Monday, June 29, 2009

Shut Up And Eat

So, my daughter is having a birthday today...14 years old.  We have a pretty mellow celebration planned--the house will be full of teenage girls having an all-day movie marathon, and I invited a few of my friends over for dinner, just so I don't lose my mind by being the only grown-up in the house.
The invitation to my friends went just like this:  "Hey, I have all this food for Punky's party, come over if you wanna..."
Clearly, very formal.
I invited one of my buddies, and listened while they conferred with their mate about what, if anything, might prevent them from hanging out, and there was nothing, so, game on.
Then, I heard the mate begin quizzing my friend as to what is on the menu, so I told her what was on the menu--your basic Kid Party Fare--sloppy joes and chips.  Lots and lots of them.  And potato salad...perhaps some fruit or something.  Carrot sticks if I'm feeling ambitious.  No big whoop.
THEN, I heard the mate quizzing as to exactly how I make my sloppy joes. 
As in, if they're not made a certain way, she's not gonna eat them.
And also, mate doesn't eat anyone's potato salad but her own.
Here's my thing....I love food.  I f*cking love it.  Not kidding.  If I wasn't generally manic in my activity level, I'd probably weigh a billion pounds.  Short of really great sex, I think food is the best thing, EVER.  I love cooking, and I love eating, and at least once a week, I eat something so incredibly delicious that I have a little foodgasm and make yummy noises.
I love food.  I love trying new things and take an awful lot of pleasure in discovering what amazing flavor combinations people come up with.
Also, I grew up in a family with six children, that was not well off, and a mother who NEVER, EVER failed to put something tasty on the table, even when all she had to work with was a can of somethin', a box of somethin', and 6 noodles.  Once, when my daughters were very little, and their father and I were struggling to make ends meet, she babysat for me for a whole day while I worked.  I apologized for the strikingly bare cupboards, as I was planning a trip to the grocery store that evening.  I returned home to a very generous meal that she had literally pulled out of thin air--she's good like that, my mother...
The other thing about food?  I'm just damn glad I have any, because, I am HUNGRY, people!  Hungry--sometimes in the literal sense, and always, always, in the figurative/metaphorical sense.  I want it ALL, all the time.  What do you have?  Yes, please, I WOULD like to try that, and THANK YOU very much for sharing!  Also, since we are all friends, here, I will tell you that as I am typing this, I am distractingly pre-occupied with the homemade apple-cinnamon oatmeal that I brought with me and haven't had time to warm up yet because I have been so busy working.  If you maintain the order, Work, then Eat, your food will always, always taste good, even if it's just stupid oatmeal, because you earned it.
But anyway...
How do I make sloppy joes....I cannot believe she was SERIOUS!  I have yet to meet a carnivore who gave a damn one way or the other--it's a freaking hamburger meat sandwich!  Only a complete idiot could fuck up a sloppy joe--I have never had a bad one, EVER, and I'm in my forties!  And potato salad?  That's another food teetering on the edge of automatic--how bad could anybody's potato salad possibly be?
Never mind the fact that I invited this person into MY home, my sanctuary, where only a select group gets to go, to share in MY food. 
Unbelievable and un-invited.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Epic Fail

I was driving my daughter to a friend's house on Thursday, and one of the radio stations was playing Thriller. She very innocently asked me if that song had a video. I smiled and tried to explain how it had a very famous and very expensive music video that was almost 20 minutes long, and how all of Michael Jackson videos, back in the day, were huge media events.

"Why did he make a 20-minute video?" she asked.

"Because he could."

It was as if Michael Jackson was constantly asking, "Why can't I?" And most of the time, we shrugged and said, "I dunno..." so he went on and did whatever ticked through his brain--no matter how glorious, no matter how weird, no matter how fantastic or seemingly awful. He did what he did in life because he could. He operated outside of many (some would say "most") confines of society, and that obliviousness allowed for the creation of some of the greatest art of our time. That same question, "Why can't I?" was used to answer for a lot of other things with which many of us we were far less comfortable.

Over the course of the coming weeks and months, we are all going to learn a lot about Michael Jackson. We will hear the details of how a young boy with an extraordinary gift made an excruciatingly difficult journey, surrounded by a lot really unsavory characters and a lot of people who dearly loved him and worried about him, but could never really get near him.

Imagine being 11 years old and being a breadwinner for your household, and we're not talking about "bread" in the sense of Bread and Water, we're talking about serious money, serious success--enough to take you and your entire family, and all kinds of other hangers-on, out of poverty and into a life they could have only dreamed of before you came along. Imagine THAT being your implied "job"--help the family, help the record company, help so-and-so, because somebody asked you to. Even the biggest human heart is still only human. While he was a seemingly bottomless well of talent and giving, he was still just a person. Forty years of intense pressure. If you think about it, it is almost surprising that he didn't die even younger. Age 50 is a testament to sheer force of will. Incredible.

I refer to the death of Michael Jackson as a culmination of an American tragedy because of all of the things you and I could take for granted as kids growing up in this country. Society dictates that Kids are Kids, and kids should be celebrated in a sense, and also that children are a great responsibility. What kind of person are you, the parent, unleashing onto society? Is this person going to be a "good" person, or are they going to do harm? Is there a balance between celebrating their childlike enjoyment and teaching them the hard lessons?

Those of us who are "balanced", with parents that put us in music classes but also insist that we get good grades and stay out of trouble, for example, end up being doctors, lawyers, etc. But even those who end up putting in the focus required to make art for a living don't have a life nearly as off-kilter as that of Michael Jackson. It was a part of the reason why his talent became so incredible. It was also the reason why, as a human being, he had hardly any idea of how to function. To measure him against any society norms is impossible. Whether he was doing amazing things or "weird" or "bad" things--I don't think he knew the difference.

It's tough right now, and we're feeling a lot of things--sadness, to the joy of being able to share what Michael Jackson offered artistically, classic White People Guilt. Frankly, I think most of us failed this man--We weren't nearly as unconditional in receiving as he was in giving. Some of us are admitting to it, and some of us are not. The good and the bad characters will reveal themselves in the coming months--I just hope that the whole story is finally told.


