Saturday, February 24, 2007

Maybe I'll just get him a Playboy subscription

Kevin's teaching his first class, on collage and mixed media, at the Sugarcreek Art Center today. He had to work last night, so he was up late gathering supplies and going over his notes for the intro. I can tell he's nervous because as he was leaving, he said "I wish you were coming to the class!" Fine time to tell me, pal, when I'm sitting here with crazy bed head and wearing pajama pants. Oh, don't feel sorry for him. I think he wanted me there more to boost participant numbers than for moral support. Only five people signed up ahead of time, but the center does get walk-ins for classes. I think the weather and time of year affected the number of sign-ups, too. He's planning to teach a class on rubber stamping later this spring, and I'm sure more people will sign up then. Keep your fingers crossed the class goes well for him, will you?

Oh, and I must say something snotty about his cousin Sam, who's heading up the foundation that Kevin's the artist in residence for. Sam blathers a blue streak about how "marvelous" Kevin's artwork is and how "supportive" he is of Kevin's artistic efforts, but is he attending the class today to support Kevin? Why, no. And Kevin wonders why I snipe about Sam being all talk.


That damn Greg (heh) suggested a Playboy subscription for Daniel's 18th birthday. He was kidding, of course (RIGHT, Greg?), but his suggestion reminded me of something I know about Daniel that I'm not supposed to. A while back, Kevin was putting away laundry and went into Daniel's closets to hang a few shirts. (He doesn't usually put Daniel's clothes away FOR him, just for the record. He was carrying a bunch of shirts up and decided to hang Daniel's up so that they wouldn't wrinkle or fall off the doorknob. Anyway, end of unnecessary explanation.) A stack of magazines on the shelves in there caught his eye, and when he took a closer look, he saw they were Playboys. Here's what's funny, though: They weren't current Playboys; they were from the late '60s, early '70s, and quite tame by today's standards. We figured someone brought them in to the bookstore with a box of books to sell, and Jon offered them to Daniel and the other male employee more as a joke. Apparently Daniel took him up on the offer! I had to laugh when I looked at a few issues. I mean, the pictures are almost sweet. If that's as far into porn as he gets, fine with me.


I was more upset than I let on by Kevin's touchiness over getting stuck in the snow last weekend. See, when I met him nine years ago, he was one of the sweetest, most laidback men I'd ever met. Frankly, that quality was a huge part of his attraction for me, as it was a diametric opposite to my ex-husband's personality. Over the past couple of years, I've been surprised to see outbursts of anger, irritation, and defensiveness from him. He's not a psycho, but the change has been noticeable. I tried to rationalize it by attributing it to depression (and his moods did improve a little after he started antidepressants) or frustration over being out of work or working in jobs that gave him no opportunities to use his creativity. He's had a lot of problems with his daughter, and Lord knows problems with kids can make you angry and frustrated as hell. I've had some ups and downs in moods, too, what with occasional depression and perimenopause and idiot salesclerks and theater employees (heh), too, so I thought maybe he was reacting to MY moods.

Greg mentioned male menopause after my entry about Kevin's snit fit, and I thought it might be a possibility, but with my usual laziness, didn't look into it any further. Then I got an e-mail from Kathy (more famous as The Millionth Reader at Jane's) talking about dealing with men's midlife crises, and I thought "Second mention in a week: Someone's telling me to look into this more."

So I Googled "male menopause" and lo, there were more than a million hits. I started clicking around, looking for descriptions of symptoms. This WellnessMD article, among many others, listed "dwindling libido and impotence" (which I first typed as "importance"--ha! Freudian, much?) Uh, NOT A PROBLEM. And I'll leave it at that (you're welcome).

I kept looking, and found this article at MSNBC, which also mentioned decreased interest in sex but added increased irritability and feeling "down and discouraged." What's interesting is that the article said testosterone levels start decreasing gradually as early as 30 and continue for many years, whereas woman have a sharper decline in estrogen levels starting at 50, on average. So men do go through menopause (or, more correctly, andropause), but the transition is usually a hell of a lot easier for them because it's more gradual.

