Saturday, April 28, 2007

I like Monday.

When I was in eighth grade, my parents took me to see a tour of South Pacific, starring Robert Goulet. We waited by the stage door and my star-struck 13-year-old self got autographs from all of the actors.

And we waited.

Finally, his royal highness Robert Goulet appeared. A big group of women had waited for him to show up, and he signed autographs for each and every one.

I was intimidated, and I guess I mumbled when he asked my name so that he could personalize the autograph.

"Your name is DUCKIE?" he bellowed at me.

I wanted to die of embarrassment. I corrected him, and he gave me my autographed program. I was beet red, but I had been bellowed at by a legend. Ok.

I love Will Ferrell, but I must admit that his Goulet impressions leave me leary - be gentle with Goulet! If ever he would leave you, it wouldn't be in summer, you know.

So, I've been loving the recent Emerald Nuts campaign featuring Goulet. The TV spots of Goulet going in and messing with people's stuff during the 3 p.m. energy lull are a hoot. However, I came across their online presence, and OMG.

Emerald Nuts, I tip my hat to you. You've done it up right. Your creativity and fearlessness will surely be rewarded.

And my dear, sweet Goulet? My love for you grows greater every day. Good for you for being in on the joke and introducing a whole new audience to your awesomeness in the process.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Get the hell out of Dodge.

On of my mommyblogger friends recommended True Mom Confessions.

If you have kids and need a breather, you’ll like it.

One of the confessions listed today:

I told my husband I wanted a divorce and he told me if I ever left him he would kill me because I was not going to take the kids.


At first, I felt sick.

And then, I thought, “So, how do you respond to that? ‘Oh, ok, honey,’ and then scheme and save and get the hell out?”

And then, I felt a knot in the deepest recesses of my gut.

I know now why I don’t want kids.

It was so hard to get out by myself. How would I ever get out with kids?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The paparazzi's flash is blinding

Today was Maintenance Day for the geriatric poodle. He had a day of beauty at the spa. And he had his monthly eye check with the vet. The vet with whom I am secretly in lurve.

Dear Dr. Vet:
I know you are old enough to be my dad and drive a decidedly unmasculine purple pick-up, but I am enamored with you and have been for the last six years even though I know it would never work out between us but I don't care because I lurve you.
Cha Cha

What were we talking about again?

The eyes. Right.

They're bad. The pressures aren't improving, and the cataracts continue to march forward. My sweet little baby is going blind.

This isn't a surprise. But still makes me a bit sad. Except ... he's such a happy dog. I hardly think that he's becoming depressed as his eyesight diminishes. He still jumps around every morning like a puppy in that "OMG! It's morning! And we get to go out in the yard! And then get a treat! This is the best!" sort of way. The only difference now is that he runs into the coffee table as he jumps around.

So, I guess we're ok.

I had to laugh, tho. Dr. Vet took the kid in the back for the eye test, and when he came back, he reported that I am famous - so famous that my dog is one of the vet tech's roommate's cell phone wallpaper.

Got that? Good.

In other words, this pup has been seen for so many different things that they all know him and love him and he's quite the popular dude. I'm really more of his chauffeur than anything else. And really, I'm down with that. I'm lucky.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Well, how did I get here, part deux

The eHarmonizing is ok. I've traded questions with one dude. Based on five extremely basic questions like "What's your ideal date?," he doesn't seem like a serial killer. Yet.

It's just surreal. I'm "getting to know" someone by asking if they'd prefer Paris or Hawaii as a vacation destination. How the hell did this happen?

In a moment of self-indulgence, I checked out He Who Shall Not Be Named's profile. He's added some new pictures, including one of a golden retriever puppy sitting on a chair.

Now, I am allllll about the canines. I love me some dogs. But this particular adorable pup with fluffy fur and Princess Di eyes?

I am indifferent.

The pup is sitting in a chair in my old living room. And I look at this photo and think, "I bought that cushion and that pillow. The cushion came from Target. I don't remember where I got the pillow, but it used to be on the couch with those velour pillows..."

