Does anybody read these?

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am too tired to post anything else about last night on the Internet, so you have to go to this post on my much-neglected music blog to read about the concert last night and really my old-geezer commentary on the music industry in general.

The man. The myth. The legend.

I need to do more with the music blog. Album reviews. Go to more shows. Maybe not bitch so much about how these young whipper-snappers have nothing on Merle Haggard.

Maybe that's my new year's resolution.

I also think that I am going to hop on over to my cooking blog and post about the mulling spices I made for my coworkers.

Posts on all three blogs in one day? Oh God, the Internets may explode from the excitement.

I am going to try to post either tomorrow or Saturday, but just in case I don't get to, I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not so hooteriffic

Sorry about totally bailing on NaBloPoMo. I just got busy with the holidays, but you all told me this would happen. I am trying to keep up the best I can. Luckily most of my work projects are done and it's quiet around here.

Perhaps it's so quiet that no one noticed that our lunch took two hours today? I hope so, but I'm still pissed that we couldn't even get dessert.

When I first started working here, one of the girls in the office went to Hooters every Tuesday with the guy who worked on our computers. Not long after I arrived, he got canned. And while we don't go every Tuesday, I have picked up his slack and accompany her to Hooters. It doesn't hurt that I love Daytona wings like it's my job.

Every year, we go to lunch at Hooters right before Christmas. We call this lunch our "Hooters Holiday Extravaganza." We go, have lunch, exchange gifts. Fun times. The last two years we've gathered up others from the office to join us. Our only two rules are: You're not allowed to share a dessert (you have to eat the whole thing), but sharing of fried pickles is highly encouraged. Whatever we end up eating, it always ends up being a lot of fun.

I got hooked on Hooters' food back when I had a friend who worked for them. Everything tastes great, and they really do buy their food from quality sources. Their seafood is actually pretty awesome. And most of the girls there are pretty sweet.

However, I will not lie and say there are not challenges to bringing your own hooters to Hooters. While some waitress are a lot of fun and treat us like everyone else, others assume that because we aren't there to stare at their tits or try to touch their ass that we aren't going to tip as well as the horny businessmen. And that generally translates into shitty service.

Yet, the good times outweigh the bad and, in the past, the holiday extravaganza has gone off without a hitch. Today was a whole different story.

I don't know if our waitress was new or stupid or paid more attention to the guys. It was hard to make an assessment of someone who said about 4 words to us and we only saw three times in the two hours that we were there. Yes, I said two hours. And yes, we were on our lunch HOUR, not "hours." And that two hours was such a clusterfuck that we didn't even get dessert.

So, I am probably a little grumpy. You know how fat kids are when you don't let them have cake.

But, in addition to not being able to order dessert because of the slower-than-molasses service, we also had checks and meals that were completely and totally FUBAR, not to mention that I got overcharged because she told me the lunch special listed on the menu as Monday-Friday, 11-3, was only available on Friday. Once again, stupid? New? No one really knows...

I didn't want to tip her, but Shay said something about it being Christmas, so I felt bad. So I gave her 10 percent, but when you figure that she overcharged me by $3.20 plus tax, then really I probably gave her way too much money.

I wish my friend still worked for Hooters' corporate office, because I'd be calling her faster than you can say "disgruntled customer." But she doesn't. I looked through my e-mail to see if I still had her e-mail with the name and contact info for the owner of that particular Hooters (from the time they told me they didn't have Daytona wings), but I must've deleted it. I guess after four years of relatively good luck, I wasn't expecting such a horrific lunch there.

I guess it would piss me off less if we didn't still have one more week with our time-card Nazi boss who was waiting for us when we arrived back at the office (As far as I know, no one from our group got yelled at, but another group of late lunchers did.). Two hours isn't acceptable for lunch during the work day. And they weren't any busier than any other day when they get us in and out in an hour. Trust me, it's not that hard to make some wings and fries.

Plus I got overcharged. I think that pisses me off almost as much as being late to get back to work. I always go there and get the exact same thing, so I have no idea why the fries didn't come free with the wings today. Plus I got charged for blue cheese that never quite made it to the table, despite me asking for it twice before I gave up. But considering it took 45 minutes to get our checks, there was no way in hell I was questioning it. I didn't have another half hour to spare while she tried to figure it out.

I'm trying to decide if I should call the manager. I hesitate because they were not helpful during the Daytona wing fiasco of 2006. However, there's a lot of turnover in food service. It could be a different person now. I did leave a passive-aggressive comment on Twitter in which I tagged Hooters. I guess I would probably bitch if I thought it would help. But, at the end of the day, I'll probably still be overcharged and even more frustrated and grumpy than I already am.

Oh well, I guess I will stew on it until the lunch rush is over. I know better than to call a restaurant manager when they are busy.

At least I get to see Garth Brooks tonight. If I could figure out how to make my own Daytona wings, I'd probably just break up with Hooters, but I haven't quite figured it out yet.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Did you miss me?

So, when I fall off the wagon, I really fall off the wagon. I missed two more days of blogging! I'm sitting down here to write who-knows-what. I need to write all kinds of things I know about (and a few I don't) for work, but I am feeling the urge to procrastinate. My pile is finally a manageable size, so I guess that is a good thing.