I was feeling somewhat put upon, all "Men! And if they had periods, instead of cramps, they'd have soothing, tingling waves of contentment wash over them. Hmmmph!" And then I found the MenAlive site. According to the author, male depression can mimic andropause symptoms, making diagnosis more difficult, and depression often manifests itself differently in men than in women, as anxiety and irritability. Then I hit on irritable male syndrome (IMS), which at first I was tempted to dismiss with "I think that's called just being male," but I don't know. A lot of what I read sounded familiar. IMS is sometimes called Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome because of how drastic the behavioral changes can be, and that certainly fit Kevin. If you're involved with a middle-aged man, I recommend checking out the information. I don't know whether the guy writing the stuff on this site is a crackpot or is making up all these theories or what, but what I read made sense to me.

Now I need to read more about what to do about IMS. I did see something about testosterone supplements, and hell, no. That's the last thing Kevin needs, in my Google M.D. opinion. More testosterone in him? I'd never get anything done!

Edited to add: Y'all should pay attention to the lovely Miz S, if you go check out that site! I'm oblivious to advertising most of the time and didn't notice all the stuff this guy is hawking. That makes me suspicious, but I still think the descriptions of behaviors are interesting, and to be honest, I'm relieved to think there might be something wrong with Kevin, whether it's physical or psychological. Not that I WISH an ailment on him, but that's better than resigning myself to him becoming the world's crankiest old man, right?

Oh, and no worries: He doesn't read anything here. I'm not hiding it from him on purpose, but when I switched sites, I just never gave him the new address. Even at my old journal, he didn't read that often because I think he was afraid of inhibiting my "self-expression" or some such notion. Self-expression, heh. More like aimless babbling, but still, it was sweet of him. See? He is sweet when he's not being Mr. Crankypants.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Heed the snow blob's warning!

Why do I have to work for a living? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy? It gets in the way of so much I want to do. For one thing, I was enjoying updating more often, but I don't how I'm going to continue doing that if work stays at this pace. More work = money coming in, so I don't want to complain too much. Sometimes the feast-or-famine nature of freelance work gets to me, though.


In case you were wondering, the snow finally started melting, and I did indeed survive my Cabin Fever '07 experience. Good thing I wasn't a pioneer woman in one of the plains states who was forced to hole up in a cabin the entire winter. I wouldn't have maintained a Little House on the Prairie cheerfulness in the face of hardship. No, I'd have been the type who wrote increasingly paranoid, disjointed entries in my diary that would one day be found and illuminate for my descendants why I went insane and roasted my family in the fireplace. Or maybe I WAS one in a former life, and that explains my dread at the prospect of one more day of being trapped inside by the weather.


Damn, American Idol sucks up a lot of time during semifinals, doesn't it? I read the other day that at 1 minute and 30 seconds per song for each contestant, a night with 12 contestants takes up 18 minutes of actual singing. That's of a two-HOUR show, folks. That leaves 102 minutes for judges' comments, commercials, intro-backstory blather about contestants, and, of course, manufactured drama. Thank God Kevin's been working mostly nights and I've been taping shows; we just fast-forward through all the crap and commercials and save vast amounts of time. I don't think I'd enjoy it nearly as much if I wasted 204 minutes plus the results show in one week.


Daniel turns 18 in three weeks! I'd like to get him something special for his birthday, but I'm so broke right now. With all the work I've had, you wouldn't think I am, but payments are at least a month behind the actual work. Anyway, I wanted to give him a present that acknowledges the significance of this birthday--that it marks the transition from child to adult, in a way. I haven't a clue what that might be, however. Any ideas?

Speaking of my boy, he continues to develop a warped sense of humor that fills me with all kinds of strange pride. Heh. The day after the blizzard, he went out to shovel the steps again and took his camera outside to get some pictures of the snow. He said he'd tried to make a snowman, but the snow didn't pack well. However, I found a picture he took the next day, and he did manage to fashion a snowman of sorts--more of a snow blob, I guess:

Bwah! I just love that kid. He's never lost his "Calvin and Hobbes" quality.

He was so excited last week because he got an acceptance letter from Purdue. He'd listed geology as his first choice of major, with history as a second choice. Unfortunately, his math grades and math scores on the ACT/SATs weren't high enough to get accepted into the College of Science, but he made it into the College of Liberal Arts. He's cool with that and figures he can reapply after a year, if he takes some science and math review/remedial classes and does well in them. His grades in natural sciences have always been high, so I think he has a good shot at it; if not, he'd be happy doing something in liberal arts.


