Thursday, December 31, 2009

CC’s year in review

I accomplished a lot this year. I bought a home, wrote a book, was treated to a trip to another state because of my writing skills and enthusiasm, and was paid with actual dollars for freelance writing. I took another course, learned to salsa dance, and read innumerable books and played innumerable games of Scrabble.

I learned a lot of stuff, too. I especially learned that you cannot change people, you can only change your responses to people.

Of course there were things that I started that I was unable to finish or continue with, like starting up a second blog, DoYouLikeFoodLikeWeLikeFood – with friends… after one measly post it seems to have fallen by the wayside, which is a shame because they have some interesting things to say about food.

Also, despite a decent number of dates, I didn’t find love, but that’s the way things go sometimes, I guess. But I'm open and ready for when it does happen.

Goals for this year: lose weight (lose weight, always lose weight!); date, and write. It seems doable… right?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coconut-carrying octopus

I love that octopi use tools. I am imagining them with a shell in each sucker!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunkist Fruit Gems

Are available at BJ’s, for the low, low price of only $7.99 for a huge two-pound bag. And sometime between my Bat Mitzvah and my thirties, Jelly Belly changed the grapefruit color from clear-ish to pinkish.

I just love these candies! They’re pretty, and squishy, and very slippery once you suck off the sanding sugar they are coated with. They are ideal for office candy jars because they are individually wrapped and they make people's breath smell better than, say, a Reese's pb cup. The best flavor is red (raspberry) and my favorite thing to do with them after I’ve sucked them naked is to slide them in and out of my mouth, flipping them just as they are about to fall onto my shirt. Kind of nasty, but don’t worry, I don’t let anyone see me…

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo winner!

(And the crowd goes wild.)

Aw yeah.

That's right.

You know it!

I did it. It was hard, but I totally did it!!! (I'm so proud of me.) WAHOO!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Which brings me to November, National Novel Writing Month. Or, NaNoWriMo, 30 Days of Literary Abandon. I’ve signed up and I’m gonna do it. I have a good idea and I’m totally gonna do it!!!

I am so excited about this because I can throw myself into this project and write a 50,000 word novel in one month! Of course, I will have my final project and final exam to do for class, so that’s not ideal, but I know I will pull that off just fine.

Good luck to everyone involved...

Airbrush makeup

I want this. I wonder if it would cover up my little red raspberry? I hate my raspberry!!!


Life is too short to spend time learning things that as an adult, bore you to tears and most likely won't have much personal value in the long run. I really believe that!

I am not sure why according to several people who I believe are usually right, I "should" take mind-numbing classes in a field that I find intolerable and that has very little bearing on my actual life when what I want to spend my time learning about is sewing and writing and home improvement. This time, I disagree with them all.

Three courses into a certification program for construction project management, and with three more weeks left in this semester's Scheduling Construction Projects course, I have come to the conclusion that I could give a shit about concrete and rebar and building envelopes and MEP crap. I still find the idea of construction interesting and I won't be able to pass a construction site without stopping and peering at it for a while, but this coursework has been taking up too much of the free time I work so hard for, and I'm unwilling to spend many more hours learning about it from the ground up (literally).

Without a construction background and having never been a tradesperson, I really feel that it's almost pointless to take courses in construction project management. I do love having learned about critical path method, but come on. Once you get CPM, you get it -- and these classes are not part of the critical path of my life plan. Sorry, Northeastern. You'll be seeing a lot less of me. I've given the topic a chance, and with four classes to go to complete the cert, it seems like a dark and dreary, long and weary road to travel just to end up with a certificate that I won't want to use in the workplace. My mom explained that it may be the instructors that could be making the topics so dry (she may have a point there) but if I can't get an AutoCAD class soon (which was the whole point of starting this program, and which I still have not been able to take) I'm going to let it languish for as long as possible without taking another.

There. Decision made! What's next?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

25 hours in Chicago

I stayed at the Palmer House Hilton and it was freaking amazing. I had a huge room on the 20th floor (there were only 25 floors, I think) with a king-sized bed and the best sheets ever, with a fluffy down blanket and five down pillows. Also, a cream and black bolster pillow and two square European pillows in very pretty, silky, spring green cases with some kind of black design. I rarely sleep in king-sized beds, and I really like them, mostly because I feel like I’m on an island. I like not being able to reach the edges! And the colors were right up my alley – spring green and cream and red and black, with modern-y and Art Deco-type furnishings, except for the (non-working) marble fireplace.

Other touches:
  • Granite countertops on the tv stand/bureau thing and on the bathroom vanity
  • Marble floors in the bathroom and a pretty basin sink
  • One of those ohmigod-is-that-monstrosity-my-face magnifying mirrors where I did my makeup and boy, did it end up looking good!
  • Excellent bathroom lighting
  • A large full-length mirror on the bathroom door
  • Way too many towels and washcloths, and within easy reach in case I felt the need to use three towels, three washcloths and two face cloths. (I guess it makes sense for a couple.)
  • A rain shower head, which was the source of much relaxation
  • A waffle-weave robe in the large, proper closet (three people could have fit in there, easily – or four friends – or four friends and someone else sitting on the enormous safe that was also housed there. I can’t imagine what people would put in such a big safe. Maybe a laptop? It stood about 2’H x 1.5’D x 1.5’W, I guess. Maybe bigger.)
  • Several Dasani coins for the water machine.
  • For washing, the hotel provided Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries.
This was all lovely, but I did notice some reddish hairs on the bathroom floor, which I removed by dampening a few tissues and swiping the marble.

I decided to eat dinner in the very comfortable bar instead of the pricier restaurant, surprisingly full of drunken 20-year-olds. I enjoyed a cheeseburger with a tasty, crunchy pickle, and truffled chips. This was when I learned that I don’t like truffle oil, or truffle dust, or the flavor of truffles much at all. It just tasted like dirt. Funky dirt. Complex, funky dirt. I had to try quite a few to make sure I didn’t like them, though. The flavor was interesting, and fleeting; I can’t describe it and I definitely would sample it again. I was a little disappointed, because I thought I was going to like it, and I wanted to. But I just didn’t. With it, I had some kind of pomegranatini with orange and vodka. It was delicious. Then I had a scrumptious crème brulée with fresh berries stuck directly to the caramel. It was sooooo goooood.

The next day I had planned on a restaurant breakfast but that never materialized (the bed was just so comfy). So I had a rice krispie treat from Starbucks. Then things were so busy at the trade show that I forgot to eat lunch (which never happens) and nothing caught my eye in all of O’Hare as I searched for dinner and so I was forced to buy a small bag of chocolate covered cashews and eat them on the plane. They were delicious. I also bought some cheese popcorn for myself and a crazy mix of cheese/caramel popcorn for Vitamin N at her request.

But the best part of the city was the buildings. They were so pretty! And the building materials were of high quality. My sister laughed and laughed when I told her the city was glittery, and she gigglingly asked me how long it had been since I had been in a proper urban city. I was so ashamed to say it had been way too long. Anyway, from what I saw, the city was not dirty, although it was quite windy (naturally) and the elevated trains were super loud. But it was not loud in my hotel room on the other side of the building. In fact, it was so quiet and heat was pouring out of both huge registers that I turned it off completely and pushed both enormous casement windows open as far as they could go, which was really quite far indeed. (If I’d wanted to kill myself, it would have been pretty easy.) I closed the blackout drapes but kept the ends open so I could catch the breezes, and the city sounds were so soothing that I fell asleep in no time.