I had so many things I wanted to discuss. I went to my roommate's master's degree graduation on Saturday, and it reminded me of my graduation and college and all that stuff, so I had been tempted to walk down memory lane. The alma mater was also in a bowl game on Saturday, which was exciting, except that they lost. Although had I known there was a ticket and hotel deal for $40, I might have been drinking daiquiris and eating muffalettas down in Nawlins with them.

I started my holiday baking which seems like a more insurmountable task with each passing year. So far, I have Snickers fudge, which is super rich; rum balls, which are super boozy and delicious; oatmeal scotchies, which never turn out just right; and caramels, which need to be cut and wrapped in waxed paper. Tonight I plan to make peanut blossoms and thumbrints and get the dough ready for the crinkle cookies. Everything will be done tomorrow night, but that means that people getting them in the mail aren't going to have them for Christmas.

I am going to see Garth Brooks tonight and again on Wednesday. I figure since I haven't seen him since college I might as well stock up in case it's another 12 years before I see him again. Lance was going to come up, but he's busy with his last week working in Miami and couldn't get away. I know it makes sense for them to live in the house they own at least while the housing market sucks, but I sure will miss crashing on their couch so close to the beach. Luckily I have Toma and Tara who have a guest room for me, and I know where I can stay on South Beach for $50/night. Because let me tell you, I need a beach break more than you can even imagine.

That's why we're thinking about a trip to St. John next fall if we can swing it. I hope we can. I miss my friends and the cheap rum and the beach and boat rides and conch fritters and views and villas. I need my little island in the middle of nowhwere. I guess in the meantime, I'll just make a painkiller and listen to Jimmy Buffett. The rum balls I made will help.

It's weird not rushing to get out of town for Christmas, but it's expensive doing two trips in a month. And, really, now that I've got it decorated and almost cleaned (although that's what I will be doing on my days off in the next week), I am looking forward to spending Christmas in my own house.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bad blogger

I didn't post yesterday. I have been so busy lately, running 900 miles a minute, actually doing work at work. Yes, life is rough. And I completely and totally forgot to post yesterday.

And, truthfully, the only reason I am posting right now is because I am about to fall asleep sitting at my desk so I don't think assignments that require a lot of reading would be the best choice right now.

The worst part about all of this is that I volunteered to work tonight. Although my could-be hernia seems to be acting up right now. It feels like I have a really bad stitch in my side. Speaking of work, toyland told me that I could come in and close next week, but I heard on the news that they are not closing until 10 p.m. Christmas eve (yes, from Tuesday until 10 p.m. Christmas eve. Crazy.), so I'm not sure what that is all about.

I can't even see straight. I really need some rest. Maybe I can locate some caffeine in these parts. Remind me to never get up at 5 a.m. to make a cake again. It has been a really long time since I've been this tired.

So, I missed a day of blogging, and the world kept spinning. I'm not sure if it's helped me to write everyday anyhow. My life is pretty boring, and 75 percent of the time I don't have time to develop any type of story idea. But still, stringing words into sentences and paragraphs and pages is good.

My roommate wants to have a New Year's party. I haven't ever had a new year's party before. I'm not sure who would come to such a thing. We'll see...

I will try to find something charming, insightful, funny, something to say over the weekend.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


So, I was so busy today (yes, it's still Wednesday because I haven't slept yet), that I almost forgot to write today.

I like my new boss. He's a visionary. We need vision. And he has a good sense of humor. That's good too. Plus, he thinks we don't get enough time off for Christmas, which I think is exceptional if he will fix it. Yes, this is all good.

Speaking of good, I got the part for the hot water heater under warranty today and I am looking forward to a nice, warm shower in the morning. Thank goodness I looked the part up on the manufacturer's website or I might not have known it was still under warranty.

Everything is shaping up at the homestead. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I need a nap. Tomorrow's another busy day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I just can't get motivated this year. I have boxes of Christmas stuff everywhere and I just can't get the trees put up and get everything situated. You think I would want to in my new house, but it's not going very well. Any ideas on how to get in the Christmas spirit? You'd think that all the snow would help.

I'm just tired. I don't have a lot of energy. I am having a hard time keeping up. My house looks like a war zone.

If I don't have it done this weekend, I am not sure that I will see the point. I'm hoping I'll get a lot done tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Toy time!

So, today on Yahoo there was a list of the "Top 20 toy fads we can't believe we bought into." As somewhat of a toy expert, I feel compelled to address this important issue.

I agreed with some of their observations. Zhu Zhu pets, Silly Bandz and Tamagotchis were all toy fads that seem to have fizzled out.

Some of them, like Pokemon, Cabbage Patch Kids, Ouija Boards and Skip It started out as fads and probably don't deserve the shelf life they've received, but they've really outlived fad status.

But perhaps the toys I disagreed with the most were a few that I consider classics and not fads at all. In fact, it pissed me off a little someone would have the nerve to include these in a list of fads they feel a little swindled by. These toys included Pick-up sticks, an Easy Bake Oven, Barbies, Legos and the Magic 8 Ball. Those toys were some of my favorites and, frankly, toys that I would still play with at age 38.

