But before that, I may take a nap. Yeah. But by the 24th I'm going to be better. Better I tell you!


147 - The After... glow... or math...

I've thrown, and been invited to, some great parties in my time, but I have to say, last night's get together is in my top five. That said... damn... I'm not as young as I used to be...

The party lasted until well past four in the morning but it didn't feel like nearly that long. 'Tis true that time flies when you're having fun. I also had a few overnight guests... it's nice to have a guestroom, and I'd much rather utilize it than worry whether people got home alright -- but the best part is that I didn't have to convince anyone to stay like I would have when we were younger and pigheaded. They did it voluntarily.

It was like a mini-high school reunion since all but one person graduated with me in '91 (havin' fun, class of '91... that was our motto, and we certainly did it proud...). Our graduating class had over 800 people in it, and I realized during our conversations last night that I have forgotten a great many of them... Funny to think of it statistically, but I had 1% of our class in my house, and a representative from almost every social class... jocks... band geeks... dance squad... honor students... stoners... cowboys... hooligans... not sure what we're missing except maybe a rep from the 'gazebo people'. We had an open campus with a courtyard in between the buildings and they hung out at the gazebo... thus the name... they gathered together but sat alone, never talking, draped in black clothing, hair dyed black, lips covered in black, eyes surrounded by black, nails black... all of which contrasted severely with their pasty white skin. So basically they were goth.

I like knowing that no matter where we are in life, we'll always have this bond (I almost accidentally typed a g there at the end of that word... good grief, lol) of having grown up together. It may not seem like much, but it really does matter. Most of the people I now consider friends were actually little more than acquaintances back in the day, but we have history together, and that was a stepping stone. I don't know if it's class-wide, but when it comes to my little group, I know that if I needed support, I would have it coming at me from every direction. I'd like to be more eloquent about it, but brain... fuzzy...

And here's a stunning revelation... I actually played the piano. In front of people. I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever play in front of people because I put too much pressure on myself and end up frazzled. My fear that I'll make a mistake is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it doesn't help matters that I am easily distracted. Anyway, I played the first movement of Moonlight Sonata (the one everyone recognizes) and didn't screw up that much, even on the arpeggios... When I started playing there were only three people in the room and I had them shut the door, which inexplicably made me feel more comfortable... when I finished, the door was open and everyone was standing there, watching me. It was amazing... normally movement of any kind makes me lose my concentration, or the noise of the door being opened would have, but I was completely oblivious to it all. So anyway... that was cool...

I had to skip out on a brunch I was supposed to go to this morning. I would have enjoyed the company, but I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the food, and I was exhausted. Even so, the reason I actually cancelled is that I still had company until almost 12:30. And when I say that, I'm not complaining. It was nice to have someone to make muffins for, and I really enjoyed our conversation because I got to know more about this great person that I really didn't know very well, even though we'd been around each other since the third grade.

Marc is a thinker, like me, but possibly more intense... my thoughts aren't necessarily deep, but they are legion, and so it is with his thoughts (except for the deep part... on the whole, his seem to be much more contemplative). Like me, Marc has a difficult time shutting his mind down, so he has to find things to focus on in order to find some semblance of peace. Both of us use writing as an outlet, so there you go... another writer for me to trade ideas with.

On that note, a lot of people tell me I think too much, or they chide me, claiming that I spend too much time thinking. My problem is that when I never have just one thought, I have (on average) ten thoughts, all at once (you may have picked up on that as you read my blogs). Each thought is a different take on the same situation, and it can just as quickly lead to another batch of related thoughts... though sometimes the thoughts don't seem related until I reveal my train of thought. So in essence, in a one minute span of time, a single thought has exponentially multiplied like tribbles, and it's overwhelming... not only to me, but to other people. I don't actually put effort into developing these thoughts of mine, and I don't spend a significant amount of time trying to make them materialize, but it appears that way to the people who don't live in my noggin. And they give me crap for it sometimes. Which sucks.

Oh... my one gripe about the party... my friend's wife... I just don't have much in common with her so it's always awkward for me to try and connect. I try, but she's so serious, and she pretty much limits the conversation to family... nothing exists beyond that. Nothing. Also, I see them interact sometimes and just want to tell her to lighten up... he'll be making a joke, and she will take the serious approach in her (often unnecessary) response (retort), almost to the point of rolling her eyes and reprimanding him like a child (okay, she actually does roll her eyes). I don't know if I've ever heard her laugh... But that's not the gripe. The gripe is that she wanted ice, so I showed her where my freezer was... I have one of those French door fridges where the freezer is on the bottom... not complicated, but she's not the first to have difficulty finding the freezer, so... She looked at all the food and made the comment that that was a lot of food for one person. It was the tone, not the statement... it felt a judgement rather than an observation. I'm sensitive to anything that sounds weight related, so that pretty much translated to 'wow, you eat a lot' which quickly morphed into 'no wonder you have a weight problem'. Bam. I've shut down.

In truth, I had just gone to the grocery store and I hate to go, so I usually buy 2-3 weeks of food at one time... and it's the holiday season, so I bought food for parties and dinners and such that I don't normally buy... and hell -- it's a freezer, so I've got stuff in there that I bought to have on hand when I throw an impromptu dinner party, or food that I just haven't used yet... a freezer is a lot like a pantry, you keep things in there that you may not intend to use immediately, but if it's well stocked, then you have options... all these explanations that, instead of blurting out her comment, she could have figured out for herself. But then... I'm a thinker... and a sensitive one at that.


