Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tee Box Squid

Right.
I flew back to South Cackalackey on Thursday night. My trips were (for the most part) quite pleasant. Getting home was a relief. Those who know me know that I am a slave to the familiar when it comes to beds and bathrooms. Save for my own home and the homes of our parents, I don’t generally sleep or void with any regularity when I’m on the road. So I am home now and since the only place we’ve been is my in-laws' house, I am much better rested and feeling much less bloated.

The best part of the last trip was a visit with Baby Cousin (BC) and … Baby Cousin’s Baby (BCB)! Oh, and her very nice Tall Husband (TH). He’s good too. I really should quit calling her BC. She’s 27 and a Mama. The BCB is a gorgeous little man. He’s smart and funny and sweet, which are pretty amazing accomplishments for a 7-month-old. BC and I seemed to have this big huge gap in our ages and our lives when we were kids. Now she could easily be one of my Girlfriends. But I’m fortunate that way… BC and her big sister are my cousins and my friends, as are my sisters. To have people who are both obligated to love you because you’re family, but whom you also enjoy and love so much of your own choosing? Well, that’s the good stuff.

And now for some of my completely unsolicited, but incredibly wise commentary on the goings-on in the world:

I am not usually one to advocate for a Bush OR a beauty queen, but…

1. Laura Bush’s recent skin cancer episode is ABSOLUTELY NOT OUR BUSINESS. We don’t have a right to know everything about her and the last thing she needs is the press acting like a small patch of skin cancer on her leg is a breach of national security. And besides, she’s married to W… doesn’t she have enough burdens? You know… like a Husband whose idea of setting the mood is a keg and a few rounds of “pull my finger”?

2. I feel sorry for Miss USA. Really, I do. She’s a 21-year-old kid from a small town who was suddenly living in New York with a lot of fame and freedom. If anyone is surprised that she got a little out of control, then those folks have clearly never lived in a freshman dorm. And I think the Donald did the right thing by giving her a second chance. But rehab? She doesn’t need rehab. She just needs about 5-10 years to get her shit together.

3. When are humans going to learn that marching out into the wilderness in crappy weather conditions isn’t adventurous or brave? It’s just f***ing stupid. For the sake of their families, I sincerely hope they find out those missing hikers alive and well. But people, this is why God gave us hotels. Our pioneer ancestors HAD to venture out into snow and ice and wind and rabid raccoons. That’s where the FOOD was. And people without direct deposit and 401Ks had to find LAND that would support their freakin’ families. They did so risking their lives, but they HAD TO DO IT. You are not that guy. You are a software geek in your LL Bean fleece. Stay home and thank your sweet industrialized nation stars that you don’t have to go out in that shit! Because if you DO go out to get "back to nature" like your ancestors, there’s a good likelihood that nature will get back AT you and you will DIE like your ancestors. The difference here being that you could have stayed in your nice warm centrally-heated home and heated up an organic pizza on bulgar wheat crust. Turn on the Sharper Image nature sounds machine if you must, but stay your wanna-be-hippie ass indoors already.

4. Husband and I are having a debate. The Office or Scrubs as best thing on tv? And if anyone writes me to tell me “u r realy dum if u don’t like Surviver best”… please be on notice that I will hunt you down and club you to death with your Sidekick. That show sucks it for crack. It’s just a soap opera- without the expense of real actors, makeup artists, or I don’t know… clothing? If I want to see semi-anorexic strangers backstabbing and having sex, I will go to a sorority house on a weekend.

5. OH.MY.GOD.I.LOVE.HOLIDAY.FOOD. Enough said.

Oh, and line of the week from Husband:

On the 10th tee box at an upstate no-where-near-water golf course:

Me: What’s that thing in that hole on the tee box?

Husband (barely glances up): A squid.

I love that man!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I been everywhere, man....

2 round-trip plane tickets: $925.70
5 nights in 3 different hotels: $471.95
1 rental car from MD to VA: $283.29
44 hours labor in 2 different offices: $1,243.00

The head cold and mild stomach bug I picked up on the trip and brought home for my only weekend alone with Husband for the entire month of December?
F***ing Priceless.

That being said, here’s the Reader’s Digest summary of the trips:

Plane travel was fine. Relatively on-time flights and only one nearly-missed connection. (And it was only a near miss, so I don’t feel justified in complaining about it one bit.) Oh, and I had the most delicious chicken-and-pesto pannini EVER in the Dallas airport. Yes, in the airport. I was shocked too.

Car travel was harrowing. I drove my rental PT Cruiser from Baltimore to Richmond. I count myself fortunate that I only had to cheat death-by-semi-truck twice. For the record, Coworker Wally says that I have bad car karma and I should burn sage in the car before I drive anywhere. Wally clarified, as only he would, that I should do this BEFORE I drive and not WHILE I drive to avoid being pulled over on suspicion of smoking weed. He’s always thinking, that one.

Training in Texas was interesting. The staff there are pretty cool people, but this is home office of V.D. and it was clear neither he nor his management had made the training a priority. V.D. spoke precisely one word to me the entire three days I was there… a begrudging “hey” when I deliberately sought him out to say good morning. Some people might say that I’m being the bigger person only because it aggravates the hell out of V.D and I’d like to say that is complete b.s.! (Because that’s not the ONLY reason… but I will admit it’s a lovely fringe benefit.)

Maryland and Virginia were wonderful experiences! Both the management and staff in these offices are terrific people. Training in that kind of environment reminds me why I love my job. And I truly enjoy both cities. (Just not DRIVING in them… mass transit, anyone?) No, I did not eat any Maryland crab. I’m from Florida and I live in SC. It’s hard to impress me with seafood. But on a fun side note, my totally-great-but-NY-tough Director did tell me to suck it up and quit whining about the cold. She said I should just be grateful it was sunny and not snowing. She was right.

And can I just say that I managed to fly out of both Texas and Virginia about 6 hours ahead of really awful winter weather? My luck with automotive travel may be crappola, but I’ve got the good juju when it comes to the friendly skies.

Now I’ve got to get home and take a nap. Five nights in hotels have left me on a ridiculous sleep deficit. That and Husband is home, so I can nap complete with all my comfortable accessories.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Denim Shirt Phenomenon

OK... notes on Dallas, Texas...
1. DO NOT DRIVE HERE. EVER. No kidding- whoever planned the interstate system clearly had a severe drug problem. The general rule of thumb seems to be if that if you can SEE the building you're going to, it must take at least 25 minutes, four flyovers, and five street name changes to get there. And the 25 minutes travel time is at 90 mph.
2. The denim shirt is alive and well in Texas! On the plane, there were no less than four women in denim shirts embroidered with various forms of wildlife. (Horses, cats, etc. etc.) Men, too, are apparently no match for the siren song of the denim shirt, as I have seen four passed off as "dress shirts" in this office building.
3. Despite being challenged in the fashion and urban planning departments, Texans are lovely, hospitable people. They love to talk about the weather in Texas. It is a subject of endless discussion. But hey, they're nice, so I can talk climate.

More later... must go investigate the margaritas which are the subject of all other conversation in this state.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

SportsCenter, here I come! (And Thanksgiving.)

Watching NFL highlights…

Me: That was horsecollaring! That was that horsecollaring thing!

Husband: It was! Good eye, Honey!

Me: It’s hot when I call football penalties, isn’t it?

Husband: Yes. Yes, it is.

So I take off for Texas in the morning. It will be lovely and warm while I’m there. And then next week I’ll go to Maryland just in time for highs in the upper 30s. Nice.

Had a marvelous Thanksgiving at Elder Sister’s house. It was a small crowd for our family- just seven at us at the table. But it was laid back and fun. The food was fantastic. I think I have lured my brother-in-law into helping with our laminate floor installation… with the promise of his very own pan of cornbread stuffing. Yeah. I’m that good. The only down side was desperately missing my sweet Baby Sister. (Baby Sister, for the record, has been unceremoniously dumped by an heinous little girl who has incurred the sisterly wrath. We wish her pubic lice for Christmas.) But back to Thanksgiving! It was great and a good time was had by all.

Speaking of a good time… my poor Mother will tell you that she is made fun of mercilessly by her children. It’s true. And I’d feel bad about it, except that a) it’s all good natured and b) she really does bring it on herself sometimes. Case in point: the recliner incident. My Mom is short and round. It’s an adorable, grandmotherly look, but it doesn’t make for the most agile of bodies. She went to war with my sister’s recliner this weekend while trying to get out of the @#$@#%# chair (as she called it). It was sort of like watching an overturned beetle trying to right itself. This went on for several minutes and of course, rather than try to HELP her, I sat on the couch and giggled. By the time she got out of the chair, she was furious and I was hysterical. To add insult to injury, the leg rest popped back out and clocked her in the butt as she was walking away. I mean… does it GET any better than that? She’s like a cartoon, but totally unintentionally! Ma, I love ya… and remember that I’m laughing WITH you. OK, so you’re not laughing… but aren’t you just happy that you can bring such joy to your sweet baby girl??? No?

