March 2010 Archives

Every year, at the end of the Seder, my family sings this Yiddish song Moo Adabah.  I won't even TRY to explain it to you because - really, I can't. But it's 12 verses and lots of fun and after several glasses of Manischweitz, it can and often does, get a bit raucous.

For years and years and years my Great Uncle Icky would lead us. He'd be on his feet, clapping, stomping, and singing with such gusto that you couldn't help but join in.  Every verse ends with the phrase "a chitzen kai-enya" (spelled phonetically because really? I don't speak Yiddish) and at the end of every verse, we'd all yell "a chitzen kai-enya. But none as loud as Uncle Icky.

Sadly my Uncle Icky passed away and last year's Seder was the first we'd ever celebrated without him.  It was weird and sad and strange, but when it came time to sing Moo Adabah, my Dad and my brother lead the charge and I think we all sang as loudly as we could to make sure that Icky could hear us.

Last night, we started to sing and it was nice, but it was quiet. Calm.  There was no Icky. No Dad. No big brother. There was simply no gusto.  And so somewhere around verse 9 or 10, I jumped to my feet and when the verse started, even though I am completely tone deaf, I sang as loud as I could. I slapped the table with my hand. I stomped my feet on the floor.  When the verses ended, I sang "a chitzen kai-enya" as loud as I could. For a few brief moments, I channeled my beloved Uncle.

After we had finished, my Aunt Pearl (Icky's sister) came up to me with tears in her eyes.  I was teary too. It had been a special moment and for once in my life, I felt like I had done my small part to bring our family a little closer together.

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I have gone from freely dipping my toes into the pool of online dating to paying for the privilege of actually jumping in and going for a swim. I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing but after 1) getting viewed by 34 men over the course of a week 2) receiving messages from 5 of them which I couldn't even read as a non-paying member and 3) giving some serious thought to my online dating profile thanks to all of your helpful comments, I decided that JDate could in fact, have my credit card along with my dignity. At least for thirty days.

So Saturday night (how clich├ęd), armed with a semi-decent bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough and my Discover card, I jumped into the pool.

First up? I rewrote my profile. Although most people seemed to think that "I love great food, better wine, NASCAR, college hoops, all things Italian, mysteries, and Audrey Hepburn movies" was both accurate and to the point, I thought I could probably do better. 

Here was what I came up with:

I grew up listening to Howard Stern. This probably explains why, along with Terms of Endearment and Breakfast at Tiffany's, the Hangover is one of my favorite movies. It also explains my irreverent sense of humor. Although I was born and bred on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I love NASCAR. Basically? It was a social experiment gone awry. Things you need to know about me: I love steak dinners, old movies, college basketball , wine, all things Italian, my crazy cat, chicken wings, Guinness, Bones and NCIS marathons on TV, caffeine, pedicures, and the NY Yankees. I think Grease 2 is better than Grease, I prefer diamonds to pearls (although I own both), chocolate to vanilla, kisses to hugs, and if I could bring any man back from the dead it would probably be Cary Grant.  Oh. And it's quite possible I bake the world's best chocolate chip cookies. Seriously. Things I can live without? Olives, salmon, political extremists on either side of the aisle, and anyone who went to Carolina. As far as you're concerned? You don't kick puppies, you don't have Miracle Whip in your house (or even consider it to be an actual condiment), you don't mind if I fall asleep in the car, and you're not intimidated by a smart, strong, successful woman who knows what she wants.  Also? No Red Sox fans. Sorry. The rest will work itself out.

I was pretty proud of it, but me being me, I sent it off to a dozen or so folks for feedback. Most people liked it and thought it was funny and witty and very "me." A few people did not like the "diamonds to pearls" reference which for the record, I put in there to show a man that while it might be nice if he'd like to buy me jewelry, I can afford my own thankyouverymuch.

Anyways, I posted it, and answered a whole bunch more questions about my lifestyle and what I like, and of course, I uploaded pictures. If there's one thing I have plenty of? It's fantastic photos. Also? I figured out how to manage my privacy settings so that I could browse profiles without being identified. Awesome. 

Then I went into my inbox and read the emails that heretofore I had been denied access to. And then I replied. Yes. I replied.

And then? Now that I was actually "private" I started actually reading through the profiles of both the men who had viewed me and the ones I had previously clicked on last week. 

And then? I sent out an email. Unsolicited. To someone who hadn't emailed me or publicly viewed me. And then I curled up on the sofa with my wine and my cat and watched a very hot Chris O'Donnell in NCIS: LA because seriously? I think that's enough for one evening.

Anyways, yesterday morning I had the pleasure of catching up with Dr. Diva.  Dr. Diva is sort of my dating consigliore (along with The Peach) mainly because she's had some experience in this area. Whereas the last time I went on a date - well, I don't even remember. So I had sent Dr. Diva my profile and apparently, it's too long and reveals too much.  Apparently men have zero attention span and oh yeah - I've left nothing to the imagination. As if to confirm her comments, her boyfriend, who is an old friend of mine from high school, said he wouldn't ask me out if he'd read what I wrote. No mystery. I received an email from my friend The Artist with similar feedback.

Fuck y'all. I don't do mystery - ok? You're talking to a girl who pretty much broadcasts her entire life online. My style is best described as "bull in a China shop." When you think of me, demure and coy are not words that readily come to mind. Also? I have a tendency to ramble. I tag very few posts with "Brevity is the Soul of Wit" and I can usually be found saying "to make a long story long" because I feel compelled to share every. little. detail.  And while apparently this is charming on a blog, it's not going to land me any dates.

My point is men are from Mars and that pretty much sucks for me because 1) I am from the land of Inyourface Overshare and 2) I don't speak Martian.

I can tell it's going to be a long 30 days. Also? Now I need to go fix my profile. Crap.

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I grew up in New York City. I started going to Yankee Games when I was a wee little thing. I can name an impressive number of Yankess who played in 1979 including Bucky Dent, Rob Guidry and Oscar Gamble.  You all might know Lou Pinella as the manager of the Cubs. I remember him as a Yankee. I can't really discuss Thurman Munson without getting a little choked up. And don't even get me started on Reggie Jackson. Or his candy bar. Which for the record, I totally ate.

My point is, I am a legitimate Yankees fan.  I was fan long before Derek Jeter and A-Rod came to town with their chiseled good looks and steady string of model/actress girlfriends.  I was a fan long before the Yankees became the winningest franchise in North American professional sports history. It's not like I jumped on the train yesterday.

You know what else I am? A Duke basketball fan. And not because my father went there or my grandfather went there or because I thought Christian Laettner was cute when he hit that buzzer-beater against Kentucky. I am a Duke basketball fan because I am a Duke alum and I am proud of my school. How many UNC fans in this state can actually claim alum status? Fewer than you think.

And while I'm on the subject - I pull for the #48 and I pull for him proudly.  When I first fell ass backwards into NASCAR, I knew nothing. But I had a friend, the Racing Queen, who worked for Jimmie, and so when I needed someone to pull for, I felt slightly connected to Jimmie (via the Racing Queen) and he seemed like as good a driver as any to root for.  So I did. At the time, he had 1 championship under his belt but had not yet established himself as a true NASCAR legend.  It wasn't like I went with him because he was Mr. Popular. That probably still would have been Jeff Gordon.  Today, Jimmie's success in NASCAR is unparalled - and yet - he is loathed and detested by many. Mainly bitter Junior and Smoke fans - but, whatever. 

My point is: I AM SICK OF THE HATERS. Seriously. I am tired of hearing how the Yankees buy their penants and their championships. I am tired of everyone criticizing Duke.  I am tired of everyone complaining about how boring it is to watch the #48 win time and time again.

Really? Where were you people when Tiger Woods DOMINATED the PGA and won Major after Major, tournament after tournament? Did people say he made golf dull (well - duller than it naturally is)? Did people say it got boring? I mean really - how many green blazers does one man need? No. Tiger was lauded and celebrated for being a beyond exceptional player. The likelihood of another Tiger (at least on the golf course) is unlikely.

Ditto Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. How many championships did they win? 6? 7? I don't remember the haters coming out then.

And for the record - it's not like Ted Turner is poor. So any Braves fans out there who want to take a swing at my Yanks? Think real hard. It's not like your team, or your owner, is broke.

As for my beloved Duke...last year when UNC won the NCAA championship, all I heard were whoops and cheers. This year - Duke is a #1 seed with an actual shot at winning (hello first Elite Eight berth since 2004), and all I hear are boos.  Really? I know we have a storied basketball program, but we also only have 3 national championships. Three. And the first one didn't come until 1991. You know how many UNC has? FIVE.  Ditto Indiana. Kentucky has SEVEN. And I don't hear anyone talking smack about John Wooden or the 11 national championships UCLA won. I mean - they won 9 out of 10 years between 1964 and 1973. 

