Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Philadelphia Chickens

Last month, Kari and I were shopping when I saw a book set I absolutely had to give Josh for Christmas. I am a big Sandra Boynton fan and loved her work when she was just making greeting cards. Now that she's branched out into children's books, I feel that it is very important that Josh experience her work. We'll be moving on to Tomie DePaola when he's a little older.

Next to the book set was a book that I was seized by the urge to buy for Beth, forgetting in my insanity that she had put the kibosh on receiving penguins. The books is called "Your Personal Penguin" and there is a penguin and he is friends with a hippo and they travel AND you get a free audio download of Davy Jones (of the Monkees!) singing the song! Davy Jones! Of the Monkees! I love Davy Jones!

A few days later, not being one who can keep a secret well, I start telling Beth about this book. She looks at me. I recognize this look. This is the "Oh dear God, why? Why would you think I would like this?" look. I've received this look before, the most prominent time would be when I decided to buy her a monkey. Sitting in a chair. In my defense, it amused me. And I bought Keem a lion sitting in a chair. And I bought myself a frog. Who is (in case you're not sure where I'm headed with this) sitting in a chair. So of course I'd have to buy Beth the monkey. A picture of the monkey is here.

Beth: I saw that book at Target with Steve.
DM: So you see how cool it is?!
Beth (in her tactful, not trying to be mean voice): Dana, I mocked the book.
DM: But there's a penguin!
Beth: Remember I said I didn't need anymore penguins?
DM: But he's friends with a hippo. And you get the audio download of the song! Sung by Davy Jones!
Beth: So?
DM: Fine. I will keep it for myself and enjoy the song. So there.
Beth: Okay. You're really bad at this gift giving thing.

Sheesh. A monkey in a chair and a pop-up map and I'm bad at gift-giving.*

*Note: I am not upset about this at all. She wasn't being mean and I keep forgetting that we don't have the exact same taste about everything. For example, she likes to do math for fun. I should have bought her an algebra text book. Hmm...

Friday I called my sister to confirm that we were going to Ruby Tuesday's on Saturday.

Kari: Did you give Beth the pig?
DM: What? What pig? Why would I give Beth a pig?
Kari: You know, that book.
DM: You mean the penguin book?
Kari: It was a penguin? Dang it.
DM: Why?
Kari: I was at Kohl's and they have that charity that they sell things for five dollars and they had the Sandra Boynton stuffed pig and I bought it.
DM: I love that pig! I want it.
Kari: You can have it if you pay 5 bucks for it.
DM: Okay!

We meet her, Eric and Josh at Ruby Tuesday's and have a lovely meal, only made more spectacular by the presence of my beloved nephew's fascination with the salad bar. At one point, he gets off his chair and heads away from the table.

Kari: Where do you think you're going?
Josh: Garbanzo beans, Mommy!

Garbanzo beans are disgusting but the kid loves them, apparently. He even calls jelly beans garbanzo beans. I love just about every vegetable there is but I draw the line at the garbanzo beans.

Later Kari reaches into her bag and hands me the most perfect stuffed pig ever! I am quite excited by this and show said excitement by making the pig dance. And greet Keem with kisses. Which irritates her for some reason. Josh liked it.

On our way home, the pig firmly grasped in my arms, I continued to make the pig dance to songs on the radio.

Keem: Stop it!
DM: What?
Keem: Stop making the pig dance!
DM: Why?
Keem: Give me the pig. Give him to me!
DM: Are you going to hurt him?
Keem: Give!

The pig ends up in the back seat, out of my reach. Sigh.

The next day, Keem tries to talk me into going to Kohl's.

DM: Why?
Keem: I want that pig.
DM: But he annoyed you.
Keem: No, you annoyed me. The pig is cute.
DM: Oh. Okay.
Keem: I also want the chicken.
DM: There's a chicken?

Yes, there is a chicken. And he is adorable as well (there is also a rhino and a dog but, while they are cute, they are not as cute as the pig or the chicken).

Keem and I stopped at Kohl's on Monday. When we found the display, I was sent over to collect the pigs (decided I had to buy one for Co-worker Michelle because she likes pigs (and hey, good cause and everything)) and the chickens (I had to have a chicken as well).

DM: Keem! Keeeeeem!
Keem: Yes?
DM: We need to buy this book.

I hold up a book entitled "Philadelphia Chickens" by Sandra Boynton that also comes with a CD of 18 1/2 songs (one is even sung by Scott Bakula).

Keem: For Beth?
DM: No. Why would I buy this for Beth? It's for us.
Keem: Okay. I guess.

Later that night, I am sitting with my chicken, making him dance. Occasionally, he will start pecking at Keem.

Keem: Dana. Stop that.
DM: What?
Keem: I can see the chicken dancing out of the corner of my eye. Stop it!
DM: He is my chicken buddy and will watch TV with me.

The chicken sneaks up on Keem and pecks at her.

Keem: ARGH! Stop it!
DM: Hee hee hee.

The other night we were watching Heroes and a new character was revealed. He is played by the gorgeous guy who played Raymond Calitri in "Gone in 60 Seconds" and is the new Doctor on "Doctor Who."

