Archive for August, 2007

An Honest Mistake

So, I called my sister-in-law tonight to wish her a happy birthday, and my brother informed me that while he was glad I called, she was actually already asleep.

It was 7:15 p.m.

As you can imagine, I was freakin’ incredulous, because SEVEN FIFTEEN. Who goes to bed at SEVEN FIFTEEN? Oh my sister-in-law does, because she wakes up at 2 a.m. FOR THE DAY, and apparently she has half of her life organized and complete by the time she goes to work at NINE. As in, she has SEVEN WHOLE HOURS to putter around before she goes to work. Remember how I said I was a morning person and was afraid of that slippery slope of early to bed, early to rise? This — THIS — is precisely what I was afraid of. No no, this is what I am TERRIFIED of.

I just … well, I don’t know what to do with that, nor did I have any idea that this kind of madness was going on, but if it works for her, then, ah … well. I just hope I don’t let that happen to me, and sadly, with my penchant for sunrises these days, it’s lurking in the shadows like a stale fart. It could happen.

Anyway, I have to ask, am I the only person who perpetually works in office buildings where they must automate EVERYTHING IN THE RESTROOM? For example, at my last job, the toilets were automatic flushers, and the sinks and soaps were automatic, too. And it was weirdly convenient and strangely empowering, like suddenly I had the power to turn on the world with the flick of a finger! I am the Sylar of bathrooms! FEAR ME, TOILETS!

It did cause problems, however, in that the auto-toilets and sinks caused quite a few embarrassing moments in other bathrooms like, say, at home, when I would do my business and walk away without flushing, then plant my hands impatiently under the sink wondering why in the Sam Hill the sink wasn’t going ON when my mere presence demanded it? ON, SINK. I COMMAND YOU.

You can imagine that was a fun time for Adam, with unflushed toilets lurking around every corner and it was especially pleasurable during that very special girls-only time, because who doesn’t like a little gift with their morning pee?

Anyway, at least that company had the decency to allow us to decide how many paper towels were appropriate for us to use, unlike my current job, who has installed those godforsaken auto dispensers that dole out one pathetic square at a time. You know, enough to suck all the moisture out of your dripping palm when you grab it, thus leaving you with a soaked and wholly ineffectual pile of mush to dry the rest of your hands with. And while it’s irritating, I can mostly live with it, especially after I overheard our adorable operations manager crowing exictedly about how EFFICIENT the machines are, and how much money he’s saved us in paper products each month! I mean, dude, the man did his job. He should be proud.

However. Three times in the last few weeks, I have spilled the entire contents of my Nalgene water bottle all OVER my desk, and when you’ve got a colleague holding your computer aloft while you frantically try to get something to wipe up the frigin’ 64 ounces of water making its way to your camera and cell phone, do you have ANY idea how frustrating it is to STAND OVER A GODFORSAKEN MACHINE and be doled out a square the size of a DVD case ONE GODDAMN SHEET AT A TIME? And then — THEN! — when you get one square, the machine has to reset itself, which means you have to take your hand away, tap your feet and do some sort of PAPER TOWEL DANCE, while you wait for the dispenser to decide whether you are indeed a new person with wet hands, or just a paper towel pilferer stockpiling them out of some sort of wild vendetta against resource conservation with a special eye towards destroying our nation’s forests.

And whatever, I know, look, I’ll be more careful with the Nalgene bottle, I promise. I’ll put the lid on it, even. But please, give me a stash of paper towels that I can access without prostrating myself in front of a machine, at least for emergencies.

Also in random, oh-my-God GROSS news, weevils got into my Snapple strawberry tea bags. Go ahead, ask me when I realized this, it’s okay. I’m at peace with it. Kind of. Or kind of not, because it was after I’d consumed no fewer than FOUR CUPS OF TEA and just thought, gee, that looks like a bug, but also, gee, these bags have holes in them! Must be some sort of manufacturing defect, how about that? And then I realized what happened and promptly died, and I may never drink tea again as long as I live oh my God, I DRANK BUGS.

Happy Wednesday!

*The Bravery.

36 comments August 28th, 2007

Round Here

Oh gawd. Well. Friday night, after reading the bojillion comments about Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest,” which I’ve owned for years, but honestly never really listened to (thank you, skip function), because I vacillate wildly on Ben Folds, I gave it a listen. See, on the one hand, I really dig him, but in truth, I like him on quirky irreverent songs, and can’t quite take him seriously on any sort of love song level, despite a rather steamy dream to the contrary a few years ago. His voice can be a bit twee for my taste, especially when he’s singing about something oh-so-serious and a little romantic, and even as I write this, my lips are curled like I took a whiff of Sunny’s morning breath, because ew, Ben Folds, you annoy me sometimes.