146 - Get down girl, go on get down

Tonight I'm having friends over. House is clean, decorations are out, I'm freshly showered, and I'm just waiting on a friend to come over and help me with food. It's always nice to be able to spend extra time with Sue Beth, to catch up with each other before everyone else arrives. So my playlist has been carefully composed... I've deleted genres that are not conducive to a party atmosphere (take that (!) easy listening)... I took out my personal compositions because they are dreary... I removed highly offensive material that makes me giggle but might not go over well with other people (Bounce... like yo ass has the hiccups)... it's a rather complex thing to make a playlist when you have 14,059 songs, but I've proven that I'm up to the task.

I even did my hair. It's been about two weeks since anyone's seen me in anything other than a ponytail... it's quick, and quick is good on a workday (remember that I'm not a morning person... not that I will complain about having to get out of bed anymore after reading Kato's post... sheesh!).

So anyhoo... not much to report today. Oh! Nanobots! I almost forgot.

So one of my friends has this thing about either zombies or Skynet taking over the world someday. I think he's kinda kidding... but I'm not sure he's totally kidding. Well... maybe about the zombies. The Skynet thing I think he's very serious about. I told him that if the world is overrun with zombies I'm checking myself out before they disembowel me, but if it comes down to us verus Skynet, I'll stand and fight with him. Of course I say this now, when my only reference for fighting Skynet is a video arcade game that I used to enjoy 20 years ago... If I ever get filthy stinking rich I'm going to buy one. You can quote me on that. Rupert Grint may have an ice cream truck, but I'm going to have a Terminator 2 video arcade game. We'll be so happy living our Peter Pannish life together... *shaking it off* Anyhoo... when the machines take over I'm sure they've already marked me for assassination -- I took out a lot of Terminators back in the day (assassination... that's some double ass right there... I don't know why I said that I just... SQUIRREL!).

Remember where this was going? Good. You're doing better than I am.

Yesterday my friend hands me a copy of Popular Mechanics and points to an article, telling me that I have to read it. As part of the Resistance I did as I was told, this guy is, after all, my commanding officer. After you read said article you may return and I will reveal to you four things I'm not particularly fond of regarding this idea (go on... I'll wait... I'll just amuse myself with a jazzed up version of the theme to Jeopardy do-dit-n-da-da doodly-doo-dah-de-dah):

1) It's called The Singularity, I think that sounds rather offputting
2) Israel is ahead of us, wtf?
3) Big Brother potential in a world where I'm already watching history being rewritten, where language is being bastardized by acronyms and slang, and you aren't free to speak... not really...
4) Nanobot brains = Assembly line of people who are all the same, no one is any smarter or dumber than the next person. None wittier or more clever. Time to reference Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron again... I really wish 1984 and Harrison Bergeron felt more like works of fiction... but they stopped feeling that way a couple of decades ago. Think Nostradamus made the most accurate predictions? Nope. It was Orwell, Rand and Vonnegut...

I hope to be dead long before this shit take place, I really do. I'm all for technology, but I don't want little robots swimming around in my bloodstream, doing God knows what to me. I'm already a little freaked out by the whole cloning thing. There are some things I'm not sure we're meant to do. I'm convinced that a good portion of our economic crisis stems from the fact that people live longer than they were meant to... so they don't retire. That's only one piece of the puzzle, but with people living longer, they need more money to live, which means they retire later in life... and since technology and outsourcing are reducing the number of jobs, it's a bad situation that's only going to get worse.

Stepping off the soapbox and putting it back in its drawer.

So... I'm hearing a firetruck siren wailing in the distance. Not to worry though -- it's a special firetruck... this firetruck siren means that Santa's on his way. It used to freak me the fuck out when I'd be home and all of sudden hear that wail moving closer and closer to my humble abode... after all, I don't want fire anywhere near my house, and firetrucks usually do mean fire. This is the only time of year when they don't. For some reason around these here parts, they decided to put Santa on a firetruck and ferry him through the neighborhood for the kiddos to see... he waves and throws candy (to the kids, not at the kids). I don't know if it's as big a deal as it used to be when I grew up, but I like it, and I'm glad they do it. I'm sure it's a lot of fun for the firemen, who yeah... probably get to feel pretty good about what they do as a general rule of thumb... but this good doesn't come from tragedy, this is just pure fun. Everybody needs that.

Besides... you know... firemen... meow. Not just fun for the kiddos if you know what I mean. ;)


145B - Crapped upon

Well Bendigo... funny you should ask at just that very moment... I just ended things. I'm not sure I did it gracefully, but it's done. (Imogene Heap's 'Aha!' is perfect for this moment... I love her music... song actually starts at about 2:55, there's a funny speech at the beginning though... or it's on iTunes)

It's not my favorite part, The End. I much prefer The Beginning... it's always so promising. A new person is a clean slate, they are flawless and virgin (metaphorically speaking). It's unfortunate that we have to actually get to know people, and upwards of 99% of them ruin our perfect little fantasy. It's even worse when they barf out secrets that should have remained secrets and seem completely taken by surprise when you to recoil from the stench.

