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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Should auld 2008 be forgot?

And now, the obligatory "2008 in Review" post. Because I am a sheeple. Tomorrow, I shall sheeple my way through the obligatory "Resolutions for 2009 That I won't End Up Keeping" post. I'm sure you'll want to skip my blog for the day make a note not to miss it.

However, in order to be an over-achiever an obnoxious PITA a bit different from the other "year in review" posts, I shall attempt to do this in Haiku.

*clearing throat*

Survived little sis
birthing the first grandbaby
healthy gorgeous boy.

Also survived my
family's disappointment:
no baby plans here.

Stressful visit home.
Anxiety attack hell
for five crazy days.

SisterFriend had son.
Off to mommyland she goes?
Nope, still snarky bitch! (silent yay!)

Both cats had scurvy.
So many trips to the vet,
glad he takes Visa!

Joe's new job owns soul
They work him too many hours
He deserves a break.

Anxiety rules.
Time to take action on it.
My therapist sucked.

Lexapro saves me
but not without paying price.
Twenty extra pounds.

I started this blog.
It has brought me so much joy.
In part due to you.

Overall, not bad.
Highs and lows seem to balance.
Ready to move on.

Lame but I tried. Tomorrow, Shakespearean sonnets!!! (No, not so much.)

P.S.: Beth posted about choosing your one word for 2009. Check it out - it's an interesting idea. Interesting enough that I may have to break down and give it a separate entry sometime over the next few days.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Healthy living at a discount

I just received the following email at work:
Your Employee Well-Being Committee is pleased to announce that {Employer's Name Here} employees will be eligible for a 10% discount at McDonald's. This only applies to the McDonald's on the corner of Elm and Main and you must show your ID badge before you pay.
McDonald’s does have some healthy options -please make wise choices!
Note: I edited nothing except for removing my employer's identifying information. The massive (red) font was their choice.

Their previous email was about including veggies as part of your New Year's Resolutions so I'm not quite sure how to follow their logic. Or if I even want to follow it. I particularly like the fact that McDonald's does have some healthy options.

I wish I could say I'm surprised to see such weirdness come from this committee. This past Summer, they offered a "complimentary nutrition class or evaluation". That's exactly what I want. A complimentary evaluation. "My, Cate, you're looking quite well today! Gee, your hair smells terrific! Have you lost 30 pounds because your body is ROCKIN'!".

Monday, December 29, 2008

SWYMM: I fail at words

Say What You Mean Mondays - actual quotes from actual people. People who often have at least one foot in their mouth.

In this very special edition of SWYMM, I'm the one with my foot in my mouth. I have a knack for saying stupid things that make no sense and here are a few recent goodies.

"Here, please drive my purse home" To Joe, at my boss's house warming party.

"Just remember that when you're taking antibiotics, your birth control pills aren't reliable in preventing pregnancy." Said to my (male) boss.

"No, drop me off at the door. I totally deserve to be chaperoned." Sadly, this was in a car full of co-workers and I meant "chauffeured". And my coworkers all agreed that "chaperoned" was a safer choice for me.

"Those are the biggest balls I've ever seen!" In front of our uber-religious friend, referring to a sculpture of Christmas balls in NYC.
SomeMonkey: man, you're all sorts of commenty
me: i'm... in the christmas spirit?
pretending i'm in the christmas spirit?
spreading peace love and happiness to all the world
or maybe delirious because i'm freakin starved
SomeMonkey: okay, i'll try again.
your BLOG is commenty.
me: oh, haha
also
commenty
vs complimentary
i get it!
With the exception of the purse incident, these things were all said when I was sober and migraine-free. I should not be allowed to speak in public.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Confession: Give me a minute to jot that down

I have a confession to make... I am obsessed with lists. To the point that it may be a diagnosable illness.

I have lists for everything:
  • Weekly groceries
  • Daily to-do
  • Longterm home improvements
  • Trip packing
  • House cleaning
  • Books to read
  • Blog ideas

Even my lists have lists. The trip packing lists? Those are compartmentalized into Preparation (cancel the paper, leave a check for the cat sitter) and Packing, which is further broken down into Clothes, Medications, Toiletries, Entertainment, Other.

I've never met a situation that I couldn't make a list for. And being a closet bit of a certified tech geek, most of my lists are in some electronic format. The previous tool of choice was a Google Spreadsheet. But recently, the new "Tasks" list in Gmail owns my soul.

Some of my lists have even progressed to the point of being made into a database. A searchable database accessible through my website (password protected, of course!). Granted, this is more of a catalog situation, but what's a catalog if not a list? And it's all for the greater good. If Joe can search to see if we already own a CD before he purchases it, we end up with fewer duplicates!

I'm sure there's some fancy word for it (listmania?) and I'm also sure there's no cure. Especially this time of year - because I also get very excited about other people making lists. Year in Review? 2008 Wrap-Up? I can barely stand it!

