Bada Bing!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I grew up in Cleveland and I love the ethnic diversity. It's no secret that the city has an extensive organized crime history dating back to the early 1920's. My earliest recollection of this group called "The Mob" was in the late 70's during the mob wars when a relative of one of my sister's friends was blown to smithereens in the parking lot of a medical building in a quiet suburb after he came out of the dentist's office. Now if you're feeling sorry for him, don't.

He started out as a longshoreman on the Cleveland docks and rose to be a big player in the Cleveland mafia. He was personally responsible for a number of murders and his weapon of choice was a car bomb. He was once quoted as saying, "You live by the bomb, you die by the bomb". And that he did. At one point, there were so many bombs detonated in the city, that it was dubbed, Bomb City USA by media all across the country.

The bosses and their men all had colorful nicknames like "Peanuts", "Big Ange", "Lips" and "Butchie". I do remember going to school with a kid nicknamed Happy who drove a brand new Cadillac at 16 but I didn't ask questions.

I'm sure organized crime still exists to some degree today but it's not something I really think about much. My morning commute includes a stretch of road that leads you down a tall hill to a neighborhood known as "Little Italy".
The streets are lined with bakeries, restaurants, smoke shops, art galleries and a private Italian club. Hmmmm...I wonder who frequents the private Italian club? The sign on one of the bakeries reads, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

The drive is so routine that I can do it with my eyes closed and I don't really pay much attention to anything on the way in. A few days ago, though, slow traffic invited my gaze to wander to the traffic sign at the top of the hill. Someone had spray painted it to read "Traffic laws mob enforced."

Maybe it's just a reminder for when we forget. Capiche?

In the most dramatic rose ceremony...EVER!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I have a confession. I'm addicted to The Bachelor. For those of you who live in caves and/or are men. The Bachelor is a reality show where one hunky, frequently shirtless man is presented with 25 beautiful women who are auditioning for the role of wife. The women all step out of a limo, one by one, decked out for prom and have their 10 seconds to WOW said Bachelor with their introduction. They all go something like this:

Bachelorette #1: (Giggle, giggle squeal, as she steps out of the limo and walks toward bachelor)"Hi Jason. I'm Nikki. Oh my gosh, you're SO handsome. I'm SO happy to be here. I'm SO nervous."

Bachelor: "Hi Nikki. Don't be nervous. You look beautiful. I look forward to talking to you inSIDE", as he touches her elbow and guides her toward the door where the cocktail party will be. Each bachelorette's name, age, occupation and city of origin is placed on the screen each time they speak. "Renee, 36, jewelry designer, Beverly Hills, CA."

We, the viewers, have a fly on the wall view of every interaction between the women and with The Bachelor. From the catty behavior to the heart to heart talks with the camera, this stuff can't be scripted. It's fantastic! My favorite part is after he has a one on one conversation with a girl. The "camera" then films her talking about the interaction:

Renee, 36, jewelry designer, Beverly Hills, CA.: "Jason and I really have a connection. I could just tell by the way he looked at me and held my hand. When he kissed me, I pictured him meeting my parents. I think I could be falling for him!"

Then the "camera" films him talking about the same interaction:

Jason, Bachelor: "Renee's a nice girl but I'm just not feeling it."

Most of the women are between 22 and 36 years old so it's fun to see how they react to things differently. I think they screen out the normal people and only allow drama queens, desperate chicks and the downright whacked. Did I mention how fantastic it is?

I have to admit, this bachelor seems the most genuine to date so he's not very good at hiding his emotions. In the last episode, horse-toothed Shannon starts to cry and spout a torrent of emotions about how she wants to get to know his son and wants to go home with him now..) Jason's face says, Holy Crap, she's insane. Get her away from me. Now.

At the end of each episode, he offers the women he has an interest in getting to know better, a rose, and then sends the rest packing. They then pan to the inside of the limo where the women are crying and saying what a mistake he made by letting them go. You feel for them but then you have to wonder what kind of person goes on a reality show looking for love anyway? Oh right, desperate chicks and whack jobs.

The Bachelor. I just can't get enough of you. Will you accept this rose??

Chances Are

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A close friend of mine just ended a 5 year relationship and it's caused me to be a little introspective. I won't go into the details for you but suffice to say, things didn't really turn out the way she had hoped. I wish there was something I could do to make her pain go away but a small part of me is actually jealous. Yes, jealous. Now let me explain.

I'm jealous of knowing that she couldn't feel this kind of pain without having known the depths of love. People will debate the saying "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." You can ask 100 people and you'll get 100 different opinions. I've always believed the saying to be true.

When I was a little girl, my sister and I shared a bedroom. Our mother would come around when it was time to go to sleep and tell us to stop talking and get some rest. I would hide under my covers and tune my AM radio to CKLW, Windsor/Detroit. The call letters were sung in acappella voices that went up the scale. C-K-L-WWWWWW. I would listen to Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney and Nat King Cole; all singing songs of love and happiness and I truly believed that somewhere out there, Canada probably, that those things were real. They were my beacons of hope in an otherwise hopeless existence.

As I got older, part of me still held on to those dreams and waited for that someone who thought I hung the moon. I was always willing to take a chance and would go into things so hopeful that this would be "the one". When it didn't work out, I would seek the comfort of a friend's shoulder and cry until my body was shuddering with grief. Oh, how I reveled in my pain!

