Friday, December 22, 2006

A Spoonful of Sugar

it's Friday evening of a week filled with holiday fun instead of real work, prior to a long holiday weekend.

I'm watching Mary Poppins, which debuted the same year I was born and which I have never seen. I'm watching Dick van Dyke and Julie Andrews dance with penguins. And all I can ask myself is "Is that the same little girl as in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Migraine or twitch?

My eye has been twitching since Friday.
Twitch, wiggle, twitch.
Hours and hours of it.

My stress mechanism usually shows up in the form of a migraine. Which I could kill with a few judicious applications of Excedrin. Thereby reducing my misery to just a few several hours. And a lot of unproductive time.

But nooooo, I have the twitch instead.

Damn, I can't believe I would say this but...I sure wish I had a migraine right now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hold that Scream!

It's a laundry evening. And homework. And TV. And all the other little things one does around the home to neaten up after a long weekend and longer week.

And since I'm genetically incapable of doing one task to completion, I end up doing all of those activities in bits and pieces. Which means I don't give my entire attention to any one in particular.

It goes like this...Take the dried items out of the dryer, usually folding as I go. Wander back to the bathroom to put the towels away. Flip through a few channels since The Replacements just ended; watch the opening scenes of Men in Black. Wander to the office and replace the Christmas CD that just finished ripping to MP3 to start the next one. Check email while I'm there. At this point I notice that the dryer door is still open, so I stroll back to the bedroom for the next load. Drop that load next to the washer and begin taking items out of the washer. And just as I'm about to toss the first sweatshirt into the dryer, I notice something still in there. Something with glowing yellow orbs.

I scream and jerk my arm back, getting a face full of wet sweatshirt. As I try to recover, something flashes past my feet, tripping me up. I stumble backward, knocking the postcards and pictures off the shelving behind me. I've dropped the sweatshirt by now, so as I again try to recover, I stumble over it...and a tail.

I end up on my knees facing a hissing Persian who happens to be trapped against the bookshelf by a picture of bluebonnets, a stuffed Astros memento and several CDs -- and whose fur is so fluffed out that a hot air balloon would stick to her.

And, finally I laugh.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hard lipstick?!

The Irish took my lipstick this afternoon. Damn them. They said it was a gel!

Correction...they said that only "hard lipstick" can go into hand luggage.

Hard lipstick? What the hell is that?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dr Pepper -- Yeah, Baby!

It's official...I'm moving to London!

As many of you know, I have gone through considerable angst since transferring to the Boston area. Not only does the local bottler not know that Caffeine Free Dr Pepper actually is a product, but also most local merchants haven't even heard of Dr Pepper -- unless they think a berry-filled version is what normal people want.

Well, having spent less than 24 hours in London, I'm ready to say that I want to live here! From the convenience store in Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport to the one at Victoria Station to every small deli and store between the Station and Parliament and on to Buckingham Palace...I have found Dr Pepper.

Okay, so the British Dr Pepper tastes similar to the Dublin version -- a little flatter and sweeter, as if they're using real sugar like they do in Dublin, TX. And I prefer the bite of the more prevalent DP.

But- but- it's DP in quantity! Really. It's not a single row buried among swaths of Coca-Cola Zero and Berry Dr Pepper. Some delis even had multiple rows.

OMG! I'm not in London. Something must have happened during those 10 minutes I managed to snooze on the flight, and now I'm somewhere else. An alternate reality: the Michelle London.

Hmmm, I wonder if designer shoes cost less than $20 and can pack down into a credit card sized package...

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Pumpkin Talent

can't carve. can't draw. can't play.doh?

Salem + Halloween = Chocolate Buzz

I live too close to the home of the Witch Trials.

My exit to Peabody (go West!) is the middle of three exits leading to Salem, Massachusetts (go East!).

And I had thought that the usual Friday evening traffic is bad as folks head for the coast or north to the mountains. Well, I just discovered that Halloween traffic makes the snarled hair at my nape seem like smooth chocolate.

(Yeah, strange analogy. Sue me, I'm eating tomorrow's candy already just to recover from the last half-mile of my drive home.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Toast to R & L!

We celebrated my best friend’s wedding over the weekend. We rather rapidly progressed from dinner to dancing, without pausing much for cake cutting or speeches. Thus, I never had the chance to say the toast that I valiantly and effortlessly struggled to write just hours before the big event. So, here it is…

I have known R since our first week of high school – many many many many years ago.

Of course, given the many many many many years that we’ve been friends, both R and I have changed. Grown up – I can’t quite say that we’ve matured. And our friendship has gone through the usual twists and turns. Which is only natural: relationships do change. They grow or stagnate. They fall apart though lack of attention or flourish with careful tending.

My friendship with R underwent a subtle shift several years ago when she first came out to me. I know she attributed the change to her being a lesbian. But that never was the root of my stepping back. Rather, it was a far more simple reason: I didn’t like her partner. And, correspondingly, I didn’t like the way her partner treated her. R wasn’t the person whom I knew she could be.

