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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Appearances aren’t always what they seem

Or, how all my neighbors got the idea I was a raging alcoholic.

For some reason this story has popped into my head a couple of times this week, so I decided to write about it.

Back when I first graduated from college, I lived with a bunch of my friends in a three family house in Somerville, MA. We had a nice apartment on the ground floor, with a huge kitchen, a little porch in the back and a decent sized yard, perfect for barbecuing. It was a nice place to live, but we did not fit in to the neighborhood. Most of our neighbors were working class families or older people who had lived there for years. And who had lots of Virgin Marys and Jesus statues in their yards. Naturally, our dog Wesley liked to growl at the statues, only adding to our bad rep as those “wild” young girls with the devil dogs. It was kind of a narrow minded neighborhood, and we stood out like sore thumbs, with our assortment of multi-ethnic, punk rock, crazy hippie and the occasional (obviously) lesbian friends. And oh, how we were hated.

My roommates and I all had crappy, just-out-of-school jobs. I worked retail, toiling away in a mall bookstore. Sometimes I had to open the store, but mostly, I worked the evening shift, which was 1:30 to 10. Which mostly meant that my roommates just waited for me to get home before starting the party. Endearing us to the neighbors even more, I’m sure. But hey, we were fresh out of college! Staying up late, eating junk food, smoking a lot and drinking were what we knew. And we weren’t really all that excessive. We were party girls by Wellesley standards, but that ain’t saying much. So we’d stay up until 2 or so, and then toddle off to bed one by one.

One of the benefits living where we did was that we could walk down to Ball Square to buy stuff and do things. And most mornings, I would get up around 10 or 11 and walk with one or both of the dogs down to the liquor store on the corner, where I would buy a pack of cigarettes, a two liter of Coke, and usually a bag of chips or some sort of liquor-store snack. Healthy eating was really high on my agenda. Then I would walk home, with my paper bag from the liquor store, get my first hit of caffeine and nicotine for the day, and get ready to go to work. Anyway, one day I saw the curtains a-twitching as I went down the sidewalk, and realized that there was a collection of disapproving biddies who watched me trek down to the corner and back every morning. They all thought I was picking up a fifth of bourbon or something every day! I was a neighborhood scandal.

If only they knew how boring the truth really was.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Frustrated

I've been trying to get my new blog up and running. The problem is, I have no time. Plus, I've got the added bonus of having no idea what I am doing. And I generally don't even get to start working on it until 10 p.m. You know, when I'm at my sharpest and best at figuring out new stuff.

Sometimes the experimenting is fun, although I thought I'd be done by now. There's been a lot of trial and error, and I don't have much to show for my efforts yet. And then there are nights like tonight. I just spent an hour trying to figure out how to export the entries from my first blog to the new one. The MT directions made it sound like it would be so simple. Maybe it is, but not for me. I did something wrong and it didn't work.

And wait until you see the site. It isn't even complicated! I'm feeling extra slow right now.

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Monday, January 24, 2005

A fabulous weekend, and then…blah

I had a really nice weekend. It snowed again, and I used that as an excuse to not leave the house for most of Saturday and Sunday. I did lots of laundry, organized my files, cleaned the bathroom, baked a cake and made a delicious vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Plus, I got to spend some quality time with my husband and my dog. And only four people showed up for my yoga class on Sunday night, so it was almost like having a private lesson. All in all, a very satisfactory weekend.

Then this morning it was 14 degrees out. I got to work and half of the people on my hall were out sick. Of the people who actually made it into the office, half were getting sick or getting over being sick. The majority of my projects were stalled because the people I needed weren’t there. I was freezing and exhausted for most of the day, which didn’t help my productivity much either.

I would have been much better off staying in bed today.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

DC is for Wussies

We got a whopping two inches of snow on the ground here today. Two whole inches, and everyone here is all freaked out. I had to run some errands after work, and there weren’t any people on the roads or in the stores. They are actually opening the schools two hours late tomorrow.

Holy crap, a guy just got hit by a car on Lost! I didn’t see that coming.

Where was I? Oh, right, snow. It amazes me how badly people in the DC area deal with snow. I mean, I am not a winter person, but I manage to carry on when there’s only two inches of snow. I even like looking at the snow. And, actually, I love being outside at night when it is snowing. That has a magical feeling to it. I just hate the inconvenience that comes after a snowfall. Well, the inconvenience and the cold. It has been insanely cold here this week.

