The show that really helped me "grow as a person."

I've had four days off and will write about Christmas later...my point is that I've had four days off, and that means some reality TV.  It was a busy weekend, but I was soooo fortunate to catch a new episode of Kourtney and Kim in New York, because it inspired me to write.

Someone needs to stop the Kardashians.

"But we're entertaining people," Khloe told the person who actually knows anything about the entertainment industry -- Barbara Walters -- and for some reason, she's right.  People keep their show on the air.  And why the fuck would that be?  Jealouuuuus?

Maybe it's because they don't understand them.  How they work.  I have never met women or men like them, and there's a part of me that wants to pick apart their circuit boards like an electrical engineer.  (That last part wasn't in jest.  I sincerely believe they are robots.)

My thoughts:

1.  Kourtney shits all over Scott's desire to get back in touch with Judaism, and he doesn't seem to be all that offended.  If my partner were to make fun of my religion or lack thereof, that partner may want to invest in a Flak jacket.  Scott was just like, "oh it's cool lol let's have Shabbat dinner."  The one thing he did say:  "Fine.  You don't respect my religion?  I don't respect your outfit.  Your shirt has no back.  And you look like a bumblebee."  You tell her, buddy.

Also, I'd like to see someone quiz Kourtney on the history and principles of Christianity.  She grilled Scott about the Old Testament and the meaning behind wearing a yarmulke, and because he didn't know those things (after freely admitting he hadn't been to temple in years), he wasn't a "real Jew," so she decided that their son would be raised Christian.  So, not only did she bash him for not being dedicated "enough" to his religion (in a one-sided scene where she whined that the navy yarmulkes didn't match her outfit while he was trying to get a Shabbat dinner organized, I wish he would've said, "Okay hot shot, so who baptized Jesus?"), but she brought their young son into it.  Here's the line, and therrrre's Kourtney way down that way.

2.  Kris Humphries reminds me of David Puddy, but Kim is more fucked up.  She cries constantly about wanting to be married and knocked up, but the girl just can't seem to stop doing the following things:  (1) Working on her "Brand."  (2) Walking out on marriages.  (3) Being absolutely insane about her personal bubble.  At what point do you not have enough money?  I would retire at that age if I wanted kids that badly. 

Kim deals with conflict about as well as my two-year-old niece, except you can point out something fluffy or sparkly to my niece and all is forgotten; Kim has her fluffy furs and sparkly diamonds but still needs to call her sister an "evil, ugly little troll" for assuming she can just WAKE KIM UP TO SAY GOODBYE.  At least five times an episode, Kim bleets, "That is like... sooo disrespectful?" or "Don't be RUDE."  And she's 30. 

3.  Maybe it's because Kris Jenner is more insane than Kim.  Kris Jenner is the one who wears enough lipgloss to fill an oil drum and acts like a raging alcoholic.  She's also the "mom" on this show.  She gets a cut as Kim's agent, so she's making damn sure that Kim stays busy.  In Kris Jenner's free time, she enjoys meddling in the lives of others and emasculating her husband in public.  Like when she gave him Viagra without him knowing.  (I've never caused a man to unknowingly ingest someone else's prescription drugs.  Is this why she's married and I'm not?)

And then there's how dramatic everything is with her.  Here's how I imagine this conversation went with a book publisher friend of hers:

Book publisher (BP):  So I heard that Kim's friend Jonathon is mentioning her in his new book?
BP:  No... no, I think he's just mentioning her in the introduction--
BP:  Really, it's not a tell-all book.  I don't even know why you would think that.  They've been friends for years.

So Kris calls Kim up, says she has "disturbing" news, and says that Jonathon is writing a tell-all book about her before ominously growling, "I keep telling you -- you can't trust anyone but your family."  I imagined those spirals from Hitchcock's Vertigo in her eyes as she said it.  Then Kim, per Kourtney's bat-shit insane advice, invites the poor guy to dinner on the premise of catching up, and before their food gets there, she blows up at him in the restaurant when he tells her he's writing "a book," along with many other projects. 

"You don't think that someone should know when you're writing a book about them?!"
His response:  /crickets.  And then, "What?"
But she just kept shouting.  And he tried to say things, and she said, "No, I don't want to listen to you, blah blah blah," and she left.  He looked absolutely dumbfounded.  Imagine having that happen, but with fucking cameras all over the place. 

He then kind of lost my sympathy and respect when he and Kim battled it out in the most mature way imagineable:  Twitter! 

Kim is surprised when she later finds out (by reading the fucking book) that Jonathon's book is not a juicy betrayal of her friendship, but about "How to be an 'It-Girl.'"  Oh noes, who would've thought that the world wasn't revolving around Kim?  Her response:  "So... it's just some like, bubblegum fluff piece?"

Nice one, Kim.  Insult his intentions, insult his intelligence by playing games with him, and then insult the genre of his book.  "Well, it's hard to know the truth a lot of the time, and when someone tells you that a tell-all book is being written about you, it's hard not to panic!"  Ahem -- Kim?  That "someone" was your MOTHER. 

4.  If you ever want to see an example of "Battered Wife Syndrome" on reality TV, you won't need to look any further than Bruce Jenner. 

I kind of want to sneak over to their house and unlock all the doors.  Even if I put bacon or something on the doorknobs, it would still take him a few days to find the doors, learn how to work them, and make sure no one else was around -- but eventually, he would stumble forth into the bright, unfamiliar sunlight, confused about the last several years and amazed at how modern cars have gotten since he saw them last.  "Am I... am I free?" he would wonder to himself with a trembling chin (but not a dimpled chin...pretty sure it's made of plastic), remembering with fear all the horrific things the Kardashian women put him through, not to mention all the things they're doing to his two young daughters (one of whom is already doing racy bikini photo shoots). 

"NO.  YOU'RE NOT FREE."  Kris drives up in her obnoxiously ginormous car.  "OUR TWO YOUNGER DAUGHTERS ARE GROWING UP TO BE HOT.  I NEED SOMEONE TO TORTURE ON CAMERA WHILE THEY'RE AT PORN MOVIE SETS."  She turns to the camera, "You know, I definitely just luuuurrrve my husband," she coos.  "He has definitely made me...grow as a person?  I definitely should learn to not take him for granted."  Bruce turns to the camera and mouths, "help me."

Kourtney's puppy Scott is headed the same way.

5.  The last time I hung out in bed with my laptop, which they always seem to be doing, I did not have full make-up on and Fancy Hair.  Maybe that's why they're married and I'm not.

I might think of more things to say about them later.  Don't worry, I've got lots of episodes on my DVR.  I wish I could say that was a recording glitch...but it isn't.


"Baby Jesus, born to rock."

Got a little gift from my favorite co-worker -- including the best ever kind of Ghirardelli chocolate:  Peppermint Bark.

Thanks Rachel!!
You know, I've never done stuff like that, and I've always wanted to.  I've never sent greeting cards or organized neat baggies of candy/stocking stuffers.  And it makes sense to, doesn't it?  At least for people I see more often than I see members of my own family.

There is, of course, the whole religious connotation.  I don't celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, but I've mostly gotten over my whole "militant atheist bans all social engagements that have to do with religion" thing -- makes it a little hard to go to weddings and funerals -- and now I celebrate it as a social holiday.  And I, as always, celebrate the food.  And I celebrate the abundance of paid time off within such a tiny time frame. 

But damn it, I want to be one of those people that goes all out!  I've got Christmas decorations, but they aren't up.  I have now completed my gift shopping, including for The Bean's birthday, which is also this week, but that's all I've done.  I see so many Facebook status updates that report the baking of gingerbread, the stringing of homemade decorations, the festive drink recipes for parties.  I haven't even managed to buy wrapping paper.

Am I missing a gene?  The "cozy" gene?

I last achieved this coziness at the Christmas parade downtown in 2006.  I was in a one bedroom apartment in a historic building along the parade route, so that morning, I sat on the stoop with hot chai and a blanket, waving at the politicians, snow princes and princesses, and firemen.  After that, I poured myself more tea and did the Sunday crossword puzzle at my windows, watching everyone bundled up and walking into St. Boniface church across the street. 

And sure, my apartment smelled like cinnamon and spices, but I had to pee all day from drinking so much chai.  And I was tired in the afternoon from waking up so early and having nothing to do.  Then I couldn't really concentrate on homework because I was so deadset on being someone I wasn't.  Someone so... "twee."  I felt like I could only do homework while listening to the radio, humming, and not looking like I hadn't seen a mirror at all that day.

Maybe people outside looking in see my life differently.  I feel like it's a mess all the time -- like, there's always something to worry about, clean up, be late for, get fixed, catch up on, pay off.  I wonder if "twee" people feel that way too, and how they manage to bake Christmas confections in spite of it.


Okay -- what the hell is domar.ru?  I'm getting like nine hits a day from Russia, and they're all coming from this website.  Any time I've gone to it, I've closed it out for fear of getting a virus, because it seems that bad.


