Saturday, October 25, 2008

like a rhinestone cowboy, on a steel horse i ride

i've spent my week near hilton head, watching my sidekick and her brother while their parents frolick in key west, florida. the commute to their private school is about half an hour each way, and i made three trips a day, due to the fact that sidekick's brother has football practice and needs to be retrieved about 3 hours after sidekick is dismissed from school. this translates into about 15 hours spent in the car this week, which further translates into 15 hours of radio/cd listening time this past week.

when i packed last weekend for the trip down here, i grabbed a few cds, since i have SO's car, which has the cd player that mine lacks. i figured i'd broaden the kids' musical horizons with the doors, huey lewis, kenny wayne shepherd, and billy idol. (the kids now know that you can get away with wearing leather after 50. in fact, sidekick's brother pointed out that steven tyler still dresses in that sort of thing. i contemplated pointing out that keith richards, who is even older, has extremely leathery skin, which should count for something, but i think we'll probably save that lesson for next time.)

anyway, after the 2 1/2 hour drive down and a few trips to/from school, i was sick of most of the above. (i was especially distressed to realize that my greatest hits of huey lewis and the news was missing "hip to be square". the really sad part is that i did not realize this until after scrolling through the album randomly* a few times, and then finally giving in, reaching under the passenger seat, and locating the cd case to confirm my fears.)

so, i've been using the cds mainly when the semi-local radio station i found (chuck-fm, out of charleston) plays something distasteful, like political commercials.

i was feeling too lazy one morning to hit the "cd" button when something i'd never heard bfeore came on.....or maybe i was more intrigued at how such a bizarre song could be produced- and without weird al being somehow involved.

I've been walkin' these streets so long
Singin' the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway
Where hustle's the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
There's been a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone

Well, I really don't mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you're down when you're ridin' the train that's takin' the long way
And I dream of the things I'll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There'll be a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowboy
Gettin' cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo

FADE
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Gettin' card and letters from people I don't even know


a few years ago, while SO and i were visiting his relatives in phoenix, it was all over the news that glen campbell had been arrested for drunk driving. as i understand it, this is not an unusual thing to hear on the news. i believe i can understand why. i, too, would take up heavy drinking if i were responsible for this assault on the ears.

i called my dad to point this observation out to him, and he semi agreed, though i later learned that he, in fact, owns glen campbell's greatest hits. (despite his large collection of stones, depeche mode, elvis, and dr. demento cds, i am now beginning to question his taste in music.)

anyway, apparently daddy felt the need to share the news of the agony i was experiencing, as i called him again three hours later to notify him that the line "like a rhinestone cowboy" had been repeating in my noggin on a loop for the past three hours, which he then passed along to my sibling. i would have been none the wiser about this spreading gossip, except when i called her yesterday morning to compliment her on her choice of attire in celebration of "argyle friday" (i am not a participant, due to a lack of argyle apparel), she happened to mention "rhinestone cowboy". guess what wound up in my head for the next half hour?

to make matters worse, when i called daddy to discuss a completely unrelated matter, he felt the need to inquire as to how the "rhinestone cowboy" was doing. greeeeat.

two hours later, as i was heading over to the school to pick up the kids, guess what came up on chuck-fm's rotation? i nearly drove off the bridge, which would have been bad, because while the kids are good little hikers, i just don't see them making a 25 mile walk home from school. (naturally, i called my dad and told him he was to blame for all this, which he finds inexplicably funny. i am already planning my revenge, though i have not yet managed to locate "rhinestone chaps" on amazon.)

on the bright side, it seems i have finally found a way to get that dangblasted song out of my head- or more precisely, that line from that dangblasted song.

whilst shoveling out and reorganizing the boss's office this week, i've been running pandora on his computer. bon jovi popped up on my "def leppard" station when i got back from retrieving the kids, and i've found that somehow "rhinestone cowboy" gives way to "wanted dead or alive" pretty easily. since i dig bon jovi, i figure this is a good thing.

now, if i could just find those chaps........

*"why randomly?", you ask. well, the display on SO's stereo system hasn't lit up since before i met him, and apparently i somehow knocked the secret "shuffle" key sometime within the past two weeks. since the key is not clearly marked (unless "fade" means something different in his car than it does in mine), i have very little hope of switching it back.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

babe (?) in the woods

in an effort to boost the bank accounts and finally get alaska and hawaii back off of my credit card (conditions that i've decided have to be met before i can travel again), i've been burying myself in work lately. unfortunately, i'm starting to burn out a little bit, so SO came up for the weekend and we took advantage of my working only one shift at the radio station yesterday and went hiking at the anne springs close greenway in fort mill, sc (near charlotte).

admission to the park was quite reasonable (as with most of the sc state parks we've been to, the admission is $2 per person. one of these days, i'll get around to ponying up for sc state parks annual pass- sometime after my finances have been straightened out.), and it was easy to find- just a couple of miles away from I-77.

the first trail we tackled was the 1.3 mile loop around lake haigler. while SO took a few minutes to prepare for the hike, i tried to snap a photo of this huge blue heron perched on a log near the shore. unfortunately, the heron heard the leaves crunching underfoot as i crept closer for the perfect shot, and the perfect shot wound up being a perfect shot of an empty log. i still have no idea where the heron flew off to. (pardon the dangling participle- sometimes proper grammar just looks too awkward to attempt.)

i'm afraid i can't share my perfect log picture with you- not because its beauty will stun you, rendering you unable to concentrate on anything else for the rest of the day. i can't share it with you because i was so irritated about the runaway heron that i deleted the photo in a fit of rage.*

instead, you'll have to settle for these:





lest my dad freak out over my hair, let me point out that it's actually in a ponytail. it's gotten within a few inches of my waist, and while i'm going to cut it, it won't exactly be a shearing long enough to send to locks of love, though i briefly considered it......

after we finished hiking around the lake, we headed toward the steele creek/blue star loop. we figured out that this trail added a hair over 3 1/2 miles, giving us about five for the day, altogether. (i believe that means what i'm currently feeling is about 2 1/2 miles in the back of each thigh- ugh. fortunately, i've managed to convince myself that it's a "good" pain and means my upper thighs/derriere no longer resemble the skin of an albino orange.)


fellow hikers. perhaps hot dog (with backpack) will post about our hike over on his brother bodhi's blog


one of the perks of hiking in the fall. even down here in south carolina, the leaves change color. this was after we passed the dairy barn and crossed old nation road.


at the old railroad trestle. i like this picture so much that i shrank (shrunk?) it down for my msn messenger photo.

the park features a mix of hiking, biking and horse trails. the trails we were on were fairly well maintained, though not always clearly marked...unless you count the "organic cairns" left behind by this guy....






*well, not exactly rage- more like frustration, really

Saturday, September 27, 2008

dead *hack**hack* *cough**cough* sexy

ribbit.

despite consuming ridiculous quantities of hot tea with honey, i have spent the past week sounding like i have a 3 pack a day habit. on the bright side, radio listeners (especially of the male persuasion) seem to dig the oh-so-sexy, husky voice produced by the change in weather, screaming one's head off at a def leppard concert, and/or smoking 3 packs a day.

since i haven't been to any concerts recently and i haven't smoked since a stray cigarette at some random frat party in college, i'm inclined to chalk this one up to the semiannual weather transition. we've been alternating between 85 degrees and sunny and 70 and raining. it's almost enough to remind me of missouri weather, minus the chance of snow.

another possibility occured to me last week, and i figure i'll know in another week or two whether or not it is, indeed, the case:

second puberty.

i'm actually kind of rooting for this one, mostly because it means i might sprout bigger boobs this time.....which solves the problem of what to be for halloween- add a little red hair dye to the husky voice and supersized chest, and jessica rabbit wouldn't be a stretch. (ok....maybe a little stretch)

if this scratchy throat thing doesn't clear up by halloween, i'm so there. what's more, i've found yet another career option. it has the flexibility i need (set my own hours, work from home), and at $2.99/minute, i should be rolling in the dough in no time. i just have to figure out how to control the urge to giggle while picturing some lonely guy sitting around the house on a saturday night picturing rebecca romijn-stamos (or, hey- how about jessica rabbit?) doing exotic things with a live chicken and some peach preserves.*

then again, i hear some guys are into that sort of thing......