Now, I’m supposed to stand up here and say something amusing. And my dissertation thus far probably has you all wondering where I’m headed, but bear with me.

I’ve never been witty on my own. Not really. I need someone to be my foil – or for me to act as the set-up man for someone with a quick punchline. R has usually been that person. my setup man. my foil to amuse those around us, and thereby amuse ourselves. We lost that fundamental part of our relationship when we both went our separate ways several years back.

And the bummer of this marriage, of R’s fantastic relationship with L, is that she’s still not mine for setting up or for being my foil. She’s L’s now.

The good new is that L appreciates our rather offbeat sense of humor. L – that vivacious, fun-loving person at R’s side has made a huge difference in R – and therefore in my relationship with R.

R has become more affectionate. More confident. More open. And, dare I say, more amusing!

A lot of that has been L’s influence. And for that I thank L. I welcome her lovingly and officially into our little circle. But some of that has been R herself. And I’m grateful that R has become the strong woman she is today.

Soooo, a toast to R and L:

May my best friend and my new friend always be friends.

May you never be bored while in each other’s presence.

May you create together thousands of memories to smile upon in old age.

And may you grow and change, becoming more together than either of you could be apart.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Observation No. 1

As I sit in the Jet Blue terminal at JFK Airport (surfing the web, of course), I noticed that there are more Apple Powerbooks that other types of computers around me. A 4 to 2 ratio, as a matter of fact.

Not trying to make a point -- just an observation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Soundtrack(s) of My Life

I stole this from a friend of a friend:

If your life were a movie, what would be on the soundtrack?
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button


of the 599 songs on my iPod, this is what came out:
Opening Credits: Blurry – Puddle of Mudd.
Waking Up: Perfect Situation – Weezer.
First Day at School: Bandstand Boogie – Barry Manilow.
Falling in Love: For My Wedding – Don Henley.
Fight Song: Best of My Love – Eagles.
Breaking Up: Tourniquet – Evanescence.
Prom: Look Away – Chicago.
Life is Good: Ain’t Got Nothin’ if You Ain’t Got Love – Michael Bolton.
Mental Breakdown: Wanna Be – Nine Days.
Driving: Finding Me – Vertical Horizon.
Flashback: Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel.
Getting Back Together: Just a Phase -- Incubus
Wedding: Losing You – Marble Jar.
Paying the Dues: If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red.
The Night Before the War: What Kind of Man Would I Be? – Chicago.
Final Battle: Hangnail – Nickelback.
Moment of Triumph: This Love – Maroon 5.
Death Scene: Your Mirror – Simply Red.
Funeral Song: Have You Ever Needed Someone? – Def Leppard
End Credits: Smoke – Ben Folds Five.

I have one playlist that I listen to the most, so I thought I'd try it:
Opening Credits: Misunderstood – Bon Jovi.
Waking Up: I Believe – Chicago.
First Day at School: Fight for all the Wrong Reasons – Nickelback.
Falling in Love: All Out of Love – Air Supply.
Fight Song: Modern Love – David Bowie.
Breaking Up: You’re All I Have – Snow Patrol.
Prom: Bells of Freedom – Bon Jovi.
Life is Good: Walk Away – Kelly Clarkson.
Mental Breakdown: From Yesterday – 30 Seconds to Mars.
Driving: Silent Running – Mike + The Mechanics.
Flashback: The Song That Goes Like This – Spamalot.
Getting Back Together: Pressure Point – The Zutons.
Wedding: Numb – Linkin Park.
Paying the Dues: Pressure – Billy Joel.
The Night Before the War: Dirty Little Secret – All-American Rejects.
Final Battle: Juke Box Hero – Foreigner.
Moment of Triumph: The Reason – Hoobastank.
Death Scene: Hate Me – Blue October.
Funeral Song: Lying From You – Linkin Park.
End Credits: This is How the Heart Breaks – Rob Thomas.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I See Color!

Autumn has finally arrived. The leaves are falling. A crisp breeze is blowing.

Take a look at my photos of the foliage.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Autumnal Equinox

It's the Autumnal Equinox...but no true signs of Fall just yet here on the North Shore.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Recently heard as a Mitsubishi Endeavor barrelled down Storrow Drive in Boston...

J: "OK, so I've put you on my calendar for --"
M: "Tunnel."
J: "--that Saturday. Probably lunch. What?!"
M: "I said, 'tunnel.' "

[two minutes later]

"And she went to Utah, and really--"
"--loves it there."

[a few minutes later]

" 'nother tunnel."

Late for Work

I spent a typical weekend -- shopping, doing stuff around the house, talking to friends and family. Yesterday I played softball for the first time in three years. Was thoroughly exhausted by the time I went to bed. So, of course, I overslept.

This morning, I was late to work.

And as I rushed through my morning routine, trying to get my act together and my hair under control, I realized something.