I close my eyes and see a Sith Inquisitor

Spent pretty much the entire weekend playing SWTOR.  Stayed up late every night, woke up late every day, and played in between.  Left briefly to go to my dad's, where I ate for the first time in a while (so imagine a Dirt Devil...) and got my ass handed to me in euchre.

Emerged long enough into reality to hear David saying that Kim Jong Il died.  I kind of shrugged, and said, "Aww, that's sad."  "Um, no, it's not sad.  He was a dictator."  "Yeah, but didn't he sing that 'I'm So Ronery' song in Team America?  He sounded sad."  For the next hour, any time David looked in my direction, he would shake his head and say, "just...wow."

Okay -- so just like bin Laden -- if someone has not directly starved, shot, stabbed or otherwise persecuted or harmed me -- I could not give two shits.  If that makes me narcissistic or a terrible American, then great, because it's a lot easier to live that way.  And -- just like bin Laden -- I do not celebrate the deaths of other people.  If I hear that Kim Jong Il was only 69, I feel bad because that's really young, and I wonder if he could have been healthier.  North Korea is unstable, yes, but it's a lot more useful to me to worry about my finances, which are also unstable.  Possibly moreso than North Korea. 

BUT I got some entertainment out of this, from CBS News:
North Korean legend has it that Kim was born on Mount Paektu, one of Korea's most cherished sites, in 1942, a birth heralded in the heavens by a pair of rainbows and a brilliant new star. Soviet records, however, indicate he was born in Siberia in 1941.
Man, I wish I could do that.  "Susie was born at the base of a volcano, which shook with the intensity of the new soul on earth, and the umbilical cord was snipped by a bolt of lightning.  Angels and Stevie Wonder provided the music with fanfare trumpets adorned with flags.  It was 1984."

The weird sleep schedule and the fact that every time I closed my eyes I saw my Sith Inquisitor casting Force Lightning on Republic targets caused me to get absolutely no sleep last night.  Went to bed at a semi-normal hour, maybe a little late, and then rolled around uncontrollably until seven this morning.  No matter how I tried to sleep, and no matter how comfy I got, I could not sleep.  I rolled on my stomach.  My back.  My feet hanging off the side of the bed.  Rolled up into a little Susie blanket burrito.  My head under a pillow.  Shaped like a swastika. 

I could not fall asleep.  Eventually, even the cats went "fuck this" and left to sleep elsewhere, raising their noses and sniffing the air, making sure I knew I was disturbing them.  And when my alarm went off, I nearly cried. 

Now I am going to try to survive the rest of the day -- work, grocery store for tonight's dinner, P90X, dinner, trying to sleep tonight.  And Christmas shopping????? -- where do I fit this in?  I haven't done any yet.  Just used my entire weekend for SWTOR (not considering that a "wasted" weekend one bit...some people blow a weekend doing nothing but fishing, and no one says anything).  And considering my roommate, on whom I depended quite heavily for income, just got laid off and hasn't had any responses to his resume yet, I have no idea what I'm going to get for people.  I also haven't put up any of my Christmas decorations.  I promised myself I would this year, but who would be around to see them?  David's spending Christmas in Nashville, and my brother is hosting... I don't even think people will be at the house at all between now and after New Year's.  Okay, that's depressing.


Square peg personality

So I have a number of what people might be inclined to call "dude hobbies."

I play computer and video games (got my early access yesterday in SWTOR, yay!), my fantasy football teams do really well, I love IndyCar, and I get bored really easily when people talk about relationships.  David might disagree, but I'm also going to go ahead and say that I can predict the thoughts and actions of men pretty well.  I can think like a guy.  Like a sixth sense, except useless.

You would think that, if I were in a group of guys talking about any of the above topics, I wouldn't get talked over, interrupted, etc. -- and that's if I can get a word in edgewise to begin with.  Sometimes I think about yelling at the top of my lungs and beating everyone else unconscious just so I can throw in my two cents to the conversation. 

Mostly, this is about lunchtime.  Happens all the time when I'm on a break for lunch.  If there are a bunch of guys together*, it's like they know the exact nanosecond that the guy talking is going to stop talking, and then exactly one guy starts and ends a sentence, and so on.  Every three seconds, I open my mouth to speak, but someone else jumps in.  If I do get to speak, it's like I'm not even there.  I'm either interrupted or they drown me out.  OR, I'll speak, but they're not listening because something has already clicked in their minds that tells them the conversation has officially, cleanly ended.  And then there's some stupid girl still talking about it.  When did she get here?  Who the fuck is that, anyway? 

Sometimes I'll get a grunt in response when I keep talking beyond the conversation cul de sac, but most of the time, that's when the dudes suddenly become really interested in the food in front of them.  Maybe they think that if they listen to me, I'll stop and say, "Oh!  Now that I have your attention...[costume change]  Let's talk about omigawwWWW SHOPPING FOR PURSES AND WHO IS GETTING TOTTTALLY FAT AND THIS GIRL AT MY GYM THAT IS SUCH.  A.  BETCH!  [jazz hands]"

Back in October, I was talking to one of my co-workers at lunch about Dan Wheldon.  A few people at the next table were talking about the same thing.  After a while, one of the people at the other table came by and said, jokingly, "You're not a very good eavesdropper." 

Me:  What?
Dude:  You were talking about what we were talking about.
Me:  Yeah, but it was on my mind, too.
Dude:  Oh.  Wow, you know who Dan Wheldon is?
Me:  Was.  (In my head:  Now leave me the fuck alone.)

That guy was being not only a bit of a prick and not to mention sexist to assume I didn't know the name of a racecar driver, but also a narcissist to think I was only talking about that because he and his buddies were.  And this happens all the freaking time.       

* This phrase is blowing my mind right now.  I wrote it and then thought, "Hmmm.  A 'bunch' is singular, so wouldn't it be 'there is a bunch'?  but then how can a bunch be 'together'?  What the fuck!  WHERE AM I?!"


"I'm coming home via Chicago"

Now that it seems like Micky is better, I would like to tell you all about that time when I was in Macy's with my mom and aunt -- I wandered off and got lost, and they freaked and tried to find me... I freaked and tried to find them... by myself in this huge, crowded department store around Christmas and in downtown Chicago no less... then I went back to where they were when I thought I got separated from them, and I found my mom talking to a store employee, totally panic-stricken.  "Mommmm!" I yelled, and then I was upset because I thought she was mad at me, and my aunt was glad I was found safely but also visibly a bit pissed.

And that was just last week. 

You'd think that it wouldn't be a big deal anymore for someone in their twenties to "wander off" in a store, but I found that wasn't the case.  I can't even be trusted as an adult.  Oops.  (David will probably find me later this afternoon in the backyard, playing with matches, or in the basement calling 911 and hanging up just to see what would happen.)

Anyway, highlights from Saturday's trip to Chicago with my favorite mom and favorite aunt:
  • Never actually developing a hangover from the night before, when all of David's now-former co-workers came over with many bottles of alcohol to console/cheer him and bash on the higher-ups at the company.  Didn't go to bed until two, and had to be at the Imperial Travel place to catch our bus by 8 a.m. sharp.
  • Making fun of the bitchy lady sitting next to Carol on the bus.  She was rolling her eyes, snorting and huffing at everything Mom, Carol and I were talking about.  Then on the way back home, she sneered at me and asked, "How's the hangover?"  I was on my cell phone at the time, so all I could really do was give her an ice-queen-ish "fine."
  • $2 six inch Subway meatball marinara.  Warm, tasty, hit the spot.
  • A boy about my age gave us directions and my mom fell in love with him.  Like, she wants to adopt him.  I don't know what it is about cute, well-spoken gay men, but my mother adores them.  I wish I'd gotten a picture of her face when she was gazing up at him.  It was like this: 