What's my point? I don't know. I'm up to my ears in NCAA Tourney play, Major League Baseball is about to start, and Jimmie has won 4 of the first 8 races and seems deadset on proving to the world that he's more than a pretty boy who knows how to drive fast. I cheer loudly and proudly for my teams, and I get my balls busted at every turn. I'm sick of it.  Apparently I root for the "wrong" winners.

Then again. It could be worse. I could be from Cleveland*.

 

*Also known as one of the Worst Sports City in America.       

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So last night I had a work thing. Which I was kind of dreading because as much as I love to socialize, sometimes the work things make me cringe. But I totally survived - mainly because I found out that I wasn't the only single gal around town and also, because dinner wasn't half bad.

Anyways, the work thing ran late and today's meetings start early so I got to spend the night at a hotel in the Big City. So after dinner, I returned to the hotel and I was all set to get a glass of wine and retreat to my room and work on my online dating profile (because y'all totally inspired me) when...coworkers at the bar. Not a lot. Just 2. But I stayed and was social because this is what I do. 

I think at some point after the first coworker left I noticed it: CUTE BARTENDER. Like. REALLY CUTE. After the second coworker left, and at around the time I should have called it a night, I ordered another drink because like I said: REALLY CUTE BARTENDER.

And I'll tell you what.  It may have been a while since I've been on a date but holy hell I do know how to flirt and let's just say that last night? I was bringing my A-Game.  And all the while I'm suffering through Dayton-Illinois (because really - the NIT just doesn't count) and thinking to myself: This just isn't that bad even if he is a Longhorns fan.

HAHAHAHAHA.

Right around the moment I lay it all out on the line and make my big move.......HE HAS A FUCKING GIRLFIREND. I GOT FLIPPING REJECTED MY FIRST PASS OUT OF THE GATE. Just go ahead and shoot me now because apparently it's true that every cute guy in the universe is married, gay or has a girlfriend. So yeah. There's a reason I came up with the tag "Dating is like fuzzy pink bunny slippers covered in barbed wire."

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So I am currently mulling over how to create and craft the PERFECT personal profile for my travels through the Hell known as online dating adventures in online dating. I mean, is there a non-obnoxious way to say "I MUST BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION AT ALL TIMES" and "If you don't tell me I look pretty I might get stabby?" Actually, I am thinking that I should probably avoid using the word stabby in my profile. I don't want to attract the wrong sort. Also? There will be no mention of Chez Rougie, Facebook, or Twitter because holy hell - I don't know if Ira Shalowitz, CPA is ready for Rougie. Of course, I am eventually going to have to explain why I have a Blackberry glued to my hands at all times...Crap on cracker y'all - this is going to be tougher than I thought. 

In the meantime, while I make myself prematurely gray fretting about how to make myself most marketable, I am going to  DELIGHT and ENTERTAIN you with other people's personal ads.  Back in January, right around the time I mentioned that St. Valentine had been burned at the stake - twice, my friend Hedge Fund Guy sent me Sexually, I'm More of a Switzerland: More Personal Ads from the London Review of Books by David Rose to ease some of my Valentine's woes. These are ACTUAL REAL ads people and holy hell they are hysterical.  Here are a few of my favorites:

"Quorbaya, my Lord, Quornbaya. Gay, non-smoking vegetarian Joan Baez fantasist (F, 54). WLTM similar to 60 for textured mycoprotein-based protest music shenanigans. Someone's cooking meat substitute fajitas, my Lord, quornbaya at box no. 6587."

"A lot of people say these ads are tacky and tasteless. Not me, and I promise you I know art when I see it.  Velvet Elvis and Genuine Pope-shaped hip-flask salesman, 49, looking for woman with lounge bar in the shape of a ship's hill.  Anchors away, momma, and bless you, my child. Box no. 1013."  

"Nothing says 'I love you' in a more sincere way than being woken with champagne and pastries and roses. Apart from a dog with peanut butter on the roof of his mouth.  Write, we'll meet, sleep together and -- in the morning, just before my friend's wife tells me to get off their sofa and get out of their house -- I'll show you Winston's trick. It's hilarious. You'll have to bring the peanut butter though - they've put locks on all of the kitchen cupboards. Man, 26. Box no. 6433." 

"It's my manifest destiny to find a man through this column and marry him. Woman, 103. Box no. 2134"

"I've kissed too many frogs in search of my prince. Woman, 32. Retired from amphibian zoology very much against her will.  Box no. 3332."

"I am not as high maintenance as my highly polished and impeccably arranged collection of porcelain cats suggests, but if you touch them I will kill you. F, 36. Likes porcelain cats. Seeks man not unused to the sound of sobbing coming from a bedroom from which he is strictly prohibited. Tell me how attractive I am at box no. 1123."

"I am Mr. Right! You are Miss Distinct Possibility. Your parents are Mr. and Mrs. Obscenely Rich.  Your Uncle is Mr. Expert Tax Lawyer.  Your cousin is Ms. Spare Apartment On A Caribbean Hideaway That She Rarely Uses.  Your brother is Mr. Can Fix You Up A Fake Passport For A Small Fee. Man, 51. Box no. 1407."

"Ball-breaking irrational F (52). Very probably just like your mother. Box no. 7911."

"I'm everything you ever wanted in a woman. Assuming you're into fat 47-year old moody bitches who really don't enjoy the mornings. Stop talking and pour the bloody marys at box no. 1908."

So yeah. I could go on and on and on and on and on and just type the whole damn book because OMFG - the hysteria. The laughter. The tears of utter joy. 

AND....Because I'm feeling gifty and want to share the ridiculous amounts of happy that this book brings into anyone's day...CONTEST.

Here's the deal. Writing a profile is tough. REALLY TOUGH.  Should I be sentimental? Sensitive? Snarky? Is humor allowed? And if so - what kind of humor? Frankly, I'm not sure JDate is ready for the same level of satire as The London Review of Books.  Should the profile be more about me or more about what I'm looking for in a man (other than one who doesn't eat Miracle Whip)? I. Need. Help.

All you have to do is enter a comment by the end of the week (so Sunday) with some piece of advice on how to approach this.  For those of you have made successful love matches online - tips as to what actually worked are appreciated. Anyone who has online dating horror stories? Please keep them to yourself. Really. I just remotely even considered the possibility of meeting a total stranger based on a bunch of judgy things. I don't need to hear your tales of woe otherwise I'll crawl back into my hole and winter will last FOREVER. Everyone else? What would you do if you were in my stylish shoes? Even better? I need a new user name because god - while mine doesn't involve the word skin or dawg - it's pretty fucking weak.

It's a totally subjective contest with the 3 most useful comments (or the ones that make me laugh the loudest) getting their very own copy of Sexually, I'm More of a Switzerland. And maybe some of my famous cookies. Or an airplane bottle of Rumplemintz. Like I said - I'm feeling gifty. 

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So it's not like I have dived head first into dating because with my luck, that would result in my smashing my head on the bottom of the pool and getting a concussion and then spending more months than I care to dealing with insurance hassles. (I may or may not be speaking from experience on the whole concussion/insurance thing. I mean - who knew that opening a car door into your own head qualified as a car accident and thusly the claim needed to be filed with your auto insurance as opposed to your health insurance. I mean really - who the fuck knew?).  I have merely dipped my toes - fuck, not even my whole toes - I have dipped the smallest portion of my left pinky toe imaginable into the dating pool.  And then yanked it back out again because really? It's been close to 13 years since I've been on a date and the whole thing makes me squeamish.

And as much as I think online dating is probably not for me, it's bizarrely addictive. I mean - it's not like I am spending 23 hours a day on JDate but, I am curious as to how many times I've been viewed. And who the hell is viewing me. And for the record - why are people in ISREAL and NEW YORK and other far flung locales viewing me? I think I may have said that I hadn't ruled out relocation but dude - I meant within the same fucking state. And there ain't no way I'm moving to another continent.

Also? Why don't some of you have your pictures up? Do you not want to be judged on something as superficial as your looks? Are you that ugly? Are you so gorgeous that you're afraid your profile will get viewed so many times you'll crash a server? I don't get it. You're on an online dating site. Yes what's on the inside matters but guess what? So does how you look.

Also? If you're a guy on an online dating site - don't fucking post a picture of you with another guy as your main photo because then us girls are all like: Well - which one is {fill in yet another asshatty username here}? And if you're both unattractive? It's like a lose-lose-lose.

Also? I thought Dawg was the worst possible username offense. Negative. Dawg still sucks but holy hell - what would possess a person to put SKINS in their username? I mean - way to make me think of circumcision dude.  And for the record? If you're a Redskins fan? Then fucking put Redskins in your username and be clear about it.