I guess there's something to that whole mystery thing after all... I should take a lesson from this and remember to leave some things to the imagination... there's no need to expose our warts so early on. The bad part is... what I saw as a wart, he merely regarded as a humorous anecdote...

It's impossible to build something when two people's viewpoints are so completely divergent.

Anyhoo, when he asked me if we were on for Tuesday, I saw my opportunity and segued into how I've been thinking about his revelation the other night, and how much it bothered me that it was his idea to leave the scene of the accident. He tried to defend his actions by asking... did I expect him to let his friend go to jail?...

How do I answer that? I mean... our first instinct is, of course, to have our friends back, but right is right and wrong is wrong... if you drive when you're drunk, sometimes you have to face the damn consequences... Then he argued that the guy told them he didn't want to talk to them, he told them to get out of his face. Yeah... well... he'd just been in a car accident and it was probably pretty obvious that the driver was drunk... I don't think he meant that literally... I think he meant... well... get out of my face... not 'go on, get out of here you two crazy kids -- and be more careful next time' as he winked and playfully frogged their biceps. And party guy knows this. That's why his first thought when he saw the cop behind them (as they pulled onto a side street because their bumper was dragging...) was 'oh shit, we got caught'.

Don't toy with me. I'm smarter than that.

I hate myself for it, but there was a part of me that really wanted to be able to forgive them (his actions). There were aspects of him that I really liked... first and foremost that he was interested in me, lol. Another that he was reliable, he always called when he said he would. And he sounded like a good dad. The problem is... as I'm attempting to come up with positives, I hadn't known him long enough to accumulate enough of them to offset the negative weight of this story he told me.

He said I must have strong morals... but it wasn't meant as a compliment. I guess I do... they're not as malleable as they used to be. My life is normally rife with shades of grey (it's actually a bit maddening sometimes), but when I'm auditioning boyfriends the dividing lines are a little bit more defined. If we were just friends I could overlook almost anything... In a boyfriend I need someone who is on the same wavelength as I am when it comes to the weighty issues of right and wrong.

We don't like to say it, but if we're honest, a date is an audition for a relationship, and a relationship is an audition for marriage, and a marriage is meant to last forever. So I may not be directly thinking of marriage, but I am indirectly thinking of it. If I'm not, then why bother? I wouldn't date, I'd get a fuck buddy.

So I feel like crap again. I don't like to call people out. I don't like to injure their pride. I don't like to hurt their feelings. But still... I'm relieved that it's done, and I stuck to my guns. It's new for me. And I know it was right, because I know he still doesn't recognize what he did was wrong. It's human nature to get defensive, I hope once that wears off maybe he'll feel some remorse... but I doubt it. I'm sure that as I write this blog, he's on his way to a friend's house to drink beer and talk about what a morally superior bitch I am. And that's fine. He's entitled. I have to do what's right for me.

Man this got a lot longer than I intended...

One more thing, one last rant: Why are all my damn comments going to the spam folder all of a sudden??? If hadn't checked it I would have missed all of the comments I received today -- which, by the way -- has been a banner day for comments!

Mmmm... already feeling better -- there's NO way you can hear Andy Williams singing 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year' and remain in a dreary mood... it's like a big musical hug. Thank you Andy Williams... thank you...

145 - Uncrapped

Lol, just thought I'd let you know that I'm in a much better mood today. We had our holiday party at work and I got to relax and let my hair down. I love being able to talk to people that I don't often get to see... we have a good group. My buffalo chicken dip only got halfway eaten, but that's par for the course... I love dips more than any other food... give me onion dip, or queso, fruit dip, or spinach dip and I'm all over it, but most people want the meat and potatoes... oh well... more for me... At the end of the party we played a couple of videos I made on Jib-Jab's "Elf Yourself" site, and that went over really well. I used pictures of the managers (including myself) and the supervisors, and we looked like complete asses, but that was the point. I think it makes us relatable, and it's good to laugh at yourself every once in a while. I was glad my colleagues were good sports about it, and in most cases, actually encouraged it. I so rarely get to flex my creative muscles at work anymore...

Now I'm at home, and I'm about to go on a cleaning odessy like none other... because people are coming over tomorrow, and I can't stand to have a dirty house (thanks mom...). And I have food to make. I have no idea who is coming, a lot of maybe's and very few people who are willing to commit, but it was kind of last minute, and that's what happens. I've learned, from the dinner parties I've thrown this year, that it really doesn't matter. In the end, large crowd or small, I always have a great time. It's not the size of the party, but how you get down with your bad self that matters (that was for the guys).

And, on another note... Ian has nominated me for best blog of the year in the categories of 'best rant' and 'you think you are having a bad day'. I am nothing, if not good at bitching and moaning, lol. It was kind of fun to go allllllllllllllllllllll the way back and re-read those blogs. But man... I remember those days and they definitely weren't fun at the time...

I'm going to be honest, when I first started writing this blog I had delusions of grandeur... I was hoping I'd have thousands of 'followers' because I had just written a book and (LOL) I thought it might get published, so I wanted a ready-made fan base. On the other hand, as with my old myspace blog, it was first and foremost... my blog... a diary of my life... sometimes it's exciting, sometimes I have nothing to say, but I certainly don't let that deter me.

