Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Year


It's been just over a year since I started my blog.  And, hoo boy, have things changed.

And yet - not much has changed.

When I started my blog my car was in the shop and cost me $2000 to fix (a fun story I'll be sure to share with you) I was the sickest I'd been in years, and had the world's worst sinus infection.  I had only been in my apartment for 8 months, had Norma Jeane for 5 months, and was just beginning to get my feet under me.

Now, I am happy to report that my car is not in the shop (although it was for the whole month of July and part of August - another fun story), I am not sick, am quite happily settled into my apartment as is Norma Jeane, and feel quite comfortable with my life.

Hopefully in another year my update will be just as nice.  Except, I'll mention that I'm driving a super amazing new car....

Here's to another year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

French Manicure

I am not a high maintenance girl.  I'm very low maintenance, in fact I'm practically no maintenance.  Which definitely has it's benefits.  If push comes to shove I can get ready for work in under five minutes ( (and it often does since I only live 5 minutes from work).  Also - this comes in handy because where I work my hands and nails get dirty.  In case you guessed, yes I have a terribly glamorous job.

So, it's a little shock to me that I'm jealous of women with beautifully manicured nails.

While I was grocery shopping I decided to pick up a french manicure kit.  It was only $5 and I figured it was better than buying another thing of Nutella (man, oh man I could write an entire blog on the chocolate hazelnut goodness).

On my next day off I vegged out in front of Food Network and decided to paint my nails.  Then something happened that I can't quite explain.  There is no logical reason that shiny nails with white tips and sheer, pink polish should make me feel glamorous.  Girly.  Pretty.  But they DO.  I can't quit looking at them.  I'm sure my coworkers are sick of me admiring my nails.  I work with mostly men, for chrissakes, I get to feel pretty!

Who knows maybe this will inspire me to start doing my hair and wearing make-up.

Ha, made myself laugh there for a minute.

I can think of a bajillion better things to do with that time.

Like sleeping, for instance.

But I'm totally keeping the nails.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: Rules to Follow

So, I took an unplanned hiatus.

What?  Don't look at me that way.  You've done it too.

As has been no secret, I work in retail.  And I have been trying to spread the word of how to act in a retail setting since so many people seem to forget basic things.  Like manners.  And intelligence.  Now, I' not saying that all people act this way because I know that not everyone does.  So, if you know somebody behaving this way quietly point out the error in their ways.  Trust me - every retail person in a 30 mile radius will thank you.

Rule 1:  The store is not your ATM.  If all you have is $100 bills, don't break them on a purchase around $15.  I don't think you're hot stuff for having them.  I think you're an enormous PITA (Pain In The Ass) because now I have 10 singles and a drawer full of change for the next person.  If you want smaller bills I'm sure the bank would be more than happy to oblige you.

Rule 2:  Know the store hours.  If you're not sure, call.  Or check the internet.  Do NOT come in 5 minutes before we close just to browse.  Or if you have a giant list.  Trust me.  I can make your shopping experience delightful or a living nightmare.  If you come in 2 seconds before we close just to browse only to tell 20 minutes later that you have a honking huge list, I will not be nice.  Nor will any of my coworkers.  And, rest assured, we will talk about you when you leave.

Rule 3: Trust me.  Seriously, folks.  I'm not trying to undermine you.  If I do, you'll figure it out, tell your friends, and never come back.  Which means that I eventually will be out of a job.  I don't want this.  I understand that you're being cautious, but when you are clearly doubting everything I am saying it's irritating.  On a related noted: I also know the product line better than you ever will so don't tell me that I'm wrong when I tell you that we never carried that product.  If you don't believe me, ask me to name our current product line.  If you have 20 minutes to spare, I can do it.  Most likely alphabetically.

Rule 4: This is not your store.  Do not go through our stuff.  Use our computer.  Go upstairs.  Go in the back.  Stand behind the register.  Come in the back door.  Set your children on our counters.  You would think this would be self explanatory, but no.

Rule 5:  Use your words.  Look, I get that our product line is exhaustive and overwhelming.  I'm even willing (and happy) to help you find something.  However, when you ask me a question like this:

 "I'm looking for something...I mean I saw on Oprah...Well, actually, Dr. Oz said that we should...No, wait, it was on the Food Network...Anyway, I think it was red...or was yellow like turmeric, but it wasn't turmeric...anyway I heard that it was good for me and my daughter Jane really likes to cook and she used to be a vegetarian but she's eating meat again and just moved in with her boyfriend who really likes to cook and is originally from Kentucky but has lived here for the past 5 years and I think they're going to get married so I wanted to get her something that's good on chicken."

Yes, friends, I have had actual questions like that.  Please.  I don't mind your personal stories - I really don't.  In fact when I'm getting your stuff for you or ringing you out, they're nice.  But if I'm on the phone with you or I haven't even helped you find something yet, ask me the question first.  Then share the story.  We'll both be a lot happier.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I love the seasons.  Really.  Each one has their merits.

Okay.  Find.  I'm lying.  I HATE winter.  Moving on.

I really enjoy fall.  I think fall is one of the more interesting seasons because it's so drastically different from beginning to end.

It starts off really bright and kind of crisp.  The sky is a gorgeous shade of blue, the leaves are beginning to turn, and the humidity and heat start to go away.  Then it fades into fall: the deep colors on the trees, more clouds in the sky, and there might be frost.  Once it gets into Novembers, it's an entirely different animal.  It's grey - but there's still colors on the trees.  Then there's that first November day, where it's grey, windy (oh, so very windy) and the contrast between the trees and the sky is awesome.  It really is amazing to watch the sky change.

Very rarely is there several days of down pouring rain in September.

I know, I know.  At least it's not snow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

I know we have all seen the specials and the articles and the footage of today, ten years ago.  To be perfectly frank, I'm tired of seeing it.

So I'm not going to bore you here with my story.  I can remember where I was when it happened.  And how I felt days and moments after it happened.  If I close my eyes I can take myself back there.  What I remember most is wondering how we were going to get through tomorrow, let alone 10 years.

The stories from that day that I remember most are the ones of kindness.  How everybody just wanted to help one another.  And we held hands and put one foot in front of the other.  Then one day had passed.  Followed by a week.  A month went by.  Before you knew it, it had been a year.  And now?  It's been 10 years.

I don't think we should ignore what happened or forget it.  But rehashing and revisiting that day isn't going to help anyone. After the crippling fear and overwhelming anger subsided what lasted was pride.  Hope.  Love.

Those are the very things that we should look back and reflect on.  Those are the memories that we should hold onto strongly.

Those are the things that should be celebrated.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Always Check The Lower Level

Sometimes there are moments in my life that I realize are perfectly good metaphors even if I don't intend them to be.  Today was one of those examples.