Now, I'm off to create a list of things I need to do between now and our evening plans. As well as a list for work tomorrow. And a list of things to finish before New Years Eve. Oh, also, a list of things I'm starting on January 1st. Maybe I should start with a list of the lists I need to create...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's good to have goals

Now that Christmas is over (though the tree is still staring at me, begging to be put away), I'm on to the next thing: New Years. Specifically, all those fancy schmancy resolutions to make me a saint hero slightly improved person in the coming year.

I'll save the specifics except to mention that I've noticed I've been long-winded and rambly lately. The first one I promise to work on. The second I could promise but it would be setting myself up for failure.

So today, I'm chilling, reading other blogs and figuring out my plans for world domination in 2009. It's nice to have a day where the ideas are coming faster than I can keep track of them. Now, to figure out which are meant to be pursued and which are meant to be left for another time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Let's move along, nothing to see here

I love Christmas and yesterday was no exception. We had a particularly lovely day, just me and Joe. I spoke with most of the family at one point or another on the phone. And while it's sad in some ways to be away from them during the holidays, I wouldn't have it any other way. This way preserves my sanity.

But my point (believe it or not, I usually have one when I start writing but I lose it sometimes due to shiny objects, oh look!!!) is that Christmas has a limited shelf-life for me. I don't want to see it or think about it before Thanksgiving. Really, I'd rather you not even mention it until December 1st. Christmas music? No way, no how before my turkey day has ended.

Then December 1st arrives and I do my best to find the Christmas spirit. Some years it comes right away, others I have to fight for it. This year, I didn't find it until the 23rd but at least I found it eventually!

Today, however, is December 26th. And I'm pretty much done with it. I'm not one of those people that keeps the decorations up until Epiphany. In fact, I find myself working overtime to dream up a legitimate reason we should put things away immediately. The tree is staring at me right now and I'm itching to throw it back in the box.

And Christmas music? Do NOT be playing any more Christmas music. The only "Christmas" music I tolerate outside the holidays is some Vince Guaraldi/Charlie Brown tunes. I also don't watch Christmas specials/movies outside of December.

I'm not sure why all this is. It could have something to do with fear that the cats will destroy something. We fight with them from the minute the tree goes up to the minute it comes down (either by our hand or theirs). I caught Tonya on the mantle this past week and almost beat her dropped her in a donation box lost my mind because I thought that was one of three "safe" areas in the house. It could also have something to do with putting my things back where they belong. Nothing's in its usual spot and it bothers me a great deal.

So assuming you ever found your Christmas spirit this year, when are you "over" it? Are you like me and you can't wait to put things away or are you someone who would love to leave your decorations up year-round?

Also, on an (almost completely) unrelated note, is there any job more terrifying than being a pet store Santa? Anyone know if they get hazard pay? I can't imagine my movements being restricted by that silly red suit while someone tries to put their angry Great Dane in my lap. Maybe kids scream and bite and pee on you but one wrong move and that peeved pet is going to eat your face!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

If that's your kind of thing

I wish I could say it is my childlike anticipation of Santa's leavings that has me awake so early. Alas, it is insomnia.

Either way, it means I can wish you all a very Merry Christmas that much sooner! And if Merry Christmas isn't what you're into, umm, Greetings, Earthling, take me to your leader! Unless your leader is scary or smells like peaches or stew. In that case, I bid thee general goodwill and we shall both walk away as if nothing ever happened.

I hope today brings you all good things, whatever you may need. Maybe it's a sweater, or a puppy, or some family time, or even just a temporary distraction from whatever else is happening in your life.

Whatever the case may be and whatever you are celebrating (or not), I wish you a good one.

Less than three,
Cate

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I've tried hard to be a good girl this year. By no means did I succeed 100% of the time but I have made a very conscious effort. Also, I haven't kicked a single puppy so I'm pretty sure that's an improvement over last year already (I kid, please don't send letters)! Anyways, most of my requests are not for me so I hope you will at least consider granting them.

First, I wish for peace of mind for all of those people fighting to make ends meet. Times are tough right now and I hope 2009 will be better for us all whether the struggles be financial or other stress. I also pray for the safety and return of our troops. Not only for those serving but for the welfare of their amazing families who give so much.

I request happiness and joy to all who have shared them with me this year, both on the internetz (including my new bloggy friends) and offline.

For my grandmother, I also request some happiness. She's lived a long time and given a lot of love. To see her so lonely and bitter in her last days makes me sad.

For my sister and her family, I seek enlightenment. Their situation doesn't need to be what it is. And that beautiful baby is in the middle of it all. He will be the one that suffers and it breaks my heart to see them struggle needlessly.

For my wonderful husband, Joe, I request a month-long vacation to a destination of his choosing. My only stipulation is that while he has a great thirst for adventure that should be satisfied, he also needs to spend some time really relaxing. He works hard, both in his job and in being married to me and he needs some downtime.

And if it's not too much to ask (I've asked for a lot already), I'd like to add a request for peace of mind for me. I've worked hard on some of my issues this year and I'd like to continue making progress next year. Less anxiety and more contentment would serve me well.

