Saturday, December 31, 2011

Catching It

I won't nearly catch up on my photos by the end of 2011 but I did put a dent in the backlog today. They're here. I haven't added anything to the DONE/BEGUN photo challenge yet but I'm going to work on that tomorrow.

Hope you're having a happy new year!

*Can anyone identify the book in that photo? I can't!

List of the Year

Today I make a to do list for the rest of the year. Of course I also have to finish it before the end of the year which, in case you're living under a rock, is the end of the day. One of the things I've wanted to do for days is the end of year meme. If you haven't seen it before I'm linking to the first post of every month using the first sentence in that post.

Also, I'm watching Homeland.

January: Steaming Into 2011

February: Last week Chili was kind enough to include me in a list of bloggers of whom she is fond.

March: We're eating some toast and getting ready for our last day in China.

April: At least someone got their nap on today.

May: Sara and I bought my friend, Noah's, book, 365: Make Something Every Day And Change Your Life.

June: I had plans and dreams for the holiday weekend.

July: It would be cheaper (and quieter) to have this cat plated in platinum.

August: I put up a new little piece of fiction at Kizz & Tell.

September: I'm a waiter.

October: Sometimes you have a ton of stuff to do and you wind up just doing the one thing you feel like doing.

November: Today's the first day of NaBloPoMo and there ain't nothing like "having" to post to make me drag my heels.

December: As a personal assistant you tend to live in the future.

Happy New Year! I hope you're doing something fun tonight and for the whole of 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Brooklyn Royalty

Sir Robert of Lower Snaggletoothington and Lord Edison of Upper Strungley are in the manor, bitches!

(You can think of this as either the only slang I'm really comfortable with or preparation for the US premiere of the 2nd season of Downton Abbey.)

*Photos courtesy of Pony Express

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rolling Downhill

Once you get into relaxation mode it's hard to get out again. I made some pretty pictures, though. You like pretty pictures. Don't you?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Most But Never All

I had a great Christmas. If you know me at all you know that it's a rare thing for me to say. It's true, though, cross my blackened heart.

However, nothing is perfect. On the one hand perfect is boring and who wants perfect? On the other hand it wasn't perfect* because I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see and that sucks. (I believe you know who you are.) That happened last year, too, many visits were canceled or cut short due to the blizzard. This year it was a blizzard of the mind. Equally devastating but generally won't require a snowblower.

Maybe next year will be perfect. I doubt it. I can guarandamntee it'll be imperfect in different ways, though. I appreciate the love, support, and patience of everyone I saw and didn't see. Hope you all had happily memorable holidays**.

*Also because the drive home sucked donkey balls. Could have been worse but I'm pretty sure it couldn't have been more boring. Next year one of you needs to come to Christmas with me just so I'll have company for the drive home. 

**No, I won't say Merry Christmas*** because a lot of people who read here don't celebrate it. Also, I'm not what you'd call a "good Christian" but I'm pretty sure that Jesus doesn't give a donkey-riding fuck about a holiday made popular by Montgomery Ward (or whoever).

***Take a deep breath. The "war on Christmas" is something made up to keep you from noticing other things that might be wrong on our home soil. Don't be snowed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Validated But No Parking

I know I'm not alone in often feeling like I'm not doing enough but even when I feel busy, and it's easy for me to feel busy, I feel like there's an extra foot I should be reaching. If there's any time I feel that more than others it's the holidays. (Please feel free to join in when the chorus comes 'round again on the guitar.)

On the other hand I quit drinking caffeine around 15 years ago and it made me fucking tired. I learned that I need sleep. I love sleep. I would marry sleep but it's a damn tease. I also know that my brain likes to work hard, rest, and process before it'll come to some conclusion or revelation or just some flipping closure. I try to keep this knowledge in the forefront of my mind as I make goals and try to reach them. Trying is the first step.

And then I go to a concert or have a lesson or see a movie or read a blog and decide that I'm wasting my life and I have to do more now! This is usually when things go badly for me.

This week was shaping up to be pretty busy. Not by busy people standards, of course, but by mine. Today, for instance, was going to be an up at 6, work 9-3, get food, do a photo shoot, sing at an open mic, go home, walk dog, pack, clean, write out cat feeding instructions, and finally sleep. (See above re: my deep affection for sleep.)

Then there was that fire. I got to work from home for 2 days and consequently had almost everything I needed to do before I left for the North land tomorrow done before I left for the photo shoot tonight. It's hard not to feel as though someone or something was telling me, "You're right. You need to go slow. You'll get there but on your own time."

I can't stop feeling that I'm missing something, I suppose. Lucky things like this help me keep it at bay, though. From arm's length everything doesn't look quite so ugly and urgent. I'm still going to feel a little inadequate I bet but, damn it, I'm going to do so at a moderate pace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

London Bridge

It's only fair that I admit that I was late to work this morning. I count on the MTA to make up for the inability I seem to have to take myself seriously when I say, "We're leaving at 8." On this day, however, it kind of worked in my favor.

It's also probably right for me to admit that I was amusing myself by reading Twitter while I walked. I never run into people, I always pay attention, I've never fallen down an open manhole so please keep the reading and walking lectures for later. I did, though, jump about a foot when the phone rang and interrupted me. I was only a block from the train, I was on my way! I felt caught.

After the usual pleasantries my boss said, "The building caught on fire. It's closed today and maybe tomorrow, too."

While we're admitting stuff I may as well tell you that I laughed. I couldn't help it. So absurd, right? This close to Christmas and in the middle of Hannukah it was just too too perfect.

To the best of my knowledge no one was hurt. I turned tail and worked from home. I napped on my lunch hour, hit the PO, did some laundry and hung out with my pooch and my kitty cats. It was a good day. I know that it's not possible that we'll have another day off.

A girl can dream, though, can't she?

Photo Challenge: JINGLE (Dammit!)

Here we are celebrating the final challenge of the year. Er, photo challenge, that is. I'm sure the year will find a way to be challenging for the next week and a half, hopefully in small, inconsequential ways.