He’s just … well, he’s too precious for me, I guess, and I’ll admit a mere perfunctory listen to the first five or six bars of “The Luckiest,” before promptly hitting skip for about four years now. Except, shit, that ending? It brought me to a bit of snarfling right there in bed, which both freaked out and irritated Adam, and prompted a bit of panic, because he really didn’t expect to end the day hearing his wife snorfle and wheeze over nothing important. Incidentally, I had the same reaction the day I listened — actually listened — to the lyrics to Peter Gabriel’s “No Way Out” and started to imagine Adam’s bloody body on the ground and when combined with the PMS I was already feeling, there quite a bit of was sobbing in bed, because Adam, don’t leave me here again! Don’t leave me like this! I’M NOT QUITTING ON YOU! THERE’S NO WAY OUT!

Speaking of Adam, he’s currently reading a book on modern interpretations of American history, and for the last week or so, he’s been peppering conversation with delightful facts gleaned along the way, and if you didn’t think Paul Revere could be brought up in regular day’s activities, you were sorely mistaken. He is much more relevant than I anticipated, and any discussion can be used as a springboard, apparently. (“That two if by sea thing went over like a lead balloon!”) Thank you, Dr. History.

Aside from unprovoked history lessons, our weekend was astonishingly low-key, and involved lots of laying about, some Hot Fuzz and some freelance work, which brings me to the irritating Law of Freelance Work. Whenever a big freelance project comes up, I am inevitably kicked in the head with a large unexpected bill or–my personal favorite–several large bills. Previous incarnations have included dental bills, physical therapy deductibles and, yes, our friends the IRS. Saturday, I landed a new freelance project, and within two hours, was promptly handed two unexpected events that directly negate the cost of the project. Ha ha. HA HA!

Granted, one was an iPod death that I’ve been expecting for about a year now, given that I’d bought mine in 2004, which is apparently LIGHT YEARS in iPod life. And yes, while many would argue that it’s not a necessity on the level of, say, the oxygen sensor that needed to be replaced in my car, aside from my laptop, my iPod is the one accessory I use every day, so, ah, there you have it. And welcome Rhonda, my new iPod, to the family! Hello, Rhonda! Incidentally, I played with the iPhone while picking her up, and I wasn’t that impressed. I mean, it’s pretty and all, but after all the hype, I expected the phone to strip naked and clean my toilets.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful. I’m thrilled that I have the work, and that even with these two events, I’m breaking even, it’s just that once, JUST ONCE, I’d like to have extra wads of unexpected cash lying about to do something wild and crazy with. You know, like depositing them in a money market account, because again, as a Capricorn, that’s as nuts as I get, and sometimes–and this is really off the hook–I forget to sign the deposit slip. Whooo!

And finally, we’re being plagued by spiders, just PLAGUED, like it’s some sort of insane spider season or something, for despite a clean house and mad vacuuming, I’m killing up to two a day. Except tonight, as I was taking off my shoe to give one the old smack-and-scream, Sunny got a glimpse of him and snorfled him up like a piece of kibble. And yes, she kisses her mother with that mouth.

Happy Monday to you! I hope your weekend was much more exciting.

*Counting Crows

23 comments August 26th, 2007

True Companion

Our cat is going through a phase where he meows in a way that I imagine only Cillian Murphy is capable of, then promptly attacks our legs with the Death Clamp, sinking his teeth into our buttery, tender flesh and scratching the shit out of our bare skin. It’s pretty extraordinary, and by that I mean extraordinarily annoying, and is not boding well for his future. I mean, not that I’d ever have the heart to get rid of him, of course, but in some small universe, a girl can dream of an existence where he never … existed. Which of course, would be very sad, as he was the first living creature that Adam and I ever got together, and sometimes he can be sort of cute and cuddly, and he’s an outstanding nighttime snuggler and see, I just talked myself right into loving him again. Thanks for that, Internet. I’m officially keeping the cat I never planned to give away, and you convinced me.

In three weeks, I’m heading to the wedding of a childhood friend, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. Matt and I have been friends since we were 10, and seeing him get married is a surprising milestone for me, as I’m sure my wedding was for him, in a strange way. We met by virtue of our last names, which were alphabetically next to each other, and found ourselves sharing a locker on the first day of fifth grade. I thought he was a smelly, annoying boy, and I’m sure he thought I was a strident, unattractive geek with a bad perm. We were both right, of course, but a friendship was born, and over the next eight years, we became the best of friends, and we’ve been close ever since. Interestingly, he was the first male friend I ever had who never had any interest in me, nor I in him. It’s not that he’s not attractive — he is, oh he’s adorable — it’s just one of those things, and honestly, he’s never been attracted to me either, and we’ve discussed at great length over the years. Chemistry I guess, is all I can chalk it up to, because he’d be a darling husband, and I’m so proud of him and I can’t wait to see him get married. I don’t think I realized how much I missed him until I realized I was going to see him again in just a few weeks.

I know a lot of people have opinions on weddings, and I see the validity in all of them, really I do. I get people who just want to have a wedding “their way” and I get that it’s really not about anyone but the bride and groom, so they should just enjoy it and be selfish and blah blah weddingcakes. And while I think that applies to things like ice sculptures, and whether you invite your mother’s sister’s best friend’s son because your mom promised, I don’t necessarily agree that weddings should be an entirely selfish act. One of the greatest memories I have is of Adam’s grandparents dancing at our wedding, not only because his grandmother got sick shortly thereafter, but because for them, it was a huge deal to see their grandson get married. They were so proud of him, they were nearly bursting. Our wedding, strangely, was really important to them.