I am off to bed. I need my rest- they tell me Texas is exhausting what with everything being bigger there, blah, blah, blah…

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Business Class Gives Me The Business Every Time

I won’t horrify my family with the preceding conversation to this statement, but it’s hilarious on its own:

Me (to Husband): Thank you so much for ruining this tender moment with the use of the word ‘splooged’.*

*(MOM- DO NOT ask my sisters what “splooged” means. You don’t want to know. Trust me. Do you remember the “what’s double penetration?” and “what’s a fluffer?” conversations? I do. So does my therapist.)

In other more family-friendly news, WORK SUCKS IT FOR CRACK ON A STREET CORNER! Oh shit… sorry, not so family friendly. Um… what I meant was…. WORK HAS BEEN QUITE CHALLENGING AND I’M QUITE FRAZZLED!

Riiiighhhht…. ‘cause that felt just as good. NOT. I return to my original assessment.

Yeah, I’m about to embark on a four state tour in which I will attempt to teach professional writing to a group of people that’s about 50% prima donnas who believe themselves capable of writing polished Supreme Court opinions in one draft. (The other 50% are great!) Truth be told, most of the prima donnas wouldn’t have earned better than a B- in my freshman comp class, but they’re very touchy sorts. I am going to get eaten for lunch. And that’s fine. I’ll just drink awfully heavily on the plane back home.

Traveling for business is always interesting for me. It’s a guarantee that a few things will happen:
1. I will get selected for more stringent security screening. There is something about a 5’2” blonde woman in professional attire that screams Al-Qaeda bomber. I should note that on my last trip, I got pulled for the extra special security screening. This was shortly after they banned all gels, liquids, etc. on aircraft. Guess that big ol’ bag of makeup just didn’t count ‘cause that sucker went right onto the plane with me. But hey, I got to go through the residue-detecting machine and they made damn sure that was powder on my face and not the activating agent for biological weapon I had cleverly concealed as my lip gloss.

2. A random traveling business guy about 20-25 years older than me will attempt to strike up a “friendly” conversation. On the plane, waiting at the gate, sitting in the airport bar. I have nothing against friendly conversation, per se, but I have learned that these men are usually looking for more than just a pleasant chat with another human enduring the woes of business travel. It’s best to pretend you’re deaf or a lesbian or that you do not speak a word of English. (Deaf is most effective. And makes them look like an ass when they start shouting. At a supposedly deaf person. Nice.)


3. My flight will board on time and give all appearances of being on schedule. I will stow my approved carry-on in the overhead without incident and settle in with my brainless reading material. Smiling flight attendants will welcome me on board Lying Bastards Flight 666 to NO WHERE BUT THE DAMN TAXIWAY. They will demonstrate the seat-belt and dutifully point their index/middle finger combo at the exits. And then we will sit. We will taxi out a very short distance and SIT in the hellish limbo that is a plane not yet in flight. Without air conditioning or beverage service, we will cling with naive hope to the radio-announcer-smooth voice of Captain Assface assuring us that we should be in the air “very shortly.” (This is about the time that the toddler three rows in front of me will weary of being contained and begin a full scale meltdown.)

The good news about this trip is that I can now legally carry a quart-sized bag with 3 oz. containers of liquid or gel in it. Even better news is that I am completely confident the ace- minded security screeners will not be able to discern clarifying shampoo from vodka.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And now, a musical interlude!

(With apologies to Louis Armstrong)

What a Wonderful World
new lyrics by ME

I see Dems in control
GOP strife
Haggert is gay
Rumsfeld took flight
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world!

I see the Senate in Blue
House that way too
Speaker Pelosi
We love you
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world!

I hear fundies cryin’, I watched them go,
To the polls so sure, but it didn’t show.

I see stem cell studies
Troops comin’ home
Marriage for all
W off his throne
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Sarcasm

My fabulous South Florida aunt sent this to me today and I got a good giggle from it. Nothing like an entire party philosophy built on hypocrisy, hatred, and a complete lack of logic! Get out and vote- FIGHT THE RIGHT!!!!
Liberal Love,
L.

To be a Republican, you need to believe:
1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national drug corporations can make decisions affecting allmankind without regulation.
6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops inspeeches, while slashing veterans' benefit and combat pay.
7. If prophylactics are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMO's and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)
16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960's is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80's is irrelevant.
17. We should support hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween! Halloween! This is Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!
Yes, Halloween.
Not "Autumn Carnival" or "Harvest Festival" or "Fall Fling."
IT'S FREAKIN' HALLOWEEN, PEOPLE!

Living in the big ol' shiny buckle of the Bible Belt, I am constantly reminded of how completely insulated, out of touch, and bored so many of my fellow South Carolinians can be. Today's holiday is one prime example.

Halloween is a hot button issue down here. Christian conservatives in this state spend a lot of time focused on keeping their kids away from all things remotely related to the celebration of this overwhelmingly commercialized, secular holiday. (They do not apply this same logic to Christmas.) To help combat the truly malevolent forces of things like Power Ranger costumes and jack-o-lanterns, you wind up with a lot of schools/churches/community groups sponsoring celebrations meant to take the place of the usual trick or treating. Kids can show up for rides and candy and other fun "fall" stuff. Some of them even permit costumes- so long as said costumes are nice and benign. Lots of angels and kitties; absolutely no vampires or zombies allowed.

This is f***ing ridiculous.Halloween is a holiday with a long, mixed history. Yes, some of it is pagan. And some of it is religious. Yes, some people have used the holiday as a mark for their own dark purposes. And some people use it as a fun, imaginative, silly holiday. People, it is what you MAKE OF IT. For 99% of America, this means kids in costumes inspired by televisions shows who are out to get jacked up on sugar. Letting little Suzie and Johnny dress up as Dora the Explorer and Jack Sparrow is not the gateway to their eternal damnation. Going from house to house gathering a bag full of dental doom will not result in your children joining a cult and drinking human blood for kicks on weekends.

What baffles me most about these anti-Halloween zealots is the amount of energy they devote to the absolute wrong things. There is enough legitimate evil in the world that should scare the ever-lovin' hoo ha out of people with kids. Why do these people insist on seeing darkness where it clearly doesn't have to exist? A couple of costumes from Target should be the LAST thing on a parent's radar in terms of things that could potentially harm their child. This is the insulated, out of touch part. Halloween is an evil they can handle, that they feel they can combat. The really scary things in the world are too big and too complex; so they channel their attempts to be a "good parent" into fighting against something ridiculous like Halloween.

I realize there are elements of the macabre in Halloween. Any holiday for which skulls and bloody severed hands are acceptable decorations is clearly not entirely G-rated. But it's PRETEND. It's IMAGINARY. Kids have a much better grasp on those concepts than we do. Taking things entirely too literally is a skill acquired much later in life. Ghost stories and other entertainment with supernatural/gory themes are part of our history, save for that brief flirtation with Puritanism. They represent our attempts to explain that which we cannot with a little mystery and some shocks thrown in for good fun. For the majority of us, dressing up as a vampire (even with a bunch of fake blood) will not deter us from becoming semi-respectable law-abiding citizens.

And while we're on the topic, can I note some of my own highly unscientific purely anecdotal findings? Let's face it, the kids who grew up in households that forbade Halloween and ear piercing and secular music were WAY more likely to hit the path to sin and degradation running. Seriously. Write down the names of all the kids in your neighborhood and note which ones are coming up in overly-conservative alarmist households. (Extra points for home-schooling for moral or religious reasons.) Tuck that list away and Google those same kids in about 10-15 years. I guarantee you the kids you've got noted from the special families will have been in trouble at a disproportionate rate to the other kids.

So this is my battle call: go forth and celebrate Halloween!! Wear your zombie and mummy costumes proudly! Buy that shrieking graveyard decoration! Take your kids trick or treating and skip that lame-ass church carnival!

Then go home and combat some ACTUAL evil. Campaign against every Republican running in your state.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dear Mr. Limbaugh: Go to hell.

Dear Rush Limbaugh:

“Shamless?”
Look in the mirror.
How low will you stoop, you egomaniacal pompous windbag?

You question a man who suffers from a legitimate degenerative disease? A man who has never done anything but try to use his time, his money, his energy (even as his own body is failing him) to help cure that disease?