  • Some kind of German fest.  Christl-something.  It was at Daley Center or whatever it's called.  Obviously I was paying attention.  Anyway, at this event, we did a lot of walking around and accidentally bumping into strangers.  We also ate some really good food -- I forget what they had, but I had a bratwurst at one point.  We also saw a lot of interesting booths:  Handmade German Christmas ornaments, beer steins (one of which Carol bought for a Christmas gift), blown glass artwork, etc.  We also went into a "warming tent" (oh -- I didn't mention that it was like 14 degrees outside) that had hot wine cider served in a tiny boot, which was decorated in a German theme.  This event also featured many very, very attractive German vendors my age, none of whom actually looked at me twice, not even when I turned to Carol and, in my best German, said m√∂chtest du etwas trinken?.  But still.  I probably got it wrong.
  • We saw the puppet bike on the corner of Dearborn and Washington.  If you ever wonder what it's like to see a puppet bear and a puppet cat dancing together to 1950's style rock and roll in a puppet stage-type contraption on the back of a bicycle, let me tell you -- it is awesome.  And adorable.  There was a little girl dancing to the music near the puppet show; she was so cute.  My mom gave me a dollar and told me to ask the little girl to put it in the tip box.  Her parents were impressed and thanked me.  Maybe they're rich and live in my town and will want me as a nanny.
  • Saw a cute guy at a coffee shop, and my mom forbade me to ever speak to him because she didn't like his butt.
  • We are now two for two on seeing the Chicago Bucket Boys, as we saw them near Millenium Park after the St. Patrick's Day parade, and then we saw them on Saturday in front of Macy's (after I got lost).  Only been to Chicago twice this year, and I ran into these awesome guys both times. 
  • I lost count at 20 for the number of homeless people who approached me or yelled something out.  I didn't give anyone money or cigarettes, but I did give someone outside the German fest a plate of fried potatoes, mostly because he was very well-spoken and looked like he was absolutely freezing.  (Also, he didn't ask for money; he asked for food.)  Other than him, the most memorable homeless person was a kid younger than I am, shouting out, "I WILL TELL YOU A JOKE FOR TEN CENTS.  I SWEAR -- I AM REALLY, REALLY FUNNY."  I would've given him a dollar just to shut the fuck up.  Oh, and this woman who cleared out an entire McDonald's when she walked in because she smelled so badly of urine.  What's actually weird about all this is that I was not approached by one single homeless person when I was in Chicago in March.
  • The Man Who Saved Christmas is a really... really bad movie. 
  • I need to find out if there's a Nordstrom Rack store closer to me, like in Indianapolis maybe.  They have some pretty sweet deals.  Found a pair of Prada kitten heels for about $90.
  • ALSO.  I need to find a CVS that sells Purdue hoodies.  I bought a Wrigley Field hoodie for $10.99 there, and Purdue hooded sweatshirts start at $50.
  • It seemed like everything in downtown Chicago on a Saturday night closes at 3 p.m.  What is that all about?
  • There was a fire in the Macy's building -- we saw smoke coming out one of the windows.  Several firetrucks zoomed into the area, but after about five minutes, the firetrucks left.  Didn't see anything happen.  Smoke still pouring out of the window.  Pedestrians on the sidewalk not even paying attention.  Totally unfazed.  And then there are these three chicks from Indiana, looking up at the building and practically screaming, "Why aren't they doing anything?!"  So again -- what is that all about?
Wonder if there's anything I missed.

And now I want to be annoyed.

My ten-year-old cat Micky is sick.  She isn't a stranger to throwing up, as many kittehs seem to develop bulimia or something when they get older (or a passive aggressive "I don't like your friend.  I shall vomit in her purse."), but yesterday she threw up all over the house.  I counted four massive piles of vomit -- one of them next to my computer chair, so that evening I was lucky enough to accidentally step in the wet spot on the carpet twice.

Since then, she's been "hiding."  David noticed we hadn't seen her in a while, and when I thought about it I realized that I hadn't gotten annoyed at a pompous cat standing in front of my computer monitor, which is kind of a big deal because she's typically such a sociable cat.  Seriously, the girl is constantly up in my bidness.  But we eventually found her in the back of a closet in a room that we barely use.  Just sitting there.  I picked her up and tried to get her to sit in my lap, which she usually loves to do, but she jumped right back down and went to the closet again.  Seeing her hide in the closet was weird, but when she left my lap to go back to the closet -- making it very known to me that she wants to be alone -- was weirder.  She does not prefer being alone. 

I brought her to bed with me last night, and she stayed curled up next to me.  David's had an eye on her and told me that she was still curled up on the bed at noon.  I went home to see her and tried to get her to eat something -- I took her downstairs, put her in front of her food, but ignored it and sat in a corner of the living room under one of the kitty towers.  So weird.

I called the vet, and now David's taking Micky in at 2:15.  I hope she's okay.  The only personality change I've ever seen in her is after she's gotten her annual shots -- she gets lethargic, she doesn't interact with people, and won't eat or use her litterbox. 

David's already at the vet with her.  He says she's "skeered."  Poor thing.  :(

Update:  David called and said Micky has a fever, which they think might be from getting scratched or bitten while playing with Bellatrix.  They also saw that she was down a pound from July -- and for something that's only eight pounds to begin with, I'd say that's a pretty big deal -- and that her fur from half of her body has been lost because of excessive grooming.  They said that's from nerves.  I feel like a terrible mommy -- I'd noticed that the hair around the base of her tail looked funny, but I hadn't noticed that she'd lost so much weight.  Maybe because she still looks so much bigger than the kittens.  :(

So at the vet, they gave her a shot to break the fever, and a shot of antibiotics.  Follow up in a couple of weeks to talk about behavior.  David says they're on their way home now, and she's sitting up in her cage, calm.  I hope she feels better soon.

Another update:  David sent me a picture shortly after he and Micky got home -- she's eating, yayayayayaya


What to do when your roommate gets laid off.

...should I Google that?  Because I have no idea.

So it actually happened.  I'm affected by the economy now.

I accepted a job offer during finals week before graduating from Purdue, started this "Big Girl" job within days of graduation, and I've been there ever since.  I've felt so lucky in this shit economy -- it seemed like everyone else around me was dealing with it, but I was in my air-conditioned ivory tower.

Then this morning, David got laid off.

He'd seen it coming for a while.  He noticed the big contracts they were losing, the "re-organization" of certain teams, a lay off here and there at the Indianapolis location.  Then this morning, I got a phone call at work, and it was him.

"Is this like what you pulled on April Fool's, because if so--" "No," he said, his voice shaking a little, "I'm holding my termination letter in my hand.  I'm coming to your building right now."  I hung up the phone, breathed a loud "fuuuuuck," and burst into tears.

I waited with hot chocolate in the lobby of my building, and he strolled in.  Almost smiling.

We sat in the cafeteria and talked while I hid my red, puffy face with a tissue.  "It's going to be fine," he said, and explained his severance package, reimbursement for his vacation days, and applying for unemployment in the meantime.  I worried about the house, the cats, his son's insurance.  Then I cried more.

"Let's go on a field trip," he said, and we went to the AT&T store to get him a new phone, as his cell phone was for work.  Then we came home, where my brand new computer monitor is all fucked up, and then Cissy peed on it.  And I cried more.

Now he's on hold with Best Buy, and they've got holiday Muzak playing -- currently, Deck the Halls, and he's singing along to it, a la A Christmas Story -- "fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra raaaa."  I have no idea how he's so upbeat.  It's like he feels like he can do anything now.  Like a weight has been lifted.  But I'm still worried about the house.  The pressure to make money.  The pressure to survive on my salary.  The pressure of having to make sure that I don't come home from work and find him in a recliner, covered in bits of popcorn, watching The Price is Right on DVR.

There was a co-worker of his that I didn't like very much whose girlfriend is one of the biggest bitches I've ever met.  Like, bitch in a bad way (there's another co-worker of his is a "bitch" in a good way, as in a completely anti-feminist way of saying that she's assertive and knows how to get what she wants...and when you're a professional female and a mother of four, I'm sure that comes in handy -- hi Katie).  "Does this mean I don't have to see them (not you, Katie, I mean the other two) ever again?" I asked, and he laughed and said yes.

I know this post is very disjointed.  I'm just kind of writing.

And I know it'll be okay.  I worry.  But he's been through worse -- coming home injured from Iraq, getting laid off from two or three jobs right off the bat, dealing with the aftermath brought on by being a veteran.  He's got pretty thick skin, and he's been affected by the economy before... it's just new to me.


Four things that made me feel better

1.  Monday night, we cleaned the crap out of the house.  Still have some catching up to do on laundry, but the house is clean in general.

2.  Working out.  Tonight, more looking death in the face plyometrics.  We tried the ab workout last night after doing an hour of chest and back work, but swinging my torso from the ground to my ankles just wasn't happening.  Also, it made something on the inside of my chest hurt.  Not my heart... I'm thinking a muscle of some sort.  Or maybe my boobs are just getting in the way again -- like they got in the way when I was doing "dive bomber" push ups. 

If you don't know what that is, picture someone in the up position, like before they go down for a push up.  Then picture them suddenly turning into a pelican:  go down nose first, collapse until you're going down chest first, and then nose goes in the air with your arms straightened up.  So, at the end, you kind of look like you're doing the upward facing dog yoga pose, except the look on your face is not from serenity, but terror and pain.  Anyway, so I can't get past the part after where your nose goes down, because the next part is to curve your head up and get your chest down... because my boobs then act as brakes on the floor, and then I do a face-plant into the carpet.

3.  My older niece, who I call "The Bean," and I address her as simply "Bean," wrote me a letter for a class project, and she drew a picture of me and her next to a bonfire.  She obviously holds my appearance in higher regard than I do, because I saw the picture and thought, "Wow, what a tiny waist she gave me!  And my hair never does that!" instead of noticing my amputated forearms and Mom Jeans:
I totally notice that she spent more time on her hair than on mine.  But that's okay.  At least I was able to tell what the drawing was.  I spent years saying, "Awwwww, what a lovely elepha--"  "Walrus."  "--aaalrus!"

