Thursday, December 29, 2005

wacky religiousness.

so i think our name was temporarily hijacked by religious zealots selling the word of the Lord. but it looks like things are back to normal.

who ever heard of parochial pirates?

resolve. so much more than a carpet cleaner.

KAT is currently on hiatus, but will be returning from the Berkshires well-rested and happy and full of funny stuff tomorrow. in the meantime, I was prompted by pucemole and cnn to go forward with a new year’s themed entry.

generally speaking, I’m not a fan of the new year’s resolution. i know I’ll let myself down at some point. I can’t even tell you how many journals I’ve started, only to quit by march. and when I find them, and reread them, I’m disappointed in myself all over again for giving up – because by the last entry I’m hooked- and I have to know what happens….

okay, I’m kidding.
kind of.

when I was little, I used to write a fake diary, and it gave me such a thrill to plant it under my mattress or my bed, knowing my mom would find it and read it. I used to do the same thing with notes – I’d write fake ones from other people and put in all kinds of strange little details that I know would confuse my mom. I may have said I was going blind in one. is that mean?

part of me feels bad for doing it. but only part of me. because, really she shouldn’t have been snooping. would you snoop on your kids? maybe I’ll feel completely bad about it in 10 years.

so i guess i resolve to:
-keep a journal (if more for the record of how many times can i resolve to keep a journal and fail)
-continue one of 4 books i started this year and write at least 20K more words
-keep in better contact with my friends.
-avoid eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

joy to the world.

First, Happy Birthday Jesus and Ben. I’m sorry I’m late in those well wishes.

Personally, my holidays were grand, and I promised my sister a recap entry about our caroling adventure on Friday, so that is exactly what I will deliver…

And an adventure it was. For four years now, we’ve gathered along with a friend’s family and that friend’s dozens of friends. It’s grown substantially every year, and the turn of events this year went something like this:

First, we gather in the garage for some “adult” treats and beverages. There is usually a toast, followed by a slow migration to our warm up song at the first house we stop at.
The songs are usually the following songs: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and occasionally, Jingle Bells. Since this is traditionally a group of about 40, with more than half of those being under the age of 12, we tend to skip O Holy Night and other such ditties.

So next we start along our tour of the elderly housing complex. We visit every door that has a light turned on, and most of the time, the children fall just short of bringing a battering ram to the door. upon opening the door, well, this is usually when the children shout the beginning of the song – and it would be cute, except that these are elderly and sometimes infirm people…. and I’m not sure if shouting at them right before they go to bed is the best way to share the holiday spirit.

You have really not experienced holiday caroling until you have done so with 20 kids hyped up on hot cocoa in brownies, 20 adults sipping the rum bottles hidden in their strollers and a 6’4 Santa Claus standing in the middle of an extremely busy street directing traffic.

I’m really glad that our friend organizes it each year – because I love the idea of caroling. But usually by the end of the night, my throat is sore from all of the “ooooh.. you better watch out” shouting I’ve done. Because I’ve somehow earned this rep as a singer, it’s up to me to lead the chorus – not an easy task, and it’s something like trying to put a sweater on an octopus. Once you get the children started, somehow, the adults behind you have somehow turned “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” into a round.

When I see picturesque caroling on television – like groups of 8-10 madrigals in costume breaking out into four part harmony on Deck the Halls, I have an extreme appreciation for it.

But really, when you think about it, our ragtag caroling group also breaks songs out into four parts – in fact, I’d go so far as to say even 7 or 9 parts.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's simple, really...

To all three people who read our blog...
We wish you the very best of holidays and hope the days ahead are full of hope, joy, laughter, family, love, fun, peace, friends, warmth, beauty and merriment. Oh, and plenty of booze (it tends to lend itself to all that other stuff!)
Merry Christmas to our wonderful friends and family!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

holy too many cookies, batman.

so I brought in some cookies monday to work – a modest tin full of a large variety. but one of the executives’ wives apparently is a pastry chef for the four seasons and sent over a tray of cookies, biscotti and other such delights.

