Me and my stuff

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I keep stuff. Lots of stuff. Cards, ticket stubs, childhood toys. You name it, I've probably kept it. I've moved about 6 times in my life and each time I've tried to clean house before the move but things usually get thrown in boxes to sort through at "another time". I don't know why I keep it all.

My latest attempt at streamlining my life unveiled letters from 1978 that I received from my Pen Pals. There was an organization called the International Youth Service that matched up kids all over the world to encourage international relations. At the beginning of the year, we would get a form asking us if we wanted to participate and if we did, we chose the country our Pal would be in and whether they would be a boy or a girl. I always chose "girl" and United Kingdom.

I would eagerly await my assignment and couldn't wait to sit down and write my first letter. My initial pairing was with a girl named Catherine, who lived in Wales. She sent me a picture of her and her brother and we corresponded a few times but that was about it.

My second Pal was a fun girl named Allison, who lived in Harrogate England. Her letters were always multiple pages long and she had great stories to tell. She would send me pictures and clippings of things going on around town and I always looked forward to her letters. Through them, I escaped to another world.

Allison never sent me a picture of herself but I envisioned her as a 70's mod chick who strolled along Abbey Road and bumped into Paul McCartney on the street. Did I mention I was a huge Beatles fan and obsessed with everything England when I was younger?

I don't know if kids do this sort of thing anymore. You know, pen pals. I'm guessing that something as simple as letter writing is probably just an antiquated thing that your parents did a hundred years ago. And, of course, why wait weeks for a letter when you can turn on your computer and be connected instantly?

I'm glad I grew up when I did. When things were simple and getting a letter from across the pond was the highlight of my week. Those times really made me appreciate things and it's fun to go back and relive them once in a while.

I think I just figured out why I keep all my stuff.

My tweet about Twitter

Friday, February 27, 2009

*** CAUTION: Bold editorial commentary.

A while ago, I gave my review of the social networking site, Facebook, and I analyzed the typical user.

Today, I would like to post my review of Twitter:

What the F%#@?

Creative management

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And so the weekend is over and it's time for another busy week. I'm silently kicking and screaming but I know what I have to do because my parents instilled a strong work ethic into my sister and I. Well, my father did.

My mother would wait until my father left for work and then tell me to pretend I was sick so I could go shopping with her. She's really quite out of touch. She and my grandmother used to own a beauty shop (they weren't called hair salons back then) but she quit working shortly after she was married. She has no concept of bosses or timeclocks, office politics or deadlines. I guess I wish I had her world sometimes but I also think she has some regrets over chances never taken and opportunities never pursued. Even today, if I complain about an early morning meeting that I have the next day, her response is, "Then just don't go in. No one will mind. We can go shopping."

I came across this picture over the weekend of my kindergarten class. Even back then, I wasn't a morning person and was relegated to the PM session. I'm in the top row, second from the right, with my hair suggestively cascading over my non-existent bosom. That's right....a Lolita in training.

Since management is looking for creative ways of "thinking outside the box" to increase productivity while reducing expenses, this picture has inspired me to suggest splitting up staff into AM and PM roles. Each shift will start with the Pledge of Allegiance WITH "one nation under God" included.

Three hours into their shift,each person will partake in a 15 minute recess followed by a short nap. Upon awakening, they will be treated to a cup of Hi-C and some Nilla wafers to re-energize them for the rest of the day.

If anyone sasses me, they will have to sit in the corner after they write 100 times "I will not sass, Miss Starr" on the whiteboard. We don't have blackboards.

Everyone must adhere to the dress code, use proper grammar and always be on their best behavior. No one is to leave until the final bell rings.

I wonder if it's too late to become a teacher??

If I tell you I love you, will you hold it against me?

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're finally down to three lovely bachelorettes on this season of The Bachelor and we're quickly coming to the finale. Last week's episode featured Jason going home with four of the girls to meet their families.