What’s incredible is that your challenge of Michael J. Fox’s appearance demonstrates a horrific ignorance of the symptoms and progression of Parkinson’s Disease. What you saw in those political ads was a really good day for someone who has been living with PD for as long as he has- even with medications on board.

What’s even MORE incredible is that someone who has been publicly outed as a horrific hypocrite would have the nerve to question another man's credibility as they try to do good. What you SHOULD be doing, Mr. Limbaugh, is thanking God Almighty that you have the disease of addiction rather than having to endure the hell that Mr. Fox lives in day to day. You know how to control your disease (although you have repeatedly chosen not to). I’d be willing to bet that Mr. Fox would give anything to have that luxury.

I have to say, though, that your despicable tirade about Mr. Fox gives me great comfort. You’re scared, Mr. Limbaugh. You are frightened that you and your right-wing-nut-job friends are losing your hold. You’re so frightened that your reign of influence by publicly broadcast irrational fear, blame, and oversimplification is finished that you’ll kick a good man when he’s down but still trying hard to help.

Guess what? You should be scared. And now you’ve gone an extra step in exposing yourself for the unholy cowardly, hypocritical, power-hungry asshole devoid of any substance that you truly are.

We thank you for that. And someday, when you’re suffering from a disease that can be cured with medicine involving stem cells, you’d be right to thank us too. But you probably won’t. No biggie- you can explain it to God. I’m sure She’ll have some questions for you anyway.


The Liberal Child of a PD Patient

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Denise Austin Porno & Cooking School

When I flipped on the television yesterday morning, the volume was turned up pretty loud- something I wasn’t aware of before hitting the power button. So I was justifiably alarmed to hear Denise Austin’s voice boom through the house:

“OOOHHH YEEAAH!!! FEEL THAT?? IT’S SUCH A NICE STRETCH IN THE BUTTOCKS!!”

Having casually tossed the remote down, I scrambled like a crazy woman to retrieve it and quiet Ms. Austin before my neighbors called the police about the pervert blonde at the back of the cul-de-sac watching bad porn at outrageous volumes.

I was awake after that. So, thanks Denise!

On a completely different note, let me make a few comments on the Lauren School of Culinary Design. A woman we know recently asked if I would teach her to cook. I hesitated, but not out of unwillingness. I just wouldn’t know how to teach someone to cook- it’s not a step by step process I can outline while someone takes notes.

See, here’s the thing… much of my “cooking” is instinct and (to be totally honest) just making shit up as I go along. I can’t count the number of times Husband has enjoyed something I made and asked where I got the recipe.

Um… recipe? You mean, like instructions? PFFT! Recipes are for AMATEURS!

Seriously- being able to cook well is about 1/3 knowledge of basic flavors and processes, etc. The other 2/3 is just having the nerve to throw some stuff together and see what happens. Sometimes this goes very well; and the more attempts you make, the more often it goes very well. Sometimes it goes very very badly and all you can do is apologize and fetch the Tums.

Last night was an example of when things go well. I frequently get it in my head I want to make some particular dish (last night’s wild hair was beef stew.) So I go out and look at a number of different recipes for that dish.

But I almost never follow any of them.

Once I have a feel for the basic genre, I pick and choose bits of each recipe, add my own creative twists, and sometimes scrap everything to start from scratch. The beef stew recipes I looked at varied widely. So yesterday morning I got up and threw in the crockpot:

2 pkgs of stew meat pieces (I think they were “round”- don’t know- they were pre-cut and that’s all that matters)
2 big ol’ packages of sliced mushrooms
A ton of canned beef broth
A couple of tablespoons tomato paste
A number of pressed garlic cloves (What do you mean “how many?” How many can you get your hands on???)
Healthy doses of kosher salt, ground mixed peppercorns, and some fresh herbs (I think it was parsley, oregano and thyme… could be wrong)

I let it ride all day while I was at work. When I got home, my concoction was entirely too thin and watery for my taste. More soupy than stewy. (Stewy. That word creeps me out.) It made sense- there really were no starches in there. Note for next time- add potatoes. So I made a nice little thickening agent (a roux if you will) out of cornstarch and water. Threw that in there and voila, a nice thick consistency. Legitimate stew. (Wouldn't that be a cool band/album name? "Legitimate stew?")

Then I had to remedy the aforementioned absence of starch. I had Bisquick, so I made up some biscuit dough with some fresh herbs and parmesan cheese for good measure. Dropped those puppies onto the cookie sheet; 10 minutes in the oven; topped them with melted butter, kosher salt, parmesan, and garlic powder. TA DA! Fancy biscuits! Emeril, eat your lard-lined heart out!

Next time I will either add a variety of vegetables to the crock pot mixture OR I will make it stove top after work and add a little red wine instead. If I do the latter, I will switch to crusty French bread for the starch. If not, the biscuits stay.

See? Making shit up! Told you!

*Note: I do not recommend this technique for baking. Apparently measuring and using the “correct” ingredients is much more important when it comes to cakes, pies, etc. My laissez-faire add-what-feels-good approach results in disasters like this:




Yes, the Damnable Red Velvet Cake. As blogged about here and here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dispatches from the Baby Sis

My baby sister is hilarious. She recently moved from Gigantic City A to Sort-of-Gigantic City B to take a job with a non-profit doing community outreach and sex education. This was her email today:

Friends and Loved Ones:

Just a quick shout out from the Sort-of-Gigantic City B.

I'm settling in quite nicely. After two weeks, my belongings FINALLY arrived, and I am currently living out of half-opened-dug-through-boxes. I have, however, located such useful things as a rainbow lai, a 20 foot telephone cord (still in the box!), a pair of cat ears on a headband, and my potato masher (and since my mashed potatoes are world famous, I think this is an essential item).

The job is marvelous. I spent my days teaching sex ed to teenagers, meeting with community leaders, and taking donors out to fancy-pants lunches. You would hardly believe the sudden in-take of breath, the shock and awe, when I explain to 14 year old girls that, yes, in fact they have THREE HOLES (not two)! I particularly enjoy the exercise when we have 15 year old boys write down all the slang words they know for vagina, penis, and sexual intercourse... I go around the room and read all the words outloud in a deadpan voice. There is nothing like trying to say "one eyed big spitting snake" and "pink hairy taco" to a group of adolescent males without cracking a smile.

My apartment is vast (and mostly empty). I've made friends with the pot smoking jazz musician downstairs and the single mother of Kiddo (also downstairs). Kiddo likes to talk... a lot... so I am learning all there is to know about dinosaurs, macaroni and cheese, and the alphabet. My neighborhood is... charming in its own derelict way. I have only seen one prostitute, and we do in fact have a liquor store.

Friend M gets the gold star for the first (and only to date!) piece of mail. Please write, so that I might have your address to write you back in the many quiet hours of a tv free apartment (tv free by economic necessity, not by choice. I have missed TWO WHOLE WEEKS of America's Next Top Model, and it is truly painful).

All my love,
Baby Sis

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Simple Life

The last two weeks at work have sucked the ever-lovin' life out of me. There's no need to delve into the gory details, but let me make these notes.
Before going live with new time keeping/payroll and travel systems, it would be wise to:
a) finalize the details of how said systems will work, so that the training department can TEACH PEOPLE TO USE THEM
b) do so prior to the DAY THEY GO LIVE so that the training department can learn the systems and TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO USE THEM
It was a wild, wild few weeks. Suffice to say that I owe my assistant manager (Coworker Wally) about 500 pints of Starbucks ice cream and about twice that many days of comp time. So on Monday, I declared that the training department (um... that would be me... and Wally... and that's it) would be closed on Friday.

That being said- as much as these past few weeks sucked, this morning was all kinds of cake and ice cream fantastic! Around 4:30 a.m., I kind of about 1/8 of the way woke up. Not enough to annoy me, but enough I was conscious. And I thought "gee, I only have an hour until the alarm goes off." And then I thought "oh yeah.... I don't have to go to work today!!!!" It was the nicest moment of warm happy fuzziness. I was at the perfect temperature, the bed was all comfy, a nice cool breeze was coming in the window from the quiet stillness outside, Husband was snuggled up behind me... and I DIDN'T HAVE TO GO TO WORK TODAY! I fell back asleep smiling. Well, in my mind I was smiling. Didn't have a mirror handy. It's the little things, people.

It's 10:00 now. I've been up for an hour and I've managed to settle in on the couch still in my jammies with my second cup of coffee and some bad daytime television. OK, so I did throw in a load of laundry and feed the pets. And put some dishes in the dishwasher. And answered a couple of work emails.