I remember my Easy Bake Oven. I not only had the yellow one that looked like a microwave (it was the 80s), but I had a special Holly Hobbie Easy Bake oven that I bought at my church rummage sale for what I'm guessing was my lunch money. I loved Holly Hobbie, and that Easy Bake Oven was my prized possession. And while the little cakes and cookies you make with that thing are pretty gross, I'm sure that it fueled my passion for baking and cooking at a young age. I remember when I moved up from Easy Bake Oven to real oven. The results were equally unappetizing. But luckily my culinary skills are much improved 26 years later.

I loved Barbies too. As Christmas approaches, I'm always reminded of my best Christmas present ever, which was the Barbie Dream House. You see, my cousins had one and I really wanted one, but we could never afford it. So one year they came out with a Barbie cottage that only cost $30 to the $150 for the Barbie Dream House. I asked for it instead. And then the Tuesday before Christmas my dad won over $2,000 on the lottery. Being a kid, I didn't really understand why he'd been so excited that day, but I sure was excited when I came on Christmas and saw the box for the Dream House at the bottom of the stairs. I probably played with my Barbies a lot longer than was cool, but I hated to part with that house. The ones they make now aren't nearly as cool as mine was.

What was your favorite Christmas present? What's your all-time favorite toy and why?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time flies by

Anyone know where the weekend went?

I got a lot done but still much to do. The weather is awful and work is delayed until 10 a.m., because, of course, the office isn't going to be closed.

The ride home was rough. I bought all my Christmas baking supplies. I unpacked my Christmas decorations, but who knows when I will get it all done.

I'm about ready for bed tonight. The drive home was frightening, and I think it wore me out.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

You do what you gotta do

I almost forgot to post today. I have been unpacking the monster pile of shit from storage and reorganizing so I can finally decorate for Christmas.

But while I was unpacking, I found some photos from a few years ago. In the summer of 2003, I was at my lowest weight since high school. I found some photos from the Kappa Phi convention and TOPS conventions those years.

I looked amazing back then. I guess I didn't realize it, but I looked amazing.

And now I am too fat for my fat pants.

Starting tomorrow, it's a whole new me. It's time. I want to be that girl again. It'll take me 80 pounds to be that girl again, but surely I can do it.

I don't have to be thin, and the reality is that I'll never be thin, but I do need to be thinner than I am.

Who knew that some photos that have been in storage for five years would wake me up?

But I'm sure glad they did.

I have no intentions to make this a diet and fitness blog. I have no desire to be obsessed with diet and fitness (remember my post from the other day?), but I do need to make a clean break and get back to the gym. I know I can do it, and I deserve it.

Wonder if there's a TOPS meeting in these parts?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cookie time

This is my list of Christmas baking that I will start this weekend. Am I missing anything?

For the work cookie exchange: pumpkin drop cookies with icing.

Candy: snickers fudge, potato candy, caramels

Cookies: snickerdoodles (red and green), thumbprints, chocolate chip, oatmeal scotchies, chocolate crinkles, Mexican wedding cakes, rum balls, peanut butter blossoms, cut-out cookies.

Midnight oil

I have always been a night owl. When I was growing up, my dad had to be at work at 5 a.m., so that meant he left the house at 4:30. In the summer months, I would sit up on the couch and watch TV until almost time for him to wake up. Sometimes I would pretend I was asleep while he got ready for work so I didn't get in trouble for staying up so late.

In high school, I would get home from my part-time job at 10 p.m., do my hours of homework and then be on the bus by 7:15 the next morning.

In college, I would go out to the bars (usually O'Hooley's, the Junction or the Pub. Or all three) after Student Senate meetings, stay out until last call, grab something from the Burrito Buggy and drop people off at dorms and houses all the way down to old Building 38. Then, I'd be on the copy desk by 7:30 a.m. to edit the paper the next day (or later that day, really...).

Even in my adult life, there have been times that I've barely made it home in time for work. But, I get to work and my job doesn't suffer. I do, however, find that as I get older these days are fewer and farther between. I definitely couldn't run every Friday on three hours of sleep like I did in college. I also couldn't go three days without sleep like I did when we were finishing our final projects for Campaigns and Elections and Civil Liberties classes.

Yet, I still have my late nights. And I like to think I'm not as old as I feel. I surprise myself sometimes. Last night, for example, I worked until 10:30 but had to make a layer cake for my roommate, who goes to work at 6 a.m., to take with her this morning. So, I was up until 1:30 and got back up at 5:30 to put the final touches on it. And I feel fine, although I did practically make out with the boy who gave me my latte at Starbucks this morning.

So, even though I tend to be a night owl, especially when I don't have anywhere to be the next morning, you would think I could put up with someone else doing it. And, for the most part, I can.

But it's starting to get really old doing my dishes before bed every night and waking up with a sinkful the next morning. I like to go to bed with a clean house because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And frankly, I am getting too old to wash dishes that magically appeared overnight while I wait for my car to warm up.