Netflix finally sent The Departed, so I'll have seen an unprecedented TWO of the nominees for Best Picture before this year's Oscars. Whooo! The other one was Little Miss Sunshine, which I loved, even though I don't think it's going to take the Best Picture award. Daniel and I have already filled out the ballot cards Entertainment Weekly includes in the Oscar preview issue. We've been doing that for the past three years, and then keep score during the show of who predicted the most right choices. I've edged him out every year so far, but his prediction score has been improving. He just might whup my ass this year--our own nerdy little version of the child surpassing the parent. Poor Kevin. The man hasn't got a competitive bone in his body and is slightly bewildered by our intense enjoyment of this game. He adores snarking about the red-carpet interviews and cheesy performances of Oscar-nominated Best Songs, however, so that night has something entertaining for us all.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I'm back in the sweat pants again

Even with yesterday's fresh snow, I was optimistic about getting out of the house to see a movie. Going down to Mt. Pilot was out of the question, but maybe, just maybe, Mayberry's local theater would show something besides Talladega Nights, which topped the marquee for six solid weeks. Ugh. Holding my breath, I dialed the movie line and was shocked to hear that Music and Lyrics had a 5:00 showing. Matinee prices, even!

About 4:30, Kevin and I headed out to the garage, with me practically skipping down the shoveled path. I was wearing real pants! And a bra! Lipstick, too! Well, I'd wear lipstick in the aftermath of a tornado with a fever of 105, but REAL PANTS, people. Mountains of packed snow lined the driveway on either side, but I stayed positive--until Kevin backed up and got stuck. He kept revving and spinning the tires while I gritted my teeth. I lived in Chicago for 10 years, and I know that technique isn't going to get you anywhere on slick snow. Finally, when the smell of burning rubber began drifting through the air, I suggested Kevin try going forward again and rocking the car back and forth. Apparently this remark was a slur on Kevin's manhood, intelligence, character, etc., etc. "Stop criticizing me!" he yelled. "Oh, I forgot being helpful is CRITICIZING," I retorted.

For God's sake. Am I nuts? It would have been better to let him burn the tires up than offer advice? Meanwhile, the clock on the dashboard was ticking inexorably toward 5:00, and the possibility of a fun movie date began fading. Kevin was getting nowhere fast, so he grudgingly got out of the car to let me try. I told him to get ready to push on my signal, and then rocked the car back and forth a few times. When it felt right, I hollered at Kevin to push and backed up until I was through the packed snow. Kevin ran to the car, and I was nice enough to brake for a few seconds while he climbed in.

Now, let me emphasize that I did not gloat, but Kevin pouted and muttered "Fine, YOU lived in CHICAGO, you know all about driving in snow." All the way to the theater, we "discussed" the difference between criticizing and giving advice, and I bit my tongue about 42 times to stop myself from shrieking "Would you GROW the HELL UP?" Which would have been quite mature of me. Pot, kettle, yadda yadda. I was determined to see the movie, however, so I tried to let it drop.

We raced into the theater at a few minutes before 5:00, and as the teenaged cashier was handing the tickets to us, I happened to spot the movie times listed above him, which said "Music and Lyrics: 4:50 7:00." WHAT? The movie line said 5:00! I asked Teen Cashier whether the movie had already started. He looked blank (well, blankER) and said "I dunno." I asked whether he could, oh, I don't know....FIND OUT? He stared for a few seconds and stuttered that the previews were "probably" still playing. Fine. We walked back to the theater, but when we went in, I saw Hugh Grant talking (adorably, I might add) to Brad Garrett on the big screen and threw a minor hissy fit. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have major dental surgery than watch a movie that's already started. It's just not done. If I started my own religion, that would be number one on the list of deadly sins. (Number two: Talking in the theater during a movie.) I stomped back to Teen Cashier and demanded our money back.