And now I'm seeing my former living room as a staging area for dating site photos for the man that I once thought was my soul mate.

I honestly don't think I'm hung up on him. I know it's time to really get back into the dating pool, and I think I can really give this a shot. But it's surreal.

The entire experience of online dating is so opposite of what I knew before. There are no drunken fraternity parties online. 65 of my very best sorority sisters aren't there. I'm alone. And the one person I who I thought would be around is plagiarizing my flair for home decor as he attempts to sell himself as some ad exec / triathlete superman.


Monday, April 23, 2007

I like Monday.

This week, I like Monday is all about my love of cheesy 80s movies and my love of animals.

My all-time guiltiest of guilty pleasures is Flashdance. "I want ... so much!" The dialogue is horrible, the plot is completely implausible, and the music is one giant cliche.

In other words, Flashdance is celluloid perfection.

Another strong contender in the race for Cha Cha's cheesiest 80s movie is The Karate Kid. Tell me you don't laugh at and completely appreciate any dude who dresses as a shower for Halloween. Brilliant!

I also like animals, right? I prefer dogs, but have been known to appreciate any cat who doesn't get all up in my grill to share allergic goodness.

So. Combine the 80s cheese factor and a cat. Turn up the sound. And prepare to be dazzled.

You're the best! Around!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I can't touch bottom

I've been on eHarmony for exactly 19 hours and I have already learned that you must be rather pragmatic about online dating.

I've had communication closed by four of my 12 matches. Two said they are pursuing other relationships. One said he didn't feel the chemistry. (These are canned responses - I guess you get to pick one when you close communication.) The fourth said "Other."


I'm assuming it's because this guy is 6'9". I'm 5'3".

So "Other" means "you're too damn short."

My last boyfriend was 6'6", so it's not like I'm afraid of people who block the sun, or that I haven't mastered the art of getting it on with someone who is a foot and a half taller than me. But I guess it's a good thing that Mr. Other isn't stringing me along. Or something like that.

This whole process terrifies me just a bit. I filled out the questionnaire and I posted a photo. But I'm waiting for one of my matches to contact me. Not because I'm old fashioned. But because it took a lot to get me into the pool, and at this point, I don't think it's crazy to wait for someone else to start the splashing.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I am Linus Larrabee.

Last night was Big Stoopid Gala, for which I have been volunteering for the last three years. This year, one of the co-chairs was a dude 27 going on 70, and frankly, it's a miracle that I didn't kill him. Last night, my marketing co-chair and I went to the event as friends, basked a tish in the glory of an event that went off well, and tried not to guffaw when the insane co-chair started talking about next year.

Dude, it will be a cold day in hell before I volunteer for this event again. Cheers!

We had a fun group at our table, including The Old Guy, a gentleman whom I dated briefly a year ago and who told me on our first day that his sister told him he was required to tell me that his divorce wasn't final. Umm, ok. I like him a lot, but wasn't terribly attracted to him, and he had a lot of emotional baggage he was toting around. I have dinner with him every few months now and it's always fun, but I'm glad that we're just friends.

Very long and dull story short, The Old Guy ended up totally hooking up with a very obnoxious sorority sister of mine last night. In a very obnoxious way.

On one hand, more power to them both.

On the other hand, geez, thanks a lot. Because I am conceited like that.

And I'm lonely. And I want to be adored and adore someone right back. And I am so very, very afraid.

My marketing co-chair is very handsome and super funny and by all accounts, a terrific catch. We sat in my driveway and talked for about five minutes when he dropped me home, and then I went inside. And while I was brushing my teeth, I thought, "Well, how would that have worked? Would I have asked him to come inside? He would have laughed at me. And if you invite someone inside, does that automatically mean the dirty deed? Or can you invite someone inside for some necking on the couch and then tell them to hit the road? And I went to this rather fun party tonight and now I feel like crap, and what's that all about?"