I am definitely going to need some time to digest this.  I feel that it is the culmination of an American tragedy. 
I would like to think that we've already heard all of the worst things that people are going say about Michael Jackson, but I know better.  If you are in the Twin Cities and need some MJ love, I recommend KMOJ.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I want to know, right now, WHY ISN'T IT FRIDAY?  I'm ready to go into seclusion for a couple of days and this whole "Showing up for work" thing is a real pain in the ass.
I woke up this morning thinking, "well, at least it's Friday..."
But, it isn't.
I threw on clothes with casual day in mind--almost put on jeans, and everything.
Luckily, it's been too warm for jeans because IT ISN'T FRIDAY YOU MORON!!!
When I got to work, I had an email from a co-worker, saying that they needed a particular project done "by tomorrow" and I wondered what they were doing on Saturday that would require me to have this particular project completed.
Never mind.
I'm not sure if I should blame the heat or the stress or the lack of sleep, but I suppose the combination of the three is causing the classic symptoms of "White girl loses her mind", including, but not limited to: driving home from work yesterday while sobbing, chain smoking, and continuously asking the non-existent passenger in the car why everything SUCKS so bad right now, why nobody gives a shit and if I just disappeared, would anyone care?  The afternoon culminated in further madness, with me calling my ex-husband (while still sobbing, but not driving) and apologizing for being such an awful person, and clearly, I'm an awful person, which is why nobody gives a shit, but who am I to ask people to give a shit, when I don't care one iota about them? 
See where my mind goes?  Some days, I wish i had an IQ of 70--things would be so much simpler. 
Ex husband very kindly disagreed with the "awful person" assessment.
I felt better.
But it still isn't Friday.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Was Just Looking For An Excuse

To go to the Cabooze...and here it is!

I Should Have Known Better Than To Worry

This morning, I agonized over clothes.  Its was pushing 80 degrees at 7AM when I was building the day's outfit, and I threw on some capri's and a sleeveless top that I had never worn before, and never even tried on.
I stopped in the mirror because I was actually surprised at how awesome the top looked (and remind me to go back and get one in every color because they were eight bucks at Target and when you find something that looks that good, that's that cheap, you want one in every color).  
However...I was bummed.  The shirt looked great, but also, it was borderline tank-top and I didn't want to be called out on clothes at the office, so, after much hemming and hawing, changed into something with short sleeves.
When I got to work, I went straight to the coffee trough, and right there in our previously dignified third floor refreshment center was a classic "robust" chick in a tube top.
Now...I knew I hadn't had enough coffee yet, but was pretty sure I hadn't stepped into some small-town street dance alternate reality instead of driving to work.  I half expected this chick to hoist a gigantic beer mug into the air, let out a whoop and flash the stage.
Needless to say, I'll be wearing the great looking top tomorrow--the only question is, which color?

