July 2010 Archives

I pride myself on being independent.

I pride myself on being self-sufficient.

I pride myself on being able to take care of myself.


But last night? Last night I wanted a caretaker.

I wanted somebody else to get the mail.

I wanted somebody else to put away the groceries.

I wanted somebody else to clean the litter box.

I wanted somebody else to clean up the cat puke.

I wanted somebody else to open the wine and pour me a glass.

I wanted somebody else to fix dinner.

I wanted somebody else to do the dishes.


I didn't want to plow through 50+ unread items on Google Reader (although I am so glad I did).

I didn't want to write a blog post.

I didn't want to send emails.


I wanted to lay on the sofa, wrapped in a warm embrace, and drink wine and watch a Bones marathon or an NCIS marathon or a House marathon and just be still and be quiet and be at peace and be cared for.

Last night I wanted a caretaker.

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Over 2 months ago, the Department of Transportation notified me that my driver's license was going to expire in about 2 months and they were giving me plenty of time to get my shit together, go to the DMV, and renew it.  And I meant to go - I really did. But somehow, something or other always came up, and there was always another week waiting when I could get it done.

Given that I grew up in NYC, I have some definite views on going to the DMV, like: AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS.  Seriously.  You do not go to the DMV in Manhattan because it is akin to Hell on Earth.  There are long lines, you wait for hours, and the service is nothing short of rude. Or so I've been told because you see: I have never been to the DMV in Manhattan. When I turned 16 and got my learner's permit, my dad took me to the DMV in Yonkers. Itw as easier to go to Yonkers than stay in the city.  When I took my road test and got my license a year later, I did it in Upstate NY.    

That said - Smalltown USA is DEFINITELY not Manhattan and in fact, when I moved here 4+ years ago (OMG that's a long time), I don't remember having too many issues at our local DMV when I needed to switch to an in-state license. Then again, I probably hadn't started work yet and I probably went right when they opened so of course I breezed in and out. 

When I realized that my 2 months had turned to 2 weeks and that most of those 2 weeks were going to be spent at work or on the road, I carved out yesterday afternoon to come back to town early and hit the DMV and the Register of Deeds before a 5pm meeting. 

I was not expecting the local Smalltown USA DMV to be crowded at 2pm on a random July Wednesday and yet...Holy Hell.  I walked in and there was a line to get into the actual office. Six people stood in front of me, lined up against a wall, in an UN-AIRCONDITIONED hallway (the heat index was close to 100 yesterday). I got in line and immediately started Tweeting about my own personal Hell and then I waited.  Even 5 minutes was close to unbearable and as I watched people exit the DMV office, I waited for an employee to appear and to usher some of us in.  Didn't happen.

And this is why Twitter is genius:

My friend Nan grew up in Smalltown USA.  We met through Twitter. I have no idea how she found me but she did. And then we discovered a few months later she grew up where I now live and one of these days when she comes home to visit we're actually going to have drinks IRL...till then...

Nan saw my Tweets and IMMEDIATELY replied and told me to get the hell out of our crappy local DMV and head to the one about 2 towns over where it was empty and they had a/c.  I debated.  I had already invested some time (< 10 minutes) and I thought: well if I leave now, then they'll start letting people in and meanwhile I still have to go to the Register of Deeds and the other DMV is like 20 minutes away and I have to be back by 5 and I don't really know where it is...

But I was considering it and so I paused from my Twitterant to Google the address of the other DMV. And then my phone froze. My brand new Blackberry Bold choked up while trying to download the DOT homepage and while I know all about popping out the battery to reset, my new Blackberry has been encased in a hard, plastic pink shell to keep it intact when should I drop it and I couldn't get the motherfucker off. So there I am in the now even more crowded hallway (because like, 10 more people showed up), trying to wrestle the candy-coated shell off my Bold, SWEATING and I was like FUCK IT,  So I left, got in my car, cranked the a/c and left.  Around that time my Blackberry fortunately unfroze because for the record? I still can't get the fucker out of its case.

Anyways, long story long? I went to the other DMV and I walked in and it was empty - and cool.  The woman at the registration counter gave me my ticket and said to have a seat until they called my number, and before I could sit down and a) Tweet about Nan's genius and b) study the card with the road signs because OMFG - there was a test y'all - my number was called to go sit with an examiner who appeared out of nowhere. And of course I had lugged every single piece of paper I own (social security card, passport, cable bill, gas bill) because I needed to change my address and figured they would require proof but the examiner just asked me a bunch of questions and didn't ask for proof and then I took my test and passed (phew) and then I made the examiner wait while I applied lip gloss and fixed my hair before the photo but then he made me push my bangs out of my face (which I had just artfully arranged) and so I am pretty sure I look like crap in the photo.

Anyways I was in and out in less than 10 minutes and it was the most blissful DMV experience of my life and I give all of the credit to Nan and the genius of Twitter.

Also? So the DMV is one-way in and one-way out. Guess who was so distracted that she almost drove out on the one-way in? I was terrified that an examiner was watching from the window and was going to come running out and snatch my license straight from hand.

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While I was in Maine, I stumbled upon a book at the Brit Girl's called If...(Questions for the Game of Life) by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell. It is essentially a collection of hypothetical questions ranging from the mundane to the morally challenging and the book can be used in any scenario from self-reflection to a cocktail game.  I thought it would provide good fodder for my poor, neglected blog and since Maine Coast Book Shop didn't have a copy in stock and had to order one for me, I jotted down a handful of questions to get started. And while there are no rules on answering, I tried to go with my gut instinct on each one rather than overanalyze everything to death as I am prone to do. 


If you could be guaranteed one thing in life besides money, what would you ask for? 

Someone to grow old with and to share the rest of my life with.


If you could forever eliminate one specific type of prejudice from the Earth, which would it be?

Toss up between racism and misogyny.


If you could change one of your personality traits, what would it be?

I wish I wasn't so MEMEMEMEME all the time. I hate needing to always be the center of attention.


If you could relive one romantic date from high school, just as it was, which would it be?