Our other roommate is sweet, but she's a musician who does the whole restaurant gig when she doesn't have music gigs. She keeps odd hours, even by my standards. Because even if I'm up at 1 a.m., I am watching TV or reading, not dirtying every dish in the house to make what appeared to be a multi-course meal. And when I lived in other people's houses, I wouldn't dare be up in the kitchen all hours of the day, because I would have felt horrible if I'd woken them up. Plus, we've already determined that I like to have a clean kitchen when I go to bed. (And my mom -- and the roommates of my youth -- will tell you it's taken me a long time to get to that point in my life.)

Often here in town, you see ads for housing by musicians looking for other musicians. Or people saying "I'm not really looking for a musician for a roommate..." I'm not saying that I don't like having a musician for a roommate, but I am saying I can why those advertisements exist now. I would guess that other musicians might have similarly suited schedules. They are probably more acclimated to late-night jam sessions and just general overnight rambling than your average flack and graduate student. Although I do believe I have been pretty forthcoming with the fact that we're both getting older, have to get up early and are well past our late-night partying days.

How late is late? Have I become an old fuddy-duddy? Perhaps this is true. But sometimes you have to be a fuddy-duddy when you are working two jobs to pay the mortgage, a car note, an assload of student loads. You know, all that real life stuff...

Funny thing. I wasn't devastated when my little musician pal with this late-night texts stopped texting. Girl needs to sleep, and even though he's hardly starving, I still felt like a) he should sleep and b) he should do a little more with his time. Don't get me wrong, it'd rock if someone would give me $2 million bucks for 90 minutes of my time, but they won't, so it's best if people don't text me at 4 a.m., you know?

And while he woke me up with his texts, at least he didn't steal my cheese out of the fridge while I was at work.

And sometimes he told me cool stuff that other people didn't know yet. That was neat. But still, I never felt like he understood "real life" and how the common folk lived. I chalked it up to him being in his own, little, super-rich-people world, but now I am beginning to think that all musicians, regardless of level of success, live in that same place.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

"Lies make the baby Jesus cry!"

So, I was stuck, and I packed up my Writer's Block the day we thought we were all going to get canned at work. I decided that since I had to post, I'd go over to the NaBloPoMo website and see what today's writing prompt was.

Here it is:
What one thing are you often tempted to lie about? When do you think it's okay to lie?

That didn't really help at all, because I still don't have much to talk about. Much like Todd Flanders on The Simpsons, I think "Lies make the baby Jesus cry." (How's that for a holiday tie-in?) I don't believe there's ever a good time to lie. I believe it's important to tell the truth.

Someone once told me that if you always tell the truth, you only have to remember one story.

Maybe I'm too old to keep my stories straight. Or maybe, and this is probably closer to it, I have gotten burned by so many pathologically lying sociopaths that I have taken an all-or-nothing approach to honesty.

So, yes, sometimes this means that I have to pretend I didn't hear someone ask me if their jeans make their butt look too big. Or when my roommate asked me if I was mad the other day, I cleaned it up and said, "There's no point in being mad now; let's just say I'm frustrated." I don't lie, but sometimes I try to soften the blow, so to speak. I might be candid, but I'm not cruel. I think that's an art we could all benefit from.

There's just no excuse for making things up. What you think might be a harmless white lie or a tale that no one will ever find out isn't true can end up causing serious damage. Didn't I just talk about that yesterday when I wrote about breaking up with friends? There is a person that I have not talked to in years, nor do I have any inclination of talking to ever again, whose messes I am still cleaning up, simply because the truth evaded her. I don't know if she had mental problems or just wanted to be cool, but constantly explaining your association with her and how it affected your perception of reality gets old. Honestly, she should probably thank God everyday that I don't know how to contact her, or I would've last time I got my ass reamed for her lies. I should share the joy, shouldn't I?

Lies hurt people. The truth always prevails and hearts are broken and relationships are wrecked. And, even if you think you might hurt someone telling the truth, I can promise you that lies hurt a million times more.

So, I found something to write about after all. I don't even lie about my weight. I just won't tell you, so don't ask. Ever.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I am sitting here trying to decide if I want something to eat. I still don't feel great, and I'm not really sure I'm hungry. And, based on a mass office e-mail about the state of affairs in the shared refrigerator, I'm guessing that the brown-bag lunch I brought on Monday did not survive my bout with "the plague" either.

So, here I sit, spending my lunch hour blogging. (There it is again! "Blog" as a verb. I give up!) I'm not sure this is the wisest choice since I am having limited success accessing my Twitter feed on the work computers these days. Perhaps they've realized this is yet another way employees amuse themselves during the day.

Amusement, of course, is strictly prohibited in these parts. Nevermind that almost 70 percent of all businesses use Facebook AND some businesses are exclusively using it to communicate with consumers. Or that I got an e-mail on Monday with the 10 FB pages all PR professionals should "like." Not this gal. We practice PR in a vacuum that is firmly entrenched in the Dark Ages here.