*yes, i know that version features a weed eater and cool whip instead, but i'm too lazy (and too aware of my susceptibility to getting sucked into a youtube tangent) to chase down a video with the proper lyrics.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

wait a minute- logs don't have eyes....do they?

after wasting three saturdays in a row (only three?), i dragged (well, technically he drove) SO out on a long-overdue hike. santee state park is about an hour and a half from home, which allowed me enough time to wipe out a book (i was almost done) and grab a five minute snooze....which ended about the time we realized we'd somehow overshot the park.

why santee? well, since i work at the radio station until noon on saturdays and SO was barely in the shower when i got home, there was pretty much a zero chance of being able to get up to the waterfall-laden upstate region of south carolina and have enough time to tackle a decent hike and be off the trail by dark. plus, gas in columbia is still a pricey $3.99 a gallon and no, you do not get kissed first. not even a hug, in fact. (i got funny looks when i asked at the local gas station on friday.)

so, we were left with mostly local options....most of which have already been checked off in my handy dandy hiking book.

it should be noted that the handy dandy hiking book might be in need of a little update as, assuming i was reading the map properly, the "swimming pond" looks like this:


(it's probably worth noting that about 100 feet further down the shoreline, if that, there were not one, not two, but three signs advising against swimming and warning of the presence of alligators.)

there was an incident last september where a guy actually disregarded the "no swimming" signs, went snorkeling with a gator, and would up losing an arm, which was retrieved (intact, no less!) from the alligator's stomach. i thought this may have been the "swimming hole" in question, but a little googling proved me wrong.

mr. "snorkels with gators" survived, but i'm thinking he still should get an honorable mention in the next darwin awards book.

SO, was a little uneasy about my trekking down near the water's edge to have a look at the "no swimming" signs. (no worries- they were out in the open, and i would've spotted the gator before he spotted me.)

after leaving the shoreline, we drove to the sinkhole trail for one last mini hike. (with the exception of the bicycle trail, the trails at the park are under a mile long, and at .4 mile, this one's the shortest.) i'm pleased to report there weren't any gators in sight on this trail, which was a good thing, though SO said he had my back in the event of a possible attack:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

we are currently experiencing technical difficulties.....

i’m afraid technology is not my friend this morning.

i came into work with such high hopes. SO is in town this weekend, and with him came my laptop, and i figured my best chance to use it to pound out a post would be this morning. i’d type up something witty and brilliant (well, as witty and brilliant as possible when one is trying hard not to catch up on sleep at work), throw it onto my blog, and the rest of the morning could be spent scribbling on avon brochures and working out at our state-of-the art fitness center. (i saw bangkok dangerous last night, and while my abs are decent, i couldn’t pull off the outfits the thai dancers wore, and therefore, i must hit the treadmill and weights until my stomach is so ridiculously taut that foreign currency may be bounced off of it.)

i was going to be so productive.

unfortunately, i had to toss that theory out the window around the third time i had to wheel a chair down the hall so i could reach the wireless router to reset it. (for those of you wishing to keep track at home, that was about five times ago. anyone who knows me well knows i don’t always give up easily.)

the first time i tried to log on, my computer informed me that the signal was about as strong as tea brewed by waving a twice-used teabag over a cup of hot water.

“no problem,” i thought, “i’ll just turn my wireless off and reset it.”

you know, the right solution never seems to be the simple fix, for some reason.

my next plan was to take a chair down the hall to the router, climb onto it, and unplug the router. that’s what the guys do (or at least, that’s all they claim they do) around here, and it’s the same thing i have to do at home…minus the chair, since my router is only about two feet off the ground.

two chairs later (i thought the first one would work, but quickly realized that i’d need either a booster seat or one of those super-elevating chairs if i wanted to be able to reach the thing….though grabbing a yardstick (don’t ask) and knocking the thing down like a piƱata was also briefly considered), the signal my computer was receiving was about as strong as the willpower of a compulsive eater at a smorgasbord.

on the upside, all of this wandering back and forth between the studio and the router is probably sufficient enough to count as part of a cardio workout, and the scrambling onto and off of rolling chairs (while trying to keep my balance, i might add) should count for something as well.

for exactly what, i’m not sure- but it’ll give me something to ponder during the three or four more trips to the router that i’ll probably make before finally giving in, beating the thing with the aforementioned yardstick, and posting this from home during my inter-shift break.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

this post contains little msg and is a good source of lycopene

it's sunday again, and during my current 10-hour stint at the radio station, i've got three major projects to tackle, but the junk food i grabbed on the way in from a restaurant i won't name, except to say that they looked at me really funny when i asked for a paper crown*, has left me feeling bloated and a bit sluggish.

obviously, i'm in no condition to tackle anything serious, like scribbling on avon brochures or pondering the meaning of life.

so, instead you're stuck with ruminations on food and frugality.

as i waited for my meal this afternoon, i camped out by the soda fountain (which, sadly, lacked cherry coke. what is this world coming to?), and made friends with the napkin dispenser. as i grabbed enough napkins for a small third world nation, i found myself reminded of my family's weekly dinners out during our time in baltimore.

you read that right- we ate out roughly weekly. i assume that was the norm back in the 80s, whereas nowadays it seems rare for a family to actually eat at home five or six nights a week. homecooked meals rarely start from scratch, and 9 times out of 10, if you see a family eating together at the table and having an actual conversation, it's because you're sitting in the theater (or your living room, with tv trays), watching a movie.

but i digress....

anyway, our meals out centered around a few restaurants, and only now do i realize why.

surely, in my last 3 1/2 years of blogging, i've mentioned before that i don't come from money. i mean, we weren't living in a mud hut or out of our car or anything like that, but we certainly weren't rich, either. i clearly recall asking my parents how much money my dad made (mama stayed home with us until my sister was in kindergarten or first grade, then worked part time as a substitute teacher before going back to grad school), and being told that he made $32,000 a year. it seemed like a lot of money at the time.

heck, it may have been a lot of money at the time- back when gas was around a buck a gallon and you could still make a call from a pay phone for only 25 cents.

comparatively, between all of my jobs, i think i cleared somewhere around $30,000 last year, and i think if i had even one other person depending upon me, we might well have to check into whether or not bob vila offers any free tips on DIY mud hut construction.**

anyway, in the blissful ignorance of youth, i hadn't caught on to the little ways we stretched the money we had, including our weekly "eating out".

a couple of the restaurants we frequented were actually "sit down" establishments. our favorite chinese restaurant (the "double dragon", where we used to rub the buddha belly on our way to the table) offered those little crispy noodles on every table. we'd dip them into sweet and sour sauce while waiting for whichever entrees mama and daddy had ordered to split amongst the four of us. sibling and i usually got the free ice cream at the end of the meal (to this day, i find mint chocolate chip hard to resist), and we'd each get a mint on the way out. when we were roughly middle-school age (i went to middle school in baltimore; my sibling did not), we also stuck a couple of sugar packets in each of our pockets, because sibling and i figured we could use them to refill the sugar bowl at home.

come to think of it, whether we ate chinese, italian, or mexican, if we were at a sit-down restaurant, we filled up on the freebies (crispy noodles/breadsticks/chips and salsa), and then split two entrees between the four of us.

fast food was a slightly different beast. generally, we each had our own entrees, but a large drink was always ordered, and three straws were stuffed into the plastic lid on the cup. (sibling and i didn't share, but mama and daddy were still on decent enough terms that they did....though that may be because trying to fit four straws into the opening would've been kind of like trying to fit a sumo wrestler into a wetsuit.) leftover ketchup packets were taken home, as well as spare napkins...hence my little flashback this afternoon.

we were in baltimore for a few years before a subway franchise moved in at the bottom of our hill and was added to our dining repertoire. i no longer remember what sort of subs we ordered, but we always split a footlong between the four of us.

remember chicken littles?

on occasion, sibling and i would pile into the car and daddy would drive us across the pennsylvania border to this huge playground (think swings, slides, and not one, not two, but three of those merry-go round things that i can no longer ride without winding up a little queasy), where sibling and i would wear ourselves out running between pieces of equipment. on the way to the playground, we'd stop and grab fast food to take with us to the park. before the days of chicken littles, i conned daddy into splurging on a mc dlt for me, and life was good.

life got better when chicken littles came on the scene. at 39 cents each, i was allowed to get more than one. plus, since kfc offered little packets of lemon juice, my usual water could be turned into lemonade!