Five years ago today, I was late to work.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Upholstery reminds me of something...

When first I read this post I couldn't remember exactly what that dress reminded me of, except that I think I might have worn it as a child in the 60s.

Yes, yes! I remember now -- Mom posing us kids one-by-one against a wall or the side of the car so she could capture a picture of us in our Easter clothes. It was a rare treat to have a new dress (especially as I was the youngest and generally wore everyone else's leftovers).

But I do now distinctly remember having more than one Easter dress that I downright despised.

Most of the time, my aversion developed from the itchy netting sewn into the wasteline to make the skirt fuller. However, there was one dress that I disliked for no particular reason. I'll bet that, if I were to dig through photos buried in the depths of time and space near La Grange, Texas, that I would see myself in a dress made from fabric that would have been better suited to covering a 1950s sofa rather than a 7-year-old girl.

The Spanish Inquisition couldn't have tortured me more than those Easter dresses did.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Today's Adventure

Today, the local sales rep and I were supposed to travel from Salt Lake City down to Zion. Tomorrow, we were going to visit customers, and possibly Zion National Park.

That plan went with the wind. Literally.

A forest fire in the mountains along I-15 got a tad too close to the highway. So close, in fact, that the smoke almost completely obscured the mid-afternoon sunlight. Traffic had to be routed back to the north because it was much too perilous for us.

So, here I am...back in a hotel in Salt Lake City. Twiddling my thumbs. And dammit, the A/C won't get cool enough in this room. I can't believe I'm complaining about being hot after getting right in the thick of things down south!

This is what it looked like as we approached the area. That's smoke, not clouds.

Here's a western view of the area just before we slammed on the brakes due to the traffic jam caused by the highway closure.

Here's a view of the area after we turned around and things got even hotter on the east side of the mountains. It hadn't quite looked that "glowy" when we drove past just moments before.

Every day's an adventure. Can't wait for tomorrow: We're heading north.

Sippin' Cider Through a Straw

This post is for the Two Weirdos.

Yeah, you know who you are...

Hot! Hot! Hot!

I hear that as soon as I left Boston, the temperatures soared to Texas levels. Normally, this would annoy me. However, seeing as I'm currently in Salt Lake City, where temps have exceeded 100 the entire time that I've been here -- I'm not complaining.

In fact, I have finally managed to acquire the beginnings of a tan! I'm now sporting light brown skin instead of that pasty Boston shade. The downside: I've applied so much Vaseline Advanced Therapy Moisturizer that I practically own stock in the company.

The view from the hotel is kinda nice:

Most importantly, though, the hotel room itself exceeded my expectations. In fact, its size exceeded my entire third floor! My only regret is that I didn't get to spend enough time in the room except for sleep. Work work work kept me much too busy. Plus eating and socializing with co-workers. And training sales reps. Oh, and some serious pool-side time.

Today, we travel south. I'm sure that more pix will be forthcoming. I seriously doubt, though, that we'll find a hotel as comfy as this one.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Heading West

With tunnels collapsing and temperatures soaring (it's all of 85 degrees today) here in Boston, I'm headed West for a week. Ahm a-makin' mah waay to Salt Laake City!

And, for once this year, I finally have everything completed and ready both for the exhibit booth and the sales training that follows. Which means that today, I'm a-twiddlin' mah thumbs.


I have no idea what I can do to fill my work hours today that won't also be completed before I leave. Because if I start a project but don't finish it by 5 pm, then it's incompleteness will drive me nuts the entire time I'm standing in the exhibit booth through Saturday. It'll be tapping lightly at the back of my mind while I'm explaining the intricasies of product positioning to a bunch of know-it-all sales reps on Sunday. It'll be shouting "hey, look at me!" as the local sales manager and I visit customers next week. And by the time I return, it'll be screaming out my eyeballs -- and I will have way too much piled-up work on my desk to get back to it.

So. I think I'll just play Freecell.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Just gimme a bib!

For the second day in a row...I've had mexican cornbread crumbs in my bra.

At least I was alone when it happened. Gonna buy a bib this evening, I think. Rather than forgoing the other half of the platter.

At least the fajitas have kept their act together.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Thought for the Day

Cornbread will be at its most ineffective when crumbled inside a woman's bra. Especially when it's the moist-full-of-cheese-and-creamed-corn style of mexican cornbread.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Homeward Bound

I'm leaving on a jet plane -- in about 4 hours, heading for Houston.

I'm looking forward to shrimp tacos, hanging out with friends and family, and hot weather!

Of course, now that I'm leaving Peabody, the sun had decided to shine, once again triggering the need for A/C so that Angel doesn't die of heat stroke in her fur coat.

So typical. I'm convinced that when I return on Sunday, another cold front will blow through for yet another chilly week.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Death. Taxes…Laundry?!?

The old saying about Death and Taxes being inevitable is inadequate. There’s nothing more inevitable than Dirty Laundry.