At first, I was disappointed that the blog didn't take off as I'd originally hoped. But I was thinking about it the other day... and I am far happier with what took place instead. I've taken chances and reached out to complete strangers (and vice versa) and now I have a great group of people who read, and comment, on my blogs and I feel like there's a nice little community of us. A lot of us, as Ian noted, are writers, and as a writer it's always good to get validation that what I'm doing is worthwhile. I enjoy reading about life more than anything... so when I don't have a lot of time, I skip the agent blogs and read the (real) people's blog that I connect to. I don't think I would have been able to connect with anyone if I got 500 comments a day, and I like to be able to interact. You guys have given me a lot of encouragement, and it really does brighten my day. So I want to say thank you to each one of you for choosing to make me a part of your life, and allowing me to be a part of yours.


Sappy holiday moment over. =) Shaking it off. lol

The 'best rant' post is actually about to come full circle. I'm going to just come out with it because I've been dying to say it for almost two months now, and since HR told me that 'for all intents and purposes' it's official...: I'm stepping down from management! It was my idea, and I couldn't be more thrilled. I can only put up with so much shit, and when it's an exercise in futility (and the pay is not commiserate with said bullshit), there's no reason to trouble myself. I didn't mind the managing part so much, it was the rest of the bullshit... the meetings... the politics... ARGH! I'll miss some aspects of it, but... it will be over soon, and I will be able to focus more of my attention on the budget, and start learning MS Project. * so happy *

Tomorrow... an article I read about nanobots and the fear it instilled...


144 - Crap Day

Sometime around lunch my mood took a decisive turn for the worse. Not sure what it is, just suddenly felt blah, and stayed that way for the rest of the day. I still haven't pulled out of it. I love rainy days, and I'm all about the drear, but I think the length of the day is starting to get to me. I barely get home and open the blinds before it's time to close them again and turn on a lamp. Somehow I've become psychologically conditioned that when it gets dark, the day's over, I can't accomplish anymore until the sun comes up again (and since I'm not a morning person... or as I call it 'mourning'... I'm at a significant disadvantage). To be honest... it's starting to feel Seattle'ish around here... I don't think the sun's been out for almost a month. My reaction to it is a little disappointing, because I have always thought Seattle would be a lovely place to live... misty rain... grey days... and nature. Now I'm having doubts.

That and I was supposed to break it off with party guy tonight, and even though I don't know him well that I should care, I've been dreading it. Tonight he called me while he was at work, on break, so I couldn't bring myself to lecture him, knowing that he'd have to go back and work on someone's airplane afterward... I did manage to work into the conversation that I don't drink very often, hoping it would turn him off and I wouldn't have to do the dirty deed... no such luck. I must be more interesting than I think I am. Guess I'll do it tomorrow night when I know he's home.

I did have one nice moment at the end of the day, and it lifted me out of my funk for a little while (it lasted until I got on the road, and then that moment of levity was stolen from me by the turtle-car in front of me). I got a surprise call from a co-worker, and got to talk about writing for a little while.

His name is Marc Schooley, and his book, The Dark Man, was recently published, so he knows all about what I'm going through, and then some. Anyway, his book was written up in the company newsletter around the time I was putting my website together, so I linked to his website on my writing page... but I never told him I did it. I guess I'm not the only one who uses Google analytics, because he was checking traffic sources to his website and mine came up as a referring site so he checked it out and called me. He said he didn't know I was a writer. I admitted that until recently I didn't call myself a writer, that I felt like a phony saying it unless I was published, but finally realized that it didn't matter whether I was published or not... I write... and I love to write... so I'm a writer.

It's always nice to talk to someone who can understand what that's like. He talked about the joy he feels when he writes, and he understands how easy it is to get off track, to get out of the habit of writing, and how it feels when your characters decide they don't like the direction you're going. I told him a little about the story I'm working on now. He's also working on a second book (not a sequel yet, this one is completely new). But the best part is that he is going to give me a copy of his book -- how cool is that? Very nice of him, and I'm excited to get ahold of it and see what it's all about because it sounds really good.

After work I went grocery shopping, came home and wolfed down a chicken leg... I seriously reminded myself of the vulture at the Renaissance Festival, picking the leg clean in under a minute... it was sooooooooo good. Then I made some buffalo dip for my work party tomorrow (nothing as exciting as Kate's work do's are... our highlight is going to be a Jib-Jab video I made of us managers, and another of the supervisors... we're getting buck wild I tell ya!). I admit it.... I ate some of the dip... I had to know if it was good. It was. Now I'm waiting for the dishes to be done so I can spoon it into the fancy-schmancy party dish and stick it in the fridge and go to bed.

Sleep. Oh how I need you.


143 - Differences in opinion

Funny how a person changes as they age. There was a time when the phrase, 'they're used to me coming in to work hung over' wouldn't have set off the alarm bells, it might have even been (inexplicably) cool... but now... I hear them ringing, urgently, accompanied by the furious waving of red flags. The realization that my party boy's idea of fun routinely involves drinking to excess is not where I'm at anymore... I enjoy a drink or two, and sometimes I go a little crazy with it, as I did over the weekend, but it's the exception and no longer the rule. So I had that buzzing around in my head today... 'am I being too harsh?... was he just posturing?... yeah, I should find a way to explore this further... give him the benefit of the doubt' And then came tonight's revelation, which I won't go into... but it has basically killed it for me. I'm going to have to find a nice way to get out of this. The bells were right... damn it...

