Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in review

Happy New Year. I am still sick but on the road to recovery, I believe. I no longer feel as though I swallowed glass. More like safety glass (And no, I've never swallowed either but I think safety glass has to be less prickly than actual glass). Plus the swelling in my glands has gone down. They are no longer freakishly swollen. Yay me!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Turned 40. Started falling apart (body, not mentally).

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make one. I am for 2008.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth or adopt?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Uncle Jerry. A friend of the family, Elaine.

5. What countries did you visit?
There’s this thing you need to have in order to travel. It’s called money. I stayed in Minnesota with the occasional detour to Wisconsin.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
I’m not sure. I really don’t think I was lacking anything. Except maybe passionate kisses.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Is it sad that I have to look through my blog to figure this out? I’ll get back to this question. Actually, I posted the year in review right below this.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting promoted.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Losing weight.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Hee. Let’s see. I am diabetic. I have a heel spur. Arthritis in my left knee. Too many literally crappy days to count. And, as I type this, the sore throat from Hell and a fevered brow.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Books. Books are our friends.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Why, Beth and Keem, of course. I adore them both.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
George “I am an idiot” W. Bush.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Probably books. And rent. My apartment is very pretty but expensive.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to the Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. And the House on the Rock in Spring Valley, Wisconsin. Taking a road trip to Wisconsin with Beth.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
I’m not sure why but “Oh, oh, oh, Staying Alive” just popped into my head. Could be my body’s way of saying “Cheer up, Dana. You’re not dead! Yet!”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Getting sick. I hate being sick. And yes, this is the same answer as last year.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Well, it's after Christmas. Mainly I spent Christmas Eve with Eric, Kari and Josh at Rob and Betty's. Christmas Day I spent at home.

This is the same answer as last year. The only difference is that this year Keem stayed home on Christmas Day as well. That was fun. And I cooked!

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Nope. I discovered that I’d be better off with an android. Less mess emotionally.

22. How many one-night stands?
Hee. Yeah, that would be zero. Sex is not my thing lately (actually, lately isn’t exactly the right word since sex hasn’t been my thing since the 1990’s). I haven’t met anyone I want to shave my legs for. Which is why the android would be a plus.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
HEROES! Lost, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.

I’m so sad. Last year The Class was on here and they cancelled it. Bastards. But The Big Bang Theory is hi-larious!

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don’t have the time to bother with hating anyone. That gives them too much importance. I’d rather just forget about them.

25. What was the best book you read?
I discovered Harlan Coben, he’s a fantastic author. I think my favorite by him was probably The Woods. I read so much that it is really hard to say any one book is the best. I tend to go by authors. So I’d say Harlan Coben and Nora Roberts.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Anna Nalick. Thanks for introducing her to me, Beth!

27. What did you want and get?
Books. I really, really like books.

28. What did you want and not get?
A million dollars.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went to see The Mikado with Beth, Keem and my Mom. Told my Mom I was 40 and could do what I want. Then I went to the world’s best steakhouse (Manny’s) and had steak. Liz and James met my Mom and my sister and I was told that I turned out pretty good, considering (they meant my mother, not Kari).

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Same as last year. My life is good. I like it. I’m happy. Not even being diabetic is all that annoying. I guess having a cat that actually liked to cuddle with me would be good.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
I continuously expect for Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear to jump out at me. I am not what you’d call fashionable.

33. What kept you sane?
Beth. Keem. Effexor and Seraquel
Same as last year. Adding blogging to this.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
How long to you have? There’s many men that I wouldn’t mind being fashioned into androids. I saw the Italian Job again last night and I’ve been drooling over the War DVD previews so I’m thinking I’ve got to say Jason Statham right now. Martial arts and English? Yummy. Sorry, Rowan Atkinson, you’ve been replaced.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I try to avoid politics. They depress me. But I’d have to say that I am against pretty much anything that George Bush says.

36. Who did you miss?
Thought of my grandmother a few times. She’s been gone for years but she was such a great woman.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Betsy. My totally kick-ass niece. I met her at karaoke a couple of weeks ago. I’ve met her before, at my Dad’s funeral and also at various Vittum family events throughout the years but she is 12 (13?) years younger than me so these times do not stick out.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Um, blog more? I seem to have written a lot less than normal.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“I was tired of January. I was tired of July.” KT Tunstall. I don’t know why. Maybe because these are my least two favorite months.

In January, 2007 I:

Decorated my desk with political paraphenalia (I am very, very liberal)
Tried to write a mystery where the murder weapon is sausage gravy
Wrote an essay about Scooby Doo
Gave into the chicken conspiracy and was photographed with a chicken on my head

In February, 2007 I:

Met the perfect guy - at least until he dissed Captain Kirk

In March, 2007 I:

Turned 40 and told my mom I could do what I want
Turned 40 and my body started falling apart
Cut my hair without benefit of a mirror - yes, I am a dork.