After all, Death comes knocking only once. That is, your death, at least. Outside of being a cat or a soap opera character, or falling into a vat of red Rambaldi goo, you’re only likely to die once. Sure, you can be affected by other people’s deaths, but theirs is no more inevitable than yours—in fact, you can avoid facing the demise of others simply by retreating from their reality. But your own death will unarguably stop you in your tracks. Once.

And Taxes, well they do happen more often that Death, but really only once a year. You can be prepared or not, do them yourself or pay someone else. Either way, you get to put stuff aside for 364 days to have said Taxes done on the 365th. It’s inevitable, but it shouldn’t occupy your daily thoughts.

Dirty Laundry, though, can and will interrupt your day, be it morning or night, before showering or while eating lunch. That’s because Dirty Laundry is the ultimate inevitability. It’s a surety.

It cannot be avoided and refuses to be put aside. Like Taxes, you can do it yourself or pay someone else, you can save it up for days or weeks then take care of it all at one time (gads, what a load that would be!). But it will never go away.

If you’re avoiding Dirty Laundry, you must find a place to stash that growing, smelly pile while you put off the inevitable moment of truth: You will need clean clothes eventually. You can choose to stay dirty, get arrested for vagrancy and make friends with a tattooed, equally smelly fellow named Joe-Bob. Or you can throw away the soiled clothing and buy new ones—always a favorite for shopaholics and celebrities. But within a few hours, days, weeks, you’ll just have to repeat that cycle. Making that choice over and over again: Is it dirty or clean? Do I ignore or take action?

Because Dirty Laundry is inevitable. As soon as you remove an article of clothing, you must make a decision: Is it clean or dirty? Do you put it in a hamper, toss it on the moldy pile festering in the corner, or hang it up in the closet in the hopes that that the spot on the hem will magically disappear?

[Okay, you could refuse to decide what to do, but you might tire of standing in the bathroom with a shirt and underwear gripped in your left hand and sweaty socks in your right. Eventually, you would do something—perhaps even asphyxiate from the unclean fumes. Ah, Death was inevitable, wasn’t it? But I digress…]

Dirty Laundry doesn’t occur once a year or once a lifetime: It’s today, yesterday afternoon, Christmas night. It’s sorting and stuffing the washer. It’s carrying the load to the Laundromat, garage or utility room. It’s liquid soap and dryer lint.

But most of all, Dirty Laundry is a constant. It’s not a one-time action. It’s the same decisions every day for the rest of your life, whether you pay Taxes or not, until Death takes you.

Taxes don’t occupy our time like this. Death shouldn’t. Yet Dirty Laundry does.

As such, I advocate a change to that tired old adage about death and taxes. From now on, everyone should say: It’s as sure as Dirty Laundry.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Learning to Cook

I turn 42 tomorrow. I bought myself an emerald ring and a charcoal grill. And I made a vow:

I will learn to cook.

Sure, I can prepare a few basic items like homemade spaghetti sauce, sausage and potato omelets and Christmas cookies. However, I mostly survive on frozen and take-out dinners. Or chips and salsa. Or tortillas and queso. I simply have never felt the urge to create in the kitchen. (Unless chocolate and cookie dough were involved, that is.)

I’ve never grilled a steak in my life. In Houston, I had a gas grill on which I cooked the usual burgers, chicken and hot dogs. Never beef or sausage—that was always a man’s job. And so I never learned how to grill the perfect steak. It’s way past the time to rectify that omission.

But really, I want to learn to cook because I miss fresh fajitas and other good Tex-Mex food – meals that I took for granted while in Houston. In fact, I most often would forgo Mexican food in favor of Italian when I lived there. However, six months and 1,800 miles away from original Tex-Mex, I find I crave it more often than I ever have before.

Thus, if I can’t get the real thing up here, I might as well learn to prepare it. To that end, I purchased a Texas foods cookbook the last time I was in Houston. It offered recipes for both beef and chicken fajitas, for frijoles and arroz ala mexicana, blackberry cobbler and for hot German potato salad, amid lots of other tempting items. How could I possibly pass up such a book – much less not use it?

So, today I did use it. I marinated and grilled some steak for my first attempt at beef fajitas. At some future date I intend to prepare a true Tex-Mex meal for my co-workers, and I should try out the recipes first, right? I figured this weekend would be as good as any to start, beginning with the fajitas, some Mexican cornbread and rice. And lo! My neighbors caught me at the grill and invited me to join them for a grilling party at the complex’s gazebo on Monday afternoon. So, I will have guinea pigs for my first efforts.

Lucky them.

At last!

I turned on the A/C yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours.

At last...warm weather!

Friday, May 26, 2006

I am...

My friend Lindsey tagged me on this...

I AM occasionally creative. Easily bored. Online chatting with a co-worker in London and another in Guadalajara

I WANT shrimp tacos from Berryhill’s. More hot water. To stop planning and start doing.

I WISH it were Saturday. I weren’t addicted to TV.