As part of her project, I had to answer questions that she wrote me.  Things about my favorite classes, teachers, etc. when I was young.  But she also asked me what was my least favorite thing about being a kid, and I almost put "being bullied," but just in case she had to read it in front of the whole class, I didn't want 20 eight-year-olds feeling sorry for The Bean's wimpy-ass Aunt Susie.  So instead, I wrote that sometimes I had to eat food I didn't like, and now that I can cook for myself, I don't have to eat anything I don't want to.

I also told her that Language was my favorite class in elementary school, because I always loved to read and write.  I then hopped onto a soap box and told her how I had wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid, and now I am a writer, so Bean!  Do something you love! etc.  I left out the part where I wanted to be a novelist when I was a kid and now I'm a technical writer, but she can find out how boring I am when she's older.

4.  I was joking around with some co-workers in the cafeteria this morning, and later I found a tiny, work-made gift basket on my desk with mints and Starbucks hot cocoa mix in it, and a note that read, "Thank you for a good laugh this morning!".  So I feel like I did something today that brightened someone's day.  But I forget what made her laugh.

Background -- me and my brother (left), at a cousin's wedding; my parents' living room 1984:  David holding cousin Jon (of Vintage Union fame), David's sister Janis doing God knows what, my brother holding me.  Foreground -- a bitchin' thank you gift.

The only bad stuff about today is that (1) it's cold; and (2) I keep forgetting I have a cut on my finger, so every time I put on hand sanitizer, I kind of want to stab out my eyes.


I am a child.

1986.  And 2011.
I spent most of the weekend around adorable children or people who have adorable children.  Both Saturday and Sunday, I woke up past noon, hungover and dazed, and then I'd rush to get ready for things I'd agreed to do.  Didn't do laundry, didn't clean the kitchen, didn't work out.  David was home all weekend, but he had a beta invite, so that's where he was. 

Despite the fact that nothing got done this weekend, the fact remains that no matter what I do, it's never enough.  For the house, at work, with money, for my health, for anyone.  And as I stuffed my face with ham and cheese omelettes this morning while thinking about this and being depressed about it, I felt lost and stuck at the same time.  Like everything is whirling around me and I can't grab onto anything -- even time is going by too quickly.  I can't even stop to read a magazine or regain the "cozy" feeling my mom and I identified last night that I used to have when I was a kid, in my fort of pillows and a good book.

Let me back up.  Every single day, I am surrounded by people who can wake up early in the morning, get to work, and yell out, "Hey, good morning everybody!!!!!!!!" and "How was your weekend?!!?!"  Sometimes, they even have a work-out first.  And then, "Here, look at these pictures of [my spouse and 2.5 children/my bathroom renovation that cost an assload of money that we'd actually saved up/my granddaughter, who we named Metallica/an ultrasound/a family vacation to the best place EVAR]," and I'm like, "Oh, yeah, cool, wow," instead of actually saying, "Do you wanna see pictures of my cats?  Oh, you don't LIKE cats?  Well, I don't like your stupid kids."

And maybe I actually do like their stupid kids, but I'm just jealous of the fact that everyone else has kids.  Someone told me once that I hadn't taken the opportunity, and I could've punched her in the throat.  Occasionally, I'll come back to earth -- like yesterday, I briefly came to my senses when a baby I'm not even blood related to farted on my hand.  Somehow it's more bearable when my nieces did that.  But then I went right back to "I wanna have babieeees... like five hundred babies...."  Oddly enough, any time that I've gotten even close to having kids, the thought of it being real freaks me the fuck out.  Everything I've wanted before -- house, job, a wedding -- has always been too much for me to handle once I actually get it. 

How do people grow up, go to work, save money, have kids, take care of the house, stay healthy...?  I can't even handle work and the house.  When I lived alone, my apartments were spotless, but it seems like I upgraded and upgraded to a dwelling that I can't even take care of.  It gets too dirty too fast.  I'm pretty sure I only cooked three times this week, but when I came home last night after pretty much being out of the house all weekend, it looked like something had exploded in there. 

It's just too much house.  Sometimes I can't wait to sell the damn thing and go back to apartments.

So I want to have kids, yet I can't even keep a house clean, even when I'm hardly even there.  I can wash and dry clothes, but somehow they still never make it out of the laundry room (and when I do take them upstairs, they stay in the hamper unless I fold the clothes and put them in drawers).  I can take dirty dishes back to the kitchen, but all they do is sit on the counter.  I want to have kids, but I can't figure out how to save money, and the book on personal finance that David bought for $0.03 is sitting on my nightstand, barely touched (for some reason it's my job to read it).  I want to have kids, but I can barely get myself out of bed if I have fewer than ten hours of sleep.  I want to have kids, yet every single morning for the last year, I have stared up at the same showerhead and thought -- every time -- "Hmmm.  I should take a toothbrush to that thing and scrub off the soap scum."  EVERY SINGLE MORNING FOR A YEAR.  Have I done it yet?  I'll give you two guesses, but you'll only need one.

"Then fucking grow up," you'll say, but I don't fucking know how, and I don't feel like I'm getting any help, either.

Update:  I realized I'd missed an Orkin appointment and noticed a stain on my shirt.  Both happened while the Beck song "Loser" was on the radio.  Can't make this stuff up.


Testing the water, testing my strength

When David ordered the P90X workout system on DVD, I figured I'd join in.  I was an athlete for a long time, and since seeing my slender, muscular 15-year-old self pitching softball in home videos last week, I've longed to get myself back in gear.  If I were to ask Dwight from The Office if he thinks I'm hot, he would probably tell me that I have been declining steadily since the age of 25.

So the DVDs arrived, and we did the fitness test immediately.  I stood with my knees bent, back against the fridge for a minute and six seconds; I did 11 push ups; I stretched my arms three inches past my toes; I did a dozen or so curls with the resistance band.  And then I discovered that I can't do one bloody pull-up. 

I used to do like five at a time, more than once a day, thanks to the bar my dad installed in the garage door.  Every time I walked in or out of that garage, I hopped up and pulled myself up enough for my hair to touch the top of the door frame.  And now, I absolutely suck at it. 

I'm also allergic to jumping jacks.  Can't even do them for thirty seconds at a time. 

So the first day of the P90X "schedule" was focused on chest and back.  Given my aforementioned suckage at pull-ups, this day made me feel inadequate and sad on the inside, but I was able to finish the workout at least by roping a resistance band around our pull-up bar, sitting on the floor with my back to the door, and pulling until my elbows touched the door behind me.  Then we all felt great.

The second day was something called "plyometrics," which comes from the Greek words metric, which of course is "to measure," and plio, meaning the seventh layer of hell "more."  This took place on Wednesday, and it is still difficult for me to walk down a flight of stairs.  I can't even rest my hands or arms on my thighs because they hurt so bad.  Oh -- and thanks to all the squats -- it's hard for me to do any kind of sitting movement.  I have to bend at the waist, aim my butt over the seat, and then -- whoosh -- plop down on it as if I'm falling backward to do a flip.  I'll just say now, this happens everywhere.  Like my car.  Or a toilet.  I can only imagine the faces of any others in the ladies' room when I get into a stall and then groan out, "ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, omigod whoosh [something slamming onto porcelain] ow..."

Yesterday, we did shoulders and arms.  This one was easy for me -- I was on pretty light weights, so I'd be able to do a lot of reps.  That's the key to not being bulky, and my shoulders are too broad as it is.  I want Michelle Obama's arms.  Anyway, so David and our friend Jake were doing the exercises with resistance bands, and while I was speeding through my curls, they both looked like they were about to have coronaries, judging by the labored breathing, red faces, and flop sweat on the floor. 

The one thing that has been taking my focus away this entire time, though, is Tony Horton -- the creator and instructor of P90X.  Yes, he's built, and kinda funny, and explains things well, but I CANNOT stop looking at his face.  Not because it's gorgeous and totally presh, but because it looks like the dude plucks his eyebrows.  At first, I thought maybe he'd had work done on his face because of his cheekbones, which you could set a book on, or maybe he was wearing makeup.  He definitely looks like he's gotten an eye lift. 

Can you believe this dude is in his fifties?

But then I was thinking about his eyebrows in the shower yesterday morning (future self:  please make sure I think about more productive things in the shower, like yardwork or the stock market), and I yelled "A-HA!" so loud that Bellatrix roared at me.  I'd disturbed her morning nap on top of the bathtub.

Tonight, we're taking a break due to our schedules, and we will resume Week 1 on Monday.  I have a massage this afternoon, which should be interesting, given my physical condition.  And David got ANOTHER DAMN BETA INVITE, so I will be sans roommate for the weekend.  Left to my own devices.



Perspective...and how I wish I didn't have any

My friend Eric was talking to me yesterday about how the meaning of things/people is relative depending on where you are.  Literally where, sometimes, and "where" as in "where in life" others.  Every change you make in your life means that some things will become less important, if not nonexistant, and others will take priority.  Maybe that's why you made the change -- to get away from some things, put importance on others, or maybe just find something else that you're able to care about.  (That hits close to home.  Pretty sure that's what my fianc√© did.)

