Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cha Cha's Stuff of 2009: Entertainment Edition

I'm home. And I have a wretched cold. And I had to spend an hour shoveling my driveway before I could get my car in the garage and the stuff and the dogs out of the car. Pooooor Cha Cha!

So, let's not dwell on my mucus situation or the state of my driveway. Let's talk, instead, about what was kick-ass (and not so kick-ass) about 2009.

Keep in mind that this isn't necessarily stuff that came out new this year. It's stuff that I experienced this year. And I'm lame and not cool and certainly not hip, so that might mean this is old stuff that's just new-to-me.

And yes, I totally cribbed this post concept from last year. But I'm high on cold medicine. Cut me some slack.

Best memoir
The Kids Are All Right. The Welch kids were orphaned in 1985 and then basically split up. The story is horrifying, but the book is a statement on resilience and the power of family. Plus, since each for the four kids wrote sections of the book, it's a unique comment on memory, perception, and what we will ourselves to forget.

Best adventure
Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure. I seriously loooooved this book. Imagine - a world where former presidents have no Secret Service detail and think they can just take a road trip across the country. Well, that's how it was in 1953. Harry and Bess loaded up the Chrysler and took off, and then were surprised by all the attention their little trip garnered. This book is a gem.

Best nonfiction book(s)
I listen to a lot of books on CD, even though I call them "books on tape" because that just seems to roll off my tongue a lot easier than "books on CD." Anyway, I'm at the mercy of the library's CD selection and therefore listen to some stuff that I wouldn't usually read. I suppose this is good. This year, I really enjoyed listening to several of Jimmy Carter's books. I guess I've had a thing for former presidents lately.

First of all, he reads them and I love his sweet Georgia drawl. Secondly, dude has had a fascinating life! He tells of his adventures with a deep respect for the people he meets and a deep sense of responsibility to do all he can to make the world a better place. We should all be so lucky ... and so responsible and loving.

Best new "Ohmygod I have to read everything she's written" author
Cathy Lamb. I've read her three novels. The latest was published four months ago. Think she'll publish another one, say, next week? Because I'm ready.

Best surprise by a previously disappointing author
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. I loved Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but found Wells' other two books to be, well, shitty. However, my mom brought this book to Florida and in our book trades back and forth, I read this in one glorious poolside day. Great story. Loved it. Not gonna win any hoity-toity awards, but I liked it.

Best book that I thought would be fluff but was a serious novel that was good. Real good.
Firefly Lane. Yes, it's about these women and their friendship and blah blah blah ... but it's also about how folks evolve as individuals and in relationships, what women sacrifice and what they gain from those trade-offs.

Wow - I keep adding books to this list. Guess I really do like to read. Yes, I'm an English major!

But, I also like to watch moving pictures.

Best based-on-a-true-story movie
The Blind Side. I know I've written about this movie quite a bit lately, but I just totally loved it. I will now do you a giant favor and refrain from a) talking about this movie AGAIN and b) telling you about the latest dream I had featuring characters from this film. You're welcome.

Best based-on-a-blog movie
Julie and Julia. I sort of wanted to kick Julie in the head sometimes, but I also came away wanting to learn more about Julia and her lovely husband. I have a couple of books checked out about the Childs but haven't had a chance to dig in yet. Perhaps those books will appear on my 2010 list. Stay tuned.

Best use of a national treasure in a movie
The Proposal. Not because it was super awesome in every way (just in some ways), but because it brought Betty White to the big screen. I love her. And I'm not just saying that because I watch more Golden Girls reruns than the average octogenarian. I'm saying it because she's got brilliant comedic timing and it's just funny to hear grandmas talk about the S-E-X.

Best holiday movie
You know it, I know it, and yet I still feel compelled to point it out: Trading Places. Again.

Worst movie ever in the history of movies
Funny People. I hated this movie. It was too long. It was about people you don't give two shits about. I hate Jonah Hill anyway because he plays the same guy in every movie he's in. And I got a migraine during this movie but didn't ask My Guy to leave because I thought he was loving the movie, only to find out later that he hated it, too. This movie is dead to me!

Most disgusting new TV show
Hoarders. I've learned that you can't watch it while you're eating. I've also learned that it's awesome to keep an episode on your DVR for when you need inspiration to clean your damn house already. Yikes.

Best TV as a drinking game
Steven Seagal: Lawman. Now, I wanted to love this show just on principle alone. What could possibly make better TV than Steven Seagal being a real-life cop? Sadly, the answer to that is complicated ... because he's not really a real cop. He's a reserve deputy sheriff. Which means that he does training on marital arts and self defense, but other than that ... he rides along with real deputies and says stuff like, "Get 'em, Johnny!"

Oh, the disappointment.

However, My Guy and I determined that Steven Seagal: Lawman is actually a perfect drinking game. You just take a drink anytime he mentions his years of experience in the martial arts ("With more than 40 years of experience in akido, I'm one of the world's master instructors") or anything Zen ("When you shoot your weapon, don't pull the trigger - push the air, like a Zen archer when he pushes the arrow.") I don't know about you, but those quotes alone make me want to drink.

Best funny-all-the-time show
30 Rock. Again. And not just because I want to be Tina Fey when I grow up. But because her show is damn funny.

Up next: Cha Cha's Stuff of 2009: This is Your Life Edition. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 28, 2009

What's the difference between buffalo and bison?

I'm in Iowa. It's cold here. But Christmas was warm and bright.

Unless you are a doxie.

I sort of, umm, had a moment of weakness in the dollar aisle at Target. See, there were these costumes, right? And they were only $2.50 each! So, if I bought two, that was only $5! And what's a mere $5 when it comes to spreading holiday happiness, love, joy, and general goodwill?

So, maybe the costumes didn't fit precisely.
And maybe the kids looked more like bison than reindeer.
But I think the dachshund bison totally spread holiday cheer.

I think it was cold enough that they didn't even mind wearing these get-ups all day long.
Or maybe they're just playing it cool while they plot my untimely death.
Whatever. It was totally worth it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just look at her legs.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is David Letterman's Christmas show. Of course, it featured knocking a meatball off the top of a tree with a football. As you do. And it was all capped off by Darlene Love.

Girlfriend has it going ON!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Conversations with my family.

Mom: So, what'd you guys think of our Christmas letter?

Me: Uh? I liked the pictures a lot.

Poochie: Yeah, the pictures were great.

Me: But, umm? You talked about your awesome trip to Alaska and how Poochie's going to grad school and moved ... and then it said, "And Cha Cha has two dogs."

Poochie: *snort*

Me: You might as well have added, "And she is obviously not married."

Mom: I could send out an addendum.

Poochie: Yeah! And you could ask if anybody needs to get married for a green card or needs to get married so they have someone to cook and clean for them ... those are mostly widowers, but you know, you might get some interest.

Mom: It's not like you have cats. You have dogs.

Me: Right. But you made it sound like, "Cha Cha is our spinster daughter. She has a lovely collection of housecoats and many years of newspapers decorating her home."

Poochie: Hey! Did you get that e-mail I sent you about the movie I liked?

Me: Oh, yeah - Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day? Yeah! You liked it?

Mom: Ooh, that's a good one.

Poochie: Yeah, it was great. And Miss Pettigrew is a spinster!

Me: Oh, nice to see my people represented!

Poochie: But she's poor, and at least you aren't poor. So, you have that going for you.

Me: Hmm. True.

Poochie: And you're not totally pathetic like Miss Havisham. I always wondered ... did she ever take the wedding dress off? Or did she just sit in that dress for however many years and never bathe? Because after two days, I can tell that I need to take a bath. I bet she stank.

Mom: Oh - good point.

Me: Ugh. I never thought about that. Didn't she die in a fire?

Poochie: Yep. Things rarely end well for spinsters.

And ... scene!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Give a little bit. Or a lot.

My Guy and I saw The Blind Side this weekend. It was a fantastic movie. And, I'm pretty sure it's the reason why I was dreaming about Tim McGraw Friday night.