Also? I don't get what a Hot List is. According to my cousin, being put on a Hot List means someone thinks you're hot - plain and simple. However when a 45yo man who looks like a dentist Hot Lists you, it's just wrong and I don't get it.

Also? Dear JDate: I appreciate you're letting me be a member and browse for free and all but what the fuck is up with charging me to read messages that other people send to me? I mean - I get you charging me to reach out and contact other people - but these people are writing to/IM'ing me. Why should I have to pay for the privilege of reading what they've taken the time to write TO ME? That's just all kinds of wrong and now I come across as a snobby no reply bitch unless I hand over my credit card and pay you $36.99 because seriously? If I do actually sign up and become a paying member? That's all you're gonna get. $36.99.  One month.  I am giving you ONE MONTH OF MY LIFE AND THAT IS ALL because that is all I can handle. Of course, you're not getting my money until I actually take the time to write a decent fucking profile because I am pretty sure that "I love great food, better wine, NASCAR, college hoops, all things Italian, mysteries, and Audrey Hepburn movies" is not going to land me the man of my dreams.    

You may have my dignity JDate. But you don't have my credit card. Yet.  

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Did you ever see the musical Oklahoma? Do you know the song "I Cain't Say No" that Ado Annie sings? Well, that's pretty much an accurate theme song for my life. Although according to Wikipedia the song is about Ado Annie's sexual awakening and a big, fat Joey Lawrence "WHOA" because that's NOT what I'm talking about. More like if someone asks me to do something, I'll basically say yes because I don't know how to answer any other way.

Which is why when my friend-hairdresser-all-around-aweseome-girl The Stylist asked me to live model for her, I said yes.

So here's the backstory: The Stylist is, among many things, a photographer, and a few months we did a "just for fun" photo shoot of me modeling some of my grandmother's vintage clothes. And it was tons of fun and I loved it and the pictures are GORGEOUS. Seriously. I do not look that good in real life and I have contemplated having an 8x10 made of at least 1 photo and walking around with it stapled to my face. (If you want to see the photos by the way, click here, click on Clients, and I am in the second row, second photo in from the right. Click on my photo and that will take you to the entire gallery.)

Anyways. Our wee little town had an Art Crawl this past Friday and essentially downtown businesses and shops featured the works of local artists and food and drinks and entertainment and people could walk around from shop to shop and enjoy the art and eat and buy the art and it's free and awesome and really good for the community. So The Stylist was managing one of the "galleries" and displaying some of her work including...photos of me. And she had this awesome idea to put big prints of her subjects in the storefront window and then have the actual subjects live model next to the print for about 30 minutes and she asked me if I would do it and I didn't hesitate to say yes because 1) I cain't say no and 2) I love to be the center of attention. USUALLY.

Apparently being a supermodel makes me nervous as fuck and I spent much of Friday fighting with hot rollers and curling irons trying to recreate the perfect bedhead hair I had in the photo and wanting to vomit. Seriously. Why do I commit to these things?

And it didn't get any better once I got there. I mean, I thought that a reassuring "You'll be awesome girl" from The Stylist would soothe my nerves but it didn't and what's worse? The model before me was an adorable little 5yo girl in a tutu with a bow in her hair and if there's one thing I've learned from Hollywood it's never share the stage with or follow behind small children or animals. It's a lose-lose.

Long story long? Those 30 minutes sitting in that window and having people look at me lasted exactly 743 hours and I am pretty much lucky I didn't puke in front of anyone because I don't think models are supposed to do that. I mean - I know they puke. Just not in public. And I am now very certain that I DON'T want to be a supermodel when I grow up.

In other news, I dipped my toe into the waters of online dating the other night and afterwards I renacted the shower scene from Silkwood to scrub the horrifyingness of it all off because OMG: online dating is equal parts horrifying and HORRIFYING.

I know it's worked for some people.  In fact, I have numerous friends who have met online through various sites (Match, JDate and eHarmony) and most are married and some have kids and I know it can work but seriously? I just felt dirty. There was something about scrolling through these men's profiles and judging them on:

* their photos

* their user names (OMG - tip to any single guys out there: do not incoporate "dawg" into your username because you will basically come off like a giant asshat.)

* their interests/hobbies (Sewing? REALLY?)

* their grammar/spelling (Yes. I was editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper and proper grammar and spelling is too important.) 

* their physical height/body description

* their job

* their political orientation

that just made me feel dirty. Like who was I to say whether someone was simply not dateable because he's only 5'8" or because he has an asshatty username or because I didn't like his photo or because he got "their" and "there" confused?  And worse? If I'm being this judgy? HAHAHAHA - pretty sure I'm being judged back. And oh yeah, while it's totally free to join and browse, you do have to answer some questions and so my personal profile and description are pretty much CRAP because who can be clever at 11:30pm at night? (Although courtesy of The Stylist I have a kick ass photo.)

Still. I figured I wasn't really doing this seriously. I was just taking a test drive. Clicking on 15 a few photos. Just *seeing* who was out there. And then? Do you know what happened? I realized that everytime I clicked on a profile, the person whose profile I clicked on would ACTUALLY BE NOTIFIED that I, she of the awesome photo and lame personal description, had actually viewed their profile. FUCKING HELL. Why don't they warn you about this shit?  And this was the moment I pretty much died. Especially because one of the profiles I clicked on belonged to someone I actually know. Professionally. In real life. So yeah. I died. And then I scrubbed myself with a Brillo pad.

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I am, without a doubt, the most neurotic person I know. Seriously.  I do not understand how to be easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl. Everything pretty much freaks me out. All of the time. It's an exhausting way to live but I don't know how to be any other way.

Anyways, Tuesday I had to go to Asheville. After my breakfast meeting, I got into the car to head to the office. I should backtrack for a moment and tell you that while I was filling up earlier that morning, I actually thought to myself how much I love having a newish car and how it's such a relief to only see green lights on the dashboard. Seriously. My old car was a piece of giant crap and lights were constantly coming on that indicated SOMETHING WAS WRONG and sometimes they'd just come on BECAUSE and the thing was falling apart and it basically gave me a giant headache and I perpetually thought I was going to have a tire blow out or the engine would explode and that I would die. It was that. kind. of. car.

So my newish car is one shiny, happy moment of OMG I Am Not Going to Die Awesome and I love it.  And I thought about how much I love it on Tuesday morning. Um yeah. Cue something to fuck that shit up.

I was en route from breakfast to the office when: an orange light mysteriously and unexpectedly appeared on the dashboard and OMG I HAD A WHOPPER OF A PANIC ATTACK BECAUSE HOLY HELL CAR - WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME? I had no fucking clue what the little horseshoe with the 3 dots above it meant and worse: WHY ARE YOU ON? I mean, I am smart enough to know that an orange light doesn't mean crap your pants pull over and stop. Red lights are panic lights. But when you are as neurotic as I am, orange lights are basically panic lights too. 

You know the first thing I did? I tapped my brakes to make sure they were still working.  I think I've seen too many stories in the news about runaway Priuses. Not that I drive a Prius. Or even a Toyota for that matter. Which seriously? If I did drive a Toyota? How awesome an excuse would that be if you got caught speeding. "Sorry officer. The floor mat must have been caught in the accelerator and THAT'S why I was going 85 in a 60."

So the brakes worked which - PHEW - and I eventually made it to the office where I pulled into the parking lot and dove under the passenger seat to get the owner's manual (which thank heavens I actually knew where it was because for the longest time I didn't) and I furiously thumbed through until I found the page that says what all the funky symbols on the dashboard mean and long story short? Tire pressure. Cue second panic attack (or really just a continuation of the first panic attack) because fuck me, I am 100 miles from home.

So I go into the office and immediately see my boss and tell him all about the orange light/low tire pressure drama and he seriously looked at me like I was insane because apparently low tire pressure is nothing to have coronary over but I made him come outside with me anyways and we looked at my tires and they *looked* fine and he said they could be off by a pound or 2 and the light may come on. He said sometimes it comes on because the spare is low.

Still, I told him I was going to call AAA and have them take a look (because, you know, I'm neurotic like that) and he told me not to bother with AAA just to run it up the road to his car dealer and let them take a look. So I did.

When I pulled up, the Car Dealer Dude came out to greet me and was all "So you're the girl who thinks her tires are going to explode" and he wasn't being mean - just a little playful - and I was all "HAHAHAHAHA" and then "Yes." And then I told him the ENTIRE history of my car from when I bought it at the end of September and how many miles were on it when I drove off the lot (9889) to how many miles were on it now (over 22,000) and I even walked him through my 15,000 and 20,000 mile check-ups. I know. I'm nuts.