I MISS hot weather. Having more living space. 3rd Saturday lunch.

I HEAR a table saw. Customer service cold-calling with my script. Phones ringing incessantly. Hoobastank ‘The Reason.’

I WONDER wonder wonder wonder, trudge trudge trudge trudge, streeking streeking.

I REGRET not splurging on fun vacations when my friends asked me to go with them.

I AM NOT slow. Patient. High-maintenance.

I DANCE whenever I hear music that makes me want to dance, wherever I happen to be.

I AM NOT ALWAYS patient. Organized. Motivated.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS dumb Christmas ornaments.

I WRITE less often than I should for myself. All the time for my job.

I CONFUSE left with right. Names and faces. Other people when I hold 3 conversations at once.

I SHOULD work on my manuscripts more diligently. Get Angel groomed. Not be afraid of biking on these hills.

I START lots of projects.

I FINISH very few of them.

I TAG Glenny , Paladin, and My Evil Twin.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


After posting my retraction about the rain, I noticed this column in today's Boston Globe. His commentary is spot-on. And it's amusing to read that former Bostonians have found better lives in other cities...

...because you wouldn't know that from listening to the natives up here. Oh nooooo! This is the most perfect place to live in the entire world...

mostly because here we have outrageously expensive housing, the Red Sox who won the World Series 2 seasons ago, cold weather that lasts even into May, a baseball team that finally won the big series in 2004, nasty snarling traffic through a leaking expensive tunnel, the Sox team that finally beat Babe Ruth's curse and managed to win a pennant a couple of years ago, the Kennedys who make the news for their driving habits almost as often as their politics, and lots of red-wearing baseball fans still doing the jig about a game that happened--

Er, I digress. In short, it's good to have my views validated.

Rain, rain...go away!

er, um...AHEM. I have an announcement to make:

I take back everything I said about rain.
I want it to go away now.

I was inconvenienced this morning trying to find an alternate route to work. I was stuck in crawling traffic, and ended up idling on a bridge. Under which water rushed at a very alarming rate, with no discernable space between the water and the base of the bridge. All I could think was, "Undermining the supports. Undermining the supports. Move, cars, move!" I probably repeated that mantra for five minutes before traffic began to move again and I was able to proceed off the bridge.

Like every Houstonian, I'm used to this flood thing. It's just that this place has so many brooks, creeks and rivers, combined with hills to force the water to flow faster and with torturously narrow winding's already a nightmare for most traffic conditions. Flooded roads just make it worse.

So, please, gimme some sunny days.

And then a thunderstorm or two.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Singing in the rain...

I’ve been in Massachusetts for six months now, and most of the precipitation has been of the frozen variety. Which, of course, has been completely foreign to me: strong wind battering against the townhouse without the accompanying pitter-patter on windows; the sand and grit embedded in every wet patch; the splat of snow flying off the car in front of me or dropping unexpectedly from overhead lines.

I expected to find the winter strange and different, and I wasn’t disappointed. However, it wasn’t until Spring arrived that I realized I had been unnerved by how silent the weather here has been.

Because I’m used to rainy weather.

Nasty downpours pounding against every hard surface. Thunder claps rattling dishes in the cupboards. Light showers gently tapping on windows. Squalls rushing through trees, spattering drops in random patterns. The swish of tires on wet pavement. The slap of sprayed puddles against the windscreen.

I haven’t heard any of those sounds for months. And I probably never would have realized how much I missed the sound of rain…until it started raining yesterday. I lay awake last night simply enjoying the wind and rain hammering against my bedroom windows. On the way to work this morning, I actually drove through puddles like we splashed through them as a child. Rain was fun again, almost new. Everyone arrived this morning grumbling about the weather -- but I just grinned.

Unfortunately, now that the really wet stuff has arrived, I find I'm holding my breath as I listen for the sound of thunder.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

oh CRAP !!!

My 15-inch PowerBook imploded the other night.
It's at CompUSA right now, and after only one night I'm starting to feel the loss:

While watching the Astros game, I wanted to look up Oswalt's stats...but I didn't have a computer.

Going through my mail, I discovered some bills to pay...but I didn't have a computer.

Birthday card in hand, I wanted to look up the mailing address...but I didn't have a computer.

Having a computer is ingrained in my psyche now. Which means...I'm going to buy a 2nd computer!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Holy Chitty Hand Grenades, Tim!

While watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang this evening, I noticed that the bad guy king of Bulgaria carries around a replica of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. So, it made me wonder...why did he never blow his enemies to tiny bits?

Come to think of it, the Prime Minister has a remarkable resemblance to Tim the Sorcerer. I'm thinking we could come up with some dialogue from this movie to fit with scenes in Holy Grail -- if anyone cares, that is.

One more curiosity just for the Queen of Sparrows: If the King has the Holy Hand Grenade AND he's the captain of VulgAir Zeppelins, does he also have holy water ready at the exit?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Closing Sooner Than Expected

I'm relinquishing Castle Meesh a tad sooner than I expected!