In the town I work in, there was some fancy-schmancy car show.  Which meant that there was ZERO parking in the garage behind the store.

Let me rephrase that:  people assumed that there was ZERO parking in the garage.  Because the upper two levels were all full.

I pulled in the garage and watched people frantically drive in circles looking for a spot.  Or stalking some poor soul as they walked to put something back in their car.

When I got into work, my boss asked me if I had any trouble parking.  "Of course not," I shrugged, "I parked in the lower level.  Nobody ever parks there."

One of my coworkers walked in and apologized for being late because they couldn't find parking.  They watched people circling and drove away to park waaaaaaay far away from the store.

I laughed to myself and realized that when you are watching other people go in circles or want to run the opposite direction, turn left.  There's probably parking in the lower level.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: How You Can Irritate Me Immediately

So, it's a busy day at work a couple days ago.  I'm out in the front of the store and the phone rings.  Naturally, I answer it.

"Store Where I Work, this is Amanda.  How may I help you?"

"Yes, I just have a simple question.  Do you have sweet paprika?"  Now, I should have had a clue here that this was not going to be "simple".  Nobody prefaces a simple question with saying it's simple.

"Yes.  I have Hungarian sweet, California sweet, and Spanish smoked sweet."

"How much is it?"

"Well, that depends on how much you get."

"I want about a cup's worth."

"Alright, that will be about $8."

"Okay.  Is it cheaper if I don't get in the jar?"

"Yeah, I can put it in a plastic bag.  It'll be $1.75 less."

"But you don't have a bag I can put it in?"

For a brief second I pull the phone away from ear and look at the phone, blinking.  "Well, I can put it in a jar but, as I said, that is more expensive."

"I understand that.  So you can't put it in a bag."

"I can, it's a plastic bag."  Maybe you can see where this is headed.  I couldn't.  I was purely confused.

Exasperated sigh from her, "I heard you.  So there's no bag."

I bite my tongue to avoid screaming, "I have a glass jar or a plastic bag.  It zips closed and is plastic.  They come in various sizes."

"Honey, that's called a baggie.  Say it with me: baggie."

"As I said I can put it in a bag-"


"Bag.  Or a glass jar."

Loud, unnecessary sigh, "I'm trying to avoid plastic."

"I have the glass jar-"

"You don't have a paper bag to but it in."

"Not that's food grade, no."

"What if I bring in my own container?"

"Unfortunately, I can't fill something that came from outside the store.  Health department regulations."

Another LOUD sigh, "You don't even have a paper cup?"

"Not that's going to hold a cup's worth.  I have Dixie cups."

HUUUUUUUUUUUGE sigh, "FINE.  I'm just going to have to think this through and contemplate my options since you are so unwilling to help me.  Is there a manager there I can speak to?"

"Actually, ma'am, I am the manager here."

Long pause.  "Well, I'm still going to have to think this through."

And she hung up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Things Not To Do At Movie Theaters

Apparently, we need a refresher on how to behave when watching a movie in public.

Folks - it's not the same as when you're at home, okay?

1) Cellphones.For all that is holy, put it away.  Got that?  Put.  It.  Away.  I don't care if you're checking a quick text message. The theater is dark and that bright screen is searing my retinas.  If it's that important, go outside.  Oh.  And if you forgot to put your phone on will be flogged.  And humiliated.

2) Keep Your Shoes On.  Good God, man, I do not need to see and/or smell that.  Especially if you're sitting next to me.  Look, I get the need to feel comfortable.  I do.  However...if you can't go for about 2 hours or so without taking off your shoes - that is a serious problem my friend.  One that should be addressed.  Immediately.

3.) Sit Still.  This is only exempt if I am at Pikachu Meets My Little Ponys At Disneyworld On A Magical Rainbow Of Bubbles And Candy.  At that point I can expect to be surrounded by a gazillion hyper, sugar fueled children.  If I am sitting in a theater waiting to watch a non-children movie, sit still.  Don't mimic the horses galloping by pretending you're riding one.  I don't care if you're 12, your parents should have taught you how to behave in public.

4.) Open Your Snacks BEFORE The Movie Starts.  Okay.  So this one isn't  a crime so much as a courtesy.  I know it's not your fault that they have sealed your chocolate covered cheese doodles in the world's loudest plastic.  But you are aware of this when every time you move the damn bag it breaks the sound barrier several times.  Just do everyone a favor, and open it beforehand.

Please, keep all of this in mind.  And, if you don't, do not be surprised if my foot goes through the back of your chair next time you're at the multiplex.  You've been warned.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Psoriasis and Me

I try not to do this.  I really don't.  It's not something I like to draw attention to, because I have spent so much of my life fighting it.  Forcing people to see me and not just my skin.  For most people, this isn't an issue.  But for me - it is.  I have had some truly horrifying experiences.  I have chronicled a few here.  Honestly, the list could go on.

But that's not my point.

This morning, I was having a lovely morning.  Contemplating what I wanted to post.  Perhaps and amusing chinchilla story or about how much I love thunderstorms.  And then I read this:

Just an article detailing all of the things that can be wrong with you if you are diseased with psoriasis (which, by the way, is just a correlation NOT a causation).  That everything is doom and gloom and there is no cure.  You are as screwed up as you think you are.

Boom.  Morning shot.

For those of you who do not have psoriasis, it may not seem like any big deal.  But, let me tell you, as someone who has had it for 20+ years it was like diving head first into a cold pool of all the negative things anyone has ever said to me about my skin condition.  When I stumbled into the bathroom to put on my make up, the reflection staring back at me was not mine.  It was a woman, yes.  With dark hair, side-swept bangs.  She had my eyes.  A nose that resembled my father's.  But what stood out was her skin.

It looked alright, mostly.  Except along her hairline and beside her nose.  Places where your skin tends to dry out.  Her ears.  In these patches, the skin was a different color.  Pink.  And it made me want to know what happened to her.  That's when I realized - this was me.

Dear God.  Was this the me that people see daily?  Suddenly, I was 12 again.  Fighting the words, "Freak" and "Monster" and "Hideous".  No - I'm not kidding.  I've heard those words in regards to me.  Trust me, people are that cruel.

So I closed my eyes and shook my head.  That wasn't me.  No.  Not the girl who moved out on her own.  Decided to take guitar lessons.  Has taught herself to make some damn complicated desserts.  Can read Spanish from 1492.  Jumped into a management position with no experience.  Who graduated college.  Who had her heart broken and put it back together.  Who battled depression and won.  Who can recite both Shakespeare and George Carlin.

This woman in the mirror was a stranger, defining herself by her skin - she wasn't me.  Not the girl who decided at 16 that she would never let people see just her skin.  And those who do?  Are shallow and not worth her time.