I had forgotten about the awkwardness and the fear of meeting someone new. And yet I know it's time. I have no clue what I'm doing, but whatever it is, I know it's time to do it. Funny thing, life seems to be going on all around me, regardless of whether I decide to get with the program or not. I'm missing out.

I have a life's work. I just don't have a life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The English majors didn't need your help, Cho.

Like the rest of the world, I'm horrified by the recent events at Virginia Tech. I've been amazed by the matter-of-fact accounts by students who survived the rampage - while I know that they are literally in shock, this is the first time I've ever felt really disassociated from college students. Like, these are no longer my people. Like, I am old.

And maybe because I am older, the really horrifying thing to me is the idea of having to call my mother and say, "It's ok - I'm alive."

Because it's not ok. It's not ok for any parent, anywhere, to ever have to worry if their child is physically harmed, if it was their child who died on the scene, if their baby will need years and years of therapy to deal with half an hour of horror.

There are so many people writing about the situation, about the societal implications, about the paralyzing grief, about opinions that are better informed than mine, so we'll let them take care of that.

I need to speak out on behalf of a people who are misrepresented by this tragedy.

I'm talking about the English majors.

We are the people whose parents groan when we announce our chosen major. Ours is a path littered with "so, gonna live in the parents' basement, huh?" and "so, I guess you're gonna teach?" comments.

When our friends with accounting and engineering degrees start out making $50K right out of school, we're the unpaid interns investigating food stamps. But by god, we can write.

We can write, and if we are lucky, we realize that this is actually a fairly rare skill, and we build careers upon it. If we are lucky, we live to tell that an English degree is a useful tool. It's not like majoring in Primitive Cultures.

I put up with my fair share of tortured artistes in my degree program, dudes who announced on the first day of that sophomore seminar that this was, indeed, their life's work, and that we'd better take their shitty ars poetica very, very seriously. I've smiled and nodded and made mental notes to never wear clothing promoting the latest beer bash, lest I out myself as a brainless sorority girl. I have played the game.

And there have been a few creepy folks that I generally avoided, people who fancied themselves as dark and tortured. The creative writing they submitted for peer review was usually about cutting or incest or something. But I never ran into a student who made me afraid. And for that, my heart goes out to the Hokies - they shouldn't have ever been afraid of a fellow student, either - no matter what his major.

The idea of Nikki Giovanni threatening to resign unless Cho Seung-Hui was removed from her class really floors me. She's a bad-ass poet, and has admittedly taught "troubled" students. So what made Cho different? And how do you, as an individual, help without placing yourself in harm's way?

This former classmate of Cho notes that there's no process in place for saying, "This dude might have some issues - can you check it out?"

In a world where we're suddenly the grown-ups, who do you tell?

Monday, April 16, 2007

I like Monday.

Because I never have anything interesting to say on Mondays (or any other day, but that's another issue), here at Noodleroux headquarters we're rolling out a new feature: I like Mondays. Each week, I'll wax poetic about something I like.

That's it.

Sort of leaves you breathless, doesn't it?

This week, I'm pleased to talk about the King of Horror: Stephen King.

Now, before you dismiss this post as yet another rambling from a sci-fi or horror aficionado who lives in their parents' basement and/or aspires to be a serial killer, let me clarify.

I've never read any of Uncle Steve's novels. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I'm a fan of his book On Writing, and I look forward to his columns for the thinking man's trashy mag, Entertainment Weekly.

On Writing is part autobiography, part how-to manual. Its composition was interrupted by the author's life-threatening run-in with a drunk driver, and really paints a portrait of the writing life and one man's particularly interesting writing life. I had the good fortune to pick the audio version, read by the author. I've never before finished an audio book and thought, "OMG, I must run out and buy the hardcover of this book!" This is the one and only tome that had ever pushed me to this extreme.

Uncle Steve's columns for Entertainment Weekly are timely, often hilarious and thought-provoking. My only annoyance is the comments section of the Web site where there's usually at least one hater who says Uncle Steve needs to stick to horror. Puhleez. These comments are usually filled with typos, so that's all you need to know right there.