And when Eve, one of my closest friends in the world, got married this past April, it was a really important day for me, not because it’s all about ME ME ME, but because she’s important to me, and I was so proud of her, and proud of her relationship, and so honored to be there that I was nearly bursting with love, just as Adam’s grandparents had been.

And I feel the same way about Matt’s wedding. Twenty-two years is a long time to be friends with someone, and that he would choose and remember me to be there means the world to me, really it does, and I would travel any distance, anywhere, to be there. And I won’t even talk about the fact that he invited my parents, who he says mean as much to him as I do, because I can’t do it without getting choked up, I just can’t. Matt’s getting married, y’all, and I can hardly contain myself, I’m so happy for him.

(Incidentally, Adam’s not coming with me to the wedding — I have him a bye week, because it’s going to be like This is Your Life, Jonniker, and he’ll be bored to tears, plus, dude, I’ll be with my parents and my friends from high school, and Jesus, some of my old teachers are going, for crying out loud, including my old band director, which is so nerdy, I know, but I don’t care. A geek I am, and I’m aware of it. And ah, I can’t wait.)

Ah, weddings. I think too often they degenerate into superficial money sucks, and become about all the wrong things, but I think they’re more important to other people than we realize, and I wish I’d known that when I planned my own wedding. While I’m not denying that my wedding was fraught with a ridiculous amount of financial pitfalls, peril and stress, I am, in retrospect, so glad I had one, and I hate that many people choose to skip out on them out of convenience. But perhaps more than that, I hate that other people — parents, in-laws, relatives — spend too much time making the wedding about them, driving the couple to elope in a wise decision to save their own sanity. And while I realize that it’s just not practical for every couple, I do secretly wish every couple could have a wedding. I refuse to believe that there isn’t at least one person who wouldn’t be so proud and happy to see them there. And it’s not about the wedding itself, no, not at all — I wouldn’t care if Matt were having a wedding in the middle of a pile of pig shit, I would be there.

Oh, I can’t wait.

Happy Friday and weekend to y’all!

*Marc Cohn. Oh, what a lovely song it is, is it not? If you’ve never heard it, you must, you simply must. I don’t care how sappy it is.

32 comments August 23rd, 2007

Summer Love

First of all, y’all have excellent taste in celebrities. Alan Rickman. Yes yes, I might drool for him. Gabriel Byrne! Oh yes, please. Thank you.

In other news, and this is hardly news worth even mentioning, I’m tired. Bone tired, the way one can only get after working so much you’re not sure which way is up, and I’d like to point out that there seems to be little end in sight to the tiredness, and to the never-ending work and agony, and I’m trying to enjoy it, really I am, but there are days when I just want to throw it all into a fuck-it bucket. The unfortunate thing is that it’s not in my nature, because dammit, I can’t turn off the Capricorn. I can’t. I am responsible! I will do my best! No no, I WILL BE THE BEST DAMMIT AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

Capricorns understand this. I know you do.

However! I’ve been meaning to mention that I’ve been wearing an eye mask to sleep, and to say it’s made a world of difference is a global understatement, because an eye mask changes the world! And it makes it darker, and blocks out the flickering of the television and, when combined with earplugs, ensures that I will remain completely oblivious to a home invasion and will likely be stabbed to death within weeks. Yeah, um, I’m wearing an eye mask to sleep. I suppose it’s the closest I’ll ever get to Greta Garbo, although it would be vastly improved by the addition of a peignoir.

Anyway, as a distraction, Adam and I were talking about our days living in the city, and once in a while I wax nostalgic about my apartment in the North End, or that little shithole we had in Cambridge, and I think gee, living in the city was great, and boy howdy, do I miss it. And I do — I miss Boston a whole lot — but I miss the same things I would if I were merely living in the ‘burbs in Massachusetts. Small grocery markets, and local restaurants and the ability to walk anywhere and everywhere for anything you need within moments. A local dry cleaner. Cheap nail salons. Indian take-out. The Falafel King.

Winter.

Oh, the city winter. I miss watching the flakes come down softly against the street lights, and I miss the cotton-like crunch of the snow against my boots as I walked home from work each evening. I miss bundling up and taking a walk near the waterfront and eating dinner at a cozy restaurant with twinkly lights and warm bread.

Oh yes. City snow beats the pants off of suburban snow, where it gathers in giant wet puddles and mucks up the idyllic scenery by creating a universe of gray slush without the comforting mosaic of warm storefronts and tiny restaurants. So yes, I miss the city a lot, and more specifically, I miss winter in the city. And then I remember — or, more accurately, Adam reminds me — of the innumerable inconveniences, like trying to squeeze a week’s worth of groceries into a Black Paw backpack, and praying that your ice cream doesn’t leak before you get off the T, because the nearest Stop ‘n Shop is eleven miles away. I have far too many memories of wheeling — yes, wheeling — my groceries in a suitcase up the hill from Johnny’s Foodmaster, the three packages of chicken I’d crammed into the bottom leaking salmonella-infested juices onto the asparagus, and more importantly, into the fabric of the suitcase, which would now be used for groceries only, because no one needs chicken juice in their thongs, they just don’t.