The worst part was the traffic. It was redonkulous. But interestingly, whereas in NY the honking can be deafening, I noticed very little of it in Chicago, which made sitting in traffic much more bearable. Also, when entering the highway, cars do so on the left, instead of the right. I thought that was kind of funny.

The only bad part was that for some reason there was a problem with me not being registered for the show. I spent an hour arguing with the ISSA people and finally someone from the booth came to rescue me. How annoying!

Anyway, Chi-town was great. I can't believe it's already been almost a week. Isn't it crazy how fast time passes sometimes?

Monday, October 12, 2009

ISSA 2009

So I shouldn’t have worried. Activeion was easily the best product at the Chicago show. Where else can you find a chemical-free, easy-to-use, backed-by-science, earth-friendly, not-scarily-industrial-looking cleaning tool at a reasonable price? The more I think about it, the more ideas I have, and so in my head, the cost per use has been drastically diminishing. So it really is worth the cost of the bottle. Anyway, here are more tips about how to use it.

First of all, I found out that you don’t only need to use microfiber towels. I had been using it with paper towels when all my micros were dirty, but since I misplaced the Activeion directions I guess I forgot to mention the towel thing in the other reviews. So, just use kitchen towels or bath towels or paper towels if you must. I still use micros when I can because they feel smart and scientific and are very effective, after all.

And speaking of microfiber, use it on your sofa! It works on carpeting and clothes (I’ve tried natural fibers as well as synthetic) and on other material as well, like upholstery (my sofa is microfiber). Butchie got hold of a puffy Cheeto when my back was turned and decided to enjoy it on the sofa, where it left a greasy dark stain. I squirted and patted with a clean ordinary towel and the grease was gone.

Hand-washing. Just squirt and rub, and you’ve effectively killed the germs on your hands. If you want to sanitize, dry off with a clean towel as I mentioned, per instructions. To just clean them you wouldn’t need to dry them off. (Kids’ hands too. Line them up on the way inside, and you can save your house from some extra germs! And they can use the same towel. How cool is that!?)

And hey, if it can hand-wash, if can foot wash, too. I fortunately don’t have athlete’s foot so unfortunately I can’t run this experiment, but why wouldn’t it work? At the very least, you would have extremely clean feet. Regarding other body parts… hey, I’m not about to go there.

Inside garbage cans. Yuck! We all know what a job this can be, but at least with this tool it takes a lot less time.

On the glamorous side, clean your jewelry with it. I have done my diamond jewelry and colored stones, and they look great.

For kids’ plastic toys, especially after a playdate. In my defense, I don’t have kids, so it took a little longer for me to “figure” this one out. But the last time Niecey and Neph came up, they were entranced by the unit… and the glowing LED light only made it more fun. They actually became somewhat grabby, wanting to do both the squirting and the wiping of tables and counters. Cleaning really is fun with this thing! So why not remind them that toys can be cleaned too?

All in all, I had a great time at the trade show. I was thrilled that sooo many people who already owned the unit came by just to say hi and trill about it. I thought that was awesome. It's also worth noting that the team happens to be very cool. And guess what! Activeion was awarded “Best Customer Service” by show attendees. That’s like winning “Miss Congeniality”, but much better. And I am very proud to say I was one of the buzzmakers. I loved it and I had a blast and I wish I could have stayed there longer. Another time, maybe...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

500 Pencils

500pencils, by Social Designer

The perfect gift, because of the organic process in which recipients choose the pencils as they are attracted to the colors -- over a long period of time. Genius!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One more thing...

...before I call it a night. Tomorrow I fly out to the ISSA trade show in Chicago to join Activeion and a few other people they asked to work the booth on Thursday. I must admit I'm a little nervous, but "little risk, little reward" I guess.

I hope it will be fun. This sure will be an adventure...

The scales

Some of you have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while (thank you for the cattle prodding – oops! I mean, gentle prodding), so I apologize for not providing fodder for new Clever Cat daydreams recently. Between the article writing I was doing to buy myself those items, the homework for class, the High Holy Days, some semblance of a non-virtual social life, and general happenings, I haven’t had the time to post as much as I want to. In fact, that’s one of my goals for this new year – balancing my life! In the horoscope, October is Libra (the scales) and what better time to figure it all out than now?

For example, I can see that I will probably have issues with sitting in the future. So to counter that and stay loose, I will have to at least walk or do some core-related physical activity. Also, writing makes me feel good and it is clear that I can at least earn some play money with my skills, but I do not want to neglect my creative writing side, either. So I have to work that into the mix. Of course, a social life is needed, and a strong family bond is tops. Then there is my day job, which is a big part of my life. (But not too big.) There are lots of other things to try to fit in, but the big one is… me!

I plan to treat myself nicely and love myself for who I am, have fun and actually enjoy life. Also, I will try not to get worked up about things I cannot control.

Even though these statements are hokey and cliché, we only live once, number one; and number two, you can’t take anything with you... you know, when you die. So I am going to continue my way of living – by following my heart, for work and for love and for everything else, too. And I will earn myself nice things, and buy them and use them without feeling guilty. And, and this is a really big one… I will NOT do anything I don’t want to do. This may take some getting used to, but I deserve it. And so do you. Are you with me?

Buttering me up

Yesterday I toyed with the idea of seeing Laurie again that night instead of waiting until Friday – with the trade show coming up and long bouts of sitting ahead of me on the flights, I wanted to be as straight as possible. So in the morning I applied one of those wraparound air-activated eight-hour heating pads that a neighbor had given me the night before. But that was far too hot, so I had to stop using it after about four hours. It burned crop circles into my back! Plus, I was a little worried because my neck kept slipping from the right position to the wrong one and back to the right one. I was afraid my head was going to roll right off my body! But it turns out it’s a good thing – it’s figuring out the right place to be, on its own.

And so my neck felt better but not quite right, and my back was much better but nowhere near right, so at 4:00 I called to see if she could take me. And she could! I arrived after treating myself to a wedge of my second favorite cheese, Jarlsberg (first favorite is Gouda) as a comfort food, and she put me into Stimu-land. She used a different bench this time… one that lowered me from a vertical mummy position to the perfect please-fix-me position, except that I had to scoot forward about a foot to put my head in the right location (what can I say? I’m short.)

Anyway, after the stimulus, she started on the massage. The machine is very powerful, and she usually does it around my shoulders and mid-back because of my neck. It can tenderize the toughest of muscles. But this time she ran it over my shoulder, mid-back, lower back (just a little) and my booty. My right side felt different than my left. So I figured the pain stemmed from the right. It turns out there is actually a muscle there! I felt it being kneaded and cajoled to relax. And so I turned to jello.

Then she told me to breathe in, breathe out, and then… Crack! CRAAAACK! Holy crap! It was amazing! (She told me that when she first saw me that was what she was working up to, but that I would have run screaming from the room if she tried it that first time. And you know something? She was right.) But we weren’t finished. She arranged me on my side in order to adjust my lower back, and that was a little awkward (like I was going to roll off the table – she warned me it would feel this way), but after a little crack, it was done. I'm almost to the maintenance phase! And I am so amazed that this is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. I also like the holistic approach of chiropractics in general.

And great news! I asked about dancing, since I really miss it and she said to try it gently, and if things didn’t go well we could figure out how best to approach it.

Plus, today Vitamin N brought me a back pillow to borrow while in the office. Yay! I’m finally feeling good!