Somehow, my peanut butter and jelly thumbprints pale in comparison.

I still haven’t made the rum balls. Frankly, I’m a little sick of baking. But I will make them. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday. At some point, nilla wafers will be crushed and rum will be poured. And then maybe I’ll make the rum balls.

Sunday afternoon was filled with wine (more for some than others), cocktails and baking. Could there be better ingredients for good times, I ask you?

Highlights overheard at the cookie swap:
“oops.” overheard when my cousin discovered she inadvertently put the cooling rack in the oven along with her unbaked cookies. Not a big deal, and may have had something to do with the wine.

“Jen was making egg nog cookies, too, so I brought mine…” completely inadvertent comment made by me. I meant to say jen’s recipe was different, so I wanted her to be able to try mine too – but it came out badly, like I was saving everyone by bringing mine… oh… well you get it.

“k made some cookies of his own, and I need to take them out of the oven.” said my b-i-l about the 3- month peanut, baby k, baker of dirty diapers.

“it’s not even clear.” hysterical comment made in retrospect referring to a hefty bauble being sported on my cousin’s hand.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rise and shine!

Today I showered, got dressed and did my hair and make-up (and am looking pretty good if I do say so myself!); wrote some Christmas cards; put some gifts together, emailed SJ (we’re so bad at keeping in touch that we only email back and forth about three times an hour); looked up a recipe online; wrote out my grocery list and got to the office. Here’s the kicker… it wasn’t even 10 a.m. by the time I finished all that!
Anyone who knows me will be very, very impressed by my morning productivity. I am a night owl– always have been and thought I always would be. But I have decided to change my late-night ways and am attempting to keep a schedule that gets me up before 7 a.m. and puts me in bed before midnight.
It’s only been two days, but it’s going well so far. I got ready, changed out the screen door for glass, packed my lunch, had breakfast, paid bills and changed around the furniture in my bedroom BEFORE 9 A.M. yesterday. Consequently, I was asleep shortly after 11 p.m. last night. I used to get phone calls at 12:30 a.m. because my friends knew I’d be up, but those days may be over. It’s a tough transition, but I do feel very, very productive.
What inspired me to completely change the schedule I’ve kept since college and convince myself I want to see the sun rise from the tail end? Tell you all about him later…

Monday, December 19, 2005

What happens when you don't shop early...

My pretend husband and his sister (my pretend sister-in-law?) had the ingenious idea to get their dad (my pretend… well, you get it) a dog for Christmas. They figure the dog, which will be a bit older and won’t need a lot of training, will be a good companion for their dad, who spends much of the day by himself.
I thought it was a great gift idea and tried to think about whom I could use the idea on. It occurred to me that my dad (he of cannon-buying fame) also spends a lot of time alone during the day and could use a companion too. But Dad has said he doesn’t want to have the responsibility of caring for a dog.
Standing in line at Wendy’s the other day, I noticed the collection box for foster kids and a great idea came to me. Instead of a pet, I’ll get my dad a kid to take care of! Think about it… I’ll order one who’s a little older so he doesn’t have to worry about (potty) training it. I think they come with all their shots so he wouldn’t have to be concerned about that. A kid would get him out of the house to go for walks, chase after balls in the yard and roll around in the grass. And he would have someone to cook for (although we’d have to get him to stop saying, “Don’t feed him from the table or he’ll just keep begging.”)
I can already picture them in matching sweaters going for long walks around the neighborhood or sitting outside as my dad brushes his coat… I mean, hair.
I’m still working on the logistics of it because I’m not sure they’ll let you adopt a kid for someone else, but if it works out, I’m sure the look on my dad’s face when he opens the box (calm down, it will have air holes!) and sees his present will be priceless.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Great Cookie Caper of 05 is going down on Sunday.

We’re having a family cookie swap on Sunday.