But you know, the sad truth is that as much as I miss the city — that feeling of connectedness, and the wonder that is winter in a busy city — I’m a suburban person, and I’m not sure if there’s a more uncool admission. I might as well announce that the Olive Garden is my favorite little Italian bistro, because boy, that chef can whip up a good canneloni, just like mom used to make! (Um, it’s not, by the way).

But I like being able to put my groceries into my car and drive them home to unload them in the safety of my own garage. And while I think strip malls are hideous, I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t secretly revel in their convenience, because having a Mailboxes, Etc. on every corner does, in fact, make my life easier, I’m sorry, it just does. And I want to hate Target — I want to pretend that I realize that it’s all cheap and useless and distracting and a waste, a colossal waste — but the truth is, I am enamored with its luscious red shelves and ample parking. And that makes me a sad, sad consumerist asshat, and I’m really, really sorry.

But honestly, above all else right now, I miss winter. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a day of snow — just one day of beautiful, quiet snow, so I could stay inside and eat soup and light candles and stoke a fire and snuggle up with a cup of real-live hot tea, instead of the iced that I’ve been making for so long I can’t even remember when I started.

Anyway.

Look, I know this is crazy and irrational and snow sucks, but did I mention it was 97 degrees today and my dog won’t poop in this heat because her bowels are sealed shut from the humidity? You’d miss winter too!

Happy Wednesday!

*Why yes, it is Justin Timberlake, why do you ask? While I still don’t think he’s attractive, I like him, and you are owed that admission after my cruel, cruel words against that godawful Delilah song.

27 comments August 22nd, 2007

Darkness

You know that song “Hey There, Delilah” that everyone, including my husband, loves? It makes me want to poke my eyes out with pointy objects just to get to an emergency room, where, for the love of all that is holy, they will not be playing that godforsaken song, and I can get new eyeballs in peace. What is it about the whiny teenage boy-sounding voice with pseudo-deep lyrics that has everyone so entranced all the time? How is it that this song has made it this far?

It’s as mystifying and upsetting as the very existence of Conor Oberst, but not QUITE as disturbing as the song “Face Down,” which is upsetting mostly because Jesus, honestly, I don’t buy it for a second, and that kind of insincerity really gets under my toenails. As abhorrent as domestic violence is, I can’t help but feel like this is the kind of song that dudes write to get chicks, because they’re so sensitive, although I’ll give them credit for artfully blending lyrics that feature both domestic violence and jerking off. That’s a worthy challenge.

And in other news, I have been mysteriously felled by shin splints, despite … well, despite doing everything right, according to every flipping running textbook. I stretch my face off, wear orthotics, don’t overtrain and … well, I don’t know, but I do know that I’m taking tomorrow off, and I welcome any suggestions, because I’m telling you, I haven’t done anything screwy! I haven’t! Except I’m resting, because the last time I got shin splints, I got a stress fracture, and boy howdy, if that wasn’t a bowl of cherries.

And I hate this, because I hate not be able to run and I hate that I’ve become one of Those People who hates not being to run. I’m not sure which is worse. Since one enables me to eat Turtle Chex Mix (salty AND sweet! Have you tried it?) while still losing weight, I’m opting for the former. I am That Person.

I am also That Person who tripped and fell into a fire ant mound last night while her dog ran circles around her in some sort of wild panic brought on by a skateboard, and if the fire ants weren’t enough — and dog owners will know what I mean here — her retractable leash wrapped around my bare be-skirted legs and sliced into my calves like a wire cheese slicer.

But back to the fire ants: oh my GAWD, y’all, I’ve been stung on a one-off basis before, but an entire mound is … well, it’s something hideous, is what it is, and my ankles look like the before photos of a ProActiv commercial, only this isn’t something Guthy-Renker can fix, no matter HOW pointy Katie Rodan’s chin is (seriously, can that thing cut meat, or what?) (Or am I the only one who is periodically transfixed by the informercials and Diddy’s appearance in them?)

And with that, it’s 9:45, which is inching dangerously close to past my bedtime, which is frightening on so many levels, not the least of which is that I’m totally getting up at 6 tomorrow, but since I’m not running, what the hell am I going to do with myself in the dark?

Also, special bonus question at the end!

Happy Tuesday!

***Peter Gabriel. Honestly, I’ve thought about this way too much, because I adore him in a slightly irrational manner, and today while driving to work, I was listening to Up and wondering really, what would I do if I ever ran into him? I considered this especially after reading about some celebrity encounters from Sundry’s commenters. My current celeb encounters are rather lame, and I’ve never met anyone who really made me swoon, nor could I think of anyone who WOULD make me swoon.

Except for Peter Gabriel. With him, I’m pretty sure the sad answer is that I would very likely fawn all over him and cry and become incoherent. No no, I would totally cry, because dude, I love him, and he’s a genius, and god, have you heard I Grieve? Here Comes the Flood? Family Snapshot? JESUS. And suddenly, all of those fainting Beatles fans made sense, because fainting is also a likely possibility. And there have been times that I’ve been frightened that something will happen to him before he puts out another album, and God, for there to be a definite end to his music would crush me.