This was an especially fun challenge and I think you're going to like the results. Please tell the snappers what you think and scroll down for the next challenge. The year may be over but we're going to keep doing this because it's fun (dammit)!

I always look at the themed Christmas trees and think they're beautiful but I could never have one in my home. I'd have to have them be like lshykula's here, full of ornaments that reflect the folks that live there. No one wants a store display in their living room. Well, no one I like.

Last minute entry by fondofsnape! She had this photo op in the lobby of her office building. We do not have anything nearly as cool where I work. Envy!

This is the money shot from a great, though apparently slightly frustrating, homemade ornament tutorial by herm007. I think it's clear what everyone on my list will be getting next year!

Buce's male grown up was standing behind me holding Buce's ball above the camera. If the authorities are alerted I fear we may be jailed for torturing an innocent. Picture turned out pretty good, though, eh?

I really want Elephant Soap to meet Kath because, though they both would have taken this fun shot, Kath would have stolen the ornament after to put on her own tree.

Easy peasy, the next challenge is DONE/BEGUN to celebrate the way the next fortnight will straddle the new year.

Please add your photos to our Flickr photo pool by 9am on Tuesday January 3, 2012 (AUGH!) for posting on Wednesday January 4th . Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks as always for loving this feature.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

10 Things I've Seen & Heard In The Big Bad City Recently

1. Child (7ish years of age) wandering haphazardly along the sidewalk while her parents repeatedly urge her to keep walking, "I just burped!"

2. Man in festive, if varied, holiday clothes standing dead center of a sidewalk screaming after a woman, "Skinny bitch! Stupid bitch! That's an example of a stupid, skinny bitch!"

3. The longest conversation ever conducted on the relative merits of the automated postal machine vs. the teller window.

4. Floor manager at the PO, "Who needed the pen to send the package to [insert country I can't remember]?" Someone raises hand. "I remembered the package but not the face."

5. Dog wearing 2 coats and a light up collar with an owner encased in a sleeping bag coat, hat, and 2 pairs of mittens in 47F weather. (Confession: this was me and Ed. I misread the temperature before I left the house. Also, I don't like to be cold.)

6. Couple standing outside an Irish Pub at lunch time. She is red faced and crying, wiping her eyes on the lapel of her pea coat. He is murmuring things that I chose to believe were comforting. They are not touching at all.

7. Posters for a new reality show on A&E, Shipping Wars. A show about mailing packages? For real? This is a thing? I would so win that.

8. Some of my awesome friends gathered at Cowgirl from 3 countries and 2 states. Best Saturday night in a long time. (Pictured)

9. The remains of a box of delicious Christmas cookies strewn about my living room floor. Thanks, dog.

10. An older lady behind me in the PO line, talking on her cell phone about a party she'd recently thrown, clearly delighted with her bad self, "When I saw it was 3am I said, 'Do you people know how old I am? You have to leave right now!'"

10 Walls To Bump Into

I'm sure I've told you this before but at some point in preparing for anything I wind up completely unable to prioritize and simply start doing one thing until I bump into the next thing and doing that until I bump into a third. Once I made a wildly organized trip to the PO yesterday, came back to the office and realized that I'd forgotten two things I knew I'd reached the bumping point. So here's a list of 10 things I might bump into.

1. I had such an awesome time taking pictures of dogs on Saturday. I haven't even begun to fight on processing them but holy hell there was fun to be had.

2. This is not a thing I have to do but it deserves its own spot on the list even though I've been telling everyone within earshot about it for 3 days now. My dog was so good on Saturday morning. It's nearly impossible to explain how stellar his behavior was. I was mostly paying attention to other dogs since I had limited time to take photos but I was trying to keep tabs on him. I didn't hardly need to. He kept checking back in with me regularly and was never so far away I couldn't see him. Conclusion: I need to ignore that dog more often.

3. Process other photos. I've been to concerts and caroling and seeing Santa and all of those photos are trapped on the computer. I need to unleash them onto the internet. I want to!

4. Laundry is mostly done but for the putting away. Yesterday I wore that last thing in the tiny piece of the Venn Diagram that was both weather and work appropriate.

5. I'm about ready to get out the suitcases and just leave them open in the living room so that any time I see something that needs to come on the trip I can just toss it in the bag. It's not an elegant system but it's one that works for me.

6. First, though, I need to clear away the upended 5 gallon bucket. During the dishwasher repair a bucket was required. (Having the dishwasher leak and be difficult to repair sucked but my floors have never been so clean!) The only bucket I really have is a 5 gallon one that I used to move stuff to this apartment over 9 years ago. I had chucked more stuff into the bucket but not taken any out in all that time. That stuff is now in a pile on the dining room floor and needs some attention. Anyone need a potentially lethal extension cord? Dusty length of rope? Half a dowel?

7. Also not a bumpintoable thing but did you know that Sunday marked my 9th anniversary of home ownership. 9 years ago that night I was sitting on the floor staring at a neon orange wall and clutching a bottle of dishwasher liquid. This past Sunday I celebrated by ordering in Chinese food for me and Pony Express.  Lest you think that's a lame way to celebrate such a milestone I will paraphrase Mare Winningham, "it was my apartment... and it was the BEST [crab rangoon] that I have had in my entire life."

8. Must make cranberry bread. I don't think that I need to give it to anyone at this point but I already bought the oranges and the cranberries and I don't want them to go to waste.

9. Distribute rum balls to good neighbors.

10. Secure cat care for the 24th and 25th. Holy hell I haven't secured cat care! Shit. OK, gotta go.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Whoa What?

I had pictures for you and a little story to tell and then I had to find an envelope to fit an outsized card and I got tired and and and...

So, yeah, perhaps tomorrow I'll have a minute to blog without guilt.

That's gonna be the title of my autobiography, "Blogging Without Guilt." Or should it be gilt?