The buyer has some kind of out-of-country emergency, and must close on the house now rather than May 15. I received a panicked call from the title company Thursday morning wanting to get my payoff info and apparently they didn't have enough of my personal data to get it. I had a minor meltdown, while the title person and I discussed whether April 28 really was a proper closing date or if May 15 was. We both hung up confused. However, a few hours later my realtor confirmed the change of plans.

Soooo, today I expect to receive and sign papers via email, FedEx or fax -- whatever floats their boats. I know that I'll be faxing and FedExing 'em back. Good thing a co-worker is a notary public!

And then I'll be renting Castle Meesh through May 15, at which point I hand over the keys and cut off the utilities. And it's all theirs!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Meesh Version-06

My friend Glenda tagged me with this idea the other day. I'm not usually one to compare what I have now with what I used to have -- it's too depressing if things are bad and only briefly uplifting if the comparison is favorable. (It's just as well that I don't live by enumerated goals.)

However, after thinking it over, I had a small epiphany...

One Year Ago
I was selling medcarts and computing systems to hospitals, and had added Kansas to my already over-large territory. I was worn-out, dispirited and seeking another job.

Five Years Ago
I was in my stride at S&S, working as both a marketing and sales manager for the different product lines. It was fun, challenging and rewarding. And I just described my current job--same title, even.

Ten Years Ago
In April, I was taking my first steps toward buying my first house, which I purchased in November. I was debt-free and thoroughly enjoying-hating my job at Intermedics because it was challenging and incredibly stressful and massively fun. Today, I'm just weeks away from selling that house.

So, I've come full circle on the house, and I'm still doing the same type of job as before, except for the hiatus into direct sales. I would say that I'm in a rut, except that my current job is even more ambitious for me.

Which brings me to the epiphany. I'm enhanced: Meesh Version-06, displaying greater mobility and a more balanced approach to sales/marketing and to emotional upheaval. The only drawback to this updated version is that the Evil Twin anomaly is still embedded in the program.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Going, Going, Almost Gone...

Castle Meesh is almost ready to be re-named.

The buyer had the house inspected, and the inspector came up with lots of issues. So, the buyer asked for $6,000 to go toward repairs -- that's in addition to the $4,500 he wants toward closing costs. I suggested $3,000.

Today, he agreed to my counter-offer, but apparently the funds actually are going to his realtor (a bonus) instead. I signed more paperwork and faxed it back.

Now, my realtor will find out if they want to buy my refrigerator and washer-dryer. Actually, they can HAVE that dryer: it's crap.

Here's hoping that the next steps go just as smoothly...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Worm eatin' sonavagun

Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me.

I'm gonna eat some worms!

Big, fat, juicy ones and

Long, skinny, slimy ones...

I'm gonna eat some worms!

First you chop their heads off,

Then you squeeze their guts out--

Ooh, how they wiggle and squirm!

Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me.

I'm gonna eat some worms!

I came home singing this song. It's been one of those days.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Stampede at Gate 12, Manchester

MANCHESTER, NH – Travelers at Manchester Airport witnessed two human stampedes Thursday morning. A few minor injuries were reported, but airport officials state that no flights were missed.

The first stampede occurred at 8:12 a.m. Witnesses said that the passengers waiting for Southwest Airlines Flight 815 at Gate 15 suddenly made a break for Gate 12 en masse.

“It was the most amazing sight,” said Wanda Burns, who had been queued up at Gate 13. “I heard this loud roaring noise, like at the racetrack – where, by the way, I recently won $212. Anyway, I looked up and saw this huge crowd rushing toward me.”

Burns added that she maintained her position in line despite the danger. “I’m in the C group, so I shut my eyes and stood my ground. Otherwise, I might have been stuck in a really bad seat.”

Other witnesses agreed that the Southwest Airlines passengers rushing to Gate 12 resembled a stampede. “They all had this blind look in their eyes,” one witness said. “Like it was the most important thing in the world to get to the other gate. I ducked and covered, and nearly got bowled over by a family of four.”

In a statement released shortly after the incident, Southwest Airlines said that the change to Gate 12 was a result of mechanical problems with the plane at Gate 15. “We have an excellent on-time record and did not want to sacrifice that reputation or our one for passenger safety,” the statement concluded. “Thus, the local Southwest managers decided to move the passengers to a plane already prepared at Gate 12.”

The statement also said that the original mechanical failure was satisfactorily repaired just minutes after the initial gate change. At 8:16 a.m., Southwest staff announced that Flight 815 would be leaving from Gate 15 as originally planned.

“That’s when the second stampede happened,” said a Manchester Airport official who didn’t wish to be named. “Unfortunately, it occurred just when another flight was deplaning. And a few people were injured in the melee. It wasn’t pretty – all those people scrambling to be first in the A, B and C queues.”

The anonymous employee reported that three children and one octogenarian sustained injuries from the second stampede. No official report has been released as yet.