That’s, um, rational. And right now, a team of Peter Gabriel’s protectors are drawing up the restraining order.

And so, I ask you, if you’ve made it this far, is there any celebrity you would faint/fawn over/otherwise humiliate and/or prostrate yourself in front of? Inquiring minds want to know.

40 comments August 20th, 2007

Wanna Be Starting Something

I am egg-intolerant, which is kind of like lactose intolerance, and is just as annoying. Yet time after time, I become lulled into complacency by a one-off experience where I did effectively digest eggs, because the moon was full and it was an alternate Tuesday. And of course, I get cocky, and I think it would be a good idea to go ahead and order two eggs over-hard, as runny yolks make me ill on sight, and the next thing you know, I’m spending the entire day laid-up with abdominal cramps and a runny nose while trying to watch Pan’s Labyrinth, which will heretofore be known as the Egg Movie from Hell. Oh, eggs. How you hurt me so. Oh frittatas. I miss you.

I mean, I can eat food that has eggs in it, provided the eggs are completely broken down and chemically altered, as in a cake or brownies or even clafoutis. Quiche, however, is not okay, and this is heartbreaking, because oh, how I love me a good quiche, and, as I learned this weekend, two eggs over-hard are most definitely not something my body is down with, and Pan’s Labyrinth may be a delightful movie, but I can’t say I enjoyed it, as I was in the throes of an Egg Crisis, and my husband couldn’t get past the fact that I duped him into watching a fantasy, and a foreign one at that.

Do you want me to go on about food intolerance? Because wow, this is riveting. I can talk about how I can’t digest zucchini, either, if you want. Or summer squash. Jesus, last week it was about how I’m becoming a morning person, and today it’s about food digestion. I have become my grandfather. Welcome.

Anyway, I barely survived last week, I was so freaking busy, and if it wasn’t for a tearful breakdown on Wednesday evening, I’m not sure I would have survived, as I desperately needed the release. The tears, by the way, were brought on by the kindness of a colleague, of all things, and why is it that we don’t lose it until someone is NICE to us? Does that make any sense? I truly think I would have held it together if people were angry or mean, but no no, he said something nice, and then he hugged me, and I crumpled like a wet Kleenex. This, I think, is unfair.

The only saving grace was that it was after 6 o’clock, and the only people who were in my immediate vicinity were two of my favorite work friends, one of whom was the hugger. These work friends also happen to be male, and cute single men at that, and I give them a hell of a lot of credit for dealing with a sniveling, overtired, unavailable female who will never have sex with them, because the return on investment for their attention, hugs and kind words was absolutely zero, really. They were just doing it because they’re nice people and they like me, when they should have been using those comforting skills to some sort of selfish advantage. Big ups to them, man, and I hope the next time they have to endure such hideous snarfling, they get laid.

Truthfully, I’m pretty pissed at myself for losing it, when I should have been able to hold it together. I hate that about myself. Hate. I hate that I usually have to lose it once in any truly stressful situation to be able to pick it up again and go on as normal — I’m always better after I lose it. For a little while – a day, an hour, a minute – I just need to come completely undone and let myself be overwhelmed in order to bring myself together again. It’s one of my biggest professional failures, frankly, and I’m not proud of it, although usually I do it in private or at least hide it relatively well, which, ah, not so much this time, given that my desk is basically in a busy hallway.

What really grates my cheese about this is that I cry when I’m overwhelmed or really angry, and I hate that it’s construed that I’m a sad little pansy, when most of the time, I’m just pissed and frustrated and overwhelmed and my body is all, ENOUGH ALREADY. Men get sick, yell, talk sternly, do whatever, and me? I cry, and set back feminism forty thousand years. However, the good news is that The Overwhelmed Cry is done, and we’re back in business, but the bad news is that the damage, it may be done, as I’m not sure how well I hid it this time since my frustration had reached unprecedented levels.

Anyway, enough whining! Because really, I’m alive, and life is good, and did you know that I’ve booked a long weekend at Disney World with my sister and nephews for November, and that we’re all sharing a room? I mean, it’s just the four of us, no husbands, but still. It’s because I am a masochist, that’s why, but secretly, I think it will be cute to see Disney through a kid’s eyes. Because I am a delusional masochist, fine.

And perhaps more importantly, I hope you all know about Bug Me Not. You do, don’t you? God, it saves so much time and spam, and I’ve used it at least 11 times on the NY Times alone this weekend.

Happy whatever day it is when you read this!

*Michael Jackson. I use it because, for the longest time — as in, until five minutes ago — I thought he was saying, “You’re a vegetable … you’re an omelette …” Really, he’s saying, “You’re a vegetable … you’re just a buffet … they eat off you” which isn’t any better or logical. A vegetable? Seriously? And where did I get omelette?