I didn't go on one, single, solitary date in high school. True, pitiful story. 


If you had to give up all sexual activity for one year, how much money would you demand (minimum) in return?

WAIT?! Someone is willing to pay me for the last year of my life?


If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?

Ringleader...center ring...natch.


If you could eliminate one thing you do each day in the bathroom so that you never had to do it again, what would it be?

Floss.  I do it but man do I detest it.


If you could have prevented one event in history, what event would you eliminate?

The Holocaust.


If you could eliminate any one type of insect permanently from the Earth, what you get rid of?

Giant Japanese Hornets.  Especially the ones that torture me.


If you could assassinate one famous person who is alive right now, who would it be and how would you do it?

Instinct says Nancy Pelosi: death by Jawbreaker but conscience says Mel Gibson by whatever lethal weapon I can get my hands on.


If you could have had the starring role in one film already made, which movie would you pick?

Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Solely for the wardrobe. And the chance to smooch George Peppard.


If you were to have your entire wardrobe designed for you by a single clothing designer for the rest of your life, who would you select?

Hubert de Givenchy. (See also, above.)


If you were to drown in a liquid, other than water, what would you want it to be?

Very cold white wine or a vat of sweet tea vodka. Either or and I am sure I would die happy.


If you had to identically repeat any single year of your life to date, without changing a thing, which year would you relive?

Sounds strange but this one. It's no doubt been the hardest year of my life. But I've also learned so much about who I am and what I am capable of - I wouldn't give that up for anything.


What about you? 

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So I think I started about 2 or 3 posts about breaking up with JDate but I don't think I ever hit publish because by the time I got around to it, the break-up was long behind me and I didn't give a crap.  The short of it is, I despised online dating. There were too many easy ways to cross someone of my list (as in Him: my ideal first date is sharing a bowl of crab legs. Me: I don't eat crabs and so...NEXT.) and too many creepy people sending me emails and frankly, there are a lot better things I can do for $43/month other than judge and/or be creeped out.

Besides, I wasn't (and am still not) really in the mood to date. I  mean, I've always said if I met someone or I got introduced to someone, I'd give it a whirl. But I don't WANT or NEED to date. I am currently happy being single. If someone something  falls into my bed lap I won't say no. But it's not something I am actively pursuing.

Still, when Dr. Diva sent me the this article, I was intrigued by the concept. And the more I thought about it and the more I talked about it with some single girlfriends, the more I decided I had nothing to lose. And so I decided to get Cheek'd.

Cheek'd, according to their website, "provides a fun and non-intimidating way to meet that intriguing stranger who just sparked your interest."

How they do it: "Because sometimes it's better to let a card do the talking for you, Cheek'd provides members with a deck of 50 cards, each bearing a flirtatious comment to charm and pique the curiosity of your intended. Also on the card, is your unique code linked to a private online profile that you've created. With card in hand, the object of your affection can enter your unique code at cheekd.com, learn more about you and send you a message. Privacy protected and missed connection averted. "

So for $25, I get the following:

* A deck of 50, chic-looking, black business cards with such ice breakers as "act natural - we can get awkward later," "don't look back now," "I dare you," "I forgive you for not noticing me," "I just put all my drinks on your tab," "I am cooler than your ex," "I'm going to make this easy for you," and "mind picking the place for our first date?"

* A brief, chance-to-be-cheeky profile with only 10 things to fill out (SUCK IT eHarmony). Here's the profile and what I have so far:

Profile name:

My zipcode is: Divisible by 2, 4, & 14,046.

I can be found @:

Most played iPod song: Anything not by Justin Bieber.

Last passport stamp: Italy

Next stop:

Favorite board game: Trivial Pursuit

Daily fuel: Anything but BP.

Couldn't live without: Air, water & Internet..

I ♥:

The thought is that while I am out and about, if I see a man who catches my eye, I slip him one of these cards (or ask a girlfriend/waiter/bartender to slip him the card), and if he's intrigued, he can go to the website, punch in my code, and be brought to my profile. If he's still interested, he can email me - without paying (SUCK IT JDate). 

Here's the downside: I see this working well in major metropolitan areas like NYC, Chicago and San Fran. I don't know how ready my Big City in the Deep South is for something this advanced.

Also? Men with girlfriends, fiances and occasionally wives don't wear rings.  Who's to say I am not going to waste a perfectly good "our fate is in your hands" on someone who's not available?

That said, I have nothing to lose.  I ordered the cards hopefully in time for BlogHer. Dr. Diva thought I should give them a spin in NYC although 1) what man in his right mind is going to follow up on a Deliverance zip code? and 2) I am pretty sure BlogHer is all about the HER although Dr. Diva said where there are pretty ladies, men follow and I know my girls are pretty so yeah: maybe we'll spot a not-so-unfortunate XY at the bar or something. Or not.

In the meantime, it's a helluva lot cheaper and lot more interesting than JDate. We'll see what happens.  


So you're probably all: why the Hell did she post a picture of nothing? Well, when we arrived, it was pitch black except for the thousands of beautiful stars. I tried to photograph the stars but I don't exactly have the necessary equipment and this was all I captured. Of course, it does give you a sense of just how DARK it was when we were trying to manuveur onto the boat.



This is low tide and you can see the convenient path along the rocks from the island to the mainland.



And this is high tide. You can see why you need a boat.



This is one of 100 beautiful scenery shots I took while wandering around the island.



I took this shot standing towards the top of the stairs that lead down to the dock looking up at the house. The first night I navigated that path in wedges without a flashlight AND I didn't break my ankle or anything. Do I get a prize?



Obligatory Rougie foot shot. God do I need a pedi bad!



The Padebco Roadster - ain't she a beaut?




Lobster traps at Robinson's Wharf.



Actual lobsters being unloaded by actual lobstermen.



Day 1 lunch: Lobster BLT.



Rougie post-Lobster BLT, 2 pints of Shipyard Summer Ale and a few spoonfuls of Round Top Peppermint Stick ice cream.



Pulling into Christmas Cove for lunch on Saturday.



Me, Dr. Diva and The Brit Girl. 