Why Tim morphed into Erik Estrada, I'm not sure. But after hearing that Mr. Estrada made me enchiladas in my dream, My Guy sent me this most awesome Christmas gift.

Note the detailed Photoshopping. Yes, that's a representation of Lil' Frankfurter being in the bed, along with Erik and a dish of enchiladas.

But back to The Blind Side ... this family took in a high school student. They didn't know him from a can of paint. He didn't give them a lot to work with since he kept to himself. But they took him in and built that relationship and eventually became his legal guardians.

I just keep asking myself: what would I have done?

Granted, the family was portrayed as being very financially secure. (Is that a nice way of saying rich, rich, rich?) But ordinary people of ordinary means do extraordinary things every day. Do you ever really stop to think about which camp you fall into?

I'm sort of bummed this year, because instead of making generous donations, I funded Lil' Frank's digestive health. Let's hear it for ridiculous vet bills!

I guess I just worry that I'm not doing my fair share. And if I saw a kid from my child's school wearing shorts and a t-shirt on a cold night, would I stop? Would I welcome that stranger into my home?

Gentle friends, how do you decide how much is enough?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let's make this happen.

It's time to announce the winners of my holiday movie sequel awesome giveaway!

There are so many holiday movie sequels that need to be made. You all have opened my eyes to the dearth of holiday sequel goodness in our society. I humbly thank you ... and feel the need to host a telethon to raise money to get these movies made already. So far, Lil' Frankfurter has agreed to answer phones. So, it's really coming together.

Thanks for your very witty comments. I am proud to be friends with anyone who considers Die Hard a Christmas film. Truly. Also, it seems to be general consensus that Randy from A Christmas Story goes on to enjoy an alternative lifestyle. Whatever makes you happy, my little snowsuit-wearing, cabinet-living, eat-like-a-piggy-chowing friend.

I could just list all of the comments here because they are all so awesome, but I'll let you go back to the original post to read them. Instead, I'll give you the top two.

But Cha Cha! There was no mention of a first runner up in the original contest!
I know! But I had to have a first runner up because, well, there was awesomeness involved. So, there will be not one but two fabulous prizes!

First runner up: the lovely Laura!

The Holidays find all of our favorite kids back in their hometown catching up with each other over drinks:

Linus and Sally got married and live in the burbs with their 2.5 kids, mini-van and Snoopy’s puppies (and a pumpkin patch where he still spends each Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin.)

After a couple of failed marriages Lucy finds herself bitter and unemployed. She winds up serving drinks at a topless bar and realizing that Karma truly can be a bitch.

Peppermint Patty and Marcie just got back from DC where their union was recognized by law.

Schroeder made it to the finals of “America’s got Talent” where he lost to a bubbly blonde singing sensation.

Pigpen got the last laugh when he founded a technology company, got rich in an IPO and now spends his time traveling the world and working for charity.

After a childhood filled with disappointments and self esteem issues, Charlie Brown turned it all around and became a life coach.

Bwah ha ha! I can see this all with glorious clarity - and feel a sense of closure now that I know what happened to those kids. I'm especially enjoying Karma's sweet glow, as Lucy always made me so darn mad.

And then? Then, we have our winner, the amazing Green Girl in Wisconsin!

Herbie the Elf opens up a dental practice and extracts thousands of teeth full of cavities, leading to a ban on candy canes in the North Pole. Mrs. Claus gives Santa what for for being a judgmental jerkwad and he and the Reindeer Coach take sensitivity training. In their absence, The Abominable leads the elves in toy making (Monster Trucks!) and Rudolph continues to lead the reindeer training while Charise gives birth to TWINS. Santa fails sensitivity training, Mrs. Claus falls for the gold-digging Yukon Cornelius who is already fat and HE becomes the NEW SANTA while old Santa winds up manning a convenience store in New Jersey where people are jerks to HIM.

Again, I obviously love a little Karma in my holiday movies. Also, I love this sequel because it really seems to set the cast up for a number of spin-offs: a reality show about old Santa's New Jersey convenience store, a Grey's Anatomy-esque nighttime soap about Herbie's dental practice, and a Discovery Channel monster truck show featuring The Abominable ... and Yukon Cornelius, just because he seems like a monster truck sort of guy and would have time away from being the new Santa since filming would take place in the summer.

Not that I obsess over holiday movies or anything.

Thank you all for playing along and for making me guffaw in a most unladylike way. Laura and Green Girl, your fabulous prizes on are their way!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Step away from the egg nog.

Today, I saw a big ol' Crown Victoria with a wire dish rack in the back window. You know, the in-sink kind that you use to dry your dishes?

Yeah. Who does dishes in their car, even if it is a big ol' boat like a Crown Vic?

And if you dry your dishes in the back window, aren't you a) kind of screwed when the weather is below freezing; and b) ruining your upholstery and your speakers?

Or maybe I just hallucinated the whole thing. All of these holiday preparations are obviously impacting my brain. I dreamt last night that I was being wooed by Tim McGraw (The Blind Side is fantastic, by the way). Then, he morphed into Erik Estrada.

Yeah, I know.

But I'm probably not so insane that I can't get myself to the post office. Remember to enter my great giveaway for your chance at fame, fortune, and presents.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Get yo' holiday on.

The lovely Callee tagged me for a meme. After the heavy post yesterday, it's about damn time for something a little more festive.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping? Define "started."

2. Tell me about your special traditions. Last year, we started drawing names for gag gifts, and that's how Krampus the Christmas Frog came into my life. I've been plotting all year.

3. When do you put up your tree? The first weekend in December.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper? Hell to the no. Those people are nuts.

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home? I go to Iowa to my folks' house.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory? This isn't necessarily a Christmas memory, but one year, we flew to Arizona to see my grandparents for the holidays. After a very, very long day in airports, my then 4-year-old brother conked out in the Phoenix airport and slept through the car ride and being tucked in at our grandparents'. The next morning, we awoke in their guest room and Poochie looked at me in wonder. "Cha Cha, where ARE we?" He remembered nothing of the previous day.

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time? I think I've beaten this topic to death.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking? What is your favorite treat? I love to bake and used to send out tins of various treats. However, this is one of the busiest times at Corporate Behemoth, so baking isn't usually in the cards. However, I do love raw sugar cookie dough.

9. Fake or real tree? I am very careful to pick a really nice tree out of my basement every year. I'm pretty consistent with my awesome trees.

10. What day does the actual panic set in to get it all done? The night before I'm supposed to leave to go to Iowa. Yes, I tend to put off wrapping and packing.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve? No. I'm at mass. But Christmas Eve Eve? You betcha.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas? Sledding. And watching Trading Places.

13. What Christmas craft do you like best? Craft? Uh ... eating carbs?

14. Christmas music, yes or no? And if yes, what is your favorite song? I like Christmas music, but only after about December 10. My favorite hymn is Silent Night. My favorite secular Christmas song is (sorry Patti) Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping? Uh ... hopefully this weekend.

16. Do you know the names of all of Santa’s reindeer {without googling it}? Lemme see ... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen ... and Rudolph. Am I close?

17. When do you take down your Christmas tree? New Year's Day, while watching football.

18. Hardest person to buy for? Lil' Frankfurter. What do you buy a dog who eats everything?

19. Easiest person to buy for? The family I adopted for Christmas. Because they give you a list. Also, because I always adopt a family with an itty bitty baby, and that's just fun.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? It's a snowflake star thing that I'm actually not that fond of. However, it has the Geriatric Poodle's collar around it, and that's very special to me.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Parking. The. Car.

22. What do you want for Christmas? A blender. With margaritas in it.

C'mon ... you know you wanna play along. Copy and paste the questions into your blog ... then spread some Christmas cheer by leaving a link back to Heather, the originator of this meme. She’ll even go back and add your link to the list if you participate.

Also ... you know you wanna enter my fab giveaway. This is a seriously good prize. Just tell me your dream holiday movie sequel and it could be yours!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Word forward.