19 comments August 18th, 2007

Here Comes The Sun

A glance at the clock tells me that it’s 9:38 p.m., and ah, I just got home about 20 minutes ago, which means I left the office at 8:45 p.m., and as some people who got PERKY! PERKY! PERKY! e-mails this morning can attest, I arrived at the office, bright eyed and bushy tailed, at 7:07 a.m. All of my daily blogs were read by 7:10, and I was on my third cup of coffee by 7:45.

Did I not mention my sudden change into Morning Person Extraordinaire? No? Well, it turns out, I have discovered the secret to getting up early feeling rested: go to bed early. I know! Someone give me a medal for this brilliant, groundbreaking discovery! But lo, I started going to bed early, and by gum, I was able to actually get up earlier. Now, please understand, I’m not loving the early mornings necessarily, especially when they involve nothing more than a perfunctory once-over to make sure my hair isn’t a complete and total disaster, because oh yes, I showered the night before, and why repeat the performance? However, I find them infinitely less repugnant than before, and I don’t even hit snooze anymore, and sometimes — and these are my favorite mornings of all — I’ve run two miles before 7 a.m.

I don’t know either, man, I just live in fear of that slippery slope that leads to people like my in-laws, who go to bed at 7:45 p.m. and get up at 4 a.m. They call us with random questions at 7 a.m., because Jesus, it’s MID-MORNING, and they’re on their way to the sidewalk sale at Bealls, and how are we not up yet?

Perhaps the most embarrassing point here is that I achieved this miraculous sleepathon by using a hypnotizing cassette tape that a therapist made me at one time. And ah, every night, I’ve been drifting off to the sound of her voice imploring me to let the thoughts come, but let them flow … flow … FLOW into blissful nothingness. I need not take any action on these thoughts, you see, but I merely need to let them pass … pass … PASS to the land of nod. Concentrate and inhale … inhale … INHALE and let the breath come while the hammock rocks … rocks … ROCKS … you to sleep.

Are you asleep yet? Because I’m letting them pass …. pass … PASS to the land of nod, and I’m rocking … rocking … ROCKING in some hammock somewhere, apparently, and whatever, look, it works, and I’m sleeping better and also up earlier, and this is a miracle, given that I very publicly swore it would never happen to me, but here I am, up before the sun, and running in the dark, for chrissake.

The reason I’m doing this is that I’m working more, and when I’m working more, I let my body and my health fall off of the map completely. For me, working is a compulsion, and one that I haven’t really learned to control, despite my best efforts to the contrary. When I took this job, I deliberately made some changes (ahem … salary, hours) that would force me to change my tendency to work until my fingers fall off, I’ve got a constant headache, and oh, when was the last time I ate something other than fried take out? Or exercised?

It’s an awful thing, and one that employers love to easily exploit. However, honestly, my current employer isn’t being unreasonable about what they need from me right now: what I’m doing is, actually, entirely necessary, given circumstances completely beyond their (or my) control, and there is an end in sight, albeit a vague, fuzzy, unclear ending with no actual date, but again, that’s no one’s fault. What’s freaking me out, however, is that I’m liking it. I love the satisfaction of working really hard on something, and the rush of finishing something and finally pulling it off.

I remember once, a few years ago, wrapping up a really stressful project — so stressful in fact, that if I screwed something up, not only would I be fired, but people would be indicted — and I threw up into a garbage can underneath my desk when it was all over, a release of all of the churning anxiety that had built up in my system, booted in one fell, literal swoop. And instead of seeing this as a sign that maybe I should change jobs, I got a little excited, because dude, I’d not only survived, I’d triumphed. And when can we do it again?

(I am forgetting that after a while, I hate working like this. After a while, when I haven’t seen my family in weeks, and I’m fat and have bad skin and can’t remember the last time I laughed. So I must stop this! Soon!)

It’s a sickness, you see. So in all of this right now, I’m trying not to push too hard, compete too much, fight too much simply for the satisfaction of winning some sort of game I’ve got with myself that yes, I can be the best, hardest worker anyone’s ever seen, and wow, look at all that productivity and brilliance! OMG LOOK HOW SMART SHE IS SHE IS THE BEST WORKER EVAR OMG.

(For the record, I’m aware that this very likely points to some sort of deficiency in self-esteem and/or overly competitive nature, but really, I’m focusing only on fixing it and not analyzing the underlying problem, like maybe I wasn’t held enough as an infant or something or my dad wouldn’t let me braid my hair or … I don’t know.)

What I do know is that getting up early, at the very least, makes me take care of my body three days each work week. Those mornings, I get up and run before trucking into the office, and for a half hour, it’s just me and the Today Show, or maybe the Cocteau Twins, and I forget about everything else. That makes me feel good, and it’s a hell of a lot better than I ever managed before.

So, ah, hooray for mornings.

Happy Tuesday!

*The Beatles

23 comments August 13th, 2007

Who’s That Guy?

For the first time in years, I’ve been plagued by Sunday Night Syndrome. You know that terrifying feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach you had when you were a kid and you had a chemistry test the next day? A chemistry test you knew you were doomed to fail? That’s kind of how I feel right now. Not doomed to fail, per se, but doomed to a day of anxiety that I’m going to fail if I don’t pay rapt attention to every single teeny thing that happens, and that definitely includes an ant crawling across my desk, because it could change the chemical make up of the room, and THAT could change the course of the entire day and then we would be doomed to fail! DOOMED! TO! FAIL!