Private Equity Guy & Dr. Diva relax in "First Class" as we head out into The Atlantic.


Back of the Boat.jpg

Meanwhile here's The Brit Girl, Bo and me roughing it in "Steerage" but having a damn good time (and getting sopping wet). 

Deadliest Catch Audition Shot.jpg

My interpretation of Deadliest Catch.



The harbor seals we had been hoping to see. Of course, you can't really see them all that well in this picture, can you?



Cleverest boat name ever.



South Bristol looking all kinds of pretty. 





Group Shot.jpg

Private Equity Guy, Dr. Diva, The Southern Gent, me, The Silver Fox, The Brit Girl and Bo after a fabulous butter-drenched, lobster-filled dinner. 



Sunday morning, 5am as I made my way down to the boat to head back to Portland.  

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Although The Brit Girl and her family have lived in London for over 20 years, they've owned a house in Maine for 30 years and for 30 years that's where they've spent their summers.  I've known Brit Girl for over 10 years and for over 10 years she's invited me to come and visit. I never have. After this visit, I can assure you that I will never miss another summer in Maine again.

The house is on an island in the Damariscotta River and when I say island, I do not mean that there are bridges and ferries and easy ways across.  I mean an island. In the river.  When the tide is low, you can walk the 30 or so feet from the house to the shore without any problems. When the tide is high, a boat is required to get across.  The Brit Girl and I rolled in at around 10:30pm on Wednesday night. It was mid-tide - the absolute worst time because there is no way to walk but it's hard to navigate the boat because of the rocks. Plus - it was pitch black except for the thousands of stars dotting the clear night sky.

I was still tipsy from the wine on the plane and so navigating from the car to the rocks (wet, slippery) to the boat (also wet) in the dark while wearing wedges was a challenge. Actually, the first challenge was for Brit Girl to help her father, The Southern Gent, navigate the boat close enough to shore without scraping it up on the rocks with nothing more than a dying flashlight and a childhood memory to get her by. She succeeded beautifully and I was happy because there's nothing I love more than a dramatic entrance.

Miss Argentina, a family friend slash caretaker, was waiting at the house with dinner (swordfish steaks Dijonnaise, basmati rice and steamed asparagus with Parmesan) and wine.  We feasted and then Brit Girl and I stayed up way to late catching up over a bottle of chardonnay.

Thursday was a beautiful day. After sleeping in, we spent the morning sunbathing on the dock with periodic dips in the Damariscotta to cool off. Yes - it got so hot that I jumped into the river which was a bracing 60 degrees or so.  And it felt amazing.  Eventually we got hungry and so we piled into the boat (and by boat I mean Padebco Roadster and by Padebco Roadster I mean Most Beautiful Boat Ever and one of these days I'll download pictures and you can see just how gorgeous this whole trip was) and we took a ride down the Damariscotta and through the Atlantic (that would be the ocean) to have lunch on Southport Island at Robinson's Wharf. I had a Lobster BLT and 2 pints of Shipyard Summer Ale, a local brew.  Dessert was peppermint stick ice cream from Round Top - best ice cream ever I swear.

Lunch was followed by a nap on the boat and a nap at the house and a non-memorable dinner at another restaurant that required a boat ride.  Lesson learned on Thursday? I need boat shoes.

Friday was the opposite weather wise - cold and gray and damp.  But...it also meant the arrival of Dr. Diva and her BF, Private Equity Guy.  They arrived around lunch and we immediately got in the boat (are you sensing a theme?) and headed over to Damariscotta for lunch and shopping.  Despite the so-so weather, it was a lovely day and lunch was delish and the shopping was fab (great local bookstore!) and the pink grapefruit sorbetto I got on the way out of town was the perfect way to cap the afternoon.

Miss Argentina spoiled us for dinner with filet mignons topped with homemade chimichurri and corn on the cob which I slathered with epic quantities of Kate's homemade butter. There was still one more arrival, Bo (only because I am so beyond tired I can't even think of an even quasi clever nickname), who didn't land in Portland until 11:30pm and who didn't roll into the island until after 1am so we stayed up drinking wine and playing Cancellation Hearts (um yeah...I might be a little competitive...just ask Dr. Diva) until he arrived and then we stayed up even later because you know, he had to acclimate.

Saturday was much like Thursday weatherwise and we spent the morning sunning on the dock before piling into the Padebco Roadster and heading to Christmas Cove to meet up with The Silver Fox, a local friend, for lunch. I'll say this: the local haddock is amazing and lobster in mac & cheese is as good as you think it is.

Post lunch was an EPIC boat ride down the Damariscotta, around Southport Island, across some bay, down the Sheepscott River and into the Atlantic where we went on a quest for Harbor Seals....and found the. Pix to follow I swear. And when I say epic, I mean that I looked like those dudes on Deadliest Catch because the sea? She was choppy. Which meant sitting in the back I got DOUSED and good thing I was wearing a windbreaker-slicker type thing because Sweet Baby G did I get WET.

We returned home by way of South Bristol where we picked up live lobsters for a good old fashioned lobster boil at home and that's how the weekend ended: with fresh lobsters dipped in buckets of fresh lemon butter and a salad that included avocado and bacon. Let me just say, I might run for office on the platform that ALL salads ought to include avocado and bacon. As with EVERY meal I had in Maine (no joke) it ended with Round Top peppermint stick ice cream.

Post dinner we wandered down to the dock and watched the phosphorescence and then I stayed up way too late chatting with The Silver Fox and staring at the unbelievably gorgeous starry sky and pointing out constellations because apparently my knowledge of astronomy is downright impressive - and I don't even have that iPhone app.

All in all, it was seriously the best vacation I've had in ages and I'll be damned if I didn't tell 14 different people that I wanted to move to Maine and 14 of them told me to say that again come December and I told them all to pretty much Bite Me because Maine is awesome and I want to be a Mainer and eat lobster all the time and drive a really awesome boat. Except when it's cold.

Coming soon: Pictures and my travel Hell home because Lord knows the Universe kicked me in the kidneys on the way there so why should it be any different on the way back? See also: I had a massive panic attack pre-8am on Sunday on 3 hours sleep. AWESOME.