(to this day, that "eureka!" moment still ranks just below the day i realized why a fast food joint specializing in roast beef would plausibly be named "arby's")

i don't know that my ice water/lemon juice/sugar concoctions ever had the proper ratio of lemon to sugar and water, but perhaps that's why i still prefer my water with a little lemon to this day.

given my more advanced cooking skills, i could probably get the balance right were i to give it a shot, but although i still grab an extra napkin or two when i pick up my food, and i know for a fact that i have three packets of hot sauce in my backpack (because you never know when you might come upon a half-naked taco), i haven't had a pocketful of sugar in years- probably around the last time i walked out of burger king wearing a paper crown.

*and no, they didn't look at me funny because i was standing in taco bell. i was actually in a restaurant known for giving kids such "royal" treatment. unfortunately, either they've ceased such practices, or the folks working there this afternoon mistook me for an adult.

**i'd suggest an igloo, as my sibling and i have experience in that field, due to the tendency for mother nature to dump a heaping helping of snow upon baltimore's suburbs in the middle of winter. however, if you count only our successful attempts resulting in structurally sound snow dwellings, then we have nothing to brag about.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

drama! suspense! floral arrangements!

when i get around to finally penning (or, more precisely, pounding out) my best-selling autobiography, i don't anticipate it turning out as one of those "mystery/suspense" tomes. i mean, my life certainly isn't boring (though my friday and saturday nights usually are), but i don't generally have or want that sort of excitement.

that said, when i wrote my springsteen post, i left out the entire sideplot. i did so on purpose, out of respect for matthew mcconaughey, who i thought might have finally responded to my repeated calls and felt the need to confirm his affection. (this, of course, would have to be despite the fact that he just had a kid with that model girlfriend chick he's been seeing.)

i'm getting ahead of myself. let me back up for a moment......

so saturday, there we were. SO and i were in the car, headed for the concert in charleston. we were running later than expected. (i considered introducing myself to his friends with an apology for our tardiness. something along the lines of:

"hi. i'm duff. sorry we're late, but you've met my boyfriend, and i'm sure it was about half an hour after you thought you were going to meet him."

thankfully, it didn't come to that- but i digress.......)

i grabbed the cell phone to call a friend at the radio station to ask him to check on something for me, and when i opened it up to dial, i noticed i'd missed a call. this, of course, is not unheard of, since my phone's set to "vibrate", and even when it's on my person, i don't always notice that it's going off. (is that a valid argument for wanting to buy tighter jeans?)

the number on the caller id was nothing i recognized, so i listened to the voicemail and would up rather perplexed by what i heard:

"this is elgin flowers and gifts. we just made a delivery here. it's about 4:01. since you weren't home, we left it at apartment 536."

uh. uhm. what?

a return call was required on two counts:

1. as you may recall (at least, i think i posted about it), a couple of months ago, i had an avon shipment disappear completely off of my doorstep. actually, i take that back. the perpitrators left my two small, heavy boxes of brochures. the other stuff, however, was gone. i still haven't worked out who took it, and since i live on the third floor, my prime suspects are actually my neighbors. i mean, who would make the effort to climb up and down two flights of stairs? anyway, as a result, i don't trust my neighbors as far as i can throw them, and the chick next door is kind of big.

2. flowers? are you kidding? i've never gotten flowers. in fact, it was the unwritten 30th item on my "to do before 30" list. obviously, there's been a mistake.

so, i returned the call....and left a voicemail that in retrospect, may have been a little crankier than usual. i believe i pointed out that standard procedure for deliveries is generally to leave the items in the office, and quite frankly i didn't trust my neighbors, so i was unsure as to whether i'd ever actually receive the delivery. i apologized when the deliveryperson rang my cell at work sunday morning and explained my concerns. i was told if i had any problems, i could call on monday.

alrighty then.

that matter taken care of, i began making calls. keep in mind that the intended call which led to my picking up the phone in the first place, wound up being call #6 or so. suddenly, i had a more pressing matter on my hands: trying to figure out who on earth was behind this, especially since "receive flowers" could only be crossed off of my list under a strict set of conditions.

five calls later, i'd eliminated five suspects. (well, seven, if you count mama saying that my sister, a notorious flower-bestower, was too broke to buy anyone flowers, and SO didn't require a phone call, as he was in the car with me.) the call i finally made to the radio station took care of my eighth suspect, and i was officially stumped.

here's what i'd figured out:

1. the sender knew my address. (with a holiday card list over 100 people, this wasn't much help.)

2. the sender knew my cell phone number. (this narrows things down considerably, as only maybe 20 people have my cell phone number.)

3. the sender most likely sent flowers because they knew i'd never been given flowers. (most people assume that, by the tender age of 30, a chick's been given flowers at some point. if we eliminate a pair of gas station carnations left on my car by a listener in my early days of radio in columbia, which i feel should count about as much as the calories in an unsweetened packet of kool aid, then i had yet to be flowered.)

this left me with an extremely short list of suspects....like about three. (matthew mcconaughey was the most plausible of the three, which tells you something about the list.)

i actually lost sleep after the concert over this.

well, actually, most of the sleep i lost was because i was still wound up from the concert, and i was waiting for the tinnitus to quiet down a little, but while laying in bed, i pondered the likelihood that this was all a weird mistake and the flowers were really intended for someone else.

the mystery was solved early sunday afternoon, after i returned home from work for my inter-shift nap. i threw everything i'd taken to work onto the couch, brushed my teeth (nothing like teastains to make a great first impression), and knocked on the door of my old apartment.

just as i was turning around to head back to my apartment, i heard locks unlocking (he uses that chain lock, in addition to the knob lock, which is twice as much locking as i ever did, though that could've been because i'm lazy.), and was greeted by an indian fellow (complete with full traditional attire) who informed me that he'd knocked on my door several times the day before.

i looked around the open door, and partially in awe of how clean his apartment was (and you know, i just now realized that i forgot to look and see if he'd replaced the ceiling fan i took with me when i moved), and partially in awe of the fact that here in front of me was a vase of flowers....for me.

it was another half hour before i came out of shock enough to realize, whilst trying to nap, that perhaps my probable exclamation of "holy shit!" may have offended him.*

anyway, for posterity's sake, here's my bouquet. please disregard the cart full of culinary stuff in the background. unlike the neighbor who babysat my bouquet, my apartment is decorated in a style that's a little more "modern chaos" than it is "peaceful calm":





i thought about copying the message, but i think it's still pretty legible in this photo. the backstory, in case you missed my alaskan post, is that i met the guy who sent these to me on the train between anchorage and denali national park. when we parted ways, i headed south to anchorage, and he headed north to fairbanks. i gave him all of my contact info, along with the request that he send me a postcard from fairbanks. apparently, he remembered that i'd rattled "receive flowers" off when listing the unfinished items on my list, and decided to go that route instead.

needless to say, i was more than a little surprised.

mcconaughey's off the hook for now, but i still have space left on my list to add "receive flowers from a celebrity"........