Of course, nothing else worth seeing was playing in that stupid theater, so we went back home. I was crushed. I'd looked forward to this outing so much, and I desperately needed to get out. Instead, I got a stuck car and a ridiculous argument and missed the movie because the idiot girl who records the movie listings read the wrong time. Hmmmph! If we get more snow today, I'm going to commit hara-kiri on the giant icicle hanging next to my back door. At the very least, I could put my eye out!*

*For the three people who haven't seen A Christmas Story, I'm kidding.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

All snow and no fun make Lisa an insane woman

After this week, I'm thinking of writing a book: Diary of a Mad Freelance Editor Stuck Inside Her Freaking House Because of a Damn Blizzard. Possibly with a shorter title. After Tuesday's blizzard dumped about 16 inches of snow on central Indiana--and the 35-40 mph winds created drifts up to four FEET high--going anywhere was impossible. My garage is a separate building out back along an alley, which the city never plows, of course. Kevin shoveled a path from the back door to the garage Wednesday, but too much snow was blocking the driveway and alley to shovel away.

I'd gone to the grocery store last weekend, so food wasn't a problem. Cold weather and snow puts me in a cooking mood, and this week I made two huge pans of stuffed shells and homemade beef-vegetable soup with corn muffins, and I even indulged my guys with pancakes and bacon for brunch on Valentine's Day. I figured if I kept us all stuffed, we'd be too lazy to kill each other from all the enforced togetherness. Heh. I was in a good mood that morning, too, because of the little surprise Kevin left on my desk the night before. Usually, we don't make a big production out of Valentine's Day, but I found a sweet card and this plant waiting for me:

What made me laugh, though, were the little clingy gel hearts and cupids he'd stuck all over my monitor, which I didn't see at first because it was dark. When I moved the mouse, the screen lit up, and all the decorations popped out.

Daniel was delighted to have snow days Tuesday and Wednesday, but a little dismayed to have another snow day Thursday. Three days at home with just your mom isn't any teenager's idea of a good time, I'm sure. Usually, he never has a problem with getting bored; that kid has always been able to amuse himself quite well. When he offered to shovel the front steps and walkway, however, I knew even he was grasping at straws for something to do. I posted a few pictures on Flickr, mostly as proof of his stubbornness. It was 10 degrees outside, but would he wear anything on his head? Don't be silly. He's been a walking furnace since he was a baby, but I can't believe his head wasn't cold! I sent one picture to my parents, and my mom was horrified at his hatless state--which is, of course, the main reason I sent the picture to them.

When Kevin got home from work Thursday, he discovered that a mysterious he-man neighbor had partially cleared the alley with a snowblower. Bless retired men with motorized toys who need to find something to occupy their time. So Friday morning, he was able to get the car out to drive Daniel to school and--even more important--make it to the store to buy Diet Coke and a People magazine for me. I was going through withdrawal, people! No Diet Coke since Wednesday, and the new People had been out for a whole DAY. Besides, being cooped up inside has made me a little crazy, and he was hoping those two offerings would make the mad glint in my eyes subside. They did help, but the prospect of going out today and seeing a movie with him were doing more to keep me sane. You can imagine my dismay when I looked out the window earlier this morning and saw more snow falling. The weather people predicted two to four inches, but we've already got that, and the snow's still coming down in buckets. Arrrghhh! If you read about a middle-aged woman who's been wearing sweat pants and slippers for four days going berserk and chopping her family into bite-sized pieces, don't be surprised.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Storm of the century? BFD!

Blizzard! Danger, Will Robinson! Oh, all right: It's still just a blizzard warning, but I like to get a jumpstart on overreacting. The weather liars have been trumpeting THE STORM OF THE CENTURY since Sunday, so naturally, everyone's running around freaked out. Kevin said that last night at work, every customer immediately asked, after walking in the door, "Do you still have milk??" What the hell is it about imminent snowstorms that makes people flock in Pavlovian droves to the store to buy up all the milk, bread, and eggs? Do they develop a craving for French toast when it snows? As it turns out, W@lgreen's was indeed the last place in town to have milk stocked. Both the grocery and W@l-Mart were out. That's a LOT of milk, folks. Mayberry-ites must have the strongest bones in the Midwest.

Daniel and I started checking school closings last night, but of course this stupid school district can't plan ahead and put out an early notice. No, every school district surrounding this one had posted a closed notice last night, but not Mayberry. I guess having strong bones means you can withstand a trip to school through a foot of snow and gale-force winds. Kevin had to get up early because he's on the day shift today, so I got up with him and flipped channels impatiently to get to Mayberry's spot in the endless list of alphabetical entries. Daniel's school did close (yay!), but while I was waiting, I noticed that preschools and day care centers have the oddest names these days, especially church-affiliated schools. Among others, I noticed God's Treasures, Tomorrow's Hope (because the children ARE our future), and Lit-O-Lamb Preschool. The strangest, by far, was Excellent in Flight Daycare. What the . . . ? I'm picturing tots in aviator goggles and flight suits toddling around. Remind me to get a good look at the pilot the next time I fly out of Indianapolis, would you?


