Monday, December 29, 2008

By The Way, Did I Mention I Have The Plague?

The weeks between Christmas and New Year's are the traditional vacation weeks for most folks in my company. Usually me, too, but I used all my vacation for the wedding and honeymoon in May, and my days do not roll over until March. Ick.

Anyway, there are a few consolation prizes for those of us forced to work during these two weeks:

Casual dress. (Oh, you have no vacation time, or nowhere to go for the holidays? Please, feel free to wear jeans to the office, that should make you feel better.)
2PM closing time on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. (Woo-hoo!)
Company expensed lunches. (Double woo-hoo!)

Last Tuesday I was invited to a company expensed lunch along with 5 others: 2 VPs, 1 manager and 2 data enterers. Note: All 5 married with children. Yes, this is important to the story.

Conversation around the lunch table inevitably turned to how each individual and their family were spending the holidays. One of the VPs, who I feel comfortable joking with, announced that he and his family were going to Sanibel Island. The following conversation ensued:

Me: There's really no need to brag unless you have room for everyone at the table.
VP: There might be a way for you and Tim to get a free room.
Me: Really? How's that?
VP: Babysit my kids.
Me: I'll pass.
VP: Seriously?
Me: Yeah.
VP: Why?
Me: I don't like kids.

4 heads turned to shoot shocked and appalled looks at me. (1 was already looking at me.) Seriously. I may well have said, "By the way, have I mentioned I have the plague?" Or, "I highly enjoy murdering puppies in my spare time."

Jeez. It's not like I looked at each member of the table and said, "I don't like your kids. Your kids are obnoxious and annoying and shouldn't exist."

I was simply stating fact. I have a very low tolerance level for children between the ages of 1 and 8. I adore infants, and I think pre-teens and teenagers are a riot. That doesn't mean that I ignore children, or am mean to children. I have been known to push swings, give gifts, color, play tag and toss softballs. So what if these are not some of my favorite activities? At least I'm honest about it. There are plenty of people out there who don't like kids, and then have them and are bad parents.

Furthermore, I know plenty of people who don't like cats, and I am not at all offended by that. Even though I think it speaks volumes about someone's character if they don't like cats. Very suspicious, not liking cats. Very suspicious indeed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Be Amazed, Be Astounded, Be Happy For Me

I've been doing an awful lot of writing, and that is why The Pickle Tree has been awfully neglected.

It will be one of my New Year's resolutions to learn how to manage both, but it the meantime...be happy for me.

The bestseller may be on its way. (Of course, you are all in it, so I will be publishing under an alias and you will never know it happened, but I'll know and be rich and that's all that matters.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Like A Light Switch

I've been told that I can be like a light switch with my emotions.

If that's true than I'm a light switch you can never turn off.

Why is it so much easier to get angry, horny, sad or disappointed than it is to get un-angry, horny, sad or disappointed?

Skim boarding today - first opportunity when the temp and weather have been agreeable. The beach was amazing. A perfect, clean aqua with brilliant blue skies above. The wind was a bit wicked, but it is November, after all. When I took my first skim along the shore, I couldn't help but think, "Maybe this is what my sister needs." Sunshine, exercise, exhilaration. Things that make you remember how alive you are.

I was on top of the world, keeping my balance, having a great time. Then, I caught the board wrong. Slammed into the wet sand (which is much like slamming onto concrete) with my leg twisted awkwardly underneath me.

Tim instantly came running over.

"Baby, you OK?"

"No. Fuck. Go away!"

Of course, he did go away.

I was embarrassed. Angry. Like an injured animal I just wanted to be left alone to lick my wounds, slink back to the beach with my board drawing a trail of shame in the sand behind me.

I wrapped myself in my towel and inspected the bruise already forming across my shin and my knee, the sand rash that had tiny blood droplets forming on my ass.

Just like that, like a light switch, my exhilaration had been turned off. And that pissed me off more than anything.

So I continued to sulk.

Tim came to sit beside me, to check on me, and we made nice. I couldn't tell him that I was mostly mad at myself, but a little bit mad at him.

Right before I had fallen he had wandered my way to give me some advice on how to catch the best surf.

He was always doing that. Giving me tips. Suggestions. Challenges.

In theory, I liked it. He was only trying to help me get better.

Part of me resented it. I was doing just fine on my own, thank you very much. Now I have to take your suggestion, try and impress you, and inevitably fall on my ass.

My fault. I shouldn't be so concerned with impressing my husband, trying to be as good as him, and definitely not trying to outdo him.

I have such a horribly competitive nature, and it kicks me in the ass almost every time.

So I sat in the sand and watched Tim. I watched him catch some good water, and I watched him fall on his ass, too. It didn't phase him. He got right back up. Not like his stubborn, immature wife, still sitting in the sand. Over the pain, but not over the bad mood.

I finally talked myself into getting back up. I did it mostly so I wouldn't have to hear taunts about being a quitter on the ride home.

Toting my board back down to the water I halfheartedly tried again.

And I had fun. The feeling of exhilaration was back.

It's too bad that I couldn't let the embarrassment, disappointment, anger and pain wash over me, and be gone as quickly as they came. It's too bad that my motivation to banish those feelings was so that I wouldn't get teased, which would make my mood even worse.

But I did banish the nasty feelings instead of wallowing in them. I turned them off.

And I did get back up.

I think that's progress.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday: Functional Family

It is Wednesday. And the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, at that.

I have been slacking at work all day. (Once again may I say that I hope no one in a position of power at my job reads this blog.)

I have also been a tad paranoid that my parents are alone in my apartment. I'm not worried that they are going to find anything illegal or embarrassing, it's more that I'm worried they are going to let my cats escape, or forget to take their shoes off when they walk on my carpet. Yeah, I know, OCD in overdrive.

But here's the Weird Fact for this Wednesday: I have a pretty functional family. Wait, I retract that. My family on the whole, including my siblings, is totally not functional. The other three offspring of my parents are absolutely whacked out and the definition of dysfunctional. But me and my parents? Functional. I had a perfect childhood.

You may be wondering why this is part of Weird Fact Wednesday, but seriously, ponder for a moment. I have a good relationship with my parents, and have always had a good relationship with my parents.

I never did anything wrong. Well, I never did anything grievously wrong. (My father may beg to differ when he thinks about the tuition money he is out because I dropped out of college 2/3 of the way into the semester. But even then he didn't yell.)

I was never grounded. I never hated them, or threatened to run away. They treated me like an individual from the time I was little, always giving me a rational answer for everything, never saying "because I said so." They never yelled. They rarely told me no. I was terrified to defy them, not because I feared punishment, but because I feared disappointing them.

I'm not sure how many people can say that about their parents, so that is my weird fact.

Of course, all of this may change after I cook Thanksgiving dinner and we spend the next 4 days under one roof.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Secret Slob

So here's the thing - I'm a bit of a neat freak. I get it from my mother.

I can remember waking up to the sound of the vacuum on Saturday mornings, the coffee table being dusted with my blanket, and putting a half-empty glass down, walking away, and coming back to no glass because it had already been washed, dried and put away.

My mother was serious about her cleanliness. Dust was the enemy, to be annihilated at any cost. Clutter was sacrilege. Beds were to be made every morning, drawers neat, closets organized. Everything had its place.

I inherited most of this.

I say most because I like things to be clean. I have glass-topped tables that I Windex every day. There is never a dirty dish to be found in my kitchen. I am borderline obsessive about the carpet - it's been steam cleaned twice in the 18 months that we've lived here. Tim gets the look of a guilty 4 year old if he spills something on the carpet, and the cats have been trained to yak on the tile. Towels and clothes on the bathroom or bedroom floors? No sirree. Open shower curtain? You might as well stab me in the eye with a fork. Tim's most used phrase is "Baby, where did you put my..." because while everything has its place, I often change my mind about what that place should be.

Here's where the most comes in:

I don't make my bed every day. It's an argument from childhood that I still see the merit in as an adult: Why bother, when I am just going to get back in it in a few hours? I do make the bed occasionally - every Saturday when I change the sheets, and whenever we have company so the bedroom looks presentable.

My drawers? Closets? Kitchen cabinets? Beneath bathroom sinks? Under the bed?

Pig sty's, each and every one.

If I can get rid of a mess by pushing it under the bed, shoving it in a drawer, or hiding it in a cabinet, by gum that's what I'm doing.

So, I am outwardly neat.

Or a secret slob, whichever definition tickles your fancy.

Here's the problem.

Mom - outwardly and inwardly neat mom - is going to be here tomorrow.

Now, my mother has seen my apartment, as well as several other apartments I have lived in. She has even gone so far as to be impressed with my cleanliness.

BUT - Mom has never been in any of my apartments unsupervised, because my parents have never stayed with me before. In the past, they have stayed in a hotel. (To make a long story short, before Tim and I got married we were living in sin. My parents are Catholic. If they slept in my apartment they would be condemning themselves to hell by association. Or something like that.)