I know now that relationships are more than sunshine, roses and sweet love songs and I suppose part of me still believes in true love. It's been over 3 years since I dated anyone on more than a casual level and I wonder sometimes if I'll let ever let myself be that vulnerable again. It's much less painful to sip a martini and listen to a song about love lost than it is to experience it firsthand.

I love my life and I don't feel like I need anyone to complete it but I have to admit that I miss the emotion, the passion, the ups, the downs. That feeling of being alive, squared.

Maybe someday I'll take a chance again..

Put on your Wayfarers, baby!

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's 15 degrees here today so it's time to break out my favorite "close your eyes and pretend it's summer" song. Enjoy!

And the gold medal goes to....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I worked out two days in a row. And I expect a medal for doing so. I HATE working out. And I think that anyone who says they enjoy it, is lying. Now, I do love the way I feel after working out but the actual working out part? Not so much.

I've never been what anyone would remotely describe as athletically inclined. Very early on, I tried to find excuses to get out of gym class but it usually didn't work. Even though I did mature early, it was a stretch to convince the gym teacher that I had my period in the second grade.

Between the 5th and 6th grade, I had a huge growth spurt and suddenly became the belle of the ball when it came to picking sides for volleyball and basketball. Over the course of the year, though, they realized my skills weren't any better at a higher altitude and I was once again relegated to be one of the remaining two. "I guess we'll take Chrissy." Their other choice was a boy who spent all of elementary school with at least one of his appendages in a cast.

I didn't become completely horrified by PE class until the year I entered junior high at 13. While I knew that the physical requirements would be greater, I didn't realize that my worst enemy wouldn't be the parallel bars but the dreaded gym suit.

It was a gold one piece number that zipped up the front. It had no collar, an elastic waist and a striped top over a solid bottom that barely covered your butt. When I say gold, I know you're picturing royal dressing gowns. Well, don't. It was more like a mustard color. And not that sunny French's mustard color but more like muddy Grey Poupon.

It came in three sizes, Small, Medium and Large and was a poly/cotton combo. If you were over 5' tall, it didn't really stretch very much lengthwise and I think that's how the term "camel-toe" came to be. Since it was the year 1979, there weren't many of us wearing tampons yet, so when it was your "time of the month", your "camel-toe" now looked like it was carrying cargo on its back. There were no slim pads with wings, no mini pads, no lightdays pads. There were Kotex Maxi and Kotex Maxi plus. Each was about 3 inches thick and if you were lucky, the adhesive strip would stay in place all day. Or at least through gym class. You always knew the girls whose strips didn't stay in place because by the end of 4th period, they were wearing a sweatshirt tied around their waist. C'mon, girls, you know what I'm talkin' about. Oh, the horrors!

We had to master a President's fitness test in order to be able to pass the class so we practiced. A lot. I spent most of the 7th grade with my inner thighs raw from attempting to climb the rope and touch the ceiling while making sure that my butt wasn't hanging out. They tried to fool me into thinking that these skills would be useful later in life but I can't recall any job interviews that have required me to climb a rope or dodge a ball.

Instead, I'll claim my small victories. Like working out two days in a row.

Did I say that out loud?

Friday, January 23, 2009

I've told you how I spent most of the 80's pissed off at the world. Well, I spent the 90's blurting out whatever thoughts came into my head. There was no filter that existed. They came into my head and went out of my mouth, virtually simultaneously. Some were observational, "That's a nice color on you but those stripes make you look huge." Others bordered on abusive, "Do you try to be an idiot or does it just come naturally?" And the classic, "F-YOU!".

The more insecure or powerless I felt in a situation, the more I would unleash a torrent of venom at some poor soul who dared to cross my path. An older woman I used to work with told me that I had the face of an angel and the mouth of a drunken sailor.

When I look back now, it's with a combination of shame for the way I was and love for my friends who were able to see through my angry facade. I ask them how they could have stayed friends with me and they say, "You weren't that bad."

I've since learned to gather my thoughts and review them before I say anything. I suppose it's the wisdom of maturity combined with a bit of soul searching. I am direct and I don't skirt around issues. However, I try to consider how the other person might react to what I have to say. I think diplomacy is a fine art to master and I admit, I'm still learning the craft.

Don't get me wrong. I know that we all come across people in the course of a day that we don't agree with and sometimes those disagreements can become well, downright nasty. It's funny because when that happens, I can feel the old Chrissy rearing her head and I think, "If you say that one more time, I'm gonna POP yo ass!!" Not that I ever really used the term "yo". Or "pop".

But the point is, I don't say it. I fake it. I take the high road and respecfully disagree even though my gut is saying, "Open your mouth one more time, you Mother F-er and I'll stick my foot in it." Then I laugh at the lunacy of my own thoughts and it snaps me out of it.

I think I learned that method from this guy I dated when I was 28. He was 6'5, jet black hair, blue eyes, great body. Dumb as a box of rocks. Picture a male Playboy bunny. Kendra for those of you who watch The Girls Next Door. Anyway, we would be out and God forbid if our table wasn't ready when we had reservations, it was enough to launch a tirade. He would just step back and not say anything until I looked at him and then he would just laugh and put a scowl on his face and say, "Yeah! You tell 'em, honey." And it would just snap me right out of it. Maybe he wasn't so dumb.