*i say "probable" because there's a slim chance i may have said "holy crap" or "holy cow", but knowing myself the way i do, i'm thinking i went with the big one. at least i avoided the most serious of exclamations (which would involve the f-bomb), so maybe i wasn't in complete and total shock.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

in which i meet someone famous, and have the picture to prove it

i was going to get a head start on the weekend- had a post on the olympics half-finished yesterday and everything. unfortunately, i got stuck and my shift was over before i could get unstuck.....and now you're getting a mostly non-olympic post instead.

sorry. maybe i can make it up to you later.

yesterday, i had my first backstage experience. SO called me at work friday to tell me he'd been offered a pair of tickets and backstage passes to see bruce springsteen and the e street band in charleston and ask if i was interested. considering that i'd asked him if he wanted to go with me back when i found out the tickets were going on sale, it was pretty much a no brainer.

naturally, i was a little nervous, especially since i'm not exactly known for being able to say intelligent things to celebrities...which is why i've sent bodhi to meet and greets in my place in the past. (yes, i know his website is in sore need of an update. as soon as i remember what i switched his login to during the blogger/google transtition, we'll work on getting things updated.)

so, given that bodhi has far more experience in these sorts of situations, i smuggled him into the venue, along with my camera. (SO didn't mind the camera, but i think he was maybe a wee bit embarrassed about the gnome's presence. i think he was worried his coworkers (whom i'd never met before) might think he was dating a 12 year old. i'm sure there's nothing like wondering whether your coworkers are whispering "pedophile" behind your back.)*

anyway, as you can see (sort of), here we are with "little" steven van zandt:


(bodhi is convinced the blurriness is because the photographer was quaking with excitement upon finally meeting his 4" tall idol.)

i can also present you with this much clearer photo of steven's shoulder:


(unfortunately, bodhi was making a second pass at the buffet at this time (there was gouda- who could resist that?) and the moment passed before he made it back to me.)

mark bryan, of hootie & the blowfish, was also in the backstage crowd, and i thought about trying to get a picture of him with bodhi, but decided that discretion was the better part of valor and we headed up to our seats instead.

here was the view from section 109, row g:


this was during one of their better lit moments (during "born to run", or was it "dancing in the dark"? i didn't take many notes, as i was trying to conserve my battery so i could get olympic results from my sibling). most of the other pictures i took are a little...well....blurry.

i think we got up to our seats around 7:30, and the band took the stage about half an hour later, after the crowd got prematurely excited over house lighting coming up (which would be the reverse of what usually happens, but what can i say? the beer lines were long but moved quickly**) and roadies emerging with beverages in between tuning instruments.

preconcert, the head honcho from my clear channel cluster joined the charleston group for a few moments, during which he professed his admiration for the boss and showed off a couple of signs he'd made in his hotel room. previously unbeknownst to me, it is customary for fans, especially those in the pit, to make signs referring to springsteen tunes. springsteen will stand on platforms that jut out into the pit, and pick signs out of the crowd......and some of those songs get added to the evening's playlight. i will have to keep this in mind, because "pink cadillac" was nowhere to be heard last night, and while i can't draw a cadillac, i can draw a vw-ish bug, and the make a reference to cadillacs somehow.

i also learned last night that lil jon was not the originator of "YEA-AH!". i'm fairly certain clarence clemons got there first. furthermore, i think if challenged, clemons could take jon in a fight. he may be in his 60s, but the dude is big. i mean, really big. nils lofgren was hard to photograph last night, mostly because clarence clemons' shadow covered him completely. i've come to the conclusion that either lofgren is a gnome, or else clemons is a giant.

oh- and just in case you were wondering, my sibling is not a springsteen fan. found that out during the encores, as she was texting me with olympic updates. (i was finally able to see both dara torres and michael phelps swim friday night, and was curious to see whether she'd actually get and individual medal despite being "ancient" (when did 41 become old?) and if he'd manage to pull off gold medal #8 in beijing. (in case you've been under a rock, the answer to both questions is "yes".)) in between races, i got the distinct impression that she felt springsteen was overrated...perhaps because, in one of the messages, she wrote, "springsteen is overrated".

as is often the case with siblings and their opinions, i disagree.

*on a semirelated note, i admit i was somewhat checking out one of his coworkers, who, come to find out, is only nineteen. i inquired as to whether he was into older chicks, but SO declined to answer for some reason.

**since the age range of the crowd spanned multiple generations, witnessing someone's grandpa taking out a hip whilst flying down the stairs was also a minor concern. perhaps there should be an upper age limit on frosty beverages at these sorts of events- for safety's sake.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

newsflash: exercise may be fatal...oh- and the new kids are back

things i should probably be embarrassed to admit:

1. even at the tender age of thirty, i still eat all of my spaghetti o's first, and the meatballs or franks last- and preferably with my official spaghetti o's spoon.

2. i sleep with a fleece cookie monster blanket.

3. i have seriously contemplated going to see the new kids on the block when they come to a town near me. (perhaps this is partially because i still feel a little bit empty 16 years after they played in baltimore on my birthday...and i didn't get to go, because we moved to kansas city one week prior.)

3a. i still have both my jordan knight and pepsi magic summer t shirts, and i'm only mildly afraid to wear them.

i seem to be stuck on "summertime" by the new kids, (now short for "(not so) new(ly fully grown men with) kids"), and there's no end in sight. thankfully, it's in rotation in my mental jukebox with kid rock's latest and a rather infectious little tune by (stay with me here) miley cyrus' half-brother's band. (i'm sure he really digs being known as his little sister's brother... but the chances of trace cyrus stumbling upon my blog are- let's face it- slim. i'll apologize if necessary later.)

it's the sort of song that makes me want to hop on the treadmill, which may be a necessity now that i'm thirty and apparently since i'm not married (which the spammers have figured out, given that i now get daily junk mail with the subject line "over 30 and single? better click this link to find out what sort of men you can still attract...unless you're too busy picking up your first ten cats at the animal shelter, that is....."*) i should hurry up and get into shape so that when things start to droop (like my kneecaps) they won't go far. i mean, who wants a chick with droopy kneecaps? i like older men and all, but i don't want to raid retirement homes for a potential suitor who's too blind/senile to notice that i'm no longer the hot babe i was at 29....less than a month ago.

so, to the treadmill i shall go...or should, except for today's little news tidbit. it seems that hopping on the treadmill may be fatal....and that's not even taking into account the fact that i am a natural klutz and therefore am even more susceptible to a treadmill mishap than most.

perhaps my energies would be better spent rooting around in my closet, trying to locate some appropriately ripped jeans to go with that magic summer t shirt.....

*i'll admit it. perhaps i'm embellishing a little bit...but not by much.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

back from the great, not-as-white-as-you-might-expect north

i've been back from the big birthday trip for almost two whole days now, and i still haven't quite adjusted to this whole "getting dark at 9pm" thing. i mean, the sun didn't actualy set on my birthday until i got back to south carolina on friday. (yet, even with the two extra days, i still haven't compiled a new list yet....perhaps it's because i'm now old, and therefore, in the early stages of alzheimer's.)

you know, if you'd asked me last year to predict how i'd spend my 30th birthday, i don't think i would have come up with an accurate prediction, in any respect. the most surreal part of it is that, of all of the elements making up my surroundings on the happy (?) occassion, i think the part about it being in the sticks of alaska may have been the easiest to predict, and that's a stretch, as it is.

it's kind of like if i'd been asked five years ago if the lead singer of hootie and the blowfish and jessica simpson would ever put out country albums. if the new kids on the block would ever reunite. (should i be ashamed to admit that i've spent most of the day humming "summer time"?) if lindsay lohan would decide to play for the other team. (interestingly enough, my male friends harboring crushes on lindsay seem to be nothing if not more interested in her, in light of the new situation. go figure. )

but i digress....and before that, i think i was getting ahead of myself.

i thought about making this my usual photo-happy post-trip post, but will attempt to use a modicum of restraint. however, my slacking off at work this morning involved focusing on resizing pictures for galleries, which you can find on both my myspace and facebook pages, as well as my msn space (and possibly even by the end of the day, though i don't know that i'd go so far as to put money down on it.)

thursday, 10 july 2008:

two hour delay leaving columbia. seven hours of quality time spent at the chicago o'hare airport. on the bright side, by the time i left, i was at least one book closer to reaching my goal of 50 read since my last birthday, finally making it through dave eggers' and you shall know our velocity! hiking buddies (who made the whole trip possible, might i add) picked me up at the portland airport. they seem relieved that my birthday hadn't actually passed while i was stuck at o'hare*.