Keem: Oh!
DM: I know. Mr. Calitri, you are so very pretty.


DM: I know what I am naming the chicken! His name is Mr. Calitri!
Keem: Okay. You're weird.

This was proven to her later when she glanced over.

Keem: What are you doing?
DM: Mr. Calitri is the perfect shape to sit on my head.
Keem: Freak.

She did take a picture of this and once she has figured out how to download it (I would show her but she refuses to admit I might know more about the internet than her), I will post the picture. She has also taken to hiding Mr. Calitri at night after I've gone to bed so I have to play Find the Chicken in the morning.

But the most annoying thing is this. She used to sneak up on me when I was playing on the computer and shout "Dana!" which freaks me out. Now she's replaced Dana with "Chicken!"

Keem: Chicken!
DM: Stop that!
Keem: No. It's fun to say. I can see why Beth likes doing it.

Oh, great. There's another convert to the Chicken Cult.

I have managed to get her back because, unfortunately, the title of the Boynton book has triggered the memory of a song. And I have begun singing the song in my head continuously, sometimes bursting into song in front of Keem. And she has not been pleased because it is close to sticking in her head. The song is "Philadelphia Freedom" but I have changed the name of it to "Philadelphia Chickens."

With apologies to Elton John, I bring you Philadelphia Chickens, sung to the tune of Philadelphia Freedom. I'll have to check to see if they have this at karaoke so I can sing this song the next time Beth answers my question "What should I sing?" with "CHICKEN!"

I used to be a rolling stone
You know if the cause was right
I'd leave to find the answer on the road
I used to be a heart beating for someone
But the times have changed
The less I say the more my work gets done

`Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia Chickens
From the day that I was born I've waved the flag
Philadelphia Chickens took me knee-high to a man
Yeah gave me peace of mind my daddy never had

Oh Philadelphia Chickens shine on me, I love you
Shine a light through the eyes of the ones left behind
Shine a light shine a light
Shine a light won't you shine a light
Philadelphia Chickens I love you, yes I do

If you choose to you can live your life alone
Some people choose the city
Some others choose the good old family home
I like living easy without family ties
Till the whippoorwill of Chickens zapped me*
Right between the eyes

*What? Even when it is Freedom, it's still weird.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pennies From Heaven

Several years ago (2002 to be exact) I had what I refer to as “The Cancer Scare – Act 1 and 2.” Act 1 occurred during a routine doctor’s appointment; Deb was performing a breast exam and said the words that can strike terror into the hearts of women everywhere. “I found a lump” is not something you ever want to hear, unless someone is talking about panning for gold. An appointment was made for a mammogram. Two days later, the results of my PAP smear came back – abnormal cells had been found that could be precancerous.

My mother had cancer of the uterus when she was pregnant with my sister. Shortly after Kari was born, Mom had a hysterectomy. When I was in high school, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a lumpectomy. So, as you can imagine, I was a little freaked out when I was faced with the possibility of Double Cancer (since Vegas, anytime I use the word Double I say it my head as Doo-blee. This will not make sense to you unless you are Beth. To the rest of you, I'll explain some other time). To add to the stress, I was also sent to the hospital to be diagnosed for some disease that causes your esophagus to stiffen and then you stop swallowing or breathing or something like that (I have a tendency to choke on my own saliva, let alone other food. Like the little broccoli things on heads of raw broccoli).

On the day of the mammogram and the test for the choking thing, I am sitting in the waiting room. Now, I have a tendency to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So, while I am waiting, my positive side is thinking "Yes, you could have cancer BUT they've made great progress and it is going to be okay" while my other half, the depressed side, is thinking "You're going to die. Oh MY God. This is horrible!" Needless to say, since I've been taking Effexor, my negative/depressed side usually keeps her mouth shut. Which is a good thing.

Anyway, to take my mind off of the waiting and the nerves and the nerve wracking waiting, I start paging through a magazine. It may have been a Reader's Digest but I'm not positive. Anyway, the article that caught my attention was about three women who lost their mother or father and had been having a hard time dealing with the loss. One of the women was listening to the radio one day and heard the song "Pennies From Heaven" and reminded the others how their parent had enjoyed that song. The next day, in different parking lots, all three of them looked down and found bright, shiny pennies lying on the ground. And every time one of them got depressed over missing their parent or was going through a rough time, they would find a penny.

When I read this, I thought "It sure would be nice if I could get a sign that things would be okay." My mind immediately flashed to my grandmother. When I was in a car accident about ten years ago and rushed to the hospital, I had been asked if there was a family member I wanted them to call. I said "Yes, my grandmother" and rattled off her phone number. The nurse headed towards the phone when I said "But she won't answer." Why not? "She's dead." That's when they decided I was probably in shock. It is my grandmother who I want when I am hurt or scared.

In the waiting room, I got this intense feeling that Grandma was there with me and I looked down. There was a penny on the floor in front of me. I told myself it was just a coincidence and then, two seconds later, a car commercial started playing on the television. The song playing in the background was "Pennies From Heaven." The commercial featured a car being driven through a rain storm, if you will, of pennies.