In April, 2007 I:

Sang "Passionate Chickens" at karaoke (a "fun with drunk people" post!)
Decided I was possibly adopted
Was attacked by an egg roll and feared for my life (because of the soy sauce loving bees)
Made love to a microphone (a "fun with drunk people" post!)
Said goodbye to a dear friend
Wrote a love note for James (not to him, for him. The to was Craig)

In May, 2007 I:

Discovered my cat is really, really spoiled
Went to the Mustard Museum! The Mustard Museum!!!

In June, 2007 I:

Had a discussion about Star Trek: TNG that was overheard and a co-worker thought I was possibly a serial killer
Was amused about random, random things
Went to the zoo and took pictures (including a cat that plays Trivial Pursuit)
Got really upset about road signs

In July, 2007 I:

Discovered it is possible to suffer from karaoke rage (a "fun with drunk people" post!)
Sang about Smushy Faced Kittiiiiiieeeeesss (a "fun with insane people (that would be me)" post!

In August, 2007 I:

Wanted to stab someone with a fork and "met" my future boyfriend, the Numa Numa guy
Got hit on!!!! I know! And he was cute!
Had my purse invaded by Apricot Syrup
Discovered yet another thing I'm allergic to

In September, 2007 I:

Posted about a great trip to Wisconsin with Beth
Discovered how very bad I am at Geography
Was hijacked by a crazy woman

In October, 2007 I:

Went to Octoberfest and bought a wife for my piggy bank Pig
Got promoted

In November, 2007 I:

In December, 2007 I:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Did I have a good Christmas? Yes.
Did I learn a valuable lesson? Yes.
Would that lesson be "Do not kiss your nephew multiple times when you know he's sick even though he is quite possibly the most adorable child in the Universe and has inherited your imagination?" Yes again.

I'm at work, with my fevered brow and throat that is apparently on fire. I want to crawl under my desk and sleep. Except I know perfectly well that if I manage to get onto the floor, I'm not ever getting up again.

Hope you all had a good Holiday. Much love. Do not kiss sick children! Do you know how ill I am? Mountain Dew doesn't taste like delicious ambrosia. It tastes yucky! This is obviously a sign of the apocoloypse.

Sigh. Only 6 hours to go before I can go home.

And it's snowing. Stupid winter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It made me laugh so I'm posting it

It's been busy at work this month. I have more calls to monitor than last month and I'm also responsible for helping with the updating of our internal web page resource so I'm torn. Monitor calls or update the resource where the reps are getting their information from. I'll learn how to juggle things soon, I hope.


I have a new Co-worker who sits by me. She's a very sweet girl and has been very nice to me (will massage my back when she can tell I'm extra stressed out, has bought me lunch a few times when I was between paychecks and she just happened to be headed over to Subway, has brought in a glazed donut that she picked out especially for me because she knows I love them (and then told me I couldn't have Mountain Dew because I had a donut and I can only have sugar in moderation)) and we're even joking that her unborn child will be Jamie and my grandchild (since I also have decided I want grandchildren without the trouble of having children) because she is young enough to be my daughter. I mentioned that she's very sweet, right? Really, really sweet.

She's driving me insane. She is, in a word, perky. Or peppy. Or, and this is my personal favorite, annoying as all fuck. Oh, wait, that's not one word? Too bad.

On Halloween she came over to my desk and expressed dismay that I had not dressed up.

I, being the cranky bitch that I am, responded with something along the lines that "I don't dress up."*

*When I told Beth, James and Liz this, they responded with a lot of "Hello, do you remember your Queen of the Universe costume?" and "What? You do!" until I had to say "I forgot, okay?" and then they responded with "Well, why didn't you just tell her that" and I finally said "Because I don't like her! She annoys me!"**

**It's not so much that she's annoying as that she is relentless in her cheeriness.

I like to delude myself that I am a upbeat person. I can be upbeat. I can be optimistic. Sometimes I even walk around and sing songs. They are usually random songs and may consist a lot of la's but still...they are songs.

Beth called me a cynic once & I was horribly insulted.

DM: I am not a cynic! I'm an optimist. I'm optimistic! I am!
Beth: Dana, your favorite website is

I like to maintain that this is not the point. How can you not like It's the best website ever! Some of my favorites - Motivation, Madness, Burnout, Bitterness, Pessimism, Power and Wishes. I own Motivation and Burnout in the attractive Desktopper. I also own the coffee mug that says "This glass is exactly half empty."

Hmm. Maybe I am a cynic.