I have learned a lot about being a grown up. I've learned to laugh at myself and not take anything too seriously. I love being this age and having such a different perspective on life. I've lived my life with no regrets although that's not to say that I haven't made mistakes along the way. If I only knew then..


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009 was a sad day. On that day, we lost Bob May, Robot from Lost in Space. The news came as an alert from a local news website so I clicked on it knowing my sister would want to know since she was always a huge fan of the show. I had no patience for anything remotely science fiction oriented and would just laugh at her when she watched Lost in Space or Star Trek. ("Hey.....!", she would blurt out defensively) She didn't watch cool shows like Davey and Goliath.

As I opened the article, I could hear Robot's voice in my head, "Danger, Will Robinson" and thought, gosh how sad that he died. Well guess what? Bob May wasn't even the voice of the Robot! He just wore the Robot's suit. Why do we even know his name? We don't know the guy's name who wore the H.R. Pufnstuf suit. And what about Cling and Clang?

I suppose it's just a reflection of the fans of these shows. They're obsessed with every aspect of it. Maybe they're trying to recapture their youth or maybe they just think it's fun to imagine what life would be like in space. Or maybe they're just freaks. ("Hey......!")

My sister and I were talking about the show and she said that she remembers watching it when she was a kid and thinking that Will Robinson was adorable. (when she was 12) As she grew up and continued to watch reruns of the show, her affections turned to Major Don West (when she was 20) and then John Robinson. (when she 28) She said that about 8 years ago when she met Dr. Smith...

I choked on my Diet Coke and it went up my nose as she told me about the Lost in Space convention that she attended. And how Dr. Smith had a "good bod" on him. (when she was 38)

Really, Lisa? Dr. Smith? ("Hey......!") At least she wasn't attracted to Robot.

Maybe when she's 48. ("Hey.....!")


Since there's something going around, maybe this will help to ease your pain..

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's interesting because I have friends who've been married a few times and have dated about as many men in their lifetimes as I did the year I was 25. I guess I was sowing my oats, although I don't think they call it that when girls do it. What would be more appropriate? Whoring around, maybe? I think the whole notion alludes to the fact that all this pent up sexual energy must be exhausted so that one can get it "out of their systems" and settle down. I don't know about you, but if I'm doing something pleasurable, I don't get to the point where I'm DONE. I just want more.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't spend the 80's in an eternal state of promiscuity. I did date a lot but I was looking for someone to love me when I was unable to love myself. Cliche, maybe, but true. I was so pissed off at the world and I thought that being pretty was enough to offer someone. I had no idea who I was and I was terrified of finding out. I dated some really great guys but the timing was wrong. I've heard through the grapevine about some and where they're at today:


Married with kids...



Yes, gay. Which explains the size 12 skirt I found in his closet. I thought he was cheating on me with a fat chick until one day, for some reason, I laid the skirt on top of his jeans and it all made sense. But those are stories for another day.

It's amazing how being my age and never married is more of a social stigma than being divorced. People assume that there must be something wrong me. Who am I kidding? They're right. But still... They shouldn't assume.

I was on the phone with a woman who works at one of our satellite offices and she said, "you know, I just realized I don't know anything about you."

And I said, "Well, what do you want to know?

"Have you ever been married?"


"Do you have any kids?"


"Well, are you dating anyone now? You wear a ring. Are you engaged?"

"Nope. Not engaged."

Do you know what she said to me?

"Oh my gosh. How sad. I'm so sorry for you."

What the hell?? Oh my gosh. How sad. I'm so sorry for you. I didn't even know how to respond. I said, "Don't be sad for me. I've got a great life."

"Okay. Sure. I'm so sorry..."

And that's what bugs the crap out of me. Sure, sometimes I sit back and say, "Oh my. I'm 42 and I've never been married." But does it really matter? It's hard to not let society make you feel like you should be something you're not.

I must admit, though, I do worry about becoming one of those crazy cat ladies. You know the type: never married, no children, wears sensible shoes. Oh God, I wear sensible shoes.

Instead of children, they have a minimum of four cats and they all have names that start with Mister. "Here comes Mr. Bojangles. Get off the couch, Mr. Pufferbelly, you're messing Mommy's afghan."

I don't know. Now I'm just rambling. I'm telling you..I shoulda been a stripper....

10 more things you never wanted to know about me

Monday, January 19, 2009

  1. I will buy anything a chimp is selling
  2. I like going to the dentist
  3. I believe in ghosts
  4. I laugh when someone falls down
  5. I've never seen Star Wars
  6. I can't swim
  7. My favorite artist is Edward Hopper
  8. I sing when I drive
  9. I check for spelling errors in everything I read
  10. I still cry when Miss Gulch takes Toto

Snow? Bring it on!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The temperature went up to 18 degrees today and I have to tell you, it felt downright balmy out there considering that it was 25 below with the windchill on Friday. It did snow all day but I think that if you're dressed for the elements, it can actually be kind of fun.

Last year, I bought two pairs of boots that I had to return because they leaked. This year, I decided to buy the warmest, sturdiest snow boot I could find. I wore them to my parents house and my father stood in front of me with his hands in his pockets as I took them off.

"Got some new boots there, huh?"

"Yep. They're really warm."

"Hmm. I hate to tell you this but I think you bought men's boots by mistake."

" I didn't buy men's boots, Dad."

"Are you sure? Because they look like men's boots."

"Yes, I'm sure. They're not men's boots. They're just very functional."