So you work at a company.  The president of that company is a very important person. 

Say that I work at a different company.  I could not care less about the president of your stupid company.

If you change jobs and begin working at my company, that president -- around whom you would be on your best behavior, if not become nervous -- is no longer important to you whatsoever. 

You put so much thought into what that president thought of you -- I should word this email flawlessly.  Am I dressed right for this meeting?  Does he/she care that I'm leaving?  And not even just the president, but the whole company, the internal processes, any friendships, your cubicle.  All that goes on there seems so important.  Things have to be done.  But anyone outside your company doesn't care.  I hear it all the time:  "I'm a realtor for Coldwell Banker," "I'm a photographer for the Journal & Courier," "I teach second grade at East Tipp"... people state their job titles with such importance.  However, I have a pretty intangible job title, at least to anyone who isn't in my industry.  So what happens when someone puffs out his chest and says, "I'm a Strategic Business Unit Leader." 


We have people with that job title in my company and I even had to Google it.

When that person is no longer important to you, where does all that energy go?  Just to some other president whose importance to you is relative to whatever position you hold at the company?

I want to work on not caring so damn much.  That way, if my life ever changes, I won't have to redirect my energy to some other ridiculous thing -- office politics, gossip, my hair.  I'm at the point where I need something more, and I can't get more if I spend all my time giving a shit about what other people think.  I thought that I had already accomplished that years ago, but I find myself pouring into molds that others have made for me, and it's exhausting. 

I want to be silly, funny, and loud without anyone asking me if I've taken my meds.  I want to do different things on weekends instead of sitting in my $8 green chair. 

Which is amazing, but still.

I want to read and write more without being told what to read or how to write.  I want to be able to vent about work without anyone else saying, "No more work talk!  Boooo work talk!" because damn it, I have to fucking vent to someone sometimes, and you're not letting me.  I want to have fun in public or at least around other people in my own house without anyone accusing me of being annoying or not acting my age, because actually, the point of my life is not to be attractive to someone or act like a prude, but the point of my life is to live it the way I want. 

Point is, I'm pretty sick of having to act the way other people want me to act.  Trying to be a "lady" is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting, which is why I only really put effort into being ladylike at company events or when I'm in public with people I don't know very well.  If my thong is hanging out of the back of my pants, then OMFG that means I'm just like every other woman in the country who (unintentionally... coinslot girls, I'm not talking to you) has that happen.  When people point out that the phrase is "swear like a sailor," and not in fact "swear like a nice, educated woman," I'd like to point out that the word "fuck" has been around since the 14th Century and was used -- well, wittily, and often -- by Chaucer.  Who's only... you know... the Father of English literature.  Yes, I realize that uneducated people swear too, but some of the best writers use language in a way that invokes feeling... when I swear in my blog or in life it's because I'm trying to get that feeling out, and sometimes, saying "I am so angry" doesn't cut it, but "FUCK!" does. 

The last few weeks have been hard because I've been saying more what's on my mind and acting the way I want -- this leads to tension around those closest to me, because (1) It's been a long time since I've acted like "me," and (2) I suppose I could have warned them first.  People don't expect me to speak up when I don't think something is fair, but now it seems I'm doing it every few minutes -- maybe because people have gotten used to talking down to me, and I had gotten used to either believing it (ugh) or keeping my mouth shut.

Now I just have to get past some of the fear I still have about piping up.  Mostly I'm afraid to do this at work, but I'm also afraid to do this in my personal life because it's just so much easier when people aren't mad at me.  For some reason, most of the people I know enter the Twilight Zone when they're mad, and there is absolutely no reasoning with them.  I have to practically document every single thing before starting a discussion on something, because I'll get lost among the fast-talking angry people before I even know what we're arguing about.  Even if I do get my point across, what are the chances that things will change?


Oh, Indiana, you tricky bastard

On Sunday, it was 67 degrees (F), and now it's snowing.  The older I get, the more I hate snow, except for the first snowfall, because it's funny to see the college kids from outside the Midwest FREAK THE CRAP OUT.

But then it's also the older I get that I realize that snow is like dating a stripper.  At first it's exciting and a bit dangerous, but then after a while you notice that it's really just dirty and annoying.  And it'll probably fuck up your car.

Anyway, it started out like this:

Keeping it classy with a tasteful dusting of powder
 Then an hour later:

Shit's just gettin' crazy up in here

Actually, I'm kidding.  Nothing is "crazy."  Well, maybe for the students on visas from Brazil, but not for Hoosiers.  We will zoom around your slow-moving car, shaking our heads and saying, "sheesh, as if he's never seen snow before!  Your plate says INDIANA, buddy, ACT LIKE IT."  The Indiana-born elderly will probably just drive you off the road.  They have no mercy.


I'm still... functioning?

Spent the better part of my holiday weekend on my ass, either playing SWTOR or watching Survivorman on Netflix.  I did shower and venture out yesterday, only to be met with cold/rainy/windy weather, so my body was like "NOPE NOPE NOPE" and I pretty much went right back inside.

Haven't cleaned, either. 

Then, I came in to work, and my headphone jack didn't work and the water from the lines tasted like biofilm.


Thanksgiving hangover. Part 2.

Apparently, my family had bets going to see when I was going to realize that there were no rolls.  My sister-in-law saw that I'd put the butter dish on the table, and then she removed it with stealth.  When I walked into the dining room, I practically screamed, "I forgot the rolls!"  David then yelled out, "Hey everybody!  She figured it out!"

Crap.  Why didn't they just tell me?  The rolls only needed ten minutes in the oven.  And how did I forget?!  I'd gone so far as to clipping a coupon to buy them, putting butter on the table, figuring out which bowl to place them in... still I forgot.

But despite everyone in my family not getting the awesome carbs and fat that rolls would have given them, they forgave me.

5:15 p.m., Thursday:  I made numerous protests to my family members and especially my dad's girlfriend that they don't have to do my dishes, but they insisted.  Maybe it was the lack of rolls that caused them to have so much energy.

After a quick trip to the park for the kids, we gathered in the living room to watch old home movies that my dad had recently converted to DVD.  My older niece sits in a big chair with me and squeals excitedly when her father, then 12, showed up on the screen, playing a video game with David, then 13, on the best technology at the time:  A Commodore 64.  Or was it 128?

Everyone laughs at the temper tantrums thrown by two-year-old Susie.  They laugh more when my brother gives me bubble gum and Susie is immediately silent and content.  And picking her nose.

They "awwww" when our grandmother is filmed, in her kitchen, making Christmas dinner in 1986.  My dad goes to her and dances with her around the kitchen, while she yells, "I'm holding the gravy boat, watch it!"  They laugh when cousin Jon and I are banging on Grandma's piano (which is now in my living room), and baby cousin Annie toddles up to try to play, and in one motion Jon knocks her to the floor.  Despite this, Annie keeps standing up and smacks the upper keys with her hands, laughing.

"Do you remember going to her wedding last year?" I asked my older niece.  "Yeah," she said.  "My sister and I wore matching outfits and I told David to 'dance, monkey, dance.'"

By 6 p.m., guests were filing out of the house, giving hugs and saying good-byes.  I managed to auction off a few leftovers.

My dad and his girlfriend stayed, and we watched another home movie:  Summer 1993, when all I did was ride bikes and play sports.  My brother was 19, playing Genesis on the piano and wearing Yes t-shirts, working at Bob Evans, where he ended up meeting his wife.  We laughed at how I started every scene with, "My name is Susan and I'm nine."  My mom had painted the side of her fist into a face, with a scrunchy around her wrist as a dress, and hand-puppetted a rendition of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" in falsetto.

That made me a little sad, for some reason.  I miss summers as a kid -- my parents were teachers, so they were always home with me to do something cool.  Go to my softball games, take me to basketball camp, having relaxing lunches with grapes, shrimp and grilled cheese sandwiches.

"Holy crap, it's 7:15," I said, after that video was done.  It felt like midnight.  I played some tipsy piano -- "Maple Leaf Rag," "Sonate Pathetique," and "Moonlight Sonata."  Couldn't find my real sheet music for that last one.

I don't really remember much after my dad left, other than that David and I watched the "Harbough Bowl" (Ravens v. 49ers).  I picked at the spinach dip (hating myself a little more each time I did it), watched some TV, and David went upstairs.

By one I was in bed, and I didn't wake up until almost two this afternoon.  I promptly started writing, sipping one of my dad's girlfriend's Smirnoff Ices that I found in the fridge.  David's been beta testing SWTOR all day, and I'm jealous.  My back aches, my legs ache, and I wish I could do it again next week.

Thanksgiving hangover. Part 1.