Oh, also FYI, Facebook surpassed Google as the #1 visited website during the course of the work day. So, obviously we weren't the only minions dicking around on the Internet. But seriously, do you know how I found out Elizabeth Edwards died yesterday? Not by watching ungodly amounts of cooking shows or by reading my book-club book. I found out on FB. Yep, that's pretty much where everyone finds out everything, for better or for worse.

I love old people. Not the ones who live in the communities I write about. The ones who work here in the office. It's 2010, people.

Really, honestly, this wasn't supposed to be a post about the evils of the Internet police. It wasn't even a post about the evils of the Internet, although I do think we all need to work a little harder to successfully integrate our online presence with our real-life presence. There has to be balance.

I used to spend all my time on the Internet. It's nifty to be able to make connections with folks hundreds, thousands of miles away who share similar interests. Some of those folks make it on to the list of my top friends.

But some of those people are, how to put this politely? Oh well, some of the people you meet on the Internet (much like some of the people you know in real life) are ape-shit crazy. I had to learn a lot of hard lessons about being burned by assholes who hide behind the anonymity (or so they think) of a computer screen and a DSL connection. And, while I have lots of great friends I've met on the Internet and I've yet to get chopped up and buried in someone's backyard, I have had a lot of heartache. And still, every once in a while, something reminds me that some people are just best left on the other side of an Internet connection.

Yet, there are times I've had success. I recently met up with my friend Vicki from my Virgin Islands travel forum. She's cool. She even took me to Walgreens to get the Zantac I foolishly forgot to pack on a business trip in her town. All of my Virgin Islands travel friends seem nice, but that could be because for the most part we just meet in the Virgin Islands (or sometimes on the mainland) and drink occasionally. Although Ben did give me a sweet deal on fixing my computer. And it works, so he obviously wasn't lying about being a computer fixer on the Internet.

Maybe it's the quality over quantity approach I've taken to finding Internet friends. And, these days if I don't like you in real life, you get deleted. I've done that several times, and even though it feels a little shitty when you do it, it seems to work out better in the long run. Sometimes there's still a little residual damage, but I'm a firm believer that everything works out in the end.

Especially when people lie. I've learned in my old age that I have zero percent tolerance for lying these days. Lie about who you know or even (how does one do this?) who you are? You're out. Perhaps you lied about details surrounding a vacation we took together? Adios, "friend." And lying about me to other people? Well, that's just a do-not-pass-go, do-not-collect-$200 offense.

As my lovely friend Vicki likes to say (mostly about Mayor/Governor Haslam), "Them's good people." If you're not good people, you're just not worth it. Life's too short. And, it's not my job to take you under my wing and try to help you become a good person, because nine times out of ten, you'll just end up screwing me over and I'll have to break up with you anyhow.

This post isn't directed at anyone. If you are reading this and feeling a little defensive? Well, that sounds like a personal problem. Right now, there's not anyone in my life that I'd like to delete. It's taken me a while, but I've surrounded myself with good, loving people who would have my back in a bar fight. So, please if you are my friend and you hear from me on a regular basis, don't let your head go to a bad place and feel like this is a passive-aggressive jab from me. It's not.

I just think every once in a while, we need to do a gut check about our time we spend "connected" and with what/whom we are connecting. I have cut way back on my Internet usage and relying on the Internet to "connect." Probably 90 percent of my friends on Facebook are people with whom I have an offline relationship. I don't troll the Internet looking for new pals, although I do appreciate the occasional happy coincidence that brings new people into my life. While it's great to talk to a long-lost friend from high school on instant messenger, nothing can replace hitting happy hour with a real, live person. I don't want to get away from that. I don't think that we should.

I would much rather shut my phone off and stick it in my purse at dinner than to look up at the dinner table and see every single participant at the meal facebooking, tweeting, texting one another and the rest of the world to give a play-by-play of the evening's event. Much like I no longer live my vacations through a camera lens (I used to be notorious about that), I don't want to live my life on Twitter or Facebook. Not even here on blogger. I want to live my life on earth. I like sharing observations with everyone here, but I want to share my life with my family and friends. With distance, Facebook does make that easier. However, you have to actually live your life, or you won't have anything to share.

Sneak preview

I just got this tweet over on The Twitter, and I decided that I would accept this challenge from a fellow blogger. Not today, but sometime in the next 23 days before 2010 ends.

TPCarney I propose a new tradition for bloggers/online writers: an end-of-year post going over three things you got wrong in the past year.

Three things I got wrong. That'll take some time to pull together. Not because it'll be hard to dig up three things, but because it will be hard to narrow it down.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When I'm 94...

The title of this post is a play on the Beatles' song, "When I'm 64," which is one of my favorite songs. The number 94 is symbolic, because today would be my grandma's 94th birthday if she were still alive.

My grandma was an amazing woman. She's been gone almost 28 years now, but I still remember her. She had amazing grace and an unbelievable relationship with God. She could teach us all about being strong in the face of adversity.

I wish I could say that she made me who I am. I guess in some ways she has, and the few years I spent with her will always make an impact on my life. But, no matter how hard I try, I will never be like she is. In some ways, that's OK because she's irreplaceable. In other ways, I think we should all try to be like my grandma.