I felt so relieved and so loved at that moment that all that came after that (the indignity of swallowing chocolate flavored chalk and having to hold completely still while crammed into this small tube like thing AND the taking my breast and dragging it across the room only to try and flatten it completely) went by without anymore worry. I was going to be okay.

Thursday night, Beth and I were sitting in my parking ramp, talking about the night and we got on the subject of her grandfather and her mother. While we were talking about that, I flashed back to sitting in the waiting room and the commercial. After we said goodbye, I was headed inside and thought "I wish I knew that Laurie (Beth's mom) was going to be okay (I hope her grandfather will be okay as well, of course, but I think of Laurie as sort of a surrogate mother)." When I walked inside the building, the song play was "Pennies From Heaven." That feeling of love and relief washed over me again.

I miss my grandmother a lot but it is nice to know that she's there, watching over me and the people I care about.

Pennies From Heaven - Frank Sinatra

Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven
Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?
You'll find your fortune's fallin' all over the town
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down

Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love, you must have showers
So, when you hear it thunder, don't run under a tree
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me

Every time, every time it rains, it's gonna rain pennies from heaven
Don't you know every cloud contains lots of pennies from heaven
You'll find your fortune's fallin', baby, all over the town
Be sure, be sure that your umbrella is upside down

Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love, you've got to have showers
So, when you hear it thunder, don't run under a tree
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And so it begins

Sunday night, while sitting at the Chalet, I started thinking about today and the inevitable horror that awaited me at work. Today is January 22nd, the unofficial beginning of the one thing that strikes fear into my heart (well, if you don't count spiral staircases, elevators, heights and vampires). Yes. Today is the first day of Tax Season. While there is an end in sight, it isn't for months. Months of the same question over and over again.

What's my cost basis?
What's my cost basis?
What's my cost basis?

I don't give a really bad word that starts with F. Maybe that is cold. Maybe it is even a bit crude. But I really don't.

To keep my mind off of the Hell, I am choosing to think Happy Thoughts. As a form of distraction, I began to remember my weekend. Beth picked me up on Friday night and we headed over to her place for the pursuit of scrappiness (oh, like I could resist the pun), otherwise known as scrapbooking. While I worked on the Sheepsheadian Gift Exchange of 2004 (I'm just a tad behind) & Beth worked on Split Rock Lighthouse, we reminisced, watched some South Park episodes and a CSI: episode I had missed.

The plan was for us to exchange gifts with Sarah on Saturday, she has become an honorary member of the Sheepsheadians. I was excited about the gifts I had found Sarah and couldn't wait to show them to Beth (This was easy enough for me to do because I am gift wrapping challenged. The whole concept of gift wrap perplexes me and, while I enjoy unwrapping presents, I do not enjoy wrapping them). Imagine my irritation when I realized that the two really cool picture frames I found for her were cracked. There would be no time to return to Target so I decided I would show them to Sarah and then take them back to Target to exchange them. Grr. Fortunately I liked the frames so much that I bought them for myself so I'll just give Sarah the ones I kept for myself on Thursday.

Saturday, Beth went to work and my plan was to catch up on blog reading. This did not work well. I am not used to typing on a laptop and found my comments filled with errors, especially since the pages would keep scrolling on me. I decided to give up and play a game Beth had introduced me to called Oasis. It seemed like an innocent enough game until I realized it was almost five hours later and Beth would be back in 20 minutes.

Sarah came over about an hour later and we exchanged gifts. She gave me the cutest snow globe with an angel in it and some paper and stickers for scrapbooking. She was pleased with her frames and laughed at me when I took the wrapping paper she gave me and hastily hid her presents from view. Beth gave me two pictures that I have wanted for awhile. One is of a yellow lily from the Como Park Conservatory. The other is the Robert Street Bridge which is right outside of my apartment. Beth took the picture with a longer exposure and so the car lights are a red blur. They are fantastic pictures and she also had them framed for me so I can't wait to hang them.

After watching another South Park episode, this one about World of Warcraft, we decided to play a board game. Sarah was telling us about a friend of hers who had a recent visitor to her home. Apparently the guy was there for a Scrabble tournament and had a few complaints. Her table was the wrong size for Scrabble (??!!?), he didn't like the television show she watched, etc. My viewpoint of this was that he was lucky he wasn't staying with Beth - she'd make him play Monopoly on the floor (the card table was filled with scrapbooking stuff).

Before we started, Beth mentioned that Monopoly was her favorite game as a child. Since I knew that Beth wanted to be a banker when she grew up, I should have realized that this was not the best game to play with her. She kicked our asses. Plus, I'm way too old (or fat (or both)) to be sitting on the floor.

We had decided to watch some movies while playing the game. I had bought Beth Disney's Robin Hood, a movie she had requested (I also bought both her and Sarah some brightly patterned mechanical pencils and post it notes with an inspirational quote from Helen Keller (Horrible but funny comment from Beth "Once Helen Keller learned how to talk, she sure didn't shut up, did she?")). I was a little worried when I saw that Sarah had presented Beth with Disney's The Fox and the Hound.

I protested the watching of The Fox and the Hound because I get very upset when Copper tells Tod they'll always be friends. The last time I saw this movie was with Matt and we were both shouting "Liar!" at the TV. Apparently I had blocked out the traumatic beginning when the mother fox is carrying Tod in her mouth, trying to outrun the hunters. You see the owl watching her hide the baby fox and then she runs off screen and the next thing you hear is a gun shot.