Last night, my editor pal Jill called. Like me, she's a freelance editor and works for most of the same clients; for years, we saw each other's names pop up on e-mails and pub schedules, but had never talked. A couple of years ago, we wound up working on a set of companion textbooks and quickly became phone buddies. We e-mail and call every few weeks and often have delightful bitching sessions about frustrating authors, stupid copyeditors who don't know a comma from a semicolon, Hitler-esque production staff, and other topics that would bore non-editors to tears, I'm sure.

I've wondered a few times if we'd be friends if we weren't in the same field of work. Jill lives way out in the country, about 50 miles outside Phoenix, and spends her spare time riding dirt bikes and motorcycles. I'd feel isolated in that environment, and I fall over if I just see a PICTURE of anything motorized on two wheels. She's almost frighteningly blunt and straightforward, whereas I avoid confrontation and unpleasantness as though they're the main causes of cancer. She considers children an alien lifeform, and I . . . well, sometimes I can see her point. Heh.

Anyway, we're very different, but on anything related to editing, we connect like nobody's business. She called last night to warn me an unpleasant project might be coming my way; she had turned it down and suspected it would be offered to me next. Then we started talking about a nightmare project she's working on: a series of books for the new Office products coming out for the Vista update. A team of authors, editors, and product managers are working on the series, and except for Jill, sound like the most anal-retentive bunch you can imagine. In addition to weekly conference calls for the editors, the style guide is updated two or three times a WEEK (highly unusual) and is up to 86 pages. That's crazy. You simply can't work with a style guide that long. The worst part is that the authors, who have worked together on this series for the past 15 years, have a ton of style rules that exist only in their heads, as Jill keeps discovering. She'll make a correction only to be told "Oh, we don't do it that way." Jill then consults the style guide and can't find that rule. When she asks, they just say "Well, it's not in there, but that's the way we've always done it." Yikes.

Last week, Jill was on a conference call with the entire team, including the head honcho who started this series. (I can't say the name of the series, but it's a major one used in almost every college.) Head Honcho and the author team were arguing about some minor point, so Jill took that opportunity to doze a little while clutching the phone to her ear. Suddenly, she heard Head Honcho snap "Oh, BFD! I really don't care." She jerked awake, thinking "Did I really just hear this guy say 'BFD' on a conference call, or did I dream it?" BFD. Can you believe it? It's unprofessional, to say the least, but what a juvenile expression! I don't think I've heard "BFD" since sixth grade. We had a good laugh about it, but I told Jill she should have asked politely what "BFD" stands for, pointing out innocently that the acronym isn't on the style guide anywhere.


I just took this picture out my front door. You can't tell, but the wind is blowing so hard the snow is coming down sideways. Not much accumulation yet, however. Looking at this photo, I'm afraid I'd have to say "BFD!" Hee.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I need to update my TV references

Lord, was that financial aid seminar boring! Mostly, it consisted of a pinch-faced woman standing at the front of the cafeteria reading every single word in the FAFSA worksheet. Words that were right in front of me. In print. Plus, she was soft-spoken to the point of near-inaudibility. She'd make Low Talker Girl from Seinfeld look like a brassy loudmouth. Hell, I was ready to agree to wear a puffy shirt if she'd just SPEAK UP. Not that she said anything useful. I've been able to read for, oh, a number of years, and I wager I could have figured out the intricate distinctions between single, married, divorced, and widowed without her low-pitched mumbling commentary. Daniel and The Ex amused themselves by making rude observations on the other seminar attendees and snickering like 12-year-olds. I adore being the mature one, you know?