I fear that my secret slovenliness is about to be discovered.

Why?

I figure I came by the nosy know-it-all-ness genetically.

P.S. I dedicate the blog post to my Aunt Sharon, who all but demanded that I post something before 11PM tonight. I had planned to write about how I think I am allergic to mushrooms (it's fun being a vegetarian) but this seemed more appropriate, since my parents are sleeping in her house tonight. I love you, Aunt Sharon! Thanks for being 1 of at least (and probably only) 4 people who read my blog every day - you keep me writing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

At least, in my South Florida apartment, it is.

I dragged Tim out Christmas Decor shopping today. (Necessity. Does not count in my therapist-induced deprivation. Also, I bought the eyeliner. So there.)

Target, Ho!

This is the first Christmas Tim and I will spend together as husband and wife, and also the first opportunity I've had to have my own tree. In the past, I have always gone home to mom and dad's, wherever I was. Since meeting Tim, we have split the holiday between my family and his. It never made much sense to put up a tree when we wouldn't even be home for Christmas.

This year, we decided to stay put. We are spending out first married Christmas home, just the two of us. So I get to have a tree!

Let me get the shocking and appalling part over with first:

I bought a fake tree.

To those who know me well, this is close to sacrilege.

The first year that I moved out of the house, my mother talked about getting a fake tree. Easier, she said. No pine needles, no watering, no trekking into the woods and chopping one down.

I pitched a fit. Christmas centered around having an real pine tree in the house - the smell, the sap, the authenticity!

My mother caved (her sentimental Christmas loving heart never would have settled for a plastic tree anyway) and the Akins' household was saved from ever seeing an impostor Christmas tree. (It has seen its fair share of scrawny, Charlie Brown trees since I left, but at least they have been real.)

Now that I am the one faced with watering a tree, sap, shed pine needles all over the carpet, and the prospect of my cats climbing, and getting stuck in, a real tree, I opted for an inflammable, 7.5 foot (fake) Jackson pine.

Amazingly enough, Scrooge McDuck (a.k.a. my husband) did not freak out too much when, in addition to the tree, I ran through the aisles of Target tossing extra items into the cart: ornaments, a star for the top, lights, garland, tinsel, stockings (one each for Tim, myself, Hades, Azrael, Styx and Hydra), glitter glue, wrapping paper, scotch tape, Christmas cards, and an advent calendar for the pets, and evergreen scented candles so I can pretend the tree is real. Tim drew the line at the movable, lighted reindeer for the patio.

Now I can't wait to decorate!

Without the woes of guesstimating how long a tree will live and look pretty, I can join the masses of starting Christmas way too early, and erect my tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Sweet.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Friday Is Just Another Week Day

Last night I got home from work around 6:20PM. This is actually pretty late for me, especially on a Friday. Friday used to be the day to leave work early, simply because it was Friday and, being human, you were entitled to lengthen your weekend.

I did attempt to leave early yesterday. Tim and I both had a plan to play hooky and meet at the beach for some afternoon skimboarding. It has been uncharacteristically chilly in South Florida lately, and yesterday was the first day it was supposed to climb above 70 in the afternoon. By 11:30 I knew there was no chance I was getting to leave work early. That's when I received Tim's message:

Grey Squirrel to White Monkey, mission is a 'Go.' I repeat, mission is a 'Go.' 2:00. Call to confirm, White Monkey. Grey Squirrel, out."

I had to call back with the following message:

"White Monkey to Grey Squirrel, mission aborted. I repeat, mission aborted. Sorry, Grey Squirrel. White Monkey, out."

I was then stuck in a meeting from 1:30-3:30, and preparing a report from 3:30-5:30. Ah, sweet responsibility.

Anyway, not really the point. The point is that I got home, Tim and I went out for our usual Friday Night Dinner, came home, I talked to Lizzie for a while, wrote a Blog post, watched some TV and went to bed.

As I was falling asleep, I had this thought: (Language warning)

Fuck, I'm fucking old.

Yeah, you know you're old when Friday becomes just another week day.

Friday's used to mean late nights, lots of alcohol, ridiculous bar tabs, karaoke, laughter, cabs home and passing out. Saturday's would then mean sleeping till noon, battling a hangover and preparing to do it all over again.

No more, my friends!

Now Friday means looking forward to casual day at work, looking forward to dinner out with my husband and going to bed at a reasonable hour after maybe one drink. Saturday now means getting up at a reasonable hour, cleaning the house, going grocery shopping and going to the beach.

I'll admit, probably the better option. But still...

Fuck, I'm fucking old.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Deprivation

According to my therapist (yes, Mom, I have a therapist. No, it has nothing to do with you, because I'm pretty sure the anxiety ridden OCD came from Dad.) I am supposed to experience the feeling of deprivation. This is, in large part, due to the shopping addiction, coupled with the fact that I almost always get my way and have a need to be the center of attention.

I take full responsibility for the shopping addiction. Neither of my parents, as far as I have ever seen, really enjoys shopping. I know my parents enjoy new stuff (because who doesn't really?) but they are able to exercise an inhuman restraint when it comes to purchasing said new stuff.

Need an example? My mother's washing machine was held together by rope until it finally and irrevocably died.

So, unless I am adopted (which I'm pretty sure they would have told me by now) the shopping addiction is all me. (Unless I really do equate love with stuff, which I am highly skeptical of.)

Always getting my way? Totally my parents' fault. I can count on one hand the times my father told me no. And for the times he did say no, my mother said yes. I prefer to think that I was smart enough to keep my requests within reason, never giving my parents a real reason to say no, as opposed to the less pleasant idea that I was spoiled rotten. There's probably a happy medium.

However, I would like to say that I place this blame in the most grateful and loving way possible. In case my parents are reading this, I don't want them to think I am in any way complaining. I had a perfect childhood and adolescence, perfect parents, and I wouldn't trade any of that for controlling stock in Target.

Also, I take full responsibility for allowing my expectation to always get my way to carry over into adulthood.

Apparently I have already ended several relationships because I wasn't the center of attention, and didn't always get my way.

Fascinating.

Again, not sure how much I believe the psychobabble, but I believe there are reasons behind the things that I do, and I believe that I have the power to change my actions if I can understand those reasons.

Also, I don't want to end up living in a cardboard box, so if agreeing not to buy the new David Cook album on iTunes the day it came out can get me farther away from the cardboard box, I'm all for it.

But I find myself wondering, how much deprivation am I supposed to experience? My eyeliner ran out this morning. Am I supposed to deprive myself of eyeliner? Are my eyes supposed to go naked for the sake of my mental health?

I think not.

Plus, I didn't get my way about where Tim and I went out to dinner tonight, so combined with the lack of David Cook, that's double deprivation.

Not only do I deserve a new eyeliner, but a new purse to match.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday: Teeth On Cotton

Some people can't stand the sound of nails on a chalkboard. Doesn't really bother me.

What gets me? Teeth on cotton.

So when Tim really wants to get to me, he'll lean over and bite his own shirt sleeve.

I'm not sure why this bothers me so much. Possibly its a tooth sensitivity thing - I don't know. All I know is that if I see someone biting cotton (when they gag people in movies, biting one end of a tourniquet as they tie it around their own arm,) I shudder. If my own teeth happen to come into contact with cotton, shivers are sent through my whole body, and I get the sensation that I have been chewing on aluminum foil.

What, you've never chewed on aluminum foil? Got old school fillings? Try it - it's fun.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday: Office Supplies

It's really no secret that I have a slight shopping addiction. And it's not really the action of shopping that I am addicted to (as much fun as that is) it's the result of having new stuff.

I don't care who you are, you like new stuff. Admit it. New stuff is great.

My shopping addiction can be clearly broken down into sub-categories of addiction:

Makeup
Purses
Office supplies

What, the third one is weird?

Says you.

There is something intoxicating about a new notebook.

And the quest for the perfect notebook is never ending. So much so that I have roughly 20 partially filled notebooks scattered around my apartment. There are so many things that need to be factored: Paper size, paper weight, line rule, line color, cover appeal, portability. The list goes on.

Then, once you have found the perfect notebook (for the next week, at least) the quest for the perfect writing instrument begins. Pen or pencil? Gel roller or ballpoint? Fine or ultra-fine point? The mind boggles.

Every time Tim and I go out to dinner, and I sign the credit card slip, I examine the pen.

"This pen is awesome!" I exclaim.

"It's the paper," Tim repeatedly reminds me.

I need an entire notebook made out of restaurant receipt paper. The smoothness of writing is second to none. It eliminates the need for the perfect pen because ALL pens become the perfect pen on this paper.

And don't even get me started on the accessories. Post-It Notes, paper clips, binder clips, highlighters, thumbtacks, magnets, dry-erase boards, planners, desk organizers, mini staplers, hole punches, dividers, signature flags! (And when the hell will I ever use a signature flag? Doesn't matter - I have hundreds of them in varying colors.)