friday, 11 july 2008:



multnomah falls, oregon- the second highest year-round waterfall in north america, at over 600'

saturday, 12 july 2008:

mama's birthday. as usual, sibling beat me to the punch on this one, though it's only because of the time difference. i wasn't devoted enough to the cause to set an alarm for 3:00 am just so i could be first. consolation came in the form of a short pilgrimage to haystack rock with kate:



and, later, the 102 year old wreck of the peter iredale at ft. stevens state park:



we ran out of time to visit mt. st. helens national monument, but made it to seattle in time to wander around a little before grabbing sushi, followed by mojitos at a nearby restaurant with the crankiest, most sullen waitress i've ever encountered. (i'm not naming names, because when we complained to the manager about her sevice, or lack thereof, it seemed like it wasn't anything the manager hadn't heard before. i would not be surprised to learn that she lost her job there and is now supporting herself running some sort of dominatrix/phone sex line. i hear some masochists dig neglect.)

sunday, 13 july 2008:

ah, seattle. i liked it better than i thought i would, though i still think nirvana was overrated. the city made me wish i'd watched singles again right before my trip, just so i'd have a little more familiarity with my surroundings. then again, i just realized that if that movie were a child, it'd be driving now. that's a little unsettling.

in the event you find yourself wandering around seattle, definitely check out the underground tour. (that's the officia link, complete with info about the underworld tour which, sadly, i didn't get to embark upon, due to bad timing.)

post tour, karen and i split up, and she reunited with kate for lunch, while i grabbed a pound of rainier cherries at pike place market (for less than the cost of a gallon of gas!) and sat down in the park to scrible out a few postcards. after a while, kate and karen found me, and kate and i carried the dinner ingredients back to our hotel** before embarking on our cruise around the bay.



dinner was tasty, though a little awkward, as our hotel allows guests to adopt beta fish during their stay. (the proceeds go to charity)as a result, we adopted gus (i believe his real name was frank), who was moved temporarily while kate cooked our salmon dinner. it was similarly awkward the previous night, when we inquired at the desk about good sushi restaurants. if gus/frank had ears, i sincerely hope he was too busy listening to himself blowing bubbles in his tank (i swear he was the most flatulent beta fish i've ever met.) to hear us discussing his distant cousins.

monday, 14 july 2008:

though the hills in seattle are pretty steep, i was itching to do a little hiking, so off to mt. rainier national park we went.


our hike to nisqually glacier seemed like a good idea on paper. i mean, it was supposed to be about a mile and a half round trip, and i was sure to get some good pictures. however, as you can see, there's a small problem of snow all over the place, even in the middle of july. since we were in tennis shoes, we decided it would be wise to abort our mission and try hiking a little further down the mountain, where there wasn't nearly so much of the white stuff.***


narada falls, also in mt. rainier national park. we attempted to hike to reflection lake from here, but had to abandon the hike when we lost the trail in the- you guessed it- snow.

tuesday, 15 july 2008:

after arriving at the hostel late monday night and nearly creaming a naked foreign chick with the bedroom door (i've already been informed that i was remiss in not taking any pictures), i stumbled out of bed early to shower and head to the train station for the ride to denali national park. wound up joined in the bathroom by a second naked foreign chick. (again, i've been instructed as to exactly how one should discreetly snap photos on one's camera phone while pretending to check the time or some such thing. too bad my phone makes a little camera noise.)



i met a guy on the train, josh, who had run away from louisiana to find himself in the alaskan wilderness. he was kind enough to take this one for me before we stashed our stuff in lockers and embarked upon a short hike:



there are relatively few established trails in the park (wandering is encouraged in the wilderness, because it keeps the tundra from getting trampled to death), and josh and i headed down the trail to horseshoe lake. here's the view of the lake from one of the smaller side trails:



and, for those readers who were disappointed about the lack of naked foreign chick photos, here's a gratuitous beaver shot:



wednesday, 16 july 2008:

after shelling out about $30 for the bus to eilson visitor center, i bid josh adieu, grabbed some snacks and a sobe (cranberry grapefruit- my favorite) and settled into my seat on the bus. i took a pretty obscene number of pictures during the 132 mile round trip, so you can appreciate my restraint here:



polychrome overlook. an article on this in a recent issue of national geographic adventure played a big role in my decision to visit denali.


another shot from polychrome overlook. this high-quality photo was taken by another tourist, whose wife so charmingly called out "tell her to take a picture of us" as this was being snapped. it made me miss being around people with manners.


while this wasn't actually my first view of mt. mckinley (or "denali", as it's also called), this was probably the best. the clouds rolled in at the summit between the time i took this and my arrival at the visitor center, which is about 30 miles from the mountain.


mt. brooks (possibly my new favorite mountain because i think it looks so cool)is on the left, and mt. mckinley is somewhere behind the clouds toward the middle/right.

after hiking around at the visitor center (and, of course, photographing the gnomes and visiting the passport stamping station) for about an hour, i hopped back on the bus for the ride back to the wilderness access center. with time to kill before the hostel shuttle was due to arrive, i went looking for the beavers at horseshoe lake again. however, something stood in my way. (that's the very short explanation. i need to save something for the award winning autobiography, of course):


the text message i sent right after being "rescued" by three people and their two dogs said (and i quote, since i saved it):

i just spent 10 minutes trapped by moose. can't say that's ever happened before.

needless to say, i was called back immediately.

i won't bore you with the details of my trip back from denali, except to say that

1. there are not words that can adequately express how much i hate chicago o'hare.

2. i still don't have any pictures of naked foreign chicks to post from my last night at the hostel in anchorage....probably because i was in bed, working on my 50th book before they got home.

which leaves, as i alluded to earlier, ringing in my birthday. perhaps this will give you some idea:


that's three legged mule, an alaskan bluegrass band. they were playing a show at panorama pizza pub, which was across the street from my hostel. you'll note their attire- somewhat piratey, right? that would be because the pizza pub was having its third annual pirate night/homemade boat floatilla.

so, putting it all together, i turned 30 in a pizza pub in the sticks of alaska, while listening to a bluegrass band (featuring an accordian, of all things!), surrounded by pirates carrying around homemade boats, which they launched at 12:30am, while it was still somewhat light outside.

like i said- i never would have predicted it.....and i have 362 days to figure out how i'm going to top it next year.

*go ahead and add o'hare to my proposed list of dante's rigs of hell (modern edition) it is easily the worst airport i have ever been in, and since i've done my fair share of travel through the atlanta and philly airports, that's saying a lot.

**i know karen and kate will be looking for it, so i should add that when we checked in, we were told that while we weren't getting an upgrade, we would be staying on the seventh floor which, as the desk employee was kind enough to point out, "is one of our highest, if not our highest floors". as you might have guessed, this was a running joke for the remainder of our trip. i forgot to mention it to kate and karen when i texted/called from alaska, but at both of the hostels, i had beds on the top bunks, which i suppose, were "one of the highest, if not the highest". *snickering*

***cue the new kids on the block. or, more precisely, weird al's parody, entitled "the white stuff"

Sunday, June 29, 2008

in which i practically dare you to make snide "mosquito bites" comments

it has recently come to my attention that i'm overdue for a post again.

(not that anyone actually pointed it out, mind you. i found myself looking for stuff to do instead of doing the stuff i need to do, and somewhere between virtual sightseeing in alaska and obsessively checking my msn messenger to see if it was still working (consider it the modern day version of picking the phone up every half hour while expecting a call....you know- just to make sure everything's working properly), i realized that i had yet to replace my post about my hot date with mr. clean with something a little less...well....lame.)

i would be remiss if i didn't acknowledge the passing of george carlin earlier this week. unlike my sibling, i was actually fortunate enough to see him perform live- twice. he came to my college back in 1997 (or was it '98?) on one tour (i took mama), and i saw him again a few years ago, when he came through columbia on another college tour. SO and i talked about trying to catch him in vegas at some point, but i'm afraid we missed his last show.

of all of his bits, probably his most famous was the "seven words you can't say on television". i've come to the conclusion that they're a lot like the seven dwarves- everyone can remember some of them, but very few people can rattle all of them off on command (and not just because they're out of quarters to put into the "swear can").

for the record, i always seem to try and substitute some version of "@!&*" (either by itself, or as half a word) in place of the one carlin dwelled on the longest. one might wonder if i'd have such a problem were i hauling around double-ds. however, i'm fairly certain were that the case, i'd have more of a problem not walking like the hunchback of notre dame.

and on that note, it's been at least twenty minutes since i checked both the mosquito forecast for denali national park and whether or not my computer's signed me out of messenger without my knowledge.....