I have been planning since I started NaBloPoMo to post about my grandmother on her birthday. I had no idea what the post would be like, but I wanted to talk about her. Because the older I get, the less we talk about her.

Today I got a glimpse of her courage and wisdom, and it reminded me that I need to find more grace and faith. I need to work a lot harder at it. My trials and tribulations are nothing compared to what she went through, and I can be so petty and I don't always put things in God's hands.

I suck at putting things in God's hands. I'm too much of a control freak. I hate that I am that way, and I need to work on having a little more grace. Just like today, I got at the end of my rope around here and I got bitchy and all I could think about was how to be a meaner person, so I could just take control of the situation.

Or, I could pray.

I know it sounds simple. I know it sounds silly to go to church and pray and read the Bible and just give all your problems to God. I know it probably seems naive in today's day and age.

But if my grandma worried, I never saw it. I might have seen her with a candle lit, with rosary beads or singing in the church choir, but I never saw her worry. In fact, when my dad almost died in the early 1970s, she just gave it up to God.

That's some grace, people. That's a kind of faith that not many people have.

It is the same faith my Aunt Rita had when she found out she was going to die from cancer. She made her peace with the Lord and went to heaven. She knew she was ready and would have God's rewards. My mom is the same way. If anything were to happen to her, she's confident enough in her faith to just get ready to go bewith the Lord. That's so amazing to me.

Sometimes it ticks me off that I don't stand up for myself, but I like to believe that I am being the bigger person by turning the other cheek. Still, I wonder if my Grandma were here today, what would she think of me.

So, today, on her 94th birthday, I am really going to try to be a better person. A better Catholic. A better Christian. In addition to What Would Jesus Do, maybe I should think about What Would Grandma Do, although I would bet they are the same about 99.999 percent of the time.

All of this reminds me of another song, which describes my Grandma so much better: "Amazing Grace."

Happy Birthday, Grandma. I miss you. You left us way too soon, but God must have needed you more in heaven. And I know you're still watching down on me and taking care of me, so if you could send some of your grace my way, that'd be great.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Holiday spirit?

Working retail at Christmas is usually a pretty lucrative gig. In fact, I generally make more money in the last quarter of the year than I do the rest of the year combined. (The store does that too.) However, things are not the same when you're at a store that sells more baby gear than toys. I don't think many people know that you can get many of the toys, for the same price (well, unless the misfits in toyland forget to take down last week's sale signs) with shorter lines. If they did, I think our lines would be longer. And we'd get more hours at our store.

So, the purple people can volunteer to pick up shifts in Toyland at Christmas time for extra money. Well, that is, unless the manager of Toyland tells the top Purple Person that he has it "under control" for the holidays. Which is bullshit, if any of you have ever been in a busy toy store at Christmas. There's nothing "under control" about it.

Something about the whole thing wasn't sitting well with me. And frankly, I feel really bad about working only two or three shifts a week when the other stores are drowning and need extra help. The money doesn't hurt either. And, besides, I miss the kids and all the toys.

Did you hear me? I MISS THE KIDS. I like the new moms and expectant mothers, but I love the kids. In fact, every time I thought about quitting at Toyland, a little kid would come in the store for the first time and the look on his face was so priceless that I would decide to tough it out a little longer. Every time I tried to quit, which always had more to do with grown-ups who can't play well with others, a little kid reminded me that I wasn't at my job for a paycheck. I was at my job because nothing in the world makes you feel better than knowing on Christmas day little Timmy was going to have the perfect present under the tree because you helped his mom or grandma find the right toy. If you don't believe me, ask Shelby about the Rose Petal Cottage that Santa Claus brought her last year. Ask my cousin's son Little Dylan about his railroad worker outfit that he wears to ride on the train every year.

Perfect gifts, every time. Smiling, laughing, happy children are my specialty. For the most part, parents and kids alike loved to come to the store and see me. Yeah, there are new moms who appreciate the help I give them on their baby registry or thank me for recommending the car-safety class, but it's not like it was in Toyland.

I miss it a lot, even the crazy insanity of Christmastime. Even though I bitch and moan about the customers who threaten to punch you because you didn't stop a shoplifter or steal out of the Toys for Tots bin, the co-workers who get stressed out, and the long hours, it's fun. It's worth it.

And this year I don't get to do it, because some of my former co-workers have decided to tell the new manager, whom I do not know, that I do not like children and shouldn't be allowed to work at the store. Yes, these folks would prefer some random Christmas worker with a grumpy disposition, a short till and a questionable work ethic to moi.

I'm confused. I'm sad. And I'm a little pissed off. Because I have never, ever demonstrated anything but my love for children there. I was never anything but a good co-worker. I guess that it's easier to say I don't like kids than to blame me for some other offense that could be verified (like poor attendance or short tills).

I don't care if they don't want to work with me. Just say I'm a lazy bitch. You'd be wrong, but you could say it. Say I don't get enough extended warranties or credit cards (although looking at BRU statistics, once again, you'd be wrong). But please don't say I don't like kids.