"I see. Well, I have to tell you. They sure aren't very attractive."

"I know. Thank you. Function not beauty."

This coming from someone who wouldn't even walk to the end of the driveway to pick up my newspaper and would only wear "pretty" boots. That all changed last year when I got my dog from a shelter.
I absolutely love dogs but I haven't had one in years because I was never home home enough and I frankly didn't want the responsibility. However, my phone number was on speed dial anytime a friend with a dog was going out of town and needed a dogsitter.

My friend Debbie's boyfriend had adopted an adult dog, Rusty, for his two small children and I watched Rusty a few times when they went on trips. He was a sweet dog but very high maintenance. He required constant attention and he had some sort of fear of walking on hardwood floors, which my entire house is, so I had to carry him from room to room or he would just sit at the edge of the rug and cry. Apparently he had some separation anxiety issues, too, because he would be left outside in their fenced yard all day and would run away. It got to the point where Doug decided that Rusty had to go and he took him back to the shelter. When I found out, I went looking for Rusty, knowing he had a lot of problems but hoping I could help this poor kindred soul work through them.

No luck. By the time I got there, he had already been adopted, so I wandered around thinking that it probably just wasn't the right time for me to get a dog and that this was my sign. I was getting ready to leave when I leaned back to take one final look at the last row of cages and saw an ear sticking out and resting on the floor. I walked toward it knowing exactly what kind of dog it would be and I was right. It was a beagle. We had one growing up and I was instantly reminded of him when I saw her lying on the floor of the cage. She slowly sat up and poked her nose through the cage. I rubbed her nose and stood up quickly, telling myself that the only reason I came here was to look for Rusty and that the fact that he wasn't here meant that I shouldn't have a dog.
She sat down and stared up at me as I read the information card on her cage.

Name: Bernadette (Bernie)
Age: Approximately 6 years old
Temperament: Gentle
"Will require someone who knows the beagle breed and is willing to do additional training."

Additional training? I couldn't figure out what additional training she could possibly need at 6 so I went up front to ask for more information. Apparently, they rescued her from an Amish farm where she pumped out puppies and then spent her days tied to a tree. Someone had adopted her from the shelter about a month ago but brought her back saying that she was very destructive, attacked other dogs in the neighborhood and wasn't potty trained. I think the woman who adopted her was insane and brought out the absolute worst that this poor, gentle dog could be. Or she was a big fat liar and just decided she didn't want her anymore. Either way, I knew I couldn't leave without her and I'm so glad that she's mine now. Even if it means wearing unattractive man boots.

Does anyone have the time?

Friday, January 16, 2009

9:33 p.m.

That's the time that I'm beginning this post. I'm obsessed with time. And not in a "I'm getting older and realizing that the years are slipping away and whoa is me...where did the time go..."way.
9:34 p.m.

I just have this need to know what time it is. Constantly. I've had this obsession for as long as I can remember. Even if I have nowhere to go and nothing to do, the first thing I do in the morning is put my watch on and the last thing I do before I go to sleep is take it off. If I lie in bed too long before I fall asleep, I have to turn and look at the clock. 11:30. 11:35. 11:38. Then the thoughts start running in my head. Fall asleep. Fall asleep. Fall asleep! Because before you know it, it will be 5:30 a.m. 5:35. 5:40.

When I go on a date, I check my watch all night long. "Um, is there somewhere you need to be?"

I have a clock on my computer, my desk, my phone, my pager, the bank sign on the way into work, the window of the bakery shop, the dashboard of my car. Everywhere I turn, I see the time. And I'll look at all of them and still check my watch. Some women collect shoes or purses. I collect watches and clocks.
9:36 p.m.

Do you remember the song "Time" by the Alan Parsons Project? Even today, when I hear that song, I get so sad. And I couldn't even tell you why. Wait...okay I'm remembering the words now. Oh, it makes me sad because it's so damn depressing. Okay, scratch that. Bad example.

I found out recently that there's a name for my problem. It's CHRONOMANIA. (Greek khronos, time + Greek mania, obsession, madness; cf. megalomania, balletomania) - obsession with time and speed; inclination to utilize every moment and to submit one's life to a total time control. Yes, that would be me. I'm a chronomaniac. I wonder if there are support groups for Chronomaniacs. As with a lot of 12 step programs, I'm sure the group would focus on abstinence from the behavior so how would we know when the meeting was over?
Well, anyway, it's been a busy week and I told myself I wanted to be asleep by 10:00. It's already 9:40 and 10 seconds, 15 seconds....20 seconds....

I fell off the wagon. And then I choked on it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So I fell off the wagon today. I always justify it by telling myself that I have no other vices ( I don't smoke, drink or have a sex addiction. Anymore) so this is really the only pleasure I get. The saying "Nothing Tastes As Good As Thin Feels" is bullshit. Feeling thin is nice, but c'mon....Ruggles M & M cookie dough ice cream with chocolate syrup and whipped cream versus.....thin....

Ruggles wins. Hands down, every time. Maybe it's just that my motivation for losing weight isn't what it was. I used to try to lose weight so I could look hot when I was out with my friends and trying to catch the attention of that cute guy on the other side of the bar. You know, the one with the jet black hair and piercing blue eyes. He would be talking to his buddies and glance over, holding his gaze a little too long before he looked away. I would boldly stare back, "Yeah....I'm lookin at you, baby. Come to Mama."