So I opened my eyes.  And that woman in the mirror?  She was gone.

I was back.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Bottle of Wine, Some Chocolate, and Disney Movies

I got together with my best friend last night.  It was a nice, low key evening.  We grabbed dinner and then bought a bottle of wine, chocolate, and decided to have a mini Disney movie marathon.  It was bliss.

While we were watching Sleeping Beauty, Amy turned to me and said, "Did you ever notice that in these movies the King and Queen usually only have one child?"

I nodded and took a bite of my chocolate, "But isn't that the point of Sleeping Beauty that she was their only child?"

"Yeah, but if you think about it realistically they would've popped out a whole bunch.  Kids died easy then.  You had to have spares."

"Well, she might have sisters."

Amy settled into the couch, "She could have a brother.  After all, Phillip is clearly the heir to Hubert's kingdom so she still would marry well and inherit all that.  Aurora's a princess after all.  They'd still want her taken care of."

"True.  Although it depends on the type of monarchy.  She could still be the heir to the throne in her kingdom and then they'd combine the two for a honking huge one."

Amy nodded and topped off her glass of wine and offered me the bottle.  I topped off my glass and took a sip.  I leaned back to watch the movie enjoying how nice of an evening it was and thinking that it was criminal we hadn't done this sooner.  I popped a caramel in my mouth.

"You do realize," I said when I was done chewing, "we just analyzed the sociopolitical status of a Disney Princess movie."

Amy took a sip of wine and nodded.

"I think there might be something wrong with us."

She grabbed a chocolate, "Not as much as Maleficent.  Why do the villains live in such crap places?"

I laughed and stretched out on the floor, deciding that if there was something wrong with us I really was content to leave it alone.  After all, that's how you know you're best friends - you have crazy conversations and don't judge the other.  In fact you go along.

And, seriously - why do the villains live in such run-down places?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Small Laugh

So tonight I went to Meijer to pick up stuff for dinner.  Because I was not cooking tonight.

It wasn't anything special - just fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

So as I was going through the self checkout station a coupon printed out for $4 off a Benefiber product.

Touché, coupon machine, touché.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Hope everyone is having a FABULOUS Independence Day!

I don't know how the weather is where you are, but it is absolutely gorgeous here.  It's nice, warm, sunny - and - supposed to be clear tonight for fireworks!

Go outside - eat hot dogs and hamburgers.  Grill some chicken.  Have some corn on the cob.  Perhaps listen to a baseball game.  Enjoy a beautiful summer day. Indulge in some ice cream.

In case you're having trouble getting in the spirit (I can't imagine why) listen to this song:

Happy 4th of July!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Scattering the Pieces of My Heart and Soul

A funny thought struck me recently.

I was sitting on my couch watching TV and I realized that I missed Tennessee.  Yes, I was only there a week ago but I was missing it.  Which got me thinking - why?  How do I miss a place I haven't spent much time in?

I also miss New Orleans.  And Florida.  And Memphis.  I can close my eyes and am instantly transported to these places.  What is it that happens that makes it feel as though I am right there?

I think it starts when I get to go out and see the area around where I'm staying.  When I get to know the state and it's geography.  Sitting at an intersection and looking around.  Seeing it's lumps, bruises, bulges and valleys.  Watching the way the sun reflects off the stream or hides behind it's hills.  How the wind whistles through the trees or glides around the buildings.  Listening to the birds sing and the cars rumble by.  Feel the way the heat bounces of my skin and the humidity makes my hair stick to my neck.

It's having my best friend next to me and laughing.  Making our own inside jokes and surviving heat and terrible storms.  Eating fabulous food.  Seeing and hearing things that I can't experience at home.  Learning how people drive in cities other than your own.  Smiling at people you don't know.  Being a little loud.  Trying a new cocktail.

And then I realized: it's all these things that make me leave part of my heart behind and have a fragment of my soul stay without me.

People talk about travel making you feel more whole.  I disagree.  If you're traveling correctly, you should leave parts of you behind (no, not your toothbrush).  The more you travel the more you should have pieces of yourself scattered about.  To me, that's what travel is about.

Friday, June 10, 2011

CMA Music Fest: Day One; Or How I Almost Became A Statistic

Oh, dear Lord.  So many stories to tell.  So, so, so many.  But, I will try to keep this (relatively) short.

For those of you who don't know the CMA Music Fest is an outdoor music festival where all the country singers come out and there are concerts, meet and greets, and autographs.  The city of Nashivlle, TN is overrun by a bunch of crazed country music fans.

A bunch of sweaty country music fans.  But I digress.

This year my best friend and I went.  I've actually been here since Monday, but the festival officially started yesterday.

I was so excited.  Gary Allan was the first one I was going to see.  I looooooooooove Gary Allan.  So, of course, do several hundred other people.
Mmmmm....nothing like the smell of sweat and beer at 10 in the morning
Amy and I stood patiently as several other people shoved their way by.  I don't know's not like we were standing in the back for fun.  Eventually, Gary Allan took the stage.  And I was excited and started taking pictures.  Except, well, due to the sun I couldn't see my display.  So I had to use triangulation to try and find him.  I think I got a few decent ones...

This is a game I like to play called "Find Gary".  He's in the bottom left corner.
 Hmm, okay.  No.  Not so much there.  Jesus, it's hot out here.  Maybe I can get a water bottle....Oh!  Oh!  He's playing a favorite song! can see him but he's not in the middle
 Good, God.  It feels like I've been standing in the sun for hours!  It's had to be at least...15 minutes.  Splendid. 
Ignore the man's shoulder and - BOOM!  Pretty good pic!
Okay, I can do this.  It's his last song - another favorite.  I can make it.  The nausea is perfectly normal.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

I can't do this.

I knew something was wrong then.  I took off to find water or Gatorade.  Anything, really. As I walked away from the river and old, familiar feeling creeped back.  I was going to pass out.  In the middle of a crowd.

Immediately my mind began to concentrate on what I knew: Gatorade, shade, food.  Preferably in the order, but any order would do.  So I kept walking as my vision faded.  And, by faded, mean was practically gone.  It would flicker in like cable during a bad storm.  I had to use various things to guide me and keep me upright.  Which was tricky because I was going down.  As I was walking I kept saying to myself, "You can do this.  You are not passing out here.  Amy will kill you.  You can't afford to go to the hospital.  You can do this.  Just get some sugar and liquid in you."

I found a shady corner that I could duck down in.  So I did.  While the people around me started talking.  "There's going to be a lot of people suffering from heat stroke today."  "Yeah.  Look at this one.  I don't think she's going to make it."  "Yeah, she doesn't look so good."