This may be a sickness.

On to more good stuff. Sunday is our second wedding anniversary! That's right, I have somehow managed to keep Husband conned into putting up with me for TWO WHOLE YEARS. The man is a total saint. He's even indulged my new addiction to Dancing with the Stars. (Yes, yes, I know. I'm disgusted with me for you.) To celebrate 24 months of blissful brain-washing (you're getting sleeeeepy.... you reeeaaally love going to Ann Taylor...), we're taking a golf lesson and going to a nice dinner.

And in two weeks, I turn thirty. Thirty. As in twice fifteen. Three times ten. HALFWAY TO SIXTY. Wow. Is 2 weeks out too early to start drinking in "celebration"?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This just in: I'm an idiot.

Email I sent to the ENTIRE company regarding an error message in our new time keeping system:

All Associates:
When you approve your time, you may get a pop-up box message telling you the approval is for both time pair and supplemental earnings.
Just lick OK and then your time should be approved!
LGR


Emails I received in return:

Do you really want us to "lick" it?
Just LICK o.k.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! o.k.!!!!
I can tell you are rushed, you said to "lick" OK.
Take a few deep breaths, or better yet have lunch.
Just "lick" OK? : )
You so funny!!!
I licked the screen 4 times, but nothing happened!


Email I had to send out to my smart aleck coworkers in response:

All Associates:
Please do not lick the pop-up box. The static electricity from your screen might zap your tongue, which would hurt.
So in accordance with our commitment to workplace safety, please CLICK the OK in that pop-up box.

LGR

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Another Edition of Funny Husbands Rock!

Last night, Husband and I caught a few minutes of the SMU/Tulsa game on ESPN2. OK, so he actually saw a few minutes of the game. I just half-listened while trying to get comfy in the bed. That spawned this conversation.

Me: Why are they playing on a Tuesday night? That’s weird!

Husband: SMU would play on a Monday morning if they could get on national television.

Me: Oh.

Husband: Tulsa’s mascot is a Golden Hurricane. It cracks me up that a team from a land-locked state picked a hurricane, a tropical weather system, as its mascot.

Me: Really? A hurricane? It’s Oklahoma- where the wind comes rushing down the plains. Not where the wind comes blowing in off the coast.

Husband: Exactly!

Me: They should be like… the Tulsa Tumbleweeds.

Husband: Yeah, ‘cause those are intimidating. Tumbleweeds inspire fear.

Me: You don’t know! Those things could be very prickly!

Husband: The Tulsa Tornadoes would be good.

Me: Or the Tulsa Rabid Prairie Dogs. Now THAT’S scary!

Husband: (laughing) Yes, yes, it is.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Friend J

Email Exchange Between Me and Friend J in California:

ME: I am so so sad about this Amish school shooting. How far into the depths of hell do you go for shooting AMISH CHILDREN?????

J: Pretty far. I believe it's the "Circle of Total Bastards."

ME: Exactly. Why can't any of these crazy people at least do something helpful during their homicidal rampages? Like shooting that senator who was soliciting pages? Or Anne Coulter? R. Kelly maybe? I mean, if you're going to take your own life in a hail of gunfire, at least let the final act you're remembered for be something GOOD FOR THE WORLD.

J: I always love how it's the repressed republicans who wind up involved in bizarre (icky) sexual tawdriness.

ME: Yep, and have you noticed it’s always the ones who have introduced legislation to crack down on these kinds of things? Like this guy- who introduced that bill in ’03 cracking down on pedophiles? Ah, self-loathing… very useful!


And later:
ME: Cauliflower is a wretched, God-forsaken vegetable suitable only for inducing vomiting in poison victims.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Billy Lab Report. By Jack Daniels Robbins



Hi, it’s me, Jack!
Yep, Jack! The dog. I like dirt.Do you have food?

My Mom is at work. Work gives you money. To buy food! Lots and lots of food! I love food. My Nana has been giving me food this week. And not just crunchy food, the slurpy gooey kind of food, too. She’s nice.

But Mom said I should tell you my tummy is doing good. Wait… I mean, well. (We’re working on my grammar.) I like dirt! Did I tell you that?

They took out a big part of my intestine. Which is part of your guts. And guts are gross- I like gross stuff- like the possum I played with one time! He was gross- sticky and kind of smelly. That was cool.

OK, I have to go dig now. ‘Cause I like dirt! And rocks, too. But now when I pick up a rock everyone starts fussing and going “NO, JACK, NO!”

What’s wrong with rocks?

Licky-face for everyone!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Littlest, Perkiest Loser

Dear NBC:

Last night I watched the season premiere of The Biggest Loser on DVR. Loved the 50 states theme! That could have gotten hokey, but you kept it on track. Loved that Caroline Rhea is back! She seems sincerely interested in the well being of the contestants and she isn’t some stick figure herself, which makes her even more endearing. Loved that Bob returned! He’s a great trainer, he’s genuine, and did I mention he’s hot? (A note: I think Bob finally coming out of the closet would make a super addition to the finale this year.)

And then the lady trainer came zipping down next to Bob. And my inner dialogue went like this:

Yay Jilli-…wait…. that’s not Jillian!
Who the hell is that?
Why is she so damn perky? And why is she doing that cheerleader jumpy thing?
Does she really think we’ll believe those boobs came with her body?
SHE’S going to be the tough-as-nails trainer?
But what about her hair? She can’t sweat and keep her hair like that?

NBC, I am ashamed of you. You dump a great person like Jillian for this fluff? It’s not hard to figure out what happened here. Jillian was terrific- but not tremendously “feminine”. Her gravely voice and lean, cut body weren’t unattractive, but hardly conventional female beauty. She was aggressive in training the contestants; nobody would have ever called her sweet. (Not that she was uncaring. Oh, and she got the results!) Again, not typically “female”.
She’s been replace by a large-breasted conventionally pretty woman who is (so far) the portrait of stereotypical kindness and caring. She’s been replaced by a woman who is so keenly aware of how she appears to everyone that she has to constantly remind us all that she’s “not a Barbie.” Jillian was replaced by a softer cuter kinder version of the female trainer that will be more palatable to gender-norms-obsessed conservative America.

And this from a tv show that’s supposedly sending a message of self-esteem and acceptance regardless of appearance?

Shame on you, NBC.
Bring Jillian back.

Sincerely,
One Disgusted Female Viewer

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Billy Lab: The Post-Op Report

Good grief.
Jack did not have a tumor. What he did have was a HUGE (volleyball-sized, I’m told) callous-like thing where something he ate had TORN OPEN HIS INTESTINE and his body had tried to heal itself up. He also had a digestive track packed full of sand and rocks.

Now it’s time for obvious Q&A with Lauren:

Q: How on earth did the dog live through that?
A: We don’t know. The docs don’t know. He is a miracle of veterinary science.

Q: Why didn’t you take him to the vet sooner? He could have died!
A: We would have taken him sooner… IF HE HAD GIVEN US ANY INDICATION HE WAS SICK! Vets tell you to watch for changes in appetite and behavior. He had neither.

Q: How’s he doing now?
A: Very very well for someone who had their bowels excavated less than 24 hours ago. He’s resting comfortably, as they say.

Q: When does he come home?
A: Tomorrow. And he’ll be spending next week in Spartanburg with Nurse Nana who will see to his post-op care while Mommy & Daddy work overtime to pay the vet bill.

Q: Oh yeah… how much is this going to cost?
A: We’re not going to ask that question until we have to pay in order to get our dog back.

Q: How are you going to keep him from doing this again?
A: Good freakin’ question. There’s a handsome reward (o.k.- we’ll make you dinner and get you drunk) for anyone who gives us the magical solution!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Billy Lab Update

Seems that in addition to "a lot of rocks in his stomach," the vet has also found a large tumor on Jack's small intestine. They are removing a portion of said small intestine right now. :(
Poor sweetie.