Oh for the love...clearly time for sleep.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, December 16, 2011

Turns Out To Be A Wash

I procrastinate a lot. I'm a big waiter. I'm good at that. Sometimes it works out pretty well.

I may have told you that my dishwasher was leaking. It teamed up with a bunch of leaks in my kitchen and it was the least intrusive so it took a while to get some attention. Attention it got on Monday, though. Unfortunately that attention involved an unavoidable accident that rendered it more floody than leaky and therefore unusable. Dude, I hate to do dishes. So much. We had to wait for a part to be ordered so I knew I'd have to do some dishes but not right away. In fact, though, I managed to put off doing any dishes for so long that the part came in and now my dishwasher is fixed and never a rubber glove did I have to don! Whoo!

Other times, however, not so much. There's caroling in my neighborhood every year. A group of folks have been doing it for over 40 years. The general rule is "the Friday before Christmas" but it's flexible. I really hoped that this year it would be this weekend and not next but I didn't know for sure. Sometimes I run into the organizers around the neighborhood  but it's not something I can schedule so I crossed my fingers that it would be tonight and planned to just go and see. It finally occurred to me about 45 minutes before the usual start time that I could go to the garden we use as a gathering place and see if there was a sign.

45 minutes before the start time.

Weeks of waffling and wishing and worrying and I could have walked 3 blocks and read a sign.

It's amazing I've survived this long under my own power, no? I did have a great time caroling, though. It's one of my favorite events of the season. I offer to carry a lantern and the basket for the lyric books because I want to worm my way into the good graces of the organizers. It seems to be working. I hope they schedule it on the early weekend next year, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It Never Rests

"It" being my starred file. I just can't stop starring things even though Google has tried to make the star as hard to find as the rest of the site is hard to read. People, y'all need to quit redesigning shit that works fine. I don't use y'all lightly. It conveys deep disappointment in your commitment to the greater good. Also gravy. Y'all is all about gravy.

(OK, I'll say it, "and good gravy does your new look for reader and mail suck!")

The Awesome Amber, who I had dinner with just a short time ago, made a very cool gift guide. Items 2, 7, & 9 would certainly look as good on me as they will on her!

Amber also linked to Lisa Congdon's blog and I starred that entry for 2 reasons. 1. Lisa was celebrating 4 years with her rescued chill chihuahua and 2. I really enjoy Lisa's art.

If you're looking for gifts that also give back Chookooloonks, aka Karen Walrond, made a gift guide for that.

Ari at Advanced Style explained how he responds when he stops a stylish subject for a photo and she replies, "But I'm an Old Lady." Just look at the woman's eyes in that post. Gorgeous!

I defy you to look at the top photo of these dogs who need to be adopted together and not promptly melt.

I probably tell you to go read Seth's blog a lot but it's only because you're not commenting on the blog so I can't prove that you're reading. I want you to read so you can laugh. You like laughing, don't you? In this recent entry I want you to note the bit about the Perry-Romney bet. Better to laugh than to cry. Right? Right?!

If you lived in DC and took the metro you had a chance to hear a world famous violinist play for free. Most people didn't think it was all that or a bag of chips. Or maybe they just didn't notice. On the flip side a pay-what-you-can restaurant in NYC opened as a one month experiment and is doing well enough to continue. So, I don't know how people operate.

Former TV star and recovering anorexic Tracy Gold is apparently hosting a reality show called Starving Secrets. Blogher ran a post asking whether readers thought the show was helping or hurting the participants and eating disordered viewers. I think the same question might be posed for any of the reality shows from HGTV to NBC and everywhere in between. What do you think?

I don't know if you caught this but this week the FDA approved emergency contraceptive Plan B for sale without a prescription. In an unprecedented move HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA scientists so it will not be available without prescription. Both Sebelius announcement of the decision and President Obama's endorsement of it took a paternalistic approach using a mythical 11-year-old consumer as the basis for the decision. On the plus side 14 senators, including my own state's Kirsten Gillibrand, are demanding that Sebelius explain what medical and scientific evidence she is using for this decision. Good on all 14 of them and anyone else using one set of rules for all genders.

And on that same topic from my newest blog crush, Lindsay, please read this concise rundown of what the ruling seems to be telling us. It's along the lines of "we'll support you in keeping that baby right up until the time you birth it" but it's even more pointed.

Also from Lindsay are a couple of short paragraphs from a ceremony presided over by Rick Perry where he handed down the first posthumous pardon of a death penalty inmate. I'm sure that inmate is grateful, wherever the afterlife took him.*

Brokelyn is doing a gift guide for things under $25. Did you know they make a kit for ice cube Titanics and icebergs? Now you do!

Another reason I have trouble psyching myself up for the nightlife and dating scene is that people are insane and I tend to attract them. I feel fortunate that I wasn't the one who told this guy to please leave me alone. Usually I don't say please. I can only imagine how he would have reacted to that.

On a disturbingly similar note it seems that Michele Bachmann's daughters aren't allowed to ask boys out. They can go out with them, they just can't do the asking. But she wants to break a big old stereotype and be president of the United States.

Whew! I had to scroll a looooong way down to come to an entry that would allow us to end on an upbeat note. Check out these beautifully stylish yet practical canes. Eventually we're all going to need one, if only for a short time, it'd be nice to get one that made us feel good about using it. I have toted plenty of necessary but unnecessarily ugly canes for friends and loved ones. It's good to know there's an alternative now.

*Oh my god the death penalty system does not fucking work you godforsaken MORONS!

Don't Stop (Stop!)

I feel about the same, which is to say that if I could sleep from now until 2012 I wouldn't be upset about that.

The concert last night was great. I thought it was at 6:30 and I was 15 minutes early. It was at 6. Whoops! But I got there in time for the holiday medley and saw enough to catch the theme of the show, Believe. When they sang Journey's Don't Stop Believing (oh yes they did) I wept. She's only 10 and she looks like she's 10 feet tall and she'll be in middle school next year and I can't fathom that. So I spent the evening telling her stories about what she was like when she was a baby.