Yes.  There was a group of adults looking at a young woman who was not doing well and all they could do was comment on it.  Not offer a chair or a bottle of water.  Now, there is one more helpful thing to do when you're about to pass out (or are 99% there in my case) get your blood pressure up.  Well, my friends, this got my blood pressure up.  I grabbed money out of my purse and stumbled (yep, still have practically no vision) and found SOMEBODY that was selling food.

Those were the best damn fries I have ever eaten.  [Side note: the guy selling them was super nice.  They were $5 and I got them for $3 - probably because he could tell I was not okay.  Unlike the weasels in the corner.]

Oh - Yes, Mom, I'm OKAY.

I get some Gatorade and head back over to Amy.  Who then left to get her own Gatorade.  Which is when I had my brief brush with fame.  Which I'll tell you about later.

For now, I have to hop in the shower and get ready to do it all over again!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Battle: Dressing Room

I'm going on vacation soon, so I thought it might be nice to pick up a few new things.  Especially since I'm going to fan fair (excuse me...CMA Music Festival) and it's going to be hot and all outside.

Wondering through the racks of clothes, I see very little that I like.  Everything is covered in ruffles.  I am not a ruffle girl.  But, regardless, I find a couple things that I think are cute.  I grab a few different sizes and head over to the dressing rooms...which are closed for cleaning.  Fabulous.  Because I want to walk farther to find the portals of hell.

I mosey on over to the other dressing rooms in the store, make sure that the door is locked, and set up the dressing room.  I don't know about you, but I get disappointed if it has less than three hooks.  At lease one for "yes', "no", and "not yet tried on".  This one had two.  Off to a fantastic start!

Standing back, I look at the clothes and try and decide how much I hate myself.  I decide that full on self loathing is the way to start and grab a pair of capris.

Slowly, I slide in front of the mirror and....GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY!

Except I was not doing a merry little jig.
Okay, I say to myself, Let's start with the positive.  They're the right length.  And you can breath.  And they're coming off right now.

I put them back on the hanger and throw them on the bench - aka the "Hell No pile".

I reach for the other pair of capris because, my friends, I really hate myself.  I put them on and stand in front of the mirror.

These, Ladies and Gentlemen, are what my legs resembled.
Jesus Christ!  What is wrong with me?  Capris, Amanda?  Seriously? 

I shimmy out of those in a big, big hurry.  Okay.  Time to grab the dress I picked up.  It's purple and loose and should pose no immediate problems...
Honestly?  I wasn't even surprised at this point.
Good God in Heaven!  Are hips?  That is fantastic color on me though...

Moving on.

I reach for a halter top.  Now.  In this universe, this should be adorable on me.  It has the right cut, the seams are all in the right places.  Maybe, maybe, this will be my salvation.  Not paying any attention, I grab the smaller of the two.

Big mistake.  Big.  Huge.

I put it on and notice that it's a little...snug.  And that someone has zipped part of its belt into itself.  Fan-freaking-fabulous.  I wrestle it down, tie it behind my neck try to zip it down  It's not happening.  This just keeps getting better and better!  Alrighty.  Time to take this monstrosity off.

Just unzip this, untie that and's not moving.  Fine.  Don't freak out, I tell myself, You got yourself in this, it has to come off.

Gathering myself, I hold one arm straight up and use the other arm to jerk it up.  It moves, maybe, a fraction of a millimeter if I'm being generous.  Perhaps, I reason, maybe I should stick my arms inside the shirt and try to shrug it off that way.  I discover that, no, no this is not way this should be done.  Because now - now I resemble Gus from Cinderella.
Only, I wasn't nearly so adorable

I am now frantically praying that parts of my anatomy will shrink to a more prepubescent stage.  Finally, through a combination of twisting, turning, and sheer will I force the stupid thing off.

I don't even want to try on the larger size.

I walk out, put the clothes on the helpful rack (supposedly) by the exit.

And promptly walk into another dressing room.

I hate trying on clothes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Swimming Pools

So, last night, my best friend came over.  We were planning our vacation and picking out a hotel to stay in for two nights.  As we were going through our hotel selections (which were slim pickens...hoo boy) she was nervous that we might stay in a not so safe area especially since we didn't know the area that well.

"Let's take a look at the pools."

"Why?  Even if it's in a crappy area it could still have a pool."

"I want to see if it's an outside pool or not."

"Are you planning on swimming?"


"Then why are you looking?"

"Because I figure if it's an area that you're likely to get shot in, they won't have an outdoor pool."


"Because," I paused, "it would be like shooting fish in a barrel."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

25 Things I Learned In 25 Years

So, I had my birthday on Saturday.  It was my 25th birthday, as a matter of fact.  In honor of that, I've compiled a list of things I've learned in these 25 years I've spent on the planet.

Without further ado:

1.) That pan that you have in the 500 degree oven really is as hot as you think it is.

2.) If all else fails, turn on Eric Clapton.

3.) Sometimes, clutching your favorite stuffed animal and having a good cry is the only solution.

4.) In the immortal words of my best friend Amy, "We may not be able to drink the pain away, but we can sure as hell numb it."  Especially true when accompanied by a bottle of wine.

5.) People who consider themselves cultural elitists (aka those whose opinion on music/movies/TV is far superior to yours) are closed minded jerks who are missing the true point.  As long as it makes you feel something and brings you joy how can that be bad?

6.) Chocolate can solve all the world's problems.

7.) No matter how big a deal you make out of the major moments in life, the things you'll remember most are the little things.

8.) Nothing beats a midnight run to McDonald's for sweet tea and fries.

9.) Having your heart shattered to bits sucks.

10.) Always make time for shoe shopping.

11.) Bullies are a way of helping you realize your inner strength.

12.) Never try to explain migraines to someone who has never had one.  They think they're just really bad headaches.  They're not.

13.) Find a place (or places) on the planet that you love.  They make bad days/moments/weeks/months/years better knowing that they exist.

14.) Laugh, for chrissakes.

15.) Have a favorite movie.

16.) Listen.

17.) When the world is closing in and you feel like it can't get better: go for a drive.  Turn the radio up as loud as it can go and roll the windows down.  And drive.  Fast.

18.) Always have a favorite baseball team (go Cubs!).

19.) Be able to talk about sports.  Intelligently.  Same goes for politics and current events.

20.) Have fun, dammit.

21.) Donate as much as you can to causes you believe in.

22.) Having a pet makes a new place finally feel like home.

23.) Never underestimate a good creme brulee.

24.) Working with people you get along with is more important than people give it credit for.

25.) Keep discovering who you are.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Idea vs Bad Idea

Hey Boys and Girls, let's play a fun game I like to call "Good Idea, Bad Idea"!