Anyway, when I was promoted, part of the requirement was that I move to a new desk. This was exciting for me because, hello, new shiny desk! I like moving (I just hate the whole moving process). And, as much as I hate to admit it, moving is one of the things that will get me to clean (or throw a lot of crap into boxes at the last minute).

I found out where I was going to be sitting and liked the location. I'm close to Keem's new desk, right across the aisle from co-worker Jessica (she's the other QA person here) & close to a bunch of cool people.

Guess who is now sitting across the aisle from me on my left? Go ahead. Guess.

Why, yes, that is right. It's co-worker Viviacious (fake name but pretty close to her real name).

When she found out we were going to be row-mates, she was very excited.

V: Yay! And we can talk to each other and braid each other's hair and...
DM: I am going to kill you.

The next day, I was walking down the hall & she grabbed my arm and cuddled up against me.

V: Hi, neighbor! This is so exciting! We can have slumber parties and...
DM: Please stop touching me. I will have to kill you now.
V: Why?
DM: you're perky!

She finds this hilarious and starts saying things like this to drive me insane.

Our first day next to each other, she tells me about a dream she had.

V: So you, Alec Baldwin & I are running a race.
DM: I'm assuming I lost.
V: No, we both did. Surprisingly, Alec Baldwin is very fast.

I lost it. She was just so matter-of-fact about it.

Last month, I was complaining to Beth about this new seating arrangement and how she is driving me nuts (Vivacious, not Beth) and what am I going to do?

Beth: I hate to tell you this, Dana, but she sounds like a lot of fun.
DM: She is! But that's not the point!

Co-worker Eric is very amused by this. He wants emails about the struggles. He's expecting ones from her that are all "lalalalalala" and ones from me that are all "make her stop!!! Make her stop!!!"

It's been almost two months now. So far I've let her live. I even let her hug me.

Co-worker V: Lalalalala (I have no idea what she was saying, I was trying to ignore it).
DM: Do you ever shut up?
Keem: Dana! That's mean!
DM: What? I let her hug me. I get to be mean to her for the rest of the day. It's our rule.
Co-worker V: Yep.

You know what the worst part about this is? The fact that she reminds me of me and how I used to drive Former Boss Mike crazy with my random la's. I guess Karma really does get you in the end.


Co-worker Laurie sent this to me today, knowing I'd get a chuckle from it. And I did. So I'm posting it. Which is pretty much what my title says anyway but, hey, I am all about stating the obvious.

The pastor asked if any one in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers. A lady stood and walked to the podium. She said, 'I have a praise. Two months ago, my husband, Jim, had a terrible bicycle wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him.'

You could hear an audible gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagined the pain that poor Jim experienced. She continued, 'Jim was unable to hold me or the children and every move caused him terrible pain. We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation. They
were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Jim's scrotum and wrap wire around it to hold it in place.'

Again, the men in the congregation squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Jim.

She continued, 'Now, Jim is out of the hospital and the doctors say with time, his scrotum should recover completely.' All the men sighed with relief.

The pastor rose and tentatively asked if any one else had anything to say.

A man rose and walked to the podium. He said, 'I'm Jim and I want to tell my wife, ONCE AGAIN, the word is STERNUM.'


Monday, December 17, 2007

C is for Caroling

So many, many, many years ago, when I was quite young (probably around 13 or 14 because that's about the time I started remembering things about my childhood again (long story, might be handled under D is for Daddy Issues)), my sister and my next door neighbor friend Linda and I had gone to church (this was when I went to Saint Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi and it was the best church in the world and I miss it but it is in Mahtomedi and I don't live there anymore (They had bagpipes on Christmas! It was awesome!)) one Sunday and, you know, I think I'm going to start this over because I tend to run on just a bit. In case you didn't notice.

Okay. Kari, Linda and I are walking home from church one Sunday in December. For some reason, Kari and Linda are up ahead of me. Anyway, this orange tabby cat walked up and started purring at me. I am a sucker for a cat, especially a friendly cat, so of course I started petting him. He rubbed up against me and then trotted off, heading after Kari and Linda.

When I got home, a few minutes after Kari, she was telling Mom that he followed her home. Could she keep him? He was the best cat ever and look how cuddly he was and he would be a great companion for Kitty (Real name Buttons. We did not name her. She was given to us by our half sister years before. And she was the best cat ever and I still miss her because she would let me cry into her fur while I was being an angsty teenager and purr at me. But this cat was a pretty close second).

Mom, being a mother, did her job properly and said that we needed to find out if he had a family. So the plan was put in place for Operation Pretend We Are Following Instructions. We decided that we would go caroling and we would take the cat with us but we would disguise him so no one would recognize him. For some reason, we decided the disguise should be a clown costume. Apparently my terror regarding clowns would not begin until years later, probably when I read It for the first time. I blame Stephen King for a lot of my fears. Clowns, the common cold, foggy days. Vampires in the freezer (although I'm not sure he has anything to do with that one).