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It was like the Universe knew I was leaving last Wednesday to go on the world's most awesome vacation to Maine (hence my absence from the Internets) and decided to heap every last ounce of shit it possibly could in my direction.

I fly a fair amount - maybe 6 or 7 times a year. And usually it's a random weekend i.e. NOT the day before Thanksgiving which qualifies as The Suckiest Day Ever To Travel so you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the airport last Wednesday, a random July 14th, and it was a zoo to the point that almost every single parking deck/lot was full. Seriously, I ALWAYS park in Daily Parking, which at $6/day is twice the long-term lots but which is 1) close to the Terminal so you can walk if you want and 2) also covered parking so your car is not exposed to the elements, and when the not-so-helpful guy told me it was closed I stared at him dumbfounded because: Seriously dude? Where else am I supposed to park?

I was pointed in the direction of Daily North which I have never been to and by the time I circled the airport and pulled in, I thought it should be called Long-Term 5 because 1) it's nowhere NEAR the terminal; 2) it's NOT covered parking which means my car would be sitting in the baking sun for 5 days and/or get hailed on should any more bad storms come to town and 3) was still $6/day. Sorry airport, but I call bullshit on that one. 

I will pause to say that it was a mere FLUKE and-or-slash miracle that I happened to arrive at the airport 2 hours early because Holy Hell it was going to take me that long to park.  No way was I paying premium prices for crappy parking, and with my sanity starting to fray slightly, I made the command decision to go to Business Valet.  Now our airport has 2 ways to valet parking: curbside parking which is right at the terminal and which is a chere $16 or $20/day, and business valet which is removed from the terminal i.e. you have to take a shuttle bus but which is also only $10/day - still pricey but not that much more than what I was used to paying plus the parking is covered plus I don't have to fuck with anything plus I had decided that my mental peace of mind was definitely worth the extra $16.

Still, I had to drive through Daily North and then wait behind 5 people who were all paying and exiting. I finally got to the cashier, gave her my ticket, told her I was just passing through and oh yeah by the way, how do I get to Business Valet. 

Her: "It's over somewhere by the terminal."

Me: "Are you sure? I thought it was off of 74 somewhere."

Her: "Well it's valet so it's gotta be close."

Me: "There are 2 kinds of valet parking. One is by the terminal. One isn't."

Her: Blank, dumb, empty expression.

Me: "Ok. You clearly have NO idea. Thanks for being so NOT helpful. Bye." And I pulled out.

What followed was yet ANOTHER 20-minute odyssey of me circling the airport, not seeing any signs for Business Valet, having to exit onto the highway, make a u-turn, and re-enter the airport.  When I finally found the lot, I nearly wept with joy. Also? I knew I had made the right decision because there was zero chaos and zero drama and I didn't have to circle for 400 years looking for a spot, I just handed the guy my car, he handed me a ticket, and I got on a clean, air-conditioned shuttle bus which no one else was on so it was essentially private.

Given the fact that 3/4 of the parking lots were full/closed, I should have known that the airport would be a zoo. And it was. Plus, one of the 4 security checkpoints is closed for renovations (no - really) so the massive crowds were compressed into 3 checkpoints.  The line I was on snaked halfway down the airport. No joke.  And the only reason I didn't panic was because again, I had oodles of extra time - time which I had planned to use sitting at the airport bar and reading through some work stuff.

While tediously inching my way towards security, I emailed Dr. Diva.  The valet had mentioned an online coupon which would reduce the rate to $8/day so I sent her a quick message and said if you can find it, great, and could you print it out and bring it to me since I was without computer and printer and she wasn't joining us in Maine until Friday.  I got an email back 30-seconds later saying Done and Done. Sweet.

Security took exactly 30 minutes and when I got through, I checked the monitors to confirm my departure gate. B-12. I double checked it was Portland, ME and not Portland, OR and it was.  With some time to spare, I made my way to the mid-terminal bar where I indulged in some white wine and managed to relax. Briefly.

I got to B-12 right as my plane was getting ready to board. It was crowded and the gate agents were saying something about being full and or oversold and I was like, Great.  A few old people were wheeled on and then families with kids were making their way on and then I don't know what possessed me and I looked at the sign closely and it said Portland, OR. And I was all: No. Fucking. Way.   I dashed to another set of monitors and sure enough, the departure gate for Portland, OR was B-12 and the departure gate for Portland, ME was D-12 - ALL THE WAY ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE AIRPORT. And then I died because I was I going to make it in wedges and lugging a suitcase? Also? Had I been that stupid?

The Universe finally gave in and smiled on me because I found a nice young man sitting in an idle cart - you know the ones they use to tote people who can't walk very well and/or are lazy from gate to gate - and I totally flagged him down. Nice to know my legendary taxi-hailing skills can be re-applied. Anyways, he was more than happy to help and when I explained to him that I was in a DESPARATE rush because OMG my plane is already boarding, he opened that baby up and took me through the airport NASCAR-style. Seriously - we almost ran over a priest.

Of course the drama was for naught because my flight was in fact delayed and so by the time I was deposited at D-12 (in a full on panic) no one had yet boarded. AND - as it turned out - I spoke to a handful of other people who had been at B-12 first so I KNEW that I wasn't in fact a stupid moron and that actually, the airport/airline had switched gates and OMFG who replaces 1 Portland with another? At least they could have boarded a Cleveland flight out of B-2 instead so I would have instantly known about the gate change.

Long story long? I finally arrived in Maine AND I managed to find The Brit Girl which was of some concern seeing as she had no US working cell phone and the Universe seemed to have it in for me.

More on the EXTREME AWESOMENESS of Maine and pictures to follow. Today is just the pre-vacation drama.  

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I needed to buy an iPod for a work thing (don't ask) and so yesterday I figured I'd pop over to the mall during lunch and grab one at the Apple store. I had planned to walk (the mall is literally across the street) but when I stepped outside, it was like falling into the arms of the love child of an oven and a steam bath. I mean, I didn't know that humidity levels could climb as high as 852%, but apparently, they can. 