It is here where I let out a wail somewhat like this "Owowwwooooo." Beth and Sarah look at each other and Beth quickly grabbed the remote. "Okay!" she said in that cheerful tone used to soothe insane people "Let's watch Hook instead!"

"Can I have some Kleenex?" I ask pathetically. "I bubbled." I am holding my hand over my nose like a child, tears rolling down my face. Surprisingly enough, they laughed at me. Hook was started and I was caught up in Peter Pan's fight against Captain Hook. I can see why this is one of Beth's favorite movies. I've seen it before but it was a long time ago so it was fun remembering scenes I'd always enjoyed. Dustin Hoffman is a fantastic actor.

Sunday Beth and I went to karaoke (shock!) and had a good time. Beth wrote a fun post about some of the people we saw. I definitely enjoyed seeing Anthony again. He is attractive and even eats popcorn in a sexy manner. Plus, it is nice to see young adults interact with each other in a nice, normal fashion that doesn't involve trying to suck each other's lips off (God, that statement made me feel old).

After karaoke, we sat around and discussed why Disney hates children (the majority of the movies have either one or both parents dead) and other topics. It was a great weekend and kept my mind off of Tax Season.

So far I have received a total of 8 calls regarding cost basis. Not bad. I am expecting the numbers to escalate. I am not sure why I felt the need to track this but hey, I already keep track of the wrong names people call me (strangest one to date is Kimstana), why not this as well?

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And the chicken conspiracy continues

As you may or may not know, Beth has a tendency to say "CHICKEN" to me at odd times. If I say "What should I sing?" I'll get "Chicken!" She will try to set up the random chicken sayings, when I least expect them, in an effort to drive me insane. As she has said, the best thing about the chicken is that it's such a common word and so it will get me when I least expect it.

Last night, while Keem and I were watching "Whose Line is it Anyway," the scene was a restaurant where the theme was horror movies. Colin Mochrie is playing a waiter and is asked for the specials. He lurches onto the stage, pretending to be Dracula. "Come to me, chickens of the night," he cries.

Yeah. I lost it.

Chickens. They're everywhere.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The further misadventures of Dana

I am a dork. You know it, I know it. It's time for the entire world to know it.

Here is what I've managed to do so far this week (thankfully, it is Thursday, the week is almost over):

Throw up in my mouth (and then have to swallow it because the only place else it could go would be on the food I was carrying. The words you're looking for here is "Ew, gross." Believe me, I know).
Throw up through my nose (the burning acid reflux way).
Start falling asleep on Beth on Sunday night on the way home from karaoke (I'm sorry again, Beth).
Get left behind (not in the scary religious way or in the nice way that Sheryl encountered but by Keem when I overslept on Monday. And it's not like she hasn't warned me a hundred times before).
Almost get left behind again yesterday.
Slam the car door shut on my leg.
Get trapped in the car door with the stringy things that hang from my coat. I hate the stringy things.

I am sure that there is other stuff but I seem to have forgotten them all. Maybe I fell and hit my head.

Oh, yeah. I remembered.

Put my shirt on backwards.
Spend five minutes trying to figure out why a shirt that fit loosely before is suddenly choking me before I realized I put my shirt on backwards.
Realize I walked around like this for a good hour before I figured it out.
Spend another five minutes trying to figure out what I did with my work badge. Dig through my purse. Dig through my desk. Say to myself "Well, I know I had it this morning. I opened the door."
Realize my badge is where I put it. On my shirt. I just can't see it because I attached it to what I thought was the front of the shirt that morning.

Also, I was working on this today. Since we already discussed Scooby Doo, let's move on to Star Trek. No, I don't watch a lot of TV.

An Essay on Loving an Android
(Not Recommended)

As you may or may not know, one of my hobbies, if you will, is to read transcripts of television shows I have enjoyed. I started this with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, moved on to Angel and found myself searching out transcripts for CSI:, Lost and others. Recently I have been working my way through Star Trek: The Next Generation (or Star Trek: TNG as I like to refer to it) scripts.

My favorite Next Gen character has always been Data. I am fond of Worf, had a minor crush on Wesley and Barclay always amused me. But there is just something about Data.

I have mentioned before that, in the Star Trek universe, the character that I have the most affinity with is Captain Kirk. I even did a test once to prove it. We are both open to adventure, likely to jump into a new situation whole-heartedly (even before making sure that that exciting new planet has oxygen). I have made it clear that Spock is my least favorite character. The man is too logical and harshes buzzes.

So what is it about Data? He’s logical, has no emotion, is constantly spouting off facts and figures about why you shouldn’t do something. Why do I like him so much? And the answer is simple. Data wants to be able to feel. He wants to have emotion. He tries.

Today I finished reading one of my favorite episodes – In Theory. It took place in the 4th Season. An ensign, Jenna, decides to make a pass at Data. They start a relationship. He modifies his programming to be able to maintain a romantic relationship.

But it is doomed, of course. He is incapable of feeling. So while he is able to go through the motions, he doesn’t understand the whole point behind it.