But not everyone hates the snow. Seamus is thrilled. Except that the snowmelt they put down on the sidewalks hurts his paws. He’ll just stop and hold one paw up, looking miserable as he waits for me to brush it off. Which led to confusion when he stopped to point at something tonight. He also likes to stick his nose in the snow and blow out, which is awfully cute. I'm glad someone is getting some enjoyment of it.

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Ze Beeg Partay

My friend Jules’ party was a huge success, even with me falling down on the guest-supplying front. While I knew I would have a good time – it goes against the laws of physics for me to be with Laila, Jules and Melissa and not have a good time – I didn’t realize how much fun everyone else would have. But there were a couple of things I hadn’t taken into account. First of all, Jules is good at this. Really good. She’s working on a plan to buy the company from the current owner, and I’m positive she’s going to make it even more successful than it already is. Her presentation was fun and informative and she really made it a party.

Second, the women who came treated it like it really was a party, and not just a sales pitch. They were there with their best friends just like I was. They scooped up hors d’oeuvres and free booze (featuring the debut of the Girlz Nite Out signature martini served in the most gorgeous glasses ever) and delicious desserts. They played the games, and participated in Jules’ “tricks and tips” challenges, laughed and made rowdy jokes. Everyone had a blast.

And then they went in and bought a whole lot of stuff! I was astounded when Jules told me the grand total. And yes, I bought a couple of items. I had carefully put my list together, including one piece which really only made the list because I was trying to be a good friend. And then it turns out that because I helped throw the party, I get a merchandise credit! So I guess I didn’t have to worry about my revenue contribution after all. Not that Jules would have cared if whether or not I spent a dime.

So, if you ever get the chance to go to one of these parties, I can assure you it will be a good time. Now I must get off the internet before I go order those martini glasses from Crate & Barrel. I hate martinis, so I really, really don't need them. Even though I am in love with their prettiness.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Reason #927 Why I Love My Husband

This past weekend, I made a gingerbread house. My mother-in-law gave me a kit for Christmas, and I thought my two-year old nephew might enjoy it. Which he did, for about 7.2 seconds and then it was back to "Play cars and trucks now!"

Which left me with this gingerbread house that I had no use for whatsoever. For me, gingerbread houses are like easter eggs -- I enjoy the decoration part, but I have no interest in eating the result.

So we trucked the gingerbread house back home, and I said to John, "What the hell do I do with this thing?" And in a flash, it came to him...set it out in the woods! And now there's a miniature Hansel and Gretel house out there in the woods behind our house for someone to find. I like to think that a family of mice has set up house inside. That, or maybe some stoners from the high school will find it.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Dilemma

My friend Jules is in town, visiting from New Hampshire. Yay! Now, Jules has a day job with a company here in DC, which she is about to give up to return to graduate school. And she also has one of those jobs where she has parties and sells things and gets a percentage of the profits. She’s having a party here on Saturday, and she’s asked if I want to invite anyone from work.

Which brings us to my problem. I want to be a supportive friend and bring guests to buy stuff from her. But I work for a very conservative company, and Jules, being Jules doesn’t sell plain ol' ordinary Pampered Chef products. At her parties she sells, hmm, let’s call them sex accessories. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problems with people purchasing and using said accessories. And I know the party will be a lot of fun. But a) people can be weird about sex and might get offended and b) I’m not sure I want to see any of my co-workers waving “the dolphin” around. There are some mental images you just don’t want. I think inviting people from work is out.

Jules and I know all of the same people, so there’s no other pool of potential customers for me to tap. One of my friends may come for the entertainment value, but she doesn’t want to buy anything. I have promised not to yell “Oh my God it’s a zombie penis!” like I did when Jules practiced her spiel on me, but that’s pretty much all I can do to help sales at this point.

So, how much do you think I have to purchase to be a good friend and make up for not contributing any guests to the party?

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Waaah

Warning: sometimes bitter, completely self-indulgent post ahead. I’m overtired, cranky and feeling sorry for myself. And I’ve got a few things to say.

• How can someone as tired as I am be so completely incapable of falling asleep at night?

• Today was one of those days where my job made me want to drink. Seriously. Three-quarters of the people I talked to today seemed to be going out of their way to alienate, irritate or misunderstand me. And if something could do wrong it did. Grrr.

• To the guy behind me in line at the self checkout at Whole Foods. Yes, I dared to pay for my lunch with one dollar bills. I realize cash is passé, but I didn’t think it was necessary to charge my $5 lunch to a credit card. No need for you to heave a big dramatic sigh. Or to practically shove me out of the way to scan your own food when I was done. Jerk.

• After being rushed by Impatient McPushy in the checkout line, I got trapped behind a pack of cars going 40 mph in a 55 mph zone. 15 miles under the speed limit is enough to make my head explode.