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Birthday Project

Today is my birthday, and I woke up feeling pathetic.  This was annoying.  My reality is that this is the lamest birthday in all of the history of my birthdays, which I could probably handle if it was my 27th birthday instead of my Not 27th Birthday.  I got stuck working, it's going to be a billion degrees outside today, and the AC is non-functional in my house, which means that it will be a billion plus 6 degrees in the apartment, the insurance company denied my appeal and I'm going to have to pull three thousand dollars out of my ass to pay medical bills, and I get the feeling I'll be going to go home to a messy house and kids who will wonder why I'm in such a pissy mood, and those same children will not only do nothing for me for my birthday, but will, in fact, ask me to do some sh*t for THEM, and nothing special will transpire for me all day--I'll make my own dinner, there will be no gifts of any kind, no lottery winnings, etc.
Of course...this pathetic-ness is sponsored by the greeting card industry.  Of course you're supposed to have an amazing, special day, with everyone fawning over and doing nice things for you and making you feel like your being born was the Hap-Hap-Happiest thing to ever happen in the history of time.  Of course you are!  The greeting card industry is counting on your sheer amazingness and vast network of loved ones to bring them out of the economic downturn.  It HAS to be a perfect day!
As I was driving to work, I thought it would be helpful if someone could tell me a story about someone who has it way worse than me, so I could feel lucky.  I know that there are many people facing incredibly difficult situations, far, far worse than mine.  Yeah, I got socked with a $3000 medical bill, but there are a lot of people with bigger medical bills than that.  (Please allow me to repeat--DON'T GET SICK, AMERICA!  I mean, I have insurance, and still got stuck paying 3K.  It is TOUGH out there...).  I know that there are people who don't have a freezer full of ice and no means of relief from a billion degree day, and they live in much hotter places than Minneapolis.  There are people who long to have children and can't, or people who have lost children, who would love to be ABLE to pick up after their kid.  And plenty of people are a lot older than me, and there are plenty of people my age who are in poor health and can't even enjoy being 43.
Those are the stories I wanted to hear today, because I believe that on a scale of pathetic-ness, my pathetic-ness is, well, pathetic.  Lots of people have it way worse, and probably a lot of them aren't nearly as whiny as me.
What I decided to do instead of searching "Really Unfortunate and Sad Tales of Woe" on the internet, was to start listing things that are AWESOME about my life right now.  I want to see how long a list I can make, and here is the dealio--I'll just go until I feel like stopping.  How much stuff can I cram in?  Who knows?  But even a very short list of AWESOME is better than a long list of Lame.  And I'm sure my day won't end up being as lame as it felt this morning... no particular are some things that are AWESOME.
  • My children are healthy, intelligent, challenging, and may have quite literally saved my life, just by being born.  They give me focus and purpose, pride and absolute amazement, every single day.  And they're gorgeous.
  • I have a car that is not making any weird noises, runs great, doesn't have any ominous dashboard lights currently lit, has room for me and everybody who wants or needs a ride somewhere, has a killer stereo, and the AC works like a dynamo.
  • I have the ability to honor all of the agreements that I make, including paying all of my bills.
  • I have the ability to find amusement in the fact that one of my co-workers wrote a letter to a police department, accidentally addressed it "(blank) County Lawn Enforcement" and MAILED IT THAT WAY, alone with many, many other delightful and harmless boo-boo's that happen at the hands of myself and others, every day.  Even when they are damned embarrassing...
  • I have the ability to write and read, which will bring me infinite joy and satisfaction for the rest of my life. 
  • I have an amazing group of friends, who do all kinds of nice things for me all the time, for no other reason than because they want to.
  • I am free from crippling mental or physical ailment.
  • I can hear the birds singing!
  • The world is FULL of amazing, creative, witty and intelligent souls who make stuff!
  • I work in a beautiful, air conditioned building.
  • There is always a good story to tell.
  • We have the ability to instantly communicate with each other.
  • I can make weird, random lists and call it "writing".
  • Somebody invented Pandora.
  • I have a closet stuffed full of great clothes that are all clean and fit me.
  • Coffee is readily available.
  • I mentally sing the alphabet song while filing.
  • Ever since I moved to Minneapolis, I have been losing weight.
  • Nick Cobbing's ice pictures actually make me forget it is hot outside.
  • Dancing!
  • I'm a lot more than what people think I am, and surprising them is not only very satisfying, but also wickedly fun.
  • Playing Monkey-Ball on Game Cube with Punky. (yes, we still have a Game Cube!)
  • I don't have to wear thick glasses or contacts any more.
  • Everything in life comes in heaps and gobs.
  • Every time I date stamp something today, I am reminded that it is my birthday, bitches!
  • It's perfectly acceptable for me to pretend I don't have grey hair and wipe it out with cool hair colors--it's even acceptable for me to pretend any one of those cool colors is my "real" hair color, which I haven't actually seen in years.
  • Most of the time, I get what I want.
  • I have the ability to see past what people say, and get to what they actually mean.
  • I still get hungry.
  • I have access to lots of things that more than satisfy my hunger.
  • There are people out there who's observations of the world completely humble me.
  • Cute Boys.  Cute boys who stare at you across a room full of people.  Cute boys who keep an eye on you and pretend like they're not.  Sneaky.
  • Sunshine.  Sunglasses.
  • I can get on the internet from my phone.  (one of those things I will never take for granted...)
  • Diet Peach Iced Tea is also readily available.
  • People who know things about me that I don't want the whole world to know, and they don't judge.
  • Those little works of art called "shoes".
  • Somebody is making music somewhere, right now.
  • Someone is making pizza somewhere, right now.
  • There is little or nothing that ever gets thrown my way that I can't handle.
  • I am inspired, and also inspiring.
  • Food!  Glorious Food!  Starting with the tequila-lime chicken I had for lunch, and the chocolate chip cookie that I had for dessert.
  • I spend so little money on gambling that when somebody gave me scratch tickets for my birthday, after I scratched them, I had to ask if I won anything.
  • I have a  much better perspective about what I want today than I have at any other time in my life.
  • I have friends I can call when I'm pissed, sad, mopey, weepy, or feeling generally bad.
  • My friends know that they can call me for the same reasons.
  • I have the ability to change my mind about more than just clothes and food.  I can actually change my brain, and turn a lame day into a great day.
  • As long as this list is, it is just the tip of the ice berg