One of the most touching scenes in the episode is when Jenna realizes that this will never work out. She tells him that she has learned from this, she got out of one relationship with an unemotional man to fall for a man incapable of emotion. Data says to her, as she is leaving his quarters “Jenna. Are we no longer...a couple?”

When she replies in the affirmative, he says “Then I will delete the appropriate program.”

Reading the episode brought some truths close to home for me. Jenna is a little flighty, not exactly neat, artistic and a lot like me. Data is logical, smart and very much like James. I have gone and made the same mistake Jenna did. I fell in love with an android.

So what do I do? Do I continue to pine after him, hoping that the day will come when he will insert an emotion chip and realize that I’ve always been the perfect one for him? Or do I, like Jenna, come to my senses and realize it will never happen? That it is better to just enjoy his friendship and forget about anything romantic?

I’m leaning towards the latter. And I’ll probably be able to keep this opinion. At least until I see him tonight.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Scooby, Scooby Doo, where are you?

It is without fail that, if I hear the song, I will sing it.

Melissa responded to my desperate plea for a topic by asking her son, Evan, what I should write about. He asked what my feelings on the rain forest or Scooby Doo are.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve known about Scooby Doo. This makes sense when I read Wikipedia. The show was first broadcast in 1969. I was born in 1967 so the big dumb dog has been a part of my life for (sob) decades.

I think all girls do this at one point or another. When you watch a show, you think "Hmm, which of these men would I date?" Most girls would lean towards Freddy but you'd have a few that would think "No, I'm all about Shaggy, he's so laid back and groovy." I was not attracted (well, as much as you can be attracted to a cartoon (although don't get me started on Shipwreck from GI Joe. Mmm. Sailory goodness)) to either of them. And, no, Scooby wasn't the one for me. No, I wanted Jerry Reed. I have no idea why he appealed to me but he did. The episode he was in was on December 9, 1972. I would have been 5 so I'm pretty sure that I remember a repeat of the show, not the actual episode itself. I was precocious as a child but definitely not that much!

Oh my God. There's a Scooby Doo Ultimate Tracks album. I think I need to have this. Jerry Reed AND Davy Jones! Jinkies!

I really think that Scooby Doo is part of the reason why I like mysteries as much as I do. I always wanted to solve the mystery. Why was the ghost (or monster or what have you) doing? What was the secret? Which grumpy person was behind the whole thing? Who was going to say “And I would have done it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids?” this week? Thank you, Hanna Barbera for stimulating my love for Agatha Christie.

It’s easy for me to say who my favorite character was. Freddy annoyed me with his “Follow me, I’m a big blond boy and I know everything” attitude. Shaggy was well, Shaggy and while he provided much comic relief, was not exactly a role model. Daphne was sweet and pretty and adorable, all things that I was not as a teen. Scooby was a dog. I had enough problems with self-esteem as a teenager.

No, my favorite character was and always will be Velma. Stupid name, smart girl. I am not as obsessed about Velma as some other people, as this website will show you. I liked Velma because she was smart, because she wasn't dressed like the popular kids (although honestly, Velma, anyone with half a brain can tell you - don't wear turtlenecks when you've got a short or non-existant neck. It doesn't look right) and she wore a lot of orange. Her knowledge always came in handy when you least expected it (somewhat like mine, although I'm not sure knowing a whole lot about Greek myths is ever going to help me) and she usually solved the crime. However, Fred normally got credit. Stupid Fred.

I WAS not a fan of Scrappy Doo. Puppy Power? Please. Let's smash the little rodent.

Beth, you need to check this post out. Missy has just posted about chicken. Your influence is spreading.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Beth, I need a fork

Last night, Beth and I went to karaoke, as we normally do on Thursdays. We saw Craig (Hot Craig, not Craig of the beret and scary moustache) and, while we were getting a table, he asked us to join his group of friends. This may have been a mistake.

Oh, hell, I know it was a mistake. I knew it was a mistake from the moment I saw the group of friends several weeks ago. Let me describe the cast of characters for you.

First, we have Stubes. I've mentioned Stubes a few times, with his penchant for sucking the life out of every song he ever sings and too much cologne and no concept of personal space. To say I am not overly fond of Stubes is an understatement.

Then there is Yee. Yee is an attractive Asian man, high spirited and full of personality. I guess he's what you'd consider life of the party. Not my party, mind you, but I'm sure that he's very popular at parties filled with young, drunken people.

There is Amanda. Amanda is pretty, dresses to the height of fashion regardless of how stupid the fashion might be (I say this because I absolutely hate the style that calls for really short sweaters that come right underneath your breasts over long shirts or lingerie. I'm not sure if you know what style I mean but it is pointless and annoys me) and has a tendency to squeal. Loudly. She has also been known to do the dance of the Hoochie Mama, a dance that seems to have no point whatsoever but to inflame the loins of every man in the nearby vicinity and scream "Hello! I am drunk! I am also quite possibly a slut! You should buy me lots of drinks and then, if you're lucky, you can bag me! I might throw up on you but hey, I'm hot and that's the only way you'll get me into bed!" And don't get me started on the whole screaming orgasm thing (the drink. Where you perch the person on the bar, place the drink between their legs and have to drink it without using your hands. Whatever happened to less is more?).