I have naturally curly hair that I have basically tamed into submission. On top of which I JUST got my haircut Monday night and it was on the short, sleek, straight side so even 2 minutes outside and suddenly I'd be dealing with frizz beyond belief not to mention bangs curling up and looking all kinds of funky.  So I got in my car (sacrificing an awesome parking space) and drove. All of a few hundred feet. On the plus side, Funky Cold Medina was playing on the radio so I got busy to Tone Loc.  

I entered the mall through Macy's and had the following 2 thoughts as I made my way through the store:

1) I love shopping for men's clothes. Really.  100 years ago, when my father was still knee deep in corporate America, I accompanied him to Burberry and helped him pick out stylish sport coats, sharp shirts and posh ties. In fact, I had his whole wardrobe coded and categorized as in Sport Coat A can be worn with shirts 1, 3, 6 and 7 and ties 2, 4, and 10. The man didn't get dressed in the morning without consulting me first. My point? I love shopping for men's clothes and even walking through the men's department of Macy's made me long for someone to shop for because, you know, who needs sex?

2) I have not bought a bathing suit in over 4 years. I don't know whether this is a grand feat worthy of celebration (because Holy Hell I'd rather get a simultaneous pap smear and root canal than try on bathing suits) or a massive tragedy (because Jesus my bathing suits are all old and stretched out of shape and ill-fitting).  I browsed briefly in Macy's but didn't subject myself to the horror because a) they had nothing I liked in my size and b) Crap! Swimsuits are expensive!

Out of Macy's and en route to Apple, I caught sight of the electronic no-smoke cigarette kiosk and just thought: who the fuck would actually BUY one of those let alone use it? Seems well intentioned but wrong - kind of like most men I know.  Then I saw the Rosetta Stone kiosk - bizarrely situated in front of Sur La Table, as if someone was going to stop off and pick up a Learn Mandarin Chinese DVD on their way to buy a Le Creuset Dutch oven. Actually - who goes to the mall to buy language tapes? Wouldn't you just order online? Or go to a book store? It's quite possible I need to recalibrate my meds but the whole gauntlet between Macy's and Apple just seemed ridiculously bizarre to me.

And then I got to Apple and then I died because HOLY HELL THAT PLACE IS LIKE DISNEYWORLD MEETS A TORNADO MEETS A MADONNA CONCERT MEETS THE CHAOS THAT A SCHIZOPHRENIC WITHOUT THEIR MEDS MUST LIVE IN. There are people everywhere - and everyone is holding a gadget or a tablet and there were 12 separate displays for the iPhone 4 and I just needed a basic 8GB Nano in black and OMG why don't they have products out and Jesus Christ who do you talk to and Holy Hell why are there so many people everywhere and ACK what do you mean there's a waiting list and OMFG GET ME OUT OF HERE BEFORE I HAVE A COMPLETE NERVOUS MELTDOWN.

Seriously. I do not lie and I do not exaggerate.

I could not stand to be in that store one second longer than I absolutely had to, so Blackberry defiantly clutched in my hand (as I was Tweeting about the whole horror), I strode purposefully and proudly right to the back of a store to the one thing resembling a counter (despite its lack of cash registers) and asked who the fuck I needed to see about buying a goddamn 8GB Nano in black. Actually - I didn't say fuck. Or goddamn. At least - not outside of my own head. And I was fortunate because some prepubescent teenager was available to help me out although first he wanted to know if I had any questions and I was all: NO. I have no questions. Just please get my iPod so I can escape from this torture chamber and at that very  moment I realized why all of my Apple-loving friends detest the Genius Bar. I left the store in full on need of a cocktail and a Xanax.

As a reward, I treated myself to a Greek salad with grilled chicken from Showmar's for lunch -- only last time I got Showmar's to-go I was all the way back at my office before I discovered my Greek salad with grilled chicken was actually fried fish and French fries and then I had to trek ALL THE WAY BACK to the mall to get it fixed because I don't really do fried fish. At least not for lunch. Ok. Not really ever. So this time I specifically checked my order when it was handed to me because Joe Pesci is right - they FUCK YOU at the drive-thru AND the to-go counter and the Showmar's lady looked at me all judgy as if I shouldn't make sure that I was getting the right food. Good news? I got the right food. Bad news? She didn't give me a fork and knife but it wasn't exactly a tragedy because we have utensils back at the office.

Even better news and incidentally the best part of my day (which quickly spiraled into The Tuesday That The Universe Tried To Suck My Soul)?  Showmar's special tzatziki dipping sauce. I think they must put crack in it because it is seriously fucking good. 

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When I was little, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a Mom.  I was the daughter of 2 happily married parents and I naturally assumed that my adult life would mirror theirs.  I'd be happily married for eternity.  I'd have 2 children - an older boy and a younger girl just like me and my brother. And of course, I would let my daughter do all of the things my mother wouldn't let me do because not only was I going to be a Mom, I was going to be a Cool Mom.

But things don't always work out how we plan.  And now I am less than 30 days away from my 35th birthday and I am childless.

I don't think it would be such a big deal if the media didn't proclaim 35 as THE GIANT SEMINAL TURNING POINT IN A WOMAN'S LIFE.  According to them, 35 is the year that our ovaries shrivel up and our ability to have children decreases DRAMATICALLY.  I think 35 is the year (or at least once was the year) that if you are STILL single, you have better odds of being blown up by a terrorist than finding a husband. Really, I shouldn't be excited about turning 35 seeing as it basically means I am going to die alone and childless and death may or may not include a bomb.

I never thought I wouldn't have kids. In fact, for a long time (like 4 years long) I actively tried to conceive. It never took. And a battery of tests that poked and prodded in and around and all up in my private womanly sanctuary revealed that I was young, healthy and totally capable of having children.  Why it never happened, I'll never know. I am going to go out on a limb and say that what's meant to be is meant to be and that at the time, children weren't meant to be. At least, not for me.

The question remains: are they in my future?