He listened to the epic saga and then they take it out back to have a look see and he tells me it's probably nothing and I am sure he's probably right and frankly, I feel better already just KNOWING that very soon there will be an explanation for why my newish car is already falling apart.

A few minutes later Car Dealer Dude reappears and I am all ready to feel shameful for over-reacting except: turns out I have a nail in my rear left tire and it's down 10lbs of pressure. WTF? SERIOUSLY? And OMG yeah me for being neurotic because I am pretty sure that would have been a problem on the 100 mile drive home.  He tells me they've filled it with air and that there's really no point in getting it fixed because I need new tires. Which I kinda sorta knew. I mean - at my 20,000 mile check up my dealer told me I'd need new tires and I told them they were high because my car is practically new and they told me that dealers put crappy tires on new cars and you're lucky to get 20,000 - 25,000 miles on them and that by my 25,000 mile check-up I'd definitely need new tires and I said ok I'll wait til 25,000 miles because holy hell - tires are fucking expensive.

So Car Dealer Dude tells me I need new tires and not to bother fixing the one with the nail. And I'm all: well, will the air you put in the tire just now this very second hold? Will I be able to drive home? Or will I be driving along I-40 going down the mountain through the Pisgah National Forest and have to take one of those runaway truck ramps when my tire blows or possibly worse CAREEN OFF THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN AND DIE IN A FIERY WRECK? He couldn't really say for sure.

We debated for about one hot second about slow leaks versus fast leaks and whether or not I'd make it home ALIVE and my neuroses were pretty much palpable at this point and so he called Ernie at Jan Davis Tire and told him I was coming and could he please take care of me.

Long story long? Ernie patched my tire for a mere $20. And by patch I mean he went in from the inside and actually fixed it and didn't just plug it. And Ernie was able to assure me that his patch job would get me home. Also? Ernie told me that my tires were basically as slick as he'd ever seen and I'd need new tires. So I'm getting new tires today. And I totally sprung for the Michelins because I drive over 400 miles a week which means my life is literally riding on my tires. 

There are 3 lessons to be learned here.

One. Being overly neurotic might just save your life.

Two. If you're going to have tire problems, I totally suggest having them in Asheville because everyone there is in general really nice and even though they are kind of judging you for freaking out over something which is no big deal, when they realize that you're right and they're wrong they'll totally stop judging you and they'll actually help you. Also? When they are judging you they're still kind of nice anyways because it's Asheville and apparently everyone there is kind of Zen.

And three.  Don't schedule a breakfast meeting at 8am that is 100 miles away. Seriously. Even a goat cheese laden omelet and really good hash browns can't ease the sting of having to get up and drive that far at the ass crack of dawn.  

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Since I got my appetite back last week, I have been craving Asian food like nobody's business.  Seriously. I'd like to lacquer the world in soy sauce and lick it clean. And there is not enough sesame oil, ginger or wasabi to satisfy my current hankerings.

Since last Tuesday I've eaten:

* Teriyaki wings dipped in ranch which I doctored with wasabi and soy

* Chinese chicken salad

* Soy-grilled chicken breasts

* Copious quantities of Asian slaw. I have been buying bags of broco-slaw, adding some scallions, and dressing the whole mix in my special sesame-soy vinaigrette. It is utterly addictive and I am consuming it by the bucket.

* Frozen chicken egg rolls. Which for the record, my egg roll craving has been OFF THE CHARTS but actual Chinese food has been just out of reach and so when I saw non-disgusting looking frozen egg rolls at Bi-Lo on Saturday I practically whooped with joy. The box even said: microwavable and STILL crispy. I was all excited but alas. I should have known.  Nothing crispy EVER comes out of the microwave so on some level, these were a minor fail. On another level, they were a the equivalent of a food band-aid until I can get my chopsticks on the real thing. 

* Gyoza. Deep fried and delicious.

* Teriyaki chicken

* Sauteed Asian vegetables

* Oriental ramen (doctored with hot sauce and onion salt because there's not enough sodium in ramen already)

* Fried rice

In fact, since last Tuesday night, other than breakfast, I am not sure if I have had anything other than Asian flavored food. AND I AM STILL CRAVING MORE (despite eating 12 pounds of Japanese food for dinner on Saturday with Lilsaej).  Later today, I am, for once in my life, being taken out to lunch (as opposed to being the taker which I usually am) and I am seriously, seriously considering P.F. Changs because, you know, I'm not retaining enough water I haven't had enough yet. 

Here's what I haven't had though: Zen. Apparently consuming insane quantities of Asian food doesn't guarantee a girl Zen. Instead, I've been plagued the last few days by a case of PMS that's had me off-kilter like you would not believe. If something isn't sending me into crazy hysterics, then it is pissing me off like you wouldn't believe. And it is quite possible that the entire world is out to get me.     

Something's gotta give soon though because if I stay on this path, I could actually turn into a hormonally deranged soybean and well, I don't want to be a hormonally deranged soybean. Then again - does anyone?

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Today is my big brother's birthday and this is something of a dilemma for me.  You see, I'd like to dedicate a post to him and let you all in on a little secret (namely that my brother is all kinds of awesome) but unlike me, my brother likes his privacy.  In fact, I can assure you that he would be horrified to know that he was even casually mentioned in Friday's post. An entire post all about him? I think he might disown me.

I could take the easy way out and just post a picture of the two of us but Holy Hell people - the only picture I seem to have of me and my brother is from my 30th birthday party which was almost five whole years ago. What the hell me? (Note to self: you need a picture of you and your brother before March 14th, 2011.)

Here's what you need to know about my big brother: He wasn't the kind of older brother to buy me beer or sneak me into R-Rated movies. He didn't teach me how to smoke. He didn't set me up on dates with his friends and we certainly didn't do a whole lot of socializing together.  But it's not because he didn't love me and didn't care. No. Just the opposite. 

My brother opted to be a role model. To be a guardian. I had plenty of friends to fuck around with and get into trouble with and he knew it. He was there to help me out of the trouble I occasionally got into, and to try and provide some wisdom on avoiding said trouble in the future. 

And while at almost 35 I don't really get into too much trouble anymore, my big brother is still there for me. A guardian. Looking out for me. Keeping watch. A steady hand on my shoulder when I stumble.

So while my temporarily thrusting him into the spotlight may drive him to disown me, it's only because I care. Really.

Happy Birthday Big Brother! I am proud to be your sister.

xoxo Rougie 

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Happy Birthday Mom! 

I hope you don't mind, but I wanted the entire Internetweblogsophere to know how completely and utterly awesome you are so today's post is all about you. And me a little. Because without you - there would be no me. And I don't mean the DNA thing. Or the fact that I camped out in your uterus for 9 months. Or the fact that you gave birth to me (in under an hour I might add). All that is true of course.  But without you, I would pretty much be a hot mess. Instead, I am slowly making my way towards becoming an independent, strong, secure, self-assured woman. Much like you.

Mom - you have always been there for me. Sometimes when I haven't wanted you to - like that time when I hit puberty and you made us read that Our Bodies, Our Selves book together every day. And you told me I needed to start wearing deodorant and a bra and you told me what a tampon was and OMG MAKE IT STOP. 

Or that time in college I brought my friend The Appalachian Princess home to NYC for fall break and you showed us how to put a condom on a banana while we ate Chinese food and you made me promise, promise, promise to always have safe sex. Which - teaching me about safe sex was awesome. The whole "condom on the banana thing with my new college friend from West Virginia" was less awesome. But I do cherish the memories.

No. It's more about the days that I don't want to get out of bed because I feel like shit (see: today), and I call you, and you make me get out of bed. Seriously. Even though you are hundreds of miles away and can't physically force me to get up, you know me well enough to know that my moping in self pity in my bed is a recipe for disaster, and you say the necessary words to dislodge the tendrils of depression that are trying to plant themselves in my psyche. Plus - I always want to make you proud.

The times I want to jump off the ledge (and believe me - there have been a lot of those recently)? I call you because you're the only one who knows how to talk me down.

You let me be me. You give me space. You let me sob hysterically into the phone even though I am sure it is annoying. You give me encouragement. You cheer me on. You tell me you're proud of me even when I don't feel proud of myself.  You don't tolerate my bullshit for one single second and you make me take responsibility for my actions.

When I look at you I see beauty. I see intellect. I see confidence.  I see strength.  I also see scars and I know that you didn't get to where you are in life today without a few battles. But you did get there. And it gives me hope that after I wade through the shitstorms that life throws in my path, that I'll get there too.

I feel honored and proud and lucky that you are my mom. That you are my friend. That you are my confidante.  There is no one I trust more in this world and there is no one I would rather turn to when I don't have the strength to face it on my own. 