Anyway, cat was dressed up. We needed a name. A good cat name. What should we name this cat that we weren't supposed to have? Hmm. I remembered reading my Bread for Children* magazine that day. The editor had written about how her husband had died. In honor of him, I decided to name the cat Clyde. It stuck.

*Religious magazine my mother decided I needed to read. It wasn't overly annoying and sometimes could be quite fun. Plus, I have rarely ever turned down reading material. Good messages for the most part. Although they thought ET was an evil movie. That's about the time I decided to quit reading them because I distinctly remember rolling my eyes over this.

We wandered around the neighborhood, finding that caroling was a great way to get treats (do I miss the mentality that it was okay for four young girls (our friend Molly came along) to wander the streets after dark and go up to houses of people they don't know? Yes, I do) and meet people. It was fun and oddly enough, I barely noticed the cold. Until my nose froze off.

It was at one house that Clyde decided to get into the act. We were singing Silent Night.

Girls: Round yon virgin, mother and chiiiillld.

Clyde sticks his head out of the blanket he is covered in (because, hey, can't find his home if no one can see him, right?)

Clyde: Mrrrrroooow.

No one ever claimed Clyde, we ended up keeping him. Mom was less than thrilled with this, since she is not a cat person (and wonders how she, a dog person, ended up raising two cat people). She was also less thrilled the following morning when Clyde, in a "Hey, welcome me to the family!" gesture decided to sleep on her pillow. This wouldn't probably be so bad except that Clyde had obviously been a fighter and part of his ear had been ripped. It looked as though it was starting to heel but the coldness of Minnesota in winter had ended up with the tip of his ear freezing. And falling off on Mom's pillow.

Clyde was an outdoor cat. I will never forget the time he decided that he had to feed us, these poor defenseless humans he protected, and came in one night clutching a mole in his mouth. Mom wasn't home and Kari and I, to put it lightly, freaked the heck out. We ran from room to room, screaming, while Clyde trotted along, his kill proudly displayed. Finally Kari and I locked ourselves in her room.

The next morning we woke to Mom screeching at the top of her lungs, wondering where her babies were. I suppose if you came home and found a dead mole on your daughter's pillow, you'd be a little worried about the serial killers grabbing them as well.

He was constantly on the table when he didn't belong there, driving Mom crazy. He seemed to enjoy the thrill of the water bottle spraying him when he jumped up there.

He scared the heck out of me again one night when I saw him fishing something out of the buffet drawer. Turned out it was the hair Mom had collected from my first official haircut when I was 13 and she had saved in a plastic bag for years. She was less than thrilled with Clyde for messing up her memory (she cried as she collected the hair. It was something I never understood until I started scrapbooking).

One night I had made myself a sandwich and was watching TV. As was his wont, Clyde jumped up on the couch behind me. I thought nothing of it until this little paw reached out, dragged the sandwich to him and took a bite. Apparently he was also fond of summer sausage and mayo. He also expressed a desire for Mountain Dew and would drink out of my glass.

He was spoiled and rambuctious and a pain in the ass. But we loved him. Even Mom grew to tolerate him.

When Kari was in high school, Clyde was diagnosed with cancer. There's a picture in my head, a memory of a real picture that was taken right before Clyde went to the vet. Kari is clutching him while he sits on her books for school, her eyes filled with unshed tears. It's a picture I will never forget, one that makes me teary-eyed even now. Clyde was Kari's cat just as Kitty was mine. And she had no idea what was going to happen. The vet told Mom that he would open Clyde up and try to save him. Unfortunately the cancer had spread and Clyde was put to sleep. The vet did not charge us for this and also sent us a Christmas card that year, wishing us well with dealing with the loss of a beloved pet. I've always remembered that kindness.

I think of Clyde every year, every time I hear Silent Night. The first time I hear it each year, I always hear "Round yon virgin, Mother and Chiiiillld...Mrrrowww."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

You are cordially invited to the Vittum-Jones wedding

Carol Vittum proudly announces the wedding of her daughter, Dana Marie Vittum, to Jamie Something or Another Jones (because he's too afraid to have his real name on here, in case someone Googles him. Wimp).

The couple work together at NABABNA and decided to get married when Ms. Vittum proposed (and I quote) by saying "Jamie, I have decided we should get married. I want to get married before I die. You can still date."

The couple will continue to reside in their separate domiciles since Ms. Vittum wishes to "be married but not actually live with someone (except Keem (and Eddy))". They will be married by Bryan McDonald, atheist preacher and karaoke host. Big ticket items such as Plasma televisions and El Caminos are requested as wedding gifts.