At least it made one of us feel better.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Where have I been? Asleep mostly. I've been sick. Not deathly ill, not even completely miserable every minute of the day, but miserable enough that doing things, things like walking, drinking, and speaking have been tiresome at best. If you have spoken to me in the last week I'm sure you've noticed. I live tweeted the annual shareholders meeting for my co-op that I felt compelled to attend on Monday night. My enthusiasm for the democratic process was clearly at a low ebb.

I am at work today for the first time this week. I've been here all day and I plan to go to Alita's holiday concert this evening. I will not, for the good of the collective, be going out for our usual diner celebration afterwards. I dread telling the guest of honor but hope she'll understand the circumstances and be distracted by the fact that I managed to have her Christmas presents bought and wrapped.

Given that I've been sick and not done much other than sip tea and burn parts of my body with it (Lip, tongue, stomach. Yes, stomach.) I don't have much to say. Mostly just wanted to tell you where I was and that I hope you're not sick. If you are sick I hope you have Showtime on demand. Their half hour dramadies are the perfect distraction between naps.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Things You Say

There's a saying, perhaps you've heard it, "I feel like hammered shit." Sometimes it's an exaggeration used for comic effect.

Sometimes it's not.

*You're right I can't say this definitively. I have not actually hammered shit and interviewed it about it pwecious widdle feewings.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quit Saying That!

"I got a Jack Russell."

"Wow. They need a lot of exercise. And they're smart. That's a lot of work."

"But he's so cute!"
If I could possibly prevent this conversation, and ones like it, from ever happening I would. I would write a book and have the audio version (narrated by Morgan Freeman, natch) would play in every public area where dogs and potential dog people abound. The first line of that book would be, "The dog that leapt out of that car was everything I'd sworn I'd never have in a dog; a small, smart terrier. My life would never be the same."

I know that I bust on my dog a lot in this space but that's honestly because there's so much more comedy in failure. He is, by and large, a fabulous dog. I credit that with luck, hard work, and more luck.

Dogs are hard work. Even the coolest, most chill dog on earth requires feeding and walking and vetting and walking and loving and walking and attention. And walking. Most dogs are not the very best of everything. Do you think I'd get up at 6am on weekdays and go directly into the cold, hot, wet, dry, dark, bright, muggy, buggy, crowded, deserted, whatever park if I didn't have a really good reason? Do you think I'd endure the love, hate, indifference, disdain, curiosity, whatever of everyone I pass by on the street if it wasn't worth it? I wouldn't. I really wouldn't. Hell, even now I'd try to get away without it. Guess what, though? My dog needs that time in the park. He needs to meet people and dogs and encounter new situations. So we go out there and we interact and we train every single day. Some people think I do more of that than I strictly need to and they might be right but, for now, I'm going to stick to what works. If I'd had the choice, sure, I'd have gotten a big, lazy dog who loved every sentient being it met. Preferably a dog who also liked to carry my bag, never shed, and hated both rain and cold.

No, I don't know what kind of dog that is, either.

I know we've got a lot of pets out there who need homes but if I'm going to dream I'd like to dream big. I'd love it if everyone who got a pet understood what was going to be involved. 'Cause a Jack Russell needs a shitton of exercise for both mind and body. I only have part of one and he kicks my ass on a regular basis. Thank goodness another part of him is a lazy-ass pug.

*The dogs pictured above are inveterate cat chasers. Alone in their own homes they have moderated their behavior. When together they team hunt the cats and are punished severely. Both families are working hard to curb the behavior. It may take years but we're going to keep trying.

Friday, December 09, 2011

I Love You Too

This morning I met a woman walking in the park without a dog. She liked Eddie so she struck up a conversation with me. She was, essentially, shopping for the dog she would get for herself when she retired. Just before we parted she told me about a show she'd seen on Animal Planet that said that when a dog lies down with you and lays its head on your chest, over your heart, it means, "I love you."

I didn't have the heart to tell her I'd figured that out on my own. She'll understand soon enough.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Doing. Jobs.

As many of you know, the year I turned 30 I worked out of Saginaw, MI as a traveling player, basically. Me and two people I'd never met before driving around the midwest in a van, singing ditties for schoolchildren with varying levels of give a shit (both ours and the children's). Then we would drive back "home" to Saginaw to live with 5 or 6 or 11 other vans full of other people who hadn't known each other until they showed up on Eddy Street with less than a dollar but more than a dream. We had a saying back then.

"Just do your job."

Generally this was muttered under the breath with some level of ire. We loved each other but we didn't always like each other very much. You try living in a van with someone for 9 months and tell me how that goes for you. As you got rubbed increasingly the wrong way eventually you wished for a moment of silence, a moment away, a moment not to have to negotiate the eggshell politics of half-chosen family. At that point all you wanted to do was have every single person just do their job so you could do your job and we could all shut up about it.

It seems I reached that point in the holiday season at about 4pm yesterday. I am coming down with some sort of light bug and I scheduled myself into a bunch of little things I wouldn't normally do. I thought it would be wise to take a different approach to the season. It seemed as though having plenty to do, especially things where I was expected to be merry and bright, would carry me forward on a wave of holiday jollity that would last right into the new year.

I blame the failure of this plan on the aforementioned bug. Fucking bugs. Except they are just doing their jobs.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Photo Challenge: KICK OFF

Here we are BANG on time with photo challenge results. Whew! I am glad to be back on track. Thank you for your patience.

You know the drill. View. Love. Comment. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Also Scroll Down for the next prompt.

I love the contrast of stillness and motion in this shot by lshykula. Her son has really planted himself the better to KICK OFF (dammit).

I cannot get enough of this puppy. I believe that if fondofsnape could have captured dog language in this she'd have heard "Ready to kick off a new adventure, lady, so ready. Ready ready ready. Just get me out of here and I'm ready!"

I also believe that with these boots Elephant Soap can kick off anything she wants to, anything at all, in high style.