New Breed: Billy Lab

Poor Jack.
Loyal readers will recall that our sweet doggie Jack has a history of interesting digestive episodes. He has the eating habits of a billy goat with a tapeworm, so this latest development shouldn’t surprise anyone.
About a week and a half ago, I took Jack to the vet for his annual visit and to address some weight loss issues. They did a bunch of tests and found nothing, but decided to deworm him just in case. 10 days later he was back at the vet, down another 3 ½ pounds and with what I shall politely call some potty problems.
Again, bloodwork and other tests showed nothing remarkable, except for some slightly altered levels in a few proteins. Phrases like “exploratory surgery” and “ultrasound with biopsy” and “masses in the abdomen” began to be thrown around. But our vet (a funny, kind, practical woman we adore) suggested that we first take an abdominal x-ray to see if it showed anything obvious. Jack apparently supported this idea – he cooperated long enough to be x-rayed without sedation.
The vet came back in with the x-ray and said “Leave it to your dog…”
To which I replied “Oh God… .what did he eat?”
Vet Lady: “I don’t know… but there’s a lot of it.”
Me: “Well… there was that Texas ball cap. And the three toys he chewed up last week. Oh, and he likes paper napkins a lot. He gobbles up rocks on walks. Did I mention the toy plane? He only got half of that….” (you get the picture)
Vet Lady: "Wow..."
Me (looking at x-ray): “Is that half a tennis ball?”
Vet Lady: “Hmmm… could be.”
Me: “What is THAT? Some kind of twine? String?”
Vet Lady: “I won’t really know until I get in there. But see those bright white flecks? That’s probably metal.”
Me (to the dog): “Nice work, Jack!”
Jack: *slurp* *lick* * BELCH*

So the result is that our boy is going under the knife as I type. Neither I nor the vet nor anyone in the vet’s office can tell what he’s got in there, but whatever it is, it’s blocking his colon and parts of his small intestine. The good news is the vet assured us this did NOT look like a tumor or other naturally-occurring mass. So provided we can keep him from eating half a landfill again, he shouldn’t have any more troubles after the surgery.

Right.

Will they let me use my flexible spending account to put back money for next time?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Terrier Wishes & Gamecock Dreams

Another post on the topic of perspective, folks, but this one slightly less serious.

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks played the Wofford Terriers yesterday. As predicted, USC won. But not by much. 27-20, as a matter of fact. Here’s where perspective comes in.

USC is a VERY large public university with an incredibly well funded athletics program, the expenses of which include the multi-million dollar salary of one Steve Spurrier. Wofford is a small, 1,2000 student private school (Husband’s alma mater, by the way) that has a very nice size endowment for a 1AA school, but usually has about 8,000 in attendance at their games compared to USC’s roughly 70,000. You’d have to superglue two of Wofford’s linemen together to get one of USC’s.

This match up was supposed to be a veritable bloodbath at the hands of USC. Husband and I joked as the game began- that Wofford was essentially entering the Coliseum and their players should watch out for those pesky lions. The injury report could read “Smith- decapitation by lion- out for season”. Can’t you just see Spurrier giving the emperor-esque thumbs down? The trainers could attach a laurel wreath to that @#$@#%$#@ stupid ass visor. We figured Spurrier could give some good playing time to the guy who replaces the urinal cakes. You get the idea.

AND USC ONLY WON BY SEVEN POINTS. Wofford was the David and USC was the Goliath. To make matters worse, there was some … um… sketchy officiating, shall we say? Wofford got mistreated by the refs a couple of times which should have only made the routing by USC even worse. But no. USC barely squeaked out the win by subverting a Wofford touchdown in the last moments.

As usual, the local media outlets refused to be bothered by reality. To hear “Gamecock TV” and other local sports reports tell it, the game went something like this:
USC showed up early, studied for a few exams, donated a kidney each, and had a prayer circle. They then proceeded to thwart a terrorist attack, save a litter of homeless puppies, help a few old ladies across the street, cure cancer, and win the game by about 700 points. Steve Spurrier was officially declared the second coming of Christ and the players were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes.

The delusional allegiance to USC football baffles me. They play like second-string high school kids and barely beat a team they should have stomped, but it’s treated like a bowl game win against Ohio State.

On another note, I’ve coined a new football term. You’ve heard of “coughing it up”, right? Here was last night’s conversation:
Husband: Uh-oh… he **coughing noise** coughed it up
Me: Oh, honey… that wasn’t a cough… that wasn’t some mild-mannered dry heave. He vomited that football. That was a SPEW.
Husband: Man, if I was a commentator, I’d totally use that. ‘Lee, he vomited that football like an airsick guy with a hangover at an exorcism!’

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Better Days, Worse Hotels

Feeling a little better today. It’s a strange business, this grieving. Yesterday was a deep dark hole. Today is better- easier. Tomorrow? Who the hell knows. That’s tomorrow.

I’m headed to Ocean City, Maryland on business today. The website photos remind me very much of every generic cheesy boardwalk hotel in Myrtle Beach. You know the places… d├ęcor in pinks and turquoise with seashell motifs, nautical themed restaurants with roped pilings and fake seagulls. Great cheap spots if you’re headed to the beach with a gaggle of elementary-school aged kids who will enjoy having a miniature golf course on every corner. Icky. We’ve been making fun of this place for weeks now and the running joke has been about how many of these hotels have BOWLING ALLEYS in them. Yes, bowling alleys. In the hotel. No SPA, mind you, but rental shoes galore! In the spirit of these tacky accommodations, we’ve come up with the klassy boardwalk hotel trifecta. You must have:
A bowling alley
A lazy river
A ferris wheel
Of course the ferris wheel can be within 4 or 5 blocks and still count. (They are hard to actually fit into the hotel proper.) You also get extra credit for having more than 4 miniature golf courses visible from the front door of the hotel. Oh, and SUPER extra credit if you can get a hotel bowling shirt embroidered with your name!

So the full report on the hotel and the shenanigans of my trip when I return. I’m traveling with Wally and we’ll be seeing V.D., so it ought to be interesting! In the mean time, will someone please take a casserole by my house so that Husband won’t eat Applebee’s boneless buffalo wings all three nights????

Monday, September 11, 2006

Selfishness

I’m filled with a lot of sadness today, but not for the reasons you might think and I’m struggling with my own selfishness. Yes, I have thought of the families of the victims of 9/11. It would be difficult not to with every news source on the planet doing a blitz of five-year-memorial coverage. And yes, I am sorry for their losses. It was an awful, tragic, hateful, ugly thing for their loved ones to be ripped away just for going about their business in the wrong place at the wrong time or on the wrong plane. It’s not that I don’t recognize their pain and it’s not that I don’t care about what they suffered, what our country suffered, that day five years ago.

But I find I don’t have room in my heart or in my head for their sadness today. My own sadness is not yet five months removed, much less five years. True, my tragedy was on a much smaller, much quieter scale. Just one life was lost and not a word of it was on the news. I completely appreciate how my baby's death pales in respect to what happened in NYC and DC and Pennsylvania. It wasn’t a violent cataclysmic event that affected the psyche of a nation or the course of history.

But it affected my psyche. And my history. And those of my sweet Husband and our families. And we are not yet recovered. In fact, I think my own recovery has just begun. In the weeks immediately after Cecilia’s birth, I was the portrait of carefully measured mourning. I applauded myself for my own stoicism- for handling things so rationally, so logically. I acknowledged my grief, but I was never overcome by it. I returned to my normal daily life quickly and seemingly without incident. I was very proud of how well I’d done and how little bother I’d been to anyone.

What’s that phrase? “Calm before the storm?” In this case, the storm consists of alternating floods of anger and sadness that threaten to drown me; they are so all-consuming. I’m furious with the woman in the department store who is short with her two little children. Does she have ANY idea how lucky she is? I begin to cry when I see tiny pink feet peeking out carriers and strollers. Fortunately I am sane enough never to consider it, but a small dark part of me understands how a woman who has held her baby’s lifeless body could come to a moment in her grief when picking up that beautiful newborn from the grocery cart and simply walking out the door would be too much to resist. I can’t even begin to describe the sickening mixture of resentment and sadness brought on by the sight of hugely pregnant women.

I’m well aware of my selfishness and of how irrational I’m being. My logical mind knows that none of these people had anything to do with the damned missing chromosome that robbed us of Cecilia. It has certainly occurred to me that I’m awful for not just being happy that someone else doesn’t have to endure what we went through. I’m sorry, but I’m just not feeling that charitable.

And I’m sorry if I can’t muster a moment of properly somber silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks. Forgive me if I don’t attend the memorial services and freedom marches. I truly do wish their families well and I can appreciate that I am a horrific bitch for my callousness towards their plight on what should rightfully be their day of remembrance. It's just that my memories are all too fresh- my baby should have been born next week, but she died four months ago and there just isn’t room in my heart for anything else. I doubt there will be for some time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cryogenics in the Workplace

So. Cold. In. Office.
Blankets. Please. Send. Blankets.

Seriously, folks, the inability of corporate America to use climate control systems with any degree of success is a major blight on this country’s reputation. We can put people into space, but every office building on the planet must remain at sub-zero temperatures? WTF???? For a supposed superpower, we sure are subverting our own workforce. Note to the “powers that be”: it is very difficult to type when you CAN’T FEEL YOUR FREAKIN’ FINGERS!