I've grown as a person in the last year. Time was that I would be bothered by this, but overlook it anyway. He has good qualities so I would focus on those, and like an ostrich, bury my head so that I wouldn't see the rest. Wouldn't want to seem stodgey or judgmental. It also stems from me not feeling as if I tried hard enough to salvage my marriage. So with my next relationship I started rationalizing things and taking extraordinary measures to make things work, when I should have dumped the asshole months before he dumped me. It opened my eyes but I still refused to put my knowledge into action in my next relationship. Over the last year I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to settle. And I should always care more about what I think than what the other person thinks. It's hard to break my old habits, but I don't want to waste my time.

Oh well. Quickly changing subjects...

Before you click on this link allow me to explain... First -- very important -- don't listen to it if you are at work, and don't play it around children. The subject matter is inappropriate and toward the end of the song they drop the F-bomb (sweeeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuu-bwech... that the sound that an F-bomb makes as it's coming at you). Secondly -- if you don't like techno you will probably want to throw things because it will annoy you. Thirdly -- I ran across it when I was looking for the music to that Armani Black Code commercial with the techno beat. This is not that song, but a couple of people suggested that it either was, or it had inspired the music in the commercial, and I bit. So. That's how I found The Horrorist 'One Night in New York City'. Now, why am I linking to it? Because it's scary, and I've never been able to say that about a music video before. It's like a short film, a cautionary tale about a 15 year old girl who sneaks away to New York City with her friends, goes to a nightclub, meets a guy, and goes back to his dorm room. You can probably imagine how that could go wrong. If not, the DJ is going to tell you.

I'm not sure whether his intentions were good or bad when he composed it (his other songs seem to be about Ecstacy so I err toward bad), so I'm not sure whether to like it, or feel uncomfortable listening to it... but I view it as a warning to naive young girls, so I 'like' it if the message sinks in for anyone. The ambience, and the words, and the detachment that he displays as he tells the story, make it compelling (and in this video, unlike The Girl Next Door, there are no actual children involved).

Welp, off to take a shower and get comfy for the season opener of Paranormal State. All is back to normal... I get freaked out... I go to bed... I eventually fall to sleep... and tomorrow is another day.


142 - Cereal Killah

Just finished reminding myself that I can not play Rachmaninoff's Prelude in c-Minor (There's a file with better sound quality but I think this is actually Sergei Rachmaninov himself... and I kind of like the old scratch of an LP, so I'm listening to the 3:49 file with the nps.gov URL... in case the link doesn't lead you to the song directly). Both hands are playing chords at the beginning, then triplets come at you like a runaway freight train... they sometimes sound like chords -- but they're not... and then the chords do return but this time in triplet form. After that... not one but two stanzas of mighty chords (that's where the picture comes in... I never get that far... it's always at this point that I give up). Good. God. Sometimes I forget and think I can actually play this piece, but the song has too many damn sharps. I can handle F#, I'm even friendly with C#... but G# and D# (ah the circle of fifths) don't come to the party very often. When they do, they are far more palatable as A-flat and E-flat... same damn thing but so, so different. Here they are masquerading as sharps and they confuse me; I can't sightread very well, and I have only superficially memorized the hand positions. But I love to play my piano (when no one is around), and I need to do it more often. Someday I will conquer this beast.
Anyone heard of Arvo Part? If you need a relaxing piece of music to listen to by candlelight you can't beat Te Deum. It's choral with strings and piano, sometimes very quiet, sometimes a cacophany of sound, and it was recorded in the crypt of an old stone church so the acoustics are amazing. Like Mozart said (in Amadeus anyway), when people are talking all at once, it's just noise. But when they're singing, you can understand them all, and it can be beautiful. Or something like that. I really need to watch it again... but it depresses me, I take his death very personally... so I have to watch it sparingly.

I started writing again last night. I've had this thought in my head for a while, but last night it burst into creative flame and I had to lean over to scrabble for the notebook I keep next to the bed or I wouldn't have been able to sleep. It's simple really... serial killers have friends, too. And this ones best friend is a priest. There's more to it, or at least there was last night, but that's the basic premise. Last night I had a bazillion ideas swarming my mind like fireflies, tonight I'm going to transcribe what I scribbled and bibbled (it's all right there... in my noodle) and see what happens.


141 - The mourning after

I reek of cigarette smoke from last night... my hair is so odor absorbent that it's going to take at least a couple more washings to get it out. Nothing against smokers, it was my choice to stand in the garage and chat up the hot guy, I just don't want smoke in my hair when I leave... I wish there was a Febreze for hair. It's making me ill...

I'm 36 years old and I think I'm just now figuring out how the world works. It started with the car dealership... if you don't want a car, they'll practically throw one at you, so hold out, and hold out some more. Now I think I'm figuring guys out (lol, hold out, and hold out some more!). Here's where it started: Coming home from Scotland I was wearing a t-shirt, I had my hair in a ponytail, I had red eyes and I was disheveled from being awake and travelling for 24 hours, not to mention the dark circles resultant from the stress of trying to get my cousin out of her predicament in DC... in other words I was what my cousin would call a 'hot mess'. So what happens? I get on the plane and meet a very cool guy. We had a great conversation and it was hands down the best plane ride I've ever had. He gave me his business card and later found me on Facebook. Very flattering. The moral of the story is: it amazed me that, grungy as I was, anyone would find me attractive at that point in time.