Let's talk about my rack, shall we?

Today, I got a mammogram, courtesy of Deaf Ladydoctor's orders. Now, we all know that I hate Deaf Ladydoctor, but getting a mammogram was probably a good idea anyway. And the people at the boob clinic? All nice as can be. I wanted to hug them all.

So, I got a mammogram. And then I waited. I sat in the "inner waiting room," me and my peeps, hanging out in these little cape things. My peeps are all, you know, pretty much old enough to be my mom.

You get treated differently at the boob clinic when you're 34. People give you that look. And you realize that none of the magazines appeal to you. All those articles in More about aging gracefully? Umm?

At some point during the waiting, I decided that I Don't Belong There.

And then word came back that oh yes, the doc thought I should go ahead and get an ultrasound. But they were backed up in the boob clinic, right? So they very graciously gave me an extra gown to go over my cape thing and walked me down to the sonogram clinic in the hospital ... where there are sick people.

I sat and waited next to a lady in a wheelchair. She had a binder with her chart in it, an oxygen tank, and about three inches of grey roots.

I didn't belong there, either. I certainly didn't belong with people who are sick. I am not sick. I was only there because I have a shitty doctor who doesn't listen to me when I say that everything is fine!

And I waited.

And then I was on a gurney in a dark room, making small talk with a very nice tech as she did an ultrasound of my boob.

"What's that black thing?" I asked.

"It's a cyst."

"And that right there - is that the same cyst?"

"No, it's a different one."


Basically, my boob is a pomegranate and all the seeds are cysts. I am cystastic. Cystoriffic. Actually, I believe the technical term is fibrocystic breast disease.

And so darling tech left the room to go find the doctor. And I waited on that stupid gurney, in that stupid room, wearing that stupid cape thing. I didn't belong there. I am healthy. This was all a waste of time and a big misunderstanding.

And then the darling tech came in and told me that since the cysts changed with my cycle that everything was fine, and that I only have to come back in if something changes or hurts. So, ta-da! Put on your shirt and go home! You don't even have to check out!

I left with just enough time to go home, grab Foxie Doxie, and drag him to his follow-up appointment for his Professional Dental Cleaning.

He was adorably freaked out the whole time. But I managed to keep my shit together even when I learned that the vet we usually see, the sweet man who saved the Geriatric Poodle's life at least twice ... has some bad shit going down. A tumor in his chest, which has spread to a few vertebrae ... and mets in his brain. At least I managed to wait until I was in the car to start crying.

It's been sort of a day.

There's only one thing that will make me feel better: make up some holiday movie sequel goodness and enter my fabulous giveaway. Seriously. It will make me laugh. And will probably cure cancer, promote world peace, and vaporize cysts.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Conversations with my family.

Dad: So, I see you've been quoting me in your blog again.

Me: Yeah?

Dad: You know you can't just get away with that because I read your blog.

Me: I know, I know - but I can't think about White Christmas without thinking of how much you hate Rosemary Clooney's character! You calling her a bitch is what Christmas means to me!

Dad: Well, it's true. She's awful!

Me: Yeah.

Dad: You can't tell me that if they made a sequel to White Christmas that she and Bing Crosby wouldn't be divorced. They'd be divorced and the whole movie would be people telling Bing what a bitch his ex-wife was.

Me: So, another holiday film?

Dad: Right. You can't tell me that he could put up with her. They'd totally be divorced. That's why they never made a sequel to that movie.

And ... scene!

My dad's a smart guy, and he's got a point. But it got me to thinking ... what would happen in other holiday movies if they made sequels? Would Cindy Lou Who become a militant vegan who lectured the Whos on the evils of roast beast and who horrified her parents by piercing every bit of skin on her body?
What ever happened to Old Man Potter? Did he ever die, or was he involved in the Madoff scandal?
And Tiny Tim - did he inherit all of Scrooge's money and become a total visor-wearing, Kardashian-dating, reality show-having idiot?

These are the issues that keep me awake at night.

So, you know what this means. Yes. It's time for another giveaway.

Leave a comment with your most outrageous holiday movie sequel idea. The more inappropriate, the better. The most awesomest of the awesome sequel concepts will win what is truly a great gift basket ... let's just say that I purposely gathered an extra gift on par with what my besties will receive this year. It will change your life!

Sequel it up by noon on Sunday for a chance at fame and fabulous prizes. Make me laugh and enable me to do what I love: give shit away. Everybody wins!

Now. Whatever happened to Ralphie's little brother, Randy?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Know your colors, know your fabrics.

Tonight, I'm sitting on my couch. In sweatpants. With not one, but two, two doxies on my lap. Obviously, this is heaven.

In the last four days, I attended four Christmas parties. Two were super fun. One was hideous. And one ... well, it made me feel like complete and total trailer trash.

Remember last week, when I was all, "Hey, look at my Christmas decorations?" That post where I exposed my soul by showing my Patti LaBelle Christmas ornament and its careful placement next to the Ewoks?

Yeah. The next night? I went to a fete at a home that has been featured in House Beautiful.

I'm not even kidding.

I was my friend L.'s plus one for a gathering of The Fabulous People. I was wearing my black pants that used to drape so well but that now dig into my gut. And the host of The Fabulous People was wearing a bow tie. And he invited us to explore every nook and cranny of his five-bedroom, six-fireplace, heated-floors-in-the-bathroom, scented-with-quince-candles-that-he-buys-in-Paris home.

It was lovely.

Absolutely nothing was out of place. Not a thing. It must be exhausting to live that way. No piles of mail. No Rubbermaid containers, even in the basement. Nothing in the fridge ...

Well, that part was wholly disturbing. Three dishwashers, but nothing in the fridge seems morally wrong.

I was sort of glad to go home to my little post-war ranch and Swiffer up the dog hair. But I felt decidedly unfabulous.

If you're looking for a happy medium between my shack and the 5,500 square foot perfection I visited last week, take a gander at the holiday house tours offered by some bloggy friends:

Giving Up On Perfect

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday house tour.

I am so annoyed.

I had an appointment this morning with my new ladydoctor.

I don't like her.

And she's sending me in for a myriad of boob tests. Seriously? Would you people just get over my rack already?

So. I won't go on and on about how the nurse told me to put on a smock, but she pronounced it "schmock," or how the ladydoctor didn't even crack a smile when I told her pap smears always make me think of getting swabbed for strep throat. No. Instead? I'm gonna talk about Christmas.

I put up my tree this weekend.

I don't understand folks who have color-coordinated trees. I guess my tree is like my house - junky. And meaningful.

This is my favorite ornament. Just because it makes me laugh.

And yes, Ms. Patti LaBelle is right next to the Ewoks. And yes, that is the Geriatric Poodle's collar.
Foxie Doxie and Lil' Frankfurter watched me put up the tree ... and didn't bat an eye. I couldn't help but wonder what sort of weird-ass shit I do on a regular basis that Lil' Frank - who is having his first Christmas - thinks a fake, decorated tree in the middle of the living room is a normal sort of happening.

Today, he finally started paying attention. He sniffed at the tree, and then barked at it for about 20 minutes. At least I know he's not visually impaired. Just an insane doxie.

This is my grandma's dresser, repurposed as a buffet in my dining room. I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about these vintage ornaments that I bought on sale after Christmas last year. And yes, I have sort of a thing for vintage pottery. And pink. And turquoise.

Notice the cute shrine made by the uber-talented Linda Crispell. Notice, too, the skill with which I managed to avoid showing the mountain of crap on my dining room table. Trust me - I'm just protecting you.

My mom and I made these stockings over Thanksgiving. Because she is crazy artsy and talented and doesn't mind me coming along for the ride. See how cute these are?

But wait! They are two-sided!

This side is made with an old tablecloth of my grandma's. It was all stained and had a good life as a valance in my apartment kitchen. Now? Livin' on celebrating Christmas, a holiday Grandma loved.
I'm so excited about these. And making stuff with my mom is so cool.