With you in my life, I never feel like I'm alone.

I hope that one day I am fortunate to be a mother myself. And when that time comes, I hope to be half as good a mother to my little ones, as you are to me. Also? For the record: I am totally letting my daughter dye her hair when she is twelve if only to win our longstanding bet.

At 34 and more than a half, I am not ashamed to say: I still need my mom. And after all of these years, you're still doing a rock star job.

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you.

xoxo Rougie     

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I swear to the heavens that somebody got it wrong and today is in fact, Friday the 13th. How else do you explain the Hell that has bookended this day?

It started when I woke up at 1am this morning and COULDN'T GO BACK TO BED. It may have been the fact that it was my first night sans doxylamine succinate - an antihistamine found in certain cold medicines and the world's best sleep aid. Seriously. 6.25mg of this shit and there could be a car crash right outside your bedroom window, a dozen vehicles could arrive on the scene with lights flashing and sirens blaring, and you wouldn't know unless you woke up randomly to pee. I speak from experience on this. Or maybe it was the fact that I knew I had to be up at 4:30am. Whatever. The day began with a very sleep-deprived Rougie.

Would you like to discuss my broken InStyler? My hairstyling tool of choice which is broken and which can only be replaced by BUYING A NEW ONE to the tune of 3 $40 payments (plus shipping & handling)?

How about the 4 zits on my chin courtesy of a RAGING CASE OF PMS which I only realized I had much later in the day when an attempt to leave an apologetic voicemail for my brother (more on that shortly) had me breaking down into tears?

Let's discuss my 5:15am drive on windy, dark roads in fog so thick you couldn't see. AWESOME.

Let's discuss the 6am panicked message for my brother because HOLY FUCK tomorrow is Mom's birthday (Happy early birthday Mom) and between having THE PLAGUE, being backlogged on work, and dealing with a few other choice items in my life right now, I forgot to get organized. And I was on the road ALL DAY with nothing more than my Blackberry and I panicked and well, my brother is awesome, but he's got his shit too and he didn't appreciate it. Yeah me for pissing off my brother.

The flight to WV was not bad but truth be told, I would have been better off driving to WV directly rather than driving to my boss's house to leave my car so he could drive us to the airport in SC wherein we then boarded one of those little Cirrus planes with the parachutes for the flight to WV.  Or at least I could have driven directly to the airport. More time behind the wheel but less time total on the road (more on that later).

My day was good. Work was good. I am good at what I do and for a few hours I was reminded of that.  Also? Duke beat Virginia. Suck it Cavs! (See also the part where I note that my entire day wasn't sucky - it was just bookended in suck.)

The flight home? Well....the pilot warned us it would be a little choppy. A little choppy? You must jest sir. I felt like Debra Winger in that mechanical bull scene in An Officer and a Gentleman for the better part of 2 hours. A little choppy my ass. More like MOTHERFUCKING TURBULENCE YO. Although we did see a rainbow. Oh. You know what else was awesome about the flight? Looking up at the monitor (I was in the passenger seat) and seeing the warning sign flashing: "Lightning Ahead" followed by the ever comforting ACK. ACK is right. Although it turns out ACK is short for Acknowledge as in: "Acknowledge that there is lightning ahead motherfucker" and not "ACK - HOLY SHIT change your panties."

The drive back to my boss's house i.e. my car was epically long on account of rush hour bullshit and accidents and slow going on back roads. It was during this time that I realized that driving directly to the airport (or even WV) would have been smarter. Again - more time with me behind the wheel but less time on the road.

Just as I got in my car and got on the road home, the rain started. And it got dark. And once again, I couldn't see where I was going. And for like, 3 hot seconds I was hungry as fuck and I really wanted Chinese food (particularly an egg roll) and then the anxiety set in because HOLY FUCKING RAINSTORM BATMAN. Had it been doing this all day?  My motherfucking basement. She will flood. Sigh.

It was the longest hour and 20 minutes of my life filled with extreme anxiety and the perpetual taste of my own bile rising in my throat and threatening to choke me. And as much as I was worried about my basement flooding (and by extension my furnace conking out again and me having no heat) - and believe me, I was worried - I was petrified of making it home in one piece because of the TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR and the WASHED OUT ROADS and HOLY CRAP - ARE YOU SURE IT'S NOT FRIDAY THE 13TH? Throw in my raging hormones, residual anxiety about irritating my awesome-can't-live-without-him brother and the fact that I REALLY WANTED A GODDAMN EGGROLL...

So yeah. Are you sure it's not Friday the 13th?

PS I made it home. Safe. Sound. In one physical piece but in 1000 emotional fragments.  My basement was dry which then sent me into fits of hysterical, choking sobs of relief because OMG y'all - who lives like this? Besides me?

PPS I didn't have time to feed Cal today. The stray cat I take care of. I feel like an asshole.

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I spent the other weekend hanging in Atlanta with my cousin The Georgia Peach.  Let me just start out by saying: The Peach is awesome. Seriously. And I am kicking myself that we have not spent nearly enough time together as adults. 

Sure I have known The Peach her entire life - mainly because she was born when I was five and oh yeah, we're totally related by blood.  Sure I've always liked her and we typically get our 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there at family functions (where she is always very well-behaved. Me - not so much.). On 2 or 3 occasions, when she was an undergrad at Tulane, I managed to swing through N'awlins where I saw her *wilder* side. But for the most part, especially as adults, our interactions have been limited.

Until now.

Geography and this blog (on which my darling cousin LURKS) have brought us much closer together so when she suggested I come down and visit, I jumped at the chance.

It was all in all an awesome weekend and when we weren't closing down trendy hotel lounges (*ahem*), we spent much of the weekend sitting around her house talking about life, growing older, dating, the Greek economic crisis, men, sex, the environment, being single in an Internet age, existentialism, discount shopping and why eyeshadow is so damn expensive. 

And while The Peach has always been FAB-U-LOUS (assuming you think gorgeous, smart, fun, and funny are a fabulous combo), there was something different about her.  A je ne sais quoi that at first I couldn't put my finger on, but which I ultimately recognized. It was the confident glow of a woman on the cusp of turning 30, knowing that she is amazing and knowing that her life is only getting better.  I had that glow when I turned 30 and I saw it in my cousin.  

AAAANNNDDD....here is where I realize that this post is going COMPLETELY off track. Not that I don't want to talk about how amazing my cousin is. And trust me - she is amazing. But I had a point and I am taking the long ass way around to getting there so excuse this sloppy transition but I really want to watch Bones can't go on any more about glowing lights and self-introspection and self-disocvery and self-help and if I haven't touched on those things then I was going to and so just shut me up now because here it is:

I am trying to be more grateful. For the little things. Really. I am trying to put it all in perspective. Courtesy of The Peach who keeps a journal by her bed and every night before she goes to sleep, she writes down 5 things she was grateful for that day.  And the point is not to be all "Thank you for letting me live another day" and "Thank you for my wonderful family" although I am sure those things are fine on occasion. The point is more about appreciating and being grateful for the little things. Like the time I got a breakfast burrito at Chik-Fil-A and I had to choose between chicken or sausage and I chose chicken but then I bit into my burrito and OMG - it had BOTH chicken and sausage.  Or being grateful for $1.50 drafts on Sundays at the local sports bar. Or having an easy commute during rush hour. Or friends who bring you whiskey and diet ginger ale when you're sick.  The thinking is that no matter how sucktastic a day you are having, there are always 5 things you can be grateful for. 

It seems like a healthy exercise in general. And actually, I believe there might be some scientific evidence that this has some legitimate value. But regardless of the science, I see The Positive impact it's having on my cousin, and I am all about bringing The Positive into my life. So yesterday I grabbed one of the 20 or so empty journals sitting on my bookshelf, and I began the nightly ritual of chronicling my daily graces. That's what I'm calling them. My Daily Graces. Mainly because everyone would have known I'd looked at a thesaurus no one would have know what I was talking about if I'd said My Daily Panegyrics.

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I am now going on 1 full week of having allergies being sick, and as such a seasoned veteran of the whole "being sick" thing (and also because I have nothing else to write about), I feel compelled to share with you the lessons I've learned. Here we go:

* If you haven't been sick in 2+ years, there's a good likelihood that when you do finally get sick, you will get knocked on your ass. Apparently time spent not being sick is directly proportional to time spent being sick.

* I can not say enough good things about Canada Dry Diet Green Tea Ginger Ale + Antioxidants. It is the best drink ever.

* Chicken soup (homemade or otherwise) with excessive quantities of hot sauce makes a girl feel good.  It won't cure what ails you, but it will go a long way towards easing your pain.