I've often wondered about how I would fare as a mother. As good as I am with kids, and as much as I love them (don't get me started on my scrumdiddlyumptious nephew), I am also from the MEMEMEMEMEME School of Selfish.  The choices I have made for the last 15+ years are all about me and for me.  I don't have to give up a night out with the girls because my daughter needs help with a book report. I don't have to pass over a dress on sale at Trina Turk because my son needs new clothes for school. I don't have to miss work for a sick child. I can wake up on a Friday at 7am, buy a plane ticket at 7:30am and be in Miami by noon. Nothing holds me back. But it's different when you're a parent. You put your children first. As well you should.

I am not stupid. I know my ovaries aren't going to shrivel up and dry out at 3:59pm on August 11th.  I have already survived one terrorist bombing. I'm still here and I am pretty sure that at the very least, I will go out on a handful of dates before I suffer through my next attack.

But still. I can't help but wonder. About what the future holds. And if it includes motherhood.

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It was a whirlwind of a weekend! 

Saturday was The Librarian's bridal shower and not only was I a guest, I was also the caterer. Yes, I was actually hired and paid to cater the party although truth be told, I would have done it for free because I love to cook and frankly, I miss it.  Anyways, I got into the kitchen (and a bottle of chardonnay) Friday evening and spent most of Friday night and Saturday morning cooking up a storm, drinking wine (well Friday night anyways) and singing along to Les Miz. Yes kids, not only do I make one helluva Spicy Caramelized Onion Bacon Blue Cheese Dip but I know the entire songbook for Les Miz - verbatim.  Am awesome.

The menu for the shower was as follows:

* Minted Spring Pea & Goat Cheese Crostini

* Sausage Potato Puffs

* Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

* Meatballs & Homemade Pomodoro Dipping Sauce

* Pineapple-Peach Salsa

* Spicy Caramelized Onion Bacon Blue Cheese Dip

* Southwest Style BBQ Chicken Salad

* Ghetto Guacamole

* Roasted Garlic Hummus & Veggies

Other than the hummus, which was store bought, I made everything else from scratch. And pretty much everything was scrumdiddlyumptious - except for the crostini which came out too tangy for my taste although other people really liked them.  Long story long? There were no leftovers so I consider it a success.

But back to the shower. It's been a while since I've been to a bridal shower and this one was plenty fun - mainly because it was all of my best local gals (deep breath....): Lilsaej, Alicat, The Reporter (aka His Girl Friday), The Other Reporter (aka Gazette Diane), Pixie, The Redneck Princess, and The Girl Scout. Oh - and of course The Librarian whose impending nuptials we were celebrating. And there were mimosas and silly games like Pin The Junk on the Hunk only the Hunk in question needed to have his man garden better groomed and OMG I did not know that you could come up with quite so much junk. I mean a cactus? REALLY?

Anyways, at around 4 or so, after the last of the slutty sleepwear lingerie themed gifts had been opened it turned from a shower to a party and some menfolk arrived and suddenly it was Apples to Apples and Flippy Cups and then more Apples to Apples and OMG if I didn't drag myself home at MIDNIGHT beer-bloated and full of macaroni and ridiculously happy.

I woke up Sunday way too early but hey - that's par for the course in my world - and I sat down at my PC to do some work (like, you know, for the people who pay me) and OMFG - I couldn't access my drive. My personal drive for work with all of my files and EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE SWEET JESUS and DEAR LORD 8am on a Sunday is too early for this kind of drama.

Long story short? Firm IT spent the better part of Sunday fucking around in my computer and I STILL don't have the access I need. I am being blocked from my own drive - like I am an imposter or a thief or Mel Gibson. I don't know.  The good news is IT can do all of this crap remotely which meant that I knocked out 3 loads of laundry, cleaned my house and caught the end of the remade version of The Taking of Pelham 123 during Round 1 of IT Intervention.

Then we took a break and I made an EPIC run to Target because I needed cat food, toothpaste, Rid-X, Coke Zero Cherry, hair elastics, a card, a new pillow, a sports bra and apparently 3 new dresses, all eerily similar in style and all quite comfy. In fact, I suspect all will be making an appearance at BlogHer:

Target Black and Pink Dress.jpg

Target Pink Dress.jpg

Target Charcoal Dress.jpg

Oh. And I also needed hangers after buying 3 dresses. God Bless Target.

Then it was home for a disco nap, shower, Round 2 of IT intervention (without any success) and then it was off to Miss Mary's for a wine tasting.  About a year ago Miss Mary, The Artist and I all decided to become members of The Wine Century Club. The goal is to knock out 100 varietals and while The Artist is at 90-something, Miss Mary and I were in the 70s/80s so she bought a whole bunch of wine that we needed to drink and threw together a tasting.  Despite the fact that I drank my weight in Miller Lite the day before, I had no problem knocking off 14 varietals and a good bit of cheese.

All in all it was a great weekend. Fun. Productive. Social.  I was busy, which is good, but I had just enough "me" time to get stuff done, and I never felt lonely or sad. These days, that's a win. 

How was your weekend?

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Three things in the last few days have really made me rethink my diet:

1) Primal Matriarch, also known to some of you as Modern Matriarch. Her updates and posts on going primal are INSPIRING.  She's got energy. She's radiant. She looks amazing. She feels fantastic. And everything she is doing is healthy and makes sense.

2) We had free health screenings at work this week. Since I am a pretty healthy gal, other than my annual well woman exam, I don't really go to the doctor so it's been a while since anyone's tested my cholesterol and I was curious.  Most everything came back in the normal/healthy zone but my triglycerides were through the roof. Not over 200, which is what is considered "dangerous," but so close to 200 that I was concerned.  

Now as it turns out, the triglyceride test is one of the 2 tests that is impacted by food so if you don't fast for 8 hours before the test, the number might come back on the high side. I thought I fasted but apparently 2 Coke Zero Cherries and 2 pieces of sugarless gum qualifies as not-fasting. Had I known that I would have actually had breakfast. Anyways, while I am pretty sure that diet soda and sugarless gum, didn't cause my triglycerides to spike, it's quite possible the 26 pounds of potato chips, Pringles and Chex snack mix that I shoveled into my gaping maw over July 4th weekend did.