FINALLY, after all the years that this show has been on, the parents of one of the girls said, "You know what, this is way too freaky and we aren't going on TV". Please, please don't hold this against her, Jason. If anything, you should be applauding the sanity of these people who refuse to be subjected to the three ring circus of fake love. Which, as you know, I can't get enough of.

Besides, you shouldn't judge people by their families. Please..?

In tonight's episode, they all flew to New Zealand and each had a private date with Jason where they professed their undying love for him before he boinked them. And he boinked them all. I know! All three. No more kicking the tires, he took each one for a test drive.

Looking back on my dating history, sneers through a neighbor's window the morning after while I did the walk of shame in last night's clothes are nothing compared to the humiliation of being dumped in front of millions of people after you show someone your hoo-ha.

I'm so glad he sent Canadian Jillian packing because if I had to hear her talk anymore abooot how strong she has to be and how she's afraid abooot putting herself out there and getting hurt and abooot this and abooot that, I was gonna snap.

My dog was sleeping on the opposite end of the couch and I literally slammed my hand down and yelled, Oh no he di-int! This caused my dog to jump off the couch and start barking because she thought she was getting a cookie. And heck, she did, because we had something to celebrate.

Good times...

Sorry, I have to get on my soap box

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm not a big social statement gal. I don't attend rallies to protest injustices against chickens or man hotlines to save the rainforest. I'm pretty sure I've never hugged a tree except for that one night in college when it kept my drunken ass from falling down.

If I feel moved by a cause, I'll throw a check at it and let people who are passionate and educated about it find the best way to spend my money. I think a lot of the "protests" today are created by opportunists looking to make a buck by pointing their finger at everyone else instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. Let me give you an example.

My morning routine includes watching Good Morning America, where I can get my local weather forecast for the day, find out the progress of the latest bailout and see if Angelina Jolie has adopted any more children. Thrown in the mix are human interest stories and at least one or two reports of how greedy corporate America has ruined some poor sap's life.

The latest report showed a dentist in Kentucky who invested over $100,000 of his own money to fight "Mountain Dew" mouth, pervasive tooth decay in children caused by overconsumption of Mountain Dew. I guess it's not enough to tell these kids and their parents to put the bottle down. He wants the people at Pepsi to fess up to their actions and what? Stop making Mountain Dew? Damn you, Pepsi, for making a product people love. Damn you! Damn you!

C'mon, really?

If I drink too much pop and the sugar and acid rot my teeth, should THEY be responsible for my dental bills?

And when I eat only McDonald's for a month, gain 40 pounds and raise my cholesterol to alarming heights, should THEY pay for my medical bills, pain and suffering?

What about cigarettes? Don't forget cigarettes. I want to be able to smoke 2 packs a day for 20 years so that I can develop lung cancer. Then I want to ensure the future of my grandchildren by settling a huge lawsuit proving that THEY made me do it.


When will people start owning up to their actions? What has happened to our society? What about our core value of working hard and earning what we deserve instead of sticking our hands out, looking for a piece of the proverbial pie?

Maybe this should be titled, Stupid people suck, Part 2.

Stupid people suck

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I certainly don't profess to be the brightest bulb in the bunch but I really have no patience for outright stupidity. They say ignorance is bliss but it's only bliss for the ignoramus, not for those of us around them who have to witness it. And I'm not talking about the Darwin Awards, presented to the Grand Poobas of Idiocy. I'm talking about everyday dumb.

I work for an institution that employs over 20,000 people. A large number of the employees have multiple advanced degrees from the most esteemed universities across the globe. We're a teaching facility and we employ the best and the brightest. Or so we thought.

We utilize the same phone system that can be seen on the television show, The Office, which is your first clue. It has lots of bells and whistles and one of the advanced features of this system is that you can listen to a phone mail message directly on your computer through your email. It's very convenient when you're checking your messages remotely and don't have access to a phone. The phone system isn't without some glitches and hiccups but you learn to roll with the punches and move forward in a logical manner when something goes wrong.