Last night... similar situation. I decided I was leaving the house as-is. No shaving the legs. No plucking the eyebrows. No styling the hair. No fancy clothes. Just me in a ponytail, a concert tee, jeans, my tennis shoes and some perfume (I think Glow must have magic in it). Got to the party, felt very awkward, but luckily I met a couple of women to pal around with and eventually caught my stride. Girl power! I originally figured I would stay for an hour or two and ended up staying for eight... so I had a good time (eight jello shots, a shot of tequila, and several margaritas might have had something to do with it) Anyhoo... I met a guy. He thought I was 24... I never get tired of hearing that (I actually hear it a lot (24-28), so he wasn't just feeding me a line, case in point, as I was leaving a woman said the exact same thing and I know she wasn't trying to get into my pants... or at least I don't think so...). All that aside, here I am again, not making any effort -- truth be told I was even feeling a little grungy... and here comes a guy. Maybe he'll call, maybe he won't, but in any case, it was nice to feel attractive.

Oh! Before I forget... Tom Tom got me there without incident. Yea for Tom Tom. Sorry. Back to my story.

It kind of sucks to be divorced (this thought is actually the result of a survey I took, not the guy). Any time I have to classify myself, I'm now 'divorced' instead of just 'single'. And no matter how long I've been divorced (12 years now), I will never be truly 'single' again. At least we're amicable. I see too many people who get divorced and hate each other's guts. We don't hang out or anything like that, but we'll email every once in a blue moon, like I'll say, 'Hey, Legend of the Seeker's based on that series of books you introduced me to, have you seen it?', and he'll say, 'I don't watch tv, and anyway I stopped reading it because it's misogynistic...', so I'll scratch my head since more than half of the main characters are strong, independent women... and then I'll remember why we didn't make it... we think very differently about a lot of things.

Ah well.

I got up at 7 am, and have done nothing productive as of yet (I have a wee bit of a hangover), so I'm going to get off the computer and go scrub the kitchen floor. The edges where the floor intersects with the cabinets is grungy and it grosses me out... Today I shall be Cinderella... such a glamorous life I lead...


140 - Par-tay

About to head out to a Christmas party... going to rely on Tom Tom to guide me (lord help me). I'm not going to get spiffed up for the occassion, just going to go as I am... although I will swap the fuzzy red slippers for tennis shoes... and the pajama bottoms for jeans... but other than that, just as I am.

I always get anxious when I go to parties unless I know a good portion of the people there. At this one I only expect to know about 4, and only 2 well... so... anxious. I'm sure I'll have a good time though, and it's close by, which has nothing to do with anything except that anything in a 5-minute radius is A-#1 in my book.

Did a little shopping at the drugstore this afternoon, had a 20% off coupon in addition to manufacturer's coupons, so I saved about $20. Woot! Bought my Sunday paper, so I spent two hours clipping coupons... it's a mindless task that I enjoy, much like hand washing my dishes.

Saw the most disturbing movie last night. Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door. What a depraved piece of cinema... It's about a girl who is tortured, raped, cut, and has her clit burned off with a blowtorch, by her aunt, while a group of neighborhood kids watched. Took place over a period of days, so the kids came back every day. Sound good? Apparently some of the IMDB commentors think so. It blows my mind that they wondered why it was classified as a horror movie... that they claim it was on the same level as a Lifetime movie. It was most certainly NOT, it was far more explicit in every way. What disturbs me the most is that the actors are primarily children (I'm guessing aged 7-14, and the actor who played the victim was supposedly 18), and say what you will, this kind of plot line has to affect the actor on some level, especially those too young to really understand. Also disturbing is that the film is based on a true story.

I didn't catch the first 30 minutes, so I missed out on how she ended up hanging by her wrists in the basement, but nothing good happened from the moment I flipped to the station, until the movie was over. I kept waiting for something redeeming. A lesson. A survival even. I got sucked into wondering how much further they were going to take it, hoping they would stop at some point... stunned at the nudity, the sexual situations, the language... the children...

The film's supporters try to defend it as a film that will open your eyes to the depravity of the human condition. They say the story is so powerful that we need to see these things as they happen, otherwise we can't understand it. I don't need to see it all to understand. In my world there is more value in the suggestion of a thing than the explicit showing of it. In fact, my mind can come up with pretty explicit images, but at least the children in my head aren't real, and I can look away if I want.

I don't understand why it was necessary. I don't actually understand why I continued to watch except that I was shocked and wanted to know that there was an uncrossable line that they would back away from... but they didn't. Watch if you want, but if you do, it'll leave scars.


139B - I just killed a mosquito... and this post is hilarious

Seriously. It is. Read here.

139 - Can it be?