Pinch Face droned on, while several assistants circled the audience like sharks to answer questions from attendees. I was reading ahead (because I are so smart!) in the worksheet, and I got to the question about whether the student had registered for military service. The worksheet explanation stated that male students between the ages of 18 and 25 must register for military service to receive federal financial aid for college. I saw red, and my arm flew up as if independent of my brain to flag down one of the assistants. An assistant shark spotted blood in the water and rushed over, and I asked her whether that statement was accurate. "Yes," she said, looking puzzled. I was trying to keep my voice down, honestly, but I don't think I was completely successful. One clue was Daniel and The Ex whistling and feigning fascination in the ceiling tiles, clearly pretending they didn't know me. "Well, putting aside what I think about REQUIRING military service, why does this apply only to MALE students?" I asked. She looked at me as though I had suddenly started speaking in tongues and explained "Because women aren't required to register for military service." "Oh," I said. "I thought it was 2007. I guess I was mistaken." By this time Daniel was beet-red and The Ex was almost choking, trying not to laugh, so I mumbled "Never mind" and went back to studying the worksheet.

I'm still a little steamed about it, to tell the truth. I'm too lazy to go look up statistics, but from what I've seen on the news and read, a substantial portion of American soldiers don't have penises. If the military is going to continue targeting its recruitment attempts at low-income youth--because people who are rich enough to not need college financial aid have much better things to do than serve in the military, of course--why not do so without this backward, 1950s-reminiscent gender bias?

The seminar wasn't a complete waste of time, however. The worksheet is useful, and the assistants gave out pamphlets with several Web sites to check for scholarships. I found out, too, that I don't have to declare The Ex's income on the application. Considering child support stops next month, and I doubt I'll be able to count on him to contribute much to Daniel's tuition, I think that's fair. Even better, Daniel and I picked up some beautiful salmon steaks in a Dijon-herb marinade at Trader Joe's and had a mighty fine dinner. I broiled the steaks and made some rice pilaf and carrots with lemon-dill butter, and we even lit the candles on the dining room table. Just don't tell the feds! I can see my application coming back with an "Are you KIDDING me?? Rejected!" stamp on it, accompanied by a handwritten note: "If you can afford salmon steaks, missy, you don't need financial aid from us, now, do you?"

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday morning babble

You people know how to hit my funny bone. I think the only joke you missed is a bad pun; I'm embarrassingly fond of puns, and the worse they are, the better. I can't think of one to save my life, but I'm in proper awe of people who can.

What an exciting Saturday night I had! I saw Daniel on TV for the first time--and not as the subject of a Cops episode. My Mother of the Year award should be arriving any day now. I mentioned in this entry that one of his Brain Game matches was taped, and last night it aired. I know this is such a mom thing to say, but Daniel looked so good! His voice sounds great on TV, too--very clear and surprisingly deep. Daniel even admitted he didn't look as "dorky" as he thought he would. His best friend, Paul, cracked me up with his facial expressions. Every time he answered a question right, you could see the thought bubble over his head: "Wow, I really got that one??" The team chose him to answer the lightning-round questions, although he's allowed to get answers from other team members. The entire time, Paul had the funniest deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression. I could hear Daniel feeding him some answers, which was cool.

Oh! And I finally got to see the Little Red-Haired Girl who broke my son's heart. She's not as smart as she thinks she is; she got more answers wrong than right, and of course I took immense satisfaction in that. Hateful of me, but don't mess with MY BABY. Hmmmph. Also--and I'll admit I could be biased, and she was probably nervous--she had a rather haughty air I didn't care for. I suspect she's a little smug about her self-perceived superiority. It's possible I could have been looking for that, though, because of something Kevin told me. A girl at Daniel's school just started working at W@lgreen's, and Kevin asked her if she knew LRG. She snorted and said "Yes, and she's the most stuck-up thing I've ever met! She always eats lunch alone because no one likes her attitude." Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I feel a little sorry for her. She's probably been the "smart kid" her whole life and been ostracized for it, which can make you painfully shy. Maybe she's adopted that superior air unconsciously as a self-defense mechanism. OK, I feel like a jerk for secretly exulting at her incorrect answers.

Some of the questions involved math calculations, and they're allowed to use paper and pencil to figure out the answers. I noticed Daniel scribbling away industriously after one algebra question, and I was amazed--math isn't exactly his forte, after all. I asked him if he was close to getting the answer, and he laughed and said "I was doodling cartoons there."