The ET columns cover everything from great books you've never heard of to movie prognostications from Uncle Steve's pal The Longhair. And the columns are smart. And don't you feel compelled to weigh the opinion of a man who hatched Carrie while working in a laundry?

I admire Uncle Steve. I just don't want to read his novels. Because I live alone. And I get spooked by anyone whispering, "Red rum! Red rum!"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why I'm signing up for online dating

My family friend Bea called my mom last fall to chat. After about 10 minutes, she made a confession.

She was setting me up. With her ear, nose, and throat doctor. In her words, he was a darling, sweet man with three kids who just got divorced, and I was the nicest young lady she knew and she just knew that we'd have a lot to talk about.

Did I mention that this ENT specialist lives four hours away from me? And that Bea is 86 years old?

The doctor sounds swell, but he evidently demurred Bea's set up, noting that his divorce isn't even final yet. Ok. But Bea is the real concern here.

I want to be Bea when I grow up.

Bea is very tall and statuesque, and I've never seen her without red lipstick. And she's usually wearing something metallic. Bea is fabulous.

She had a hard time when her husband died about 10 years ago, but she seems to have bounced back well. She's very active, and she goes to Arizona every winter.

Bea called my mom again this week. "I just had to let you know," she said. "I've - I've met someone!"

Because Bea knows no strangers, she was of course invited to a barbecue at the home of her neighbors in Arizona. The barbecue was in honor of their uncle, who was visiting for the week. Bea and Uncle Ken hit it off. They spent time together that week, and then he flew home to Texas.

Ken called Bea when he got home. "I'm standing in the doorway of my house, and my suitcase is still at my feet. I'm just missing you so much - do you think it's weird that I just bought a ticket to fly back to Arizona? Do you feel this way, too?"

He went back to Arizona. They continued keeping time.

One of Bea's friends back home had this dude checked out by a private investigator, because everybody loves Bea and wants to look out for her. Ken was legit.

Bea called my mom this week because Ken was coming this weekend to ask her family's permission to marry their mother.

"I'm giddy," she said. "I'm just over the moon! I know it's crazy, but we don't have a lot of time, and I don't want to waste any of it."

And that is the story of my fabulous friend Bea, who proves that you can feel like a teenager at any age if you're just open to it.

And I know that none of us have a lot of time. And none of us should waste any of it.

Monday, April 9, 2007

And you may ask yourself - well, how did I get here?

I like going to Corporate Behemoth. Beyond the aforementioned people-will-notice-if-I-die thing, the building is pretty swank. We have marble floors and art everywhere. And, we have a heated, underground parking garage.

A heated garage.

Have I mentioned that I'm from Iowa and a heated garage is like an unattainable level of nirvana for my peoples?

Corporate Behemoth's building typically makes me want to wear nice shoes that I will clickety-click across the marble floors. And I find myself putting on lip gloss to walk through the lobby. After all, you just never know.

I have a coworker who tries to work from home three days a week. This astounds me. Is her house really nicer than this?

I found myself pulling out of the luxurious heated parking garage at 7:30 this evening. Because I really did work from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Because I am dedicated like that. Or I have no life like that. Or I am totally set up to fail in this job like that. Or some combination thereof.

And as I tooled around the heated parking garage in my exhaustion, I mulled over my options with moving some money around to help lessen my ginormous tax bill. Because I have options like that. Like I'm a grown-up.

Two years ago, I didn't even make the amount of money that I owe in taxes this year. How in the hell did this happen - well, beyond incredibly poor money management? Two years ago, I was doing product demos and Windexing shelves at a retail job for $7 an hour. I wasn't happy, but I knew better things were on the horizon.

No shit.

So, it's hard to be really, really upset about the tax bill. My dad made light of the situation. "Welcome to the world of the rich," he said. "Now you have to start voting Republican."