I love kids. You don't know how often I cry because at almost-35 I am realizing that I'm never going to be the person sitting on the other side of the baby registry desk. Since I bought my own home, I have seriously been thinking of becoming a foster parent, and it will probably happen as soon as I get my finances and free time situated. I don't hate kids. Sometimes babies make me a little nervous because I haven't ever taken care of one for an extended period of time, but I know I could do it if there were anyway I could have one.

Unfortunately, there isn't. And honestly, I probably stay at this job because I get to be around little kids a few times a week.

I just think of some of the things I've done for customers. I played with a single mom's kids one time while she purchased a few Christmas gifts and snuck them out to the car. I drove to three different stores to track down a birthday gift for a little autistic boy who came into our store. I used to sit at the Thomas the Train table and the service desk and color with a little boy whose mom was serving in Iraq. I cried a few months ago when a dad left with a little girl in a car seat that I knew wouldn't protect her in a car accident.

Yeah, I'm a real bitch. A total asshole. I surely wouldn't want me around my kids, if I had them.

Whatever. Perhaps the shittiest part of all of this is that not only have I alienated my former co-workers to the point that they hate me, but they also feel compelled to lie about me. How the hell did I manage that?

Well, Merry Effing Christmas to me, I guess. At least I can sit at home and bake cookies while those losers work their asses off. Oh, and I can also rest assured that they will get theirs in the end.

Too bad none of that pays the bills. But I'll manage.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Shepherd's pie?

I made some great shepherd's pie tonight. But, I think it could be better. Since it's great winter-time food, I am going to play around with it and see if I can come up with an even better version (think sour cream in the mashed potatoes, for example).

As soon as I have the best spinach pie ever, I will post the recipe.

I guess that gives you incentive to keep checking back, doesn't it?

I am also going to try my hand at inventing my own Christmas cookie. Did I tell you that? I'll be experimenting with that next weekend.

(P.S. Let's call this a cross for my cooking blog, which is where I'm putting it now.)


Today's post is a little less about zeitgeist and a little more about angst.

Please, bear with me.

First of all, I caught a cold on vacation. So, I woke up this morning and couldn't breathe. That made me grumpy, but now I am chock-full of Dayquil and coffee and I just might live.

But that doesn't stop my case of the grumpies.

Especially when I am in the kitchen cooking and I see pet de-wormer on the kitchen counter.

Now, first, let's get past the grossness of leaving any medicine, especially pet medicine, where we cook food.

The bigger issue is that my roommate's cat obviously has worms. Her cat, which eats my cat's food and lives in the same house with my cat, is not well. And last time Portia had worms (when I first found her), it cost me $110. And I don't have $110 because someone was short on her rent this week.

When she first asked to bring her cat here, I told her that in no way could her cat's arrival upset my cat. It was my cat's house (and I like to think it's mine too). Her cat is her responsibility, and that includes feeding her and taking her to the vet.

I'm guessing if she can't pay her rent, she can't afford to take her cat to the vet. And now, her cat is sick and my cat is at jeopardy of getting sick.

So, yes, I am grumpy.

I think I would be less bitchy if this were the only thing. It's not. It's nowhere near being the only thing. But I'm not sure what to do, so I just internalize my bitchiness and pray that my cat doesn't get sick.

I'm sure at some point I will go postal, but for now I am just sitting here trying to think how to address the many issues that have built up over the last four months.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

We all have our vices

So, 31 days to let you all figure out who I am and what makes me tick. Surely that includes a few confesions, right?

I'm a bitch before I have coffee. And sometimes I'm still unpleasant after two cups, but that is probably has nothing to do with Juan Valdez.

I love chocolate. With the exception of chocolate-covered bananas, if it is has chocolate I will probably eat it. But I hate bananas.

But, perhaps the most serious problem that I have is that I am addicted to Bath and Body Works.

I went to college in Ohio in the mid-90s. Bath & Body Works was started in the 90s in Ohio by Les Wexner, who owns just about everything. OK, maybe just The Limited Brands. Regardless, he's a billionaire and the person behind Bath & Body Works. And when I started college, they didn't have one on every corner. You had to make a day of it and go spend a fortune in Columbus, purchasing lotions, soaps, shower gels and whatever else you needed.

And, I did it. And once they built one in Athens, where I went to college, and then later moved to a big city, I realized that I always got caught up in their "more is less" promotions. (One soap might be $4, but if you buy 3, they are 3 for $10.)

Anyhow, years and years of my love for all things that smell delicious caught up with me when I moved earlier this year. I found bubble baths, soaps, lotions, that were still in the box delivered to me from their online store. I moved all of these boxes with me and then said, "You are not buying anymore Bath and Body Works until you use what you already have."

I have been making progress, but I am pretty sure I could provide free bath products to dirty people for at least another year without buying anything new. And, true to my plan, I deleted all of their e-mails promising free gifts and savings with my purchases.

Well, that was until I got some housewarming gifts. Apparently, giving smellies for your house from Bath and Body Works makes a nice housewarming gift. They really do, I am being seduced by the aroma of the strawberry scent bug in my downstairs bathroom while I write this.