Of the 168 passengers on Flight 815, only one did not participate in the stampede. A woman who called herself Meesh said that she had been sitting at the back of the B queue when the first announcement occurred.

“We had been delayed so long that I had booted up my laptop,” Meesh said. “When everyone around me ran for the other gate, I knew that I couldn’t pack up in time and still get a good position in line. So I didn’t bother trying.”

Meesh added that she had just finished stowing her computer when the Southwest staff announced the return to Gate 15.

“I was still there, so I ended up being the first person in the B queue.”

She smiled. “Life is good.”

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

3 Pointless Statements

The pilot light blew out yesterday.

It's snowing today.

I'll be in Palm Springs tomorrow.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jinxes and Hitches

Despite the eternal jokes and superstitions about jinxing a ballplayer by talking about something negative he hasn't done or screwing up a test by saying that I know all there is to know on the subject, I'm pretty sure that I don't believe in hexes or jinxes or murphy's law.

With that said, I'd like to make a bold proclamation: I just received an offer on Castle Meesh! A fantastically good one! I signed the papers and returned them to the realtor this afternoon.

Now the fun begins...

Such as, the inspections and discussions about which fixtures stay (like the refrigerator). And just how much in the way of repairs / servicing will the buyer expect. And, really, deciding how much of those expectations would I want to meet. Oh God, and figuring out how to move my stuff to storage by May 15.

Soooo, did I just jinx the offer by posting about it? Or do I already think the offer is too good to be true, and thus the offer was already jinxed and my posting or not posting would have made no difference? Or will the sale go through without a hitch?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

If I leave here tomorrow...

I have always liked Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, I have always despised their hit "Freebird". Mainly because every guy who learned the guitar -- or thought he had learned guitar -- insisted on playing the song ad nauseum. With no real skill, most of the time.

However, I just watched the movie "Elizabethtown". And a single scene in the movie has brought that beloved song up from the depths of my contempt and stomach distress. It may even have wiped out all the torture of hearing "Freebird" mis-played.

Oh yeah...tomorrow, I might even rip it to my iTunes.

Dare I say it? Hooray for Hollywood! NAH! I'll wait until they redeem "Stairway to Heaven"!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Scrapin’ Failure Off My Boots

I have failed – both spectacularly with witnesses galore and by hidden means that not even a therapist would hear about. And I have succeeded in similar ways. The successes raised my spirits and brought honor to my family, if only for the short while that anyone remembered them.

The failures, on the other hand….Ah, the failures. They have haunted me with each step I took. The fear of failure grasped my elbow, and whispered defeating thoughts in my ears at each challenge that I accepted or rejected.

The whispers reminded me how I failed Algebra in 9th grade, resulting in horror from parents who always assured me that I was smart. I had to deal with the never-ending inquisition over how I could possibly have failed something; after all, I was a straight-A student. I also was, quite embarrassingly, discharged from the Honor Society. And had to face the indignity of re-taking the course as a sophomore with the other “layabouts and dumb students.”

The whispers reminded me that I never could pass Algebra in college, leading to my eventual discharge without a degree – something I failed to acknowledge for a very long time.

The whispers reminded me that I suck at reading school books. I never read a class book unless I was desperate for a better grade. And I never was desperate because the grade I made always was good enough for me, even if it wasn’t as high as that of my smarter friends. After all, I’d failed Algebra and been demoted to regular English after my sophomore year. The whispers said that I’d already proved that I wasn’t on my friends’ level academically anyway. Thus, I no longer had to be that straight-A student.

And because I didn’t have to be a top-mark person any more, I stopped being one. Right through college, definitely through my first job where I came in late on a regular basis and preferred to play solitaire rather than write articles. And BANG! It all became reality when the interviewer for my next job pointed out that I was barely good enough for the position since I didn’t have a college degree and the writing samples from my first job weren’t of the best quality.

Oh yeah, the whispers like to remind me of that salutary moment.

I spent eight years at that company trying to prove that I could be the quality person they expected me to be. Ignoring the whispers as often as possible, working my butt off. And then the buy-out happened, and the layoffs came. I had the opportunity to work for a larger firm in Minneapolis or with a lot of my current co-workers who moved to the L.A. area.

But I didn’t take on those challenges because I was listening to the negative voice that said I would fail if I stepped out of my safe little zone. Surely, it whispered, there’s a company in Houston that’s just good enough. Because I certainly didn’t need to find some place better.

So I found a safe job that challenged me just enough but not too much. And there I stayed for five years, while my friends moved on to cooler job opportunities and while my former co-workers found amazing success at the companies that I’d turned down in Minneapolis and L.A.

And I envied their ability to take the job risk, to move out of a safe zone.

For a long time, I let that negative voice direct me. It had taught me to hide my failures to the point where everyone just assumed I was successful, even when I knew I wasn’t.