There is Rachel. Rachel is also pretty, dresses in a more laid back, "I'm a rebel" style (when I say this, I mean that she actually is dressing in the style that the cool kids wear to indicate that they are rebels. I'm sure we all went through this phase - ironic or iconic t-shirts, lots of black (clothing, hair, eye liner) and seems to exist only to crawl all over her boyfriend, dance the Hoochie Mama dance and echo Amanda's squeals.

Then there is Shane. Shane is (well, I'm assuming since of the afforementioned crawling) Rachel's boyfriend. I have no idea what Shane is like because, shortly after sitting down at this table, I began to lose I.Q. points by the dozens.

What, you may ask, contributed to the loss of I.Q. points? That's a great question!

Squealing. Over every damn thing.

Stubes singing. He's not off key, he's not technically bad, it's just that he doesn't put any life into the song at all. Last week, when he was singing something that goes "Swing batter, batter, swing batter, batter" James leaned over and said "I'd like to take a bat to him." I believe my response was "I love you."

Craig in a cowboy hat (The guy is hot, okay? Really, really, really hot. And he smells good).

When Yee asked to wear the cowboy hat, Shane said "There aren't any Asian cowboys." To which Yee replied "What about Jackie Chan?" I had to echo that with a heartfelt "Yeah!" but, true to form, came up with a better comeback 8 hours after the fact when I thought "Obviously you've never heard of Kobe beef."

Rachel balancing a pen on her nose. I know. And everyone applauded her (well, at her table).

Shane. Something about him just irked me so much that I wanted to grab a fork and start jabbing away. It might have been the fact that he was loud. It could have been him referring to everyone as "Bitch!" But I'm pretty sure it was the "Rock On!" said in the most irritating, aggravating way ever that put me over the edge. At one point, I grabbed my notebook and wrote in small cramped letters "Must kill rock on guy. Must kill rock on guy. Must kill rock on guy."

Amanda saying that she was done drinking and being told by Shane that she wasn't. I believe his exact words were "Do you feel like mud wrestling? No? Then you're not done." Nice, dude. Especially since she looked about ready to pass out.

Amanda and Rachel singing. Together. The combined screeching of their voices is just hurtful. Bryan has actually turned off their microphones and still, it echoes throughout the entire bar and possibly the county. As Beth wrote, "It's very much similar to a buzz saw scraping against my spine."

Toward the end of the night, I looked at Beth and said "The next time Craig tells us we can pull up a table, let's not."

At one point, I asked Beth for a fork. She said no.

As usual, Bryan ended the evening with his trademark quip.

Bryan: If you're drinking, don't drive. But if you must drive, hit someone you hate.
Beth (B): It's a good thing you don't drive. I know who you would hit.
DM: Can I have your car keys?
B: No!
DM: I'm not going to drive the car. I'm just going to back up.
B: That counts as driving.

Later, Bryan walks over. We start talking about the night.

DM: I felt very old sitting at this table. We've decided if Craig ever asks us to sit here again, we'll have to say no.
B: Yes, we'll tell him it'll effect the feng shui of the room. The cash flow is much better if we're seated elsewhere.
Bryan (to me): Yeah, I felt okay saying that about hitting someone you hate because I know you don't drive. Otherwise I'd be worried.

It was a good night, full of bloggy goodness and spending time with Beth. I got called "Sexy" by Ki after singing "Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)", my groupie (okay, I can't really call him a groupie but its fun) asked me to sing "Change the World (Eric Clapton)" for him again and, after singing "Passionate Kisses (Mary Chapin Carpenter)", Bryan said "Let's give Dana a hand. And let's applaud me because I made it sound good." Which, if you don't know Bryan, sounds like an insult but is actually a compliment. Whenever someone sings really well, Bryan will usually say something like "Eh, that was all right, I guess" or something to that nature. That is the highlight of my week. It's like James telling me that I look good.

Which, speaking of looking good, I dyed my hair last week in preparation of adding pink (fuschia) highlights. I thought black would look the best and so I chose an Herbal Essences shade, not realizing it was non-permanent and would wash out in 28 shampoos. Which I am glad of because a) Keem was persuaded to add the highlights and they did not take at all (because apparently "color applied to dyed hair may not be as vibrant" actually means "you just wasted 8 bucks") and b) I now look like Goth Girl because the H.E. shade I picked is called Midnight and it is very, very dark. Kari is pleased, though. She was not for the fuschia.

Maybe I'll just get my nose pierced again.

And yes, I am sure this desire to change my appearance has something to do with my birthday fast approaching. Less than two months and I'll be 40. I think I'm going to go cry now.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I need a topic, people. Inspire me.

I got the coolest notebook from Bryan and Liz for Christmas. It is orange (p)leather and it fills me with the desire to write but I'm at a blank lately. I had such dreams of taking the world by storm with my words and am wondering where my words have gone. Are they sleeping? Hiding from me? I don't know. So help me out, guys. Is there anything you'd like me to write about (and you are NOT allowed to say chicken, Beth, not unless it is a request for a story about a chicken who takes over the world or something like that)? Any suggestions? Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at greenduckiesgirl AT comcast DOT net.