Thanks Santa. I know you have a lot on your plate and appreciate whatever you're able to do.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Festivus!

Today's the day you've been waiting for! No, not Christmas. Festivus!

I considered taking part in the traditional Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength but decided instead to just make donations to the Human Fund in honor of all my new bloggy friends

Speaking of my bloggy friends, I've been slow figuring out this whole award thing. But I want to thank The Wife of Riley and Angie at Making Memories (very belated thank you, oops) for this one:
The award states: "This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I'm cheating and gifting the award to everyone that reads this. Because you've all made me feel so welcome and I'm truly enjoying blogging for the first time ever.

Now, to put the finishing touches on my letter to Santa for tomorrow night.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mixed medical bag

I'm feeling pretty tired today and not up to even attempting anything entertaining or witty. Sorry. I can't even actually remember if I blogged yesterday at all.

This morning I had my follow-up appointment from my "Not a fun Friday" post two weeks ago. The short version (which is all I'm sharing here) is that tests I expected to come back fine came back positive in a way that made absolutely no sense. It caused insane stress for the past two weeks. Then last Friday, I spent the day chasing down my records that were supposed to be sent to the specialist because, of course, they hadn't been. I finally managed to pick them up in person.

Which brings us back to today. The specialist had a lot of interesting information for me, including the fact that my other doctor had completely misread my results. Yes, I still needed the appointment and additional testing this morning but the positive result that made no sense was, in fact, negative all along. So I spent two whole weeks spazzing out of my mind for absolutely nothing. For the past few nights, I've barely slept, all from the stress.

The doctor today did find a couple of minor issues that need to be dealt with but we won't have full results until January. At least I'm not dealing with this whole other mess. If I had the energy, I would be really angry. Instead, I'm just focusing on the fact that I won't actually have to be dealing with that issue and I'll do my best to let it go.

On the plus side, maybe now finally I can concentrate on enjoying Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Confession: I'm not that picky

I have a confession to make... I drink wine from a box. And I like it.

I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock. Or not.

Truth is, I adore wine but I don't like spending a lot of money on it. I challenge myself to keep it under $10 for a bottle and have found some nice wines in that range. I'm sure someone with more refined tastes would scoff but if it satisfies me, that's what matters.

Anyways, back to the boxes. Even with my inexpensive tastes, I've always looked down on boxed wine (the same as I do on wine with a screw top). That is, until I came home one night to see a box on my counter.
me: What is that?
Joe: Wine.
me: Yes, but why is it in a box?
Joe: It was less expensive.
me: For a reason. It's going to taste icky.
Joe: No, it's not. It's the exact same wine you drink out of a bottle, only it cost less for more. Win win!
He was right, of course. Which makes me want to kick things (no, not puppies).

This means the new rule is that we don't buy anything in a box that we haven't enjoyed from a bottle. So far our list includes Turning Leaf Pinot Noir and Pinot Evil (another pinot noir with an awesome monkey on the label).

There you have it, my first Sunday confession. A little weak but I need to ease myself into the juicier stuff.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Better to give than to receive

Every year, Christmas shopping seems to go the same way. We focus first on gifts for family because they're out of town and we have to ship things out. Of course we always usually never meet our projected dates for that. Then, we move on to shopping for each other. By the time this happens, we're nearing shipping deadlines and panicking to spend our budgets for each other. This means he gets a very Amazon Christmas.

That brings us to where we are today. Since I so awesomely suggested cutting our budgets by half, we're both almost done. Oddly enough, we both have about $15 left to spend. Joe mentioned last night maye going to the mall today. Of course, he doesn't pick just any mall - he picks the biggest, craziest, most panic-attack-inducing mall in the area. I asked why that mall and it goes something like this:

me: So why that mall?
Joe: I don't know.
me: I think that mall appeals to you for the same reason it freaks me out - so big and so many choices.
Joe: I guess we don't have to go to that mall. Mainly I wanted to go to Nordstroms. They're having a huge sale.
me: Oh?
Joe: Yeah, their twice annual mens sale. They do the mens and womens sales twice a year at different times and now it's mens sale time.
me: You want to go Christmas shopping for me at the mens sale?
Joe: Well, that might've been for me.
me: Do I need to explain to you how this whole "Season of Giving" thing works?

However, since my mind has decided not to let me sleep the last few nights, I was reading Angie's blog at 3am. She linked to a giveaway that caught my attention. Pooba is giving away Bath & Body Works awesomeness. And because I never win anything, I think while Joe's shopping for himself at Nordstroms, I might just make my way to Bath & Body Works.

If only Amazon keeps their end of the bargain, Christmas should be arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday. Otherwise, Joe will have to grant Santa a bit of a lateness buffer.