* In that same vein, Always keep homemade chicken soup in your freezer. ALWAYS. Because as good as Campbell's Chicken & Stars is, nothing tops homemade. (See Also: When you go to the store with every intention of making more homemade chicken soup because you are sick, don't get distracted by the ground chicken and decide to make Buffalo Chicken Chili instead. Chili is not "sick food," and after 1 day of chili you will really, really, really wish you had made soup instead.) 

* Stock up on crackers. There will be a 24  -36 hour period when all you want to eat is crackers, hot-sauce spiked soup, and ginger ale.

* Sugar-free Jell-O chocolate pudding is way better than fat free Fudgesicles. 

* Ignore any and all cravings for alcohol. Seriously.  Jack Daniels may be whispering in your ear, but trust me sugar, other than a little nip with some tea before bed, stay away.

* Whoever invented Puffs Plus deserve a Nobel Prize. Or possibly a MacArthur Genius Grant.

* Alka-Seltzer cold medicine tastes totally gross, but it totally works. And the nighttime stuff will knock. you. out.

* Too much time alone with your cat is never a good thing.

* Guess what? Your mom and dad totally lied to you. There is no Bed Making Fairy. I repeat: there is no Bed Making Fairy. This is particularly problematic when, in attempt to avoid lying in your own germ-riddled filth, you have washed your sheets for the umpteenth time and suddenly decide you need to pass out, like now, but your sheets are still in the dryer.

* Also? There is No Bacon & Eggs Fairy. You will wake up one morning actually hungry and you will want to eat a giant bone-in prime aged ribeye the size of your head but you will settle for bacon and eggs because it's breakfast but all you have in your house is crackers. And toast. And soup.  So when you're stocking up on the "being sick essentials," make sure you pick up something for when the worst has passed too. Or be prepared to hit a drive-thru. 

* It is possible to suffer a nasal passage injury from overzealously sniffing a Vicks Vapo-Inhaler.

* It's totally acceptable to go to Wal-Mart in your PJs. And actually, I think this rule probably applies to when you're not sick too, but just feeling extremely lazy.

* Turn off your ringer. Otherwise well-meaning friends (and parents) will call to see how you're feeling and rip you from blissful slumber. 

* There is a place in the world for trashy magazines. As much as the Kardhasians make me stabby, and as little as I care about The Bachelor or the ex-Hooters girl who tricked him into proposing marriage, and as much as I still don't understand who Jason and Molly are or why we, as a society, should care - this is all your phenylephrine-hydrochloride-addled brain can process.

* Similarly, every trash mag is virtually the same and you will see the same photos and read the same stories over and over and over again. However, you will be so tired and feel like such utter crap you really won't give a shit.

* REST. This is critical as rest is the only thing that will heal you. So stop working from home, don't decide to clean your house, skip the trip to Target (even though it'll give you a temporary shoppers high that will deceive you into thinking you're better), and watch your alma mater beat the tar out of the Tar Heels from the comfort of your own sofa.  The world won't spin off its axis if you put it in park for 48 hours and trust me, you'll get better a lot quicker if you can just slow down. 

* Don't be fooled by your first day feeling quasi-human.  I woke up yesterday ready to conquer the world. Instead, by the time I had driven the 45 miles to get to a world-conquering place, I felt ready to pass out. So I drove the 45 miles back home and did.  

I am pleased to report that I am feeling even more than quasi-human today. And while I don't have any major plans for total world domination, it's my goal to get up, get dressed and at the very least, make it to the office because OMG one more day alone with my cat and I will become certifiably insane.

Out of curiosity darling readers, how do you cope when you're feeling under the weather?

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Last week I was having drinks and pomme frites (and duck confit pizza and 4 cheese fondue and all sorts of other yumminess) with The Banker and The Realtor, and we were gabbing, as ladies are prone to do, about what makes The Ideal Man.  Conveniently, The Realtor actually had her List handy - you know that List that every woman has detailing her "Mr. Right" and which incidentally, I don't have. Ahem.

So I've been giving my version of Mr. Right some thought. And so far there's only one thing I am sure of: I could never, ever, ever, ever in a million years be with a man* who eats Miracle Whip because Miracle Whip (as per my dear friend Queen Bitchypants) is Satan's Semen.

 

* Unless that man happens to be Nathan Fillion in which case he could eat Miracle Whip smothered in Velveeta and I wouldn't give a shit. 

 

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Recently I have been very inspired by my dear friend AndreAnna who is paring down and packing up as she prepares to move across country.  In fact, her personal undertaking has launched something so much bigger: Blogger's Spring Giving (Viva La Internet!) because who among us doesn't have more crap than we know what to do with? 

Truth be told, I pared down my life substantially last year. In fact, I pared down so much that she who loves to cook and entertain has been living in a kitchen with only 2 pots/pans (only 1 of which has a lid) for the last 8 months. Since I am not exactly in a position to hit Williams & Sonoma for some new All-Clads, I am temporarily borrowing some from Miss Mary (pots and pans which for the record, have been sitting unused in her storage which proves the whole "we usually have more than what we need" point).

Anyways, while I have until April 1st to clean, purge and donate, I've started to give some thought to where I might cut back. My original thought was that whenever I swapped out my closet replacing winter clothes with spring and summer clothes, I'd get rid of items that don't fit and/or I no longer wear and/or I simply don't like any more and donate them to charity. Well, I may have to rethink that whole plan.

Let me take a sidestep to the right for just a moment.

If there is one thing I hoard, it's my clothes.  But I hoard them with good(ish) reason(s):

1) I desperately hope that one day I have a daughter and that she will get to wear these pretty dresses/skirts/sweaters etc. that I once found such joy in.

2) I save all of my "designer" pieces and/or anything designed by someone that may have some value down the road.  Believe me, Michael Kors wasn't always Michael Kors and I used to actually be able to afford his dresses. (See also: Jimmy Choo)

3) I have a history of gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight hence why I have clothes that range from size 0 to size 12.  I always tell myself that the next time I drop or add a size or 2, I won't have to buy a whole new wardrobe - I can simply shop in my own closet.

4) I am a sentimental schmuck and certain things I just can. not. get. rid. of.

So last weekend while I was in Atlanta my Great Aunt and I visited Loehmann's and man, did I score. Calvin Klein. Michael Kors. At non-Calvin Klein and Michael Kors prices. I LOVE Loehmann's. 

Then yesterday I went to Target to buy office supplies for my new office. So um, I probably would have been better off at Staples because at Staples I would not have been utterly waylaid by racks upon racks of pretty spring dresses and cute capris and colorful cardigans. At Staples I probably would have had a mini-orgasm in the pen aisle and that would have been it.  Sigh. But I need pants - right? And they had $6 leggings - so phew. The leggings with the holes can finally be retired. 

Between my haul from Loehmann's and Target my closet was practically busting at the seams so yesterday afternoon I decided to clean house - er rather - closet. My goal was to swap out my winter and fall wardrobe for my spring and summer wardrobe and also sort through and get rid of stuff that I simply didn't need.

Second sidestep to the right.

Since last summer, I've gained 15 pounds. Maybe 20. I'm ok with it (kind of - we won't go there in this post) but much of what I wore last spring and summer fits me like a sausage casing which is to say, it's not that pretty.

And yet...

Upstairs in storage was the spring/summer wardrobe from 2 years ago which now fits like a dream.  And as sad as I was to retire some of my skinny dresses (esp. the navy sheath from Banana Republic - god I LOVE that dress), it was kind of fun actually to rediscover items I haven't worn in a while. By the time I was done swapping everything out, moving things around, rearranging, reorganizing and getting rid of all the crappy hangers, I felt like I had an entirely brand new wardrobe. Now I can't wait to go to the office this week. Like multiple times. 

Still. My closet cleaning efforts didn't exactly go as planned and I feel as though I failed in my first at attempt at Spring Blogger Giving.

The good news is, I have until April 1st to figure this out. Not that it should be that tough. It really shouldn't. I am already thinking of sweaters and dresses and skirts that I just don't wear any more (because even if they fit I buy new ones every season) and as much as I once loved them, I probably don't need to save them.  Well - not all of them.  I already have plenty of other sweaters and dresses and skirts and the ones I am not wearing aren't doing me any good sitting in storage unused and they'll do a whole lot more good elsewhere.

Ok. So I am feeling better. And next weekend I am totally retackling my closets/storage and I am slimming down!

UPDATED: I am not as big an asshat as I thought and it's all because of my laundry. Seriously: I DREAD putting away my laundry since my drawers are already busting at the seams and OMG I don't know how everything fit in there before because it certainly doesn't fit in there now.  So after publishing this post, dragging my heavily-under-the-influence-of-the-drowsy-kind-of-cold-medicine ass out of bed, and revving myself up on 4 cups of fully caffeinated iced coffee (OMG I forgot how much I LOVE iced coffee), I decided that I would tackle the 6 drawers of clothes in my room and GIVE dammit.  I told myself that if it didn't fit or I hadn't worn it in a while, it had to go. 