Now I just want to depuff my middle aged face and get into my black pants for work. I'm in a bit of a quandry, though, because I'm totally disgusted that I can't fit into any of my clothes and yet, I feel so much sexier now. I love my Rubenesque curves and I long for some starving artist to ask if he can paint me in the nude.

I have friends who get a little shy around their significant others when they're feeling a little less than confident with their bodies. I've never had that problem. For some reason, I feel completely confident when I'm naked as a jaybird.

My friend Debbie has a Dream Book and likes to analyze dreams. I've told her that I often dream about being naked. She says that in the dream once I realize I'm naked and quickly try to cover up, that it means I'm feeling vulnerable about something. The only thing is, I do go around oblivious to the fact that I'm naked but once someone points it out, I look down and say, "Yeah! Look at me....." and then I strut away. Debbie can't find that entry in her Dream Book.

Back to falling off the wagon. I ate my healthy, fat free lunch in the cafeteria where everyone could see how well I was adhering to my diet. I was craving something sweet when I got back to my office so I walked in and very quietly pulled open my top drawer to get out the Tootsie Roll I had stashed behind the White Out. I slowly slid the drawer closed again and reached for my scissors so I could cut the top of the wrapper instead of tearing it. Cutting is much quieter than tearing. I slid the Tootsie Roll out and mouthed the words "Come to Mama" to my chocolate treat. (Wow, that didn't sound right...)

As I took the second bite, I felt a tiny amount of spit go "down the wrong pipe" and I stifled a cough, not wanting to get busted cheating on my diet.

It was no use, I would have to cough louder. It was hard to cough with a large wad of chocolate in my mouth but I didn't want to spit it out.

My coughing turned to choking sounds.

"Are you okay?" Lori, outside my office said in a concerned voice.

"Yea..."I sputtered. Still not wanting to waste the Tootsie Roll in my mouth, I continued to attempt to get the spit out of my windpipe as I gasped for air and shifted the chocolate from cheek to cheek.

"She doesn't sound okay." I heard Debra push her chair back so I spit the candy in my wastebasket, sure she was on her way in to save me.

By now, my face was bright red, there were tears rolling down my face and Debra was next to me yelling, "Hold your arms up! Hold your arms up!"

Lori stood in the doorway, "Oh my gosh, she's really choking. Should we do the Heimlich?"

I was alternately gasping for air and laughing at the idiocy of my situation.

"What was it you choked on?" Debra asked as she handed me some water.

"I was eating an almond and it must have gone down the wrong pipe," I lied to them. I'm allowed 12 almonds a day.

I think I'll bring an apple tomorrow for when I'm craving something sweet.

Beware the Side Sitter

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm afraid of lots of things. Spiders, bees, heights, intimacy, clowns, Rosie O'Donnell. But the one thing I'm not afraid of is driving in the snow. We've had a rough couple of weather days here and it seems like every time there's a snow storm, people forget how to drive. And these aren't people who are in town visiting. These are the ones who grew up here. Their cars mysteriously won't go over 20 miles an hour and they think that a four lane road is now two. It's days likes this that I wish I still took the train.

I started a new job working downtown a few years ago and I explored my parking options. The garage in the building was $240, the parking lot across the street, $90 and the lot you had to walk 4 blocks to get to was the best bargain at $40. However, being the spoiled suburbanite that I was, the thought of walking that far scared me a little and since I'm always looking to save a buck anyway, I decided to take the train.

We don't have an elaborate train system here. For example, you can't hop on the train to spend the day in Columbus or meet up with some friends for the weekend in Dayton. However, if east-west traveling is your thing, riding the rails is the way to go. I bought my first pass card and had no idea of the adventures I would encounter and the cast of characters that would liven my commute.

There are a few different kinds of people who ride the train. Professionals who read the paper, catching up on daily events so they can talk about them around the water cooler and students, lost in their ipods, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings and yet instinctually able to open their eyes at the right stop so they can get off. This particular line ran from the center of downtown to the airport and back. Across the board, people usually didn't speak and they certainly didn't make eye contact.

The seats all faced front and sat two across so you could spend your commute reading the paper, looking out the window, listening to your ipod or staring at the back of someone's head. One spring morning, I boarded the train, sat in the third row back and saw him.

A side sitter.

He didn't slide into the window seat to allow the next person to sit down. He slouched sideways with his back against the window and his foot up on the seat. He was wearing a leather jacket, brand new athletic shoes and a gold chain around his neck. There were 8 stops before we reached downtown. Each person that got on the train was greeted by him, "Do you have a dollah twenny five?" Most ignored him or mumbled a "no" under their breath but he was persistent.

"Can I have a dollah twenny-five?"

Three stops in, a woman boarded the train carrying a serving tray covered with plastic wrap. She had a plaid headband that pulled back her shoulder length blonde hair and she wore a sensible sweater set over her classic cuffed trousers. Her pearl earrings matched her necklace and her Coach bag was the perfect accent to it all. She sat in the seat behind Side Sitter, on the aisle. She had no window to look out and no paper to read so she had no choice but to look straight ahead, clutching her tray. She stared at the back of the conductor's head and I could see Side Sitter staring at her. I waited for him to make his pitch. He looked at her. He looked at her tray. She nervously looked out the opposite window.

"Whatcha got?"

"Hmmm?", Plaid Headband was startled.