The date is set for sometime in the future. Perhaps at Como Zoo, even though Mr. Jones seems to think that because he is a bigwig at the Minnesota Zoo, the wedding should take place there. Ms. Vittum scoffs at this.

Please join us in our celebration of a marriage of convenience.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What's going on - past and present

Hanging out with Beth a few weeks ago

When I was over at Beth's a few weeks ago, I had brought over the Photo Stack 2. Those of you who do not scrapbook may not be aware of the incredible offerings in the Paper Industry. There are scrapbook pages that are pictures of stuff. This is so cool. Except sometimes, well, they are a little weird, the pages.

Not that you're really going to see the weirdness when you look at this picture but trust me. It's there.

DM: Well, I know I don't need burlap for Evora.
B: No, but it'll really come in handy when you win that 3 legged race.

DM: This is pretty (it's a picture of a softly lit, glowing forest).
B: Yeah, if you ever actually run into leprecauns and fairies.

B: I watched The Graduate recently.
DM: I've never actually seen that. Norman Fell was in it.
B: Who's Norman Fell?
DM: Mr. Roper.
B: Blank stare.
DM: Three's Company.
B: Pick something from my generation. Oh, that was mean. But damn funny.

We decided to drink some Sparkling Juice Beth had purchased when we had made our excursion to Ikea. Beth has a lot of different glasses from a company called Princess House. For a woman who doesn't drink, she seems to have many glasses you would serve alcohol in. We decided to live it up and drink out of wine glasses. Later, we decided to try the brandy snifter.

DM: God, that's great fake brandy.

I found some quotes I had purchased awhile ago.

DM (sarcastically): Oh. This is sooo sweet. Brothers by birth, friends by choice.
B: Are you ever going to use that?
DM: No. Do you have a use for it.
B: Yes.

I hand it to her. She takes it and starts shredding it. She hands the pieces to me.

B: There. Now you have confetti.
DM (sarcastically again): Oh, look. I tripped over your love & fell. Who writes this crap?
B: I...and your purse is fucking huge anyway.

And that's all she said. Completely apropos of anything.

It makes sense now. She's actually making a planner for 2008 and was wondering if people could carry it in their purse.

A quick update to Cat Watch '07.

It's over. Sebastian has been returned to his family.

I called them yesterday at about 4 PM.

Eric (the brother in law): Hey, Dana. How are you?
DM: I'm good. Happy birthday.
Eric: Thanks.
DM: I'm sorry I missed it but you were gone (his birthday was on the 3rd).
Eric: That's okay.
DM: Did you have a good time on vacation?
Eric: Yes.
DM: Great. Now come get your Devil Cat.
Eric: What did he do now?

What did he do now? I'll tell you what he did. He has decided that Eddy is now his bitch. Apparently on Saturday night, while I was over at Beth's scrapbooking, Sebastian decided to start licking Eddy in a private area. And then, he climbed on top of Eddy, bit him on the back of the neck to hold him in place and started, well, the most tactful way to describe this would be "moving his groin in a thrusting manner."

This wouldn't be so bad if Eddy was enjoying Sebastian's attention but no. There was yowling and what Keem described as the look of "Help me! Please help me!" She had to pick Sebastian up and move him away. Multiple times.

I got to witness this yesterday, a few minutes before I called Kari and Eric. Eddy was minding his own business, walking along, when Sebastian pounced. Eddy was not pleased. I managed to separate them and then had to chase Sebastian off to the other room while we petted Eddy in a soothing manner.

Eric found this amusing and called for Kari.

Eric: Sebastian thinks Eddy's a girl.
Kari: What?
DM: Come get your Devil Cat.
Kari: What is he doing?
DM: He has violated my baby.
Kari: He did not.
DM: Yes. Yes, he did. I saw him.
Kari: But he's neutered.
DM: So? I've seen this before.

I tell her about the cocker spaniel I once owned, Gabralynn (my friend's daughter couldn't pronounce Gabriel and the name stuck), and my cat Thomas. Apparently Gabers decided that Thomas was a small female dog. Thomas, on the other hand, decided Gabers was a large female cat. They would chase each other throughout the trailer, mounting each other whenever the urge struck them, usually in front of company. Both were neutered. And, since neither of them complained, we were fine with them expressing their love for each other. We would have been a lot more fine if they wouldn't do this when my friend's elderly and highly religious mother was over.

Elderly and Highly Religious Mother (EHRM): What are they doing?
Former friend (FF): They're playing, mother. They're just playing.
EHRM: I thought cats and dogs didn't like each other.
FF: Well, these two are, um, yeah, Dana, would you put the dog outside, please?