You know what? It was a whole lot easier than I thought.  So what if that t-shirt is C&C California? It's too big and has a funny wrinkle in the neckline that will not under any circumstances go away unless it's ironed and seeing as I don't iron...That cute striped t-shirt from J. Crew? Sure it's cute and sure it fits but I don't do stripes and I haven't worn it in YEARS despite telling myself every summer I'll wear it. 

The drawers were such a success that I went ahead and tackled the 3 under-bed storage bags sitting under my bed.  I bought these bags because when I moved into this house I lost a lot of closet space and drawer space.  These were meant to provide easy access to items I might need but just didn't have room for. You know what? This crap has been sitting under my bed for 8 months and I have survived without it. Sure - some of it is spring/summer and needs to get cycled back into my drawers. And I will absolutely hold onto all of my mom's old cashmere sweaters. And yes - I am keeping my JV volleyball t-shirt. But the rest of it?

Long story long, we now have the makings of a pile:

DSC03199.JPG

(Actual pile size is ~ 29 x 20 x 14 i.e. pretty damn sizeable.  And this is the stuff I thought I couldn't live without!)     

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So for the longest time ever I was totally against crockpots. And then I was finally inspired by AndreAnna to get one and over the holidays I was at Wal-Mart and found one for $17 - an entire meal-providing crockpot for a mere $17. Seems like a much more logical purchase than a $595 t-shirt - doesn't it?  Anyways, I purchased the crockpot, made AndreAnna's It's All Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye Chili, and thus the crockpot love AND my love of chili was born. Yup. Had never been much of a chili fan before. Mainly the whole bean thing.

Ok. So then. I hung with Lilsaej and her family over Christmas and on the way home from dinner Lilsaej and I were talking about chili and crockpots and somehow she mentioned a Buffalo Chicken Chili and I'm all: "Oooooohhh that sounds yummy" and she was all: "Yeah it totally is" and then I'm like:  "Where'd you get the recipe?" and she was like: "It's Rachael Ray" and then the conversation came to an abrupt halt I pushed Lilsaej out of the car into oncoming traffic because I ABHOR DETEST DESPISE CAN NOT STAND HATE LOATHE Rachael Ray with the heat of 10 gajillion fiery suns and 1 small nuclear meltdown. But because I love Lilsaej I darted into oncoming traffic and totally rescued her. Because I am awesome like that.

Anyways. I had to confess that the idea of Buffalo Chicken Chili sounded AWESOME even if the recipe came from a woman who turned us into a nation of EVOO-pouring, sammie-snacking, chowdah-slurping yum-o drones. So I decided to figure out how to make kick ass Buffalo Chicken Chili on my own because while even though I don't know that much about chili, I know a shitload about Buffalo wings.

Ok. So here's the part where you possibly totally hate me because I didn't really measure quantities (or take pictures) and the two times I've made it what's gone in the crockpot has depended on what's in my fridge and what's available at the store. Then again, this isn't an exact science and I think you should trust yourself as a clever, creative cook to get it right. 

The thing that's stayed the same both times? Ground chicken. You'll need 2 pounds of it.  I also suppose you could use ground turkey or a combination.

Next up? Onion.  Both times I've used about 3/4 of a large onion, chopped.  Yellow, white, red - whatever you prefer. Chop it up and add it to the pot.     

Carrots and celery are the most critical accessory to Buffalo wings and they make a grand appearance in this chili. I keep a bowl of baby carrots in my fridge at all times and I've just cut them up until I've had a nice layer in the pot.  If you were going out and buying carrots I'd say 2 - 3 well-sized carrots would do the trick.  As for the celery, I used about 4 or 5 ribs diced. It was definitely a substantial amount but I love celery. You can adjust the quantities to your taste. 

Chili isn't chili without peppers.  The first time I made this I diced half a green bell pepper and then 3 long yellow Italian frying peppers. Neither of these is particularly hot. The second time I used about half of a red bell pepper and a whole poblano. The poblano has a little heat but not much.  And then of course jalapenos.  I always use 2: 1 de-seeded and de ribbed and 1 with everything in it.  

Of course don't take this as gospel.  You should use what's available and what you like - just try to stick to the whole onion-pepper-carrot-celery theme and you can't go wrong. Also? Dice as you will. Sometimes I dice fine because I want everything to blend together. And sometimes I go for more of a rough chop. It all depends on my meds mood. 

Once this whole mess is in the crockpot add one 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes. I actually get the roasted garlic flavored crushed tomatoes but plain ones will work fine.  I don't like my chili liquidy so I don't add any broth, but if there's some tomato stuck to the inside of the can, add some water (no more than halfway), swirl it around, and then add the tomato water to the pot.  Last but certainly not least, a healthy dose of Frank's Red Hot. And when I say healthy, I mean like 4 oz. Probably more.  And while there are 18 thousand hot sauces to choose from out there, it has to be Frank's which is the Buffaloiest.  On that point there is no other choice, no being creative.  Then cover, turn on high, and let the crockpot do its thing for about 2 hours, stirring 2 or 3 times.

After 2 hours, it's seasoning time.  I use a combination of garlic powder, celery salt, onion salt, sea salt, and a Southwest seasoning that has chili, cumin, garlic etc.  I'd say go for some traditional chili seasoning but try to add some extra celery salt or onion salt. I don't know. That tastes good to me. Do what feels right for you. Just don't be heavy handed with the cumin. Oh. And since the chicken probably isn't cooked, don't do too much tasting and adjusting. There's time for that at the end. 

Once again cover and leave on low for about 2 - 3 hours and go do a load of laundry or get your nails done. This, my friends, is the total joy of crockpots. 

Whenever you're done having a life, you'll have to thicken your chili. I tend to like mine on the thick side. You might like yours soupier.  Either way, this technique works for everyone. You're going to make a roux - which maybe sounds scary but really isn't.  You will need equal amounts of butter and flour so for every tablespoon of butter you use, you'll need a tablespoon of all-purpose flour. For soupier chili, use about 3 of each. For heartier chili, go up to 6 of each.  You will also need 1/2 to a full cup of cooking liquid from the chili pot.  Just scoop it out straight from the crockpot. If bits of meat or veggie are in there, don't fret.  I mean, you want mostly liquid but you don't need to strain it or anything.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon.  It should all come together very nicely, very quickly.  Then stir in the chili liquid and in less than a minute you will have something resembling Alpo. Add the chili roux back to the crockpot and stir it in well. You can even use a whisk.  Finally, cover for 1 final 2 -3 hour session on low. 

When the chili is done, you can adjust the seasoning and heat to taste.  This most recent time I needed a whole lot more salt and a whole lot more Frank's. Then again, I'm kind of sick right now and my taste buds are all out of whack. 

I like to serve mine in a bowl and top with blue cheese crumbles. It's quite tasty that way and the blue cheese melts and makes it all creamy and mellow. And let's face it, blue cheese is pretty much the other key accessory to Buffalo wings so it makes sense.  So yeah. Try it like that and tell me if you don't just want to eat the entire crockpot in one sitting because OMFG it's that good. 

Rachael who?

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So I don't exactly live in Little Israel. In fact, when I first moved down here to Smalltown USA Dad used to joke that there was a 1-Jew quota and I was it and that's why he and mom couldn't visit. Truth be told, I not only live in a pretty much Jew-less town (if there are 5 of us in this town I'd be SHOCKED), but I live smack dab in the heart of the Bible Belt.  Which means that the checkout girl at Wal-Mart is likely to tell you to have a "blessed day" and upon meeting a stranger they will oftentimes ask you where you go to church before they ask you where you live or where you went to school. Such is life in the South and I am pretty much used to it.

So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the local Bi-Lo yesterday morning to stock up on sick day essentials and saw a giant table laden with products for Passover. There were boxes upon boxes of matzoh. There was matzoh meal. Kosher for Passover macaroons.  There may have been more - it was simply overwhelming.  I mean - they usually keep 1 or 2 boxes of Manischewitz brand products on the lowest shelf in the ethnic food aisle but as I previously stated, this town is not exactly teeming with Tribe members and so to see so much kosher food in one place - well, it almost made me smile with pride.

Until I saw the sign. Taped to the Manischewitz-laden table was an 8.5 x 11 piece of white paper that someone had written on in purple marker:

"This do in rememberance of me" and then underneath were 3 large, hand-drawn crosses.

Um - What the fucking fuck Bi-Lo people? Are you serious?