I’m excited by this, because it will give me an endless variety of Christmas cookies to distribute to the masses. But it’s not preventing me from making entirely too many other kinds of cookies. It’s almost like a disease with me. I find a recipe. I want to make it. I must make it. This is how I end up with 6 different kinds of cookies before I even attend the swap.

It’s a sickness. Really.

So t and I are just getting over our severe bouts with gastroenteritis or something similar when my cousin RSVPs to say that she’s coming and bringing chili.

Are you out of your cotton-picking mind? Bring the girls who spent all weekend on the potty some chili. Please. Add extra beans. Why not. And if you have time, why don’t you whip up some sauerkraut?

This year I’m making eggnog spritz cookies (with my press), chocolate truffle cookies, rum balls and Mexican tea cakes all on my own. In addition to these, I’m also making macaroons and jelly thumbprint cookies for the swap.

A note on Christmas cookies. I’m making a horde of them because I plan a mass-distribution of cookies to the following people that I really love as well as those who I don’t feel particularly close to, but would like to acknowledge because I like them if rarely talk to them

Another note on Christmas cookies: you inevitably will get stuck with the kind that you don’t like. That’s what makes cookie swaps so great. You can totally upgrade your cookies. Go in with something easy to make – like say, 7th grade home ec snickerdoodles -- and come out with macaroons. Cookie swaps are the great equalizer for chefs and not-sous chefs.

The downside about cookie swaps is that you will inevitably end up with at least a dozen cookies that you don’t like. Those are the ones you bring to someone’s house. So if you are the person who’s hosting, you inevitably will end up with 3 trays full of not so great cookies.

And that folks, is why I’m making 216 cookies in flavors that I like.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

party recap

Rules to remember when attending your holiday office party:

The office party may be the one time to shy away from the inviting allure of open bar.

Generally follow the dress call of the location. if it’s at a country club, don’t wear the clubbing shirt that exposes your back tattoo.

If you are mistaken as someone’s wife once, change parties. if you are mistaken as someone’s wife twice, laugh it off and move again. if you are mistaken as someone’s wife a third time, you clearly need to get out of your office or cubicle more.

If the ceo’s wife offers you a drink, take it, no matter how sick you are.

No matter how good of a singer you think of yourself, do not take the mic if you’ve had more than one drink.

If you don’t remember someone’s name, mingle on to someone else before you’re forced into an introduction that you can’t make.

Promise your spouse a new xbox 360 if he’ll come with you next time.

All in all, it was quite interesting. it probably took me significantly less time to recover than it did most of the people who went, thanks to one VERY good glass of pinot noir that I kept with me the whole night through. I must have heard “aren’t you married?” at least a half dozen times from people who hadn’t already mistaken me for someone else’s wife. and unfortunately, I got stuck sitting next to the most obnoxious board member in the world. but what can you do. You suffer through it and politely excuse yourself and then go visit the table of younger co-workers – but only very briefly because once their words start slurring you may get sucked in to discuss why you decided to get married and assure them of their intrinsic value to the company.

Monday, December 12, 2005

There's a Shadowboxer in my tummy.

in keeping with naming my blog entries after the song playing on my itunes playlist, i've decided to approach this entry with fiona apple like abandon.

i think someone is trying to poison me. it started last week. and it's continued. i think the method of poison is small aliens that have raided my stomach and have started a garage band.

all in all, i'm not feeling so great, folks.

setback score: 16 to 7. them: 16 us: 7.
i blame the tummy aliens.

tomorrow night is my company christmas party at a very hoity toity country club. i'm going alone and i have no idea what to wear. i believe it will be black. and i believe i will not stay long. i have no desire to take advantage of open bar or any food that is not clear (wait. maybe ishould try to kill the aliens with copious amounts of vodka).

it should be interesting. at least comical. i'm hoping for lots of stories. but i'm not sure how long i'll be able to stick it out.

Here's hoping "crazy" skipped a generation!