Can it be? Have I possibly exhausted the endless parade of somewhat palatable Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas movies? Is there nothing left that I haven't seen? Glancing at tonight's schedule it appears to be true... Silver Bells... seen it... I'll Be Home for Christmas... seen it... Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle... seen it... Mr. St. Nick... seen enough of it... I may have to break out a dvd... Once I finish watching Taken... which is not a Christmas-y movie, but in the great scheme of things, it's way more Christmas-y than Last House on the Left... and I'm so intrigued that instead of dividing my time between the two... I've paused it while I blog.

Oh! Wow! If you read this in time, you can see the worst movie EVER -- Cabin by the Lake... LMN at 5 pm. If you missed out... well... you won't be sorry. It's the watching that's painful.

Speaking of painful watching... last night I was scrolling through the online guide and saw a movie entitled... Killer Condom... Yes, oh yes... Killer Condom. I couldn't stop myself. It was on LOGO, which made me pause, but come on... Killer Condom? I couldn't pass it up... could you? It was horrible (if you hadn't already figured it out). It was in German, too... I lasted about two minutes, but my favorite random dialogue moment was... okay, so the guy was in a hospital bed because he's missing one of his bits and pieces, and his friend (or associate, who knows?) is telling him that it wasn't a condom that bit it off, it was that the guy he was with just got overzealous (does this happen often? guys bite each other's hmm-hmms off?... anyone?), so uniball says, "No -- he ran out of the house because he was scared. It was a carnivorous condom. He'd never seen one before... have you?" Double ouch (for bad dialogue and condoms with teeth). So... I flipped back to The Golden Girls and promptly fell asleep... not because I don't like them, but because I've also seen all of those episodes, too... Lifetime and Hallmark just don't have many surprises for me anymore, or so it would seem.

So tonight I'm having a hamburger delivered... as well as some fried mushrooms... and a slice of coconut pie, and I'm staying in and watching movies because tomorrow I have a holiday party to attend, and that's my big hurrah for the weekend. I find myself planned out into the future again... party tomorrow... hang out with Ernie on the 16th... party at my house on the 19th... brunch with Kirk on the 20th... Christmas Eve and Day with the folks... hang out with Mel on the 27th, and then, you know... NYE. Whoop-de-doo. Suddenly down time becomes precious. Sigh.

Okay, well... gonna get back to the movie... gotta watch Liam kick some A-double-ess. Have a great weekend!


138 - She tears her hair out

Today was amazingly frustrating. But that's work. And work is taboo. So moving on...

Does anyone understand why this is supposed to be funny? Because if you do... please explain it to me. The guy who sent it to me was hoping I would know. I tried my best... I failed.

I get that there's a cat in the carrier. I get that he's dressed as a convict. I don't get the joke. It puzzles me, and I don't like that. I'm usually the first one laughing in the movie theater. I'm the first one laughing at my mind's twisted version of someone's innocently made comment. It makes me feel stupid to not understand something so seemingly simple (look! I'm alliterate!).
And yet, this one eludes me.

On all the agent blogs I keep reading about e-books... will they take over the publishing industry... are they good or bad... what does it mean to authors... the questions go on. So what does it mean to me, as a reader?

I don't know how I feel about e-Readers. I like books. I love their feel and I love their smell. I like holding on to them and turning the pages -- not just sliding my finger across a screen and pretending to turn the page. I don't know that I like the idea of a virtual book. I don't know if I like the ability to cram 1,000 books into one device, it makes them expendable, anonymous, unimportant. It's too overwhelming.

Too many things have changed, traditions are fading, everything is becoming air... my money is air... my music is digital... more air... In a way, I like that, because I don't have to find a place to store my CD's. Songs are an average of 3 minutes of my time, I can shuffle them and miss nothing, I get a broader spectrum of music than if I just listened to one album by one artist. Songs are audible, I think that's a key difference.

A book is an investment of my time... a commitment. The average book takes me about 8-10 hours to read, if it's Dostoyeksvky it may take longer, chick lit takes significantly less. I read every night as I take my bath, and I just don't see that happening with a digital book. One wet hand, a slip, and bloop! into the water... book over. A real book can be dried out, I'm not sure a virtual one can... Also, a book doesn't require batteries... if the power goes out, I can read a book as long as there is light, and I never have to recharge it. I can read it as many times as I want. I can lend it out if I want. I can give it away if it sucks ass. I don't want a book made of air that runs on batteries. If I wanted a book that had to be plugged in I would rent a foreign film and mute it!

I may change my mind, but for now, I'm holding out. This is one technology I hope I don't have to succumb to... I hope I get to make that choice. I'm afraid that real books will eventually become a thing of the past, phased out and obsolete, and (all but the online) bookstores with them. That would be a sad day for me. Books are so much a part of my life... they always have been.

As I type this I'm watching The Ultimate Gift on The Hallmark Channel. I DVR'd it last night but didn't get the chance to watch it. I didn't realize James Garner was in it. I really like him. Used to watch Maverick all the time, and have found that he's never let me down since... seriously... can't think of a single movie with him in it that I didn't enjoy. Anyway, it's a good movie so far... not silly... not smarmy... a good movie that's probably going to make me cry... but is also making me laugh... and think a little. Can't ask for much more in a movie (except someone to watch it with... oh yeah... 'tis the season, I'm gonna start whining about being single soon... waah!).


137 - These are a few of my favorite things

I love holiday music, and one of my favorite 'holiday' songs has provided fodder for this evening's blog. I've actually been thinking of doing it earlier, but usually forget until I've hit 'Publish Post.'