I came across this in my notebook recently. I never posted it because said notebook ended up sitting by the computer for the longest time (at least I don't think I posted it. Did I? Now I am confused). Anyway, this is what happens when you ask Bryan for a writing suggestion.

I’ve not had a lot to post about lately. Just the whole moving thing. Ooh! The excitement. Wow! Last night I made my bed (okay, this is exciting when you consider I’ve not changed the sheets on my bed in, well, months I think) and Eddy decided to frolic while I was doing so. And, no, I’m not all packed (but I am so much closer to being packed than I was when I moved into the place that I’m feeling pretty good about myself).

Murder Mystery ala Bryan

When searching for post ideas, I sometimes find it helpful to ask my friends. Usually a word or two might trigger an idea. Using this thought, I decided on Sunday to ask Bryan what he thought I should write about.

Bryan’s (ruggedly handsome (as he reminds us)) face wrinkles in thought. And then he says the following:

Bryan: How about a murder mystery where the only clue is sausage gravy?

There is a dramatic pause.

Bryan: Which is odd because the victim never enjoyed a biscuit in his life.

I’m not really sure how to respond to this. But I’m a trooper. The show (or blog in this case) must go on.

A few minutes later, Bryan returns.

Bryan: How’s it going?
DM: Yeah. This is about all I can come up with.

I hand him my notebook.

DM’s notebook:

“Fascinating, Captain. The victim was found face down in a plate of sausage gravy.”

“What’s so fascinating about that?”

“Oddly enough, he had an extreme aversion to biscuits.”

DM: I’m not really sure why the deputy sounds like Spock.
B (Beth): I was wondering about that.
Bryan: How about the vegetarian suspect says “Well, I would never make sausage gravy.”?

Dramatic pause.

Bryan: Or would he?

Later he comes back, a crazed look in his eyes.

Bryan: And there could be a long conversation about whether the (not sure if he meant victim or murderer here) guy was vegan or vegetarian and the detective could say “It doesn’t matter. It’s still meat.”

I love Bryan. I really do. But sometimes he scares me a little.

Another night (or possibly the same because you know I can't be bothered to actually date anything since that would be logical and I seem to run screaming away from anything logical (well, except for Beth and Keem)) I wrote this:

The downfall of society is not Bush as president. Oh no. According to Beth, it is lighting made from antlers. And I might have to agree with her (we were watching this hunting/fishing show and they were showing you this resort where they have a chandelier made from antlers. Why do people think this is a good home decorating idea? What's next? Flannel seat covers?) about this.

Watching the same show, we saw someone stepping on wild rice and then putting it into a basket and shaking it.

B: They're losing all of their rice.
DM: No, that's how you separate the rice from the chaff.


DM: Why do I know that? I can't figure out how to balance a checkbook but I know how to make wild rice. That's helpful.

Later. Beth starts singing a random song.

B: I just made up a song. Did you like it?
DM: Yes, I did.
B: It's called Da Doop Da Dee Bee Dee Be Doo. There's a profound meaning behind the lyrics. Have you heard the chorus yet?
DM: No.
B: Da Doop Da Dee Bee Do Bee Doop Da CHICKEN Dee Bee Dee Be Do!

I, of course, lose it. She created a complete nonsense song just so she could throw the word chicken in there.

We also watched a show about plastic surgery where they were showing before and after shots of women. One of us remarked that none of these women really looked any different from their before shots, except for the fact that they were a) smiling and b) had pulled the hair out of their eyes. We decided to make our own before and after pictures to prove our point.

B (trying to get me to look sad): Think of someone killing puppies in a Cambodian death mine.

This does not make me sad. This makes me laugh. Which is proof that I am an evil person.

In the before pictures we look pale and wan and horribly, horribly depressed. In the after pictures, smiling makes our faces light up which proves to us that a smile is much better than having someone jab poison into your face.

*Updated to add the following*

Freaking BLOGGER! Stop telling me I'm not authorized to view pages. Stop it! I want to comment on sites! And it's delurking week, not that I'm a lurker, mind you, but still! Why? Must? You? Frustrate? Me? So? And? Why? Am? I? Talking? Like? William? Shatner?

Friday, January 05, 2007

The injustice of our justice system and other vants*

*A vant, for those of you not in the know, is a word I coined once when I was extremely annoyed with an escalated call and said to Beth "I so need to vant right now" when I meant vent or rant. I decided that they worked well together.

Hello! I hope you're all well. Today it is time for another issue of why the world is out to get me, sweet, wondrous Queen of the Universe that I am. Or maybe this is our first issue. I don't know. The details escape me. All I know is that I am here to complain creatively.*

*That's what I call it. Keem disagrees. She refers to it as whining. But I could never ever whine. It is not in my nature. Really. Oh, shut up.

Yesterday, Keem checked the mail and I heard her actually squeal with delight over an envelope. Is this an envelope from a secret lover? No. A check for a million dollars? Not even close. No, this was an envelope from Ramsey County Court Systems. Keem has been called for jury duty. This is so unfair. What makes it even worse is this is her second time. I have never been called for jury duty.