ETA: Scratch that. The sale isn't this weekend. He'll have to wait a week to shop for me at the mens sale.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Restraint

Main Entry: re·straint
Pronunciation: \ri-ˈstrānt\
Function: noun
1. what I'd like to use on the nurse's wrists while I punch her in the mouth for screwing up twice on my medical records
2. maintaining enough self-control to not punch the idiot nurse in the mouth for screwing up twice with my medical records

No nurses were harmed either before or after the creation of this post.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No such thing as free lunch

The holidays bring about many opportunities to break bread with different groups of folks. Unfortunately for me, that includes multiple occasions that involve eating with my coworkers.

First, there was our Thanksgiving luncheon. The most Thanks I had to be giving involved the fact that it was only our department. Me and five guys. We all brought something in and I was in charge of dessert. One guy brought in chips and soda. One brought in a delicious pasta salad. My boss, who lives by the mantra "anything worth doing is worth overdoing", picked up 4 massive subs (they were cut in thirds, nobody ate more than a third), more chips, and cookies. Another guy brought in a pumpkin pie (which, umm, I was in charge of dessert, punk!). And the final guy brought in Brunswick stew.

For those of you not familiar with Brunswick stew, here's a recipe. The taste isn't awful but the smell is like rotting meat like dog chow atrocious and the consistency in your mouth is mealy like a rotten apple. And that's not the worst part. When my boss questioned him about the half-eaten bag of corn chips he also brought in, he said those were to go on top of the stew. He was going to stop and pick up a new bag but (brace yourself) since his family had eaten more of the stew than he realized, he didn't have much stew left to bring in anyways. Am I the only one that finds that revolting? It's potluck, not leftovers. His family ate that stuff all week apparently after they made it for a church fundraiser the previous weekend. Nasty.

Then there's our company-wide holiday luncheon. The Human Resources department goes absolutely insane to make sure it's "holiday" and not "Christmas". Which is then followed up by the actual event opening in prayer and one employee singing a song that was not only overtly Christian but wasn't even a Christmas song. I'm not anti-church by any means but good grief! Then they manage to drag the lunch out to two hours in ways that leave just about everyone there feeling inappropriate and harassed. And there's not even any alcohol to lessen the sting!

And finally, today was our department Christmas lunch. This year, the boss decided we would go out. We went to a nice local chain bar and the food was delicious. The problem was the company I was dining with. My boss has bronchitis, diagnosed just yesterday. He spent the entire meal gagging and coughing. Two other coworkers also seem to be coming down with it. One has a sore throat and they're both hacking up a lung as well. And I had the pleasure of riding in an elevator and vehicles with them, in addition to eating my meal in close proximity. Then of course they all spent the entire meal talking about football and what a crock global warming is.

I guess I should just be glad we didn't do potluck again. I wouldn't have been able to eat with everyone sick like that, knowing they had prepared food. And given the world right now, I should also be happy I have a job, especially one that tortures poisons provides me with social eating opportunities.

HALP!!!

Just a brief cry for help. I'm not new to blogging but I'm fairly new to Blogger.

Is there a way to somehow see posts I've commented on from other blogs? I know you can subscribe to see all follow-up comments but the few times I've tried that it's been overwhelming. I didn't know if maybe there's something I'm not seeing (in the Dashboard maybe?) that would just show me which posts I've commented on so I could go back and check them.

Because I love receiving comments so much and it's the season of "better to give than receive", I've been trying to comment a lot but then I lose track.

Anyways, if anyone knows, I'd appreciate some direction.

Otherwise, back to some regular hopefully less boring content later today!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas obligations

I'm supposed to be shopping for Christmas gifts this afternoon online. No, truly, I'm supposed to be working from home. But whatever. So yeah, I told myself I'd spend the afternoon finishing up shopping for Joe. Everyone else is done. I may have to turn in my woman card though - I'm totally failing at shopping.

I even convinced him to cut the budget in half because I am awesome.
me: Know why you're the luckiest man in the world?
Joe: Why?
me: Because you're married to me.
Joe: Oh.
me: Thanks for the enthusiasm. Don't you want to know why?
Joe: I'm sure you'll tell me either way.
me: I want to talk to you about cutting our Christmas budget for each other by half.
Joe: What's the catch?
me: Raincheck. I want to spend money when our house project is finished.
Joe: Yeah, I bet there's still a catch somewhere. I'll find it.
That Joe, master detective. Good to know he's on the case even though I truly just wanted to spend more later instead of now. But now I'm also glad we cut the budget because I'm having trouble shopping for him. Mostly it's pressure I put on myself because he is so awesome and I just want to make him happy.

Instead, I am going to finish addressing my Christmas cards. Wanna see them? I designed them myself.

Front:



Inside:

Unfortunately, I designed them before I found my Christmas spirit. It was definitely during the phase of "pretend you're excited for the holidays and maybe you'll even fool yourself".

Maybe I should consider redesigning them. Or not sending them at all, which I like even better.

Merry Christmas ya'll. Back to shopping!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So many kids and none of them mine (yay!)

As part of my grand scheme to rule the universe achieve world peace get over my anxiety enough to go out sometimes like a big girl, Joe and I went out to a movie and dinner over the weekend. It was another success to add to my list and I'm feeling quite proud. Today, dinner 15 minutes from home, tomorrow, I stage a hostile takeover of Sweden.