Friday, June 19, 2009

Definition of Madness

Some people like to have things be the same, feel the same, and stay the same because it brings them comfort.  I say, that's not "comfort", that's denial.  Like, for example, staying with the same partner who treats you like shit, for no other reason that you've been together for a long time, and being alone scares you.  That's not comfort.  (And, for the record, I'm not talking about myself there...).
You may have noticed, I'm not one of those people.  I find no comfort in "same as it ever was", I only take satisfaction in "this is so much BETTER than that other thing!"  Onward and Upward.
This last year has taught me an awful lot, but the greatest lesson was quite unexpected.  Some things, I didn't think I needed help with--compared to most people, I have a rather ridiculously high level of self-confidence.  I also have a fairly low level of patience.  Taking those factors into consideration, I tend to be an "action" person, and, if you had to come up with a "motto" for me, it would sound something like, "Of course I can, don't be stupid..."
Because of the "action" person thing, I almost always get what I want.  I don't actually want a lot of things, because I'm generally very happy with whatever I have at any given moment, but on those occasions when I want something, and really want it?  I'll move my considerable energy in that direction, and it usually ends up paying off. 
Of course I can, don't be stupid...It's easy, something.
But 2009 has been weird.  Much of this year so far has been spent banging my head against a wall, trying to topple a mountain with a rock hammer (which, actually, was never a problem before), getting NOTHING but frustration and spending a LOT of time wondering what the hell was wrong with me.  I's supposed to be easy!  Right?  Soooo...why the 10,000 rejections and the weird medical conditions (and the $3000 medical bill that came with it)?  Seriously...what the fuck?  I, Shelly Payne, never get sick, and, I just don't have these problems.  Period.  Except...I do.  
Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work," referring, of course, to his efforts to invent the light bulb.  The light bulb ended up being a very big deal, so, taking that into consideration, I have to believe that there is some kind of very big deal on the horizon in my life.  Or, at least that is how I choose to look at it.
He also said, "There are no rules, here--we're trying to accomplish something."  And that has also been true for me, pretty much my entire life.  I do mostly what I want--don't worry about "rules", and, as a result, I accomplish a lot.  Only 2009, with all of it's incredible frustration, begs the question: "So, what, exactly, is it that you are trying to accomplish?"  I have to ask, because, I've been whacking away at the same "problems" for a while now, and it doesn't seem like this is supposed to be where I am directing my energy.  Nothing is happening.  Not the desired result.  No change of any kind.  It's been so weird.  "Crazy-making," is what I call it, and I catch myself doing some really bizarro stuff, like, the first actions didn't work, so, what better to do than compulsively repeat them?  Yes!  Of course!  It makes perfect sense!
Clearly, that's just nuts.
And I feel like I've been losing my marbles for the last several months.  So, what happened in order to make me finally pull the reins on myself?  The weirdest friends threatened to find me a "suitable man".
Now...I don't happen to be actively looking for a man, and I haven't been dating, nor have I been complaining about the lack of dates or anything like that.  Ultimately, my friends were just giving me crap, but for some reason, the idea of going on some lame date with some dude that my well-meaning friends picked out was the worst possible thing I could imagine.  Dear God, NO!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
My friends have been there through a lot of stupid 'man' stuff in my life, and, a lot of other, random, "oh my gawd, this is soooo stupid" stuff in my life, as well...some more than others.  Lame Jobs A, B, C, and D, Cheating Guy X, Drunken Idiot Y, Gambling Guy, Hot Sexy Guy Who Thought He Had No Bad Habits And Therefore Harshly Judged All Of Mine, and of course, Guy Who, Oh Hell There Was So Much Stuff I Don't Even Know Where To Start, just to name a get the picture.  They've been there, my friends.  They've heard all the stories.  And, all of those stories are true.  I really, really did put a lot of effort into a lot of things that ended up being bad for me, or, if not bad, just not good. 
Oh, these things WERE what I wanted, and I went out and got them--with much enthusiasm and vigor!  And, I liked them!  And worked very hard to make them fulfilling situations.  Jobs, friendships, boyfriends, husbands, etc.  But ultimately, they left me unsatisfied, and spinning my wheels.  It wasn't as if they were "bad" or that I walked away mad, thinking they didn't deserve me, or anything like that.  It was just that they did nothing to feed my soul.  (OK, a couple of them actually tried to EAT my soul, but, that's a whole other thing, which I might talk about later.  Maybe.)  It was like eating a lot of fast food....McJob, McBoyfriend...blah, blah, blah.  Helps stave off the hunger, but ultimately, you can do better.  Worse, was that I was so convinced of my ultimate power that I thought that I could make McJob or McBoyfriend something substantial, drag them, kicking and screaming, into some kind of enlightenment and move us both in the direction of our AMAZING potential!
...That's what you get for having "healthy" self-confidence.  (Sounds so much better than the reality that I'm just  totally cocky.)
Let me just say right now, that thanks to my friends questioning my taste (!!!), I'm currently wrapping my head around the possibility that I don't have the skill to find those things--you know the ones?  The AMAZING guy, practically perfect for me, who, against all odds, actually likes me back?  (I trust that he does exist...somewhere...) Or the work that's so much fun it's almost criminal that they pay you all that crazy money, just for hanging out?  I have pictures of these things in my head, and it FEELS like I know them, and up until now, I was under the impression that they could be ANY of the vast number of situations presented to me.  I credit everyone and every situation with unlimited potential, and I SCOFF at my friends for implying that any of those things were in any way beneath me!
But...some people just aren't as ambitious as me.  They don't look at things the same way I do, aren't excited about the same things, and maybe they don't want to succeed like crazy or be retardedly happy all the time, like I do.  Problem is, sometimes, those people are my boss.  Sometimes, they're my date.  Doesn't make them bad people, just means that I shouldn't rely on them to run, when they'd really rather just lay back and do as little as possible.  "Unfortunate" by my standards, but not by most people's.
My friend's idle threats to fix me up made me wonder what the hell kind of man material they would come up with, for surely they would eliminate all of the very interesting potential disasters that I love so dear, right out of the gate, mostly so they don't have to pick my ass up off the pavement somewhere down the road.  I say, where's the fun in that?  So what if it might be a disaster?  Might be fantastic, too--you never know. 
At the same time, I know exactly where they are coming from, and they're not wrong.  For them, I promise I'm going to stop doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different boyfriend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Funny Quote of the Day

"Iran is proving once again why it may be a while before it gets a chance to host the Summer Olympics."
Courtesy of our friends at The Toilet Paper

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Things I Know For Sure

  • I don't like the word "meeting". I was walking in to the office today when ran into one of my co-workers in the hall. I greeted her, and she responded by saying the word "meeting". My immediate (mental) response was "Meeting? What meeting? Why do we have so many f*cking meetings?" Turns out I didn't have a meeting, she was just telling me that she was on her way to a meeting. As many meetings as I have, she has more. Very, very few truly productive meetings ever take place. I am waiting for the day when Corporate America finally realizes this and just lets people do their work....which we currently don't have time to finish because we're trapped in meetings all day.
  • The sum-sum-summertime has me all screwed up. Apparently I'm really, really good at making sure that everybody else in the household is where they need to be, on time. When they don't need to be anywhere, because they have no school, I lay in bed way too long in the morning, hit the snooze a dozen times, and finally get up at the last possible second that would allow me enough time to get ready and leave. And the "get ready" portion of the program varies depending on how long I've waited to get up: Fix my hair? Or, just put some goop in it and joosh it around a little? Eat something? Or, tell myself I'll pick up a breakfast sandwich somewhere? Iron that shirt? Or, wonder if I can get away with it? Pack a lunch? Or, hope that there are quesadillas on the menu at the cafeteria? Make coffee? Or, .....well, I think we covered that yesterday. Of course, each time I hit the snooze, one of the "get ready" items falls by the wayside. By the end of the summer, people at the office are going to start assuming that Wrinkled, Rumpled and Bleary-Eyed is my latest fashion statement. Having said all of that, I feel much better having caught this behavior early on. I'm not known for my stringent self-discipline, but now would be a good time to work on that...either that, or put my teenagers back in daycare, so they have to be somewhere in the morning, too.
  • Filing is the dumbest thing, ever, in the history of mankind. And I'm not talking about putting something somewhere where you can find it, because you actually USE it, I'm talking about paper that you don't need, but are required to keep, just in case you have to cover your ass sometime in the future. I'm not a big fan of saving ANYTHING for a "just in case I need it" purpose. Ah, but I work for an insurance company. We save copies of everything. Kind of funny actually, because everytime I call MY insurance company regarding a particular piece of paper, they usually claim they don't have it, but I know that's not true--trust me, they made six copies of it the minute it arrived. More likely, somebody thought it should be filed, didn't feel like filing it, and it's sitting in a box somewhere...just like MY filing. Because filing is dumb. Dumbest thing, ever.
  • The universe has an incredible sense of humor, as evidenced by the fact that I have John Mayer's "No Such Thing" stuck in my head. And I don't like filing. Or being on time. Or going to meetings.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

There's No Coffee! Send The Coast Guard!