Next stop on Cha Cha's Holiday House Tour?

Yes. My super-talented mom made me a Christmas quilt! A quilt with turquoise and pink in it. Does my mama love me or what?

Obviously, Foxie is a big fan of the quilt. I couldn't get a doxie-free pic of the quilt.

And finally ... we have an appearance from everybody's favorite holiday amphibian: Krampus the Christmas Frog!

He's up high because Lil' Frank keeps trying to eat him, which is so not the Christmas spirit.

And yes, that's my dad, age 4. One of my favorite pictures in the entire universe. Does he rock that bow tie or what?

So, thanks for indulging me. Invite me over for your holiday house tour and I'll post a link to your blog!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I can't hear you over the whining.

I was trying to be a good parent. Really, I was.

I scheduled Foxie Doxie to get his teeth cleaned. Or, as the receptionists and techs at my vet call it, "his Professional Dental Cleaning."

Like, I brought him in this morning and am all, "Mah kidz here to get his teeth did" and they're all, "Foxie is here for his Professional Dental Cleaning!" Like they're trying to brand it as something other than a giant rip-off.


I've been putting this off for years. But, this year, I couldn't ignore the fact that Foxie's teeth were starting to look like they were upholstered with gold shag. You know what I'm talking about. So, off for the Professional Dental Cleaning we go.

The pup did fine. They called me while he was under and asked if I wanted them to pull one of his teeth that was chipped. See, because if it gets infected, they'd have to put him under again to extract it, and we could just be safe and do it now. Although it was possible it had been chipped for eons with no adverse affects.

It was one of his front teeth. I said no. Because I'm a lady, I didn't say "Fuck no," although that was on my mind.


When I picked him up after work, they gave me instructions on brushing his teeth every day (seriously? Have you met Foxie?). And then they brought him out.

Foxie took one look at me ... and then turned the other way. He clearly wanted nothing to do with me, as his body language very succinctly said, "You did this to me, bitch. You are dead to me."

But I did manage to get him in the car. It was at this point that I realized he was leaking. Well, not leaking, but he sounds like a punctured tire. Our evening has featured a soundtrack of one long, continuous, high-pitched cry. Also? Foxie is stoned out of his mind.

For a while, he could only keep one of his eyes open at a time. Now, he can keep them open simultaneously, but not really focused. However, one thing is clear: I am not to be trusted. Also? Dachshunds hold a grudge.

Considering that I'm still holding a grudge against that girl who tried to steal my bike shorts in 1991, I can't judge the pup. And my grudge didn't even involve actual physical pain. Foxie is acting like he'll never regain use of his jaw.

But his teeth? They're sparkly and shiny. Doesn't that count for anything?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gee, I wish I was back in the army.

Thanks for the suggestions about how to deal with the mail. I hafta admit that I like Iron Needles' approach:

Let's not talk about mail. Let's talk about White Christmas!

Oh, if you insist.

There are really only two - ok, three - Christmas movies in my world.

1. White Christmas. Obviously.

2. Trading Places. My family watches it every Christmas Day while eating lasagna. Because Baby Jesus likes Italian food and Eddie Murphy.

3. Love Actually. I broke down and - gasp! - bought this DVD yesterday. This lovely little movie gets me in the mood to put up the tree. And that sounds dirty, but I really mean putting up my Christmas tree.

But White Christmas ... where to begin?

Green Girl and I have discussed this before - the "Sisters" number is pretty much the greatest musical number ever captured on film. I desperately want Santa to bring me a giant feather fan - and one for my mom - so that we can work on our choreography. We've already got the song down.

Speaking of choreography, I gotta say that the "Choreography" number is one of the worst ever captured on film - perhaps tied with "Gotta dance" from Singin' in the Rain. Bygones.

And obviously, I've a) seen White Christmas waaaaay too many times; and b) they use the term "number" in the film a lot. It occurred to me last night that you could make a drinking game out of watching the movie. Just take a drink anytime anyone says "great little act" or "number" in reference to some supper club-style musical performance.

In all seriousness, though, I have a slightly different perspective on the movie this year. Right now, I'm listening to Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation. And yes, I'm pretty much the last human on Earth to read this book. It's fantastic.

In portraying various members of "the greatest generation," Brokaw's book also paints a picture of what happiness and success looked like to those folks after the war. And White Christmas is a perfect time capsule of Hollywood's interpretation of that happiness. Put the actual war behind you, but know that your entire company would drop everything to have Christmas at your ski lodge should the call go out. The film's cultural significance is a dissertation waiting to be written.

In case you're in need of a dissertation topic, I also think it would be interesting to study Tootsie and 9-to-5 and how they both reflected and shaped women's roles in the white-collar workplace in the early 80s.

But White Christmas? Fantastic. Although no conversation about it would be complete without my dad's annual comment about Rosemary Clooney's character: "God, what a bitch!"

And ... Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Little victories.

With my many adventures last week - including wearing the same sweater twice in one week, splitting my thyroid pills with a knife because my prescription is up and I don't have a doctor's appointment until next week, and pretending that I'm a good girlfriend even though My Guy basically planned his own birthday celebration (including ordering and buying the tickets to the comedy show he wanted to see) - well, with all of this in mind? I'm opting for a low-key, low-effort weekend.

Actually, today is my favorite day of the holiday season. Today, I went shopping for the family I adopted. Because shopping for toys for a 9-month-old is fun. And I know the mom didn't say he needed clothes, but there was the cutest little sweatsuit at Target, and spending another $8 isn't going to make much of a different to my finances but will make my heart glad.

So, there's that.

And I've been picking up around the house, including the pile of mail that threatened to destroy us all. My name is Cha Cha, and I have a problem dealing with mail.

And I'm ashamed.

I flip through it to see if there's anything good. Then, I pile the remainder and ignore it until a massive mail effort, like tonight. I watched White Christmas and dug through a mail pile where I found the typical two-month-old mail. And also a receipt from getting my car serviced in December 2008.

Any suggestions for dealing with mail? I have used the "toss it in a bowl" approach for most of my adult life, but that's obviously not working. Ideas?

In exchange for your kind suggestions, I offer you the fruits of my most recent labor - downloading photos off my camera. There were 99 photos, and 86 of them were of Foxie Doxie and Lil' Frankfurter.

Again? I realize that I have a problem. I do.
But can you deny the cuteness?
No, you cannot.

But the mail - seriously. What works for you? I need to be adequate in at least one area of my life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fashion plate.

Today, I realized - while driving to work - that I was wearing the same sweater I wore on Monday.


I figured that no one would notice. So I kept on drivin'.

It's been a long week.

Usually, I'm the woman who looks you up and down in the elevator. And judges you and your too-short pants and droopy sweater. I never make comments, and I don't mean to be malicious - I just make mental notes. Remember, I'm an editor - it's my job to be nitpicky.

Unfortunately, that same eye for detail doesn't extend to my own wardrobe. This morning, this sweater was on top of the pile, so I went for it. I didn't stop to think that it was on top because I wore it most recently.

Here's hoping no one else noticed. I hope the other Elevator Fashion Nazis didn't catch on. I spent most of the day hunkered down at my desk, and ate lunch at my computer. While I didn't go so far as to limit my restroom visits, I should have considered it - any way to limit the exposure of my over-exposed shirt.

Again? It's been a long week.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm a lovely person. Really.

Tonight, I'm catching up on what's truly important.

I ate peanut butter toast, the dietary staple that I haven't consumed in about three weeks. I bet my skin has looked sallow and the sparkle has been missing from my eyes on account of this malnutrition.

I'm watching a new episode of Hoarders, the single greatest TV show ever, with the possible exception of the upcoming Steven Seagal: Lawman.

And I'm checking out Facebook for the first time in about 10 days. I have a few new friend requests. One of them features a photo of a girl I recognize from my sophomore year of high school. I don't remember this girl being super busty, but evidently she feels that's her claim to fame now. Her Facebook profile pic is ... umm ... in profile. And she's sticking out her ... umm ... assets.