Beatles Rock Band and other new toys

Saturday I cleaned my house and barely sat at all, and my back only bothered me about half as much as the day before. It only started hurting badly when I went out to dinner with close friends to Texas Roadhouse and had to sit on a wooden bench (I stuffed my jeans jacket behind me for some support). Dinner was good, and sitting on my comfy red sofa playing Beatles Rock Band (yes, I did get it after all!) was a lot of fun. You should get it. I need to get another remote, though, for extra peeps. I was even able to lend my Bed Buddy to a pained buddy of my own, so it is sure is getting used (but not abused. That would just be gross.)

And Sunday was good too! I slept late (with my Beddy Buddy on my Hurty Backy), did some homework for class (Scheduling Construction Projects, whoopie), no articles (oh well) and played a little with my awesome new laptop and wonderful digital camera! I am sooo proud of me for earning extra money through writing that I could buy myself these gifties. I know I have been talking about getting them forever, but I guess I can shut up about them now. Or maybe not. Tee hee.

I’m all set with toys for the time being, though. So the new 32 GB iPod Touch (aw yeah, I will be able to afford it, heh heh heh) will be a birthday present to myself when the time rolls around.

Bed Buddy

I ended up going to Walmart (for the first time in, like, four years) since it was the closest cheapo store to the chiro office, and walked around like an old lady to the pharmacy section, where I located microwaveable heating pads, because the jerry-rigged packing tape one was not gonna do it for me. I was pleased to see the selection, until I realized that the ones I wanted were all on the lowest shelf! Goddamn Walmart. I would like to know the name of the joker who decided to place the heating pads them there, so I can kick him (or her. Neither stupidity nor obnoxiousness are exclusive) when my back improves. Jackass.

Anyway, I tried lifting them with my foot, but that didn’t work. I had to ask some older man to get one for me (not one of my prouder moments, but pain can make you do things, I guess). He was accommodating but confused – on another day, I would have helped him with the heavier ones! The shuffling around did actually help though, and although my lower back still felt huge and like it had been repeatedly smashed with rocks and then sliced with burning nails, the pain had lessened approximately equal extremely bad menstrual back cramps… so at least I understood that kind of pain and knew how to treat it.

Anyway, the one I bought (for $9.83 – “rollback”, I guess) was named “Bed Buddy.” I had doubts, but it’s really good. Kinda funny, though – it’s long and can wrap around or fold, but it has these huge blue handles made from I dunno, safety ropes? I would have thought they would not be microwaveable, but I must be wrong. (My dad had a length of this in a bright Wonder Woman yellow, and me and my sister would use it as our golden lasso of truth in dress-up or other games.) Anyway, it works really well, and holds heat for longer than I thought it would. Except since I had to apply it to my back, and since it had no closure, and since I was sitting back, the heat wasn't going all the way to my sides. So I ran a scarf though the handles and tied it in the middle. It looked… interesting, kind of like some Eastern European peasant costume – the Bed Buddy was wide, and the scarf was thin, so it had a somewhat fun cummerbund shape to it. I was not exactly a glamour puss that night, but it worked, and that’s what mattered.

Crinkles and crackles

I did something to my back this past Thursday when I was getting up from my office desk chair and my lower back started to kill. KILL! I could barely lean forward without pain while sitting or standing, I couldn’t lean back farther than a few inches, I couldn’t sit straight, and just plain sitting for more than ten minutes was really painful. Using the bathroom was no picnic either. So while I was at the office, I used an air-activated heating pad I had bought for my neck which evidently was a cheap one because there wasn’t enough sticky stuff on it and in order to have it not slip around I had to use the closest tape at hand, which was… wait for it…packing tape. So I sounded like I was smuggling candy in my back pockets for most of the day. That was fun! Sigh…

Between that and the waiting two weeks for my chiropractor to return from vacation and the numbness and tingling on my left side that resulted from my last adjustment (apparently it’s a good thing and it means my nerves and muscles are closer to being straightened out and in the right places) I was not a happy camper. So I was thrilled when the next day came and I saw her again (she is a genius, by the way – Laurie MacKinnon in Haverhill). She took one look at me and got me on the stimulus machine right away. What this machine does is overstimulate the muscle in question thereby fatiguing it so it releases. After some follow-up massage she snaps your neck or back or both, back into place. Or, closer to being back into place. She pooked a bone in my back into the right place with her hands (the first time I was so nervous that I was sweating and sniveling so she used a mechanism that looked like a very thick, very short iv needle without the needle) and that felt great (or more accurately, that took away the pain). She said there would be more, but not today. She suggested seeing how I felt on Monday.

But then I had to get up from the bench and I couldn’t. Although my neck felt great, my lower back was so inflamed and sore and unable to bend that I was stuck! I was on my stomach and had to ever so gently maneuver myself perpendicularly to the bench, then bend my knees and slide off the bench. I was on my knees and relieved, but then I had to get up. Remember that commercial? “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”? Just like that. She pushed some button and the bench lifted me up, and then I was only halfway hunched, but I then had to get on my back on the evil bench. At this point I was giggling because it was so absurd. And it’s a good thing, otherwise I would have cried from exhaustion and the feeling of uselessness that had come over me.

I was holding onto the bench for dear life and then she lowered it and I let go and it felt like it was three feet away, even though it was probably only six inches. I managed to lay down and my back already felt slightly better. Then she adjusted my neck with her hands and it was awesome. (This was the first time she used her hands to fix my neck, too. I got a nice loud cr-rack!) And then I had to get up from the bench. Again. Cripes criminy. If it had been a movie, I would have been hysterical.

This was not an easy appointment, but I was sooo grateful. She had been helping me the whole time of course, and she said, Ok, now I need you to apply lots of heat to your back, maybe take an OTC pain reliever, and WALK AROUND. Walk to your car and walk around your house and that will help. DO IT! (She didn’t actually shout, but at that point my senses were so heightened that it felt like I could actually see the words coming toward me. Sheesh. That day was the first, and absolute last, day I take a muscle relaxant at the office.)

Anyway, I walked. (If she told me that hanging upside down with a bag on my head with bow ties at my ankles while listening to Yanni would make me feel better, I would do that, too.) And it did feel better. I even bought a special thing to help me!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I do believe I'll be trying this soon...

Dating and carbs

“And for the sin of dating indiscriminately, date nut bread.”

When I heard this one on Sunday, I giggled and giggled, even after I was done casting away my sins into the closest we have to fresh water (a pond).

Shall I explain? Allow me, since you probably have no clue what I’m talking about. This weekend was Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the High Holy Days. Because the first day fell on Shabbat, Tashlich (the symbolic casting away of one’s sins into fresh water, using bread) had to be held on Sunday instead of Saturday. Hello, new year! Hello, clean slate! This ceremony takes place yearly, and instead of praying alone, my parents and I now do this mitzvah with the other congregants from the temple. Sigh.

Evidently, it wouldn’t be complete without some majorly corny jokes about using different types of bread for different types of sins. Everyone knows the ones about substance abuse (stoned wheat), being holier than thou (bagels), sins of indecision (waffles) and other just as corny ones. And let me say that I usually like corn. I love corn! But it’s enough, already, with the same jokes year after year. And since when is Tashlich supposed to be a laugh-fest, anyway? Me and my parents thought we’d get away without it this year, but someone managed to sneak in a sheet.

Anyway, the rabbi shared a few forgettable ones, but this one really worked for me. (I'm giggling now. What can I say? Sometimes I like cheap thrills.) It truly was a date nut bread kind of year, and I must say that I'm happy to move on. Maybe this year will be the sweetest, smoothest, richest, happiest one yet.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I needed an adjustment

Well, it turns out I have superhuman powers. I can fly!