Just call me Captain Obvious

Keem and I met up with Co-worker Elaine this morning. She told Keem an item we had ordered from her was available (I am a sap for supporting co-workers. I've bought Pampered Chef, PartyLite candles and now Close to Home) and she was also carrying a bag of calendars (her daughter works for a company that makes them so they always have lots of samples). Keem and I followed Co-worker Elaine to her desk.

Co-worker Holly observed this.

Co-worker Holly: Are you moving to our row now?
Co-worker Lisa: Cute haircut!*

*I have received many compliments about my haircut. Apparently chopping my own hair off works for me.

DM: Thanks (to Lisa). She has calendars (to Holly).
Co-worker Elaine: I'll put these out later.

She sees me hovering.

Co-worker Elaine: Or I could put them out now.
DM: That would be good.
Keem: She can wait.
Co-worker Elaine: I'll do it now.
Keem: Dana!
DM: What? I like calendars. They are pretty and tell me what date it is.

Apparently my co-workers found that amusing. But I say that I speak the truth.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

B is for Broken

First - quick update on Cat Watch '07. Eddy and Sebastian are getting along now. There is carousing and frolicking throughout the apartment. Sebastian has toned down the yowling late at night and I am actually getting approximately 6 hours of sleep. Sebastian is a sweet and lovely cat (when he's not expressing everything at the top of his lungs) and quite cuddly. However, he does have a habit I'd like to break him of - that of the love bites. Picture it, if you will, our heroine picking up the grey cat and petting him. He starts purring, throws in a few head butts and then stops to look deeply into her eyes. Everything about him says "I adore you." And then he leans forward and bites the end of her nose.

May I just say ouch? Because seriously, that hurt. It was amusing, I'll give you that, but somewhat painful.

Anyway, on to our feature presentation:

B is for Broken

When I was 13, my parents got divorced (and, before you think, oh poor Dana, she came from a broken home, believe me, this was a good thing. My Dad, although I love him, was not a good husband or father when he was drinking (which was quite often)). When I was 14, Kari, my adorable but bratty little sister broke her foot.

Here's what happened. Dad has visitation and decides to take us camping. We go to William O'Brian State Park, a nice little campground we've been going to for years. It's between Stillwater and Taylor's Falls, right outside of Marine-on-Saint-Croix. Dad is dating a very nice woman at the time but I can't remember her name. She also has daughters (and why yes, I can't remember their names either. It was a long time ago, 27 years) who come along on the trip.

I had just learned how to ride a bike without training wheels either that summer or the summer before (or maybe the summer before the summer before) and so was very excited when Dad suggested we bring our bikes along. Kari and I, along with Other Daughters 1 & 2, start riding our bikes everywhere. William O'Brian is divided between the main campground (up the big hill) and the not-main campground (down the big hill and then the really biiiiiiggggg hill, by the lake) and we spend hours on our bikes, riding up and down the trails, having a great time.

One of the things I loved the most about this weekend was taking the bike trail - it was nicely paved and there were cute little signs that said stop and yield. Like regular stop signs and yield signs but much smaller. They were baby signs. And yes, I am amused easily.

Anyway, we told my dad and Dad's Girlfriend that we were going to go down to the beach. Kari, OD 1&2 and I took off, planning on traversing the biiiiigggg hill on bikes for the first time. This is a scary, scary hill. My mom always hated driving it because it seems like the road just drops away.

This was the summer of 1981 and it was normal to let your kids disappear for hours when camping. There was no fear of kidnappers or child molesters, people routinely left their doors unlocked. It was a simpler time and honestly, I really miss it. But the world has changed. And maybe, considering what ended up happening to Kari, we shouldn't have been off on our own.

If I remember correctly, I think OD#1 and I were closer in age and so we had left our annoying little sisters behind us. We weren't too far ahead of them but I couldn't see her. Kari and I did not get along when we were younger and I wanted to be the cool older sister. I remember OD#1 and I ran into these cute boys that were also at the campground. I'm not sure what happened but somehow we had alienated them or they had alienated us and I remember them biking past and making remarks about my weight.

OD#1 and I stopped by the non-swimming part of the lake and were admiring the scenery when OD#2 came screeching up to us.

OD#2: It's Kari! She's hurt!

The three of us rushed back up the road to Kari. She was not where OD#2 had left her. May I just state that I panicked? My little sister was missing. Somehow I did not think that my mother was going to accept the fact that Kari was a total brat as a good enough excuse.

We made it back to the campsite as I pondered the best way to tell my Dad that his baby girl had vanished. We got back and there, thank the Good Lord for all his mercy, was my sister. With a broken foot. Apparently a nurse just happened to be driving along, saw her and brought her back to the campsite.