Work is awesome right now, is what I’m saying. Extra challenges! Extra responsibility! Extra anxiety! No sleep! Woo!

That being said, we had a deliciously lazy weekend that involved lots of wandering around aimlessly, meals out, long runs and laundry. It was precisely what we needed, laundry and all, and it felt so good that I’m more heartbroken than usual to see it all end, but luckily, there are brownies to see us through the hard times, even if they do come in a box. The thing is, I’ve made brownies from scratch, and I’ve made them from a box, and when it comes to plain chocolate brownies, I can honestly say I prefer them from a box. Like, by quite a bit, unless they’re made with something fancy, like cream cheese or mint or German chocolate frosting.

Mmmm … German chocolate frosting …

One of the things that made this weekend so beautifully spectacular was the fact that Grease 2 was on while I ran on the treadmill this afternoon, and I don’t care who mocks me: Grease 2 is a delightful blast. Balmudo! Rock-a-Hula Luau! Reproduction! I’ve mentioned this before, but I hadn’t seen it in ages and ages, and it was just as deliciously campy as it’s always been, but most importantly, through the magic of Google and IMDB, I learned that Balmudo, also known as Craterface, died in 1994. 1994! He’s been dead for years! I don’t know why this makes me immeasurably sad, but it does. I always thought he was still out there somewhere, leading the Scorpions to victory until Michael Carrington arrived menacingly, rising from the orange cones to ride circles around them all.

Also random aside: Did anyone else watch Dance Fever growing up? Does anyone else remember when Adrien Zmed, also known as Johnny Nogerelli, hosted it? Because oh my God, the hair. The satin shirts. ADRIEN ZMED.

And look, I’m going to run off and enjoy the last fading bits of my delicious weekend, including a beer and a brownie (though not at the same time), but first, a product recommendation:

I cannot recommend Origins Spring Fever enough. Lawyerish was kind enough to bring me some of the body souffle, at the recommendation of Metalia, who I’ve stolen a lot of products from, including Softsoap’s Pomegranate Mango body wash (oh my gawd YUM!). And boy howdy, she was right! So very right! It’s delicious, and very moisturizing and I’ve been wearing it almost exclusively since she gave it to me, and it’s taking every ounce of restraint in me not to smear it all over my body at every possible opportunity. In fact, it’s replaced my previous favorite body cream, People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo, which is beautiful and wonderful and eye-pokingly expensive, though it lasts a really long time.

But the Origins is even more delightful! And much prettier! And, praise the lord, much cheaper! It’s light, beautifully refreshing and so creamy and cozy without overpowering. I’ve seriously considering drinking it, but it’s just … well, that would be gross. But that means you should go get some.

*Grease 2 ensemble. I’m seriously considering buying the soundtrack, because how happy is it? How campy and joyful! DELIGHT! DELIGHT IN THE CAMPINESS.

22 comments August 12th, 2007

Summertime

It’s that special time of year when my nose becomes remarkably faucet-like, and instead of doing its job, and just politely — and rather delicately — breathing, like a normal nose, it’s dumping out large rivers of clear snot everywhere, which is really becoming quite annoying. I can’t even brush my teeth without fear that a tiny clear ball of mucus will suddenly be poised for a speedy exit, and suddenly I’m forced to decide: spit or blow, SPIT OR BLOW OH MY GOD BLOW BLOW BLOW. I think my favorite part of the whole thing — really, my absolute, hands-down favorite thing ever — is when I get out of the shower and conveniently forget that I am a walking allergy machine, and rub my towel all over my face, including my snotty-ass nose, spreading clean lines of snot all over my face and hair. I love that. And, just in case there was any doubt, I do then get back in the shower and re-wash everything, because, oh yes!, I’ve snotted myself all up in this piece, and snot isn’t a good look.

This reminds me, rather inappropriately, of that terrible time in eighth grade when I forced myself to go to school with a raging cold, and I sneezed, covering my mouth with my hand, but failing, in my feverish fog, to prevent myself from grabbing a nice hunk of hair and snotting right into my hair, and apparently I was too foggy to even notice the large hunk of mucus dangling from my golden tresses. That was cool. What was even cooler was that a classmate pointed it out to me. And ah, I went home sick a short time after.

So! As long as I get through this without publicly snotting myself, I think we’re okay, is what I’m saying.

Interestingly, at least for me, my job has entered a universe of … massively increased responsibility, like a hundred fold, so the next four weeks should be really exciting and by “exciting” I mean, it should kind of be like jumping out of a plane and just hoping that I got the parachute on right. Because no no! I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed enough already, thanks! But truthfully, it’s a nice distraction. At least I’m saying that now, before the shit actually hits the fan, ha ha. HA HA.

::crumples into a maniacal heap of laughter::

In truly exciting, weather-related news, I can say with total accuracy that it is moist outside, as in, it actually feels wet, even when it’s not raining. I stepped outside to talk to a colleague, and within seconds, I was … well, I was moist, look, I’m sorry, there’s no other way to put it. It’s humid! Dangerously humid!