I woke up today verrry late (7:27!), after having either slept through my alarm or I don’t know what… but I was sitting at my desk in the office, having showered, shampooed, conditioned and somewhat pretty at 8:04. ZOOM! In retrospect, it might have had something to do with the muscle relaxant I took at 9:00 last night. After the very warm 45-minute salt bath. Or maybe I was just really tired. I actually had to lie down to watch Project Runway! Butchie took up residence near my feet and kept them warm, having placed his furry chin on my ankle and reaching out his paw to position it on my foot. (It was very cute.)

I was probably able to finally relax, in general. After an interesting Wednesday involving a flu shot and my first trip to a chiropractor, EVER, Wednesday night I was feeling better than I had in six or so weeks.

But apparently because my body had been out of alignment for so long, on Thursday my neck kept trying to slip back into the incorrect position. Several times during the day I moved my arm wrong and my eyes welled up with tears, it hurt so badly. It was a dull ache during the day, but when I moved, it was a shooting pain. Ouchie! Today it’s even better, but I am visiting her again before holiday dinner at my parents’ – my mom reminded me that we would have to sit in those horrible little pews this weekend and that I would feel even worse if I didn’t go now, since my chiro-woman is out for vacation for two whole weeks. Lucky!!!

Anyway, last night I didn’t write articles, I didn’t clean except for a small amount (I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed the living room, and straightened the bathroom on Wednesday night, but I still need to run through the living room) and I also didn’t cook, either for dinner or for the High Holy Days this weekend. I did go to the market to get the fixings – my parents are coming over Saturday and we are doing that day’s meal at my place: Alton Brown’s lentil soup, various cheeses, bread of some kind (hopefully challah, if I can find it), and apple cake. So I have to do that tonight when I get home. I’m fine with it, minchag-wise.

But great news! The Demand Studios gig is really paying for me! I am up to $430 in completed work. I sold the table and chair set to my neighbors and got a hundred bucks for that. I have to bill for my quarterly website work and… hmm… you know what? Let’s not talk about money right now… it is Erev Rosh Hashanah, after all.

Anyway, Good Yontif, everyone. Or as the seculars say, “Happy New Year!”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bath time for Butchie?

Monday night I took one of the most unusual baths I have ever had. The temperature was just right, I used the right amount of salts, I was just relaxed enough… and the cats were with me. Yes, you read right – Butch and Twinkie were right there with me.

Apparently, I was so relaxed and still that they must have thought I was dead, because as I lay staring at the ceiling, Twinkie came over to investigate. He came to the door and meowed. I meowed back. He came right up to the tub and meowed. I meowed back. He touched his sweet pink nosie nose to my dangling, wet hand and meowed. I meowed back. He placed his paws on the edge of the tub, stretched out, brought his nose to the water and meowed.

At this point I was silently cracking up, because he looked so concerned. Then he actually jumped up onto the tub edge and sat his furry butt down. I petted and patted him and talked to him in soothing tones: “Oh, Twinkie, thank you so much for your concern, but I feel fine. It’s just that my neck really hurts, and I’m tired. So do you want to be a valet in your next life? Etc. etc.)

Please keep in mind that the water level was within 1.5 inches of the top of the tub – one splash and he would have been soaked. But he hung around for a while, and Butchie wandered in and sat on the toilet. I usually close the door most of the way and use candles, so maybe they thought something new and exciting would happen. Then either they became bored or I moved too much, and they trotted off. I was left to ponder why cats act the way they do. I guess we’ll never know...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Design Observer

For fun, I was reading up on the 1960's Leisurama lifestyle and came across the thoughtful, well-organized, and beautiful Design Observer website. I also read the Is There Bauhaus in IKEA? article and comments and can't wait to delve deeper into the site. Just wanted to share.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Last night I learned how to play 45's. I liked it! It was like Spades or Hearts, but with no logic to the high cards. You can play partners, triples, or cutthroat. My triple won, but it was close. And I had to use a cheat sheet. I picked it up pretty quickly, though; I would totally play again.

So how come no one plays cards anymore? I really liked Spades. Who wants to play with me?


This post is for those of you who doubted that I had a mouse leave me a present in my closet a few months ago. The ones who laughed when I put peanut butter in a trap I bought at Target. The ones who claimed beyond a shadow of doubt that the three teeny tiny turdlets were actually seed beads that had fallen off my black cha-cha tank top.

I found more. About 12 more! In a different room! All in the same place. But I cleaned them up with the vacuum and the Activeion and I'm all set now.

Apologies to my weekend houseguest... they were under the sofa in the guest room. I think this mouse must have arrived when my next-door neighbors on the other side were having some work done in their kitchen a while back. I haven't heard squeaks or scrabbling recently, and there are no more mouse turds anywhere, so I think I'm safe. But I was sooo pissed to find more. How dare a mouse take up residence here?

"This condo belongs to me. When that mouse pays rent, he can stay in a cage. Until then, all mice are hereby banished!" decreed The Clever Cat, as she stamped her paw against her fancy Ikea combination desk and got up to mix herself some lemonade and rum...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oh my freaking god

So, remember the case of the 5/6 full box of condoms?

I suppose checking me out on Jdate after we were all done was not enough, because guess who had the absolute gall to send me a Facebook friend request today? Yeah, no, I didn't accept. In fact, a frisson of pleasure actually ran down my spine when I clicked... IGNORE! And then, BLOCK!

The Tally-Man!

Come Mr. Tally Man, tally me some nightmares...
Daylight come and me want to wake up!

Next month, the first issue of the serial graphic novel of Stephen King's The Talisman will be published. I remember buying the very thick and worth it paperback when it came out the first time. (I was 11 and I had to save up for it. I still have it.) And I still remember Wolf, can't you?

Vacation, in a nutshell

So my vacation was wonderful! I spent five lovely days in Searsport, Maine (if you never heard of it, don't worry -- it's kind of in the sticks, on Penobscot Bay, not so very far from Canadia) beaching, catching up, reading, writing, not talking about work, and generally having a great time with an old college buddy. It was sort of a last hurrah before school starts.

We went to the Maine Wild Blueberry Festival where we saw The Flying Wallendas perform aerial tricks and tightrope maneuvers about 50 feet away from us in an open-air carnival field (and got Tito's autograph!); shopped in some port towns (Camden, Rockport, Belfast); and ate vacation food (lobster stew! fried native shrimp! bacon! candy!). We got pedicures (my color was called Sand in my Suit, by Opi). I also brought crafty things along, but didn't even start. I was so busy having fun!

I read two books: The Witch of Cologne and Night Work (posts a'comin'). I started writing for Demand Studios, earning a little (and I do mean "little") money on the side. We went to the flagship L.L. Bean store in Bangor and waved at Stephen King (ok, that last bit was made up. But sheesh, Maine roads can be scary at night... so I totally understand his point of view.)

The only thing I'd change would be to bring Butch and Twinkie along. I missed them, especially at night when sleeping time rolled around and when the tv was on. We'll see about next time, maybe...

I'm ba-ack!

It probably would have been nice of me to let you all know that I was going away for a week-long vacation. It came in the nick of time -- I was feeling beat down for being someone who is not completely self-centered, and who cares about the comfort of other people. I did a lot of thinking this week, and I have learned that being kind or willing to compromise can make me vulnerable to being kicked in the head over and over again... and so I have to protect myself. To that end, I plan to open up to and help only people who are deserving of my friendship and time, and to hell with everyone else. Rather fucked up, but that's the way it has to be.