The absurdity of it just kills me. I have to wear layers of clothing to allow for the temperature in a building that has an elaborate electronic thermostat system. My nose runs from the cold when I’m sitting at my desk. I rarely worry about refrigerating my lunch… spoilage? Not on this building manager’s watch! The women who work downstairs have blankets and quilts in their cubicles for use/wear in the meeting rooms, which are even colder than the office space. I have actually looked forward to printing large documents because it means I get to sit with my icy digits pressed up against the heat radiating from the printer! My laptop is a Dell, but let me just tell you, there is absolutely no chance of my battery catching fire- it’d have to burn through the layer of permafrost first. It’s 1:15 p.m. and the diet Coke I’ve been sipping since 11:00 a.m. is still chilled to perfection.

So here’s the million-dollar question… WHY? Are they trying to stave off absenteeism from illness by creating an environment in which no bacteria stands any chance of survival? Do they believe that warm=sleepy=unproductive? Is someone running a secret black market kidney transplant business on the 4th floor?

This issue weighs heavily on my mind. (And this snowsuit is weighing heavily on my body…)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Be careful what you ask for...

I am the Training Manager. When people need training, they fill out a form requesting said training. The form asks a lot of generic questions- name, phone extension, department, etc. But since we have offices in something like eight states, the form also asks for the location of the employee(s) to be trained. The form I received today responded to the location question with:
"At desk."

Another edition of... Funny Husbands Rock!

Me (yawning while talking): YOOODOTADOFFUNNN?

Husband: Um…

Me: What? You didn’t get all that?

Husband: I’m sorry, the subtitles didn’t come up.

Even in his tremendously-stressed-about-work state, he's a funny monkey! :)

My Favorite New Song: "Here It Goes Again" by OK GO

What does it mean when the temperature drops to a high of 83 and you start pulling out hoodies? (Note to self: get iron level checked.)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cute Old People & Celebrity Duets

And now, select conversations from my recent visit with Mom & Pop… (p.s.- thanks again for coming up, you guys! J)

Upon their arrival
Me: Wow… you guys made good time!
Pop: Yep, your mother went to sleep.

Mom (eyeing up scraggly fake “tree” in my office): Um… Lauren… what is THAT?
Me: It’s nature. C’mon, let’s go.

Pop (to Mom, early in the morning before his Parkinson’s meds have kicked in): Can you put my socks on for me?
Me: That’s so cute!
Mom (bending down with socks in hand): You should see me trying to do this before he has pants on! NOT cute!

Pop (to waitress): Does that Italian sausage pasta dish come with asparagus?
Waitress: No, but it’s a big ol’ dish of pasta- it’s enough for you to eat on for days!
Pop: Bring me some asparagus.
Waitress: You want asparagus AND the pasta?
Pop: Yep. And Bailey’s Irish Cream on the rocks, please.
Me: Wow.

Pop: Which side of a hurricane is the bad part?
Smartass Me: Uh, Pop, it’s a HURRICANE. I think the whole thing is pretty much crummy. Just ask Louisiana.
Pop (ignoring smartass me): It’s the Northeast side, right? That’s the worst of it?


My parents are entirely too cute for their own good- I get such a kick out of them. They’re like two little living caricatures- seriously, they’d make a very funny, very sweet cartoon.

On a pop culture side note-
We watched (o.k… watched when I wasn’t sleeping) Celebrity Duets the other night.
OH. MY. GOD. This show may be the signal of America’s impending descent into ruin. If this lil’ piece of “entertainment” makes it, there’s no hope for us. If this is what holds our attention, we are doomed; just start watching for the horsemen and the orange sky. Seriously, folks…plague and pestilence can’t be far behind a duet by Cheech Marin and Randy Travis.
(Yes, I saw it. No, I don’t want to talk about it.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Food, Emergency Contraception, Jordan Knight...

Hmmm…

Here’s a quandary for you…

Does eating half a package of Starburst and a full package of Twix COMPLETELY negate the health benefits of the steamed broccoli and carrots I had for lunch?


Dammit.



Coworker Wally says yes, but I don’t think so. Maybe partially negated, but I still got the vitamins and other good-for-you-crap in the veggies, so I disagree.

But in other health news- HOORAY FOR THE FDA!!!! Plan B is now available without a prescription and women in this country are relieved of one more Puritanical bullshit control over their bodies! Granted, you have to be 18 to get it- we’ll have to continue to work on that. In the mean time, I think I’ll start some kind of network of women over 18 who will purchase Plan B for teenage girls who need it- the Underground Emergency Contraception Railroad. We can pass out fliers at high schools- “Need a Plan B? Call us!” I can see it now… late night patrols of drug stores and if we see some overly anxious looking teenage girl lingering by the EC, we’ll swoop in to make the buy. I like it! Personally, I think birth control pills and condoms should be handed out on the first day of school with the locker combinations. But until I am Empress of the Universe, I guess I’ll settle for making surreptitious pharmacy purchases for frightened adolescent girls.

Time for some commentary on the world of entertainment!
WHO IN THE SAM HELL DECIDED TO LET JORDAN KNIGHT MAKE ANY MORE MUSIC??? Really- didn’t we suffer enough when he was in New Kids On The Block (or NKOTB for you early 90’s hipsters)? I had a girlfriend in junior high who was totally in love with him. And I was like “but he’s gay?!” and she was like “nuh-uh, he’s so not!” He supposedly loves Jesus now, but let me state that for the record that if he does, he loves Jesus in that way… because he’s GAY!!!! Hello? What the hell ever happened to gaydar? This kind of denial isn’t healthy, people. This is how poor gullible women have gotten their hearts broken by hetero-posers for years, i.e.- Liberace, George Clooney, Lance Bass...

I truly despise the new Fergie song. I wish the London-London-London-Bridge-London-Bridge had come crashing down on her head when she was writing it. But did she write it? I need to investigate. If she didn’t, she clearly chose her songwriters shortly after a full frontal lobotomy. “Hey… go see what that deaf/mute who doesn’t speak English is doing for the next few hours!”

On a more positive note, get yourself a copy of Pink’s new album! Not only is it a good listen, but you just can’t hate on a record where she slams W with the help of the Indigo Girls! (See "Dear Mr. President".)

Speaking of politically charged things… here’s your anti-right-wing humor for the day…

http://rightwingnytimes.cf.huffingtonpost.com/

Smooches!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Poor, poor Altima...

Highway Adventures

It’s official. Gastrointestinal problems are the root of all our family’s problems.

Yesterday at work, it became clear that my own tummy was decidedly unsettled. I made the crucial decision around 2:00 to head for home as quickly as possible because I have a very strict set of rules about what should and should not go on in work restrooms. I got in the car and onto I-20 just PRAYING to get home as quickly as possible to suffer my indignities in the privacy and comfort of my own home (and potty.)

And then it happened.

(Inner Monologue)
Wait… that SUV in the middle lane… he’s coming into my lane. MY LANE! He doesn’t have room- that’s not going to work!!!!
BRAKES! BRAKES! I have brakes- must use them! Quickly!

SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! Why is my car SIDEWAYS???!!!!! WHY CAN’T I GET IT UN-SIDEWAYS????!!!!!! WAIT- now I’m the OTHER SIDEWAYS!

PLEASE GOD, LET THAT SEMI-TRUCK SLOW DOWN!!!!

(*insert large crunch/crash noise here*)

WHY WON’T MY STEERING WORK??!!!

SIDE-OF-ROAD, SIDE-OF-ROAD, PLEASE SWEET JESUS, LET ME JUST GET ONTO THE SHOULDER!!!!

Yes, folks, I braked to avoid the SUV who came into my lane, went into a sideways skid, tagged the front of a semi truck, and wound up on the side of the road shaking like a cold mini-daschund. (Note: Is it bad that I immediately called Husband and left the 911 notification to the other driver? I don’t think so. A woman has her priorities.) At this point, I forgot about my tummy troubles- your body also has a way of prioritizing. I was fine until I got home and my troubles resurfaced with a vengeance.

I’m fine. Not a scratch on me, just a little sore from tensing up every @#$#@%$@ muscle in my body in anticipation of certain doom at 70 mph. The car? Well…. we’ll see. But I can’t imagine the way my wheel was twisted and all that fluid gushing out from under the front end were GOOD signs.

The man in the SUV did stop and apologize profusely; apparently he just “didn’t see me”. And to his defense, my little Nissan Altima isn’t exactly Hummer conspicuous. We’ll see what he says when my insurance adjustor starts insisting that HIS insurance cover the expense of this little snafu.