The Z'ville team won by three points, BUT the match might have gone the other way if not for the stupid judges. To the question "What's the saintly name for the light surrounding ships' masts at night?" a Z'ville kid answered "Halo." The judges conferred and gave it to him! Not even close to the correct answer: St. Elmo's fire. He got two points for a wrong answer, damn it. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Heh.

I'm feeling a little better, mostly because this ^%$^!# rush job is almost done. I'm still not 100%, however; I feel a little weak and shaky, so I'm not looking forward to driving down to Indianapolis this afternoon. Daniel and I are meeting his dad at a seminar on federal financial aid for college. Sounds like a good time, no? I bet you wish you were me. It'll be worth it if Daniel can get some kind of grant, though. To make up for the tedium, I promised Daniel a trip to Trader Joe's afterward to pick up something fun for dinner. Compared to the local grocery, Trader Joe's is a cornucopia of exotic food choices. With that and the prospect of American Idol's Hollywood round starting this week, I don't know if I can take the excitement!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Begonia or orchid?

Hello, I'm feeling unbelievably crappy. I'm exhausted, and I keep throwing up (TMI, sorry), much like the problem I was having last fall (NOT PREGNANCY). My blood sugar's a little high, which I think is because I'm so stressed with this rush job. I used to handle rush jobs without breaking a sweat and could stay up until all hours working. Now I have to work a little harder than usual, and I'm falling apart. When did I turn into such a hothouse flower? (Hush, Sasha!)
I have no time to post much of anything, but if you like, leave a funny comment for me. It doesn't have to be the height of hilarity, either. You might not know this, but I'm quite the humor slut, and it doesn't take much to crack me up. Make an overworked hothouse flower giggle; it can be your good deed for the day. I promise to be less pathetic soon!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Don't ask me to explain a first down, though

About Rude Workout Lady, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks of a good comeback hours later. My normal MO, when confronted with rudeness, is to stare disbelievingly, open and close my mouth repeatedly like a giant guppy, mumble something, and walk away fuming. If I'm pushed past a certain point, however, the words just fly out without my brain even engaging--or so it seems. Sometimes that works in my favor, but more often, I wind up saying things I regret.
After I got home, I thought of a lot more I would have liked to say, but I said enough to stand up for myself without resorting to her level of rudeness, I think. Stephanie mentioned reporting her to the manager, and that did cross my mind. The manager's probably gotten similar complaints about this woman--or maybe not. I doubt any apology from her would be sincere, though, and I suspect she isn't going to be saying anything to me in the near future, much less making rude comments. So I don't know . . . should I complain?

I heard a few rumors that a big game of some kind is being played today. Is that right? Heh. Sorry, just pulling your leg, football fans. Y'all get so rabid about the Super Bowl that I can't resist teasing you. Actually, I had forgotten about it until yesterday. Kevin and I had to go to the store to pick up dog food, and the place was jammed. I've never seen lines that long there! Then it dawned on me, as I looked at the contents of people's carts: chips, beer, dip, more beer, chicken wings, oh, and beer. I noticed, too, that not one carton of eggs could be found in the store. Apparently, the entire state of Indiana is making deviled eggs.
My friend Lynn called yesterday, so excited she could barely speak. She's a HUGE Colts fan and is going to a Super Bowl party decked out in a blue tinsel wig, a Colts jersey, and a hat with a horse perched on top. Yeah, I'm not sure why we're friends, either. What cracked me up is the way she kept referring to the Colts as "we," as in "We're going to crush the Bears!" On the other hand, if Lynn were in Miami, I could see her leaping onto the field and giving Peyton Manning some tips. Gah, I can't believe I know the name of the Colts quarterback! I guess I'd have had to be in a coma for the past month not to have some football knowledge seep into my consciousness.
Last night, customers kept asking Kevin if he had to work today. When he said yes, they were aghast and expressed the kind of sympathy usually reserved for a death in the family. He's not much of a sports fan--and I'm deeply grateful he's not--but he reassured them that TVs would be set up in the store, and the other employees had planned to bring in snacks. "Oh, thank God," they breathed in relief. Kevin said he was afraid if he told them he'd miss the game, they would have burst into tears or stormed the manager's office, demanding she provide a TV for employees.
There's not much point in W@lgreen's being open tonight, however. I can't imagine many customers coming in. By 6:00, the town is going to be completely deserted, with tumbleweeds blowing down the middle of Main Street and the faint sounds of people crunching chips and munching on deviled eggs echoing through the cold, still air. Well, I'll watch the half-time show at least, in case there's a wardrobe malfunction or Nelly (Nellie? whatever) grabbing his crotch while he sings to amuse me. The Super Bowl has something to entertain everyone, right?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Double the workout, NOT double the fun