At approximately 4:29PM, I received an email regarding a "message from an unidentified caller (555-555-5555), with the text "TESTING". It seemed rather self-explanatory to me, a test by our IT department. I deleted the message, minimized my email and continued working on my spreadsheet.

Just about every minute, that small window would pop up in the lower right hand corner of my screen, "You have mail."

I finally decided to check my email again and found no less than 20 emails, all referencing the first email. I looked at the recipient line and noticed that someone had inadvertently sent it to ALL USERS. Woops. Well, shit happens. I felt bad for the person who accidentally hit ALL but not as bad as I did for the person whose phone number was referenced in the email.

I proceeded to scroll through a plethora of emails as more and more entered my inbox. They were from people who had either called this person or just wanted to REPLY TO ALL that they had no idea what this email was about.

"Is someone handling this?", Director, Accounting Department

"???????", Manager, Credentialing

"I'm not sure what's going on", Senior VP

"Note to all-stop hitting reply to all", Staff Development Coordinator

"I got this, too", Manager, Graduate Medical Education, MBA

"Why am I getting this message?", Financial Assistance Liaison

"Please don't hit reply to all", Senior VP Finance and Operations, CPA, MBA

"STOP REPLYING ALL", Assistant to the Chairman

"Stop including me in your emails. I don't have time to delete this." Medical Assistant

And my favorite: "I think the phones are going crazy!", Psychiatry Department

Now, keep in mind that all of these responses were sent TO ALL. I guess they don't see the irony in that.

After about the one hundredth message, I wanted to reply TO ALL, "You're all a bunch of stupid idiots!!" but I thought that might be inappropriate and then I would just become one of them. Instead, I thought I would share this sentiment with you:

Stupid people suck

I'm not as innocent as I seem

Monday, February 9, 2009

I stopped at the drugstore on my way home from work tonight and I saw the strangest thing. A payphone. An actual, live payphone. I can't even remember the last time I saw one. I'm sure they exist in lots of places that I don't frequent but here was one outside of a drugstore. I was fascinated. I got out of the car and had to take a closer look to make sure it wasn't some installation of modern art or something.

And at that moment, I had a flashback to the year 1979. My friends and I were 13 years old and our Saturday ritual was hanging out at the local mall. Our parents would take turns dropping us off and then picking us up 5 hours later. We would leave the house fresh faced and innocent and turn into mall walking Lolitas after we rolled on our Kissing Slicks in the Sears bathroom.

First, we would head to Cunningham Drugstore where we would steal something we just didn't feel like paying for. Then we would go to Spencer's where we would immediately head to the back room and marvel at the fuzzy posters that glowed under blacklight. We would sneak our way over to the "18 and over" section and giggle and snort over booby mugs and penis pens until we got caught and were told to leave.

Our last and longest stop was the game room,the pinnacle of our Saturday mall experience. The game room was off in a hallway across from the movie theater and as you approached, you heard the DING, DING, DING of that silver ball being ricocheted around the machine. There were a few video games, PacMan and such, but the real cool guys were the ones who played pinball.

One in particular, shaggy haired Mike, was the Richmond Mall's resident pinball wizard. He wasn't blind like the pinball wizard in the Who song but I would have thought so. I spent hours dreamily watching the flippers dance under his touch but he never even knew I existed. Girls stood around staring at him and guys wanted to be him. He had it all.

Since I was invisible to him, I latched onto the next best thing to heal my wounded ego. A boy named John, who attended a school for "troubled teens" and had a chain attached to his wallet. Looking back, he reminded me of Willie Ames(Tommy Bradshaw from Eight is Enough) gone bad. I secretly hoped that Mike would see me with him, become jealous and profess his undying love for me.