I know that there are plenty of people in the world who get up every day, maybe have a little green tea, or other, non-offensive, non-caffeinated beverage, and they appear to operate at normal levels and are probably good people.

I am not one of those people. Oh, I can go a few hours in the morning, and I probably won't kill anybody, but after a while, the fact that I don't feel like myself will lead me to be, uh, not myself.

So up late, just enough time to bathe and leave. No coffee. I stopped at a store on the way into work, but didn't fill my travel mug because I figured that I was only a couple of minutes away from The Land of Flowing Caribou, and I would be just fine until I got to the office.

Then, when I got to the office, I walked straight up to the Caffeine Trough on our floor, only to find that the caffeinated was all out, so, someone would have to make some more.

I made more.

Before it was even close to done brewing, I grabbed a half-cup, just to stave off the twitching, and ran back to my desk with every intention of returning within 10 minutes for a refill.

I returned a half hour later to discover a major malfunction--no caffeine, because all the "good" coffee was already all gone (!!!!) and when someone tried to brew another pot, all of a sudden, the coffee pot stopped working! Meanwhile, the decaf ("bad" coffee) pot was over-flowing all over the place, for reasons unknown. And the flavored coffee, which not too many people like, but hey, it's caffeine in a pinch, was all gone, because nobody wanted to wait around for the building facility people to fix the disaster that could one day come to be known as the June Massacre.

Which brings us to 9:30 on a Wednesday morning, in which I have had only a half-cup of caffeine. I'm surprised I can actually type.

Off in search of provisions...send help...

***And as most of you may have noticed, it is actually Tuesday, not Wednesday, so that should give you some idea of where my head is at...

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Knew This Was Going To Happen

Recently, I was treated for a serious staph infection, and for the uninitiated, if left untreated, staph infections can lead to all sorts of fun.  OK, NOT fun, but, what am I if not facetious?
Sepsis!  Yay Sepsis!
Two weeks of very strong oral antibiotics and one IV cocktail, also very strong, killed EVERYTHING. 
Good, right?  Everything bad in my body was killed. 
Alas, and, I knew this was going to happen, everything GOOD was also killed in the fray.  All the little micro-organisms that say, "Yes, you can eat that/wear that/spray yourself with that/rub that all over yourself!  No problem!  We got this!  We eat that stuff for lunch!  Yay Buffet!" now lay dead on the battlefield.  Without those, my body is acting like it is allergic to everything.
I must tell you that my first inclination was to move to a mountaintop and live the life of a hermit, just bathing in the river and using none of the fine, fine products that our chemical industry has produced in the last 50 years, stay up there for a couple of months until I'm good and funky again, then return to the world of Better Living Through Science.  Yep, just me and a stack of notebooks and pens.
Sadly, I have a job, and my children are not big fans of chopping firewood, so, we stay in the big city, where the shower, antihistamines and pro-biotics are located.  And I better get normal again soon, or I'm going to freak out.  By the way?  Freaking out ALSO causes an allergic reaction!  Oh, the irony...someone like me, brain running a million miles an hour all the time, who basically CAN'T chill out without some kind of chemical intervention, gets told to "go home and relax".  Sure...I'll get right on that.

Oh Please

This morning, I walked into the large office building right behind a woman who, even though she is perfectly able-bodied, pushed the handicap button and waited for the door to swing open, rather than just pulling the handle and opening the door.
She then proceeded to take the elevator to the 2nd floor.
The fact that I work at the same company as someone who is this staggeringly lazy makes me a bit ill.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What Are We Here For, If Not For Self-Indulgent Crap?

Yes....there is a Shelly Payne Twitter.  And you can expect really important updates about really important stuff like, "Wow, I just love this song" or, "Long line at Target" or, "The answer is Three.  Three shakers full of martini's is all I can do before shit gets ugly".
True masochists may follow (and I'm assuming you are on your f*cking knees and have lost every ounce of self-respect by now, since you're still hanging around...) right here.

Doctors, They Love Me

Well....we're SURE they love my money, anyway.
I just got a call from a woman with a very, very thick Eastern European accent (ala Boris and Natasha) who declared "Doktor says 'Come In'...".
And she sounds too scary to ignore.
Don't worry, it's nothing serious.  In fact, I called the doctor for the sole purpose of having someone from the doctor's office re-assure me by returning my call with something like, "Oh, it's NOTHING!  No need to come in!  Have a great weekend!".
Silly me, I forgot.  It's my INSURANCE COMPANY that says "Don't go to doctors!"  Doctors, they just looooooove me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

OK, That Works...

When I saw that The Pretenders were slated to play at the zoo, my first thought was..."Whaaaa?"

OK, I actually had a couple of more thoughts, but they all sort of circled around the "whaaa?" thing.

I don't know about you guys, but when I think of this band, I don't necessarily think of quiet summer evenings, seated in an amphitheatre. Or a 10:30 curfew.

So, I'm kinda glad this is moving...and to my friend Mellie Mel, don't worry, you will see them before you die. :-)

The Minnesota Zoo pisses off Chrissie Hynde
By Andrea Swensson in
Upcoming Shows
Wednesday, Jun. 10 2009 @ 2:57PM

The Pretenders concert, which is also slated to feature openers Cat Power and Juliette Lewis, is being moved to another venue after frontwoman Chrissie Hynde wrote a critical letter to zoo officials. Hynde was upset over the way the zoo handles its Family Farm exhibit.

"How can a zoo invite children to touch and play with and express joy over animals for their uniqueness, only to turn around and sell those very animals to slaughter?" Hynde wrote in a letter to zoo director Lee Ehmke. The zoo says that they have always been very open about the process that they follow in the exhibit, which includes graphics portraying the processing of animals. "Goats, sheep, calves and pigs from the exhibit are sold at livestock auctions at the end of each summer season, just as they would be on a regular farm," the Star Tribune writes.