There's a difference between a Thanksgiving hangover and an alcohol-induced hangover.  The Thanksgiving hangover causes soreness in the lower back and legs; the subject sleeps 12 hours at a time; subject also wanders around the downstairs area of the house, gazing oddly at random objects:  a beer can on a table (subject does not drink beer), children's toys near the piano (subject is child-free), rolls still in the freezer (subject is an idiot and apparently does not prepare rolls for Thanksgiving dinner).

Subject forgot the rolls.  Thanksgiving was almost perfect.

So my rundown on my Thanksgiving this year:

6 p.m., Wednesday:  I needed David's help to get the turkey in the brining bag.  I only got a 13 pound bird, but I was convinced that was enough.  As I've mentioned a few times before, my family has a habit of preparing a shitload of food and then not eating any of it.  So between the stuffing, the mac & cheese, the mashed potatoes, the salad, the appetizers... there's no way 12 people could eat an entire turkey.

Anyway, so despite the bird being on the small side, it was heavy and awkward.  Reaching into the icy cavity caused my hand to feel like it had become detached from my body.  My attempts to prevent turkey juice from spraying all over my house and myself failed.  I then have Meltdown #1.  I scream at David because I can't get the plastic thing out of the turkey, and then I run to the bathroom.  I exit a minute later, see that David has freed the plastic thing, and instead of saying, "Oh, how'd you do that?" (i.e., be a normal person), I scream at him a second time.

Thirty seconds later, I had apologized something like eighty times.

After clearing the cavity, we placed the turkey breast down in the brining bag.  My brine was:

- 2 gallons water
- one cup salt
- two tablespoons rosemary
- two tablespoons parsley

I boiled the water to help dissolve the salt, and then I iced the water down to cool it -- if there's one thing I believe in, despite having seen an episode of Sandra Lee's cooking show, it's food safety.  Putting hot water on a raw bird is just asking for backed up toilets and dead family members.

We poured the brine over the bird, sealed the bag, placed the bag in a large pan, and refrigerated it overnight.

9 p.m., Wednesday:  I was drunk at this point.  I hadn't eaten anything since lunch except for two slices of American cheese.  But I was determined to make some food ahead of time, so I made the easiest dish possible -- spinach dip -- while watching The Blind Side with David.

10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained (and I mean drained)
1 cup mayo
16 oz. sour cream
1 package dry vegetable soup mix

Combine all in a medium sized bowl; mix well.  Put it in the refrigerator overnight.  Serve it in a sourdough bread bowl, hollowed out and with bite sized sourdough bits around the bowl.  That last part is for the execution, the "ooooh" factor, because I'm all about people thinking that I work really hard at food when the reality is that I was drunk.

10:30 p.m., Wednesday:  Consider making deviled eggs or pumpkin pie.  Reject both ideas because at that point, I was about to fall asleep, and both recipes are time-consuming.  Plus, I would have to be sober upon sober to make deviled eggs. I don't eat deviled eggs, but I make them for almost every other member of my family.  They're the kind of food that's like, "I'm really hard to prepare, but someone prepared me to prove that they love you."

I have the rest of my dinner -- one slice of wheat bread with spinach dip on it -- and watch bad TV.

11 p.m., Wednesday:  David turns the turkey over in the brine, and I pass the fuck out.  There's still laundry all over the dining room, and the front hallway smells like cat.

8 a.m., Thursday:  Ibuprofen, water, shower.

I find that chopping onions is a lot easier when my eyelids are crusted shut.  I prepare the dressing for my cranberry spinach salad -- my recipe is not on hand at the moment, but it's something like:

- two teaspoons minced onion
- 1/4 cup sugar
- two tablespoons toasted sesame seed
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika

If you try the above and it tastes like shit, don't blame me.  That's from memory.

9 a.m., Thursday:  David is cleaning and in a terrible mood.  He's waiting for me to have Meltdown #2.  I announce loudly that I am taking my Effexor.

I forgot to get ginger and cloves for the pumpkin pie, so David runs to the store.  While he's gone, I remove the rest of the laundry from the dining room, tidy up the floor a bit, wipe down the dining room table, and start putting together the centerpiece (just a candle holder, really).  This is while I'm hard-boiling eggs.

When David gets home, he isn't as ecstatic as I hoped that I'd made a dent in the cleaning, and I'm insulted that he insinuated that I'd have Meltdown #2.  I enjoy grinding cloves to bits more than usual.

10 a.m., Thursday:  Pumpkin pie is in the oven after unfortunate incident involving way too much pumpkin pie filling and a hot stove.  Kitchen now smells like burnt pumpkins, but living room is starting to smell better.  I help clean here and there, remove the boiling eggs from heat and cover them for 12 minutes.  I lower the oven temperature to 350, as the pumpkin pie was at 425 for 15 minutes (per the Libby's recipe).  I prepare ice water for the eggs to go into after being in hot water.  By the way, the eggs are in my Chef Basket, which I adore.

11 p.m., Thursday:  Pumpkin pie out of oven; I put it on a rack on top of the stove to cool.

Then I get to sit down!  I'm peeling the eggs, which I'm really bad at.  Lions game is on in the background, and we're just now adopting the No Smoking Inside The House rule.  David pours me a small cocktail, which I can't really drink unless I want bits of egg shell in it.  I later find egg shell in my hair.

12 p.m., Thursday:  Time to get the turkey in the oven.  It takes the two of us to lift it out of the fridge, place the brining bag in the sink, and get the turkey out of it.  David holds the turkey while I rinse it off.  He puts the turkey in the pan, which I take over to the stove, and then he disinfects the sink.

I do the following to this poor turkey, which by this time I've named Dumbledore:

- three tablespoons butter under the skin on each side of the breast (next time I'll use more)
- melted butter, chicken bouillon, minced onion, parsley mixture over the top of the turkey
- seasoning salt all over the turkey
- more minced onion around the pan

Then I threw that bitch in the oven at 350.

The house is coming together.  David has set the table, candles are lit, the Thanksgiving Day parade is recorded to our DVR thingie for my niece, and we're still watching the Lions game.

My mom arrives!  She brings crackers, Cheerios, strawberries, toys, etc. for my nieces.  Food:  Mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped asparagus.  She also brings whiskey.  Amen.

After the turkey is in the oven, I begin preparing the deviled eggs.  For a dozen eggs:

- yolks from the eggs
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mash that shit together, then put it in a Ziploc sandwich baggie.  Cut a hole in the corner of the baggie, and then squeeze the mixture into the sad-looking, empty egg halves.  Toss the baggie -- yay for no clean-up.  Make sure your mom is at your house so she can immediately wash the mixing bowl.  My dad likes to see a dash of paprika on the eggs, so do that too.  My sister-in-law likes it when I include a teaspoon of dill weed in the mixture, but no one else in my family likes it, so I never include it.  I only mention it here because I still think it's a cool idea.

1 p.m., Thursday:  More cleaning.  David thinks the whites of the deviled eggs are too soft, so we stick them in the fridge.  I then accidentally smoosh a deviled egg with a stick of butter.

1:15 p.m., Thursday:  My first basting of the turkey.  I nearly start a fire.  So this is why McDonald's is open today.

I get stomach cramps and have to sit down for a little bit.

2 p.m., Thursday:  My brother and his family arrive, and everyone starts drinking.  Fortunately, my younger niece is on the wagon this year.  Brother brings spiced pumpkin ale, which he made himself, and sister-in-law brings corn casserole.  Older niece brings a drawing she made for me of a dog, and a note on the back that says I'm kind.  Younger niece loves loves loves it when I pick her up and stand us in front of mirrors.

I bring out the spinach dip and deviled eggs, which are almost smooshed again by nieces playing an Angry Birds game.  Younger niece calls me "Susie," which I hadn't heard her say before.

3 p.m., Thursday:  Aunt and her family have arrived; my father and his girlfriend arrive.  They bring a shitload of food:  an incredible artichoke dip, broccoli and rice casserole, a cake from my aunt; dad and his girlfriend bring mashed potatoes and a cranberry fruit salad.  I could totally be forgetting a lot here.

By this time, I was working on a sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing (er, dressing, I guess, because I didn't put it in the turkey) -- I can't remember the recipe right now, but other than the ingredients listed in the name, it's also got onions, celery, toasted bread cubes, rosemary, sage, thyme (those three things make it smell amazing), and some other stuff.  Parsley also, I think.  A lot of parsley.

I toast almonds for the cranberry spinach salad.  Just has spinach, almonds, cranberries in it, then the dressing I made this morning.

Table is slowly getting more dishes on it.  We all take a few minutes to drink and "oooh" at the turkey.  It has reached 170, which I worry about, because I didn't want to overcook it, and it still has to rest.  My aunt's stepkids stop by -- they've already eaten, but I plan to feed them anyway, because food is everywhere.

3:30 p.m., Thursday:  Turkey is resting on the serving platter.  Casseroles in the oven, heating back up.  I have a cigarette outside with David, who says I get a D- in portion control and time management.  I disagree with the time management thing.