Anyways, it seemed that our carefully chosen semi-adult evening was still somehow kids night. Which is ok, I don't hate kids by any means. Some are even cute (SisterFriend's little Z is so adorable I just want to smoosh his face!). Especially when I've had my daily happy pill. We were mainly trying to dodge crowds and chaos to keep me sane. And kids are a complicated issue for me.

At the movie (Bond, James Bond), there was an adorable little boy seated behind me with his folks. He adorably kicked the back of my seat throughout the movie and yet that wasn't the annoying part. The annoying part was that the child did not speak English, which resulted in someone constantly explaining to him in Spanish what was going on and being said on screen. It was like watching the entire movie with a translator in my ear.

Still, I was cool. Chill. Off to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly. It's not quite upscale but it's nicer than On The Border. I'd say it's more sophisticated Mexican and not typically a place you'd expect a lot of children. We were seated in a cool booth near the bar. In the booth behind me was the sweetest little guy. Sometimes, I thought he was going to crawl over the seat and join us for dinner. Other times, it sounded like he was gearing up to eat my face. ROAR!!!

But the best moment came when dinner was done and we were waiting for the check. We decided to make a couple of stops on the way home so I figured it was a good idea to use the restroom before we left. I made my way very carefully down the hall (because I had some wine and didn't want to fall on my face) and found a young girl in there, probably between the age of 5 and 20 (I'm not good at judging ages). Actually, maybe about 9? She was washing her hands and singing "Winter Wonderland" when I entered. Very charming. When I came out of the stall, she was still there, singing, now cleaning the counter. This is when she chose to engage me in conversation.

Girl: Hi.
me: Hi.
Girl: Don't mind me, I'm just cleaning.
me: Is the restaurant making you work for your dinner?
Girl: No, I just don't want to go back to my table.
me: Oh? Why not?
Girl: My stepdad's out there. And he's an a$$hole.
me: I'm very sorry to hear that. Don't you think you'll be missed if you stay in here too long?
Girl: Mom's too busy with the a$$hole to notice.

I wasn't quite sure what to say to that. I considered tackling her and washing her mouth out with soap due to her language. But I figure if she's old enough to deal with an a$$hole stepdad, she's old enough to label it as she sees fit. Plus, I was fighting a considerable case of the giggles.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Pick-Me-Up

A special welcome to those visiting as part of the Christmas in Bloggyland Tour. Hope you're staying warm on your travels.

I've been trying to think of something Christmas-y to share today. I've had a tough time finding my holiday spirit this year so maybe I could take advantage of my new visitors to pose a question:

When you've got the Christmas blues, what do you do to turn it around?

Is there a song or a movie? A memory or a snack? Maybe it's church or family.

For me, there are a few choice decorations at home that always help me find my Christmas joy. One is an ornament from my grandfather. Another is my grandmother's nativity. They both passed away many years ago but these two things bring back a lot of memories from Christmases long ago.

Then, there's Charlie Brown. Every Christmas eve, we make hot cocoa and I watch his Christmas special (I have it on dvd). It involves a great deal of fun but also a great bit of quiet and reflection. And the music makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

So what does it for you? When you're feeling glum and all the Christmas craziness gets you down, how do you find your holiday happiness again?

I hope everyone stopping in today has a fabulous holiday season, wherever you are and whatever you do. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to reading your suggestions!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas in Bloggyland Tour

I've sort of unintentionally taken the weekend off from blogging so I decided I'd be back with a vengence tomorrow. Then I saw a link to A Christmas in Bloggyland Tour. Since I'll be at my desk all day anyways, might as well!



Check it out!

Friday, December 12, 2008

If the shoe fits

This is a holiday-related post so I'm going to warn you right now that I say non-politically correct things like Christmas and Jesus and Walmart. Just in case that sort of thing bothers you, please feel free to bail now.

Specifically, I would like to address a certain Christmas song. It's one of only three that I find so horrid I must change the station immediately. The song in question is The Christmas Shoes.

For anyone unfamiliar (and I don't want to spoil it for you) the song is about a little boy in a store at Christmas, buying some shoes for his mama. The hook is that he's short on cash and his mama is dying. He wants to buy the shoes so she can "be beautiful when mama meets Jesus tonight". Of course the guy behind him in line rushes to pay for them and is jolted from his evil consumerism in time to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And then the choir of children make their final plea because if you haven't burst into tears at this part, the final push of wide-eyed youngsters should do the trick.

Touching.

Moving.

Except...

This song makes me feel bad in all the wrong ways. I don't feel bad for this kid OR his mama. In fact, I want to call Social Services. Why is this kid wandering around Walmart (c'mon, you know it's Walmart) by himself trying to panhandle strangers into buying his mama some "Made in China" shoes for $8.96? Where's his papa? I guess papa's too busy with mama to keep track of the kid. And if I happened to be the guy behind him in line I'd probably pay for the shoes just to get him to stop with the sob story and quit holding up the line.