Luckily I have married an artist, so when I deem a notebook unusable due to its inadequate line rule, Tim uses it for doodling scrap, and it doesn't go to waste.

Same with all the rejected pens, pencils, and markers.

It's going to be a challenge to find something to do with all those signature flags, though.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Exactly Do You Do All Day?

I can remember growing up, and having people ask, "What does your father do for a living?" and I would fumble around for an answer.

"He's an electronics test engineer...he makes sure that everything inside the computers...he handles the...he works with computers all day."

I'd be willing to bet my family and friends now have similar conversations about me.

"What does your wife/daughter/sister/best friend do for a living?"

"Something to do with real estate...and web design...projects...she yells at people all day."

Here's the long answer: Project Manager for a real estate marketing and data compilation company.

And now I'm going to brag a little bit. Here's a press release that explains what I have spent the last five months of my life bleeding, sweating, and stressing over - NEXT is my baby. Go me.

eNeighborhoods Launches Redesigned Real Estate Marketing System

eNeighborhoods, the leading compiler of neighborhood information and marketing systems for real estate professionals, and a division of Dominion Enterprises, has announced the release of eNeighborhoods PowerSuite NEXT (Neighborhood Expert Tools).

Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) November 7, 2008 -- eNeighborhoods, the leading compiler of neighborhood information and marketing systems for real estate professionals, and a division of Dominion Enterprises, has announced the release of eNeighborhoods PowerSuite NEXT (Neighborhood Expert Tools), the latest version of its award-winning software.

A full-featured marketing system, eNeighborhoods PowerSuite NEXT boasts a redesigned agent desktop, powerful Google™ Maps technology, and updated charts and graphs. The system helps real estate professionals connect with clients by making the most of every meeting and delivering the knowledge that clients need to make better buying and selling decisions.

"Home buyers today have a large inventory of homes from which to choose. They are looking for neighborhoods to fit their lifestyles, not just a property," said eNeighborhoods Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mark Mathis. "Finding the right location is more important than ever, and agents who can deliver targeted, personalized neighborhood knowledge can help their clients make better buying and selling decisions."

"Online and email marketing are important, but most valuable for agents is the one-on-one time they have with clients," Mathis continued. "NEXT helps agents make the most of every meeting by enabling them to provide personalized presentations with the information their clients want. Delivering professional reports with housing trends, school information, and neighborhood demographics helps agents build lasting and profitable relationships."

eNeighborhoods PowerSuite NEXT edition features new enhancements that benefit both buyer and seller agents. New features include full access from any web browser, redesigned Neighborhood Reports with enhanced data, updated Buyer Tours for today's tough market, an industry-leading CMA, agent website and more. The marketing system is designed to help agents create more contacts, leads, sales and referrals.

For a limited time, eNeighborhoods is offering a free trial of eNeighborhoods PowerSuite NEXT. For more information, visit http://www.eneighborhoods.com/.

eNeighborhoods will exhibit at the NAR 2008 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, November 7-10, with Dominion Enterprises real estate businesses Advanced Access, AgentAdvantage, Homes.com, and Number1Expert in booth #2841.

About eNeighborhoods, LLC
Since 1997, eNeighborhoods, the nation's premier compiler of home and neighborhood information, has been providing real estate professionals with a comprehensive set of tools to attract and retain home buyers and sellers with the most up-to-date, localized information about property, neighborhoods and schools. In 2002, eNeighborhoods achieved the REALTOR Benefits® status with endorsement from The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The company also has strategic alliances with major real estate franchisers: Realogy, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, GMAC, Prudential, Keller Williams, EXIT Realty and RE/MAX, as well as many of the major independent brokerages. eNeighborhoods is the proud founding sponsor of NAR's Good Neighbor Award which educates, encourages and rewards outstanding community service by real estate professionals throughout the country. For more information on eNeighborhoods, visit eNeighborhoods.com.

About Dominion Enterprises
Dominion Enterprises, a division of Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC, is a leading marketing services company serving the automotive, real estate, apartment, recruitment and marine markets. The company operates a variety of businesses that offer Internet marketing, Web site design and hosting, lead generation, CRM, and data capture and distribution services. The company has more than 40 market-leading Web sites reaching more than 16.7 million unique monthly visitors, and more than 450 magazines with a weekly circulation of 4.3 million. Headquartered in Norfolk, Va., the company has 5,400 employees nationwide and annualized revenue of more than $946 million. For more information, visit http://www.dominionenterprises.com/.


I would stop being such a bitch if you would stop being so stupid.

I adopted a philosophy in junior high, and I firmly believe it to be relevant in the adult world:

Boys are stupid, and girls are mean, but girls are mean because
boys are stupid.

It's true.

That was just the preface. In case you are wondering what my latest pet peeves have been (and I know it has been keeping you up at night) here's the current list:

1. Salesmen. I hesitate to just say salesmen and not salespeople, but the men tend to be more annoying, sleazy and underhanded than the women, which is the thing that really bothers me.

Salesmen have always pissed me off: accosting you when you least expect it; shoving pamphlets, brochures, leaflets in your face; having no shame, dignity or self-respect; lying. However, I have reached a new level of detest, single-handedly accomplished by the narcissistic, overzealous, obnoxious self-righteous salesmen at my place of employment.

2. Drivers who do not adhere to the appropriate sides of the road. It's pretty hard, and pretty stupid, to drive on the wrong side of the road when there are bright yellow lines or concrete medians marking the delineation. My new pet peeve is people who drive on the wrong side when there are no clear markers - like the lack of yellow paint gives them the right to drive in the effing middle. Parking lots and parking garages still have sides people, and one of these days I am going to let someone hit me because it will totally be their fault and it will satisfy my warped sense of justice.

3. Lack of reading comprehension, a.k.a. skimming. Here's the thing: If I take the time to write and email containing specific details or instructions, take the time to read it. And if you are going to skim it, make sure you know what skimming means: Mentally omitting the "filler" words such as "and" "the" "to" "for" etc., and gleaning the most important words. Not reading real quick and assuming you got the gist, and then doing things wrong because you're too lazy to read.

4. Small talk with strangers. This one will never go away. Just because we are in the same elevator does not mean I care what your kids (or dogs) dressed up as for Halloween!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Overcoming Addictions

Just to brag a little, here's a list of addictions I have managed to overcome:

- Cigarettes

- Starbucks, a.k.a. crack for caffeine junkies. Yes, I did it again - put myself through Starbucks detox. I didn't mention it this time, because I didn't want to be a public failure for a second time. But it has been 6 weeks, no Starbucks. I feel clean. (And I attend SA meetings bi-weekly.)

- Cheeseburgers, and subsequently all meat. I'm not sure it was an addiction, per se, but I have decided to see how walking the healthy path of a vegetarian works for me. In case my parents are reading, and start panicking about Thanksgiving, don't worry, I am still cooking a turkey for the carnivores.

And, just in case my head was getting a little bit too big, here are the addictions that still weaken me, and that I am not sure I am ready to give up:

-iTunes. Oh, buy just one thing on iTunes. I dare you. Especially if you enable the "Genius" feature.

- Gummy Bears. Especially the red ones. I shun the yellow ones, and as much as Tim attempts to claim that they all taste the same, he shares my addiction, and the Gummy Bear designated tupperware always ends up with all yellow bears at the end. We eat them only to put them out of their misery and to make room for the fresh bag.

- Sleep. I am beginning to think that I may have some rare sleeping disease or disorder, because I sleep a lot. Well, a lot according to my husband and the rest of the Florida freaks who only seem to need 5-6 hours of sleep per night. I need 8. Minimum. Is there something so wrong with that?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sweet Sanctuary

Last week I wrote a post complaining about my lack of time to write - "Reality continues to get in the way of my life."

I figured something out, and it is actually pretty ironic since my best friend's mother is a retired librarian, and my mother is a retired library clerk: The library is a great place to get stuff done.

My biggest problem, as noted in the original post, is that I am too easily distracted by other things that I find equally important to writing. I would commit to sitting and writing, I would write for 20 minutes or so, and then the distractions would enter my consciousness. Read for a few minutes to clear my head, chat with Tim, play with the cats, see what's happening on The Bridge, call Liz, surf the net.

The library removes all of those distractions in a way that I don't feel guilty about ignoring them.

I find myself a desk, set up my laptop and my iPod (the only interference I allow, because it is soothing) and I WRITE. After the 20 minute mark, when I start to fidget, I have nowhere to go. So I fidget, bit my nails, sigh a few times, look around, become self-conscious that people are looking at me, and go back to writing. The hours between writing bouts has been shortened to minutes. It's pretty cool.

I do have Internet access - if I feel like braving the public pool of computers, and sitting next to someone questionable who is more than likely going to watch whatever I choose to do on the Internet. Therefore, I have disciplined myself to wait until I get home to surf.

Oh, sweet sanctuary of the Southwest County Regional West Boca Raton Public Library (mouthful - and it does not compare to the reverence and calming environment of the BPL, which I miss terribly.) My mother and Susan Martin should be so proud.





Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oh Strange Subconscious

What is it, I wonder, that makes us all of a sudden think of people and places that have been removed from our lives for a long, long time?

Last night, I had a dream involving the following people and places:
  • Jessie Vanderslice - high school friend whom I have not heard from in over 8 years
  • Boston - where I haven't lived for over 8 years and haven't visited in over a year
  • Billy, Pat, and Danny Taylor - family friends whom I haven't seen in well over 8 years

The dream also involved a frantic dash to the airport, a great deal of rain, ill-fitting pants, Starbucks (which kept changing locations so that I could not find it and give in to my peppermint white mocha craving), a very nice Mercedes, a luxurious department store, the Green and Red lines of the Boston "T" system, and Disney World disguised as a Swiss mountain village.

It's really better if you don't ask.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pickle Tree Moments

For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase "Pickle Tree Moment," you may want to peruse the site history here.

Just in the past few days, two more phrases have made it into Pickle Tree Moment history, so I figured I would share.

PTM #1:

Background: For a while, in lieu of breakfast, I was drinking a Carnation Instant Breakfast each morning. Of course, my husband scoffed at me. Then, as per usual, he realized I was a genius and he too began drinking an Instant Breakfast each morning before work. Now he's addicted. He can't function without his Carnation in the morning.

Last Saturday, Tim woke to find the refrigerator devoid of milk. Tragedy. He tried to convince me to go across the street and get him some milk. No go. We were headed to the beach anyway, so I told him we could stop on the way.

We left the house, Tim with a Carnation packet secure among the beach gear, and I poked fun at him for being so addicted to the breakfast he used to scoff at.

"Whatever. I need my milk in the morning. I'm like a baby cow."

To which I stared at him thoughtfully, and asked, "Do cows drink milk?"

He waited to see if I was serious, and then started laughing. "What, you think its some sort of cannibalism for cows to drink milk?"

"Well, yeah." I responded.

PTM #2

Tim knows I have been really stressed out at work lately; so stressed out I am on the verge of killing people. A few days ago he called me at work to check in on me, make sure I wasn't going crazy. I told him...

"I'm fine. I'm a duck."

"You're a duck?" he asked.

"Yeah. I'm a duck. It all rolls off my back."

Pause. Snicker. "It rolls off you like water off of a duck's back," he corrected.

"Whatever. I'm a duck."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Traditional Traditions

I had a conversation not too long ago pertaining to the quality of my marriage, which greatly angered and agitated me.

Before I enlighten you on the details of said conversation, I'd like to give you a little of my personal back story:

1. I am not June effing Cleaver. Never have been, never will be.
2. Six years ago I decided that love was more important than money.
3. Peter Pan complexes tend to turn me on.

Now, many of you may be familiar with the back story on my marriage. Just in case you're not, here are some of the pertinents:

1. My husband is my best friend; there is not a single soul on earth I would rather spend time with than Tim.
2. I am my husband's best friend; there is not a single soul on earth Tim would rather spend time with than me.
3. My husband is a laid-back, slightly immature and irresponsible fun-lover. I am an OCD neurotic, slightly more mature and responsible, worry wart. We balance each other quite well.

Here are the reasons that, according to aforementioned conversation, my marriage is doomed:

1. Tim and I do not eat dinner together. Could also be stated as: I do not cook for my loving husband, but make him fend for himself and selfishly feed myself when I arrive home from work two hours later than he does.
2. I make more money than Tim does; I have more ambition to increase my salary than Tim does.
3. Tim is never going to grow up. I am always going to be the more responsible one, will get tired of being the only adult, and will therefore find myself attracted to "adult" men other than my husband.

Here are my angry and agitated responses to these reasons why my marriage is doomed:

1. I refer to item 1 from my personal back story: "I am not June effing Cleaver. Never have been, never will be."

To my mother's (and many of my married female friends) chagrin, I don't do his laundry either. Why? Because I have no desire to take over the job of being his mother - I want to be his wife.

Luckily, Tim feels the same way. He would rather do his own laundry. He likes getting to eat whatever he wants for dinner. When I did make the short-lived attempt to cook dinner, more often than not he had to choke down something he didn't really want to be eating, because, I'll be honest, I'm not really into the whole cooking thing. I could be great at it if I put the appropriate time and effort into it, but...do I really need to say it again? Not June Cleaver.

The same women who are chagrined by my lack of laundry duty will also ask, "But don't you worry that he's not eating right?" I refer back to the "not his mother" statement. And really, the whole dinner thing is about making time for each other, being together, talking, participating in one another's lives, right? Tim and I do more of that than most people, let alone any married couple I know, due to the fact that we are each other's best friend.

So there.

If we have children, I will force them to sit down at a designated time and choke down my half-hearted cooking. Until then: every one for themselves! (Damn those cats for not having opposable thumbs.)

2. I refer to item 2 from my personal back story: "Six years ago I decided that love was more important than money."

It's pretty simple: I've been with guys who make oodles of money - enough to support my shopping habit as well as all their mistresses shopping habits. I was miserable.

Tim makes me happy.

Ergo, me making more money = not a big effing deal.

I suppose I can also refer back to "Not June effing Cleaver." My husband is secure enough in his manhood to also be comfortable with the fact that I am the bread-winner, and I have no desire to be lazy while he makes all the money.

So it works for us.

3. I refer to item 3 from my personal back story: "Peter Pan complexes tend to turn me on."

My husband is hot. My husband is going to keep my young.

End of story.

So I'd like to give a big "Har dee har har har" to the originator (remainig nameless) of the stupid comments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday...The Return

Been a few weeks, huh? I apologize to my 3 fans for leaving you high and dry, lacking weirdness in your life.

:)

Since it is so close to Halloween, I figured I would choose a weird fact in the spooky vein.

I have an unnatural fear of anything supernatural. Seriously. Unnatural. Things that should not be scary scare the bejeezus out of me.

For example, raise your hand if you think any of the below are bone chillingly terrifying:

  • The Sixth Sense
  • Haunted Houses and Hayrides geared toward toddlers and adolescents
  • The dark
  • Showering alone
  • The phrase "Bloody Mary"
  • Ouija boards
  • Basements
  • Attics
  • The phrase "Blair-Witching it in the corner."
My hand was raised the entire time.

I blame my siblings, I'll have you know. It's only fair - they blame me for a whole lot of crap that was not necessarily my fault, a.k.a. being born.

Paul told me the spirit of an Indian (Native American) lived in the basement and to watch out for flying arrows as I walked down the stairs. He also told me the monsters in the basement were particularly fond of the taste of little girl. I learned to sprint the stairs three at a time if I ever needed to be in the basement.

Adam was convinced that he had a Shroud of Turin-esque Jesus imprint on his bedroom wall and adored Alice Cooper. Can we all say creepy?

Jennifer let me watch Psycho when I was nine, then proceeded to feign ignorance two weeks later on Halloween when my mother threw me in the shower after a particularly egg and shaving cream filled night and I screamed bloody murder when the pink color I had sprayed in my hair ran blood red in the shower. Hello?

Also, I grew up 45 minutes from Sleepy Hollow. Seriously.

Is it any wonder that I'm a big 'fraidy cat?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sweater Week!

I was going to write a post entitled "Dig A Deep Hole and Hide" since that is how I have been feeling lately, but I woke up this morning to...

Sweater Week!

I love sweater week. Who can be unhappy during sweater week?

Oh, you are not familiar with sweater week? Allow me to explain.

The people of South Florida love to be asked the question, "But don't you miss having four seasons?" Because we do have four seasons: Warm, Hot, Unbearable, and, you guessed it, Sweater Week. (Of course, dependent upon the South Floridian you talk to, our four seasons can also be considered Football, Baseball, Hockey and Basketball.)

Usually for a week in the Fall, and a week in the Winter, South Florida experiences temperatures that dip below the standard 75-85 degree range.

And trust me, below 75 for South Floridians is COLD.

So, if you originate from the cold North Country (as my husband and I do) you can be easily amused the first time this phenomenon is witnessed: Sweaters, sweatshirts, fleece, scarves, coats, hats, etc. being broken out in 50-60 weather.

At first you scoff: Ha! They think this is cold? They should try surviving a power outage in Buffalo - no heat for four days!

Then, the longer you spend in Florida, you discover the rumors are true. Your blood thins. 50 degrees to a Floridian is equivalent to -10 degrees to an Upstate New Yorker.

Hence, Sweater Week. The week that all my New York winter clothes are saved for. Yes, they take up an entire section of my closet, fighting with the capri pants, sleeveless tops and sundresses for space, only to be worn 2 weeks out of the year, but it is so worth it.

Why? There are things I miss about living in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.

Sometimes.

Sometimes I miss the way the first day of Autumn, and the first day of Winter, smell. Sometimes I miss snow. Sometimes I miss fireplaces. I definitely miss adorable winter clothes. Sometimes I miss a random excuse to cuddle. Sometimes I miss having to warm up instead of cool down.