Want to play?  It's simply, really, I mention a Good Idea and mention how it could quickly become a Bad Idea.  Ready?  Here...we...go!

Good Idea:

Having a network that millions of players can access.

Bad Idea:

Having a network that a few users can access using unauthorized means.

Good Idea:

Allowing users to store their information so that they can purchase things for use in their games or watch on their TV's.

Bad Idea:

Not encrypting this information. 

Good Idea:

Shutting down said network after it has been breached.

Bad Idea:

Waiting about 10 days to notify the members that their personal information has been hacked.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I don't know how it happened.

I don't really even know what happened.

I just know I was driving along and suddenly was transported to Memphis.

I think it's because it was warm today.  And because it was twilight.  And I was listening to the blues.

Oh, hell.  I don't know.

All I know is I was leaving work and had the windows down because it was nice out.  And I was listening to the blues (which is only something I listen to in the summer).  The breeze was blowing slightly through as I was singing along with one of my favorite songs: Riding With The King.  As soon as that song ended, another one started.  The beginning strains of the song started moaning across my radio.  And before I knew it, I was seeing Beale Street in my mind's eye.

I couldn't shake it.  It wasn't a bad thing, it was quite beautiful honestly.  I love Memphis.  I love the feeling when I'm there.  How everything feels.  The fact that the blues sounds like Memphis.  I've never been anywhere else that feels like Memphis.  I swear, due to all the history there you can almost feel a buzz in the air.  And, I don't know how to explain it but the Mississippi looks different there.  Oh, sure, it's still a large river here in Illinois but it somehow looks more majestic there.

I remember standing and looking at it during sunset while there in Memphis.  The sun glittered on the river and it looked gold.  It was the MISSISSIPPI.  Mark Twain's river.  The reason "Old Man River" was written and recorded.

And all of these thoughts were coming to mind and pestering me while this song played.  It was nice because for five minutes, I was in one of my favorite places on the planet.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Cubs

Egads, it's really bad when you get out of the habit of blogging.  Seriously.  I apologize to all of you (okay, all eight of you).  I will try to do better I promise.  And, if I fail, there's always next year!

Ah, yes.

I am a Cubs fan.  And everything that entails: plucky, adorable, underdog, optimistic, and more than likely to not be able to catch a ball when needed.

Fine.  That last one may be more because I'm not athletically inclined.

But, it's baseball season.

It's spring.

Winter is over.


And...go Cubbies!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So, I know lately that this blog has taken a rather unfunny turn.  I'll try to fix that soon, I promise.  But not today.  No, today is a result of a...discussion.  We'll call it that.  I had a discussion (rather heated, I might add) at work with a coworker.  It came up as we were talking about cyberbullying because of this*.  Which turned to regular bullying and he said, "It's no big deal.  People need to toughen up.  I mean, come on, everybody had that one person who picked on them in school."

Being picked on is an annoyance.  Like a mosquito.  Somebody who might taunt you periodically about your hair.  Being picked on is easy to let go.  Just have it roll off your back.  So much of the advice about bullying is advice on how to handle teasing.

Bullying and being picked on are two entirely different things.

How do I know this?  I was teased.  Horribly as a kid and through a good part of high school.  I could go over lots of scenarios, but I won't because I've covered quite a few here.  High school was miserable for me.  I know high school was miserable for a lot of people.  I don't pretend that mine was the worst experience, because I know it wasn't.  I was lucky - I had quite a few friends.  I didn't get beat up.  I had people to talk to.  Most people I work with don't know my entire high school history and, to be perfectly frank, they don't need to.  It's not important or necessary for day to day functions.  I'm not going to go over the whole thing right now, but I will cover part of it.

Bullying takes a lot of forms.  It is constant.  It is daily.  It's like being in a pressure cooked that never lets up. Of being in a constant boxing ring: You against the bully and your inner critic.

That's what bullies do: they feed your inner critic and beat the smithereens out of your self esteem.  They help you see the worst you possible.  They make you realize that every flaw (real or imagined) is visible to everyone.  They hold up the mirror and say, "See?  You really are as hideous and ugly and unlovable as you think you are."

And people say to drown them out.  To ignore them.  To feel good about yourself.  But how can you do that when they've taken away that very foundation from you?  They have destroyed that very thing that you should fall back on.

Bullies don't just tease, that's only one weapon in their arsenal.  That's how they get to you.  It starts small until they find the thing that you are most insecure about and that hurts you the most.  And then they make your life miserable.  And the smaller you feel and the more you wish you could disappear in the background, the bigger and more visible they become.  The more you try to run from them, the harder they chase you down.  And you run until you are exhausted and you stop fighting.  And you let their words and actions rain down on you and wear you out even more.

And every time you look in the mirror or try to think a positive thought that voice, that horrible inner critic comes screaming out at you: "You are a horrible human being."  When your friends or family tell you what you think isn't true you always think, "But you have to say that."  This person who was a stranger noticed you and they noticed that.  And have driven that point  home consistently.

All of you has been chipped away to the core.  You are scared.  Alone.  Empty.  Frail.  Raw.

That is what being bullied feels like.

*I'm not gonna lie, that video is pretty awful but no 13 year old girl who is not a celebrity deserves to be made to cry and some of those comments are simply awful

Friday, March 25, 2011

Things I Am Tired Of: Please Advise

Maybe it's because I get a lot of emails from customers who are confused.  Maybe it's because I get a lot of customers that are naturally confused.  But I have discovered that I am utterly sick of the phrase: "Please advise."

The thoughts that cross my mind when I read this godforsaken phrase in my email are usually as follows:

"I would like you to fix this problem, but am too much of a wimp to ask straight out.  Please advise."

"I'm going to make this your issue, but want to appear as though I'm concerned.  Please advise."

"I really am a complete snot and have given no thought as to how busy you may be.  Please advise."

"I couldn't care less if I tried.  Please advise."

"I had no idea somebody as incompetent as you could do the job you're doing.  However, I'm striving to appear professional and appropriate so I'm pretending to ask for help when I think I really know the answer.  Please advise."

"Wow.  You screwed up, even though I really did.  Ball's in your court.  Please advise."

"My head is permanently stuck up my rear end.  Please advise."

"I am the epitome of condescension cloaked in politeness.  Please advise."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Excuse Me While I Channel Seth Meyers For A Moment

I know this is kind of out of left field for the whole 8 of you that read my blog, but forgive me for a moment.

I'm watching the news where they're talking about the failed terrorist attack of 2009 in Detroit.  Apparently, the bomber had originally planned to detonate the bomb over Chicago but decided against it because the ticket was too expensive.

Really?  It's not like you're going to live through this so does it matter home much money you spend, really?  This is your main concern - the price?  Not, oh I don't know, getting caught?  Or having the explosives in your underwear start igniting?*

Isn't it worth it to spend every cent you possibly could so you are able to get into heaven (if that's what your belief is), really?