But, to give her credit, she did include a personalized message with the friend request: "i remember u."

She didn't capitalize or spell out the last word, but she did punctuate. Hmm.

My dad once told me that I sure can hold a grudge, and I guess that's true. Because boobs and syntax aside, the one thing that came to mind when I figured out who this girl was this:

That bitch tried to steal my bike shorts in 1991.

Yes. It's true.

She transferred to my school in the middle of sophomore year. We were in the same PE class. And I had these really nice bike shorts that I got for my birthday. Because it was the early 90s and bike shorts were cool. And Boob Girl asked me if she could borrow them. Sirens went off in my brain, screaming, "Hell to the no! This new girl cannot be trusted!"

Because she was new. But mostly, she was shifty. But I wasn't practiced at listening to those important gut reactions. I handed over the shorts.

She kept giving me the runaround about getting them back. Finally, after two weeks, I called her house and told her aunt that I needed my shorts back because I was playing tennis the next day after school and I had to have my shorts. Which was a lie. I didn't play tennis (which is a story for another day). And I'm pretty sure that most athletes can, you know, be athletic-like in a variety of shorts. But I thought having a deadline was a good thing.

And Boob Girl brought me my shorts the next day. With a scowl and a smirk.

And then she transferred schools. Not because of the shorts, I'm guessing. But really? She was barely a blip on the educational radar of a group of kids who had mostly known each other since kindergarten.

I'm sure that was a tough situation for her. As an adult, I can appreciate that. But my inner 15-year-old is still pissed about the shorts.

I pretty much accept any Facebook friend invitation. However, on this one? I'm going to listen to that voice in my head that tells me that a) nothing positive will come of any affiliation with Boob Girl; and b) my daddy is right - I do hold a grudge.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey sandwiches. Turkey tetrazzini. Turkey pot pie.

I have blogger guilt.

I've been a crappy blogger this fall. And it's Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, I blogged exactly twice last week, and I don't think I have anything terribly interesting to say now.

It's weird - I started blogging as an exercise in writing, as a way to get into a rhythm of writing for myself again. And then I made all these blog friends ... and now, sometimes? Sometimes, blogging feels like that e-mail that you know you need to respond to, and you know it will only take a few minutes, but sometimes? Sometimes, it just feels like yet another item on your to-do list.

You know?

I'm sure some of this feeling is due to the fact that today, I am faced with leaving my parents' house and returning to the real world. My week is jam-packed. And this long weekend doesn't feel long at all.

Lil' Frankfurter has been partially responsible for the perceived duration of my visit. It's hard to feel rested when, well, you're not.

See, Lil' Frank is generally unsettled the first night we're either visiting or someone is visiting us. That means that our first night here, Lil' Frank woke up every hour. He went outside at midnight and 4:10. After that last foray outside, he went right back to sleep ... and I was awake for an hour. Too bad we aren't one of those families who get up in the middle of the night to put the 89-pound turkey in the oven, because I was so there.

The last few nights have been better, but Lil' Frank is still not in his element. And he's had a few accidents around the house. And he's been obsessed with the closed doors and toys that were purposely placed out of his reach. And, he got carpet burn on the pads of his feet again and bled all over creation.

Basically, he's been a high-maintenance nightmare. I have a feeling my folks will be not-so-sad to see us go.

And, truthfully, I'm emotionally tender. Last Thanksgiving, I lost the Geriatric Poodle. So, there's that.

But, sleep deprivation or no, I have much to be thankful for. I've had a great time with my family. We are all healthy. We have been laughing a lot. We are warm and safe and have the luxury of being sick and tired of turkey.

I wish the same for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Insert witty title here.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pilgrim porn.

As you do.

I figured I could write a post about the possible porn titles for different holidays – everything from Arbor Day (think of all the variations on “log”) to Daylight Savings (spring forward, anyone?). And then I decided that I didn’t want my blog to come up in those creepy Google searches. And besides, can you really beat a Fisher-Price pilgrim with a porn stache?

No, you cannot.

But here’s something that made me cackle. I’m thankful for the Muppets. And I’m thankful for all of the wonderful friends I’ve met through blogland. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I got your Thanksgiving right here.

I have been doing my best to ignore the Christmas music that's been playing not on one, but two, TWO local radio stations since November 1.

And I'm turning the channel whenever a Hey-It's-Christmas-Let's-All-Consume! ad comes on TV. I'm trying to make peace with the fact that those awful Gap ads will be playing nonstop for the next month.

And I'm even giving folks with their Christmas lights up the benefit of the doubt, thinking that the lights are up only because it's been nice, and folks are worried bad weather might impede regularly-scheduled light set-up.

See? I'm a giver.

And I'm trying to give thanks. But sometimes it feels like we are small band, as the world jumps from Halloween immediately to Christmas. In other words, eat a bunch of candy and dress like a whore, then immediately buy a bunch of overpriced plastic crap that you don't need.

I know! I don't know why other countries hate us, either.

I also don't know why Thanksgiving seems to be a dying holiday. I think it's pretty kick-ass. What's not to like about eating good food and being mindful of your blessings?

In my yoga class today, the instructor talked about giving thanks for the big little things ... clean water, our bodies' abilities to practice yoga, not missing a meal.

And that got me thinking about the grave injustice that got me so stinkin' mad yesterday.

See, My Guy has this truly hideous fake tree that the previous owners left at his house. If a palm tree and a piece of green construction paper had a baby, it would look like this tree.

We decided that since he's hosting his family for Thanksgiving that we should decorate The Thanksgiving Tree. So, we bought some ugly decorations at Michaels. And we made turkey hand print ornaments out of construction paper. This was, of course, my excuse to buy a new box of crayons.

Now, there are few things I love in this world more than a new box of crayons. I love the way they smell. I love the orderly way all the even points line up in the box. There's just something so clean and fresh about a new box of crayons - it's about hope and faith and all that is good and right with the world.


Except, upon opening my brand-new box of 96 Crayolas, I realized that someone had flipped open the top part of the box and used some of my new crayons. Like, maybe someone had tested out the crayons at Target, then plopped the run-down crayons back in the box.

Who would do such a thing?

So, I'm trying to be thankful for my ability to buy a new box of crayons even though it's not the beginning of the school year. And I'm trying to be gracious about whatever random teenager coloring with my crayons. I'm trying to have Thanksgiving in my heart, even if the world around me jumped to Christmas.

The world around me, except for some neighbors who posted what is supposed to be a Thanksgiving flag outside their door. It features pilgrims that look sort of like Fisher-Price people ... except that the guy pilgrim totally has a porn 'stache. Now, every time I walk by that house, I think, "Pilgrims! Bow chicka bow wow!" Which is not really the spirit of Thanksgiving at all.

Do you think there's pilgrim-themed porn? "Oh, Captain Standish ... now I know why your first name is Miles!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random much?

I feel like I've been cheating with blogging this week. Yeah, I'll tell you a story ... but I'm gonna crib some movie dialogue or a funny video to pad it all out. You know, so you feel like you're getting your money's worth.

Oh, wait. Reading blogs is free. Whatever.

So lemme tell you the real dirt.

My editorial partner in crime, Dorothy, scored her dream job. Like, angels brought it down from heaven and gently deposited it in her lap while Bon Jovi performed "Livin' on a prayer."

Yes, it's that good.

I am sooooo excited for her. But I've been in a bit of shock-o-rama. We're gearing up for the busiest time at Corporate Behemoth, and the game just changed. And, I'm going to miss my friend.

And, I have cramps.

So, there's that. And I'm still mad as hell about my boob doctor 90-second experience on Monday. And I'm comforted yet completely pissed off that many folks have had similar experiences. Instead of "Livin' on a prayer," many of us have had boob doctor encounters with more of a "Highway to hell" soundtrack.