I cannot believe what I am about to write, but my dad informed us this morning that he purchased a cannon. That's right, if enemy forces invade my small Connecticut hometown, my dad will be leading the defensive charge.
Although a cannon seems like a pretty random purchase, anyone who knows my dad probably isn't that surprised by it. He's a huge Civil War buff (to the point where we spent every other summer tromping around battlefields that looked an awful lot like any other grassy field to us kids, but kept my dad telling stories about the battles that took place there for days). He's also a very big fan of eBay and now that he's retired he probably spends more time on the computer than I do at work (OK, I admit that's not such a powerful statement given the short hours I tend to work, but you get the idea...) Anyway, throwing together a love of history, an addiction to online auctions and a pinch of complete lunacy apparently results in the purchase of a cannon.
We first heard about the purchase from an email Dad sent out asking my brother to drive to upstate New York to pick it up. (A's response was, "If a love of the Civil War is a genetic trait, I hope to God I'm recessive.")
My response to the email was, "Oh my gosh, the old man's finally lost it!" To make myself feel better, I called my dad to talk about the cannon... which didn't make me feel better at all.
According to Dad, ""I've always wanted a cannon." (Who knew? But we can't fault the guy for fulfilling a lifelong dream, can we?) And he already knows what he's going to do with it; it's going in the garden outside the front door of the house. "It's going to face out, which is south, in case any Confederates come," said Dad.
He also told me he's going to rig it so he can fire it "but only on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Veterans' Day and when somebody asks." (Oh yeah, I'm sure most people are going to walk by a cannon in the front yard without asking if it works, right? I have a feeling "firing when somebody asks" translates to "anytime someone comes to visit.")
In case you're wondering about my old man's sanity, he assured me, "I'm not crazy, just a little looney." (I may have to get that one in writing... from a doctor... following electroshock treatment... to believe it!) So, if you're in the area and wondering just what a Civil War cannon sounds like, drop by my dad's house... all you have to do is ask.

Friday, December 09, 2005

give me novacaine

today’s mood: eh with a chance of snarky.
on-going setback score: us: 11 them: 5

So we started to keep the running setback total. And quite frankly, it’s not so good.

Now, this may actually appear to be a good score. But the “us” is actually j and Chris. The “them” is me and KAT. I blame KAT for drinking heavily during the first 7 games (therefore making somewhat poor decisions – “I’ve got an ace and a 4 – I’ll go three”… “I’ve got A, K, J, and one other… I’ll pass”) and then I blame the ensuing hangover for the next 4 games. But the tide has to turn eventually.

in other weekend stuff: j finally held baby e. for the first time. I think he was smitten with his first nephew. there was bouncing, and tickling, and eventually, there was sleepytime. j put him to sleep by doing his “daddy dance,” a soft bouncy jiggle that lulled him to sleep. I’m not entirely sure how this made me feel. Warm, mostly, and clearly the baby thing has been weighing heavily on my mind.

But – still not quite ready. (maybe I’ll start keeping track of that on the top of my entries too… projected age of first child: 32)

so the title of my entry has double meaning. i confess, one is an inside joke, and the second is that i'm listening to my itunes party shuffle and greenday was on. now it's u2, "walk to the water." next up is run, rudolph run. i find that kind of funny.

i'm waiting to hear from lu to find out if i have to don my carolling outfit for a benefit in mass. that will require me to sing. i'm not feeling very festive, however. we have a foot of snow. so it's pretty. but i don't want to drive in it to go sing "let it snow".

Thursday, December 08, 2005

And the award goes to...

I am the standing winner of the best job ever award (at least at the beginning of the month, when I work an average of 86 minutes a day), but I'm passing the torch just for today. My pretend husband, Chris, (read the "Domestic Bliss" entry for an explanation of that reference) has a tree-trimming party at his law firm today for which everyone is knocking off at 3 p.m. to hang out and decorate. Here's the kicker, the event involves copious amounts of alcohol... basically, he's being paid to drink on the job. (I've been paid to do a lot of things... um, wait, that's not what I meant... oh, forget it). Anyway, congratulations on the win, Chris!