We went to the Emergency Room and I remember asking OD#2 what had happened. She told us that the pack of boys had ridden by them, shouted some insults and then Kari had catapulted off of her bike onto the side of the road. Apparently one of the boys had used the "F" word.

DM: Oh no. Kari's never heard that word before. Maybe she was shocked and that's why she fell off her bike.
OD#2: Uh, no, she hit a rock.

Yes, I was concerned that my impressionable little sister had heard a bad word and got hurt because of it. Yes, I am aware that I was incredibly naive.

Kari's foot had been caught in the bike chain. She spent the rest of the summer in a cast and I spent the rest of the summer waiting on her hand and foot out of guilt. I'd like to say that this was when we became close and how she became one of my favorite people. I'd like to say that but I can't. She became even more of a pain in my ass than before. Not surprising, considering that we referred to her as Brat and she would respond to it.

The cast finally came off, Kari healed well and school started in September. I hated school. I was not a popular person, I was laughed at constantly and I just plain hated it. I didn't like any of my classes (not even English, which is surprising because I have had a love affair with books my entire life but not surprising because I had the worst teacher for 6th and 7th grade who made my life a living hell). But this was to change.

My English teacher was Mr. Wharton. He decided to have us write an essay on how we spent our summer vacation. Cheesy, of course. I wrote about Kari's accident but started out "In the Drama world, the term 'Break a leg' is used to wish actors good luck. Actually saying 'good luck' to someone is thought to bring bad luck. Unfortunately, for my sister, the term 'break a foot' was not good luck for her."

Mr. Wharton had handed back every one's papers except for mine. I was freaking out, wondering where my paper was. Did he hate it? Was he going to humiliate me in front of the entire class like evil teacher had? And then Mr. Wharton said "I'm going to read you an essay that I thought was the best out of this entire class."

And he started reading mine out loud.

And even better, someone laughed. And then someone else did. And then the entire class was roaring with laughter. And it was the most amazing experience of my life. I had made people laugh. Not at me. But because of something I had written. I was funny. And my teacher was telling everyone in the class.

And that, my dear friends, is why I blog. It all stems back to that class, to that realization that I had someone who believed in me. And it helped me begin to believe in myself. I write to make people laugh. That's my job. That's my purpose. That's my true love.

Thank you, Mr. Wharton. I have been truly lucky to have 4 great teachers I will never forget. You, Mr. O'Dean, Mrs. Roberts and Ms. Lambert.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A is for Adventure

So one of the great things about NaBloWhateverTheHellIt'sCalled was that I found a few new blogs to read. One of them is Sass Attack. Her name is Laurel and she's from Minnesota originally but now lives in New York. And she is funny and sweet and smart (but what do you expect from a Minnesotan? I mean, really, isn't it obvious?) so I've been enjoying this. Anyway, for NaBloThingNoOneCanPronounce, she came up with the Encyclopedia of Sass and I've enjoyed reading it. I especially loved her latest post - Y is for Young Love (although I almost typed Lounge. Not sure why).

And as we all know, if I enjoy something, I will gleefully steal the idea (but hey, not plagiarism if you credit your sources!) and post it myself. Since I'd like to write more, this is the perfect thing for me to work on doing just that.

Anyway, for our first entry in the Encyclopedia of Dana Marie, I bring you

A is for Adventure

I was talking to Beth last weekend about a song that we're both not very fond of. And, oddly enough, I can't remember what the song is. As we all know, Beth will comment sometime in the future and tell me what the song is. But for now, all you need to know is that it is kind of a remake of another song and it's about some guy who got killed, quite possibly because he was an idiot. And it may or may not have had something to do with drugs or gang warfare.

B: I hate this song.
DM: So do I. I think I first heard this song when I went to prison.
B: ... What?
DM: Didn't I ever tell you about that?
B: Uh, no. I think I would remember this.

So anyway, back, a really, really, really long time ago, I worked at a different bank, the bank I refer to as the Dark Side Bank. I worked with bonds (as opposed to stock now - funny how I ended up in the same industry, just on the different side). There was this woman that I worked with and we became friends.

As a friend, I was open for doing lots of fun stuff, including but not limited to, going to meet her father, step-mother and her half sisters, watching her daughter while she got a hair cut (this didn't work out well since the child decided to stick Tacy's (fake name) keys into an outlet when I glanced away for a moment (okay, yes, I was trying to read. Toddlers don't appreciate this!)) and last but not least, going to prison with her.

And no, I do not have a secret life of crime.

Tacy knew this guy that was in prison. I don't remember why. He did something stupid, which is, let's face it, what most people end up in prison for. Because breaking the law is wrong! Anyway, they had been communicating with each other and he wanted her to come visit him. Since this was a pretty long drive (about an hour and a half to two hours, it was near Hinckley (which is on the way to Duluth and no, I don't know how many miles that is)), Tacy asked if I would like to go with her. I am always in the mood for a road trip so sure.