Now, I love AC/DC as much as the next girl. But their music does not symbolize what I'm looking for in medical care. I will admit, though, that Metallica's "Enter sandman" played as I parked my car at Cancer Pavilion! on Monday, and I felt like a football player going into battle.

Obviously, my brain is everywhere this week.

So, happy weekend to me and to you. I'm going to watch football and do laundry and avoid doctors. What's on tap for you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My wife's boyfriend broke my jaw with a fencepost.

I have kind of been having this week, you know?

And so, I've taken great delight in the discovery of my two new personal heroes, Rhett and Link. They make epic commercials for local businesses.

Really. Businesses like the Salt Lake Community College Barbering and Cosmetology School - An Unlicensed Salon. And TDM Auto Sales / Cuban Gynecologist in High Point, North Carolina. Really.

But this one is my favorite. C'mon down to Cullman Liquidation and git yo'self a home. Or don't. I don't care.

Check out for more goodness.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fly the friendly skies.

On my flight to Boston last week, I had two people fighting over the seat next to me. Because I am just that awesome.

Actually, some princess with sunglasses the size of a hubcap wanted to sit next to me so that she wouldn't be in the back of the plane. But the guy whose actual seat it was was all, "Uh, this is my seat. Beyotch."

And so, I met Jim.

Jim and I talked for the duration of the two-hour flight. And not in an oh-Jeezus-leave-me-alone sort of way, or a creepy-stalker-guy sort of way. Just in a we-would-totally-be-friends-in-real-life sort of way.

I love talking to new people - everybody has a story, and real life is way more interesting than anything you could make up. Jim told me about his wife and daughter, and the daughter's autism, and what they're doing for Christmas, and his his recent sinus surgery. And I told Jim about Corporate Behemoth and the burden of outfitting a home without the benefit of a bridal registry and what it was like to be present at my grandma's death.

Because sometimes, it's easier to talk to strangers about intimate things than it is to talk to people you really know. It's like gravity - it just is. See also: blogging.

Jim left me with three awesome takeaways:

1. A kick-ass plane ride that went by in a flash

2. This kind comment as we were getting off the plane: "I've so enjoyed talking with you, Cha Cha. I can't believe you're not married - you're such fun and such a catch." Which totally made up for this summer's "Good luck ever getting married" debacle.

3. Anticipation for the most awesome advertising campaign. See, Jim works in marketing ... marketing of ... well, feminine hygiene. Yes. We talked about tampons and pads and menstruation. And we both agreed that some man wrote the whole "Have a happy period" slogan. Because, seriously? Also, did you know that Tampax invented modern feminine products?

Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, Kotex launched a campaign in Australia that will hit the U.S. in the spring.

It features this guy.

Yeah. Take care of your beaver.

I know it's sort of low-brow, but come on. It's a fact of life, so we might as well laugh about it. And this made me cackle.

And you're welcome.

Image courtesy of Google Images.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's your sign?

Today, I went to the Cancer Pavilion!.

Cancer Pavilion! makes me think of a scene from the greatest movie of all time, Trading Places. Eddie Murphy (Billy Ray) and Dan Aykroyd (Louis) are pretending to be acquaintances from an African education conference.

Louis: Nenge? Nenge Mboko? It is me, Lionel Joseph!

Billy Ray: Lionel! From the African Education Conference!

Louis: Yah, mon, I was Director of Cultural Activities at the Haile Selassie Pavilion.

Billy Ray: I remember the pavilion - we had big fun there!

Both: Boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, hah! Boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, hah!

Billy Ray: Oh, memories!

I'm guessing the Haile Selassie Pavilion was waaaay more fun than Cancer Pavilion!.

See, I had this spot on my breast. And then it went away. And then it came back. And then I freaked out.

Oh, and somewhere in there, my gyn went out of business. So I contacted Cancer Pavilion!, where my mom and I are in the genetic counseling program because, well, we rock the breast cancer hizz-ouse.

And the genetic counseling people had been all, "OMG, anytime you need anything, we'll hook you up!" Except, in reality? That really meant, "We'll grudgingly help you get an appointment in three weeks."

And then the spot went away again. Which was good - don't get me wrong.

But today I went to Cancer Pavilion! and spent three hours, of which I saw the actual doctor exactly 90 seconds. She basically felt me up, told me the spot was dermatitis, and told me to get a mammogram when I turn 40.

I should have just gone to the Minute Clinic inside the CVS.

I'm torn. I'm torn between being thankful that the spot did go away and that the Cancer Pavilion! people thought it was no big deal ... and being supreeeeemely annoyed at the folks at Cancer Pavilion!. I have an intense family history. I look like a pirate due to the scar from a lumpectomy I had when I was all of 23 years old. Could someone please just acknowledge that I did the right thing by coming in? That would be far more palatable than being treated like I was wasting their time.


However, I'm saying two little (ok, big) prayers of thanksgiving tonight. One, thank you for my health. And two, thank you for the gorgeous woman with the long blond hair in the waiting room. She overheard that it was my initial appointment at Cancer Pavilion! and basically followed me into the ladies' room - but not to be creepy. She told me that she had the same doctor, that she'd had breast cancer diagnosed in January and had been clean since her radiation ended in June, and that it wasn't any big deal. She just kept telling me: You'll be fine, I promise.

And ... she was right. Thank you.

Image courtesy of Google Images. Lookin' good, Billy Ray!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rock on.

Today, I slept until almost noon. Then, I ate cereal and cuddled with the dachshunds. Dachsi? Doxi? Whatever. Multiple wiener dogs.

I had a moment of, "Oh, crap! I'm wasting the day!" And then I realized that if going to a yoga class or getting a massage was considered a valuable and worthwhile use of time, then snuggling with my pups was, too. After all, there are all sorts of studies about the value of companion animals on physical health.

I don't think those studies have included data on doxies who refuse to go outside when it's raining and instead pee on you and around your house, but maybe that's just my own personal experience and an opportunity for further research.

So I did go to yoga. And then I cooked. And then I sat on my couch, knitted and re-re-rewatched vh1's top heavy metal songs.

Yeah, I've seen it a few times. Yeah, it's permanently saved on my DVR. But I learn something new every time!

This time? I picked up an important life lesson from David Coverdale.

Why yes, that David Coverdale, he of Whitesnake and Tawny Kitaen.

He talked about how when he comes home from being on the road - because with that hair, of course he's still touring - he transitions from being a rock star to completely being a husband and dad.

"Balance is essential for a fulfilling life."

So, basically, this lazy Sunday is David Coverdale-approved.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A few final thoughts on business travel.

I finally got home Thursday night / Friday morning at about 2:30. Good times.

After several delays, the gods of the Milwaukee airport (that's General Mitchell International Airport to you) announced that our plane had arrived and we would begin boarding soon.

We all approached the gate.

And we waited. And waited. And then, the gate attendant announced that there wasn't anything serious going on, but we were waiting on lav service.

Lav service? There was a problem with one of the restrooms on the plane.

At this point, it was after midnight. The general consensus was that we would all promise not to use that bathroom if we could just get on the fucking plane and get home.

I am not ashamed to admit that I became delirious. I looked around the almost-empty terminal, at the cleaning crew and my fellow disgruntled travelers. And then?

Then, I noticed the walls.

Remember that scene in Coming to America when the Soul Glo family gets up off the couch and leaves greasy residue?
Tell me you don't see a resemblance. A striking resemblance.
So, I got all my coworkers singing the Soul Glo theme song (don't pretend you don't know it - Just let your Soul Glo! Feelin' oh so silky smooth! Just let it shiiiiine!).

And then we got on the plane. And then we got home. And then I collapsed and have been sleeping a lot.

I did realize, however, that I failed to mention one other important takeaway from my travels: I learned that one of my coworkers carries his Blackberry around in a Ziploc baggie. Always.

Maybe he stands out in the rain a lot. I don't know.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Livin' the dream.

I'm stranded in the Milwaukee airport.

Me and my posse from Corporate Behemoth.

This after a 9-to-5 meeting that left us all tired and a bit cranky.