"Whatcha got?", his eyes darted to her lap.

"Oh these? They're croissants.", she nervously lilted with an impeccable French accent. (KWAH-SON)


"Croissants", she repeated.




Was she actually trying to get this guy to pronounce croissants??

"Wha's that?"

"It's a buttery, leavened variant of puffed pastry. Sort of like a French doughnut."

Was she really trying to explain to him what a croissant was?? I glanced around trying to catch the attention of someone else who was witnessing this.

He started at her blankly. "Can I have one?"

"No, so sorry. I only made one for everyone. No extras." She smiled as she shook her head and I thought I saw her lip tremble.

"Maybe someone will call in sick," said Side Sitter.

"No. I don't think they will."

I was mesmerized by this exchange and I didn't even bother to look away. It lasted for 5 more exits. Side Sitter finally realized that Plaid Headband wasn't going to budge so he gave it one last shot as we were all exiting the train and walking away from the platform.

"Do you have a dollah twenny five?" She kept walking.

I turned my head so he wouldn't see me laughing and my gaze fell upon a Pepsi machine. The sign on it read $1.25.

He caught my eye and before he could even mutter it, I handed him $1.25. Too bad I didn't have a croissant for him.

What are ya watchin, Davey?

Monday, January 12, 2009

I've come to the conclusion that I spend far too much time watching TV. There was a time when I didn't even own a TV. It was 2001. My set had broken and I didn't have the money to buy a new one because all of my money went to pay rent on my luxury apartment. I didn't have a TV or furniture but sure looked cool driving up to the front door of my fancy digs.

I actually got used to not having one and I was surprised by how much more productive I was. I cleaned, went for walks and read books. I think that was the year Napster was really popular so I downloaded a million songs. With a 56K modem. Oh, yes, I had nothin' but time.

I didn't start watching a lot of TV again until AT & T came a knockin' last summer. "Hey, we have this great new service called U-Verse. Would you like to try it?" I didn't think I wanted to try it but it wasn't much more than the basic cable/internet service I already had and they were offering me a DVR so I could "pause live TV and record up to a hundred programs." I didn't think I needed a hundred programs recorded but it was a lonely summer and the salesman told me I had pretty eyes so I signed up.

Can I just tell you this DVR is like crack? I spend more time sitting on my couch than I ever imagined I would. I started out by recording weekly sitcoms before I mastered the art of the search. Do you know that Davey & Goliath is on at 2AM every Thursday?

I used to watch the show every Sunday when I was a kid. If you aren't familiar with Davey & Goliath, it was about a mischievous little boy named Davey and his dog, Goliath. It was a claymation cartoon produced by the Lutheran Church so every episode had the underlying theme that God loved you no matter what. Goliath acted like Davey's conscience and talked in a voice that only Davey could hear. "You shouldn't be doing that Daveeyyy", Goliath would always drag out Davey's name.

Turning the show on all these years later brings back a lot of great memories but I notice things that I didn't when I was a kid. First of all, Davey's a little prick. He never listens to what anyone tells him but I suppose that's how he learns all those neato lessons. By realizing the err of his ways.

The claymation was done by Art & Ruth Clokey, the creators of Gumby. I guess they weren't really used to doing lifelike appendages because Davey's hands look like two baseball mitts that almost hang to his knees. His best friend is a little black boy named Jonathan who has the voice of a 45 year old man. "I have to go home and do my homework now, Davey." Creepy.

This episode talks about love and acceptance for everyone regardless of their race:

This episode does not...

10 things you never wanted to know about me

Sunday, January 11, 2009

  1. I eat relish out of the jar
  2. I hate yoga
  3. I love to rake leaves
  4. I have to fall asleep on my back
  5. My favorite color is red
  6. I'm a night owl forced to live an early bird's existence
  7. I forget the punchline of jokes and ruin them
  8. They don't sell my bra size at Victoria's Secret
  9. Modern art confuses me
  10. I hate parties

Facebook is for idiots

Friday, January 9, 2009

You remember the girl at work who fixed me up with the guy who broke up with me in an email, right? OMG, I totally just sounded like I was 12. OMG, I just did it again.

Anyway...about a month ago, she says to me, "Hey, are you on Facebook?"

I gave her one of my "that's one of the the stupidest things I've ever heard" looks and responded, "Nope. I graduated from high school last year."

She tilted her head, "It's a great way to keep in touch with friends."

"Anyone I want to keep in touch with, I can phone or send an email to."

"You should try it. Everyone's doing it."

"No. Really. I'll pass but thanks for telling me about it." stupid idiot, I thought to myself as I walked out of her office.

A few days later, I got an email from my friend Maria who lives in northern Kentucky. "Hey. Take a look at my Facebook page!" the automated email shouted. I could hear the sarcasm in Maria's added comment, "Apparently this is cool."

I laughed out loud because even though I think the whole thing is for teenagers and adults who never got over the angst of being a teenager (Look how many friends I have!). I had to admit I was curious. And I haven't seen Maria since she got married in the summer, so I wanted to see pics of her and her new family. Okay, so MAYBE there are some circumstances where this is okay, like when old friends send invitations to social events or to flip through their photo albums.