Friday, June 20, 2008

oooohhh....shiny

i'm thinking that most cute, semi-single girls my age don't spend their friday nights getting excited over how well imaginary bald men with earrings clean their bathtubs, but hey- it could just be me.

disclaimer, in case SO stops by: no, i don't consider myself "single", but after three weeks without a visit, i doubt i'll recognize you the next time you walk through the door. this could work in your benefit, because suddenly, you could be my brand new boyfriend and the weekend could hark back to that "honeymoon phase" rather than me wanting to drop-kick you for spending all of your time on the couch, watching sports and eating snacks.

ahem. anyway.

so far this evening, i've scrubbed out my tub, given the drip pans under the stove burners their first bath in at least five years, attacked the walls with a generic mr. clean magic eraser, and bludgeoned to death a giant cockroach - sorry- palmetto bug with an empty can of raid. (as you may have assumed, i found out the can was empty right before the bludgeoning. it seemed like the thing to do at the time.)

yeah, i thought i was a loser back in high school, when i either spent friday night at work, at home, or cruising for guys who, really, were far less attractive in hindsight. yet, even then, i never thought i'd one day spend my friday night with mr. clean and a dead roach.

so, who's willing to take me out next friday night?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

over the...uh...dry creekbed and through the woods....

after work today, i gave in to the urge. since my hiking buddy moved 2 1/2 hours away, hot dog the gnomad was happy to accompany me on my 6.6 mile trek. here are some views from along the oakridge trail:



i think i managed to tick off every spider along the trail, except for this one. thankfully, i'm short, and he'd constructed his web higher than most of the others.



there's nothing quite like stopping to take in the view....of mosquito breeding grounds. despite being covered pretty much head to toe in bug spray, i did not come away completely unscathed.





Friday, June 13, 2008

plan b: find sugar daddy

they claim you can get rich by working at home. today was my first official day "working from home", and not only am i not rich yet, but i didn't exactly accomplish a whole lot, either.

when the bosses announced they were moving 2 1/2 hours south, i freaked out. i mean, this latest development, combined with SO moving out just over 6 months ago (which basically doubled my expenses), led to a slight sense of financial insecurity. was i going to have to get one of those "grown-up" jobs, where you have to wear uncomfortable clothing in an effort to look "professional"? and this baloney about only getting two weeks' vacation each year? would i have to finally memorize the rules of french conjugation, just so i could emigrate and take advantage of the stronger euro and the seven weeks of vacation time?

thankfully, i was spared all of this potential unpleasantness, because our billing office is swamped with projects, and the bosses were informed by the billing manager that if they didn't get her some help, things would get very ugly very quickly. unfortunately, the billing office is only open mondays through wednesdays, which means that i've gone from around 50 hours/week (much to our CFO's chagrin) to around 27 hours/week.......which pays part of my rent, if i'm extremely lucky.

it was decided that maybe i could work from home the other two days/week....hopefully enough to get me up to at least 40 hours/week.

so, anyway, since i spent yesterday doing some freelance work for yet another boss (i'm up to almost half a dozen by now, technically), today was my first official day "working from home".

the good news: i got a lot accomplished.

the not-so-good news: the list consists mostly of laundry (3 loads!), dishes (1 load), vacuuming, changing sheets, dusting, scrubbing walls with the mr. clean magic eraser, running to the post office, and compiling yet another box of donations for goodwill.

as you may have noticed, none of that sounds particularly businesslike.

total time spent doing actual business-related tasks: 3 hours (including stuff for the freelance gig)

total time spent cleaning, straightening, errand-running, and wondering if it was too hot outside to go wander around my local national park: 8 hours

i'm hoping to be a little more productive next week. otherwise, i might have to look into finding a way to multitask- work at home while scrubbing out the shower (which is on my "to do" list) and trying to master the art of making tabouleh.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

waving the white apron

profound realization for the week:

on wkrp, loni anderson probably looked perky all the time because even when it was 100 degrees outside, the radio station was kept at a brisk 50-something degrees.

i kid you not. highs in the low 100s were forecast all weekend, and here i sat, in my cargo pants, t-shirt, and light jacket. someone pointed out yesterday that this building has three different climates, and i don't doubt it. the studio side of the building isn't too bad- somewhere in the 70s, i'd guess. however, when heading to the bathroom, one can't help but wonder if someone left the freezer next door wide open. had i not packed the bosses' space heater last week, i'd contemplate smuggling it into the building, to make those retreats to "my private office" a little less jarring.

anyway, you don't want to read about my struggle to stay warm, yet not look like a total dork when i walk across the parking lot while wearing a jacket on a 100-degree afternoon.

you want to read about something far more exciting:

parsley

woo-hoo! this is what my life has come to- getting excited about garnishes!

i'm kidding. sort of.

one of the goals on the list of "30 things to do before i turn 30" is to master three new recipes. so far, i have gotten crepes under control....which, of course leaves two recipes to go...in the next five or so weeks.

note that i said "still leaves", not "left".

to make a long story short, let me share with you a sample of the email i just sent the master of taboule:

tried to make taboule like yours.

failed.

now, i won't say i failed miserably, as the end product is vaguely edible, but i'm not whipping up a batch for visiting dignitaries anytime soon.

so, rather than potentially embarrass myself by telling you exactly what i did, let me know if i missed anything...

while we're at it, what's the approximate parsley/tomato ratio? i'm pretty sure the breath-freshening power of my trial-run taboule is strong enough to combat that salsa at moe's that's impervious to toothpaste, mouthwash, and a dozen altoids.


i left out the part about the blender....and the debate over how clean a floor has to be before the "five second rule" can be called into play, but i'm pretty sure my email gave enough detail to adequately express my distress.

sort of like loni anderson's boobs and the temperature inside the wkrp building.

(ok, maybe not quite, but i'm sure at least one of my male readers appreciates the visual.)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

coming out of the closet

as i fired up the email this morning, i learned that i may have been onto something in my younger years.

(lest my parents think they finally have a "reasonable" explanation for some of the creative clothing combinations i wore in public in my awkward preteen years, let me point out that i said "onto something", not "on something". therefore, that mystery remains unsolved, as far as they're concerned.)

anyway, several times during my childhood in baltimore (generally during summers, when i didn't have much to do, as i recall), i hauled everything out of my closet, dragged in a pillow, a blanket or two, a flashlight, and several books. while i don't recall ever actually spending the night in my closet (are you kidding? i couldn't sleep with the closet open until i moved to south carolina- because of the monsters, of course), several afternoons were spent hanging out in there, reading and rearranging the blankets.

anyway, i share this testament to my incredibly active social life during my younger years because it seems i'm not the only one who's set up camp in a closet.

however, unlike today's newsmaker, i used my own closet as my hideout.

after reading the article, i was left with several questions:

~was the top shelf of the closet somehow reinforced? i mean, obviously, the woman wasn't exactly a 300-pounder, but still- i don't think the top of my closet could support my weight- especially for the better part of a year.

~when did she take her showers? did he not notice the extra towel on the bar in the bathroom? the condensation on the shower door? what about weekends, when he was home from work? or are we going to go with the stereotype regarding the workaholism of the japanese?

~am i the only one who immediately thought of lazlo hollyfeld while reading this article?