Now? We are cranky and tired and wondering if we're going to get home tonight. I have already pulled the trigger and texted Puppy Love Lisa, asking her to spend the night with Foxie Doxie and Lil' Frankfurter. Because she is the greatest human ever.

And now? My posse is splayed about the Milwaukee airport, feet propped up on suitcases, laptops out, none of us using them for work-related purposes.

I will share other highlights of this quick trip to Boston:

1. The Doubletree gave the same hotel room to two people. This meant that at midnight last night, some poor dude spent 10 minutes trying to key into my hotel room while I watched through the peephole.

2. The Doubletree also screwed me by calling me at 12:15 a.m. ... to ask when I wanted my wake-up call. Seriously? Fuck you, Doubletree.

3. In the midst of today's meeting, I realized that one of my coworkers looks just like Sam the Eagle. You know, from the Muppets.
This made me look around the conference room, trying to decide what other members of the Muppet menagerie were represented at Corporate Behemoth.

I think we've got a Scooter.
And a few Bunsen Honeydews. I do work for a software company, after all.

4. In the restroom at the Milwaukee airport, on the sign-in sheet where workers note when they cleaned the facilities? One of the employees signs his name "Bill The Thrill."
Right on, business trip. You rock.

Monday, November 9, 2009

No, I don't work at a hospital. Obviously.

It’s November at Corporate Behemoth, and you know what that means.

Yes. It’s time to re-enroll in health benefits.

Corporate Behemoth changed a bunch of stuff around this year, so even the folks who are willing to shell out big bucks for big coverage are sort of screwed. None of us know which anorexic little plan to choose.

One of the number crunchers in my department actually created a comparison Excel spreadsheet to help us all decide. It’s the clearest bit of info we have in our oh-Jeeeezus-please-may-we-not-actually-need-insurance-because-I’m-not-sure-I’m-picking-the-right-thing arsenal.

Today, I overheard a 45-minute conversation between three dads on my team, all trying to decide how best to protect their families. I wonder if Corporate Behemoth realizes what their attempts at saving money actually do to staff morale and productivity.

I'm worried that no one at Corporate Behemoth has the expertise to make these decisions. This concern is based on two things:

1. All of the colorful "Hey! Let's talk about health care!" info HR provided is actually written in a combination of Sanskrit and Serbo-Croatian.

2. One of my coworkers recently posed this question about our product's online content: "So, does all of the content reside in one big suppository?"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How to be a half-assed homeowner.

Brought to you by your guide in half-assery, Cha Cha!

1. Revel in the glorious weather this weekend. Realize, too, that this is most likely the last nice weekend in several months.

2. Make big and somewhat overzealous plans for yard work. Yard work in the yard that you have basically ignored all year.

3. Saturday morning, realize that you must watch the 11:00 Iowa game in lieu of getting an early-ish start on the yard work.

4. Become despondent and depressed when your beloved Hawkeyes fall.

5. Take your heartache out on the leaves that coat every surface in your yard. Also exert your dominance over the volunteer trees along the fence line that were once volunteer trees, but since you've ignored them for a year have settled in, grown hearty, and are now receiving mail at your address.

6. Wonder who, exactly, Lil' Frankfurter thinks is going to open the door when he cries for someone to let him back in the house, despite the fact you're at the other end of the backyard.

7. Realize you've been working for hours and hours and hours because it has gotten dark.

8. Go inside and see that it's only 5:00. Be sort of depressed, but promise to hit the yard hard on Sunday.

9. Check voicemail. Receive an invite to brunch. Realize that only losers skip brunch to work in the yard.

10. Do some stuff, go to bed, wake up barely in time to make it to brunch. Enjoy brunch.

11. Come home from brunch with barely enough time to get ready for yoga class. Decide that the yard will still be there after yoga and that yoga will make you so happy.

12. Go to yoga. Be so happy.

13. Come home. Fight the urge to take a nap. Eat some yogurt instead. Then go outside to hit that bitch hard. Plan to dig all the grass out of the landscaping, artfully organize that black sheet stuff around the landscaping so grass can't grow through, and then cover the whole shebang with mulch.

14. Remember that digging grass up out of landscaping is a giant pain.

15. Be sort of delighted when you realize that the ugly-ass evergreens in front of your house are not only ugly, but also sort of dying. Decide they will all need to be replaced in the spring. Decide that this means you can totally pull a little grass from around the landscaping, then just cover the rest of the mess up with some mulch, because you have seven bags of mulch in your garage and as long as they are in your garage, you can't park your actual car in the garage and this is unacceptable.

16. Be happy with your half-assed plan until you look up and realize that in your three years of homeownership, you've never once cleaned your gutters. Realize that it's obvious. Decide that having an entire ecosystem popping its ugly head out of your gutters does not bode well for your overall curb appeal.

17. Pull some grass. Be surprised when it gets dark at 5:00. Realize, too, that you've been bending down, ass-to-street, in yoga pants, for a couple of hours. Decide that the darkness is not a bad thing. Throw down some mulch.

18. Give up. Decide homeowners are losers. Go inside, take a shower, and eat Rice-A-Roni.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Things that are funny.

1. Today, that nice woman who gets paid to listen to me run my mouth - some would call her my therapist - asked me a funny question.

We were talking about boobs. Mine are ... ample. And she said, "Does anyone ever ask you if they're real?"

No. It never really occurred to me that they might be too ample to be real. But once, when I was walking through a crowded bar and some dude was staring, I said, "Yeah, they're real" as I walked by. Because I'm sassy like that.

2. This photo. Is funny. Because Foxie strikes this pose on the back of the couch all the damn time.
3. And also this photo. Because Foxie is ... foxy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Key to my post office box heart.

Sunday was daylight savings time - and you know what that means.

That's right. My sleep patterns are ... how do you say? Oh, yes. All fucked up.

But in addition to being tired at 9 p.m., it's also the time of year when I actually take the dogs for walks in the morning. This is fairly easy since I wake up way before my alarm. Because it is light outside. Which is dumb.

There's one house on our route that I try not to stare at. When the garage door is open, you can see a very nice organization system made entirely of cheap metal shelves ... and those white plastic bins that proclaim "Property of the U.S. Postal Service" on all sides.

Yes. My neighbors have built their entire garage organization system around stolen property.

I'm trying to get a count of the actual bins involved, but it's hard to do this while also walking two dachshunds, trying to avoid the homeowner's beagle, and managing the Herculean task of not looking like a nosy freak.

Today, though, I discovered the icing on the cake.

It was trash day. And Stolen Organization System Neighbor had their grey plastic trashcan on the curb. Their grey plastic trashcan that had "Mail Room" written in Sharpie on all sides.

Disgruntled mail clerk? Postal fetishist? Or shifty office worker who has taken lifting Post-Its and paperclips to a whole new level?

I wonder what the rest of the house looks like.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Conversations with my family.

The set-up: My parents, My Guy, and I are sitting around the kitchen table. My mom has just returned from visiting her aunt and uncle.

Mom: So, I learned some new things about Grandma today.

The Rest of Us: Oh, yeah?

Mom: Yeah. Like, she kept a gun in a handbag on the top shelf of her hall closet. Even when she was living at Crescent Ridge. You know, just in case.

Dad: Really?

Mom: Yeah. I guess during the 30s, when they lived on the farm, there were hobos and such, and, well, some of them weren't very nice. Grandpa had a .45. So he bought her a .32.

Dad: A ladies' pistol.

My Guy: How feminine.

Mom: Yeah. And I also learned that Grandma had a boyfriend - that's how she broke her rib.

The Rest of Us: Huh?

Mom: Yeah. When she was living with us, she broke a rib. The only reason we knew about it was because she got out of a chair wrong and about passed out from the pain.

My Guy: I've heard that broken ribs are super painful.

Mom: Well, she went to the doctor and got it all taped up and such. But it turns out that it was from her boyfriend! He squeezed her too hard and broke her rib.