If I was putting even half as much energy into kicking off the holidays as these ladies are putting into kicking off mile 9 of their marathon I would be much closer to the finish line.

New prompt is JINGLE. Putting (dammit!) after it is optional. I know you love options.

Please add your photos to our Flickr photo pool by 9am on Tuesday December 20th for posting on Wednesday December 21st . Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks again for loving this feature.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Putting the Shit in Shitheads

Dear Punk Ass Shitheads,

First off I want to make sure that you know this is not an apology letter. I'm not at all sorry that when you stole the package from the hall in front of my door you were disappointed to find the replacement part for my dishwasher instead of an iPhone or a tablet computer or $500 in cash or whatever you thought the universe would reward your lazy dickheaded ways with.

I want to be doubly sure that you know this isn't a thank you letter. Sure, the part seems to be intact and was left in an open area, ripe for discovery but I'm not going to thank you for that. I'm not a dishwasher expert. I don't know if the part is damaged now or if you took out any fasteners or dropped a connector or anything else vital to getting my dishes washed without having to mop my floor at the same time...for an hour. Even if you'd taped it back up and hand delivered it to me I wouldn't be thanking you. I know you don't care but I feel it bears repeating; you were wrong. Wrong sucks.

Lastly I think it's fair to point some things out. You remember a couple of years ago when you stole the package from in front of the first floor apartment and it turned out to be handmade books of that woman's poetry and photography that you also didn't find interesting? I found that, too. It was in exactly the same place as my dishwasher part. I returned it to her and I don't care that she thought I was the lying, scumbag thief. We all knew she wasn't staying long. I, however, plan to stay until they drag my cold, dead, 105-year-old body from the apartment. Eventually I'll be the one who sees you scooping up a package or abandoning one and when I do I'll have my iPhone at the ready (getting it in January, having it delivered to work, don't hold your fetid breath [now go look up fetid, surely you've stolen something with internet access]) and I'll take your picture with its superhero of a camera and I will post that fucker everywhere. I will send it to the listserv, I'll post it on this blog, I'll tweet it and Facebook it, I'll print copies for every floor in every building, I'll put it on coffee mugs to gift to the security guards, I might even invest in a sandwich board and wear it while I walk my dog in the neighborhood.

Go ahead, laugh, it's funny as long as you think I'm not really going to do it.

The Angry Weird Chick on The 2nd Floor

P.S. You don't know me.

*You ought to look that one up, too. Let the proper definition sink in.

10 Things Round The Internet

1. This article from Sara explains why I want to kick a lot of dog owners in their pink parts. Why can people not read body language, have common sense, and/or know it's not all about them?

2. TA sent me this link to the top 25 funniest autocorrects from Damn You, Autocorrect's first year. I really did burst out laughing uncontrollably with some of them. Dear Phone, You don't know me!

3. Have you bought your caramel for Christmas yet? You won't regret it!

4. The woman who started funny blog, Regretsy, tried to make sure that some families had a happy holiday season and Paypal smacked her down for it. I'm baffled by the whole exchange. If someone can figure out how to get Paypal to both fix this travesty of justice and explain themselves I would be one of many who would be grateful.

5. MasterCard tweeted to me to send a note to their fraud department about that call I got. Sent it last night. I'll let you know if anything comes of it.

6. Via Neil Gaiman, a NC county tried to adopt breed legislation against pits, neopolitans, chows, rotties, etc. They were, thankfully, roundly faced down. I read this catch phrase the other day and expect to use if often, "Blame the deed, not the breed."

7. Chili posted this and I saw it around Facebook. People of all ages, health conditions, sexual orientations, and nationalities might do well to check out this example. In sickness and in health y'all.

8. This was making its way around Tumblr. It's a short article about what was possibly our country's first interracial gang. It's kind of interesting in general and very interesting in light of this season of Sons of Anarchy.

9. I don't want anything for Christmas. Except that I really, really, REALLY want a rubber stamp of my dog's head. Time to deposit those 2 jars of coins I've got at home!

10. I had successfully avoided any exposure at all to Angry Birds until Sunday's fateful trip to Santaland. The child has hooked me and you may not see me again, maybe ever. It's going to take me a long time. As the girl was all too happy to point out, I'm not very good at this.

*Speaking of Bully Breeds, the photo is of Buce and a gentleman he threatened to adopt in the absence of his boy, who was on assignment in Costa Rica.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Call Him Reckless

I worked from home today so I got to go out for a walk with the dog in the afternoon. My timing was a little off so we hit the bricks just as school was letting out. We ran into a lot of loud, unpredictable teens who were twisting off a little after being cooped up for hours. The last group we ran into was the calmest of them all. They were talking but in an organized, plain conversation. The weren't walking fast but they sort of enveloped us as they came up on the curb. One of them must have looked at Eddie because as soon as they got close he opened up his full freak out. As I said, these guys were fully chill, one or two of them maybe twitched a little but no one sped up or wigged out. They did laugh and talk about him. Out of the chatter came, "He reckless."

"He reckless."

I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say anything about my dog I've loved more. That is exactly what he is. It explains almost every single thing about him.

That's my dog, he reckless.

The photo was taken by Lilybainne during my post-Thanksgiving party. He'd had enough of being polite for company and needed a break.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Asked and Answered!

I felt as though the information I got today was worth its own post. Please excuse any inconsistencies or typos. As I write this a cat is alternating between walking around on the keyboard and blowing her stank breath up my nose. I may pass out.

Anyway, turns out this whole bank putting a security hold on your card thing is a relatively well known scam! According to a reliable source (my father) people were doing this with phone numbers in Eastern Massachusetts for a while. One night around 11pm they dialed a number that turned out to belong to a State Police officer who was just getting off shift. He followed the prompts to some extent while getting technical support from his department and managed to trace the perpetrators and shut them down.