Anyway, I'm back now, and you can soon expect more pearls of wisdom; interesting, fun facts; and tidbits of my life, once again. Thank you for your patience... and I hope you're still reading!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It just kills me

Recent winning words from my smart-ass Scrabble buddy.


I am torn between being amazed that my vocabulary has improved so much... and believing that this man arranges the letters in as strange an order as he can imagine, then waits to see if the game will accept it. Who even USES these words? Just try and tell me they don't look like names from a novel about an alternate universe...

Hot dog buns

Boxer briefs - Underwear for males. A cross between boxer shorts and briefs, this style of underwear is known for a snug, athletic-looking fit.

Beef boxers - The same underwear, hilariously misquoted and accurately described by Neph.

Isn't it awesome how kids' points of view always make perfect sense?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Coconut M&Ms

A limited edition, these are deliciously sweet, and HUGE! (5/8 inch huge.) The candies themselves are white, green, and brown with palm trees and suns printed on them. The packaging is very cute, portraying the sexy green M&M in a glamour girl pose wearing her white boots and a hot pink tropical flower stuck to her shell (approximately where an ear would be) with the yellow M&M falling from a palm tree, holding binoculars, having apparently lost his balance while indulging in a little voyeurism.

The candies have the requisite sweet shell, and the chocolate is very yummy with a hint of coconut in. (I had been hoping for tiny coconut pieces.) Once you let the shell melt, you are left with a significantly larger lump of chocolate than the regular M&Ms, which is nice. But they are so sweet that I have been working on this individual bag for a few days now. I love sweet and can plow through peanut M&Ms, but I can’t stomach more than a few of these at a time. The lasting sweetness sort of gives me a headache, but it goes away…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicago, beware

The Clever Cat is coming!

Perhaps I should have gotten into marketing, because yours truly will be extolling the virtues of the Activeion system in October at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN 2009 trade show for all of North America, held in Chicago. This is going to be sooo much fun! And it seems to have turned into my good luck charm...

The timing is actually quite strange (insert Twilight Zone music here) because I brought the Pro into the office today, to show it off -- and two hours later I get an email from their marketing department asking if I'd be interested in flying out there to discuss it (as an end user) and staying over... on their tab! Um, HELL YEAH!!!

So lock up your sons, because I am on my way...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Red tea foaming cleanser

It's been about a week using Ole Hendriksen's Red Tea African Creamy Foaming Cleanser, and it is, indeed, praiseworthy:

- My rosacea is under control -- no redness whatsoever, and I don't even have to put on my wonderful makeup to achieve a very healthy look.
- Pores have smallened up!
- Skin clearer!
- No need to moisturize! (Although I probably should according to "beauty" articles, but my face is not tight and also not greasy. I figure, why rock the boat?)
-One pump is enough for my face, so the 1.7 oz. sample will probably last about 1.5 months.

Anyway, I may actually buy this item when I need more. It's pricey, but it works. (And I don't feel the need to also buy the other red tea items O.H. offers. So I think it will be worth it!)

Yummy yogurt!

Dannon Light & Fit, non-fat, 6 ounces for 80 measly calories, in... wait for it... Pineapple Coconut! It is so good, it's like dessert. As disgusting as the cantaloupe flavor was, pineapple coconut is that amount of yummy. The color is really nice, too -- just the shade you would imagine coconut yogurt to be, with recognizable pieces of real pineapple. It's creamy, sweet, and very enjoyable. I recommend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pillage your village

I dunno. This just speaks to me. Rawr.

funny pictures of cats with captions

Dreaming of digging

Sunday morning I had a dream that I was digging flowerbeds, about 3 feet each in diameter. It was sunny and warm and I was doing lots of digging but I wasn't sweating much at all. It was weird because I do not like gardening, but in the dream I was enjoying the work. I guess you never know with dreams!

Favorite exclamations

Of dismay, displeasure, or disbelief. Just for fun.
  • "Drat!" I use this one all the time.
  • "Jeepers!" A friend of mine uses this all the time, and it's just so her. I tried using it and it was all wrong for me, but I still love it when she says this.
  • "Shit!" The old standby.
  • "Oh my freaking God." This is best saved for disbelief. Also good for confusion.
  • "Oh my fucking God!" Said with the force of anger behind it, this is the absolute tops. But it's rough, so I don't suggest using it all the time.
  • "Ohhh, whaaaaat?" I didn't even realize I used this so much. But another friend swears that she waits for the moment when I say this, and then she feels that everything is all right with the world.
  • "Harrumph." My friend uses a variation of this: "Hmpff!" (I think I have that right.)
  • "Ew." This is really an all-purpose statement, depending on how it's said. It's good for when you find a piece of gristle in your take-out, when an unwelcome advance comes your way, when you step in doggie-don't, when you see a spider... I could go on and on.
  • "Ai-ai-ai." Also, "Oy." When I'm feeling resigned and world-weary.
And finally...
  • "Uch. It's all bullshit." Because most of the time, it really is.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


...on Facebook. What's your take on it? (Warning: this may sound like a rant, but it's really just a ponder. A quandary. A crossroads.)

Would you just do it if you felt like you had nothing in common with someone? If you knew them a long, long time ago and accepted their friend requests, then realized you don't much care about their current lives? If you a mutual friend thought you might get along and then you discovered they were not someone you were interested in? If you accepted a request from someone in your network because you wanted another member for an online game? Is there a certain etiquette to this? Would you tell these people before you did it? Would they even notice? What if you did the actual requesting, not just the accepting?

Or would you just defriend them and not think twice about it?

I ask because I plan to quit a multi-player game due to receiving some kind of special tool, for torture. But I am not down with torture tactics and I don't find it fun (this is why I quit Mafia Wars.) Anyway, I had accepted three of what seemed like a million friend requests to join people's crews (gamers know what I mean). I said yes to one of them because he seemed normal (my age range, married, with a family, in my network, and without obnoxious status updates -- and you really never know when a connection can be helpful) and the other two because they also seemed normal (I know, I know -- what's normal, anyway?), and live on the other side of the pond -- far, far away.

Also, several people from elementary school, junior high, and high school found me, and I was very, very, VERY pleased to hear from some of them. Long lost friends! People I've missed! Possible networking! I was able to find a few other people on my own, and I have made some acquaintances as well. I like these people. I'm glad to see they are happy, have families, or are successful. But the rest... well, so what? I couldn't remember them! I actually had to dig out my yearbook (that wasn't easy) to see who some of these people were. And I won't allow myself to be guilted into being "friends" with someone, or being friends with them for the sake of politeness. My life will go on as it did before I accepted their requests. And besides, the administrator in me wants to clean out the files.

Is this all too mean of me? Am I overthinking? Would any of them really care? I think the answer is no.

To be clear, I find Facebook convenient because users can receive so much info about their friends and interests in one place. But I find Facebook inconvenient because who needs fake friends and extraneous information? To me, Facebook seems quite needy, sometimes. And one thing I can't stand is neediness.

I'm going to have to take a stand. At the risk of sounding aloof, harsh and/or really, really bitchy: life is short... too short for fake friends. I'm truly sorry if anyone's feelings get hurt. But I'm pretty content right now, and inviting extras into my life seems rather stupid. Sure, I enjoy some of the games, but for the most part I just want to stay in contact with my real friends and people I actually care about. Is that too much to ask? Feedback is welcome, people. Thank you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


"Delickoricious Chewy Candy," by Willy Wonka.