After I Tweeted this horrifying discovery, I walked around Bi-Lo in a complete and utter haze for like 10 minutes, unable to process what I had just seen. It just didn't compute.  Jesus is EVERYWHERE down here. And that's fine. I get it. I accept it. I live with it daily. BUT REALLY??  DID YOU HAVE TO ADD HIM TO THE DAMN MATZOH DISPLAY TOO? I DON'T CARE IF HE WAS A JEW. I have celebrated Passover for the last 35 years - most years 2 nights so I'd say I've participated in at least 60 Seders, probably more. And I'm sorry but I don't remember Jesus ever being in the Haggadah. Jesus's death is not part of the Passover story. And his death upon the cross has nothing to do with why we eat matzoh (and bitter herbs, why we recline and why we ask a whole lot of questions). 

Part of me wants to give the local Bi-Lo folks major props for taking the time, effort and resources to promote a culture and religion that is virtually nonexistent and exceptionally unfamiliar in this town.  No doubt there was enough matzoh on that 1 table to supply the entire local Jewish community (and half a dozen potential converts) for the next two decades. And I will happily agree that Judaism and Christianity have the same roots, that the Torah is the same is the Old Testament, and that there are many beliefs we have in common.  But where I draw the line is the whole "Jesus died on the cross for my sins" thing. That is not part of the Jewish faith and I take enormous personal offense that it was thrust upon me.

So my suggestion to the Bi-Lo folks is that in the future, please keep Jesus over by the Cadbury Cream Eggs and marshmallow Peeps - where he belongs. And keep him away from my unleavened bread.

I don't know. What do you think? Am I overreacting?

PS Lilsaej told me last night that in Finland, Duct Tape is called Jesus Tape. As she put it, she's pretty sure there's a joke in there somewhere. I'm inclined to agree only my head is still spinning from the whole "Jesus selling matzoh" thing.

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I am not sick. Do you know how I know this? Because I don't get sick. Seriously. I have been exposed to various forms of Bubonic Plague, Typhoid Fever and even the Common Cold for at least the last 2 years and I honestly don't remember the last time I even had the slightest sniffle.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I gave blood and I felt pretty ok although the phlebotomy people give you so many warnings and "Don't Do's" it's hard not to be concerned. I mean - I was fine and yet I was so convinced I could possibly pass out at any given moment that I took that as an excuse to eat my weight in Samoas. Don't judge people - I gave blood.

Anyways, I was pretty much fine until I started sneezing. Whatever. Sneezing is nothing. Unless you sneeze so many times you realize you need more tissues in your purse. Unless you sneeze so many times you start to have difficulty breathing through at least one nostril. Unless you sneeze so many times that you actually sound congested. Unless you sneeze so many times your nose looks red and swollen and begins to hurt from blowing it so frequently.

Still. I don't get sick. So I refused to believe that I was sick and I took the chronic sneezing, the flushed cheeks, the watery eyes and the unexplainable craving for whiskey as a sign that I had allergies.

Meanwhile, in the few hours of sleep I managed to get, congestion crept into my left nostril completely to the point where I can no longer breathe through it (whatever - breathing through both nostrils is highly overrated) and as a result I am up at 4am eating chicken soup, drinking diet green tea ginger ale, and telling myself that I am not sick. Am not. But just in case, I have made the following grocery list:

  • Dayquil/Nyquil
  • Halls Sugar Free Vitamin C Drops
  • Crackers
  • Soup
  • Sobe Zero Acai Fruit Punch
  • Tea
  • Diet Green Tea Ginger Ale
  • Puffs Plus
  • Ice Cream
  • Jack Daniels

Ok. It's possible I am sick.

UPDATED I totally went to the store and have big, big plans for today:

Sick Day.JPG

And for the record, I really did want ice cream but they didn't have sugar free Fudgesicles. I mean - who doesn't have sugar free Fudgesicles? I mean, they had Jesus matzoh but that's tomorrow's post. Anyways, so I had to settle for pudding and it was like, sugar free pudding was on sale or something because my choices were virtually non-existent. Sigh. I need my mom.     

Also? When one has not been sick in 2 years, one feels like one is entitled to whine one's sleep-deprived, stuffed head off because one hasn't had the opportunity to whine in forever. So yeah. Whine. Oh. And I still want my mom.   

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As a basic rule of thumb, I keep work out of my online life.  I think in the past I've mentioned that I am employed, and maybe that I am good at what I do (I totally am), and that I have an important sounding title that starts with Director of. And a week or so ago I mentioned on Twitter how my assistant showed me where the secret candy stash was and my friend the Investment Banker was all: You have an assistant? And I was like: not really. But kind of.

But mainly given that I work in a conservative industry in a conservative part of the world and given that I am prone to use less than ladylike language and because sometimes (more often than not) I am a stabby bitch on Twitter and also because I once suggested that I might be inclined to perform an ungodly amount of oral sex if a man gave me flowers (But not just flowers. 100 flowers. And not crappy flowers either. I know I said carnations were ok but I totally lied. I want the good stuff. Like calla lilies. And it can't just be 100 calla lilies because. It has to be 100 calla lilies because the man in question thought of me 100 times the night before. And really it can't just be any man. He's got to have Patrick Dempsey's hair, Daniel Craig's abs, and Warren Buffet's wallet. Wait. Now I sound greedy. I'll settle for 1 of the 3.) Well - you can see why I keep work on the work side of the Internet i.e. far the fuck away from Rougie. 

Anyways, the last few days have been sunny and warm and lovely and I was all set to go out and take a picture of the pretty purple wildflowers blooming in my yard and write a post about spring and sunshine and photosynthesis. And I was going to celebrate that Daylight Savings Time is almost over. Or it's almost beginning. I never remember which. All I know is that we spring forward this Saturday and anyone who bitches about losing an hour of sleep is no longer my friend because OMG 1) you totally got an extra hour in the fall and 2) HELLO long days and sunlight and warm weather and bye-bye seasonal affectation disorder and gloom and doom.  Anyways - I was all set to write a happy, sunny post welcoming in Spring and the Ides of March and all that crap except wait: Mother Nature is still epically pissed off at the world and it's fucking snowing. For serious. So yeah - I totally blame Mother Nature for fucking up my spring post and making me write about work.

So yeah. Work. All you really need to know (other than the whole conservative thing) is that for the last 2+ years I have had the luxury of working from home. In truth, I spend at least 90% of my time traveling so it's not like I am sitting around popping Bon-Bons all day but I am also not expected to be in an office all day, every day and that's kind of nice. What's also nice is not having to deal with rush hour traffic every day because Holy Hell - that shit makes me more-than-stabby.  

What's even nicer? I don't really have to wear pants. Yep - I am the living, breathing stereotype of someone who works from home in that unless it's utterly required, I probably won't get out of my robe and/or PJs.  If I do have to leave the house, you can be sure that it will be in the same dirty ass pair of holey leggings that I wear every day because OMG they are the most comfortable thing ever. And truth be told I do need to buy another pair but I really can't because Wal-Mart seems to have ditched the rack of $5 No Boundaries basic black and gray leggings and replaced it with some shiny, animal print leggings courtesy of Miley Cyrus and Max Azria and which are frankly DOWNRIGHT SCARY. And while I know I can get leggings elsewhere, I refuse to pay $25 for American Apparel leggings when Wal-Mart had them for $5 a pair a few months ago. And so yes. Because I am insane of my steadfast principles I continue to walk around in dirty, stinky, torn up leggings. Awesome.

Holy fuck where was I?

Oh yeah. Work. Pants.

So basically I either get to spend my days trekking across the Southeast and putting beaucoups of miles on my car (from 9800 Sept. 26th to over 20,000 on February 21st) or I don't have to wear pants. Until now.

After 2+ years of a lifestyle that has for a good long while worked very well for me, I have decided to go back to having an actual office. You know. With a door. And some windows. And a nameplate outside the door. And a phone. And office supplies. Only this office isn't attached to my kitchen.  It's about 50 miles away and requires not only that I get dressed - but that I kinda maybe sorta fight rush hour traffic on occasion. 

I am actually oddly excited about it. I mean - as much as I dread having to get dressed on a more consistent basis and deal with idiot drivers (Oh - and pooping in public. Really - not a big fan.), I am looking forward to being around people all day (not that I don't love and adore Psycho Kitty). And to the camaraderie. And to the 3pm visit to the snack machine (although my ass is in utter disagreement with me on this one). And to the fact that I have the world's best IT guy sitting 100 feet away which means every time something goes wrong (which is pretty much ALWAYS), someone is on instant hand to fix it. And to being close to the mall in civilization for more than a few hours at a time.

And the even better news is that I have only committed to 2 fulls days/week. For now. Which means the possibility for me to pretend that on occasion, I am Lady Gaga, still exists. 

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