Speaking of humid, and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this something in the range of 800 times before, but really, the whole pronunciation of humid as YOO-mid really perplexes me, as does the word huge as YOO-ge. I mean, really, while this might be correct, there’s just something about it that doesn’t sit well with me. I imagine that these are the same people who pronounce white, “HWA-ite,” which mildly grates my cheese even though look, I know it’s right, it’s just that honestly, there is subtlety and then there is HWA-ITE and HWA-ALE.

Incidentally, one of the most public perpetrators of this is Betty White, you know, being a HWA-ITE and all. And as if my love for Betty White wasn’t enough (because oh, I love all of the Golden Girls equally), my beloved father is a YOOGE HWA-ITER, and would totally say YOOMID.

Now, bear in mind, I’m not paragon of pronunciation, with frou-frou and clandestine and … well, let’s just say that I know full well that Jurgen Nation is pronounced “YURR-gen”, and yet there I am to myself, every time “JERGEN!” But I’m not sure that counts, because that one I really do know, because my first Cabbage Patch kid was German, and his name was, fittingly, Hans Jurgen. I just … well, I just apparently choose instead to flout the gentle rules of the English language and go with some vague, arbitrary phonetics. You have complete free reign to mock me and tell me how ridiculous I am with my fear of yoogely annoying hwa-ite-hot yoomidity.

Happy Thursday! Dear sweet baby Jane, is it Saturday yet?

*The Sundays.

22 comments August 8th, 2007

Hanging Upside Down

Hello! I’ve just consumed three pounds of meat, how are you? Because the thing with Pioneer Woman’s lasagna is that it is MEE-TAY. Meat! Lots and lots of meat! I’ve never seen so much meat in one place, actually, and for that reason alone, I’m not sure I’d make it exactly the same way again, although I will admit that my preference is for a saucy lasagna, and this ain’t saucy, it’s MEATY! MEATY! MEATY!, did I mention it’s MEEAAATTTY?

I understand why Ree needs such a meaty lasagna, given that she and the family are all up before dawn and work on a ranch all day doing things like chasing cows and riding horses and doing things that require sweating. I’ll bet that works up a meaty appetite, and that at least, dear God, you burn off some of those meaty, meaty calories working on a ranch. But a writer and a technology geek do not need an extra … meat, because our lives are quite sedentary, and typin’ doesn’t burn the same amount of calories as ranchin’. And there certainly isn’t any sweating, as evidenced by what I fear are … headlights in all the wrong places due to subzero working conditions.

In the meantime, a plea to the good folks at Merrick cat foods: please, and I do mean please, stop making your cans so difficult to open. Today, in fact, while I struggled for a solid three minutes to figure out how to open a container of Southern Delight, the entire container exploded and shot all over me and it was, essentially, like being doused in vomit. That was awesome, and may actually have been the highlight of my day. I would also like it if you could do something about the fact that the second, and I mean THE VERY SECOND, I dump the dirty cat litter into the garbage bag, my cat places his ass into the empty litterbox and lets loose with approximately 11,000 ounces of urine.

Honestly, I’m talking about fluff, because the very idea of imagining my house on the market and a whole bunch of other things going on are making me want to poke my eyes out with giant pointy things, because … well, I’m just feeling very overwhelmed right now, with everything, and most of it is going to be fine, but I’m just … I’m just a little overwhelmed, but this, too, shall pass. And mercifully, for better or worse, things always work out the way their supposed to, don’t they? Adam and I were saying today that one of the best things about getting old will be to take a look at the paths that everything took; to map out your life in retrospect, and understand that yes, sometimes things do work out for a reason you don’t know yet. That will be cool, I guess, but in the immortal words of Jordin Sparks, this is my now (I should have realized before, but is there a more inane lyric out there? Is there? Oh, American Idol. What were you thinking?), and sometimes – don’t tell anyone – I can be impatient.

In the meantime, please someone keep me off of Realtor.com and Zillow and whatever, just PRY MY FINGERS FROM THE KEYBOARD.

Anyway. Since I have an affinity for all things perfumed, I should say that I never shy away from complimenting someone on their fragrance, and really, nothing irritates me more than someone who refuses to share it, like it’s some sort of secret, and no one else will find that perfume! Ever! NEVER! Today, however, embarrassingly enough, I caught a delightful whiff of a woman’s perfume as she was exiting the restroom stall, and really, there couldn’t be a less inappropriate time to compliment someone, though I will admit, I am grateful that it was that I smelled, instead of other, more natural odors.

(Aside: I don’t wear much perfume anymore. It’s too strong on me. But I still collect it.)

And finally: Alby Grant! As prophet! Nicki gambling! Oh Big Love. You’re making up for everything Big Brother is lacking.

Happy Tuesday!

*David Byrne. I always thought he was Scottish or … something … but it turns out, no! No! He was raised in America! That explains a lot, but still, does he not seem … foreign to you? And also – also! – he does the music for Big Love? Because he does. And the whole scene with the guitars and Nicki with the money and everything was obvious, yes, but it was also pure genius.

19 comments August 6th, 2007

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