If I didn't have Sweater Week, I might miss these things enough to consider moving back to the Great White North. That would be insanity. Sweater Week provides most of the above.

The snow? All I have to do is visit my parents or my in-laws in the dead of winter, and be reminded of how effing cold it has to be to snow. After 2 days I'm cured.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Reality continues to get in the way of my life

Here's my horoscope for today:

You may rebel against authority today because you just don't want to follow instructions. You think you know a better way to do things and all you want is acknowledgment and respect. This can be your chance to show others how clever you can be, so don't let anyone talk you out of your intended plan. Decide what you want and then go for it

Oh, yeah.

Lately I've been feeling like I don't have any time for me.

Well, that's not entirely true. I have been working an awful lot of late hours, and quite a bit at home and on the weekends, but I still have time for me. I simply choose to spend that "me" time in ways that involve other people. Instead of writing and blogging - the things I desperately want to be doing - I am filling my free time in ways that are equally, if not more, important than writing and blogging.

Hanging out with my husband. (Which he may even say I don't do enough of.)
Spending quality time with the furry (and scaly) kids.
Skimboarding.
Talking to my Lizzie.
Playing Wedding Coordinator for Aubs.
Hanging with my new bud Tina. (I have a new chick friend, and I am loving it since it is such a rare phenomenon for me.)
Hey, Trace, I'd love to include you in this list, but my husband insists I leave you alone until you come to me. (Smile.)

With all of the above, fitting in time to write becomes exceedingly hard.

There are going to be the die-hard writers who tell me that if I were truly driven to write, I wouldn't be able to not make the time. I'd put other things aside. I wouldn't rest until the words were on the page.

That's BS.

First of all, I live in a world where the economy sucks, so I have to bust my ass to do a good job so that I can keep my job.

Second of all, without all the "other" things mentioned above, I would have no reason to write, and nothing to write about.

Third of all, reality. Hello. I can't block out a half hour and walk away with something brilliant. And I'm not effing Hemingway. I can't be drunk all the time and hang out with a million cats and do nothing but write. As appealing as that sounds.

So...

I get in what I can, and hopefully I'll be able to get in more and more as time goes on.

Unless anyone else has any brilliant ideas?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Seriously Slacking Skimboarder

...Reality continues to get in the way of my life.

All of a sudden, I am in important person at my job. I'm starting to gain some respect. Others are tarting to rely on me. Which is good...and bad. These things are making me take my job more seriously, which means I am working later, working at home, working weekends.

Leaving very little time for the things I want to be doing...
Writing.
Bridging.
Blogging.
Among others.

So today I made time for one of the things I wanted to be doing...skimboarding.

The beginning of my skimboarding career was not all that great.
I fell.
A lot.
I couldn't stand up on the board.
At all.
No balance. Natural klutz. Accident waiting to happen.

I watched as Tim mastered it...
with some help from his skateboarding and snowboarding background.
I seriously injured myself.
I got discouraged.
I don't like to not be good at anything,
but it seemed skimboarding might not be for me.

So I almost gave up,
but decided to give it one last shot today.
It was a gorgeous day...
one of those days that make people jealous that I live in Florida...
so if I fell, repeatedly, and I gave up, at least I could lounge on the beach in the beautiful sunlight while Tim got his fill of waves.

And then, at the beach, something happened.
Tim made a suggestion...
and I listened.
It's hard for me to listen, because, as I said, I don't like not being good at things, and it makes me less good at something if I need help.

But, I was getting desperate.
I wanted this to be as fun for me as it was for Tim.
I wanted to stop falling.

So I let him coach me.

He knelt in the sand and surf
with the patience of a saint,
and held the board between us,
pushing it slightly to get it going,
and then coaching and correcting my stance, my balance, my stride, my style.
I wanted to resent it, but when I caught the first piece of surf, hydroplaned off it, and skimmed the length of the beach, catching a tiny wave at the end, I was exhilarated and grateful.

So he patiently coached me some more, until I finally got the hang of it.
So today, I skimmed more than I fell, and I was even on my way to catching waves.

Don't get me wrong...
I fell.
Hard enough that I have sand rash on my ass and the back of my thighs.
But it was worth it.
Because for the 3 times I fell today..
yeah, just three...
I caught perfect momentum about 30 times, and boy did I have fun.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday

OCD vs. Advil PM

I've been having some sleeping issues lately. This has never happened to me. Once upon I time, I could sleep anywhere, anytime. I slept through a heavy metal concert once. In the past, I could probably sleep on rocks. I love to sleep.

I would go to bed, put my head on the pillow, and...OUT. No thinking. No tossing and turning. Nothing. Out like a light, just like that.

No more.

Now, my busy life, and the OCD, is winning.

I lay down, and even if I am absolutely exhausted, I think about work. What I didn't get done that day, what I need to get done the next day, what needs to get done by certain deadlines.

Then I think about my writing. Ideas, first lines, scenes, characters; all swarm through my hand and demand to be written. That has gotten so bad that I have actually left my comfy bed after getting in it to power up the laptop and get a few sentences out.

That never happens. I don't leave my bed for anything. Once, I used my cell phone to call the house phone to ask Tim to bring me a drink. Yes, I am that lazy, and love my bed that much.

If I can quell the noise of the creatives, I move on to thinking about Liz, Tracy, Aubree, my parents, my family, and the few other friends that I manage to keep. What do I think? I don't know...I just think.

I haven't mentioned Tim, or the pets, in any of the above, because they are constantly on my mind; a normal piece of the daily puzzle, my first priorities, and my first and last thoughts of each day.

Last night I was truly exhausted after an especially long day at work, and still, when I went to bed, my mind swam. So, I decided to take some Advil PM. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Here's the weird part...

The OCD won out over the Advil PM. It did nothing.

Why is this weird? Because DayQuil, as well as all other "Non-Drowsy" medication, knocks me flat on my ass.

There may not be a drug strong enough to get past my crazy brain.

Weird.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Whitewashed

What's up with the fancy new white background, you ask?

I received a few complaints about the blog being hard to read, because the text overlaps the left side image.

At first, I was all, "Boy, do I feel stupid. I managed a graphic design team for 2 years. Go me."

Then, I realized the more important part...

OMG! People are reading my blog!

I am humbled.

I hope changing the background has made for easier reading, since that is ultimately my goal!!

BTW...about the slacking, and the pitifully small amount of posts per week? I'm working on it. Can't blame a girl for trying to climb the corporate ladder, can you?

P.S. I am attending a charity luncheon with the Florida Panthers tomorrow, courtesy of my corporate ladder. I have yet to decide if I am going to be "that girl" and bring my camera. I'll be sure to post pics if I do.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Resignation Letter

Dear Adult World:

It is with reluctance that I’m submitting this letter.

Although my time as an adult has been, on the whole, satisfying and productive, for quite a while now I have become less and less satisfied with adulthood.

It was wonderful for a little while: being in a bar without a faked or stolen ID; sleeping as long as I damn well pleased on Saturday mornings; never making my bed; no one telling me what I couldn't do; decorating my apartment to my liking; owning exotic pets; eating dinner while watching TV.

However, I find that I was not adequately prepared for the stress that accompanied the freedom, the obligations that go hand in hand with the privilege. I find myself calling to mind the words of the Uncle of a great superhero: "With great power, comes great responsibility."

It would appear that I do not have the adequate skills necessary to handle the power of adulthood.

With the current state of the economy, my lack of a six-figure salary, and my selfish desire for free time and leisure, it increasingly difficult for me to feel that I’m contributing sufficiently.

Therefore, it is with regret that I ask you to accept this as my resignation from adulthood effective immediately.

If you would be so kind as to forward any and all correspondence to "3rd Cardboard Box From The Curb, Somewhere in Coconut Creek, Florida" as I will most likely need it for kindling, food, flooring, or paper airplanes.

Sincerely,

Nanci Block

Weird Fact Wednesday

Happy October!!

First Weird Fact Wednesday of the 10th Month:

I have a bizarre habit of looking at the clock at the same time every day. I'm sure this happens more than once, but there is a specific time that I notice every day, because it is my birthday: 5:21

Weekdays, at work, I am generally in the office until 5:30. Toward the end of the day, I get the sense that time is winding down on whatever project I am working on. (unless I want to be in the office all night, which I don't. I have the blessing and the curse of being able to work from home, so like I said, I am generally out of the office at 5:30 SHARP unless something important needs my attention.) I check the time in order to pace myself. It always seems to be 5:21.

Weekday mornings, my alarm doesn't go off until 6:10, but I often wake up for a moment, and stare at the clock at 5:21. Even on weekends. (Here's a bonus weird fact: My alarm clock has a mind of its effing own, I swear. No matter what time I set it for, it goes off at 7:01AM. This is fine during the week, since I completely turn it off well before 7:01AM. However, on the weekends, if I set my alarm for after 7:01AM it still goes off at 7:01AM. It's the creepiest thing. I hit the snooze once, and it relaxes, and doesn't sound again until its scheduled time. Sure, I could buy a new alarm clock, but who likes change?)