~while she was in his closet, did she take it upon herself to sort through his apparel and weed out some of his oh-so-stylish pieces, like the orange plaid polyester blazer, the tye-dyed hemp hoodie, and the heeled boots, a la prince?

which reminds me, perhaps when i get home tonight, it'll be time for a little closet-weeding of my own. after all, i need somewhere to hang the hammock.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

i swear these things must be dusted with coke....

okay, not really, but somehow, i've managed to hoover down the better part of a bag of harvest cheddar sunchips during my ten hour p.m. stretch at the radio station today. i thought putting the bag in my car would help, in seeing as how i'm feeling pretty lazy, but i underestimated the pull of fake cheese powder. i'm like a large, wingless, blondish moth to a flame....okay, maybe not exactly a flame, but there's a picture of the sun on the bag, which probably counts for something.

when my hand hasn't been in the chip bag (as it obviously isn't right now, given that i've not yet mastered the art of typing quickly/accurately with my hand in the bag), i've managed to accomplish...uh....pretty much bupkis.

okay- maybe that's not quite accurate. yesterday, i worked 12 hours here at the station, including a six-hour stint where i could actually be heard on the (brace yourself) country station. even more interesting: i did well enough that i'm going to be back on the air next saturday (the 31st) from noon to 6pm eastern.

so, i just need to get hardcore rap and r&b out of the way, and i think i will have hit every major musical genre there is. i wonder if they give you a little certificate with some gold stars on it or something like that.

this morning's shift was spent... uh.... is it bad that i can't really recall what i did this morning? i mean, i was here, i went to the tea machine in the lounge at least three times, and the rest is a very fuzzy blur.

nice to know i spent my sunday morning doing something meaningful, isn't it?

i've been marginally more productive this afternoon/evening. i ate a couple of times (SO's in town and bought me a ridiculous amount of groceries on the way home from seeing the latest indiana jones flick last night, so i spent my break between shifts making bastardized chicken cordon bleu, tortellini with prosciutto and artichokes, and broccoli with horseradish sauce), scribbled on avon brochures, and figured out the invoices for the shipment that should hit my doorstep tuesday night.

so, i'm afraid i haven't had the most productive of weekends. on the other hand, after a week of packing the bosses' worldly possessions, maybe i needed a little bit of a break.

oh, yes- i had to actually use bubble wrap for a "grown up" purpose this week. do you know how hard it is for me to resist the urge to pop every single bubble on a sheet of bubble wrap? keep in mind that i was the creative genius who insisted on laying bubble wrap on the floor of our dining room before a college party we threw in maryville. (it seemed like an idea at the time, though i don't think anyone else realized the brilliance of my plan- even after a few uh, refreshments.)

unfortunately, we ran out of bubblewrap before i could wrap myself in it and climb into a box. (you might say i'm not taking this move well, especially since i've seen my sidekick on an almost-daily basis for over 4 1/2 years now, and now i'm unsure how often i'll get to see her- if at all. she, however, is somewhat oblivious to this change, as when i told her the other night that i was going to miss her, her response was, "my teacher says you have to move with us.")*

ah, what i wouldn't give to be blissfully ignorant.

i think most of the major tchotchkes were taken care of last week, including various vases and baskets with various fake plants contained within. (the first box was marked, "did someone demand a shrubbery?". by the fourteenth fake plant, i was calling them as i saw them. so, tomorrow, i think i can look forward to clearing out the spices in the pantry, the strangely shrunken backup towels in the linen closet upstairs, and whatever may be lurking in between the couch cushions.

maybe i'll get lucky and find a sunchip or two, since i sincerely doubt what's left of this bag will last the night......

*sidekick's other little nugget of wisdom fell out of her mouth friday night, when she told me (and then her parents, over dinner) that they should be paying me a lot to pack. their response? her dad told her they were going to let her pay me, which frustrated her a little because, as she pointed out, she doesn't have any money.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

a long lost friend returns, and i'm too excited to focus

i have all sorts of things i've been contemplating posting about lately- but first, i need to share a couple of things with you:

thing one: i was thrilled to find out a favorite radio station from my childhood is back. i've been listening to their stream all day. where else can you hear the cult, jack johnson, siouxsie and the banshees, depeche mode, temple of the dog, and that timeless classic- "detachable penis"- all in one day? okay- without raiding my cd collection, smartypants.

thing two: through the whfs2 website, i found the new nine inch nails album- a free download. now, all i have to do is figure out which song to take off of my ipod to make room for "discipline".

okay. now that that's out of the way, onto bigger and better things......forgive me if i'm a little scattered this evening- i think i've had a little too much baja blast during the course of the day, and i'm too hopped up on caffeine to sit still for long or stick to one thought for any length of time.

~i've had a whopping nine hours of sleep this weekend, counting my hourlong powernap between shifts today. however, this does not count whatever length of time i wound up dozing in front of monty python's life of brian yesterday. (right now, i'm sure about four of my readers are saying, "how could you...?", but when you've had 3 1/2 hours of sleep, a footlong sub, and are laying comfortably on the couch, things happen.)

i was more than a little startled to wake up to the sight of graham chapman.... naked. in fact, i think that may be part of the reason why i had such problems getting to sleep before 12:30am.

needless to say, i'm hoping i timed my last sip of baja blast so that i'll have no problems getting to sleep when i get home at a quarter after midnight.....but preferably not a minute earlier, as i really would prefer to make it home before dozing off.

~i'm thrilled to report that i've finally finished putting together SO's photo album from our whitewater rafting trip in the Grand Canyon last October. now, all i have to do is get my album done, and then i can print out and assemble the bahamas, ireland, and last summer's big western trip. (a little behind? moi? surely you jest.)

~i am also thrilled to report that, though i'm more than a little unsettled about the bosses' impending move (2 weeks), i think i've arranged my work situation so i won't have to take up stripping to pay the bills. this is a very good thing, as i'd have to find an establishment far enough out of town so as not to run the risk of accepting $20s from anyone i know (okay- maybe only $10s, since i haven't worked out in awhile and i did eat junk food all weekend), yet close enough to civilization that if some drunk tried to forcibly persuade me into giving a private session, there would be poeple around to her me scream and kick him in the nuts.

also, i'd have to find a sense of rhythm and stiletto-walking skills, and i don't think you can pick those up at walmart or target.

~i was a bad, bad girl at best buy last night. so bad, in fact, that i had a store employee stalking me, asking if i had a reward zone card. the cashier told me to come back soon, and the security guy asked if i'd bought enough dvds. the next time i get the urge to "pick up a couple of movies", someone needs to stage an intervention. the kicker is that i even took a list with me. three things wound up crossed off of it, despite the fact that i had about ten items in my bag as i wandered out of the store in shame.

damn you, best buy. damn you.

on the bright side, a three pack of the indiana jones flicks was on sale, so now i can watch the temple of doom (all i remember from my last viewing was something about monkey brains) and the last crusade (the one with sean connery and the revelation that "jehovah" is spelled with an "i") before the latest installment comes out on thursday.

...assuming i can tear myself away from the audio stream for a couple of hours at a time, that is.....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

...did i mention the dust bunny wore shoes?

perhaps i'll get around to a real post later this weekend, but thought i'd share something i found whilst (i actually got an email last week that contained the word "whilst". perhaps after i finish the great decluttering, i'll even write him back.) clearing out my closet (needed more room for the skeletons).

if, like me, you are (slowly) recovering from a bad tennis shoe habit, and some of your older specimens are a little worse for wear (i.e. the soles have been hot glued back on a few times, mostly because hot glue isn't really designed to adhere rubber to foam and five minutes after they've cooled, the soles flop back off, yet for some reason, you figure that if you just maybe smear on a little extra hot glue, it'll somehow bond everything together and you can wear those lucky shoes, the ones that saw you get hit on by a pleathora of drunk boys (or girls, as the case may be) at mardi gras ten years ago, as you're training for your first marathon (or half....or just a really major trip to the grocery store)

where was i? ah yes- rather than tossing the old sneakers (i feel badly about clogging up a landfill with my tennis shoes, which is my excuse for not getting rid of them- even the beloved mardi gras veterans- a while back) onto the trash, send them here:

nike recycling center
c/o reuse a shoe
26755 sw 95th ave
wilsonville, or 97070

nike grinds up old sneakers (no matter what brand, which is good, since 3/6 of the pairs i sent were adidas) and uses the resulting material to make playground padding. pretty cool, eh? check out the details here.

i wonder if, given the advanced age of a couple of my donations, i should toss an air freshener or two into my box....or at least scribble "open in a well-ventilated area" on the outside......