Whew. It's been a long week. I took on a rush editing project because I need the money, but I'm beginning to regret it. This author uses 4,237 words to say what most people can say in 385. In one chapter, he's trying to set up a hypothetical company as an example, and I swear he spent three paragraphs describing the company and a problem it's having. After taking my editing axe to the description, I boiled it down to four sentences. Holy unnecessary words, Batman!


I feel a little guilty about poking fun at Kevin's forgetfulness in my previous entry, especially because I'm not exactly the Queen of Short-Term Recall. He's so darn cute in his absent-mindedness, though, that I can't help myself. I wish my memory lapses were as amusing, but walking into a room to get something and forgetting--in the 10 seconds it took to walk into the room--what I needed to get isn't quite as endearing. Sometimes it seems as though I spend half my day standing in the middle of a room and mumbling to myself "What did I come in here to do?"

The other half of the day I spend doing things backward. This morning I was making corn muffins and carefully put the milk jug and egg carton in the oven and the muffin tin in the refrigerator. Fortunately, I realized what I'd done before I created a HAZMAT accident in my oven. I don't even want to think about the stink of melted egg carton wafting through my kitchen.

There. Now I feel less guilty after confessing my memory inadequacies.


I haven't mentioned my progress with better eating and exercising lately. For the most part, I think I'm slowly incorporating good habits so that I don't have to consciously think about food choices or constantly persuade myself to exercise. I have setbacks, of course. Some days I get busy with work and forget to eat lunch, so at 3:00 I'm suddenly starving and want to eat an entire birthday cake (but I don't--really!). Occasionally, I have to force myself to go work out when I'm so tired that all I want to do is collapse on the couch and watch Seinfeld reruns.

In spite of those bad days, I'm still getting results. I've lost another five pounds for a total of 28, I think. Or maybe 30. I have the damndest time remembering the total amount, and I keep forgetting to ask the nurse after I get weighed. I'm just so excited to see any loss; that's all I can focus on at the moment.

I did remember to get measured at the end of January at Curve$, though. I hate getting measured no matter who does it, but when I went in Monday, the one Curve$ employee I actively dislike was there. She's always making little digs about my weight, which is strange for two reasons. One, the other employees never do that; they go out of their way to be encouraging and positive. Two, she's a big ol' husky girl who probably outweighs me by 50 pounds. Granted, I'm short and weigh too much for my height, but she doesn't have much room to talk. Usually, I grit my teeth and ignore her, but I'd finally had it Monday.

She was taking my measurements and bitching about having a hard time finding my waist. I tried to be nice and said, "Yeah, I'm very short-waisted--I have about half an inch between my rib cage and my hip bones!" I'd lost 1.5 inches from my waist (despite the suffering she went through to FIND my waist) and 1 inch from my hips, so I was happy. Then she went one step too far. She measured my bust and reported I'd lost one-fourth inch. I thought that was kind of funny, compared to my other measurements; it's like I can't get rid of my excess knockers, you know? I made some kind of lame joke, laughing about it being only a fourth of an inch. She said nastily, "Well, if you really want results, you have to come three times a week! You've missed some days, you know, and you have to work hard because of all that extra weight."

When I get really mad, I turn beet-red, and my face felt like it was on fire. Honestly, I thought I was going to burst a blood vessel. I snapped "I AM getting results, and I HAVE been coming here regularly. I missed a few days a couple of weeks ago because I had NO FREAKING CAR. Is there anything else you'd like to say, or can I go exercise now and get the hell away from you?"

She started sputtering indignantly, but I didn't want to hear it or waste any more time on her, so I just walked away and started my workout. I've decided there's no point in trying to deal with rude people. Telling them they're rude doesn't work; either they don't believe you and think you're being oversensitive, or they just plain don't care. One good thing came out of that incident, however: I didn't have to exercise very long to get my heart rate up! Who knew getting mad is an aerobic activity? I think I'll stick with exercising instead of throwing hissy fits to get a cardio workout, though.