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...


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?


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…


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!



(*insert large crunch/crash noise here*)



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...)
So I did. But in the process of doing so, I noticed something odd.
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.
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?

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!
‘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:
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.,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…..


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.