• To my sister-in-law (a multi-part whine):
1. Do not take your insecurities about being a mother out on me. As it happens, I actually think you’re a pretty good mom. But don’t tell me that once I have children, I’ll come around to your way of thinking. I’m not going to spank my children, and I think I can raise them healthily as vegetarians. And I don’t think that will make me a bad mother. I realize you see independent thought as a threat and perhaps some sort of criticism, but it’s not.

2. Oh, and by the way…my dog is not a plague carrier. Don’t treat him like one. And no, I won’t change my mind and think that he can’t sniff my baby once I have one.

3. As a matter of fact, there is a separation of church and state clause in the Constitution. It is in the Bill of Rights and goes like this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. You’re a lawyer. You should know that. And another thing. The people who founded this country were not of your religion. They called the Pope the Whore of Rome, and burned him in effigy. If they had tied their religion to the state, you wouldn’t be very happy right now, would you? We have a separation of church and state so that all citizens have freedom of religion, not just you.

Now, hopefully tonight I can get some damn sleep and tomorrow will be a better day.


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Thursday, January 06, 2005

House!

So, I was going to write a follow-up to yesterday’s post. I thought perhaps I would expand on Seamus’ coat-destroying abilities, or tell the story of how one time when my mom watched him, he jumped op on the counter and stole a pound cake.

Or tell you more stories from the wedding…about how my heart melted when I watched John read a story to baby Malcolm on New Year’s Day…perhaps share John’s review of Flight of the Phoenix with you. Super-condensed version: “When Dennis Quaid gets to Heaven, Jimmy Stewart ought to walk up to him and kick him in the nuts for ruining this movie.”

But, I’m all distracted now. You see, my landlord recently told me that he won’t be renewing our lease when it expires at the end of May. And we’ve been weighing our options and I think we’re going to try to buy a house. A house! A house! Well, actually, knowing our budget, it will most likely be a townhouse. And we can’t afford to live anywhere that is convenient to anything. But I don’t care. Because in a few months, we could have a place of our very own!

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Late to the party

I really wanted to participate in National De-Lurking Day, but this is the first chance I’ve had to blog all day. Now it’s 10 o’clock and everyone is probably busy watching the 2nd hour of Alias. Anyway, if by some chance you haven’t heard by now, Sheryl came up with the idea to encourage lurkers to de-lurk, just for the day and say hello. So, if anyone out there wants to de-lurk at this late hour, please do.



That is, if anyone is still reading after I haven’t posted in six days! For which I am truly sorry. Here’s what’s been going on, since I last wrote:

Wednesday: Woke up depressed about my dad. Ate many peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies. Eventually decided that my relationship with my dad has always sucked and will continue to suck until the day he dies (which suddenly seems much closer) and all I can do is try to accept that fact. Had a nice dinner with my friend Laila.

Thursday: Spent the day frantically searching for a dress to wear to my friend Carri's wedding on Friday. Ended up spending way more money than I wanted to, but at least I had something to wear. Came home to the excellent news that John’s final grades were posted and I am now married to a college graduate. Yay! Got pizza and cheese fries to celebrate. Had stupid fight with John about whether or not the suit he wanted to pack for the wedding was too casual.

Friday: Got up insanely early to fly to New Hampshire, after getting no sleep because I am a freak and woke up once an hour all night long because I was worried about oversleeping. Drove to my friend Jules’ house and got ready for the wedding. John’s reaction to me in the wedding outfit made it worth every penny. Drove to Marblehead for the wedding, which was lovely. My friend Carri looked beautiful and so happy. The church she got married in was built in 1714 and modeled after a church that Christopher Wren designed in London after the great Fire of 1666, which you probably only care about if you are a geek like me. Then it was back to NH to ring in the New Year with Jules. And celebrate her birthday, which is January 1st.

Saturday: Got up early. Played with Jules’ adorable baby boy Malcolm. Longed for child of my own. Flew home. Picked up naughty doggy who has managed to destroy my mom’s winter coat, which I am now going to have to replace.

Sunday: Try to do all of the things I didn’t get done on my vacation. Fail miserably. Go to yoga class, which is awesome, as always.

Monday: While walking the dog, realize I have to speak at the 2005 Kickoff meeting we’re having at work that afternoon. Swear a lot. Go to work and try to remember what I said I’d talk about when we planned the meeting weeks ago. Somehow pull off the presentation.

Tuesday: Struggle to focus on work. Fail miserably.

Wednesday: Did I take a vacation? Where did this huge mountain of work come from? Can I take another vacation?

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