Unsurprisingly they, or people like them, have moved on to other states. Of course the way to avoid being taken in is not to respond in any way to the call but, from the comments I got on yesterday's post, you guys are plenty savvy about this sort of thing. I'm a little perturbed that I wasn't able to find an alert about this on Snopes and that the fraud department for HSBC claimed never to have heard of it. Of course perhaps I didn't search Snopes well and it's possible that news of this scam hasn't had time to reach India yet. 

I like the image of a state trooper getting out his can of cyber whup ass. Wish I had his phone number.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Many Hands Light

Something weird happened tonight and I don't think there's any more I can or should do but maybe there is. Do you know?

The irrelevant part is that I was downstairs in the laundry room switching my clothes from the washer to the dryer. Now you can start paying attention again.

My phone rang with a Private Number designation. It was a robocall saying that my HSBC MasterCard was being suspended for security reasons and I could press one to stop that action. I do not have nor have I ever even applied for either a MasterCard or a credit card from HSBC. I didn't press anything and there didn't seem to be other options so I hung up. When I was finished with my chore I got the customer service number and called HSBC to spin them my pretty little yarn and ask who had my phone number on a credit card. One guy said he'd look up my account by phone number and put me on hold. It was a silent hold and about 10 minutes long then there were a couple of beeps and some hold music and the fraud department picked up. That lady asked for my social security number which I declined to provide. I asked if she could look me up by phone number. She could and did in short order and didn't come up with any account using my number nor did she have any idea what sort of scam might approach me this way. Frankly, I think she was a little put out that I asked.

I checked my bank account and there's nothing untoward happening there. Seems like it was a scam I didn't fall prey to. Oh, maybe I should check Snopes. Wait here.

Don't see anything there. So, any reason to worry here? And even if there is can you think of anything I should do? Can I just pretend this was a transcription error on someone's part and be done with it?

You know what I want to hear.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Future Tense

As a personal assistant you tend to live in the future. You think a little about what's going on today but you have to be focused on the dinner tomorrow, the meeting next week, how soon the car needs to be inspected. While most people are dealing with this week and next there comes a time when the assistant quits dealing with the month she's in. It's full. Time to move on to the next one, or perhaps the one after that. The assistant will put the correct year on checks long before you do because she's been wading around in the shallow end of that year for at least a month before it arrives.

Today I've been working on my own calendar and it's starting to freak me out. Chances to do things in December are dwindling. My most planning averse friend asked what my travel schedule was going to be like. I'm suddenly planning both a Santaland visit this Sunday (9am!) and whether or not I'll buy a couple of appliances in tax free NH before I come back to NYC on the 26th. The calendar is nearly covered in green blocks.

I'm frightened.

How far in advance are you planning right now?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I want to note that, as of this morning's post, I successfully completed another NaBloPoMo. It being November 30 you probably figured that out on your own. But I wanted to mark it and I wanted an excuse to show you these two shots of one of my new park friends, Stella. This particular trick is called, "Be A Bear."

The Electronic Age

One of the cool yet funny things about the electronic age is that, if you have a long enough party, you might get thank you notes before the party has even concluded. I got two before the end of last Friday's festivities. I couldn't have been more surprised!

In one of those notes it was relayed that I'd gotten an enormous compliment from one of my young friends. On the trip home he insisted that I must me a mom. When confronted with the truth he responded that I was "just like a mom." Whether this is because we had a nice talk after something a little shocking happened or because I rationed his orange juice due to a cup that was too "tippy" in my estimation we may never know.

What we do know, though, is that's about the nicest thing anybody's said about me all week. Thanks, dude, I like you, too.

Yesterday Not So Far Away

In my quest to learn new stuff I finally got the Diptic app for my iPad (Thanks for the rec, Cindy!) and have been playing with it. Don't know if I'm doing it wrong or my photos just suck but it's not so clear. I was motivated, though, by the number of you who didn't know the "You must pay the rent" spiel.

Please follow along with this simple tutorial:

First, you fold a piece of paper back and forth until you have an accordion kind of a deal and pinch it in the middle.

Second, you hold it under your nose (top) and say in your most sinister, melodramatic villain voice, "You must pay the rent!"

Third, you hold the accordion bow to the side of your head like a hair decoration (middle) and say in your highest, most hilarious, melodramatic girly voice, "I can't pay the rent!"

Fourth, you repeat steps Two and Three until it is no longer funny to you. This may take some time.

Fifth, you hold the bow to your neck like a tie (bottom) and do your best Dudley Do-Right impression to say, "I'll pay the rent!"

Sixth, you go back to the middle photo and the girly voice for, "My hero!"

Seventh & last, you go right back to the top photo and the villainous voice for, "Curses, foiled again."

Ridiculous, of course, but a huge hit with certain audiences. I urge you to try it out at parties.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tell Him About It

The past couple of days I've been struggling with some minor disappointments. I've had to make some recalibrations, if you will. It's common and painful for someone like me who does things like agonize over where her furniture should go because she's never going to move it again. Period.

You know how I soothe the savage beast when I'm doing such things? I think of the happy shiny people who stand firm like good furniture. They move out of the way easily when you have to vacuum but they always slide right back into place where you need them to cover that stain on your soul...I mean, carpet. Which is all a nice way of saying I've been looking at photos of a lot of you lately.

You're pretty.

See that guy in the photo up there? The one who is in focus? It's his birthday today. If you want to make him happy you could listen to some of his music. If you want to make him ecstatic you could even buy some.

10 Not 20

Questions. Why not?

1. If you could add an 8th deadly sin what would it be? I think I choose obliviousness. It needs to be punishable by death.

2. How cool is my new computer at work? (I'll give you a hint: SUPER COOL!)

3. If someone has ever asked to marry you what was your answer and why? (Show your work.)

4. What is your favorite holiday meal item? Though I wouldn't point to it as my fave I did make sure I had enough ingredients to make another green bean casserole after the party because I knew I would want more.