Anyway, I don't think the 5:21 thing (or the 7:01 thing, for that matter) is coincidence.

I'm not sure what else it could be, but I think the Universe might be trying to tell me something.

Hmmm...

Weird.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Weird Fact...Oops

Yeah, I missed Wednesday, but Liz is probably the only one who is going to yell at me.

I generally don't like movies made before 1990.

Of course, there are exceptions. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies, and that was made in 1987. (See how close to 1990, though?)

Also, I love Citizen Kane.

That might be about it. Seriously.

I am probably the only person I know who truly liked the Johnny Depp portrayal of Willy Wonka better than Gene Wilder. Except for one scene. This one:

Grandpa Joe: Mr. Wonka?
Willy Wonka: [pointedly ignoring them] I am extraordinarily busy, sir.
Grandpa Joe: [tentatively] I just wanted to ask about the chocolate - Uh, the lifetime supply of chocolate... for Charlie. When does he get it?
Willy Wonka: He doesn't.
Grandpa Joe: Why not?
Willy Wonka: Because he broke the rules.
Grandpa Joe: What rules? We didn't see any rules. Did we, Charlie?
Willy Wonka: [springs up from his chair, angrily] Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy [grabs a magnifying glass and reads]
Willy Wonka: - "I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera..."Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera..."Memo bis punitor delicatum!" [slams the magnifying glass down, shouts]
Willy Wonka: It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks. You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get *NOTHING*! You lose! Good day sir!
Grandpa Joe: [shocked] You're a crook. You're a cheat and a swindler! That's what you are! [angrily]
Grandpa Joe: How could you do a thing like this, build up a little boy's hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces? You're an inhuman monster!
Willy Wonka: [shouts even louder] I said "Good day!"

As opposed to all the following gems from Johnny Depp:

Violet Beauregarde: [hugs Wonka] Mr. Wonka, I'm Violet Beauregarde.
Willy Wonka: [freaked out] Oh. I don't care.
Violet Beauregarde: Well, you should care. Because I'm the girl who's gonna win the special prize at the end.
Willy Wonka: Well, you do seem confident and confidence is key.


Mike Teavee: Who wants a beard?
Willy Wonka: Well, beatniks for one, folk singers and motorbike riders. Y'know. All those hip, jazzy, super cool, neat, keen, and groovy cats. It's in the fridge, daddy-o! Are you hip to the jive? Can you dig what I'm layin' down? I knew that you could. Slide me some skin, soul brother!


Willy Wonka: You're all quite short, aren't you?
Violet Beauregarde: Well yeah, we're children.
Willy Wonka: Well that's no excuse. I was never as short as you.
Mike Teavee: You were once.
Willy Wonka: Was not. Know why? Because I distinctly remember putting a hat on top of my head. Look at your short little arms. You could never reach.


Willy Wonka: I sure hope no part of him gets left behind.
Mr. Teavee: What do you mean?
Willy Wonka: Uh, well... sometimes only half of the little pieces find their way through. If you had to choose only one half of your son, which one would it be?
Mr. Teavee: What kind of a question is that?
Willy Wonka: No need to snap, just a question.


Willy Wonka: Do you like my meadow? Try some of my grass! Please have a blade, please do, it's so delectable and so darn good looking!
Charlie Bucket: You can eat the grass?
Willy Wonka: Of course you can! Everything in this room is eatable, even *I'm* eatable! But that is called "cannibalism," my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.


Willy Wonka: [to Mike Teavee] Mumbler! Seriously, I cannot understand a single word you're saying!

Veruca Salt: Will Violet always be a blueberry?
Willy Wonka: No. Maybe. I dunno. But that's what you get from chewing gum all day, it's just disgusting.
Mike Teavee: If you hate gum so much, why do you make it?
Willy Wonka: Once again you really shouldn't mumble, 'cause it's kinda starting to bum me out.





Monday, September 22, 2008

Where I've Been...Where I'm Going

Where I've Been

Last Wednesday evening I took a serious wipeout on the skimboard, so Thursday I decided to be absent from work. I took myself to the walk-in clinic and procured myself some Skelaxin, Percocet, and 800MG Ibuprofen. May I just say, "SWEET."

Friday, September 19:

Bright and early Friday morning (5AM to be exact) I was rousing my other half in attempt to get us on our way to the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. Destination: Long Island's MacArthur Airport. Purpose: Tim's sister's wedding.

I prepped the animals for our three days away. Self-feeder on a timer for Hades and Azrael. BIG water dispenser and toilet seats left open. Hydra ate the night before, and her lights are constantly on a timer, so she was all good. I loaded Styx up with dried fruit and worms, and lectured her about not gorging herself the first day. Gave the cats a speech about sharing, being nice to each other, not destroying the house, and calling if they needed us.

Off to the airport!

The flight was rather uneventful, as was our arrival in Islip. We were greeted by Mom (a.k.a. Evelyn) and Mike (Tim's stepfather) and proceeded to have lunch.

REAL F-ING NEW YORK PIZZA. Granted, it was no Manhattan Ray's, but it was still New York, and it was still better than anything you will get outside of a 50-mile radius of "the city." (Because Manhattan will always be "the city" and Long Island will always be "the island." There are no other cities, and no other islands, as far as New Yorkers are concerned.)

Quick nap (which left my husband so disoriented he shot up out of bed like someone had jabbed him with a hot poker when Mike knocked on our door. His blaring alarm he doesn't hear; the soft knock on a foreign door is like an air raid siren.)

Dinner with the in-laws, sans the bride and groom to be. MUCH family gossip. Good stuff, too, but since they are not my family (well, they are, but it hasn't even been six months yet) I don't feel comfortable publicizing it on my blog. I wish I could, though. It's GOOOOOD.

Saturday, September 20 (Wedding Day!)

I woke up almost as excited as I did on my own wedding day.

OK, that is a gross exaggeration, but I was excited. I chanted to Tim, "Your sister's getting married today!" What can I say? Weddings are fun.

Mike shuttled Tim to the groom's aunt's house to get dressed (he got to be a distinguished groomsman while I remained simply Tim's wife) and I got to join the women at soon-to-be mom-in-law's. I got to be involved once, when no one could secure Cristi's veil to her liking; I was in possession of the almighty bobby pin. Go me.

Off to the church!

Beautiful ceremony - thank God it turned out not to be a full mass. No offense intended (as I make the sign of the cross) but I get cranky if I have to be in church too long. They inevitably smell funny and give me a migraine. No one tripped, no one objected, no one chickened out. The worst thing that happened was my darling husband rolling his eyes repeatedly during the priest's sermon (which, to Tim's credit was about gas prices and deserved eye rolling) but I was probably the only one watching him.

Off the to Cocktail Hour!...scheduled for three hours later. (Some sort of faux pas having to do with booking the reception hall before the church. The priest was all snippy about it, so I hear. I wouldn't know anything about this, having gotten married by a notary at a Yacht Club.)

So, still without my husband, I spent three pleasant hours (at a bar) with Evelyn and Mike. Mike and I are both nerds, so we tend to find a lot to talk about. As the cocktail hour finally approached, I popped a Percocet. Then a Skelaxin for good measure. Was I drinking? Umm...grapefruit juice with the tiniest bit of Grey Goose. Made the reception much more bearable.

The Reception!

Typical reception. Picture any wedding you have ever been to, picture the bridesmaids wearing navy blue and the groomsmen wearing ivory vests. Ta da! You have successfully attended Cristi and Kenny Rich's wedding reception!

Seriously, it was a blast. 170 people (28 from my husband's family) tore up the dance floor and got wasted. The bride and groom, thankfully, remained tactfully sober, and I managed not to embarrass myself in my 4-inch heels and drug induced euphoria. Happily ever after and long live the king! Or whatever.

Sunday, September 21

Wake up and curse myself for allowing myself to mix so many addictive depressants. Get crankier when Tim gets cranky at me because he is hung over. Grumble at each other all the way through showering, packing, checking out, and accompanying Mom and Mike to after-wedding brunch hosted by parents of the groom.

We arrive at the bruch at 12. Entire family of the groom has been drinking since 10AM. Strong possibility that they never stopped the night before. These people know how to party. Tim and I hid on the couch and pretended to watch the Giants game until it was time to go to the airport.

More grumbling on the way to the airport.

More grumbling at the airport.

Positive whining on the plane.

Sigh of relief when we touched Florida soil.

Calm and quiet on the ride home.

Utter joy when we were frantically greeted by the starving animals upon walking in the front door.

Asleep within half hour of arrival, curled up with the (fed) furballs, happy to be home.

Monday, September 22

Back to work, back to reality, back to the blog.

Where I'm Going

I have some plans for The Pickle Tree. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday

I brush my teeth in the shower.