The Rest of Us: *silence*

Mom: Grandma was living with us - I was in grade school or junior high - but we didn't know she had a boyfriend! And he just squeezed her too tight and broke her rib.

Me: How big was Grandma?

Mom: Oh, maybe 98 pounds.

Dad: And how tall?

Mom: Probably about 5'2".

*raised eyebrows, dirty minds, and conspiratorial, knowing glances between The Rest of Us*

Me: Umm?

Dad: You can't break a rib by squeezing someone.

My Guy: Yeah.

Dad: It would take a little more than a hug ...


And ... scene.

Sometimes? This blog just writes itself.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nine and ohhh!

I have been playing hookie. Huzzah!

My Guy and I traveled to Iowa to surprise my brother for his birthday. Poochie? He was surprised.

And then? We went to the Iowa game.

Now, I have been a Hawkeye fan for my entire life. My parents had season tickets. I have probably seen a dozen games in person. I had not, however, ever seen Iowa actually win.

I have witnessed ties. I saw our star running back Ronnie Harmon break his leg in 1984. I've seen heavily favored Hawkeye teams fall to lesser ball clubs. But I figured that an 8-0 Iowa team could readily take care of Indiana. So, My Guy and I bought tickets and made the trek to Iowa City.

In the third quarter, our quarterback threw for four interceptions. And yet? Iowa scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and won. I can't describe the game in a way that does it justice, so I won't try. However, I did have three major takeaways:

1. Until about five minutes left in the game, I thought that my family would disown me. If the Hawks lost because I was at the game and refused to leave? Well, my lovely family would be thankful for the good times we'd shared ... and kick me to the curb. I don't blame them. However, I was thankful that this didn't come to fruition. Thank God the Cha Cha Football Curse was lifted.

2. It was a chilly, windy day in Iowa City. I was glad to be sporting both my long underwear and SPF 85. Because that's how I roll. But it was quite obvious looking around the crowd that these are people who are accustomed to cold. While I joke about being a hearty northerner, it's true. My folk are a hearty people. They were simultaneously very prepared for the 40-degree temps and also completely unfazed by it. Twenty below wind chill? Bring it. They'll still come to the game.

3. If you've ever wondered exactly who is the stupidest human on Earth, I have found her. She and her husband sat behind us at the game. My first hint that something was very, very wrong came when she asked why the game had stopped.

Husband: It's a TV timeout.
Dumb Lady: So, they can't play then?


These sorts of questions went on and on. But with 1:37 left in the first half, my stadium neighbor really outdid herself.

Dumb Lady: So, who are we playing again?

At this point, I reached a new low in my life. I began actively hoping that another human being had Alzheimer's. Because if she has some sort of cognitive issue, my empathy will kick in and I'll just be glad that she's out and enjoying the day and taking in the sights and sort of following the festivities. But if not? If she's just really that dumb?

I have a hard time being gracious around that. Luckily, I was too focused on my beloved Hawkeyes being 9-0 to take the time to thin the herd, if you know what I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fur on film.

Tonight, I worked so late that Corporate Behemoth turned off the lights.

Seriously. It's not a good sign when you outlast the timed overhead lights.

As you might expect, I don't have anything interesting to report today, unless you're curious about some new URLs for my products or want the learn all about our system-generated e-mail tool.

I thought so.

However, I just loaded pictures from my camera. Is it a good sign when all 56 of your photos are of your dogs? Are housecoats and hoarded newspapers close behind?

So, might be bad for me. But good for you. Behold the cuteness!
And yes, Lil' Frankfurter is doing much, much better. I've convinced him that the liquid amoxicillin is pink mayonnaise and he will eat it on bread.
I know. I'm brilliant!
And well exfoliated.
And so, so lucky.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And it was super fun. Really.

Last night, My Guy With Two Dogs and I had a hot date. We went out for barbecue - at the best place in town, which is in a gas station (seriously). Then, we were off to see my other boyfriend.

Except! Except that on our way out the door, My Guy warned me that we would probably run into his ex-wife's sister and her husband. They were going to the concert. And while the former brother-in-law was one of the nicest humans ever and a good friend? The ex-wife's sister was a bit of a snow queen. My Guy was concerned about my comfort level.

I considered this for a moment. And I thought about all the times Ex-Wonderful's ex looked through me, or how she had to approve of me before I was allowed to spend time with their daughter, or how her mother wore sunglasses inside a church - all the better to look down her nose with.

Dating in your 30s is complicated.

I considered all of this. And then I considered how I've spent the last 10 days cleaning up vomit, poop, and pee, and how Lil' Frankfurter actually gacked on my person.

I considered all of this. Then, I told My Guy, "If your former sister-in-law wants to try to ice me, she can fucking bring it."

Except! Except that My Guy's former brother in law texted him. Bruuuuuuce canceled.

No Born to run. No Born in the U.S. No long guitar solos where truthfully I zone out but am still glad I'm there. No Bruuuuuuce. No ice queen former sister-in-law who would turn a critical eye and then provide a full report to her sister even though it was totally unfair because I was having a bad hair day and didn't even have the opportunity to prepare for such an event.

So, My Guy and I did what anyone would do.

We went to Target.
Image courtesy of Google images. Thank you, Google. Really.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If only I were animatronic.

I've been thinking a lot lately about forgiveness and compassion.

I have compassion for Lil' Frankfurter and forgive him every time he barfs. I don't have quite the same amount of compassion when he poos in the house. I'm working really hard to forgive him for eating 27 toys and causing us both a lot of grief. I'm about 90% there. So, let's round up and say score one for compassion.

A few months ago, one of my editors accidentally deleted a document. Recreating it was a hassle, and it was the day before I was leaving for vacation. She was mortified, but it never really occurred to me to be upset. I totally could have done the same thing.

Score two for compassion.

But when it comes to me? To being compassionate and forgiving of ... me?

Well, the score is really, really low there.

I make a living being critical. It's my job to point out flaws and inconsistencies. And really? I'm good at it. I'm good at being a hyper-vigilant freak. I'm blessed to have found a job that takes advantage of my natural gifts.

But when I'm not looking for style guide inconsistencies or misplaced commas, all that critical energy has to go somewhere. And typically, I train it on myself.

My house is a mess. Foxie needs a bath. I need to repair the chip in my windshield. I owe 27 people 27 e-mails. I wore shoes with too high a heel for the pants I had on. The pants were wrinkled. I should lose 10 pounds. Everything I own is covered in dog hair. I have yard work that needs to be done. The right side of my hair is still growing out and looks like a wire-haired terrier. I need to mop my floors.

And there's some broken little synapse in my mind that thinks, "Well, all of these things are well within your reach ... if only you would just try harder."

Yes. Because clearly, I'm not trying hard enough.

Typing this, I see how ridiculous it is. And yet? Yet, I feel guilty for the time I spent cuddling sweet Lil' Frank this weekend. It was great, and then I reached that "What am I doing with my life?" epiphany, and I got up and washed windows.

Yes. I washed windows instead of cuddling with my dog. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I'm not compassionate towards myself. I don't seem to forgive myself for ... gulp ... being human.

Any words of wisdom?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Highlights of the week.

1. Lil' Frankfurter pooped today. It was even outside. Yes, it was on my deck. But it was outside. And it was a sign that his digestive tract is back in business. Yahoo!

2. My Iowa Hawkeyes? Were down 9-13 with :02 left to go against Michigan State.

And we won. We won! We threw for a touchdown with two seconds left! We're 8-0 for the first time in school history! I have been jumping around, cussing, and pumping my fists in the air like a freak. Alone. While my dogs exchange glances that clearly say, "Well, she's finally gone over the edge."

My parents called me. We are all basically incoherent. My darling mama, who has repeatedly told me, "You are a lady of grace and dignity and shall conduct yourself as such?" That lady?

She said, "Your daddy can't even talk. But I can sum it all up in three words: holy fucking shit."

My thoughts exactly.

Today is a good day.