The semi-truck? Just a mashed up bumper. I will say this:
That truck driver is the reason I’m alive today.
His quick reaction and response (by braking and moving to the right lane) are what kept me from going UNDER the trailer of the truck. So my special thanks and the love of my entire family to Mr. Spanky Gulledge (yes, that is his legal first name and if you make fun of him, I’ll personally kick your ass because he may indeed be my guardian angel.)

So now the fun begins- hassling with insurance companies, police reports, and getting me into another vehicle. But as I told my big sister last night, I’m surprisingly at peace about it all.

(Inner Monologue again)

La la la…. Still alive, so I don’t care!

As I said, priorities, people. My sweet Husband came and smooched me and all was well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tastes like chicken... and sock lint

And now, because I know you're dying to hear about it, more news about my dogs' digestive issues...
I went out in the backyard to throw some ball and change out the water dish this morning. As anyone with dogs knows, rule number one in the backyard is... (everyone all together now...)
"WATCH WHERE YOU STEP!"
So I did. But in the process of doing so, I noticed something odd.
Fuzz.
Yes, fuzz.
Another basic premise of dog ownership: if you are concerned about something that seems to be coming OUT of your dogs, it is far more pleasant to first search for remnants of whatever they were eating than to examine the results of the digestive process. So I went on a little hunt around the backyard and found several tattered pieces of fabric softener dryer sheets.
Right.
One mystery solved (the fuzzy poo caper) and several more pertinent questions raised:
1. How did the aforementioned dryer sheets get into the backyard? We don't have an Old Man Dithers on the block, but I do suspect some meddling kids were involved. (And they got away with it too, dammit!)
2. What made them seem like tasty snacks to the puppies? Last I checked, Downy had not entered into any joint ventures with Beggin' Strips.
3. Will this make them sick? And if it does, can they wait to see a doctor until their vet visit on Friday?

Questions 1 and 2 will probably remain great mysteries of the universe. You know, like the pyramids and the popularity of The Simple Life. But everyone seems to be feeling just fine, so at least we can put number 3 to rest.

Next time, we're getting a pet rock.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Letting Sleeping Puppies Lie






The Patient




We had a little sick doggie episode last week. Jack (our “special” child) shuffled into the house on Monday night and lay down. He barely picked up his head all night. He didn’t want water, he didn’t want to play, and *GASP* he didn’t want TREATS! Jack is normally what an unkind elementary school kid would call a spaz- bouncing everywhere, giving us the licky-face. (The licky-face is a patented Jack move in which you swing your head from side to side while flapping your big ol’ tongue out at someone and flinging drool far and wide. It never fails to make the vet giggle.) Jack is also notorious for eating just about anything he can get his snoot into, which I fear may have been the root of this little episode. Neither one of our dogs has what you would call a refined palette. Jack has a particular affinity for paper napkins, for pete’s sake. (To his credit, he at least seems to have a preference for the ones made mostly of recycled material.) We have a pear tree in our backyard that is shedding fruit, some of which is rotting beneath low, prickly branches because Jack’s parents are too busy and lazy to pick it up. It remains my theory that our boy partook of some questionable fruit and got his tummy in an uproar. But I digress…

Jack would have none of his usual shenanigans on Monday night. And then I went outside and discovered he had thrown up earlier in the day. Needless to say, I was concerned. And by concerned, I mean obsessing and freaking out. I called my mother-in-law, Saint Lynn of Assisi; my sister, whose house is the unofficial no-kill shelter of Upstate SC; my vet; the emergency vet (mine was closed); and my out-of-town-on-business Husband (four times). After consulting at length with these folks, I decided to keep an eye on Jack over night and reevaluate in the morning.

I then proceeded to set up camp. The puppies got to sleep in the den for the first time ever (accident-free, might I add!), but not without me first cordoning off the kitchen and den areas so they couldn’t get far. I won’t give you the details of my elaborate fortress, but it involved a baby gate, a dining room chair, an ottoman, a large overstuffed den chair, a couple of twin bed sheets, and a small reading table. After securing our quarters, I decided to sleep in my jeans and t-shirt just in case Jack had to be rushed out for medical attention in the middle of the night. I put Jack’s bed right next to the couch (where I’d be sleeping) and put his water bowl nearby to try to encourage him to remain hydrated in spite of his gastrointestinal distress. With the stage set, I let Jack and his sister Daisy into the house. The puppies promptly lay down on their respective beds and sacked out big time.

And Mama lay awake all night.





Daisy, unconcerned by her brother’s plight




Every few minutes I was obsessively checking his respiration and feeling him to see if he was feverish. I felt his tummy to be sure it wasn’t hard, possibly indicating a bowel obstruction. When he moved in his sleep, I leapt up; sure he was about to vomit, potty, or die (or possibly all three.) Sure, I dozed off a couple of times, but never for more than a few minutes. I was on red alert. I am embarrassed to admit that at one point, I even took my comforter and pillow and LAID ON THE FLOOR NEXT TO HIS DOG BED because I thought his breathing sounded funny. This went on aaaallll night long. Jack never actually had anything close to a medically emergent situation, but dammit I was prepared.

I was highly relieved when Jack got up at 5:00 and drank some water. I was even more relieved when at 6:30, he gobbled up the treats I offered him. By the time I left for work at 9:00, he was back to “gardening” (read: excavating 99% of the backyard) and running amok. (I love that word… amok, amok, amok! hee hee!)

So all was well in Doggie Land! Jack seems to be entirely recovered and Mama seems to have caught up on her sleep. But then, this morning, Husband went out to feed the pups and didn’t come back in for quite a while. I walked out in the garage just in time to see him disposing of the possum carcass that was in the backyard.
And guess which Dynamic Duo was due for their shots two weeks ago?
*SIGH*…

To the vet on Friday, then!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Never would have seen THAT coming!

Just took a quiz that delcared me to be 56% a "Lady".
I find this quite surprising considering that earlier today I burped so loudly that someone a few offices away felt compelled to check on me.... (sorry, Mom!)
Tee hee... speaking of me belching... here's a funny story. Let me preface this story by saying I can burp VERY loudly. Seriously, folks... I'm a 5'2" woman of not very large proportions, but I can belch like a 250 lb. trucker on a beer bender. I work with and also socialize with a very nice, very gay man we'll call Wally. Wally is impeccably groomed and while I've heard him say and do things that are hilariously vulgar in social situations, he is usually the portrait of good taste at work. On day, we were in the hallway outside a meeting space where a large group of our coworkers were hashing out very serious fraud-related issues. I'd just finished something like my 12th diet Coke of the day and I proceeded to let loose with a foghorn-esque belch. Wally looked up and started to laugh until I said (LOUDLY and in an admonishing tone) "WALLY!"
Then I walked away. :)
The moral of my story is this... if you can blame a bodily function sound on someone else, do so. If you can blame it on your proper friend/coworker and tell other friends about it over drinks later, even better.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The View & Other Ignorant Bullshit

Why, Lord? Why would a smart, accomplished woman like Barbara Walters put her name and reputation on the inane, ill-informed drivel that is The View? Has she gotten a tad senile in her golden years? Does she think by surrounding herself with the likes of that half-wit Elisabeth Hasselbeck she’ll appear smarter? Or hip? Or younger? *SIGH*

In case you haven’t seen the clip, dear Elisabeth went on a bit of a rant in the discussion about the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill. The child basically spun out and dissolved into a loudly half-shrieking-half-crying dervish of overly simplistic moral platitudes. Barbara had to step in and settle her down. The worst part of the whole fiasco is that neither she NOR Barbara had their facts straight. Elisabeth went on a rant about the value of “life” and how it begins at conception and she feels sooooo strongly about that- apparently strongly enough to turn into a screeching whiny mess on national television. And dumbass Barbara fuels the whole misunderstanding by saying Plan B prevents implantation. PLAN B PREVENTS CONCEPTION! Even by Elisabeth’s definition of “life,” Plan B doesn’t constitute abortion. The segment dissolved (as these kinds of conversations often do) into an emotional wreck sans fact or logic.

Repeat after me folks: Plan B is not RU-486. They work in entirely different ways. Plan B prevents ovulation after unprotected sex. RU-486 either prevents implantation or causes the body to shed the uterine lining housing an already fertilized and implanted pregnancy. Plan B is basically putting birth control pills (which work by preventing ovulation) on fast forward. Plan B PREVENTS ABORTIONS by giving women a way to prevent fertilization in the first place and avoiding having to terminate an existing pregnancy!