That's it.

(It's been a long Wednesday, and I think my latest skimboarding injury might be pretty serious. I'm afraid I'm going to have trouble walking in the morning. But get this: I stood up on the board today. More than once. Go me.)

I'm going to be stuck in Long Island for the weekend, so I can assure you plenty of long-drawn out posts pretty soon, since the wi-fi will become my sanctuary.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random Rant on a Tuesday

It occurred to me that I haven't blogged in a while. How sad for the three people who read my blog. (Yes, I believe that was sarcasm, tinged with a little bit of bitterness.)

Seriously, though. It is HARD to think of things to blog about. And then, if I factor in what people may actually want to read about, it gets even harder.

So, I decided that I am going to take advantage of my blog (which I can do because it's mine, damn it) and use it for random stream of consciousness.

Warning 1: my consciousness is not a place you want to delve into unprepared. If you don't know me, the likelihood of becoming offended is pretty high.

Warning 2: Just ingested AlkaSeltzer cold medication. Little loopy.

So, here goes...

Stride gum.
Seriously? I bought it. I was sucked in by their amusing advertising campaign. Ridiculously long lasting flavor, my ass. I suppose if you are comparing it to the 3-second flavor of Dubble Bubble, the 4-second flavor of Wrigley's or the 6-second flavor of Trident, then yes, it is ridiculously long lasting at roughly 8 seconds. I still think the advertising is a little over the top.

The Seven Mile Bridge into Key West, Florida.
In case you've ever wondered (which, really, what sane person would?) it really is seven miles long. Down to the 1/10 of a mile, as best as my car could calculate. Thanks, Mom, for that little neurosis.

Grey's Anatomy
Has anyone else had quite enough of the Derek/Meredith "Poor me, my daddy didn't love me enough so I can't love the PERFECT, HOT BRAIN SURGEON WHO IS WAY TOO GOOD FOR ME?" As Chandler once said on Friends: "Oh no, two women love me. They're both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet's too small for my fifties AND MY DIAMOND SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT!"

There is a rumor that Denny will be back in a series of visions/flashbacks not previously seen. Wanna know why? Because the writers/producers/whoever is in charge of that crap knows what a grave (pun intended) mistake they made when they killed him off. Unfortunately the show does not air before 5:00PM, or they could easily bring him back from the dead without explanation.

Talking to Strangers
My parents spent an awful lot of time when I was younger teaching me not to talk to strangers. So why, in the name of God, am I expected to make small talk with strangers simply because we happen to be riding the same elevator, or seated next to each other on the same flight, or on the same line in the grocery store. I want it stopped!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday

Last week someone told me that they liked my Long Island accent.

It would have been a nice compliment, I suppose, but I’m not from Long Island, so I shouldn’t have a Long Island accent.

My husband is from Long Island, and has a very prominent, and adorable, Long Island accent.

That’s when I had my epiphany.

I’m a language chameleon. I have a Long Island accent (really only on certain words) because Tim has a Long Island accent, and I have adopted his speech patterns and ways of saying certain things.

I gave it some thought, and I was able to come up with an entire list of words in my vocabulary that I have picked up by association.

Compliments of my husband:
Der
Take care of my light work

Compliments of Liz:
Quick, are you kidding?
Like a pig in mud
Who has time for that?

Compliments of Tracy Miller:
Dude

Compliments of Aubree:
Word.

Compliments of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bugger. Bollocks. Bloody Hell.

Compliments of The Princess Bride
Inconceivable
As You Wish

Compliments of Grey's Anatomy:
Seriously?

Compliments of Lost:
Live Together, Die Alone

Compliments of Boston
Wicked

Compliments of Ice Age:
Doom on You

Compliments of Paris Hilton:
That's Hot

Compliments of Christopher Walken:
I need more cowbell!

Compliments of the 1990's:
Whatever

Compliments of the Bourne Identity:
Shizer!

Monday, September 8, 2008

September Sundays in South Florida

I love Sundays, and Mondays are a great way to remind me how much I love Sundays.

On Friday afternoon, I called an emergency meeting for 9:00AM this morning. That was genius.

(Background for those of you who need it: I am a project manager for a specialized marketing company. Our latest and greatest product (the one I am in charge of) is scheduled to launch on September 25th. At 4:45PM on Friday, I found out THAT WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Hence the panic button, hence the emergency meeting. Yeah, hence!)

I usually get to work between 8:00AM and 8:30AM (Starbucks line length has a great deal to do with this window) but of course, on the day I SCHEDULED A MEETING I have trouble getting there by 9:00AM. The day only got more hectic from there. The company who skimps on salary is willing to "SPARE NO EXPENSE" to meet the deadline of the 25th. I was tempted to tell them that an extra $100k in my pocket could cause the deadline to be met early, but really? (Gee, I hope no one I work with has stumbled across my blog. That would suck.)

So, this afternoon I took sometime to relive my perfect Sunday. Here's what it was like:

Wake up at 9:00AM. Feed yowling cats who act as though I have withheld food for weeks. Straighten up mess hubby has left from night before. (OCD, remember?) Check in with my long-lost friends the Internet, the Writing Bridge and Gmail. Contemplate writing. Go to Starbucks instead. Write roughly 500 words. Wander my apartment looking for something to clean, straighten, or otherwise perfect. Write 500 more words. Do some jumping jacks to release excess energy. Write 500 more words. Attempt to play with cats who now want nothing to do with me since they have been fed. Mock cats for not having opposable thumbs. Wake up Tim. Wait the hour it takes him to rouse and get ready to go to the beach. (He's worse than a woman.) Scrounge for meter change. Pack the cooler. Argue over who gets to use the "good" towel. Drive to the beach. Apply sunscreen, SPF 1.2 million. Get sunburn. (it's the only color I turn). Attempt skimboarding lesson #2. Injure heel. Fall on ass fifty some-odd times. Get laughed at by 15 year-old boy wearing shell necklace. (Seriously, were shell necklaces ever cool?) Mock 15 year-old boy wearing shell necklace. Get yelled at by Tim for mocking a 15 year-old. (He is convinced I am going to get him shot one day. Who hides a gun in swim trunks, I ask.) Pack up beach paraphernalia. Drive home. Take requisite post-beach nap. Cook dinner. Feed yowling cats who act as though I have withheld food for weeks. Check in with my long-lost friends the Internet, the Writing Bridge and Gmail. Contemplate writing. Go to Starbucks instead. (Yes, I drink way too much Starbucks.) Write roughly 500 words. Wander my apartment looking for something to clean, straighten, or otherwise perfect. Play with hedgehog. Play with snake. Play with cats. Play with husband. Go to bed. Get up because I forgot to prepare an agenda for the 9:00AM meeting that I SCHEDULED. Genius.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Like Ike


Just wanted to share the fact that South Florida is currently in the center of the "projected cone" for Hurricane Ike. Sweet.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sleep Together, Die Alone*

Lately I've become curious about the reasoning behind couples sleeping together. Not in the sexual sense (I totally get that), but in the physical sense; in the same room, the same bed, the same space. I'm sure there is a long and esteemed history. I'm sure there are deep, spiritual meanings for it, including display of love, commitment, unity, family and oneness.

Frankly, I think it sucks.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my husband. I love hanging out with him, cuddling with him, being close to him. We have, I believe, an excellent and rare relationship.

Not so fond of sleeping with him.

I'm 100% positive he would say the same about me.

We both snore. We both create a cocoon out of the coverings available to us, and then guard said cocoon fiercely, even in deep sleep. I talk in my sleep. He laughs in his sleep. (Oh, how I would love to be him for a night, and find out what the hell is so funny while he is comatose.)

It gets better.

At 5:45AM, an hour and fifteen minutes before he has to be up, and two hours before I have to be up, Tim's alarm starts sounding.

He sleeps through it.

I nudge hm. I rub his back. I say his name. When, every morning, I get no response, I either violently kick him or violently poke him to get his attention.

A variation of the following conversation inevitably ensues: (Certain euphemisms are used for the sake of the family members that still envision me as a perfectly polite eight-year old. Don't laugh, many of them do.)

Tim: "Ow! What the eff was that for?"

Me: "Turn it off."

Tim: "What?!"

Me: "Your effing alarm! Turn if off and get the eff up!"

After which there is a great deal of slamming, stumbling, mumbling and grumbling as he gets out of bed and goes to work while I revel in my remaining hour of sleep.

Go ahead, tell yourself (and me, if you so choose) that you love sleeping with your husband/wife/lover/partner/significant other. Tell me that you are cuddlers. That you roll over every morning and praise the heavens that you have such a wonderful being in your life. I will only believe you if both you and your husband/wife/lover/partner/significant other sleep like the effing dead.

I mean, let's be serious; If sleeping with your husband/wife/lover/partner/significant other was really all that magnificent, king-sized beds never would have been invented.

You know I'm right.