Really it doesn't matter. Whatever it was, it caught my attention.

3) In anticipation of the health screening, I got on my scale Tuesday morning. Now I have a love-hate relationship with my scale. If I am losing weight/have lost weight, I weigh myself EVERYSINGLEDAY first thing in the morning (after I've peed) to make sure I am still losing or maintaining loss. As soon as I start to gain weight/have gained my scale gets tucked away because OMG I DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE NUMBER DEAR LORD. 

Right now we're in the latter stage. In fact, I don't think I've weighed myself since my well woman in January because when I saw the number back then, I died a little. And it was no different on Tuesday - the number horrified me.

The thing is - I know better. It's not about the number. It's about how I feel about myself. And being strong. And fit. And healthy. And I am, for the most part, all of those things. I can do box squats with 120lbs. resting on my shoulders. I can push over 250lbs with my calves. My trainer calls me a Beast. Another trainer always tells me I am the hardest working girl at the gym bar none.  For chrissakes - I put myself through boot camp - BECAUSE I WANT TO. July 4th weekend aside, I don't generally consume bags of potato chips for breakfast followed by 1/2 a pound of pretzel M&Ms for a mid-morning snack.   

So after I got off the scale, I reminded myself of all of those things. And then I stood and took a good, long, hard look at my body in the mirror.  I tried to push the number out of my mind and just look at ME. Did I like what I was looking at?  And for the most part, the answer was yes. I saw a few areas that could be better toned/slimmed down, and after talking with my trainer it's mainly increased cardio that will help burn off the fat. That and cutting back on the booze. Then again, I like my nightly glass(es) of wine. I like grabbing a pint or 2 after work. I don't want to look like Jillian Michaels because I don't want to have to give up the things I enjoy.

Still, all of these things cause me to think about what and how I eat and how to best take care of myself.  Going forward, I am making an effort to be a little healthier. I don't have the time right now or the local resources to go fully primal, but I am trying to cut back on refined starches and sugars.  I am trying to eat more fruits on top of the pounds of veggies I eat. I am trying to eat more fish (so how convenient that I just fell in love with sushi). I am doing a little more cardio at the gym. I am getting to the gym a few more days a week.  I even bought almond milk. 

Now I am not much for milk, but my co-worker Iron Man gave me a recipe for a breakfast smoothie that he swears by.  He uses 2% milk but Primal Matriarch has been talking about almond milk and almond flour and I love almonds and Earth Fare had a GIANT display of almond milk and so yeah - I bought some. My version of the smoothie recipe is as follows:

4 oz. soy yogurt (I got vanilla flavored but you could use plain or fruit)

4 oz. unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop whey protein powder (I got the Earth Fare brand, also vanilla flavored)

3 - 4 oz. fruit.  Now I did not have time to stock up on and cut up fresh fruit so I went straight to the freezer and OMG - look what I found:

Yoplait Smoothie.JPG

Yoplait frozen fruit blends especially for smoothies. I got a bag of Strawberry Pineapple Mango and used half the bag. 

Here's the other genius thing I found yesterday:

HB Blender.jpg

It's a single serve blender from Hamilton Beach and the blender cup detaches and becomes a travel cup (with room for a straw even) so this morning I made my smoothie and then just grabbed the cup AND OUT THE DOOR! Nothing to wash or clean up until I got to the office because at that point I had sucked down my delicious, low-cal (under 300), high protein (25 grams), healthy breakfast confection.

This isn't about a diet or weight loss. It's about a lifestyle. It's about making smarter choices.  It's about being healthy...most of the time because I can assure you that I am not giving up the occasional basket of chicken wings and fries.  And if I sound like Primal Matriarch? Well damn...it's because my dear friend has brain-washed me with almond milk or something really inspired me.  

Comments ( 4 )

It doesn't matter that this was in many ways, your choice.

It doesn't matter that you know this was the right decision.

It doesn't matter that you're both better off.

You see the words in black and white: "it is necessary to the health and happiness of both of the parties hereto that they live and continue to live separate and apart from each other..." and it crushes your soul.

It doesn't matter that you're moving on.

It doesn't matter that you have no regrets.

It doesn't matter that you have a lot more life still to live.

You see the words in black and white: "...that the bonds of matrimony be dissolved..." and it tears your heart into a thousand little pieces.

You wonder if you should have tried longer or fought harder.

You wonder why love wasn't enough.

You wonder what will happen next.

And then you let go. Unexpectedly one Tuesday morning driving. It hits you. With the force of a million pounds. And you let go and you grieve: for everything you shared and for everything you didn't. 

The tears spring from nowhere and seem to have no end.  Your body is racked with choking sobs. You almost have to pull over because you can't see or breathe.

You have avoided this. You have denied it. You have kept yourself busy so that you wouldn't have to face this. 

But eventually you have to face reality. And reality hurts more than you ever expected. 

It doesn't matter that this was in many ways, your choice.

It doesn't matter that you know this was the right decision.

It doesn't matter that you're both better off.

Your soul still aches. Your heart is still broken.

{Comments Closed}

Fact: I have awesome friends.  Weekends are hard, holiday weekends are harder, and this holiday weekend in particular is a doozy. I had absolutely no intention of being alone over the 3-day weekend and so some time back in May I invited myself to accompany Lilsaej to her sister's house on the Lake and she graciously didn't say no.

Fact: Lilsaej and I will drink exactly however many cans of Michelob Ultra we bring with us and then we usually still need a few more.

Fact: I cannot pee in a lake. I tried for about 5 minutes before finally giving up.

Fact: Not being able to pee in a lake and being miserable from the discomfort is worse than having to publicly announce to a boatload of casual acquaintances that you cannot pee in a lake and then making them erect what I affectionately dubbed The Princess Potty and then peeing no less than 8 times over the course of the afternoon and even though there is a curtain/zippered shell thing to give you privacy, dude, it's still not that private.   