These are totally weird. I tried two flavors: Pink Lemonade Lemon Ropes with Cherry Filling, and Cherry Punch Cherry Ropes with Punch Filling. And by "filling" they do not mean an ooey, gooey, sticky, sweet, yummy, corn-syrup-based filling à la Starbursts Gummi Bursts (yum! I couldn’t find those last night so I picked up the ropes instead), they mean an oddly fluffy, thick, tangy, dry-ish, somewhat stretchy substance encased in a tubular licorice stick (two per pack, and the lemon ones are rolled in sour sanding sugar).

I prefer the lemon to the cherry, but won’t be picking these up again. They are definitely chewy, but not in a good way. Although the ingredients are few, which is unusual for mass manufactured candy, this licorice is made with wheat flour, which gives it a somewhat firmer texture than I find palatable. I don’t much like the licorice (the cherry tastes cheap, like Nibs and the lemon is slightly bitter), but the “filling” tastes good, although it has a texture not unlike the toothpaste at the dentist (which makes for an interesting candy experience).

You may want to try it despite the stupid name, but I’m not suggesting it… unless you’re looking for a sugar buzz. If you want chewy fruity candy that won’t give you a headache I would just stick with Mike & Ikes or another old standby…

Beautiful desk

Is this not one of the most beautiful desks you have ever seen!? Gorgeous. A mailing featuring this photo crossed my desk yesterday and I just looked at mine and sighed...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Funny People

I feel like Funny People should have its own post, so here goes.

Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, two of the funniest comedians who appeal to my peer age group teamed up to make a very serious movie. With supporting roles by Jason Schwartzman (who knew he could compose music? He’s good! And he is sooo funny), the chunky kid from Superbad (Jonah Hill), and Leslie Mann, as well as about a million cameos by Sandler’s favorite, shamelessly chosen actors (because we all know that’s how you roll, Adam) this movie was less depressing than I heard it would be, but it wasn’t exactly a laugh a minute.

In this movie, Sandler’s character (a famous, goofy comedian loved by many) learns he has a serious illness, and that he’s going to die soon. He hires Rogen's character (a struggling comedian) as an assistant to write him some material while he takes experimental drugs that will hopefully help. During this time Rogen befriends him, he teaches Rogen some stage tips, an old (currently married) flame of Sandler's surfaces, and it’s discovered that his disease has gone into remission. Does Sandler learn what’s important? See the movie to find out.

I liked it. I didn’t love it. I would watch it again, but not in the theater. It was very well done and it held the audience rapt. Rogen plays an awesome Everyman and I am sure we all identified with him at some point in the movie. Sandler has honed his acting skills (this is a far cry from The Waterboy).

I do think James Taylor got the best line in the entire movie (and he sounds great, by the way). After being asked by Rogen if he ever gets tired of singing the same songs, Taylor asks him, “Do you ever get tired of talking about your dick?" (I might have it slightly wrong, but you get the gist.)

And now, the bad.
  • The opening scene was stupid and could have been changed. People past their adolescence are so over crank calls… and there was no one in the theatre under 30.
  • Rogen’s love interest was incredibly annoying. This may be a jumping-off point for her career, but I’d rethink going to see her again, especially if she never smiles.
  • Eminem. Why was he there, again? Jerk.
  • Too long! Luckily the seats were comfortable. So it was definitely worth the matinee price of eight bucks.
All in all, I recommend seeing it, but not after watching two other depressing movies in the same weekend. Let me know what you think. I’m curious.

Changeling & Two Lovers

This past weekend was the weekend for un-funny movies. Friday night I saw Changeling, Saturday night it was Two Lovers, and Sunday it was Funny People, currently in theaters.

In Changeling, Angelina Jolie plays a youngish single working mother living in California whose young son goes missing. The crooked LA police force somehow convinces her to take in a completely different boy as her son, on a “trial basis.” (Who would ever agree to something like this, I can’t imagine.) She refuses to lose hope that her little boy will never return, and goes to great lengths to continue her search. I was actually under the impression this movie would be more along the lines of the supernatural, but boy, was I ever wrong.

A few things:
  • John Malkovich was excellent as the preacher who helps bring justice.
  • The best actor in the movie was a young kid involved in some very messy doings. I have no idea what his name is, but he was the tops. Following him very closely, the second best actor was Jason Butler Harner as a real sicko.
  • Angelina can stop the incessant lip-quivering now. It’s enough. And also, she is not a very good actress. Her squeaky “I want my son back! I want my son back!” was less heartrending than it was nails-on-a-chalkboard, headache-inducing. But she is gorgeous. And her clothes were freaking unbelievable! Hot damn.
  • The case of the random Irish accent. Cutie Jeffrey Donovan slides in and out of an Irish brogue throughout the movie, once even seeming to attempt the accent of an Irish Texan.
  • The scenes were really well done. The violence was realistic and the nuthouse (Code 12, anyone?) was quite scary, indeed.
  • It moved slowly at times and I found myself looking more at my friend’s living room than the movie.
So see it, don’t see it, I have no major opinion about the movie as a whole. But. It was depressing. It was disturbing. It was dark and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I had to watch Burn Notice to snap out of it!

And then the next night I saw Two Lovers.

Joaquin Phoenix plays the suicidal, adult son of a protective Jewish couple who own a small dry cleaning service in Brighton Beach. Why is he suicidal? He and his ex-fiance both tested positive for Tay-Sachs, and she didn’t want to adopt kids.

Freud would call it “transference” but semantics aside, Phoenix takes a liking to Gywneth Paltrow, a good-looking, pill-popping, needy, and non-Jewish woman who has moved into the apartment building where he lives with his parents. Jewish friends of his parents also own a larger dry cleaning company… and they have a daughter his age, a sweet non-partying woman who is much more serious than Paltrow (played by the lovely Vinessa Shaw, who is a brunette in this movie). After meeting Shaw and making casual dates, then breaking them, it’s revealed she is in love with him, and he semi-dates her almost out of a sense of duty while simultaneously seeing Paltrow, who he has become wild for (and who has romantic complications of her own). Non-hilarity ensues.

The movie was incredibly depressing. I may have missed a few scenes since I thought I was increasing the volume, but in retrospect I think I fast forwarded. Nevertheless, I doubt I missed details that would have changed my mind about the movie.

Joaquin is such an intense actor, though! Wow! He was just brilliant. Poor conflicted and confused character… even thinking about his character now I am thoughtful about love in general and how casual encounters and genuine feelings can cause so much pain. He was enthralling. Picture his intensity in To Die For times 10, but without death (except for perhaps death of spirit). Interestingly, one small thing I noticed was that Phoenix’s character never removes his coat. It was unsettling and I wonder why that detail was left in.

Anyway, if you decide to see this one, have some comedy nearby, unless you want to wallow in self-pity about your past relationships for the rest of your evening. Believe me on this one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Style sense

I may start consulting Neph about my outfits. From my incomparable sister, please see "Genuine Cute Kid Exchange", a play in five lines.

Setting: a boy's bedroom, 8 a.m. BOY is half-dressed (Spiderman t-shirt and burgundy underpants).
Enter: GIRL, wearing a purple tank top and multi-colored striped leggings.

BOY (face reflects surprise): What? What?!?!
MOM is getting ready to step in with a warning comment.
BOY (continues): You look FANTASTIC!