If this is something that you feel morally obligated to do, why is now the time to dicker about prices?  Why not get the best bang for your buck?**  Really?!  

Thank you for allowing me that brief interlude.  And if you're still confused, check this out.

Or just, you know, watch it here:

         This is a response to the Michael Phelps scandal

*Yes, that's true
**And, yes, I actually went there

Monday, March 14, 2011


I know we've all seen the photos of the devastation in Japan.  I know we're all incredibly grateful that our own lives can continue on, uninterrupted.  I know that one little blog cry for help isn't likely to generate much, but I'm going to ask it anyway:

Go here (or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10).  Please, and donate at least $10 (it's their minimum amount online) and after you do that if you could urge three people you know to do so.  And ask each of them to urge on 3 people.  And so on.

If we all try, we really can make a difference.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: How NOT To Conduct Yourself On The Phone

I feel the need, periodically, to explain how not to do things.  Generally this applies to circumstances at work.  For instance, the phone.  It is shocking to me how little training people get on how to conduct a normal phone conversation.  Let me give you an example of how NOT to do this.

Phone Rings

Me: Thank you for calling the place where I work, this is Amanda.
Woman on the Phone (who I'll refer to as WotP): Yes, Amanda, what is your address?
Me: 1234 N Numerical Street in City where I work.
WotP: Oh, darn it.  My pen isn't working.  This is a brand new pen.
Me: Ah, I'm sorry.
WotP: I absolutely hate this.  A brand new pen!  And it's not even working.  Do you know how to get a pen to work?
Me:  Well, when I was in high school we always got them started by drawing on the heels of our tennis shoes. [True story - it actually works].
WotP:  Let me see if I can find a pair of tennis shoes.  I'm barefoot at the moment.  (Various sounds of woman rummaging around while I offer sympathetic smiles to my staff)  I can't find any.  Do you have any other suggestions?
Me: You could stick it to your tongue.  I've heard that's supposed to work.  I can't really recommend that...
WotP: I'm going to touch my tongues.  No, that didn't work.  I'm seriously ripping a hole in my paper trying to write so hard.  Anyway, I'm coming out tomorrow.  And I really hate to store my stuff in plastic.  How does, I mean, is there, I want to know, I mean, I guess I'm asking - how does your stuff come?
Me:  Well, we do bags and jars.  
WotP: And what's your pricing?  For, oh I don't know, your something-that's-completely-vague-and-can-apply-to-more-than-one-product for the medium quantity?
Me:  I have quite a few but (picking a random one) this one is $5.
WotP: Oh!  Is that the normal size?  Like if you go to Walmart or something and they have the rows and rows and rows of the product you sell?  And they have the screw top lids, well I guess they're flip top lids now?  You know, the jars that you buy full of the product you sell?
Me: Uh, well, I suppose...
WotP: That's a great price!  And what, uh, you know, I guess, um, makes your product so different?
Me:  We make it all fresh here.
WotP:  What do you do with all the leftover stuff?  I mean, honestly, your business can't be booming enough for it fly out the door.
Me: (resisting the urge to point out our steady 20%+ growth each quarter) Actually, it is.
WotP: Oh, well, God bless you then.  I'll be in tomorrow.

Please.  For all that is holy and good.  Don't do this on the phone.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Harpooning An Electric Jellyfish

So, I've lived in my apartment for about a year now.  And, it's taken about that whole year to finally feel like I'm at home.  What do I do when I near that milestone?  Why...redecorate, of course!

When I first moved in I originally wanted to paint my dining room red and had my eye on a lamp.  This lamp, to be exact.  After a year, still fascinated by the idea, I decided to take the plunge.  So I painted the wall red and drove out to Ikea and bought the lamp.
Yes, your astute observation is correct - that wall is, indeed, not red

I was delighted to find that the drive to Ikea was a breeze!  And that, my friends, is where the good news ends.

Women nearly ran over me and I struggled getting my box 'o' lamp down the escalator.  Seriously.  That thing was heavy!

But, I was not to be deterred.  I had my lamp.  I was even nicknaming it.  Imaging all the adventures we'd have together all the fun experiences to come.  So I merrily lugged it from my car, across the parking lot (might as well have been the Adirondacks), up the stairs and into my apartment.

I open the box and see many parts but I persevere.  I screw the post together.  And then start to attach the top.

Now - I apologize for not taking pictures of this Pulitzer Prize winning photographic moment.

The cord does not easily slide through the top, down the pole, and out the base.  Oh no.  I turn the thing on its side.  And pull the cord through.  I swear to God - it looked like I was harpooning something.  The top of the lamp is dilly-dallying along (of course I attached the arms and little votive cups first, I wouldn't want to make this easy).

Once I turned 65, the top of the lamp made it over.  I screw it down, crow triumphantly and plug it in.

Aaaaand the damn thing doesn't light up.

Hmm...perhaps I should've read the directions.

Then I see them.  The bulbs.  A little blurp of glass with two metal prongs.  That fit into two little holes.  Positioned inside the votive cups.

Well, at least it looks pretty
See how much space there isn't?  Yeah.  It's about the size of my fingers.  Wanna guess how fun it is blindly jamming two little metal prongs into two holes you can't see?

So I get all the bulbs in.  While praying and simultaneously cursing, I turn the lamp on.  Choirs of angels sing as it miraculously turns on.

I looks less sad and wilty in person

Okay.  Fine.  It's not so miraculous.  I installed all the bulbs and plugged it into an electrical outlet.  Just let me have this moment...

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Road and The Radio

You have a lot on your mind.  Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad.  Either way you just want to clear your head.  So you get into your car after work and start driving home.

You turn a different way than normal.  You drive until you find a road that you don’t recognize and you turn.  Maybe it’s right or left, it doesn’t really matter.

You keep driving.  You drive until you’re on a road that you can drive freely on.  Perhaps it’s an empty highway or a lone country road.  There are no other cars around and no stop lights.  You just keep driving.

You take turns periodically, just to liven things up a bit.  Maybe you don’t, whatever – it’s your journey.

You fumble with the radio, trying to find the song that your soul needs to hear so you can start healing.  Amazing how the right song can change you.  You don’t know what it is you need to hear, but you’ll know it when you hear it.

It’s beginning to get dark out and a few raindrops are beating down.  You turn your lights on.  You flick your windshield wipers on.  They swipe across, wiping the rain away.

The street is all glittery now.  Everything glistens in your headlights.  The scenery is dark, glittery and empty.  Everything seems darker in the rain.  And yet, there’s a beautiful, eerie iridescence to it.