This song makes me feel the same way I'd imagine I would feel if I kicked puppies or poked sleeping babies. (For the record, I have never kicked puppies. I may have poked a sleeping baby or two, but that was just to make sure they were still breathing.) I understand how I'm supposed to feel but that's not what I'm experiencing at all. I'm not proud of this but it is what it is.

I think mostly I'm just angry because I hate being emotionally manipulated. Anything too saccharin, too syrupy, too made for tv makes me feel crazy in my rebellion to prove I'm not susceptible to their ploys.

Yeah, take THAT, sorcerers of sentiment. My heartstrings will not be so easily tugged by your carefully crafted formulas. My heartstrings are impervious to your tricks. I'm not even sure I have a heart anyways, let alone the attached strings.

P.S. Ok, see what you people (Lyndsay, I'm looking at YOU!!!) make me do? I actually made myself go to YouTube and search for the song just so I could include a link. Do you know how messed up that's going to make my "recommended videos"? I'm crying on the inside. Again, for the wrong reasons.

P.P.S. Oh yeah, the link, complete with onscreen lyrics. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More than two

Only my husband would mistake a symbol of love for a mathematical equation.

Text conversation:
Joe: panda spec 8pm pbs
me: <3

5 minutes later, he calls me, slightly out of breath.
Joe: What's less than 3? Is something wrong?
me: Nothing's wrong. Go back to your meeting and I'll tell you how you fail when you come home.
I've only been responding to him in chat and text with <3 for the past several months. Suddenly he calls to ask if it means there's some kind of emergency? SomeMonkey suggested maybe he thought that was my secret distress code in case someone had broken into the house. She may have been poking a bit of fun (it would be in character for her). 

Joe, of course, played it cool accused me of never using <3 before as soon as he walked through the door. I made him pull out his phone and look through my messages. It was in two of the first five he checked. I then opened his laptop and searched his inbox for <3. Many, many matches (all from me - phew!). 


I said nothing. I only pointed, raised my eyebrows, smiled, and walked away. At that point, victory was mine. No point in beating a dead horse. 


P.S. "Less than three" also happens to be the number of hours of sleep I enjoyed last night. I can't wait to get home and curl up on the sofa with my slanket and naked Simon Baker episodes of The Mentalist. 

P.P.S. Please tell me you do all realize <3 is a heart on its side. Right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm pretty certain the elevator wanted to keep me

So I posted about my (almost) anxiety-free weekend trip. The worst anxiety I had this weekend actually involved the stupid elevator at the hotel. I thought about devoting a whole post to it but thought that was kinda brilliant dumb. Who would want to read about my freak out over an elevator? And then I realized - probably the same people that read my rant about John Tesh. Who am I to judge?

The hotel itself was a renovated Sheraton. The lobby was nice and the room was great. A couple of minor picky issues if you really pressed me to find something to complain about but it met my basic criteria: clean and quiet with locking doors and decent wi-fi. (How else would I be able to blog about John Tesh? My priorities are SO in order!)

The trauma all revolved around the one element the hotel seemed to neglect in their upgrades - the elevator. Among my many neuroses is a strong streak of claustrophobia. Tunnels, small rooms, even sitting in the middle of an aisle instead of on the end can set me off. But fearless Joe said this elevator was making him a little nervous as well.

Everything appeared normal as we waited for the doors to open. Even after it was clear the elevator had arrived at the lobby, it paused for a long time before the doors parted. Then, they closed behind us VERY quickly. The inside was dark - no mirrors, no light-colored walls. Even the floor was black linoleum. Then, there was the "chime" indicating passage between levels. It was like a broken "bo-ing". Sad, distant, and definitely in need of repair. Or prozac.

Speaking of prozac... Once the clunky old elevator had made the ascent to the 5th floor, I was more than ready to break free. The pathetic BO-ING indicated we had arrived and I waited for the doors to open. And waited. And waited some more. Just when I was certain we had been swallowed up forever and would have to call for help, the doors slowly split.

But they didn't just open like ordinary doors. It was reminiscent of a seal breaking like when you first pop the safety lid on a jar of jam. Hermetically sealed like a coffin, gasping for air when finally they separated.

By the time we went back out that night, I had convinced myself the elevator was out to get me. Quick to lock you in and very slow to give you up once it had sucked you inside. I can only count my blessings that we weren't staying any higher than the 5th floor and no longer than one night. My sanity may not have survived additional trips in the elevator of death. Two round trips was more than enough.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sadness

Main Entry: sad·ness
Pronunciation: \sad'ness\
Function: noun

realizing A Charlie Brown Christmas was on last night and you missed it, because even though you have it on dvd it's just not the same

A smallish victory

I went away this weekend without a single anxiety attack - I ate meals, slept through the night, and had a good time.

I'm guessing there aren't many people who can fully appreciate the weight of that statement. Unless you or a loved one suffer the kind of anxiety I do, going away overnight hardly seems like a victory. But for me, it was a major accomplishment.