I'll never be that rich.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Embracing imminent death

In an attempt to lower my freakishly high cholesterol, I turned to my fabulous friend L, who is a born healer. She's a chiropractor, acupuncturist and nutritional guru. She's a little insane in that she drives through the city like she's still driving a rusted-out '72 pickup across her ranch and I always fear for my life when she's behind the wheel. But other than the vehicular homicide, she's totally on this earth to heal. For reals.

So, she suggested mega doses of fish oil, green tea and niacin to lower ye olde LDL. This prescription did come with a warning, tho.

"Niacin will make you want to kill somebody."

I laughed. And now, I am so totally not.

Niacin causes a bit of a flush. Like, after you take it, you turn into The Incredible Hulk. Except red, not green.

I've been channelling my inner Lou Ferrigno for the last two weeks. I've been trying to get a handle on the ins and outs of the flush. Sometimes I don't flush at all. Others, I flush for an hour. On Thursday, I was in a meeting with my boss - three hours after taking the niacin - and he interrupted himself to say, "Umm, you're all blotchy."

Unacceptable. I refuse to be the resident leper of Corporate Behemoth.

Today, I am flushing more than usual, probably because I had the gall to have two glasses of wine last night. And a Pabst. Because I'm klassy like that. But c'mon - if somebody offers you a Pabst, you totally have to take it.

And so, the slight dehydration means I'm literally the color of a red crayon. And I'm shivering, because the flush also means you flash. And then when the flash subsides, you're flippin' cold.


I gave it two weeks. I get an A for effort. I'm going to have high cholesterol and have a heart attack at 31. Fine. At least I'll retain my usual transparent skin tone, upon which my brother once commented, "I've seen milk darker than your skin."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?

My grandparents got married in 1932. They were farmers in western Kansas. Not really a great time or place to be, really. But my great-grandfather bought land for each of his five boys, and so farm they did.

My grandpa passed away last year at the age of 94. In his final year or so, he was back on the farm in his mind. He was concerned about the drought, and how the milo crop was doing. He told my dad about the latest news - his brother's barn burned.

That barn burned in 1948. But my sweet grandpa was back in the place he loved, the land that his father had bought him.

He and my grandma didn't buy farms for their three kids. But they financed graduate degrees for all three and came to financial rescue here and there.

When my dad came back from Vietnam in 1972, nobody wanted to hire him. He moved back to his hometown and started working for his dad. He eventually bought the business and still runs it today.

My parents paid for my brother and I to go to college. Now, my brother's car loan is with our parents. And now, my parents are loaning me money to pay my hideous tax bill.

I explained the situation in detail. My dad asked questions to understand the entire situation. And then he said, "Tell me how much you need."

I cried.

I cried not because I was crazy stressed about the taxes. I am. But I cried because it seems to be a given in my parents' minds that of course they will help their fat, stupid and broke daughter. They kept saying, "The folks helped us out many times - of course we want to help you, too. That's what we're here for."

I am humbled. And relieved. And feel the need to procreate just so I can give some kids some money.

On one hand, this speaks to the upper-middle class' burgeoning ability to create cross-generational wealth. But mostly it speaks to the cross-generational kindness and generosity of my family. I am so, so blessed.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Fat, stupid and broke

Sounds like a great lead-in for a dating profile, don't you think?

I realized last week that I've developed a bit of a gut. This is unacceptable. I'm hoping the walking will diminish this eyesore. So, that's the fat.

The stupid is that I knew I was going to owe some serious kizzash to the IRS. I knew it. But I was sort of blithely bobbing along, figuring that it would be OK.

Which leads us to broke. I owe various and sundry governmental agencies more tax money than I actually made my first year as a sole proprietor. Like, enough to buy a car. A car with power locks and cruise control.

I spent four and a half hours with my tax dude today. And he's going to look at my returns again in a vain attempt to whittle the number down even a teensy bit. I guess the positive thing is that if I can't afford groceries, the gut should diminish pretty quickly, eh?