The band was originally slated to play the zoo's Weesner Amphitheater on August 13. According to the Star Tribune, concert promoter Sue McLean is searching for an alternative venue, possibly the Orpheum Theatre.

McLean says that Hynde's disapproval of the zoo's practices is only one aspect of their decision to move the show. Other reasons for the shift included "high ticket demand, the size of the show -- two warm-up acts are also on the ticket -- and the zoo's 10:30 p.m. curfew."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grand Scope

We all know how horoscopes are generally, uh....general.  Right?
I mean, assuming that all people born during the month of June, or even all people born on June 22nd can have the same stuff happening, is a bit too much for a thinker to think...right?  Horoscopes are painted with broad strokes, and peppered with words like "you MIGHT notice" in reference to situations and issues that could happen to anybody, anywhere, any day.  Like, "You might feel stressed out today..."  Pretty safe, since, any of us, on any given day, can get a little stressed out.
In fact, there was a study done about horoscopes in which students were handed a horoscope, told that it was THEIR horoscope for that day, and all of the students agreed that it was just UNCANNY how accurate it was, since the horoscope appeared to speak directly to the issues that they were having in their lives--only then did the researchers reveal that it wasn't actually their horoscope, that it was just something their teacher had written and that every student in the room got the exact same one.
And....I know all of this stuff.  Still, I can't explain the super-bizarro, incredibly specific horoscope today.  I mean, it is actually SO specific that I am not going to reprint it here, because the actions of which it speaks qualify me as a complete weirdo...and, I actually DO that stuff, so, I'm not saying that I'm not a weirdo, but, how did they know?
Surely everyone born on June 22nd can't be doing THAT!  I mean....come on!  I'm assuming the other kajillion people born that day have, well.....lives.
Somebody better get Crazy Aunt Purl on the line...that's her birthday, too.  I'm am CERTAIN I can out-weirdo her, but I feel we should compare notes right away...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Word From The Jesus People

I was opening mail at work today, and some kind person who is clearly worried about my immortal soul had stuffed one of our business reply envelopes with important and timely literature from The Jesus People**, regarding repentance for sin, peace and happiness, and (ahem) alcohol.

But my favorite one was the pamphlet regarding "The (Jesus People) Manner of Dress".

Before I continue, let me just say that I'm a fairly conservative dresser and probably no Jesus People would have any issues with my clothing, except for maybe that one black knit skirt that I wear with The Sweater, and the ridiculously-fab, shiny high heels. It's the outfit that makes men spill sh*t on themselves when I walk by--but honestly, it's not a lot of skin showing, and I can't help it if some men have truly delightful imaginations. That ensemble would pass for appropriate business attire in any corporate office in America...let 'em spill. It's not like I'm using that attention to get ahead (much), it's just that sometimes, in between working my ass off from dawn til dusk, it's nice to have a bit of attention based on something other than how my brain operates.

Then conservative as my clothing is, I have a lot of outfits that draw that same kind of attention. I'm not bad, I was just drawn this way. Most women have the exact same problem--no matter what they wear, there's always someone that wants to rip it off of them.

The Jesus People say that "suggestive attire draws attention to the human form and promotes lustful thoughts and desires."

Welcome to Sales...

...without lustful thought or desire, nobody would ever buy anything. And all the fine, fine Jesus People, along with their sinful counterparts, would be out of work. Then the real fun would begin.

And please allow me to draw attention AWAY from the bikini babes in the beer commercials--those not-so-subtle messages are for the stupid people. Lets talk about the REAL sales jobs that go on all day, every day, in every situation you encounter in your life, and how the only way to 'win' at selling your thing, your thought, your idea, your ideology, your product, is to dress it up better than the other guy--not necessarily by showing a lot of skin, but by introducing WANT and DESIRE into a place where previously there was none.


And let me further mention that without WANT and DESIRE, this species would have died out a long time ago. I mean, really...even if your whole thing is "No sex until marriage" (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that), what is it that compels you to marry someone in the first place? DESIRE.


The person you ended up marrying somehow did a better job of selling themselves than all the other schmohs who applied for the job. They were more desirable. Bigger, stronger, faster, smarter...whatever. Or maybe they weren't bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, but somehow managed to convince you that they were, with an elaborate series of sales pitches. No matter...since the dawn of humanity, that's how it has been done.

The only sales tool used as often as Want or Desire is Fear. Fear, the most insidious evil of all. Fear, the tool most often used by The Jesus People--used to convince you that you can't handle yourself (literally or figuratively) without something really, really bad happening.


Changing gears, just slightly...I've seen plenty of women out there, not at the office, necessarily, but, say, at a concert, or on Halloween night or something, tramping it up for the attention, and, I have to ask "Why?" Considering that I'm just a normal-looking woman who doesn't do that and I've gotten plenty of attention and a half-dozen marriage proposals, even without having ever owned a leather mini-skirt or thigh-high boots, I must say that I just don't get it. I'm sure that the trampy women are the ones to whom the Jesus People are speaking. I wish they would stop trying to convert them. The chick with half her ass hanging out makes the rest of us look really, REALLY good to the decent guys, and I'd like to keep her around to draw the creeps away from me. Seriously, if you're out and you see someone dressed like that, it's sooooo much simpler to determine which men to avoid--they would be the ones that are hovering around the trampy chick. Please, Jesus People, please! Do not take away this valuable community service!

Of course, that does create the added problem of stupid people mating....hmmm...

Then again, without a vast audience of insecure people, who would the Jesus People have left to talk to?