Fact: Once I got my bathroom issues resolved I was able to drink a lot more beer truly enjoy my time on the boat without suffering from hourly panic attacks about "what if I have to pee...again."

Fact: It is possible for a single person to consumer an entire bag of Kettle baked white cheddar potato chips in one sitting.

Fact: I make the world's best chocolate chip cookies. Everyone keeps telling me so. So anyone out there want to bankroll my cookie empire?

Fact: Lilsaej made me watch The Ugly Truth and I might have died from the stupid.  Katherine Heigl has annoyingly neurotic and did I mention ANNOYING down cold and I think I'd rather prick my skin all over with a rusted out cocktail fork than suffer through that mind numbing hell again.  Not even Gerard Butler could save this movie - THAT'S HOW BAD IT WAS.

Fact: Up, on the other hand, is pure cinematic genius.

Fact: Apples to Apples is the best party game over even though I routinely get my ass handed to me.

Fact: I am either really good at Cornhole or really bad. I can't decide.  I generally throw too short, too far, too left, or too right, but when I do actually manage to hit the board, my bag generally goes in the hole. I think that's a sign that I have some raw talent that needs to be nurtured.

Fact: There are in fact people who get excited about driving through South Carolina just to buy fireworks. Bobo is one of them and he brought an arsenal with him for the weekend:


Fact: Fireworks are part fun, part scary and all kinds of sparkly.

Fact: I had an awesome July 4th weekend. How about you?

Comments ( 6 )

Independence: Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

Tomorrow is July 4th aka Independence Day.  Most of this country will celebrate by eating hot dogs and watermelon, drinking beer, watching parades and setting off firecrackers.  Hopefully more than half will remember that this holiday is not just about processed meat and pyrotechnics, but that it's about brave men and women who took a stand to fight for democracy and freedom.

Tomorrow I will celebrate our country's Independence. But I will also be celebrating something else.

On July 4, 2009 I spent the day - literally all day - scrubbing the kitchen cabinets in what was to be my new house.  The previous tenant was not the cleanest of fellows and there were epic quantities of dirt, dust, grime and mouse droppings that needed to be removed. I spent most of the day quasi high from all of the Clorox and Lysol I was inhaling, and by the time the day was over my hands were raw and red from the bleach. 

Nothing about the day was a holiday.  Nothing about it was fun. It was long and it was lonely because you see, no one locally outside of 1 or 2 friends knew. No one knew that I was leaving my old life and starting a fresh one.  

The only thing remotely July 4th-ish about July 4, 2009 was a piece of watermelon that 1 of those friends brought me, which I ate off a Styrofoam plate, letting the juice run down my chin into the sink.

July 4, 2009 was one of the worst days of my life. But it was also one of the best.

I remember when the last piece of shelf liner had been laid and the day finally ended.  I remember choosing to stay in my not-quite-ready-to-be-lived-in house rather than retreating to the house I had been watching for friends who were out of town. I remember crawling into bed, made up with my beloved Ralph Lauren leopard print sheets purchased for my first single girl apartment after I had graduated college.  I remember that there was no a/c and it was beyond hot.  I remember that there was no TV in my bedroom and so the only sound to cut the heavy silence was the click and whir of the ceiling fan. 

I remember feeling alone.

I remember feeling scared. God was I scared.

But mainly I remember feeling proud.  I was so proud because I had done what I didn't think I could do. I had the courage to leave a life that was no longer working for me in order to give myself a chance at rediscovering happiness, and in the process I had demonstrated an inner strength that I honestly forgot I possessed.

I intentionally chose to move into my new house on July 4th because of what it signified. And so tomorrow, and every year going forward, I will celebrate two Independence Days: America's and my own. 

Happy July 4th. Happy Independence Day.

Comments ( 7 )

Certain things stymie me. Chinese buffets for example. I simply don't understand them.

I also don't understand all you can eat sushi buffets.  I like to see my sushi made fresh by a qualified sushi chef.  Fake crab and graying avocado that have been sitting out under a sneeze guard all day gross me out.

Lindsay Lohan. Once upon a time she was cute and she was talented - so much so that she caught the eye of venerable director Robert Altman. Now is she a full blown drug-addled mess who's last movie went straight to video.

Justin Bieber and his mass domination of Twitter.  I mean - how does that happen? HOW?

But perhaps the thing that stymies me the most in this universe is bad bathroom etiquette.  It's been about 4 months since I've had to start getting up in the morning and start getting dressed and fight rush hour traffic into The Big City. Four months that I've spent the better part of my week in an office that I don't share with Psycho Kitty.  Four months that I've had to start using a public restroom on a regular basis.  And in four months, I have discovered this: SOME WOMEN ARE JUST PLAIN DISGUSTING.

I don't care what you do in the privacy of your own home, but for the love of Lysol Scrubbing Bubbles, can someone explain to me why there are people in this universe who DON'T FLUSH in public?

Ok. I get it. Every once in a while, a toilet breaks. And Lord knows I have been at a club where there is one miniature toilet, 4,732 drunk women, and by the time you go to pee the toilet is nothing more than a mountain of urine-soaked toilet paper and there is really nothing you can do.

But we are in an office building. A professional setting. During the day i.e. sober time. So what would posses someone to not fully flush?

I enjoy being surprised as much as the next girl but walking into a stall and seeing a GIANT TURD is not a surprise. It's just WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. 

Would you pee all over your seat at home and not wipe it up?

When it's that time of the month, do you leave little bright red streaks of your femninity smeared on the toilet seat? Do you? DO YOU?

And while we're on the subject, I get that you might be embarassed that I walked into the restroom and caught you in the middle of a major dump.  But running out of the stall and NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS grosses me out more than the fact that someone I don't know also poops. Guess what - WE ALL DO. It's a basic, human, bodily function.  Pooping is not gross. But not flushing your poop and not washing your hands after is flat out disgusting. 

There's a lot I love about being in an office again.  The camraderie. The intellectual stimulation. The many secret candy stashes are no longer such a secret.  But walking into a bathroom and being greeted by a piece of shit? That I could live without.

Comments ( 5 )

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