*Reference to Lost: Live Together, Die Alone

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday

I can't read a book without knowing how many total pages it has. I like to know how many pages I have left while I am reading.

Occasionally, when I check the page number on the last page, I glean telling words in the last few sentences. I don't do this on purpose and it makes me insane. Yet, I can't stop looking at the last page for its number.

Weird.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Introducing Barry

Before I left for my honeymoon (destination: Islamorada, Florida, a.k.a. the Florida Keys) several people advised that Tim and I buy something for the house that would always remind us of our honeymoon.

Well, we did.

On the fourth day of our honeymoon, also my 30th birthday, Tim and I took a half-day fishing charter out of Key Largo.

Below are some pictures of the day's fun, including pictures of what Tim and I decided to purchase as a honeymoon/30th birthday souvenir. Yes, I caught him. He's a 45-inch barracuda. We've named him Barry and welcomed him to the family.





Thursday, August 28, 2008

Abort! Abort! Return to the Mothership!

That is exactly what I did. Returned to the Morthership, a.k.a. Starbucks. I was crazy to think that I could nix the caffeine addiction, and if I have to have caffeine, I might as well have the best caffeine Boca can offer, right? I was welcomed home with open arms, and a job offer. Here's the conversation I had with my favorite local baristas upon my return:

"Nanci! We missed you the past few days? Your usual?"

"Yes, please. I tried to break up with you guys. It didn't work. What do
you put in this coffee, crack?"

"Entirely possible. So why break up with us?"

"Thought it was an expense I didn't need. I was wrong."

"You could always get a part-time job here, then you'd get your coffee for
free!"

Hmm...I may have to consider this.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Weird Fact Wednesday

I am terrified of the Florida lizards. I call them "Florida lizards" because I'm not sure what they are. Geckos? Chameleons? Small iguanas? No idea.

(See image at right. This picture was taken at my wedding. This particular picture is from my official wedding album, but I can't tell you how many angles of this lizard I have seen in all the wedding candids family members sent me. Everyone noticed him, and everyone thought he was adorable. He was the most popular guest.)

In any event, I am terrified of them. Do I think they're cute? Yes. Do I think they are way creepier than they are cute? To that I give you a, "Hell, yes!"

I'm not exactly sure why they creep me out so bad. It could be because I find them a bit dishonest with the blending. Just be who and where you are, for the love of Pete.

OR

It could be due to the unfortunate encounter I had with one such lizard in my very first apartment in Florida.

Tim was working that night at Ruby Tuesday, so I was home alone. This was pre-Azrael, pre-Styx and pre-Hydra, so it was just me and Hades, who was a tiny little kitten at the time. (He was so damn cute, wasn't he?)

Nature called, so I went to the bathroom, and very shortly after I sat down I heard a small "splash." Confused, since I hadn't done anything as of yet, I turned to peer into the toilet.

And there he was, a Florida lizard about 4 inches long. All clear and veiny, attempting to blend in with the white porcelain.

I freaked.

I slammed the toilet lid shut and ran for the phone.

"There's a lizard in the toilet," I told Tim when he finally came to the phone. I could hear busy kitchen sounds behind him.

"What?" he asked.

"There's a lizard in the toilet!"

"So?"

"What do you mean, 'so?' I can't pee with a lizard in the toilet! What if he tried to crawl upstream?"

"So flush him."

"No way!"

"Why?"

"What if he clogs the toilet?"

"Baby, please, I've taken craps bigger than a lizard. He's not going to clog the toilet."

"Well, it's mean."

"Then you're just going to have to get him out."

"Can you come get him out?"

"Are you kidding?"

"No!"

"Baby..."

"Fine. I'll figure it out."

I got off the phone with Tim, letting him go back to work, and went back to the bathroom to check on the lizard. Still there, still trying to blend. And I still had to pee.

I called Rob Miller, husbad of my friend Tracy, and most recent roommate. I had, practically, the identical conversation with Rob.

"So you're not going to come get him out?" I asked Rob.

"Nope, sorry, you're on your own."

"But I really have to pee."

"So come here."

Which is what I did. Instead of attempting to deal with the lizard, or pee on top of him and flush him, I drove 10 minutes to Rob and Tracy's house to use their bathroom, and then drove back home.

When I got home, the lizard was gone, and I haven't ever again encountered one in my toilet, but ever since then I have lived in fear of the lizards.

Weird.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Critical Update

Starbucks detox not going well! Need Mint Mocha Frappuccino! Send help!

Klutz Meets Skimboard

About two months ago, Tim took up skimboarding. It started as a way to get him to come to the beach with me every weekend; if he didn't have a specific beach purpose, he was ready to leave ten minutes after we arrived, and how is an Irish girl expected to tan in five minutes?

Its been working out pretty well. Most Sundays, if the weather holds, I can expect to get two hours in the sun while Tim boards, recovers, boards, and recovers.

At first I made fun of him for being so out of breath, wiped out, and sore from the activity. I figured it had more to do with him being an out of shape smoker than the difficulty of the sport.

Then I tried it.

First of all, it is definitely one of those things that looks way easier than it is.

Second of all, I have a problem keeping my own two feet on stable, dry land. Imagine what happened when I attempted to balance on a wet, moving skimboard. I'll tell you: I fell down. A lot.

I didn't complain, though. Not once. At least, not while I was falling. I have plenty of complaining to do now since I can barely move a single part of my body without it screaming in protest.

As I was complaining last night, Tim made a valid point. Have you ever seen a fat skateboarder or skimboarder? Neither looks like it should be a physically draining activity - jump on a board, glide. Oooh, real hard. Well, it is. My quads are on fire. My abs are shrieking in pain. My triceps protest when I left my purse. Or a pen. Or simply my arm.

But - I plan to try it again this Sunday. At least once I want to not fall down. And hell, I'm getting the workout of my life. Added bonus.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Starbucks Detox: Day One

One of the best Starbucks quotes of all time, although not at all related to the topic at hand, was spoken by Tom Hanks, as Joe Fox, in the movie You've Got Mail:

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino."

Hi, my name is Nanci, and I am addicted to Starbucks.

Hi, Nanci

I adore Starbucks, and have ever since we were first introduced in 1999, in Boston, MA.

You see, I was never a huge coffee fan. While I hugely appreciated the morning jolt of caffeine, coffee, much like beer, in an acquired taste. And much like beer, I find coffee to be mostly functional. Allow me to explain.

I don't drink beer because I crave the taste. Actually, I don't drink beer. I will only ever drink beer if I have a severe need to be drunk and there is no other alcoholic beverage available.

Beer = functional.

Similarly, I don't drink coffee because I crave the taste. I drink coffee because I have become dependent upon the influx of caffeine in the morning. Thus, I have never understood the drinkers of decaffeinated coffee. (or O'Douls for that matter, if we bring beer back into the picture.)

But Starbucks, oh wonderful Starbucks, took the coffee taste out of coffee! That is, if you venture away from the standard brew, drip and perk, and allow yourself to wander the world of lattes, mochas, flavored syrups and foam! Now, in addition to getting my requisite morning vibe of caffeine, I also get to drink what, in essence, tastes like a hot, melted cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream. This may not sound good to you, but, may I just say, 'yum squared.'

At first I was only drinking Starbucks on the weekends, as a special treat. Then I started going on Friday's, because Friday is the day for all things naughty. Before I knew it, Starbucks was a morning routine. The baristas knew me by name, and simply asked, "The usual?" whenever I approached the counter. It was bliss. I had never had a "usual" before. They even noticed my trends. When it was the season for Pumpkin Spice, I drank Pumpkin Spice, until the sad day came that the flavor was out of season, and I returned to my trusty peppermint white mocha.

I didn't think it could get much worse after that, but oh boy, did it ever.

After a year or so I found myself needing more of a jump to keep me going in the morning. I discovered that I could add shots of espresso to my usual drink. Oh rapture!

My entire Starbucks experience was nothing short of wonderful, except for the day I realized just how much money I was giving to the Starbucks empire. It made me want to weep. It was insane that one person could spend so much money on coffee. It had to be stopped.

I made a painful decision. I would put myself through Starbucks detox. (It was either that or make the cats get a job, and what was the likelihood of that? They were both lazy with very little skill other than being adorable and lizard hunting. Which, on later thought, there may be a market for down here in lizard central.) I had quit smoking, how much harder could this be? It was only coffee for Christ's sake.

I dragged my coffeemaker out of storage and cleaned it. I made my final (fingers crossed) trip to Starbucks and purchased a bag of ground coffee and a bottle of their peppermint mocha flavored syrup. During that week's grocery shop I purchased filters, half and half, sugar, travel cups. I could do this!

I had my first cup of non-Starbucks coffee this morning.

You know what?

Complete disaster.

I really thought I could replicate the wondrousness. However, instead of thick, frothy, melted mint chocolate chip ice cream bliss, I ended up with bitter coffee flavored hot water with a strange aftertaste that sort of resembled mint chocolate.

Ick.

This is going to take some work.