**"Jesus People"--those who might determine that you are somehow less of a good person than they are because you don't happen to practice or believe in their incredibly specific, yet constantly changing ideology. They are recognized by the way they pick and choose what is "good" and what is "bad", and how their definition of "good" and "bad" changes based on what their leaders can get away with. Most true "Jesus People" don't care if you are happy or not, they just have some kind of ego wrapped up into getting as many people to join their club as possible. Their sales methods often border on evil, and as such, they are often mistaken for regular narcissists, who also don't give a shit about you...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cool Stuff

Courtesy of our friends at Marc and Angel Hack Life....20 Lessons Learned.
  1. If you're smiling right now, you're doing something right.
  2. It's not so much what you say that counts, it' how you make people feel.
  3. The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you're scared to make a mistake.
  4. No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.
  5. Freedom is the greatest gift.  Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.
  6. If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don't stop.  You're on to something big.  Because hard work ain't hard when you concentrate on your passions.
  7. It's not about getting a chance, it's about taking a chance.  You'll rarely be 100% sure it will work.  But you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won't work.  Sometimes you just have to go for it!
  8. Complaining is like slapping yourself for slapping yourself.  It doesn't solve the problem, it just hurts you more.
  9. The one with nothing to hide is always the one left standing tall.
  10. You can press forward long after you can't.  It's just a matter of wanting it bad enough.
  11. There's a big difference between knowing and doing.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.
  12. In work and business, when they need you more than you need them, you have succeeded.
  13. Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad.  It just depends on your perspective.
  14. We are all weird.  And life is weird.  And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we call it love.
  15. True friendship and true love do sustain the tests of distance and time.
  16. You can't change who you are.  You can only change what you know and how you apply this knowledge.
  17. It is okay to be angry.  It is never okay to be cruel.
  18. Even when you feel like you have nothing, someone else likely has far less.  Find them and help them.  You'll see why.
  19. Having a thousand credentials on the wall will not make you a decent human being.  But genuinely helping one person everyday will.
  20. Remember, change happens for a reason.  Roll with it.  It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Diva snapped this one--she actually has a jillion really cool shots, and I'd share them ALL, but I have a feeling that she would end up yelling at me and telling me to take my own damn pictures, and I wouldn't blame her one bit.
Frog hunting, anyone?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Inky And The Brain

Because I am a super-nerd, and also because I spend my entire day moving paper (from one side of my desk to the other, from the fax machine to my desk, from my desk to other people's desks, from my desk to the mail room, from the mail room to my desk....blah, blah, blah), I have pretty much every office supply item known to human kind within my immediate grasp, and, well, thank g*d for office supplies because jobs that involve moving paper really SUCK if you can't wrestle it into submission with alligator clips and stuff.
Because of my desire to have other people do the dumb stuff in my life so I can stick to the FUN (read: nerdy) stuff, I do a lot of the feigned ignorance thing, where I'll approach someone with the puppy eyes and be all " *blink*  *blink* I don't know how to do this....can YOU do it?  *blink*  *blink* " 
And you know it's complete bullshit because someone with a buck-fifty IQ should be able to refill an electric stapler.
But I don't WANT to refill the electric stapler.  I'm busy doing super-nerd stuff.  Very, very busy.  Working Brain.  Big Ideas!  No time for little things.
I have a date stamper, because I work for an insurance company and our favorite CYA thing to do is stamp EVERY piece of mail we get to show the exact date we got it, just in case we ever need to screw you out of some money based on what date you sent us payment, your application, your appeal of a $3000 emergency room bill, etc.  We're quite serious about dates being on everything--if we thought it might be financially advantageous to date-stamp our asses, I guarantee that my boss would set up a work station, just for that.
Yesterday, my date stamper ran out of ink, and I did the whole " *blink*  *blink*  My date stamper is out of ink... " in that flailing, helpless, bullshit way that I do, and the office supply girl, instead of taking the stamper out of my sad, sad, little outstretched hand, instead just handed me new ink. 
Like, she figured I could just refill the thing all by myself.
Now...I use this dumb stamper so much that it's like an extension of my right hand, and you'd think this wouldn't be a big deal, but seriously, in all the time I've worked here, through NUMEROUS refills, I've never once done it by myself--I've always carefully conned someone else into doing it.
I'm scared to do it, that's why.
Apparently not without good reason.  I wish I had photos...
Of course, I had to be pathetic and go back and show the office supply girl the big, inky mess I made, just to prove how truly helpless I was with simple tasks.  I wonder if she'll remember that the next time I walk over to her desk, looking feeble and holding an empty date stamper.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Analyst Is Typing

Random, Random, and Random...
  • I was in an "online chat" with one of those automated "online chat" customer service machine thingy's this morning. I would have called an actual person (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA--oh, sorry...I'm sure that somewhere, within that company, an "actual person" speaks to customers...I wasn't implying....oh, fuck it, yes I was...), but when I called them, it was "all lines are busy". Wow....a major company that doesn't answer it's phone...must not be a lot of competition if they think they don't have to talk to people. BUT ANYWAY...on the "chat" with the computer, long periods of NO conversation took place while "Analyst is typing" appeared right above the dialogue box. The analyst is a very, very, very, very, very sloooooooow typer. Also, because the analyst is a machine, and I am what you might call a "conversational" writer, I was all, "Hey, can you get me an itemized list of that charge on my bill?" but I think the machine interpreted that to mean "Go to a high bridge and jump off." I momentarily entertained the idea of messing with the machine by continually typing "RedRum!", but, on the off chance that "Rosario" was an actual person, I refrained.
  • OH! There is a new Elvis Costello album out! Woooooo-Hooooooo! It's super-good...If you're reading on blogspot, see the linky-doo on the right side of the page to listen to bits of it. For the rest of you, go here for Secret, Profane and Sugarcane.
  • Last night, I was actually watching paint dry. Woooooo-Hoooooo! Paint drying! Um, yeah, sorry...but anyway! When I moved into my apartment, I bought a gallon of high gloss paint in a color called Bitter Chocolate. It is the darkest, richest, brown paint in the history of brown paint. Damn, I love Behr. As I buy things or find things for the apartment, a lot of them are getting painted Bitter Chocolate. The 20 dollar unfinished dressers from Ikea? Bitter Chocolate. Kitchen Shelves? Bitter Chocolate. Curtain Rods? Bitter Chocolate. Wooden tray that I bought 20 years ago? Bitter Chocolate. Baby blue bookcase found at a Junior High School building auction? Yeah--that ugly thing was the first to be transformed. I really, REALLY love the unified look of things--it's freaking Gorgeous, OK? Very calm, very zen...Plus, I got my curtains up--kind of a natural-colored linen tab curtain, also from Ikea, and they are fabulous. I got a couple of paintings up (including "perros con sombreros"--oh, the whimsy...!) and it's starting to look like a really cool place. I LOVE my apartment. LOVE it!
  • If you're looking for a little light reading, check out "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music". OK, maybe it's not "light" like you are thinking "light". Maybe the handsome heroes in the book are actually some of the so-called "bad guys". Maybe there are no "romantic" sex scenes like you might find in your other summer beach-reading materials. So what? How could you possibly resist that title?
  • I'm thinking I might eat nothing but chicken burritos and watermelon for the duration of the summer. Just sounds good for some reason.
  • OK, I might throw in an occasional hunk of beef, but not a burger--gotta be prime rib or a steak or something...girl needs her protein you know.
  • Please, no dirty jokes about "girl needs her protein". Thank you.
  • Wait, wait...I happen to know that a couple of you, at this very moment, are doing the "Girl needs her protein" nudge-nudge thing while you sit in your comfy chairs with your filthy minds. Let me just take this opportunity to say one thing: OhMyGawd I love you sick fuckers...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Self-Imposed No Fly Zone