However, I still didn't want anyone that I know professionally to find me and I didn't want any weirdos from my past to find me, either. So I used a fictitious name. (I swear, I don't create fictitious names regularly, just this week)

I talked to my friend Brian a few days later and told him the whole story because I knew he would have a Facebook page. And he does...with 135 friends. Brian and I have known each other since we were in our mid 20's. Okay, he was mid, I was late. He's now in his late 30's and married with 2 children but he still refers to himself by his college nickname (hey, it's BP!) and manages to slip the word "boobies" into virtually every conversation we have. He's very well versed in Facebook ways and told me that ANYONE in my email contact list can do a Search on Facebook and find me. Oh no!!

Panic set in and I ran to my computer so I could change my Facebook settings. I only have one email address so you know what I had to do, don't you? Create a fake one. My mother always warned me, "one lie turns into another". I think I'm safe now since I haven't gotten any "Friend requests".

I'm shocked by how much information you can find out about people with the click of a button. My latent stalker tendencies took over and I found myself reading walls (pages you post on, for all you Facebook virgins) and looking at photo albums of people I don't know today and most likely never will. This would have completely changed my dating world in the 80's. Gosh, the time I would have saved doing drive by's and hanging out at bars I hated just to see if the guy I went out with twice was cheating on me. "But he told me he loved me!"

Hey, I wonder if I can find any of them on Facebook...

Oprah and I are embarassed

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oprah's show came back out of reruns this week and the series is being touted as Best Life Week after she admitted on Monday's show that she's "embarassed that she's still talking about her weight after all these years." I'm embarassed, too, Oprah. For me.

I never really had to pay attention to my weight or work at maintaining it. I'm 5'9 so even if I gained 10 pounds, no one ever noticed but me. I steadily maintained about 145 pounds and wore a size 6 or 8.

I even worked for Jenny Craig when I was in my 20's. During consultations, I would listen to these women in their 30's and 40's talking about how they just couldn't figure out how they had gained 50 pounds and I would think to myself, "Didn't you realize when you had gained 10 pounds or 20. How did it get to 50?"

Then I hit 38 years old and it gradually started creeping up on me. The words of those Jenny Craig clients started to resonate in my head when I would go to put on my skinny jeans and be unable to get them past my knees.

Today I weigh 170 pounds and wear a size 10 or 12. Ouch. That's painful to see in writing. Now I'm getting the "you look great for your age" remarks. For my age? WTF. I want to look great. Period. I want construction workers to hoot and men in suits to make inappropriate comments. I want my mojo back. Do people still say mojo? God, I'm getting old.

My problem isn't really with food in general. I know that doesn't really make sense but I have a lot of food allergies and consequently a lot of restrictions to what I can eat. However, I have no allergy to candy, ice cream and other sinful goodies. I spent the the month of December eating like a teenager whose parents are out of town for the weekend. Okay, maybe it started in May but I became more public with it in December. You know, you jump on the "it's the holidays, everyone's doing it" bandwagon.

Oprah and I started our diets this week and so far so good. However, I'm feeling extra bloated and I couldn't really figure out why. Then I remembered that I had eaten a half gallon of ice cream. And a can of Reddi Whip. And a pound of M & M's. And a pizza. And a box of those Little Debbie Christmas tree brownies. And that was just Wednesday. So, you can see, I have a little problem with moderation. Eating to fill a void? Yup. I told you I have issues.

Why, no, I never have been married

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Let me give you a little insight into why I’m single. I just received a text message from a 41 year old guy that I met on a few months ago. I’ve been on and off for a few years now. Okay 7 years, but who’s counting? Well, one day I came across a banner ad touting this FREE dating site. And you know how much I like free…

I haven’t really dated much in a few years. My most recent relationships were with guys I met on line who were about 10 years older than me. The last serious one broke up with me in an email after 10 months. Yep. Email. Ten months. He was 45.

I became casually acquainted with this girl at work last year and through conversations, we realized we were both the same age. (I would guess I was younger, but I digress) I had single guy friends and she had single guy friends so we figured let’s throw everyone in a room and see if anything sticks, so to speak. We went out right before Valentine’s Day, sort of an anti-Valentine’s Day gathering. I wasn’t really interested in meeting anyone, I was more excited about seeing my friends.

Long story, short, I met this great guy and we went out for a few months. We really connected and I loved spending time with him. I’m past planning my wedding by the second date and I don’t go into things with unrealistic expectations. I knew he really wasn’t over his ex girlfriend but we were having fun so I wasn’t worried about how long it might last. We seemed to have found a great level of friendship and mutual respect. And he was hot.

Then he broke up with me in a email. An email. A 42 year old man broke up with me in an email. It was sort of convoluted in its message. "I want to take a little time for myself and see where I'm at.....I care about you and respect you".....I even sent it to my sister, Lisa, and said. “Did he just break up with me?’ ‘Um, yes. Yes, he did.” A few email exchanges later revealed that the real reason was that he wasn't over the last chick. Well, then just say that.

I thought men were evolving, getting more in touch with their feelings, being more communicative. Um, no. No, they’re not. And this information age just makes it easier for wimpy men to be wimpier.

Back to the text I got tonight. I met this manly man firefighter in September-ish and we went out a few times. I got the feeling that he wasn’t really into me and he proved it by disappearing for long stretches only to text me “What’s up?” a month later.

If you want to go out, say “Would you like to go out?” Don’t ask me all these questions around the question you want to ask.