However, this week, I had to break down and go inside. My new wallflower air freshener needed a refill. It did not, however, need six, but they were only $4 each if you bought six. So, that's what I bought.

I did not buy holiday soaps or candles or sugar scrub, so I still consider this a victory.

Or at least a manageable loophole.

Now, I must go upstairs and take a bubble bath with last year's after-Christmas clearance chocolate peppermint bubble bath.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The long road home

So, I just drove 500 miles from Ohio to Tennessee, and I am tired.

I love living in Nashville, but it's so far from home. That journey really wears me out these days. Not sure if it's because I'm too old, don't do it enough or am just a wimp, but I am just about ready for bed.

It doesn't help that my brain is on Ohio time and it's past 10 there. I think I am just going to pass out where I've landed and finish the rest of my journey in the morning. I had to stop and drop off my traveling companion, and I just don't want to battle deer, other drivers and sleepiness to make the last 50 miles on my own.

Nashville has been where I've grown up and become the woman that I am today, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. (OK, there are a few experiences that I would probably trade if I had the chance.) But it does do a number on me to be so far from my family. But at least I have a reliable vehicle that will get me back and forth to Ohio once in a while.

Now, if only I had a magical fairy who put gas in my car as I was driving down the highway.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Information Age

While I would love to tell you more about how I've watched nothing but ESPN, Disney and the local news with a girl who was quite unfortunate-looking in HDTV (I shouldn't say more; I probably went to journalism school with her.), instead I am going to blog some more about this age of information saturation that we are in and how Facebook has enabled you to not only reconnect with your long-lost BFF from high school, but also to know when he last took a poop.

Thanks, Mark Zuckerburg. You definitely deserve a crisp billion-dollar bill for that shit.

(Sidebar: remember when I didn't believe that "blog" should be used as a verb? Well, times they are a' changin'. However, blogs are just a vehicle for my writing, really. So I should say write. Oh well, will try harder next time.)

Surprisingly, this latest post about over-sharing and Facebook is not about my friend who likes to tweet about drinking milk. Although I hear she recently made some cookies. This is about my friend who's gone to crazytown on her diet.

I'm all for dieting. Hell, I've been dieting since 1984. And, since I'm at my fattest weight ever, I probably should diet.

But do I really need to know every time you eat some Special K or do a sit-up. Nah, I can probably live.

I don't care if you have one of those apps that updates your Facebook after you run. In fact, if I ever run again, I will probably get one. But "Two egg whites and veggie sausage links. Yay!" is crazy, especially because people eat breakfast everyday. And, if you're really working to lose weight, you do sit-ups everyday.

So, that's pretty much the summary of her FB posts: eat healthy stuff, work out, talk about other issues relating to eating healthfully and working out.

She's a nice person, and I wouldn't defriend her for it. After all, remember how upset I was when someone defriended me for -- gasp -- supporting health care reform? (Actually, that happened twice and both times the people were pretty much assholes. And both were people I considered to be pretty good friends. Now I consider them to be Class A jerks. I'm hoping they always were.)

Anyhow, it's not that I disagree with her. Actually, I'm sitting here, super-fat and eating fudge for breakfast, and thinking perhaps I could benefit from reading these posts. But then I realize that what upsets me is that a) I'm sad for her. Is her only existence focused on weight loss? and b) I kind of wonder what she thinks of me. Does she look at me and get sad like she does for the people on the Biggest Loser?

I didn't used to worry that people, especially my friends judged me and felt sorry for me. But lately, it just seems like the signs of the times. And it doesn't help that right now, I'm not terribly happy with how I look so that emanates from me.

But, soon enough, the holidays will be over and we'll be back to Eggos for breakfast.

Oops, I hope that's not too much sharing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


So, I am supposed to take the next 31 days to explain what makes me tick and tell you about the culture that shapes who I am.

It's no wonder I blog to stay sane, because this week with my family is making me crazy.

Right now, my brother is telling his theory about Sex and the City. We are all laughing so loud that I can barely type. My mom is telling us to stop before we wake up the baby.

This morning my oldest brother asked me if he could borrow my blog so he could tell everyone on the Internet about how he slept last night.

My youngest brother doesn't believe in the Internet. Says it's the devil.

My middle brother asked where my blog was and how he could leave comments. Considering they are all crazy, I told them it was private.

My dad has told me no less than a dozen times that I need to clean out my car so I can get my brakes fixed. I've never seen brake-fixers go in your car, but what do I know? Dad's great, but when he gets on something, he will be on it for weeks.

He just told me I spend too much time on the Internet, and I explained to him that I have to write everyday.

When he asked me why, I said: "Do you all not realize that I am a writer?" Seriously, do they not know what I do for a living?

I should have brought my therapist home with me. She'd have had a field day.

So, this is day one. If you've always wondered what makes me so crazy and neurotic, maybe this gives you an idea.

Does anyone else have massive amounts of craziness anytime their family gathers?

Also, thanks for the comments. I have decided that I need to read more blogs, and I am totally going to start doing that, trying to leave 5 comments a day, like you suggested. If you know of any blogs I should be reading, let me know.