We carve the turkey and gather around the table.  My aunt makes an emergency dish of gravy, which I'd forgotten.  My plate looks like The Challenge dish at the Sunrise Diner.

Compliments of my turkey abound.  Success.  It is juicy and tasty, especially the dark meat.  Still too dry for me, but I'm a freak.

5 p.m., Thursday:  Everyone has finished eating and is helping with the clean-up.  I go to the freezer to put some ice in my glass, and fuck.  I see the rolls.

Meltdown #2.


I wanna use my potato masher. :(

I think my mom is mad at me because she told me that she and I should go for a walk around the Wabash Heritage Trail before it gets too cold out, and I replied with, "Isn't that where all the homeless people are?"  And now she's being icy and not returning my calls.  WELL.  THANKSGIVING IS CANCELED.

Just kidding.  But Mom, if you read this, I want you to know that I was kidding.  We can see the homeless people!  That's fine!  It sounds like fun!  Also, you are the most unique person I know.  And I mean it, because nobody reads this blog, so you would literally be one in seven billion.

I received a potato masher as a gift at my bridal shower, and after the engagement ended, my dear friends Alisha and Jeff -- the givers of the potato masher -- told me I could keep it on account of all my anger over my canceled wedding and that they would be happy to be responsible for relieving a part of the grieving process.

They also gave me trivets, which I use a lot more.  That's okay, though, because I gave them trivets when they got married.

Anyway, so I've still been stressed out, and one of my guests is bringing the mashed potatoes tomorrow, so I can't use my potato masher in a legal and socially acceptable way.  Still making appointments with the massage therapist.  Weird thing happened at one of my last visits there:  He was working on a knot in the corner between my neck and my shoulder -- that's been a problem area for years; it's hard as a rock -- when I suddenly felt like I was sweating bullets of ice.  Even my breath felt cold.  The minute that happened, he said, "If you feel yourself getting clammy, tell me."  I did, and he immediately stopped working on me and left to get me some water.  He said that my physical reaction to the massage was a sign that he'd broken that knot up and now toxins were flowing through my bloodstream; the water he got me was for flushing the toxins out.

**"The more you know..."**

Yesterday my dad took me grocery shopping for all my Thanksgiving items.  One thing I forgot, though -- a container or bag large enough in which I can brine a 13 lb. turkey.  At the time, I wasn't sure that I wanted to brine the turkey, but the more research I do, the more I realize that if I brine the turkey, there's a chance that it won't taste like sand.  So I'll need to run out and get a huge stockpot ($$$$) or one of those sealable bags for such an occasion (.$).

Had a chat with my boss about feminism today.  I discovered years ago that he is very much against the idea of a man asking his girlfriend's father's blessing before proposing marriage.  He sees it as a throwback to when women were considered property (and here is when I make a joke along the lines of, "you remember that era well, do you?", then he says "gee, thanks," he walks away, I'm left at my desk flailing my arms and yelling, "Oh come on!  It was just too easy!"), but I'm more of the belief that it's a "respect" thing.

The one time I was proposed to, the man talked to my father first, and I thought it was sweet because my father and I are really close.  I'm close with my mom too, but growing up, I was involved in a lot of sports, and from a young age, I would always be in the backyard with Dad, tossing a ball around.

So I disagree with my boss on this -- I don't see it as "please give me your daughter," but more like, "do you approve of this?  Your daughter thinks the world of you, and I think the world of her, so we both want you to be happy about it.  Do you have any advice about becoming part of the family?"  I was always the kind of girl where the only men eligible for my trust were my brother and my father, so it seemed fitting to me.  My boss sees it as antiquated and demeaning.  "You want to marry my daughter?  Go ask her yourself, y'moron," was what he said, and it got me thinking.

(Of course, my point might be shit anyway, because as soon as the engagement ended, all the men in my family told me that they wanted to like my betrothed, but they never really thought we were a great match.  Geez guys, way to blow it.)




Haven't posted in a few days, so I thought I'd give some updates...

1.  Have been super busy at work.  No time for pronouns.  Nd n tm fr vwls.

2.  Have been planning Thanksgiving feast, now known as "Gourmet Thursday" (a term my mom coined last year when I hosted).  I am having:
  • Ginormous turkey
  • Sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing (not stuffed in the turkey, though)
  • Cranberry spinach salad
  • Gravy
  • Haven't decided if I want to make those crescent roll things or just buy some French bread
  • Appetizers:  deviled eggs and spinach dip
  • Pumpkin pie
All my guests are bringing things, too, so the thought has already crossed my mind to leave plates full of food on my neighbor's doorstep.  Is it possible to donate the rest?

3.  David and I are in a cleaning frenzy with the house and preparing to drywall an upstairs bedroom.  We did more demo on it this past weekend -- taking the ceiling down -- and I have pictures and video of that, but I don't have a way to get them on the computer at the moment.  Will try to get that done this weekend.  But we are working feverishly to have the house spic and span by Thursday.  David rented a steam cleaner (which I unknowingly had a $6 coupon for, grr) for the carpets, and they look much better than before; they were stained from a year and a half of eating, smoking and drinking in the living room... and the stairs were stained when a family friend who shall remain nameless got a bit too drunk one day.  I just don't want the house to smell of cat.

4.  Got a new computer at work, and it's confusing.  It makes me feel old.  I find myself peppering David and my own IT people with questions -- "Where are my databases?  Where did my browser go?  It says I can't log in..." -- and it reminds me of trying to show my mom how to use a cell phone or talking my dad through the process of uploading a picture to a website.  At the time, I was just like oh, silly old people, but now I'm in their group.  The group of people who say things like "I clicked on the internet."

5.  My best friend at work left about a month ago, and a new person started yesterday in his place.  Not much more to say about that, other than I miss working with my friend and I doubt I have anything in common with the new person.  I say that because I don't often feel like I have anything in common with any of my other co-workers, either.  

And I almost forgot:
6.  Due to all the demo upstairs, we had an electrician come to the house on Saturday to take out the old knob and tube wiring in the attic, because -- contrary to everything you've ever heard -- it's a bad idea to walk on knob and tube and cover it with a bunch of insulation.  So the electrician took a look around and pretty much said the house should have failed inspection.  He walked into one of the rooms in the basement and all David heard was, "holy shit!"  Knob and tube was connected to new wiring, the boxes were warm to the touch, etc.  The electrician won't even take out the attic knob and tube -- won't even put his name on the invoice -- unless he fixes the stuff in the basement too.  So there goes another $1500.  (Do you think this would count as a project expense?  David was bragging about redoing that room under budget... and I'm in kind of a shitty mood, so I need someone to "neener neener" at.)


What? No fisticuffs?

My friend Grant was in town last night, so I went to dinner with him and our friend Beth.  To sum up the visit:
Me and Beth, who's drunk

Grant and me.  Photo courtesy of Beth, who's drunk

Meanwhile, the audit at work is finishing up without betraying the historical reputation of leaving political explosives in its wake.  That being said, sitting in on the audit was really exciting. 

Now that it's pretty much over, I can concentrate on Thanksgiving.  Time for a mass email to everyone invited to find out what they're bringing, since everyone insists on bringing something this year (just occurred to me that I cooked almost everything last year... I'll take the hint), and I want to avoid having nine green bean casseroles on the table.  David and I are getting the house ready -- cleaning cobwebs out of the corners, trying to finish drywalling a bedroom, finding out where any unpleasant smells are coming from.  Then on Monday, my dad and I are going to go shopping for food and booze. 

David wants to get the P90X DVD workout program for Christmas.  That couldn't come at a better time; I look pregnant in this dress.


I shouldn't even be surprised anymore.

So, yesterday we had a thunderstorm, complete with hail and several funnel clouds.  I didn't even know it was supposed to rain.  If anything, me not even bothering to check the map when the sky is dark shows my lack of faith in Indiana weather forecasts.

It was about 3 p.m., and I was in someone's office, getting something signed off, getting things ready for the Big Audit, and I noticed the sky was nearly black to the west.  My first thought was actually "fucking Daylight Savings," as it makes absolutely no sense for us to be on New York time when Chicago is RIGHT.  THERE.  but probably about five minutes later, I heard the sirens going off outside, and then one of the "sheriff"-type people got on the PA and demanded we go down to the tornado-safe hallways.  He also said that a tornado has been spotted in the area, which I later learned wasn't true. 

My co-workers and I spent the next hour in the lab hallways, waiting out the tornado warning.  It became reeeeeeally warm in this hallway, and after a while I felt like I was going nuts.  We were all but locked in these hallways by our security/emergency team, and I didn't want to get in trouble, but... I wanted to see the storm, for one thing, and I couldn't sit in all that body heat anymore.  So I crept around a turn in the hallway and saw 3-4 people checking out the storm from a side door.  Relief!

By the time the storm was over, we'd had one funnel cloud near the mall (five minutes from my house), one about ten minutes northwest of my work building, and an unofficial (i.e., the National Weather Service hasn't confirmed it on its little "funnel cloud/tornado interactive map" thingie) one near an intersection no more than two minutes from my work building. 