Sunday, May 11, 2008

so this dust bunny walks into a bar....

i'm on a roll.....except when it comes to blogging, apparently, since i just realized (as i was catching up on comments) that it's been a month since i've attempted to pound out something mildly entertaining for your reading enjoyment. as usual, i have an excuse:

i've been cleaning.

i know, i know, it sounds lame. however, since i've been home more than usual lately, i've had time to become fully aware of the clutter in my apartment, right down to the embarrassingly thick dust on the baseboards- most of which, for the record, has been transferred from baseboards to vacuum, which finally experienced its first bag change since its purchase a couple of years ago....and i'm afraid i mean "couple" in a polygamist sort of sense.

with SO only up to visit a couple of weekends a month, i've had ample time on my hands to undo the grungier effects of long-term coabitation. i scrubbed the bathroom counters while on the phone after work one night. the kitchen counters were attacked another evening, though i think a more serious effort (involving clorox and perhaps an industrial-strength buffer) is needed at some point in the near future. probably before i borrow a hammer and chisel to take care of the petrified gunk resulting from five years' worth of spills between the fridge and the edge of the kitchen counter.

i hate to give the impression that we had housekeeping and cleanliness standards akin to those of your average cro-magnon, but after awhile, the little spills add up and quite frankly, after a day of cleaning at work (which is basically what my "personal assistant" position has morphed into), the last thing i feel like doing when i get home is scrubbing linoleum.

so, after a long period of uncertainty regarding its existence, i am pleased to report that i actually had a counter between my kitchen and dining room. i figured there must have been something holding up the envelopes, tax-related paperwork, halloween candy in various stages of petrification, random soda tabs (i knew someone once who was collecting them for a good cause. too bad i can't for the life of me remember who it might've been), george carlin 2005 page a day calendar, and jelly belly jellybean dispenser.

i'd provide photographic evidence, but i'm afraid the shock of seeing a clean horizontal surface in my apartment might finish mama off. she's too young to die, so really, it's in her best interest that i withhold such a photograph.

in addition to scrubbing and vacuuming, i've been decluttering. one of my goals before 30 is to give a box to goodwill per month. right now, i think i'm covered through roughly june 2009. furthermore, i've itemized everything i've parted with since early april.

i'm all over this.

this is a huge step for someone who, up until a couple of weeks ago, still had intact issues of metal edge magazine from the days when it was perfectly acceptable for boys to have big hair.

oh yes, it was that bad.

since i started the great decluttering, i've parted with five boxes of paper (old articles, posters, and magazines), the last four binders of patterns and project ideas from my stint teaching preschool, seven boxes and four tall kitchen garbage bags of possessions bound for goodwill, and three boxes of toys, books, et cetera that i toted off to the "surrogate parents" for their (and their kids') enjoyment.

i still have a long way to go, though. i have to finish numerous photo albums and buy negative sleeves in bulk before two bags of random photos (mostly doubles) can head out the door- and that's not counting the roughly twenty five rolls sitting on my dining room table, waiting to be developed. i have to evaluate whether or not i'm going to ever play a few board games that have been sitting, unopened, on the entertainment center shelf for the past few years. the oversized stuffed lobster and walrus have come close to heading out the door several times, but the lobster will look good in the lobster trap once i've finished cleaning it out, and really, who can deny the appeal of a stuffed walrus that actually groans when you push on its butt?

the appeal of carpeting that no longer crunches when you walk on it, however, is undeniable.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

the long arm of the law

it started the day i got back from hawai'i.

there i was, minding my own business, sorting through the pile of mail that jumped out of my box as soon as i opened it.

bill
bill
catalog
fabulous credit card offer i can afford to pass up
bill
important looking envelope from the dentsville magistrate
rolling stone
catalog
other random envelopes and catalogs that aren't really registering right now because i'm trying to figure out what i've done to warrant correspondence from someone of a legal nature.

long story short (because i the paperwork is actually holding my place in my current reading material):

1. the body still hasn't been found.
2. nor have those stashes or hardcore drugs i'm constantly pulling out and snorting/smoking/shooting/sticking in my bellybutton.
3. i haven't been caught sleepspeeding on my way home from work again. (uh oh- hope i didn't just jinx myself with that one.)

it seems i've been called to do my civic duty. in the last major election, i voted for the candidate no one else in my state wanted (i seem to be a blue amongst the reds), and now i must pay my penance by sitting in a courtroom and listening to hardcore check-bouncers spin their tales of woe.

getting excused was not an option, though i was advised to yell out "nuke 'em all" during jury selection, so i'd be able to resume my regularly scheduled toilet scrubbing and floor sweeping at work.

don't get me wrong- there are some things i really love about my job: the coworkers, the kids, the flexible vacations, the way the puppies refuse to let me go out to the mailbox all by myself......



.....but i don't love scrubbing toilets and sweeping floors...especially when the dry lawn necessitates doing the latter on a daily (at least once, if not twice) basis.

so, the thought of spending my time raking in the big bucks while catching up on my reading and possibly giving those serial check bouncers an opportunity to practice balancing their checkbooks while doing hard time in whatever the south carolina equivalent of alcatraz may be......well, it had a little appeal. i mean, after all, it worked for pauly shore, didn't it?

(egads- did you know pauly's 40 now? i had no idea.....)

but i digress.

i agonized over what to wear for my first day of jury duty. i mean, i'm a jeans and sneakers sort of girl, and i was informed that such an outfit would hardly be appropriate for such a serious matter.

jeans were out, but that didn't mean i didn't have other options. i mean, i could have played this several ways:

~stilettos and a mini (in case there was some sort of "brawling in a strip joint" case on the docket.)*

~sweats and those stupid boxing gloves i paid twenty bucks for when i took tai-bo several years ago (for a hit and run case, of course)**

~eyepatch and crutches (surely they haul in the folks who park illegally in handicapped spaces every now and then. this is the one instance when i would be likely to yell "nuke 'em all!")

~plain black dress, sensible shoes (i'd have to borrow some, since i doubt the plaid doc martens would count), cardigan, and glasses (just in case there's a case involving failure to return overdue library books.....or a lawsuit brought by a librarian against the adult film industry claiming slander or perversion of a formerly respected occupation....and why am i reminded of the episode of "tales from the crypt" that starred adam ant and took place in a library?)

sorry- digressed again.

i finally settled on a plain shirt and khakis...but drew the line when it came to footwear. the plaid chuck taylors just seemed to tie the outfit together.***

i'd told the bosses the night before that i had jury duty and that they'd see the whites of my eyes only if i finished before i had to meet a friend/coworker for the def leppard concert that night.****

as it turned out, my stint as a juror was technically over before it began.

i was supposed to show up at the courthouse (actually a storefront in a strip mall, if you can believe it) at 10am sharp. in a rare show of overpunctuality, i got there at 9:55. i parked my car, took a wrong turn into (and back out of) the storefront for the DMV, and wandered toward the proper office at 9:57. as i approached the door, a woman came out and held it for me.

"are you a juror?"

"yes"

"well, we had a lot of cases on the docket this week, but all of them have been settled, so you're off the hook."

dammit- there went my chance to convict the most ruthless check bouncer in the whole county, which would surely lead to a book deal and an appearance as a member of a panel on some hard-hitting news show, which, of course, val kilmer/matthew mcconaughey/johnny depp would be watching on the edge of his seat, and he would be so dazzled by my brilliance and ability to walk in stilettos while wearing an eyepatch and using my boxing gloves to carefully drape my cardigan around my shoulders that he'd show up at my front door as soon as he could possibly catch a flight to columbia and ask if he could balance my checkbook.....

whoa- sorry about that. digressing again.

perhaps i'll go ahead and write that book anyway....just as soon as i'm done sweeping the floor.


*this would never have worked. i'm still learning how to walk in some 3" stilettos i bought on sale in phoenix last year, in the hopes that i'll get that particular goal off my "to do before 30" list.

**blame my dad for that one. i was raised to always smell the bad pun coming and to jump on it with enthusiasm.

***sorry about that. blame dad for that one, too.

****i will save the bulk of the concert for another post, but i can't help but take the opportunity to openly admit that:
1. phil collen has always been my favorite member of def leppard- and i have the posters ripped out of metal edge magazine to prove it and
2. i'm glad i called dibs early on, because he may be 50, but he's built more like a buff twentysomething. i can certainly think of far worse ways to spend a morning/lunch break/evening than having that torso invade my personal space.