We drove up there, laughing and singing along with the radio, talking, etc. It was a lot of fun. She would go inside for visiting hours and I would wait in the car, listening to the radio and reading. This may not sound like a lot of fun to you but I enjoyed it. My rule of thumb ever since I was very young was "Always have a book. If you have a book, you will never be bored." I can wait for hours for people if I am reading.

This came in handy one day when there was a lockdown at the prison. Apparently lockdowns were never scheduled and could take place at any time. I think this was a drill or something, not because someone had escaped. Everyone had to stay where they were so Tacy's hour of visiting turned into three hours. This wasn't exactly a problem except for the fact that I was wearing a sleeveless shirt, the window was down and my right arm became very, very burnt. I don't tan unless I burn and I had the weirdest farmer's tan for the entire summer. Plus it was incredibly gross with the peeling and all.

I eventually started overheating and wandered into the lobby where I struck up a conversation with the hottest prison guard ever (think Ving Rhames, big, black, bald and beautiful. Yummy) and he told me I could certainly wait in the lobby in the future. Which, hello, unlimited reading and air conditioning? I am all over that. Plus, he was a huge flirt so it was fun.

Then Tacy told Prison Boy about what had happened and he suggested that I start visiting with his friend or cell mate or random guy that was lonely. No biggie. I've corresponded with men in prison before. I thought of them as pen pals. They, unfortunately, usually started telling me about how we were going to have a wonderful life together when they finally got out of prison. Um, no. First of all, I am okay with the fact that people make mistakes and they pay the consequences for the mistakes but no, I am not going to date you. I do not know you. You are in prison. The only thing I know about you is what you have told me about yourself. Something tells me that you might be inclined to lie. Second of all, I don't date men who refer to me as woman and start telling me what to do.

Anyway, it was decided that sure, I would visit Prison Boy's friend. I filled out the application and presented it to Hot Security Guard. He, in turn, let me watch the video that probably wasn't titled "Why you should not be really, really, really stupid and smuggle drugs into a prison" but should have been. And this video was about (guess!) really, really, really stupid people who decided to smuggle drugs into prison. And it was divided up between the really, really stupid women and then the men who talked them into it.

One of the women put the drugs in her child's diaper. In the diaper! And then she was arrested in the prison and hey, surprise! She lost her kids! How did you think this would not happen?

Another woman talked about how the guy told her how much he loved her and how great this would be because he would get money and then they could be together, blah de blah blah. The very next scene is this guy who says "Yeah, I just tell them that I love them and they're stupid."
As I am watching this movie, I keep looking over at Hot Security Guard and saying "How? How can these people be so stupid? Don't they realize that this is against the law?" And he would laugh at me because, yes, I am somewhat naive and believe that people obey the law because it is a law and they should know better and what the hell were they thinking?*

*This, of course, was long after my rebellious, shop-lifting, drug using time. I have been bad.

Anyway, the time came when I had passed all the hoops with flying colors and was able to meet Prison Boy's Friend (or PBF, I guess we'll call him).

DM: Hi. I'm Dana.
PBF: I'm Prison Boy's Friend.

He smiles at me.

He is missing teeth. There is no chance of romance between us ever. He has a horrible gap/snaggly tooth and a mullet (while looks are not important to me, you should know that a mullet is not attractive. If you can't figure that out, well, dude, c'mon). Not gonna happen. Plus, he has terrible grammar and cannot spell. No sense of humor. Oh, and did I mention he was in prison? I may not have very high standards but I do have some.

Shortly after I met PBF, Prison Boy was released. He had told Tacy all the time she was coming up there how much he cared about her and loved her and wouldn't it be great when they were together? Oddly enough, he seemed to forget this when the time came for him to pay her back for some of the money she had lent to him. Or, you know, when he had the choice to sleep with another woman (or three).

I don't know what happened to PBF. I tried exchanging letters with him. I even gave him my phone call so he could call me on occasion. Then he started talking about our future relationship and how he would move in with me and life would be awesome. I stopped answering the phone and responding to his letters. I realize this was somewhat passive-aggressive but, hello, what part of "We will never be anything more than friends" did he not get?

Tacy and I drifted apart. I think some of it came from the fact that I just didn't get what she saw in Prison Boy or why she stuck by him for so long. Do I miss her? Not often. But when I think of her, I think of two women listening to the radio on a Spring day, singing at the top of their lungs, stopping at garage sales and craft shows and having a great time on an adventure. Not the most exciting adventure, perhaps, but how many times have you had the chance to go to prison?