Finally, that song you need comes on the radio.  For a few blessed seconds, the world seems to stop.  The thoughts leave your mind and your soul feels warm.

And you cry.  Or you don’t, it’s of no importance.  But you start to feel better.  And as the song ends and you stop crying (if you ever started) you realize it’s time to go home.  So without even knowing the way, you find your way home. 

The lights are reflected back brightly in the black, liquid puddles on the asphalt.  The tires splash through sending droplets of glitter scattering through the air.

You get home, turn off the radio and fumble for your keys.

You walk to your front door feeling lighter.  Less thoughts cluttering up your mind.

Maybe you even feel a little free.

And you won’t tell anybody because it’s a secret. 

A secret between you, the road, and the radio.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My morning smile

So, I woke up this morning and walked down my hallway. I was greeted, as usual, by a frantic chinchilla bouncing around for her raisin.

I squatted down and took a picture.

Apparently, the flash was too bright...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Weather

So far this February has been the month of crazy ass weather.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.*

We start off the month with a record breaking blizzard. Then, it turns bitterly cold. And THEN it warms up to the 50's (I know, you're thinking "...the hell?" too).  And, tonight, there was snow. Followed by a thunderstorm.  Followed by rain.

I'm beginning to feel like Ed Harris is going to cue the sun at any moment.*

And, they say March will come in like a lion and out like a lamb. Is sure like to know what February came and left as...

*You're welcome for the two (two for the price of one) pop culture references.  From two of my favorite movies The Truman Show and The Princess Bride.

Friday, February 18, 2011

You Know You're A Grown Up When...'re standing in your local MegaMart and are bypassing the Easter candy.

The clearance in the Junior's section.

The wine.

        No, wait - you actually stop and go back to that.

You bypass the shoes.



         Damn.  No, you go back to that too.

You head straight over to the vacuum cleaners because you need a new one (since someone's fur has clogged it all up).  And that is all you purchase.

Yes, I know, she's adorable.  Furry but adorable.

Even though there was a $12 bottle of Merlot.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, I took some advice from my mom (yes, Mom, I do periodically listen to you) and thought I'll ask the Universe/God/Powers-That-Be for a nice little surprise today.  Thinking that it might come in the form of something pink.

So I was going about my morning throwing together lunch, getting dressed and making scrambled eggs for breakfast.  I looked at the clock and realized that I had far less time than I had realized.  So I wolfed down my breakfast thinking that it may have tasted a little odd but added it up to eating so quickly.  I skipped out the door in my new (and insanely comfy) $12 shoes form Meijer.

I get to work reminding myself to be on the lookout for a nice little something today.  I eat lunch and come back from my break.  I start filling an order and answering some questions from my coworkers only to start feeling...odd.

You know that feeling: cramping, nausea, slightly warm and clammy.  And in dire need of a bathroom.  Now.

I run back to the bathroom - I might have even punted a kitten and knocked over a little old lady on my way. I realize that I cannot stay at work.  Or, rather, if I do I WILL BE working from the restroom.  Not a good idea.

So I go home.  Which is something I never do.  Migraine?  Pfft, I'll work through it.  Missing a leg?  Please, just get me a tourniquet and I'll be hunky-dory.  Passing out after hitting my elbow (true story, by the way)?  Meh, I'll just regain consciousness and start working again.

But I cannot work through this.  No way.  So I go home.  And drink some rice wine vinegar (don't give me that look - it works) and run to the grocery store and buy some Pepto Bismal.

What do you know.

It worked.

I got my surprise.

And something pink.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why I Don't Buy Kitchen Gadgets

I recently bought a food processor.

I had wanted one for quite some time and finally found the perfect one:  red, 10 cups, and under $100!

In the past two days I have made my own hazelnut butter and Nutella (which, seriously, if you have the capability make it yourself - sooooo much better).  Unfortunately, this has "released the hounds" in my culinarily creative part of my brain.

What does this mean?

I have raided my cookbooks.
And magazines.
And the Food Network website.
And any website that mentions recipes ever.

I have found more toys to play with in the kitchen than I know what to do with!

I want tart pans.
I want a pop machine.
I want a kitchen torch.
I want a rice cooker.
I want an ice cream maker.  (Okay, fine.  I've wanted one of these for awhile.)
I want a digital probe oven thermometer.
I want everything in the King Arthur Flour Company catalog.

My kitchen is 8 x 8, so there's not much counter space.  I have enough room for my toaster, microwave, and Keurig coffee machine.  My waffle maker, food processor and blender now live below my stand mixer (which is on an island thingy from Ikea.  So I DO NOT need more gadgets.

But I would totally use a pop machine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: How to Endear Yourself to No One

I'm aware that most people forget that those who help them in retail locations are people and not faceless, soulless automatons.  For that reason, I have compiled the following list of egregious errors.  If you wish to receive the best customer service please keep the following in mind in a retail situation.

1.)  If your total is less than $20 do not pay with a $100 bill.  Now I have to give you all my change and the person behind you has to wait because you're self important.  If you don't have a smaller bill, pay with a credit card.  We don't mind - seriously.

2.) If a sales associate is helping you, don't grab her.  Or him, for that matter.  I am not your slave.  Wife.  Daughter.  Girlfriend.  If you grab me - I will cease being nice to you.  Especially if you do so after I answer another customer's question and you respond my grabbing my arm and shouting, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!  You're still with me, right?"  What is this...the Stone Age?

3.) If you ordered something from us and there was a RECORD BREAKING BLIZZARD understand that we do not control UPS.  We cannot control that the package is sitting in the same city for a few days.  Don't chew us out because there was a RECORD BREAKING BLIZZARD.

4.) 9 times out of 10 I break/bend/shatter the rules for the person who is inconvenienced but nice to me.  If you're a jerk, I dig my heals in.  The ruder you are the less I bend.  Most people in retail subscribe to this theory.  Keep that in mind.

5.) Just because I work in retail does not mean I'm an idiot.  So, unless you're positive I'm in high school, keep the "'re saving up for college and going to get an education" to yourself.

6.) Don't be afraid to be proactive when looking for help.  Standing in the corner and staring at me doesn't make me want to help you.  It makes me want to run screaming the opposite direction.  It's creepy.

7.)  Don't just grunt when we say "thank you" (or something along those lines).  We really mean it - without you we don't have jobs.  And if we say "have a nice day" we mean it.  Unless it's a big box store and is something they have to say.  In that case, if they add something extra - acknowledge it.

8.)  Be nice to us.  We do talk about you as soon as you leave.  If you're super nice - we want everyone to know so you get great service.  If you make us want to bash our head's in with a car door, we want our coworkers to know about it as well!

9.)  Watch.  Your.  Children.  Nothing induces a migraine faster than a store full of customers and three rambunctious small children running around and moving our product around.