So without further ado... here are a few of my favorite things (now that Kato has shared the great blogger picture dragging secret with me, things might be a little more orderly around here):

Okay... one more bit of ado -- this is in no particular order:

My car


Singin' in the Rain - This movie is wonderful. I am sad that it came to me so late in life, for I could have been enjoying Gene Kelly's tapping much earlier (I used to get Gene Kelly confused with Fred Astaire and wonder why all the women ooh'd and aah'd... baby, baby, baby do I ever get it now!). There's singing and dancing, but on top of all that there's HUMOR! Lots of well done humor. Two of my favorite clips -- 1) Donald O'Connor's Make 'Em Laugh, and 2) Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor doing Moses Supposes.

Gilmore girls - I miss it so. Here's one reason why. Here's another. I could go on, but I'll leave it at this and two more words: Sebastian Bach.

Cougar Town

Free Shipping - This website is for US shipments, this website is for our Canadaian neighbors. It tells you which sites offer free shipping (I just heard about this the other day).

Eleanor Powell - Crap can this girl tap (guess I'm in a musical mood), but in general she can dance.... I love to watch people tap. I wish I could do it. I tried and gave up. This is a hula routine, look at the end... her turns are so precise! You can fast forward to 2:25 if you want to just see the tapping part. This is an amazing rope dance routine... wow (I recommend fast forwarding to 1:28... if you don't... don't say I didn't warn you).

Hot chocolate. Specifically this kind, in this mug, with 6 oz of milk microwaved on high for 1:30 or thereabouts.

These cats (but not the trail of hair they leave in their wake... or cleaning their litter boxes)

Daphne, aka Daphodil, aka Daphy, aka Pretty Girl

Gracie, aka Grace-Grace, aka Poopsie, aka Bootiful, aka My Baby Girl (I watched her come out of her mother's va-jay-jay (yeah... ew, but also pretty cool), so I've literally known her all her life...)

This yummy smelling stuff.

The Raging Dose of Domesticated Writers that got Derailed by Pandorah (and Confessed) Tribe, lol.

My camera, because it captures this kind of silly nit-wittery:

Yes. They left a delivery notice. On the box that they delivered. To let me know that they delivered a box.

This stuff. I have IBS and it makes my tummy feel better. And if I don't drink soda within 30 minutes of drinking milk, I can even drink milk now (I think that big foamy mass of bubbles that form when you pour soda over ice cream also happens in my tummy). Wowsa!

This guy. Look at that pipe...

...and listen to those pipes...

This pillow says it all

And these tiles... no truer words were ever spoken...

And many more... but that's it for now.


136 - This looks de-lic-ious

I have an ice cream maker that I've never used... I got it as one of those reward gifts you get for spending money with your credit card... probably 5 years ago. Maybe more. Guess I still won't get to use it, cuz this recipe doesn't require one and it looks yummy... I haven't made it yet, but oh Lordy... I'm-a-gonna:

1 tsp instant coffee (I think this is optional)
1 Tbsp hot water
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1-1/4 cups heavy cream, cold

Combine coffee and hot water in a med bowl. Let stand until coffee dissolves. Microwave chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and coffee mixture in bowl (on high? it doesn't say), stirring every 10 seconds., until mixture is melted, about one minute. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let cool.

With an electric mixer on med-high, whip cream to soft peaks, about 2 min. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold the remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture until incorporated. Freeze in an airtight container until firm, at least six hours or up to 2 weeks (pshaw right...).

I think they left off one important instruction: Eat! YUM.

This morning I felt like an ogre. My cat, Daphne, was lying next to me, purring so loudly that I couldn't go back to sleep. So I made a sudden move, thinking it might stop the purring. SURPRISE KITTY! Didn't work. Guess that's only for hiccups. So I eventually got out of bed, picked her up (gently, there was no punishment here), and carried her to the couch... then I went back to bed with the door closed.

I got up at 6:30 am, opened the door and that she sat. Looking at me. Waiting for me. I kid you not. She's a dog in a cat costume. Gracie is a cat... loves me, but does her own thing until she wants food or affection. Daphne... not so much. Lying on the sofa next to me now. If I get up and move to the bedroom, she'll eventually follow. Daphne is a dog.

I got up 15 minutes earlier than usual because today I was determined to beat the garbage men (soundly about their heads!... I jest...). They have gotten progressively earlier. They used to show up after I left for work. Now they come anywhere between 6:45 and 7:00 am (what kind of person is up at that ungodly hour???), so I'm always rushing to get my trash out onto the curb. Oh -- and I'm in the middle of the neighborhood, so the poor unfortunates who live at the front must have to get up at midnight to put their trash out.

One day I opened the garage door right as they were about to drive off, so I hollered and one of them turned around. I had my purse, my lunch bag, and a garbage bag all in the same hand... he tried to take them all... I resisted... a tug-of-war ensued... he didn't speak English so it was hard to communicate that my purse and lunch weren't part of the deal... In the end we worked it out. He probably hates me.


Today, I won. My neighbor's trashcans were still full of trash when I opened my garage door. So I won. I like saying that. I won. IWONIWONIWONIWON!!! I. Won.

Off to read posts.