Joe loves to travel. Every time he has a free day, he wants to be on the road exploring and experiencing something new. One of the things that initially brought us together was that we were both from a sheltered hick town and wanted to explore the world. He had the courage I lacked to venture out and took great joy at showing me new things.

All my life I've had great anxiety when a trip was pending. Countless times I had to cancel last minute. As far back as kindergarten I can remember being sick on field trips and I went nowhere without a barf bag. It continued through high school but by the time I reached college (and met Joe), it seemed I had grown out of these attacks.

We traveled a lot. By car, by plane, even by boat. We drove two hours for pizza and flew eight hours to Paris. We saw London Bridge and Santana and skied and played putt-putt.

But then something changed. Over the past few years, I began to re-experience horrible anxiety whenever we traveled. Sometimes it started before we left, other times I was fine until we were on the way. Recently, it had become crippling. I couldn't even leave the house for a casual meal without becoming horribly sick. Anything outside of my routine threw me into a tailspin.

So finally we're back to my original point. I sought help from a couple of sources. Day-to-day seemed to be improving. We went out for a few meals and I managed to work my way through those. And this weekend, I went away on a lovely overnight trip with my husband and had a great time. It gives me hope that better days are ahead.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

John "Doom & Gloom" Tesh

Tonight, Joe and were able to enjoy a really beautiful holiday display complete with a choir singing carols and hot cocoa afterward. To keep the Christmas spirit flowing (since I've had such a rough time finding it at all this year), I scanned the radio for a station playing Christmas music.

I settled on a station playing an instrumental version of Carol of the Bells. Then, John Tesh shares with us some "intelligence". About how the current economic struggles are even affecting how we die. Average funerals cost $7k but you can DIY with some dry ice and a sturdy box for only about $1k.

He then plays some Rudolph. You know, the inspirational "you can do it" reindeer. At the next opportunity, he tells us about how some parents are being forced to choose between paying for housing/utilities/food and paying for childcare. He warned against settling for subpar childcare and said not to lock your kid in the car all day with a sandwich because you might get arrested like this other woman.

Then, falalalala, Deck the Halls, to be jolly. "Not to bum you out but I was at the mall last night and there was a kid with a cold. He was pushing the elevator buttons with his runny nose. So, like I said, not to bum you out. But I'm just sharing."

I kid you not. I may have remembered the actual songs incorrectly and I'm paraphrasing because my memory sucks, but Joe can vouch for me that the above is not in any way an exaggeration.

Merry Christmas from John Tesh, whose "Intelligence For Your Life" radio show made me want to end my life (I'm changing my will immediately to request a DIY funeral). Nobody's gonna mistake him for Santa, that's for sure!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"M" makes me merry

No, I'm not having a Sesame Street flashback. Well, not exactly. Angi_b72 over at Making Memories posted her entry in a game this morning. Since I'm having a rather low-key day (after a really rough night and being ridiculously sick this morning), I requested to play along.

She has given me the gift of "M". The rules are this: Leave a comment either here or at I guess back at Making Memories that you want to play along, and we'll send you a random letter. Then make a list of your ten favorite things, beginning with your assigned letter. That's it! (Somehow, even though I stole the rules directly from her page, I wonder if I somehow screwed them up.)

Here I go, in no particular order.

1. Music - Doesn't matter what my current mood might be, I can always find a soundtrack. Tonight, it goes a little like this. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel more like this.

2. March - Spring, flowers, sunshine, green grass. I love Spring.

3. Mythbusters - Both fun and educational! But some episodes should not be watched during dinner. Enjoy a clip!

4. Mint - From candy to drinks, mint makes me happy and even soothes my tummy from time to time.

5. Merriam Webster - m-w.com, where would I be without you? I'd have at least 5 typos and errors per post instead of just the usual 2 or 3. In fact, I just had to look up "typos". No e.

6. Macaroni & Cheese - Specifically Grandma's recipe which I make a mean rendition of.

7. Medication - Especially migraine relief and mental meds and Midol.

8. Mentalist - Have you seen Simon Baker? 'Nuff said.


9. Mocha lattes - Chocolate AND coffee together in one place? Add some of #4 to the mix and that's pure heaven.

10. Marriage - I really don't know what I'd do without my husband. I poke fun here and there but the man is a rockstar and without him I'd be wandering around aimlessly in the woods somewhere.

So there are my ten favorites that start with M. Twas fun!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Not a fun Friday

Today should've been awesome. It's Friday. It's pay day and we get our annual holiday bonus (don't get too excited - it's not much, more of a token, but I realize I'm lucky to get even that). I have a three-day weekend ahead. I was scheduled to leave work an hour early to finally finish some paperwork at the bank.

But even as I arrived at the office, I had a feeling of foreboding. I told KarmaChameleon that I just had a feeling it wasn't going to be a great day.