5. If I told you I was eating cranberries and turning into Magenta Beauregard would you get the joke?

6. Have you already finished your holiday shopping?

7. What book(s) are you reading? I'm in the middle of the 2nd Game of Thrones but I also just got the heads up from the library to come pick up David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day.

8. Do kids these days still play that "You must pay the rent!" "I can't pay the rent" game?

9. What's one thing you wish for Christmakwanzafestikah this year? (It doesn't pay to be sappy here.)

10. Do you have any questions?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo Challenge: PICK ONE

Thank you all for excusing my tardiness. Here, at long last, are the results for the PICK ONE photo challenge. As ever, please scroll down for the new prompt, click through to see the many other choices on our Flickr Pool, and give tons of love to our photogs.

If you have ever had the privilege of meeting herm007's boys you'll be instantly struck by how exactly this photo represents them. If you haven't met them, well, here you go!

Leave it to ChromePlatedGirl to go for the thinker/groaner of a joke. I love those jokes. PICK ONE, get it? GET IT?

I brag a lot about what awesome spectators the NYC Marathon has but check out lshykula's personal cheering section in CO. Doesn't get any better than that.

This young gentleman makes frequent appearances in fondofsnape's photostream and he's always good for a laugh. After the downer that was giving this prompt I couldn't help but cheer up the moment I saw him. Long live the belly laugh!

Is there a braver photographer in our midst than Elephant Soap? I don't think so. She tagged it as SHAME but I don't see it that way at all, there is no shame in this. Brilliant!

Some might think that the annual tradition I participate in of marching with Alita in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is inappropriate for a kid of her age. I hope they can look at this shot and understand that this is a representation of a completely appropriate relationship between an adult and a child not her own. Weird, sure, but completely on the level.

I am finally unable to hide from the fact that the Christmakwanzafestikah holiday is upon us. Therefore I choose KICK OFF for our next prompt. You can let it be in conjunction with the holiday or not, it's up to you.

Please submit your entries to our Flickr Pool by 9am on Tuesday December 6 (NEXT TUESDAY!) for posting on Wednesday December 7 (NEXT WEDNESDAY, also Pearl Harbor Day). Any questions just toss them out at me and I'll do my best to help.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Phoning It In

There's a trend in theatre called "post-show letdown." It exists everywhere, though, in any kind of project work. Whatever you want to call it I have it. I've had company since Tuesday, a big party on Friday, Thanksgiving leftovers still to be nibbled. Tomorrow it's back to the grind. In preparation I have done dishes, packed lunch, laid out clothes, and napped. There was a lot of napping. I got home from the park around 10am, must have fallen asleep about 11, and didn't get up again until almost 2. I just don't have the gumption and I do have the dread of the Christmas season since Thanksgiving is over so Christmas can no longer be ignored. Tomorrow I trust I will be back in the game. For now, though, I have to eat this last piece of pie because there's no room for it in the fridge.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Before The Month Is Over

You know how when you're a kid and your mom prompts you to thank someone and it sucks all the meaning out of the gesture? My mom will still occasionally do that to me if she doesn't think I'm thanking fast enough and it's all I can do not to refuse just so I can wait until enough time has passed that the thanks is actually coming from me even if it is late.

For the last 26 days the internet has been full of thanks for this and thanks for that and thanks be to all and every one. It's a great thing and I don't disagree with it at all, let's be clear on that. However, I haven't been able to write about being thankful at all because everyone is doing it and what am I? A lemming? No I am not.

Ask me if I'm petty and childish, you might get a different answer.

Seems as though today, two days after Thanksgiving, I can probably eke out a few thanks be to whoevers. Actually, I don't see how I can avoid it.

I've been thinking a lot today about how lucky I've been with friends. Pretty much all my life I've had friends who will do anything for me. Clean the bathroom? Sure! Invent a way to keep my kitchen sinkn from leaking at 10pm on Thanksgiving after cooking all day? Try and stop her. Diagnose the sink and the dishwasher during a party and schedule a time to fix it properly? Why wouldn't he? Grab shoes, paper towels, dustpan, garbage bag, and clean the entire living room floor the second that cocktail glass hit the ground? Everybody raise their hands!

They're little things and they're only a smattering of what I've been treated to but I think they're indicative of my general great good fortune. I try to be a good friend but, let's face it, my talents are limited and not always what's required. Also, often I'm unable to use my inside voice. Whereas, 9 times out of 10 when I find I'm in need of help there's someone in my life who not only can fix it but they are more than willing to do so. It's easy to forget not only how rare that is but how wonderful.

Thanks everyone. Thank you today and every other day. If there's something I can do for you please let me know.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vodka, Cherries, Happy Feet

To say that I don't throw parties often would be a gigantic understatement. When I do, though, I've gotten in the habit of picking a date and throwing them annually. Today was one of those and man, this was a rip snorter of a year! I think we had 17 people in the house at one time and if you've seen my apartment you know that's a lot of excitement. I hope I got to talk to everyone enough but I can't say for certain. I'll do better next time.

What I can say for certain is that I had a whole apartment full of fun. I wandered into a ton of fantastic conversations, I got to cook for people, I finally opened up that copy of Happy Feet for an appreciative audience.

Now I'm afraid I must sleep because Cat brought her patented vodka steeped cherries and I might have had juuuuuuust a few too many.

And I'm not sorry, not even a little bit.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Which Of These?

Question: Which of these two men did Queen Bee & I see live and in person this morning?

Answer: Both!

Supplemental information: Only on of them was riding a float.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Huge Apology!

Holy Moly you guys, I just realized I forgot to post the results of the PICK ONE photo challenge! Once the pipe burst I kind of lost my train of thought. So sorry. SO sorry.

Also, I hear dripping again, I have to fix that before I go to bed.

I will post the challenge ASAP but not tonight.

My deepest apologies.

Holiday Prep Turned Sideways

You want to know what's cool? Having someone clean while you cook, that's what. Sign of a good friend, y'all.