Now that's one kid who knows what looks good! (At the tender age of three...)

Decent day, today

So today was pretty good, except that another re-org has taken place (I think this makes the twelve-hundredth) and a bunch of people stared through my window at me while I ate my dinner (yes, I was wearing pants). But the good things are numerous:

I tried the Ole Kendriksen red tea cleanser and it works like a dream and smells great, too. I had a good hair day, got to work on time, and took a very pleasant lunchtime drive with a close friend in a shiny blue Mustang, with the top down. I cleared out 900 MB of crap from my office PC. I received an email back from another interesting man on Match (the last one was nothing, in case anyone was wondering.) For some reason I didn't get charged this time for bringing back my library books and CDs late (again). Vacation beckons. And this cool, soft summer night is mine for the taking!

But for some reason I feel nervous, like butterflies in my stomach or something. I sure hope it's not a harbinger of things to come...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eek! A mouse

I just changed the batteries in my cordless mouse for the umpteenth time in six months. Why do I have to change it so often? Do the batteries stay in use whenever the computer is on? If I turn the computer off, will that conserve battery power in the mouse? This is pretty annoying. I like the cordless mouse but hate the battery changes. Guess I should hunt down my rechargeables, but where could they be? Probably under a pile of makeup! *sigh*

Viva samples?

Are you a Sample Queen? I am.

I know I’ve mentioned that I am a makeup junkie, but I’m also hooked on samples. Just recently, I was running low on my favorite Bare Escentuals makeup and so I ordered some from Sephora, the self-named Beauty Authority. They have a great website, complete with reviews from makeup users just like me (they check off their skin tone, eye color, and age; and there is also an average rating for each item, since who wants to waste money?) These women are vocal and brutally honest about the products. Sephora even publishes the bad reviews, even about their branded makeup.

Anyway, I ordered some more foundation for $28 (a new matte version, bareMinerals SPF 15 Matte Foundation in Medium Beige) and a special “Heal and Conceal” bareMinerals combo in Medium (with two tiny brushes, for spot checking! I like it) for $25. I figured, why not? I have to buy it anyway. If I go to the store (in Burlington, fer chrissakes) I use my time and gas, plus and that doesn't include the cost of the makeup. In addition, Sephora offers free shipping over $50 and three free samples. For a blissful two weeks they offered five (count ‘em, FIVE!) free high-quality samples instead of three (and we ain’t talking about Softsoap), plus a bonus sample code for a huge bottle (way bigger than a weenie little packet) of Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Cleanser. I’m trying it tonight.

This is my third order with them, and unfortunately they are no longer able to offer a cute red satiny Sephora bag or their signature cool-looking black and white box for free, but even still. I have one of each, and that works for me. The last time I bought makeup from them was back in December (it takes a while for this to be used up, so it was about time.)

But back to the samples. I love them! They just make me so happy!

I toss them into a clear vinyl Clinique bag (a giveaway, free with purchase, from fifteen years ago when I wasn’t paying a mortgage and could actually afford Clinique once in a while) and the higher quality stuff I put into the pretty red drawstring baggie from Sephora. After I’ve done that, I throw the most interesting ones in my overnight bag, travel bag, handbag, or bathroom, I stash them around my house, and last but not least, I give them away. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I may (gasp!) have too many.

The reason I figured this out is because I was putting away my favorite green duffel-style travel bag from forever ago when I figured I should probably empty it out (it’s been a long time since I spent an overnight somewhere, and I don’t want to leave something in there that can be used. Well, I found about a million samples floating around the bottom and in the side pockets. I dumped them into my practically overflowing sample stash, and I realized – and I hang my head as I write this – that they no longer fit.

I looked around my bedroom in dismay and realized I also have an entire baby greens clamshell style box full of tubes and creams. This, in addition to my bags and boxes of full-sized makeup (at least I bought it all on sale). And the 100-piece box of Cover Girl makeup I bought last year on Ebay for $47.04 including shipping and handling as a late birthday gift to myself. (I gave away at least 25 pieces.) And the body washes. And lotions. I broke out in a cold sweat when faced with everything at once. I ran to the closet where I also found lots of hair sprays and fixes and other hair-related goopy stuff. It would have been like a Shopaholic movie moment, except I’m not in debt and that I haven’t bought this stuff in a long, long time.

So now what do I do? I know I will use most of it, but eventually. Maybe I’ll bring some to the office? I’m going to have to weed through and see if anything has gone bad. But if they’ve never been opened, they wouldn’t go bad, right? I'll let you know my findings...

Damage to your portfolio

What does a six-year-old know about the stock market? The latest kid word connection follows.

My sister was driving the kids home last night, while they talked about the day’s events. Niecey mentioned a show they saw at camp. I think it was about Arthur (you know him? He’s a rabbit) who was hanging around with his friends and a busybody played a trick on him or something. Niecey was indignant that Arthur's friend “messed up his entire stock market!”

“Hmm, that doesn’t sound good at all. Tell me about his stock market, hon.”

“Well, it’s big, and holds his pictures and markers and crayons…”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Questionable office habits

Some people do things I just don’t understand. And lots of them happen at my office. A few follow.
  1. When someone blesses themselves after they practically sneeze you out the window. After a shower of someone else germs, the sneeze-ees should be the ones saying "Bless me"! Instead, say “Excuse me." Just enjoy your sneeze and let the people around you take care of the Gesundheits. And by the way, is it even to possible to bless yourself?
  2. Bare feet at the office. Yuck! It may be summer, but must you walk around free of footwear? Slipping your sandals half off is one thing, but fully removing your shoes, then gripping your office chair with boney, two-inch-long, prehensile toes in full view of everyone before prancing barefoot to the shared printer 20 feet away of the office is just plain nasty. The only worse thing would be to play with them, and then use communal office equipment. It's so easily remedied: wear open shoes in the summer, but KEEP THEM ON. Is this so difficult? At least put them on before picking up your prints...
  3. “Feel free to contact me if you should have any questions.” This is a wordy and condescending way to express that you are available for clarification. If I have questions, of course I will contact you, and I don't need you to tell me to feel free to do it. In fact, I'll contact you whether or not you want me to. And what's with the "if" I "should" have any questions? Why should I have questions? Are you not telling me everything I need to know? Coworker, I just lost faith in your ability to communicate. It's much clearer to say, "Please contact me if you have questions."
  4. Leaving pubes on the floor of the bathroom. This is just inexcusable. Not for nothing, but I can’t just whip out my urinating unit. As women do, I have to drop trou to do my bid'ness, and I do not relish the thought of my pant legs coming into close proximity with any of my officemates' short-and-curlies. I refuse to blame it on the custodial staff, because it happens during the course of the day. I have actually blown them out of the way before performing my necessary functions in order to have frizzle-free pants. I don’t know who these hairs belong to, but I do know that thanks to my genius aesthetician, the odds of them being mine are very slim indeed.
  5. Microwaving fish. 'Nuff said.
And you? Got any to add to the list?

Free chocolate!