I got to this side door at a good time to see some action. 

Shortly after I took this picture, the hail started, and the sideways rain was so dense I couldn't see the trees (also pictured) on the other side of the parking lot.

Driving home after work, I saw a lot of minor damage like this.

And minor flooding like this.  If I were still driving my low-to-the-ground coupe, this might have been a little more serious, though.

And you know what, the last time we got audited, I think we were under a tornado watch.

EDIT:  For anyone who came here looking for a better post, check out one of my kittens playing with string:


I believe I've reached "Disgusting"

Someone needs to make up just one word for the particular type of fatigue that occurs after Staying Up Too Late And Drinking Too Much™.  Most people just say "hungover," but to me that implies headache and nausea as well.  I don't have headache or nausea, but I have the glazed eyes, the "ughhghghghh" every time I get out of my chair, the sensation that I am 70 pounds overweight (either because of the gallons of vodka, the 1700 mg of sodium that was in the entire pizza, or the 15 hours I spent playing SWTOR), and the suspicion that I could probably fall asleep within ten seconds if I just rest my chin on my hand.

But I need to be in good shape tomorrow -- big day at work.  Of course, I'll still be playing a lot of SWTOR, just without all the booze.  Less booze means running into fewer walls in the game.  And in real life.


And I thought I was already a nerd.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night playing Star Wars: The Old Republic as a weekend beta tester.  As I've mentioned before, SWTOR is pretty much like World of Warcraft, but with better storylines and Star Wars stuff.

I was a bit intimidated at first -- very overwhelmed with the controls, buttons, whatever -- but I kept hearing Cartman's voice from the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft," where he says, "Go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you."

All the pressure came from the fact that David has been so deliriously excited for this game to come out.  He convinced me to play, and we set up a guild with our friends and family members.  I just wanted to be awesome right from the start.  A natural.  Like someone who could just swoop in having never played an MMO RPG in her life and conquer everything.  (Okay.  I didn't have a better analogy, so I just said exactly what I was trying to do.)

And I was awkward.  I was frustrated.  I kept running into walls and getting my directions mixed up.  David would tell me to look at my map and see what I needed to do; I looked at my map and calmly asked, "WHAT THE FUCK AM I LOOKING FOR.  JESUS FUCKING CHRIST."

After only about an hour, I took a break and made us some enchiladas.  I thought that watching last night's episode of Kitchen Nightmares (which documents the trials, tribulations, and idiocy of the family that runs the Los Angeles insane asylum restaurant The Burger Kitchen) would help soothe my nerves and relieve some of the pressure I felt I was under, but now that I see that logic in the light of day, I wonder what the fuck I was smoking to think that Kitchen Nightmares could do anything less than make someone develop epilepsy.  Not one person in that family was likable.  The mother, who yawns and feigns sleep with an obnoxious look on her face and doesn't listen to anyone.  The father, who has conspiracy theories and hovers around the kitchen like a fly on a horse's ass and doesn't listen to anyone.  The son, whose whiny voice leads everyone to believe he's a "victim" when he's really just a doormat with ugly hipster hats who's also too stuck up to listen to anyone.  And the son's girlfriend:  Obnoxious, ugly hats, doesn't listen to anyone, and obviously on meth.

The American version of that show is such crap -- family members scream at each other until one of them does a complete 180 and starts crying, and then Chef Ramsay gives them a new menu on a silver platter and leaves.  But I digress.

I came back to the game with a full tummy of enchiladas and the knowledge that nothing is more annoying and frustrating than shitty people.  And I got more agile, I got used to some concepts, and I started taking actions on certain things where David responded with "atta girl... I didn't even have to tell you!"

This morning I woke up -- NOT sore from my massage, yay! -- excited to play the game again and eventually become all fat and zitty like the South Park characters on a mission.


Is being surrounded by idiots entertaining or frustrating?

First off, I'd like to wish David a happy Veteran's Day, thank him for his service, and express my gratitude for the fact that he came home safely.  Well, he's got a bit of a bad shoulder.  And a potty mouth.  But still.

David, relaxing at home in "his" king chair.  Buy a veteran a drink today!
Meanwhile, I have had one of the longest weeks at work I've ever had.  I never planned to write much about work on here because I don't want to get dooced, but it's tempting.  To top it off, we're getting our annual audit next week.  And even though audits are just a part of the industry, they still make me really nervous.  Just the connotation of the word "audit"... like when I was eighteen and filling out my very first 1040EZ, I have memories of my mom hovering over my shoulder, at first warning me, and then demonstrating how easily she could fly off the handle:  "Be careful how you fill those out, and save all your receipts.  You don't want to have any regrets if you get audited, because that's serious stuff.  Wait, what are you doing?  Don't write it in like that!!  WHAT IF YOU GET AUDITED?!"  Cue me looking around in fear, expecting to see a silhouette of an auditor in a Fedora and a suit creeping around outside, waiting to audit me and ruin my life.

I even went to an internal auditing course earlier this year.  I passed the exam, but really all I did was frighten myself.

Anyway, so I've been pretty tense at work, resulting in headaches every day.  I then realized that I'd had tension headaches every day for a long time, so I finally broke down and got a massage.  First time I've ever had a male massage therapist (though he calls himself a "physical therapist," I can't really bring myself to say that I'm in physical therapy, because I feel like I'd need a prosthetic leg or something to get that distinction), and yes, it's awkward.  It's hard not to think about, especially when he's talking about the knots I have...in my pectorals. 

One thing that was cool, though:  when he started out (and most massages I've gotten start out similar to this), he just circled around the table I was on, firmly pressing on each "area" of my body.  My feet, shoulders, etc.  When he was on my legs, he pressed down just above my knee, and as he continued to work, he said, "So how old were you when you threw your back out?"

I was 19, at a Rush concert.  I hadn't told him that I was rocking out to "Working Man," felt a hollow pop, couldn't move the next day, and pretty much spent the rest of that summer in a chiropractor's office.  That chiropractor was hot, though.  Looked like Mr. Clean.  Anyway, but I guess my hamstring still gives it away, eight years later.

He worked on areas that, once loosened up, will take care of my headaches.  Some moves didn't surprise me... he did my neck, my shoulders, and upper back.  But he also did my pecs (Dad, if you're reading this, please don't shoot him), and he stuck his fingers in my eyes, which is ultimately what got rid of my headache.  I have never heard of this.  Has anyone heard of this?  How does this work?!  It was very intense, especially the eye part, and several times during my 60 minute massage, I had to breathe through the more painful parts.  When he was done, he asked how I felt, and I told him that my entire upper body felt like I'd just run a mile or done a hundred push ups.

So that was on Monday.  Tuesday, I pretty much felt like I was recovering from surgery.  I was miserable.  He'd told me to hydrate, and I was like, "Mmmhmm, okay, yessir," and then I was all, "oooh look, vodka," and I didn't use any ice packs like he'd instructed, so I basically did it to myself.  And then I had a shit day at work.  I need to invest stock in Pfizer.  I've had so much freaking ibuprofen over these headaches/neck aches that I'm surprised my liver hasn't gone on strike.

Anyway, is anyone reading this a male massage therapist?  It was really a different experience for me.  I mean, I know it's just your job and everything, but seeing ladies in the buff... do you ever check them out?  I couldn't help but wonder that while this guy was working on muscles just below my collarbone.  One person I mentioned this to said, "Well, male doctors see naked women all the time, and they don't check you out because they're just doing their job.  It's the same thing."  I dunno... male doctors don't work on women's bodies in a sensual way in order for them to feel pampered.  Male doctors do, however:  apply gauze, weave stitches, test reflexes, maybe perform surgeries, etc.  And they have to literally instruct people to say "ahhhhh."  Massage therapists just do whatever they do, and people say "ahhhhh" pretty much nonstop for an hour.  (Although in my case, the massage therapist was beating the living crap out of me, so I was not "ahhhhh"ing.  In fact, at one point, I kept telling him to go fuck off.  He didn't mind.) 

Wish me luck for my appointment today.  Actually, wish me luck for tomorrow.  I hope I feel better than I did on Tuesday.

In other news, I got a weekend beta invite for SWTOR!!  I downloaded it last night, so after my massage, I'll be testing out on whatever Sith class isn't as busy.  David's guessing that'll be the classes that don't use lightsabers.  So, so exciting, even though David hasn't gotten my new gaming computer yet, so I'm still on my bitty laptop while he's on his monstrous new gaming computer with eleventy-thousand-billion GB or whatever.  (I don't know anything about computers.  All I know is that there's a blue light in the tower fan thingie, so his tower glows blue, and he's got different color lightbulbs for it as well.  It's super pretty.)  I'll just play on a low graphics setting until I get my new PC. 

David and I aren't going to get anything done this weekend, I think.  Not counting SWTOR stuff.  Which sucks because Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and we're hosting.