However, somewhere along the way, I found my career niche and learned that failures weren’t such a bad thing. After all, my problems with credit card debt or with not making a deadline at work seemed a tad insignificant while the company was five months behind on product deliveries or showed a steady decline in sales. The company, and its owner, were failing a lot more spectacularly than I ever had, and with more dire consequences to far more people that just me and my embarrassed family!

I started to wonder if I were the only person walking around with a special safety zone, which insulated me from the major failures lurking outside and kept my little failures hidden inside. The realization came to me slowly, but eventually I caught on: The safety insulation that kept risks at bay also filtered out the good stuff.

Sure, I had bought a house and been out of debt for years and my boss thought I walked on water a lot of the time. Good stuff! But instead of relishing those triumphs, I focused on the things that I hadn’t done right and on the things that still needed to be done but that I couldn’t do because I was afraid of making mistakes.

I was so busy avoiding failure that I also avoided true success.

Now THAT is embarrassing. So I finally took a risk…I accepted a job as a sales representative. Right from the start I knew that my personality wasn’t suited for closing sales (cheerleading / marketing, yes! but not pushing people to buy); however, I tackled the task. I even hired a sales coach to help me out in the early stages. I got the hang of the job; in fact, I made some small, steady progress. However, in the company’s eyes and in my own, I FAILED.

Whoohoo, I really failed. And the best part is that there’s no little negative whisper saying “I told you so” because I took this risk in full acknowledgement that I could fail. And that it would be okay with me if I did.

Because, really, in my books I will count that job as a success, a spectacular triumph. Not for my performance, but for taking the risk in accepting the job in the first place.

So, now I’m on to bigger and more exciting risks. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? I’ve already done the whole failure bit and stomped its mouth shut beneath my snow-covered boots. I’m searching for success now.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


It's a real Nor'easter, comin' our way. "Get to the stores and stock up!" everyone said.

So, I did:

I hope these are enough to get me through the storm!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cleaning Up

Overheard at Castle Meesh on Sunday, January 22:

“Oh, sure, leave this job for your hetero-friend!”

“What? You don’t want to feel-up the mermaid’s breasts while cleaning her?”

“Not exactly. Just where are Rhonda and Lindsey when you need them, anyway?”

Sunday, January 15, 2006

At least it's a WET cold

I never thought I would see the Weather Channel site for my zip code show such
low numbers.

After Houston-style weather for the past week (that is, temperatures in the
fifties), today's high was somewhat of a disappointment: It was just above freezing
and occurred right after midnight. The heater for my townhouse has run non-stop
in a vain attempt to stave off the dropping temperature outside. At least the
snow decided to stop falling much earlier today. The ground looks like the top
of a bundt cake with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Amazingly, the humidity is above 30%.

However, having made a run to the store earlier, I fully appreciate the weather
advisory regarding potential frost bite because of the wind. And I now understand
why my friend Rhonda kept reminding me that it gets COLD up here.

So, what do I do? I fail to take my mom's advice while outside: I didn't have
a hat, left the gloves in the car, and didn't zip up my parka. I hate admitting
that Mom was right. But I can't admit that Rhonda was right-- because I haven't
yet regretted making the move North...

...other than having to deal with the other drivers and the accents, that is.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Lessons Learned from My First Blizzard

  • After having 8 inches of snow dumped on my car by a December blizzard,
    it will take at least 30 minutes for the car's interior to be comfortably
    warm. It's usually a 20-minute drive home.

  • Even with the car coated in snow, my Texas plates will still be visible.
    But the other drivers tailgate anyway. (There's a RANT brewing on that topic.)

  • I should park the car in the garage, despite the 8 inches of snow covering
    it. My garage is not warm enough for all of that snow to melt and destroy
    the boxes of unpacked stuff. Because if I don't put it in the garage, then my
    driveway never gets plowed. And within a couple of days, that nice,
    forgiving snow becomes hard ice! Sure, the car doesn't mind driving over
    it, but...

  • I can't walk on ice.

  • If the 8 inches of snow haven't melted away after leaving the car out in
    the sun for several hours, sweep said snow off the top! Because if I drive
    with slushy snow on top of my vehicle, it will come down onto the windshield
    as soon as I brake. Visibility = none.

  • Best lesson of all: Yes, my gas-guzzling, all-wheel-drive SUV can
    make it up that icy hill. So take that, you aluminum-plastic-paper-recycling-with
    over-priced-homes-and-no-understanding-of-right-of-way Bostonites. (I definitely feel a rant coming on.)
  • Wednesday, January 04, 2006


    No, not the book. And not the more recent Broadway show.

    I mean the "wicked" that modifes every noun, pronoun, adjective and unnecessary adverb uttered by those around me. I actually heard "wicked cool" at the mall yesterday. For a moment, I thought it was a SNL show. Or that I'd gone back to high school, and next I'd hear "major" and "oh my gawd".

    But then I remembered that I now live in Massachusetts. Ah, yes. It all makes sense.

    It's always wicked in Boston. Whatever "it" may be.