I forgot to mention on Friday that I “was awarded” a big “Absolutely Divine” chocolate bar from CVS from their Extras card (retail price $1.99). It’s so big it looks like the flat Wonka bars from the original movie. Free for nothing, just for shopping there occasionally (I can’t actually remember the last time I shopped there). I chose milk chocolate, 30% cacao but I could have chosen dark 70% instead. My friend didn’t get awarded anything, and then the cashier rang up the free candy using the store card and she gave me a coupon for free paper towels, too. Huh! You never know what can happen…

Anyway, I tried it today, and it’s very good. It’s creamy and doesn’t have the cheap tasting chocolate you would expect from a store brand. It’s very sweet, though. Although I prefer Cadbury chocolate to this brand, it's delicious and if it goes on sale, you should definitely try it. Let me know if you like it like I do!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good & Fiery

When I saw these today at CVS, I just had to buy them... especially after a friend said "'Sweet and Spicy'? Sounds just like you!"

And well, they are certainly... interesting. They are just like Good & Fruity, except not really. Chewy? Check. Colorful? Check. Cute packaging? Double check. Yummy flavors? Half-check. They include cinnamon, which makes sense (like Hot Tamales) but they also include lemon, cherry, and orange flavors to which they have added cinnamon, or maybe clove. It's hard to tell, and we'll never find out, since it's not specified in the ingredients. It just says, "natural and artificial flavor."

But let me not be too harsh. This candy is exactly what it says it is -- sweet, and spicy. The orange, lemon, and cherry part is just like regular Good & Fruity. If you let the candy coating dissolve in your mouth and are left with the chewy clear piece, the chewy piece tastes the same as the chewy piece inside a Good & Fruity. The coating on its own tastes like the coating on them, too, with just a hint of spice. But if you chomp directly into one, it's almost too much at times. Hmm. Am I like that too?

Bottom line for this candy: a few will refresh you... but too many will kill you. Enjoy!

Come on Barbie, let's go party

Last night I was relaxing after a friend came over for dinner, when my mom called me at 10:15 PM and excitedly told me to turn on the tv. "Ok, sure. But why?" "Dinner Impossible is on, and it's Barbie!" So I promptly turned off my game, and turned on the tv, because if I am anything, I am a Barbie fiend.

The DI team had to make Barbie-sized food for her 50th birthday party in March, for Mattel employees. They made tiny frosted sugared doughnuts, teeny weeny blini, mini-mini-sliders... and if the food didn't fit into Barbie's refrigerator, it didn't pass muster. Who dreams up these challenges? They are great!

So don't you just love Chef Robert Irvine? I could watch him all day. He is just right for the job! I'm so glad they brought him back to host, after all that bio bullshit. Who really cares? He knows what he's doing, and that is that. I just love his accent, and his resourcefulness, and his direction, and his smile, and his shoulders, and his biceps, and his forearms, and his booty, and... um... other stuff. Oh, and also, his cooking is pretty good, too...

Yogurt can be nasty

I have learned to enjoy yogurt and nothing beats my plain, local Market Basket brand when I strain it myself and pour my yummy and non-fattening fruit and fruit sauces over it. I like to try all kinds of flavors and brands, because you never know what might be good for a body and also tasty. However, in my quest for deliciousness I recently came across two very nasty flavors: Dannon Light & Fit, Seasonal Delights (limited time only), Cantaloupe flavor; and Chobani, All-Natural Greek Yogurt in Pomegranate. Yuck!

The cantaloupe flavor was so bad, I couldn't even finish it. Not only did it not taste sweet or fruity, it was actually bitter and unpleasant. On the plus side, the color was pretty, and if I had been able to enjoy it, I could have done so for a weenie 80 calories.

And the pomegranate one was just a shame. When I first saw it, I was psyched, since the strawberry Chobani is really delicious. I figured pomegranate would be just as good. I was also hoping the pomegranate Chobani would be as tasty as the Target pomegranate. But I was wrong. Although the lightly flavored sauce was all right, and the yogurt itself was very good as usual, the pomegranate seeds were tiny (I have no idea where they could have located seeds this small) and very crunchy, and entirely without any fun burst-in-your-mouth pom juice. All I could taste as I chewed was the slightly dusty flavor of the seed structure, which promptly caught in my throat and made me choke. At least I was able to finish this one.

In summary, don't bother trying either of these non-winning combinations. Unless of course you enjoy wasting money, in which case, you go right ahead. But don't say I didn't warn you!

RDA of H20

Why is it easier to drink the recommended amount of water from certain cups, and not from others?

I have a 16 oz. insulated cup in the office from which I can suck down 2 cups of ice water in no time, three times daily. I also have a beautiful clear crackled 10 oz. glass which I love to drink from, but it takes all day to drink 20 ounces from it. But If I bring a gallon jug in, it takes me three days to finish it. Why is that? Is it all the look of the cup?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And now, the winner

A hearty thanks to everyone for all the hilariously awesome entries for the Activeion Pro. I didn’t think I was going to get as many as I did, and kudos to everyone who took the time to scratch some letters in the dust. Poetry is alive and well!

A winner has been decided, thanks to a very close friend who was kind enough to act as a non-biased judge. (We've known each other since college. *ahem* 18 years *ahem*) But it wasn’t easy. All the entries were fun (and everyone was really sweet! Thanks again – reading these poems makes me want to meet me!) but the winning entry took creativity further than anyone else’s and besides, the giggle factor was very high. So congrats, Jen and Rich Redding! You’ve won this amazing cleaning system. The winning entry follows.

There once was a girl from Methuen.
Her blog was the site for reviewin'
Every product there was, no matter the use:
Cleaners, foot pads and makers of boots.
Lots of opinions did she dispose,
Each with the most interesting prose.
Valuable insights on love, life and books.
Entertaining and fun - she even cooks!
Remarkably talented at the game of Scrabble.
(Choosing to master a game in which others sporadically dabble.)
And ready to dance at the drop of a hat.
That, in a nutshell, is our fearless Clever Cat!

But some other poems also deserve honorary mention. These are a few of my favorites that didn't take the prize:

Tropical rhythm
Heats up
Exercise night;
Clever Cat dances again.
Leaking sweat and
Exhausted, home she rides in her
Entirely Ravenous, she
Cleans her plate
All up -- except for the
-by Alexis Clipboard. (I like this one because it tells a story... and it includes the tomalley. Heh heh.)

Telling us
Her secrets and
Exceptional stories --
Coolly she
Laughs at
Everyones foibles, including her own.
Various topics are
Expounded upon;
Rarely does she lack
An artful crafter and
Talented wordsmith.
-by Alexis Clipboard. (This one is great purely for the use of the word "foibles.")

With my mind I wonder
How she’s undercover
Only to discover
Is this the cat I wonder??
She’s difficult to meet
To blog fans she’s a treat – Pounce Meow!!!
Her Prada on her feet…clip clop, clip clop, clip clop…
Enduring concrete teeth – I am
Certain that her jewels and furs are just as
Lovely as her purrrrrrrrrrs.
Envied by all kittens
Vixen I am smitten!!
Engaged by all her blogs
Researching for a prince - (not frog)
Cheshire cat of the year
Anonymous to all but fear - Grrrrrrr
This cat is a furry feline treasure
Her nails - sharp enough to slice through leather!
Under order from my peers
Her blog’s da’ blog of da year.
- by JP. (I like this one because it's lyrical and I sound fierce! Tee hee.)

Trying not to gripe too much
Holds your interest in her clutch
Ever writing her opinions
Clearly, what she needs are minions.
Loves her little niece and nephew,
Eating, reading, and a good screw,
Vexed by men and tribulations,
Exclaims daily affirmations.
Reporting on her dreams and dances,
Concentrates, and takes her chances.
Appraising products seen on tv
This cat’s the cool one – definitely!

Again, thanks so much for all the kind words, everyone. And Jen and Rich, enjoy your new toy!