Emails…text messages…I can’t take it anymore. Pick up the damn phone! You’re on the phone texting anyway. I blame the feminists for this. I’m as independent as they come, but c’mon, a little chivalry is nice and romance is very flattering. I’m afraid we’ve created men who are afraid we’ll say no and more afraid we’ll say yes. I half expect a guy to pull my hair in line at the grocery store if he’s interested.

This is why I spend so much time with my dog, Bernie. I can say "Bernie and I had a great weekend. Bernie and I went to the Hamptons" and no one is the wiser. Well, we haven't actually gone to the Hamptons , but it's our dream. You get my point.

I know you're dying to know how the McCafe coffee was. Drum roll, please.......

This time I went inside. I was prepared to sit in a booth, sipping my mocha cafe, enjoying the McArt work on the wall.. Guess what? They didn't have any coffee. None. I asked to see the manager. (but you saw that one coming..) This tiny little Asian man emerged from behind the fryer.

"No coffee yet."

"I see that", I responded, "but I'm confused since you've been advertising for about 6 weeks now and I just got this nifty coupon in the mail." I waved it for effect.

He stared at me blankly, "No coffee yet."

"Uh huh. You mentioned that. Any idea when you might have it in?"


"Do the other McDonald's have it?"

"I don't know"

I threw my flyer down on the counter but then I remembered there was also a coupon for BOGO on Big Macs so I snatched it back up. I stormed out, mutttering under my breath.

Maybe I should ask the manager to text me when it comes in.

I'm so weak

Monday, January 5, 2009

I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker. Tea is more my taste. But I was out Christmas shopping with my friend Debbie at the beginning of December and she insisted that we stop at Starbucks so she could get her daily Chai Tea.

I was feeling a little adventurous that day (which should give you a clue about me, since I actually think that drinking coffee is an adventurous endeavor) and I decided to try the Peppermint Mocha Twist. With whole milk, whipped cream and sprinkles, of course. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Maybe a little overly dramatic, but consider the source.

I’ve been indulging myself at least once or twice a week ever since to the tune of $4.25 a cup; an outrageous and disgusting expense but hey, I’m worth it. I figured no harm since a chocolate, minty intoxicant like this is surely a holiday drink and will only be available for a limited time.

Nope. Apparently you can get them all year long. As the coffee frau told me this, I was at once filled with exhilaration and shame. I loved our secret moments together but was I becoming one of those Starbucks addicts that I make fun of? And would I need to start carpooling to pay for my addiction?

I thought the perfect solution had come my way when I finally paid attention to the inundation of McDonald’s McCafe commercials that I had tried to drown out every hour on the hour. What’s this? McDonald’s introduced fancy coffee drinks that I wouldn’t have to pay and arm and a leg for? And I could actually walk into a meeting at work proudly holding my McDonald’s coffee cup and no one would know my dirty little secret? I bundled myself and Bernie up (my 7 year old Beagle) and drove to the nearest McDonald’s drive thru. The line was long but I saw the object of my affections staring back at me from a sign next to the counter inside so I knew it would be worth the wait.

It was finally our turn and I eagerly leaned my head out the window, “Mocha coffee, please”, my hot breath trailing my desires in the cold night air.

“We don’t got ‘em yet.”

I paused for a minute, sure that I had misunderstood.

“Mocha coffee”, I repeated.

“I said, we don’t got ‘em until January.”

I was speechless. I looked at Bernie. She looked at me. But what about the commercials and the promises they made to me? It was only December 20. How could this be?

I drove forward and away toward another McDonald’s. It must have been a mistake. Maybe an oversight on the part of the manager, ordering too little coffee to keep up with the demand.

“Mocha coffee, please.”

“We won’t have them until January.”

Speechless again, although glad to see this kid had better grammatical skills than the last, I sped toward home feeling defeated and betrayed. I logged onto the McDonald’s website and registered my complaint for the litany of false advertising I would have to endure for at least another 2 weeks. In the other room, I could hear the McDonald’s jingle resonate from the television and I was certain that one of the McCafe commercials had just run. Bastards.

I vowed then to never try a McCafe coffee if my life depended on it. “Bah da bah bah bah, I’m NOT loving it!”

Well, it’s January 5. And before I went to sleep last night, I thumbed through the coupon and magazine inserts from the Sunday paper and what did I see? A McCafe insert. HAH! Screw you and your false advertising McDonald’s! You lost a potential coffee customer in me, buddy.

What’s this? A coupon for a FREE small McCafe drink? So you just think you can just tease me for a month and now it's all okay because you're giving it to me for FREE??

I’m such a whore. I’ll let you know how it is.

Bye bye time off

Sunday, January 4, 2009

So tomorrow I head back to work after a glorious 4 days off in a row. I've never been the best at time management as evidenced by the list I made on Thursday of all the things I wanted to get done this weekend. (And yes, I made it Thursday night, New Year's Eve, before I fell asleep at 9) I did 2 of them. Today. In the last hour. Actually, one I'm still doing one. Laundry.

I work in healthcare but I won't really say anything else about that at the risk of being "Dooced". (being fired for blogging at work, thank you for the phrase, Heather Armstrong) My musings will mainly focus on my dysfunctional family and my fabulous support group of friends who keep me sane amidst their own madness. I have three that I met when I was very young (4, 5 and 6) and one who I'm sure I was separated from at birth. A testament to the strength of those first friendships as well as a window into my "trust issues."

Blogger Template created by Just Blog It