As we were talking about this in the elevator, the guy next to us was looking at us in puzzlement.

Guy: Wait. You're upset because you haven't been called for jury duty.
DM: Yes! This is wrong! It is my dream to perform my civic duty.
Guy: Your dream.
DM: Yes.
Guy (turns to Keem): And you're happy because you've been called for jury duty.
Keem: Yes! I did it once before in La Crosse and it was fun but it was only for a half day. I can't wait!
Guy: You girls are weird.

He exited the elevator.

Keem: I got called for jury duty!
DM: Shut up! You're gloating.
Keem: I'm just excited to serve my country.
DM: Grr.

Last year Jeff got called. I am tempted to call my Congressman.

My other vant would be the fact that I ordered Chicken Chow Mein and I received a disaster instead. I love Chow Mein. I adore it. But why is it so hard to find a place that makes a decent Chow Mein? Why? Why are there mushrooms in my Chow Mein? There are no mushrooms! This is a travesty! And the chicken is limp and flavorless and there is some other weird vegetable floating around that I can't place but it is green and leafy. I am disturbed by this. The only official Chow Mein vegetable is celery. Not mushrooms. Not leafy things that could be spinach but I'm not positive.

And why is my Fried Rice yellow? Fried Rice should not be yellow. It should be brown from the ton of soy sauce that is supposed to be dumped into the dish to give it that lovely crisp, crunchy rice, not soft, boring rice. I guess I should be glad that there are no mushrooms in it.

I think that's pretty much it as far as vants go. Other than the fact that it is Tax Season and we all know how I feel about Tax Season.

I was telling Matt (my former boss) about playing "Ask the iPod" and got him to try it. One of his questions was "Will the calls calm down next week?" The answer? "Sit and Cry." iTunes doesn't lie, folks. And then he and the iPod got into this little argument where Matt said he was going to throw the iPod into the toilet and what did iPod think about that and the iPod said "Murder." It was pretty funny. You might have had to have been there.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2007, I hardly know ye and yet I want to bitch slap you

So. 2007. Starting with a kick to the head, I think.

New Year's Eve was awesome. Beth and I went to Perkins and took pictures and had a great time laughing and playing "Ask the iPod." Because iTunes does not lie. iPod seems to think I might be a lesbian which is certainly news to me but we've also discovered in past "Ask the iPod" games that Beth's iPod is not as fond of me as he is her (and yes, we've decided it's a he. He pretty much declared his love for Beth several times).

Yesterday I went to the doctor. Kari was going to drive me but it was too cold so she bribed Eric into taking me. I got poked (blood drawn), got prescriptions faxed (precious, precious Effexor, Seraquel and Albuterol), got advice (asked about the lap band, doesn't work as well as the gastric bypass surgery and we discussed my options) and got a referral (to a nutritionist to start the process of possibly getting the surgery).

Then I came home and cleaned (by the time my appointment and the waiting for Eric to remember to come back to the doctor's office was over, it was closer to 1:30 PM. No point in going in for 2 hours). I know. I was shocked as well. I didn't do anything major or accomplish a lot but it was something. I am in a much smaller room after the move and the clutter of the boxes is bad enough, I really don't need to be tripping over everything as well.

Today I came to work and watched the queue grow from 5 calls to 10 calls to 25 calls to 40 calls. 40 calls. On January 3rd. What the hell is that? Tax Season is going to kill me. And it's not as if they're even calling about cost basis or anything. No, it's all about "how do I sell my shares" and "you're really an evil person for not transferring my father's shares even though I didn't actually ask you to transfer the shares from this account, we asked about another account and I've never called before, really, I haven't, I don't care that you have a record of me calling and bitching at people for the last year" and also "I can't figure out how to sign up on, can you help me" and I said "Sure" and then, 25 minutes later, said "Thanks for calling." 25 minutes to sign up for online access is a bit excessive. Just in case you were wondering.

BUT! I also have been cleaning my desk. I know. I am also scared. And I have all of my fun but political post cards and buttons and bumper stickers hanging up and I am so going to get in trouble for them but I don't care. What do they say? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. I got them here (I love these people. Sometimes they get a little political even for me but still, love them), and I have the following:

3 buttons:
Gay Marriage doesn't scare me, hatred & inequality do!
God bless the whole world - no exceptions
Peace is patriotic!

2 bumper stickers:
Coexist (you have to see it, it is so cool)
Where are we going? And why am I in this handbasket (I love this one)

6 post cards:
Honor Similarities. Respect Differences. Celebrate Diversity.
Celebrate the whole boy (black and white, four boys gathered around another boy playing the violin, they're all in football uniforms)
Peace Prayer Wheel (scroll down here)
Monarch - May all beings be happy. May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be free (Did you know that genetically engineered vegetables kill Monarch butterflys? I didn't. Let's not eat it).
Paper Crane - Paper Crane, I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world (Sadako Sasaki got leukemia because of Hiroshima and decided to make 1,000 origami paper cranes but only completed 664 before she died at age 12. The paper crane is now a symbol for world peace)
Well Behaved Women rarely make history (here).

22 calls holding. My break is now over. Dagnabit. Grr.