Now, is RU-486 abortion? Absolutely. And it’s legal. Get over it. Someone made the point on a message board I read that the hair we leave in our combs or the skin cells in our bedsheets have more genetic information in them than does a blastocyst in the early weeks of pregnancy. The real kicker is that RU-486 actually mimics a natural process in the body! Do people really think every single egg that gets fertilized comes to term as a baby? A huge, huge percentage of fertile women who have unprotected heterosexual sex (whether for purpose of procreation or as a result of tequila- whatever) will conceive, but never know it because the body just doesn’t let the egg implant or sheds it before the pregnancy gets all that well established.

Oh, I know, I know… that’s “God’s will”. Isn’t there any room in people’s thinking for the concept that perhaps humans exercising their free will is “God’s will” as well? Why would God have given us this kind of thought, this kind of power over our lives, if it weren’t a part of his/her plan? I believe in God, but I also believe that everything happens as it is intended. Are we so arrogant that we believe we, as piddly humans, can subvert God’s plan? Lives come into the world or don’t as God intends it, whether through the seeming cruelty of nature or through choices we’re moved to make in our lives. But don’t think for a second God doesn’t have a hand in AAAAALLLLLLLL of it. Stick this in your brain for a while… by trying to force limitations on the choices of others, you’re actually subverting God’s will yourself.

Random, Trivial Stuff...

O.K… for starters, I am SO getting this shirt!
http://www.spreadshirt.com/shop.php?op=article&article_id=1269217&PHPSESSID=7538e4cfe232755f2285292a51e90d1e#top
‘Cause they are. So there. :P

Today’s post will be trivial in nature, because it’s too hot to think or get riled up about anything. And because I just finished a mind-numbing assignment for work and my poor lil’ neurons have been pushed to the limit already this week.

Damn that Justin Timberlake and his catchy pop tunes!!! Has anyone else been walking around muttering “Get ya sexy on…” to themselves? I’m sorry- I am not normally a JT fan. Frankly, I find him annoying most of the time, but this damnable collaboration with Timbaland may have me converted. Have you read the lyrics? No? Go here:
http://artists.letssingit.com/justin-timberlake-lyrics-sexyback-ft-timbaland-hhxkg21
Lil’ Justin’s got some freak in him! All I know is I like it. But I don’t have to like that I like it. I suppose I should keep this song as my private guilty pleasure, but I’m a dork and the world should know it. (Besides, it has Timbaland in it! Timbaland! Doesn’t that get me just a little street cred?)

Speaking of things sexy- my husband is HOT. Have I mentioned that in the last few minutes? No? Well, he is. No fooling, folks. I just live for the sight of that man running around shirtless. I know I bitch a lot about his gym rat ways and his tendency to get me up at six in the morning to go work out, but DAMN it pays off. I had convinced myself for many years that I didn’t like the typical well-muscled sculpted male body look. LIES! LIES! LIES! I don’t know how I ever conned that man into being hot for my very mediocre body, but bless the sweet sweet voodoo that did it!

On that note, let me introduce my dear readers to something Husband and I like to call DHG/WS. That’s Disproportionately Hot Girlfriend/Wife Syndrome. Many Hollywood types enjoy this condition. The most severe case I can think of is Rick Ocasek of the Cars and Paulina Porizkova.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/visitor/bal-vg-localcelebs-photogallery,0,7010681.photogallery?coll=bal-visitor-utility&index=17
See what we mean? You take a less-than-stellar looking guy who has somehow wound up with a woman who, in most real-life scenarios, would not give him the time of day. I, on the other hand, suffer from DHHS (Disproportionately Hot Husband Syndrome for those of you slow on the uptake.) Same story, just reverse the gender roles.

Complete topic shift. Is it wrong of me to be enjoying this Mel Gibson fiasco? It’s always nice to see fine upstanding “Christians” who really aren’t get exposed. Does a heart good to see karma knock these Jesus-posers off the pedestals they’ve built for themselves. I just wish the world paid half as much attention to the good that people who really try to live up to Christ’s example are doing. (Oh, that was WAY too deep for today- back to the fluff!) hee hee!

Has anyone watched The Simple Life season that’s on as of late? Those wacky pranksters, Paris and Nicole, take over for ordinary housewives and hilarity ensues. And by hilarity I mean completely self-absorbed, seemingly continually half-stoned, stupidity. I watched a few moments of a recent episode in which Nicole “did the laundry”. She put the clothes and big ol’ mess of Tide in the SWIMMING POOL. C’mon, Nicole…this is just laziness- you’re supposed to be the semi-smart one! Even Paris figured out the washing machine! As you might imagine, the Dad of the house was not amused by Nicole’s domestic hijinx. Just moments later, Paris had a 10 minute battle with an ironing board and wound up (I kid you not) using the irons to make grilled cheese sandwiches and cook bacon. Wow. At this point, I realized I should know better and switched to the History channel. I now believe wholeheartedly that Nostradamus was a visionary and the end is near.

I have GOT to get rid of our cable tv…..

Smooches!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dante eat your heart out!

Ugh. Heat. Oppressive. Can. Barely. Type.

No, seriously, folks… it is hotter than all blue blazes here in South Cackalackey. For the last few days we have enjoyed, along with most of the rest of the country, temperatures around 100 degrees and a heat index (a concept I will NEVER understand) up around 110 degrees. But despite all the sweating and the high electric bills and whatnot I am insanely grateful that I live in the deep South. (Wait… let me file that sentence under “things I never thought I’d type.”)
Why the gratitude? Simply put, it may be hotter than a 14 y.o. boy’s drawers at a Pussycat Dolls concert, but dammit we’re prepared!

Unlike many of those silly Yankees, we believe that air conditioning is not a luxury item; it is a basic component of survival like water, oxygen, and liquor. Decades of this kind of heat have taught us that if you are building a home and you can’t afford interior walls and air conditioning… yep, you go with the AC. Because privacy doesn’t really matter much in that kind of heat- everyone will be laying around in their underwear anyway. 99.9% of public places in SC have air conditioning. In the South, you are in danger of melting walking between your home and your car, then your car and the building you’re going into. But that sweet, sweet sound of the low steady hum of AC is never more than a parking lot’s distance away.

Southerners have picked up a lot of other ways to cope with the heat, too. You won’t find us standing around on street corners (hello? streets= asphalt= hotter-than-the sun!) on a sweltering day. We have learned the value of lawns, porches, and buildings with more than 3 inches of daylight between them. (Well, that last one doesn’t apply in Charleston, but they’ve got an entire ocean at their back door to compensate.) We figured out long ago, even before AC, that a porch and a fan and some moving air beats the grimey funk of a hot city street. I think that’s how sweaty can still kind of be sexy down South. At least we smell like grass and not diesel fuel. We live a little more spread out too, even in the urban areas. None of this summertime blackout business for us; because unlike NYC, we know better than to try to cram 6,000 people into two city blocks.

And let’s talk about clothing… another department in which Southerners are much better equipped for the heat. You remember that old rule about white shoes? Never before Memorial Day or after Labor Day? Well, we wear white shoes year round now. But we’ve managed to put a new twist on the old rule. Most women I know avoid closed-toe shoes and pantyhose like the plague from about May to September. And might I point out that Southern men have been taking advantage of the airy breezy goodness of linen and seersucker suits for many years? Stuffy non-Southerners can say whatever they want about us being too casual, but y’all can kiss our collective behind. We might be bare-legged and in a ponytail, but we’re sweating less than you are and we still say “yes, ma’am.” (Oh, and our thighs won’t be chafed come September because our mothers taught us that a little dusting powder triumphs over sweaty body parts.)

Even our food is better for the heat. We’ve got the lock on really good cold dishes and beverages. For instance, many people in Columbia subsist largely on sweet tea and chicken salad in the summer months and we’ve surely got the market cornered on mint juleps and icebox cakes. You know, the mint juleps just brought up another good point. Drinking figures largely in Southern summertime traditions and I think this is pure genius. Not only does a nice cold beverage refresh you and cool you down, but after two of three rounds you can see a marked decrease in everyone’s heat-induced edginess.

So despite the Republicans and Jesus bumper stickers on every vehicle, I’ll gladly take the South in a heat wave. "Global" warming, my ass! We've been sweating it out for decades! There's a reason we talk slow... we've learned how to keep body heat to a minimum.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Check us out!

Pics of me and the hubby on My Space.
Yes, I know... we're way too old and entirely too uncool for My Space.
But we don't care (one of the joys of being old)... so just go bask in our gorgeousness already! :)
http://www.myspace.com/laurengilloolyrobbins
Right.
So... this blog is a continuation of things found at http://sofiassister.livejournal.com/.
Decided I liked the blogspot format better.

That's enough for now. I have good posts coming....