10.)  Don't ask for something to be custom made and then bark at as at the last minute that you need it super quick because you have to be somewhere 10 minutes ago.  Pick something already made.  We'll work as fast as we can, but it's going to take as long as it's going to take.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


, Chicago had snow envy.

Stop laughing.

Are you done laughing?

I'll wait.

Done?  Good.

Seriously, there was intense snow envy going on.  [cue whiny voice] But we always make the headlines!  We always have the worst winter storms!  It's not fair!

I swear, the weathermen were peeing all over themselves with excitement.  Well, I'm pleased to announce, the storm did not disappoint.  [No, I'm not really pleased.]  This ranked as number 3 of the top 5 blizzards to ever hit the city of Chicago.

It started last night when I got home from work.  Never before have I ever considered laying down in the snow and just given up until last night.  Oh, my God it was like crossing Antarctica!  The wind was HORRIBLE!  Snow was up past my knees (okay, that's not too hard seeing as I'm 5ft).  I almost contemplated sitting in my car because it seemed easier than trudging onward.

Yeah, I know it doesn't look like much.  If you look closely, there's a bench.

Once I made it inside I changed into my insanely warm jammies and wrapped myself around a heating pad I looked out my window and saw this.

So, I went to bed and woke up to a blissful winter wonderland.

Yeah - I laughed at that too.

 So, I went to go sweep my car off.

And was greeted with this GIANT mound of snow from people shoveling out their cars.  And clearing space for the pack mules to make their deliveries.

I think it was probably 6 or 7 feet tall

These pictures don't do the snow justice - it really looks MUCH worse

God bless the grounds crew.  They were out ALL DAY clearing the paths and parking lots.  I'm going to make them cookies.  Or brownies.  Or a 5 layer, buttercream frosted cake.

 These are both pictures of the river by my place.  10 bucks if you can tell me where the snow ends and where the river begins.

Another shot of one of the pathways that cuts through.  The snow was about 2 feet on each side.

No, that's not a snow covered Beggar's Canyon it's a ground level view of one of the pathways.

Tomorrow we're expecting -40 windchills.

How divine.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Coldest Day of the Year

My alarm goes off.  I notice that it's cold.  I mean, REALLY cold in my bedroom.  This isn't that much of a shock because it's the coldest room in my apartment.  I contemplate wrapping myself in my blankets like a cocoon and walking out in my living room.

I throw on my bunny slippers and brave the hallway.  Not shockingly, it is a normal temperature.
Not gonna lie - they still make me smile
I check Weatherbug to find out that we're under a Wind Chill Advisory.

How.  Fabulous.

For those who don't know what this means (and, seriously, I'm pretty sure most of you do because you're my friends and family) basically it means that even though it says it's a balmy 0 degrees outside it FEELS like it's 
-25.  Or, basically, like Mr. Freeze walked up and gave you a wicked right hook to the face.

But, I digress.  So I get myself together.  Throw lunch in a bag.  Say goodbye to Norma Jeane (my chinchilla) and open the door.

I'm greeted by a punch of frigid air to the nostrils.  Everything freezes immediately and I utter a string of words that would make a sailor blush.  I walk to my car muttering the whole way about the winter and how much I hate it.  I get into the car put the keys in the ignition and...................nothing.


A whole lot of nothing.

My car is dead. 

No turnover.  Nothing.  


Is it summer yet?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Apartment Living: Things I Love

My alarm went off at 7:00 Monday morning.  Bleary eyed, I stumbled (probably would be wise to put my glasses on in the morning) around gathering clothes and towels and headed into the bathroom.  I reach in to turn on the water and wait a few moments for the water to heat up.  After what seems like an acceptable amount of time, I jump into the shower.

Apparently the hot water heater for the building had gone  blooey.  Yes sir, nothing like a freezing cold shower to wake you up in the morning.  I'm pretty sure The Flash couldn't have washed his hair faster than I did.
Okay, fine.  He might win a hair washing competition...

Shivering, and waiting for hypothermia to set in, I bundled up and got ready to call the management office before I remembered two VERY IMPORTANT things: 1) my phone is broken and 2) they aren't open yet (and, yes, it has escaped my attention that I could walk over there before work when they're open).

After getting dressed I realized that I did not have a hot water heater in my apartment that the whole building (or side of the building) shared one.  I prayed that somebody else would call.  Fortunately - somebody did. I discovered this when I came home from work and had hot water!

But the thing I am most thankful for?  If I owned my own home and the hot water heater went kaput - I would have to pay someone to take care of it.  And stay home.  And not get paid.  Which, really, is just adding insult to injury.  Nobody should have to start a Monday morning with an ice cold shower!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coping Mechanism

I have two strange ways of dealing with things.

1) If I'm stressed I'll look up planes that are leaving to go somewhere other than here that are leaving in about 2 hours.  I figure that gives me enough time to get to the airport and board the plane. I take it all the way up to actually entering in credit card information.

2) If I'm scared about something, I'll do something else that scares the living daylights out of me.

#2 has served me (and my friends/family) well.  It usually revolves around me whipping up something in the kitchen.  It's how I learned how to make my fantabulous buttercream frosting.  It's why I learned to make meringue.

It is also the reason I have started taking guitar lessons.

You see, I turn 25 this May and it scares the pants off me.  

Guitar lessons now...climbing Mt. Everest when I turn 40!

(Kidding, Mom.  Kidding.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I woke up this morning with great plans.

Okay, great as in "huge" not "super-de-duper".  I was going to take down my tree, mostly.  Clean the bejesus out of my kitchen.  Cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Wipe some things of my DVR.  Do laundry.  Some grocery shopping.  I had a full day planned.

And then...I woke up.  Perhaps I should say I was no longer awake.  I felt like I had a miniature man behind my eyelids pounding away with a sledgehammer.

Aw, crap.  A migraine.

I stumbled into the bathroom (because anymore movement would have caused me to be physically ill).  I fished out what I hoped was Excedrin and Advil.  I looked in the mirror.  And my eyes were bloodshot.  I'm talking Natalie Portman in Black Swan red.

Fabulous.  I look like I had a really good time last night.

Honestly, though...those eyes are RED
Which I did - if you count eating a bag of popcorn and falling asleep before SNL even began.

But, I digress.  I choked down the pills and found my way back to bed.  Desperately wishing that this migraine would either miraculously go away OR my head would just explode and end the agony.  Either one would be an acceptable remedy.

I shove my head under my pillow to block out any cracks of light (thanks for that, Venetian blinds) and pray to the heavens that my noisy downstairs neighbors do not start a fight - again - or start blaring techno music.

Luckily, it passed by the time I woke up at 12:30.

And, yes.  My tree is still up.