At the end of the day, bad boy John walked me to the entrance so I could wait for my father to pick us up. My friend waited off to the side so that I could have some private time with my personal hooligan. We were leaning against the payphones and John was whispering some dirty things about my Love's Baby Soft perfume when I saw Mike coming toward us over John's shoulder. This was my chance. I grabbed John and kissed him and he fell against me and the phone booth.

To this day, it was THE most disgusting kiss of my life. He tasted like cigarettes and gum and I almost choked on his tongue when he thrust it halfway down my throat. When I came up for air, I saw that shaggy haired Mike was gone and I looked at John, who was wiping my Sinnamon Sin lipgloss from his mouth. What a waste.

And yes, all this because I saw a payphone today. God forbid, I see someone wearing a tube top.

This is a test, this is only a test

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I guess you could say that I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin, albeit a little narcissistic. I can't pass by a mirror without a quick hello and I love getting my picture taken. I feel like I've been genetically blessed with good skin that's virtually wrinkle free and my boobs aren't anywhere near my waist yet.

When I see people who are my age or younger, I can't help but compare myself to them and there are times when I think, "Wow, they look really old. It's a good thing I don't look like that." But then I have to wonder if they're saying the same thing about me.

Am I kidding myself? Maybe I don't really look as young as I think. I met a woman who was exactly my age and I remember thinking how incredibly old her eyes looked because they had so many lines around them. She proceeded to tell me how it runs in her family that the women have no wrinkles at all and I thought to myself, "Do you not see the lines around your eyes?" Maybe there was something I was missing, too.

I've had long hair for most of my life and I've always been afflicted with short hair envy. I would see the girls with shoulder length bobs and pixie cuts and dream of how my life might be different with short hair. I've cut it three times in my life. Twice when I suspected that the men I was with were cheating on me,"Whatever you do, Baby, don't ever cut your hair" and then once a few months ago.

It's no secret that men like long hair better than short. Ask 100 and 90 of them will say it's so. I've never seen a Playboy bunny with a bob or a porn star with a razor cut;the longer the locks, the better the fantasy.

When I first showed up at work with my hair 8 inches shorter, I was met with squeals of "Oh my gosh, I LOVE it!" from the women and "Oh, you cut your hair" from the men. Maybe the women really liked it or maybe they were just happy that the competition looked like a little boy now and would only be popular with pedophiles.

I needed some true objective feedback outside of my friends, "You're gorgeous!" So short of stopping men on the street, "Do you think I look pretty?", I decided to enlist the help of a dating website that has a feature called, 'Rate My Picture'.

After the first five minutes, I saw that someone had rated me a 10. Yay! I AM still hot. I DO look great for my age and my short hair is a hit!

Five minutes later, I saw that my "average" was now a 5.5, which meant that someone had rated me a 1. My self-esteem plummeted. I AM living with my head in the sand. I DO look like an old hag. I sat there obsessed with the results each time a new vote was tallied. I left my photo up through the weekend and these were my results:


Average (97 votes) 6.25

18-25 (18 votes) 5

26-32 (20 votes) 5.25

33-40 (20 votes) 6.85

41+ (39 votes) 7.03


Average (13 votes) 5.69

18-25 (2 votes) 3

26-32 (1 votes) 4

33-40 (4 votes) 5.5

41+ (6 votes) 7

As you can see, I've only done slightly better with the men age 41+ than I have with the women in the same age group. Good to know that my option for switching teams is available if I decide to go that route. Because of my poor rating in the 18-32 range, it appears that I'm not going to be included in anyone's cougar fantasies anytime soon.

Besides, it's only the opinion of 110 people. I wonder what 100 more would think??