Minor thing that I've been meaning to do but I finally remembered to follow-up on some test results at the dr's office, fully expecting to be told everything was negative/normal. Of course that wasn't the case or I wouldn't be posting this.

My world is in a bit of a tailspin right now. In the scheme of things, this is not a big deal. It's very unlikely that I'll be facing anything more than a minor inconvenience. But since it's happening to me, of course it's a big deal!

I see a specialist for further testing later in the month. Merry Christmas to me!

If I was having trouble finding my holiday spirit before, this certainly didn't help. It's been a long day and I'm ready to curl up with a glass of Cabernet and call it a night. I started out my morning like any other - with a nice, organized list of tasks to complete. I accomplished almost none of them. I'll catch back up tomorrow. (Some of those tasks were blog-related so I'll catch up on comments and following and such in the morning.)

Please come back tomorrow when I'll be less of a Debbie Downer. That's not the general purpose of this blog but tonight forgive me for feeling a bit self-indulgent.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Anyone seen my spine?

After several months and not a single tear, I've decided it's time to break up with my therapist once and for all. The problem is my lack of spine. See, I decided last night was our last session but I didn't actually mention that to her. I went ahead and scheduled my next appointment, put the little card in my purse and told her I'd see her in two weeks.

Maybe my expectations were wrongly based on "Hollywood" therapy. Crying and hypnosis and progress. Because what I got was small talk, shopping tips, grocery recommendations, and compliments about my hair/purse/coat/sweater/shoes. Oh, and a lot of stories about her cat.

As much as I was hesitant to the idea of therapy in the beginning, I do feel I gave it a fair try. Last night was our tenth session. Twice, she has had "epiphanies" about the deeper cause of my anxiety issues but there was never any follow-up. The next appointment, I would arrive and we'd start from scratch. She takes notes but apparently never looks at them or compares them against previous sessions. It's as if each appointment exists in a vacuum.

Anyways, I think I'll probably end up dumping her over the phone. First, I'll postpone our next "date" until after the holidays. Then, I'll kinda realize I don't need her anymore and just never call again. Finally, if she contacts me, I'll tell her "it's not you, it's me!". As in, you're wonderful, I'm cured! Thanks, have a nice life! She's a bad therapist and I guess I'm a bad girlfriend.

Yeah, I'm a wimp. But at least I'm not breaking it off over text or email. Hmm, I wonder if she has an email address listed on her website...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One is the loneliest number

The voices in my head are getting lonely. They want someone to talk to besides each other.

Or Joe. Conversations with Joe make us want to bang our head against the wall sometimes. Like this:
me: I hate it when I look up the spelling of a word and both options are correct. How would you spell "worshiped"? One P or two?
Joe: One.
me: How about canceled?
Joe: No Ps in canceled.
Gee, thanks. Don't ever forget that he's the one with the MBA!

Anyways, another blog I read (I Used to be Witty - and don't let her fool you because she still is) linked to The Secret is in the Sauce (SITS). SITS is all about comment love. Just look for the snazzy SITS logo (like I'm now displaying to the right - see it over there?) and comment away. I'm not above begging!

So my plan for December is to show some comment love in hopes of seeing some comment love. Or, in other words, giving the voices in my head someone else to talk to. Twitter was a total failure for me yesterday and caused a panic attack so we'll see how this goes.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Even when I win, I lose

I know it's the holiday season but lately, everyone wants my money. I'm so tired of money. Not that I have a ton of it but I'd like to give what I do have away just so when people ask for some, I can say "oh, sorry, I have no money!"
  • Amazon.com has their annual "vote on your favorite deals" thing. Which I did. And I was selected!!! Which means that because I won, they're inviting me to spend my money on their site.
  • A family member sent me wish lists for her, her husband, her baby, and her car. Yes, her car. (Also, "Ask Aunt Cate for the big presents. She has more money than Grandma.")
  • I've already griped about the church asking for pledges. Then after you make your pledge, they send a letter saying "Thanks - think you could consider sending MORE than that?".
Except if people think you have no money, then they bother you about how you can make some! I'm a friendly girl (that's friendly, not slutty) and that often leaves me open to solicitation (for sales, not prostitution - what the hell is wrong with you people?).
  • Pyramid scheme freaks approach me at Target. "Do you happen to know what time it is? Oh, nice watch. Wanna sign up under us to sell some soap?"
  • I decided to start following more folks on Twitter, mostly to see if some would follow me. So I went to some ranking of "Most Awesomest Twitterers EVER!!!", added a bunch. And I swear 9/10 were trying to tell me how to use Twitter to make money.
  • Also, the people who have "found" me on Twitter on their own have been all about making me money. Nice of them but if they really care about making me money, it would be easier for them to send a check. And I think really it's somehow about making them money.
Sidenote: I wouldn't mind making millions from my blog/Twitter/belly button lint, but it's not my primary goal. I just wanna be loved and adored and worshipped by millions. I'm making up for my lack of real-life friends with internet comrades.

Anyways, this post is not about that. Maybe the next post will be about that. This post is about... Wait, did I have a point when I started?