Wow--it's been a weirdly invigorating couple of weeks.  I don't know exactly how to describe it.  One little thing happens, and that little thing reminds me of a rush of other things that happened 20-odd years ago, all of which are just like something that is going on right now, only now I know better, because I already went through this exact thing, 20-odd years ago. 
The difference being, I was a complete idiot then, and now I'm less of an idiot.  I hope.
It's like a million little puzzle pieces are falling into place, and an actual picture is forming.  Not a moment too soon!  I've been wandering around, wondering "WTF?" for a couple of years now...I'm glad all of those past experiences, in which I had originally self-destructed (with the help of copious amounts of alcohol and sex), are sort of playing themselves out again--I didn't ask for a re-do, but I guess I get one, and that is cool.  I'll do better.
Unfortunately, again, these are things that don't get blog coverage--the back-stories are too long and complicated, and, in the interest of privacy of the parties involved (ahem...we were up to some SHIT, is all I'm sayin'--things I will not be sharing with my children, unless maybe Dr. Drew gets involved...) we'll refrain from telling the "real" stories...
...though you may find me tip-toe-ing around the fringe from time to time. 
Besides, it would take me months to introduce all the characters.  I was actually telling one of the stories to someone who KNOWS many of the parties involved and even they went a little blank on the significance.  No matter--it all makes sense in my head. 
To my dear friends, let me just say that if and/or when you all become my novel, NO, you may not have royalties, and also, I'm sorry.  So very, very sorry.  We were too interesting.  Please don't kill me for not doing a better job disguising your identities.  Oh, and also, Robert Pattinson is too pretty to play any of you in the movie.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Reason #22 Why I Might Be A Bad Influence On My Children

I attended a high school choir concert with my daughters this weekend--it wasn't their school, and none of us knew anybody in any of the choirs, it was just a "thing" we had to do for school, cuz they get credit in their music classes for seeing other live performances. Last semester, the credit came from seeing The Academy Is and We The Kings at the Cabooze on Halloween night.

No, that's not Reason #22.

The concert was of the "pops" variety, where instead of requiring the discipline of traditional choral arrangements, they let those whacky kids play around with popular music.

16 songs into it, there was an intermission.

Let me say that again. SIXTEEN songs into it, there was an intermission. Sixteen songs was about half.

I'm not entirely sure about this, but I believe that you can go to see the Rolling Stones and not expect 30 it would seem that for some reason, the choirs around here just like to show off. I mean, the Rolling Stones can play their whole damn library in one shot if they want to and nobody's going to bitch--they're the Rolling Stones. They've earned it.


There were some truly delightful highlights. And there was some dumb stuff. Think Glee Club Corny. It's a high school pops concert, what-are-ya-gonna-do?

The 16th song, the last one before the intermission, was 'Livin' On A Prayer', which I consider to be one of the stupidest songs ever. I don't really care that pretty much everyone in Bon Jovi can retire because of how hugely successful that song is, and good for them, but, I think that particular song is far too corny for human consumption and should not be performed by anyone, anywhere. Ever. It should also never again be played on a radio, or on anyone's car stereo within my earshot.

But that's just me.

On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, the sun was shining, and it was warm and gorgeous outside. Inside the auditorium, shivering at the hands of some sadistic maintenance person who opted to set the air temperature to "bone chilling", I sat watching a large group of high school students in costume, singing AND DANCING to 'Livin' On A Prayer'. I sat mostly still through the entire song--didn't pull out my phone and text people about the horror of the moment with any "OMG, they're singing f*cking Livin' On A Prayer'" or anything like that. I was a very good girl...very respectful. It took every ounce of strength in my body.

After the students cleared the stage, I leaned over, looked at my daughter and said, "Yeah....we need to ditch..."

To which she nodded and definitively replied, "Yeah."

We got up and left, weaving through a lobby full of people who were all happy as banana cream pie to be there and (mostly rightfully) proud of their kids, hoping they wouldn't notice us hurrying toward the nearest exit. Once we were back in the daylight and I was sure none of the performer's parents were anywhere nearby, I exhaled my distaste, threw the kids in the car and took them to a fast food restaurant, where we laughed about the concert and also about the dude who hit on my at the ketchup station, as the children described a scenario of hooking up with someone you met at Burger King and therefore having to go back there every year on your anniversary. God, I love my children. We have a lot of obligations--school stuff, work stuff, family stuff, friend stuff. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to call something "Lame" and blow it off, together, eat food that's not good for us and see which one of us can be the snarkiest. This is my family. My beautiful, beautiful family.