We would be so far ahead of the game if the pipe under the kitchen sink hadn't started leaking badly all over everything. It's not going to stop us but it might just slow us down. Have to rewash everything that was stored under there but have to watch the drip bucket while we do it!

Could be much, much worse.

How's your holiday prep going? Are you in traffic? Covered in flour? Already sipping your cocktail? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Challenging Conversations

I don't think I mentioned here that I put up a conversation post at Kizz & Tell on Sunday. It's about body image but good body image and apparently it's a tough question for some to answer. One brave soul has chimed in and I'd love for her to have company. If you're so inclined please tell us what you think.

10 Things For Today

What's that line from Rent? No day but today! Yupper.

1. The woman in this picture? She's on the bus on her way toward me.

2. It's fucking pouring rain right now. Her bus probably won't be delayed but the timing is delicate. There aren't a lot of places to hang around inside near the drop off. I fear one of us will get very wet. But we're just headed home after and we're not soluble.

3. I am neck deep in updating addresses. Taking a short break for this list and to stop my eyes from crossing. These are not my addresses. They're someone else's for someone else's holiday cards.

4. My holiday cards are designed (thank you JRH!), ordered, and winging their way toward me.

5. My address list is woefully out of date. I have much work to do.

6. My house is pretty clean for being 3 days before a party. I think someone has to come visit me on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving every year. Hell, you don't have to actually come you just have to say you're coming and make me believe it until about noon on that Tuesday.

7. As I mentioned to Chili this morning my motto for the year's present-giving is "Heifer & Homemade". It was a saying of Mrs. X's and we grew to love it. Heifer can stand specifically for Heifer International or it can be a pleasingly alliterative stand-in for any charitable donation. I suspect this year it will be both.

8. I mention #7 only to say that I had the help of a couple of web sites in turning some things of my own into gifts and a bunch of that stuff arrived yesterday. A big bunch. When you put it all in one place, well, wow I made a lot of stuff! (Not clutter, though, useful stuff.)

9. Even if my eyes weren't crossing I don't think I'm going to get all these addresses fixed today. I'm going to try, though.

10. Tomorrow? We bake!

Monday, November 21, 2011

As Good As It's Gonna Get

As predicted I received a response from Ms. James's office less than four hours after I sent my email. I appreciate the truthful, sympathetic response even though the destruction still makes me seethe.
Hello Ms. [Real Last Name],

Thank you so much for reaching out to Council Member Letitia James. Many of the events that took place during and after the evacuation proceedings are indeed regrettable. Unfortunately, many of the items confiscated were in fact destroyed. I do suggest that your friend and her acquaintances contact 1 Police Plaza or the Downtown Police Precinct to see if they are still holding on to their belongings.

On behalf of Council Member James, please extend her heartfelt apologies for the loss of their instruments and any other personal items. I do hope she can retrieve them.



-- --
Simone Hawkins
Budget Director
Education Policy Analyst
NYC Council Member Letitia James
It took me a couple of hours to find a way to respond. I wanted them to know that, while I appreciated that it wasn't their choice, I am still appalled and want the whole world to know it. This is what I finally came up with: 
Dear Ms. Hawkins,

Thank you so much for a response that was both prompt and sympathetic.

As I said before I'm deeply disturbed by the unnecessary destruction of property during the eviction. I cannot stop considering what good those instruments could have done even if they'd been sold at police auction or used in our school system. While I trust your office to pass on my feelings if there is a better way for me to communicate my displeasure to the people who organized the eviction and allowed this shameful waste to occur please let me know what that way is.

[My Real Name]

No Music Here

I have been in conversation with a friend over the weekend. It prompted me to write this note to my City Council Member this morning. I hope to hear from her soon, she's extremely responsive in my experience, and I'll let you know what I find out. 
Dear Ms. James,

I live in your district and am coming to you because you've always been so responsive to our community. I don't know where else I might find an answer to my question.

I have a friend who is a minister in Vermont. A few of his parishioners have been here in New York protesting with Occupy Wall Street and were there during the evacuation proceedings. One young lady went over to retrieve her confiscated belongings and was told that her banjo had been destroyed along with all the other confiscated musical instruments.

As a musician and a teacher I find this deeply disturbing on a number of levels. Part of me hopes that whoever the young lady spoke to was having a bad day, didn't want to go through the hassle of helping this woman, and told her something to ensure that she wouldn't return. Another part of me knows that this very well could have been a decision by the authorities or the boots on the ground at the evacuation. I'm just hoping and guessing, though, and I need to know the truth. Ideally this young woman and her companions would be reunited with their instruments or assisted in the replacement of them. Whether or not either of those things is possible knowing the reasoning behind the destruction would help me decide how to proceed on their behalf.

Thank you for all you do and for any help you can give me in getting to the bottom of this.

[My Full Given Name]

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Creeping Forward

A while ago (a long while) blogger made it possible for us to have up to 20 other pages on our blog. I made my first one tonight! I've been wanting to have a stand alone place to keep my Life List and I finally have it. You should see two tabs below the header now, one says Home and one says In My Life. If you don't, refresh the screen and they should show up. They did for me. Stay tuned in the coming months (years?) for an About Me page and who knows what else!

If you've got time to check out the newly updated list I'd be grateful!

P.S. Hurray for NaBloPoMo for inspiring me to keep developing my blog!


My Great Grandmother was a fantastic gardener. Good thing, too, since she traveled across the US in a covered wagon and lived in a sod hut and practically gave birth in a buggy on Christmas Eve. She had wonderful garden on a couple of levels behind the home I knew as hers. Parts of it were covered in succulents she called Hens & Chickens.

I am a terrible gardener. I can kill anything. Well, me and my cactus-consuming cat. I have scaled my growing dreams down from flowering pretties. All I want at this point is to grow some Hens & Chickens. So far I've killed 5. The last one I burned to death by watering it in the shower. Apparently I take showers so hot they broil plants.

So I saw a pair of these decorative chairs today and I fell in love but I know they don't deserve to be punished like that.