10 more things you never wanted to know about me

Saturday, February 7, 2009

1. I'm annoyed when no one says "Bless you" when I sneeze
2. My feet are always cold
3. I can't do crossword puzzles
4. I have a scar above my lip (piggy back ride gone wrong when I was three years old)
5. I think air conditioning is the greatest invention ever
6. I would like to travel cross country in an RV
7. I curse like a sailor when I'm really angry
8. I can't do math in my head
9. Gerbera daisies are my favorite flower
10. I wear black every day

Don't forget to breathe!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So you know how Oprah and I started our diets a few weeks back, right? Well, I've actually been doing pretty well and I've even lost 2 whole pounds. Yippee! I've never been very good at dieting and exercising at the same time. If I'm doing one well, I'm not doing the other. My dream is to master both at once. Oh, and world peace.

A week ago, I started working out again. I'm doing an intense workout called P90X, also known as "We're an infomercial that seems to promise overnight results and since Chrissy's watching and we already have her credit card on file, pack it up and send it to her."

Here's the list of tapes (yes, this obsession started with VHS), DVD's and accompanying "tools" that are in my possession:

Legs, Buns, Abs, Arms and whatever else of Steel

Cathe Friedrich- the orginal Step girl who has now expanded to weight routines with kicky music

Winsor Pilates-Daisy Fuentes, if only I could look like you. Oh, I can?

Core Secrets-Brooke Burke was overweight once, too. Wow, it's like she knows me!

The Firm

The Step

The Firm Step Box

The balance ball

Free weights

Barbell set


Iron gym

Yoga mat

I've given away my Ab Roller, stationery bike, Total Gym and Thigh Master.

One would think that with this plethora of fitness tools that I would be in tip top shape right? Yeah, not so much. I go through spurts of working out regularly, eating right and slimming down. It seems like as soon as I'm fitting into my skinny jeans and people are starting to notice, that I go into self-sabotage mode. It's very insidious. I'll sleep in one day and not work out, grab a candy bar out of the vending machine the next day and reach for the regular mayo instead of the light.

And then the dam breaks and I'm sleeping in every day, eating a half gallon of ice cream at a sitting and slipping into my elastic pants again. Ahhhh..there's nothing like the taste of defeat.

They say it takes approximately 21 days for something to become a habit. It's only been a week but I'm happy to report that I'm already starting to feel the extra boost of energy. Unfortunately, I'm too sore to lift my arms over my head so I've been wearing my sports bra for 7 days straight.

Does my butt look big?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

That kooky God...he just keeps me smiling...

Did you hear that??

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm sitting here in front of my computer perusing some of my favorite blogs and I just heard what I would SWEAR was a sneeze. One of those hearty ones that starts at the soles of the feet and works its way up. It sounded exactly like my father's sneeze and I almost said, "Bless you." Until I realized my father ain't here.

I've lived alone the greater part of my adult years and I've never been particularly afraid of things that go bump in the night. I'm such a woman of the new millenium,

However, since I bought my house three years ago, I've become more conscious of noises. Before, a slam or a knock was most likely someone in a neighboring apartment and nothing to think twice about. Now if it seems like more than the house settling, I grab my investigatory tools and head off to find the culprit.

I live in a small three bedroom colonial with a detached garage. One bedroom is an office, one a master bedroom and one, I converted into a closet. My basement is unfinished and I can stand on the middle steps and see every corner. To reach the attic, you need to remove the shelf in the bedroom, climb a 6 foot ladder and dislocate your shoulder to climb up. Needless to say, I've never even laid eyes on the attic. The home inspector said, "Would you like to come up and take a look?" to which I responded, "As long as there's no one living up there, I'm good." As you can see, there aren't a whole lot of places to hide.

To do my detective work, I use three tools. A flashlight, a knife and a phone. The flashlight, of the penlight variety, is to startle said intruder by blinding him. Then, I can stick my serated Farberware knife into him to subdue him until I call the police on my phone. I also make sure to turn down the TV or radio so that he can hear me coming.

I'm glad to report that the coast was all clear tonight. Of course, instead of ever actually catching an intruder, the likely scenario would be that I would slip on my hardwood floors, hit myself in the head with the phone, poke my eye with the penlight and impale myself on the knife.

Such a woman of the new millenium..

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