29…

…means still getting to tell people, “I’m in my 20s…” I’m enjoying THAT while it lasts!
…is not so bad. Ten years ago, I thought I would be in a different place than where I am right now. But honestly, I’m happy with the way things turned out.
…is not yet 30! Please give me at least a week to enjoy 29 before bombarding me with comments like, “You’re almost 30…”
…is probably old enough to know better. But in the spirit of being as young as you act, I got drunk on my birthday, yelled at my friend for not doing a shot fast enough and slugged vodka out of the bottle in the backseat of the car while being driven home. I could have passed for 21!
…makes for one mean soccer player. I may not be as fast as some of the young’uns I play against, but I’m definitely smarter. Watch out, kids!
…is less than one-third of how long I plan to live.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

The other night, I was among a group of people hanging out for happy hour (yes, I know, a big change for me!) who got to witness the primal mating ritual between the species.
A conversation in the bathroom tipped me off to the fun to come:
“Your breasts are so nice.”
“Yeah, yours are natural and mine are naturally paid for.”
Upon further study, I learned the speakers were a large woman and her friend of dyed blondness and too much makeup (want to take a guess about which one had the fake boobs?) The bathroom story was enough to inspire the group to subtly check out the women when we returned to the bar (purely out of scientific curiosity, of course!) As we discussed our subjects- the large one, the frilly one and another one that seemed to be an older and saggier version of the primped one- we also noticed some movement around the group. It seems the lions were moving in for the kill.
Although they were trying to be subtle, our trained eyes were able to see that the males in the vicinity had spotted their prey and were coming up with plans of attack. The male researchers in our group hypothesized about how the kill would happen… and how they would approach the situation if they weren’t such upstanding observers (or married). It was decided that the best attack would include multiple males to distract the larger and older victims with small chat and free drinks while the most suave of the predators snuck up on the one with frosted lipstick and engaged her in conversation.
Our theories were not far off. An older male got into the action by wooing the hightop-wearing mom and starting a conversation with her and the large lady. In the same movement, a red-shirt beast sidled up to the unsuspecting (and definitely unfashionable) prey. Before she could react to the penetration of her herd, the female was wooed by a drink and small touches on her arm while most likely being told how beautiful her breasts… I mean, her eyes… were.
We left before the ritual played itself out, but I’m guessing that was one lucky lion that left the bar that night!

Friday, December 02, 2005

“black Friday redux”

oh my gosh. the day is only half over and already, it’s a killer.

where do I begin? crank calling the cops (by accident)? barking bailey during a client call? the cops showing up at my door? the delicate dressing down by my boss who knows I’m sensitive enough to yell “I quit!” if I feel wronged?

so I work from home on Fridays, just so that’s clear. thank god. I don’t have it in me to drive 130 miles five day a week. four is quite enough for me. so I take my Fridays very seriously and rarely venture out even for lunch. when I have conference calls, I’m careful to tire bailey out and lock him up. I even have an extended line so I can take the phone upstairs if I need to.

that’s why this morning was such a disaster by astronomical proportions. so at 10:56 I call into my conference line. I sit and wait for a good 10 minutes before calling on my cell to find out where my coworker is. he answers his line. he’s on the call… but a different line. I hurriedly hang up and dial into the other line. they’re there.

I apologize for being late (6 minutes) and throw out lots of my brilliant ideas. things are going great until bailey goes NUTS 15 minutes later. I use the mute button. we eventually end the call, and I soothe bailey. as soon as I let him out, the doorbell rings. I meanwhile have called back the guy from work to apologize profusely. he shakes me off- it’s fine he says. as I open the door, I’m in shock. it’s a cop.

“ethan, I have to go. there’s a cop at my door.”

I open the door. I hesitate. he says nothing. I’m looking for the calendars or the friendly smile. nothing. there’s a pause.

frantic me while holding bailey back: “can I help you?”
officer: “… uh… did someone call 911?”
frantic me: ‘no! I mean- I’ve been on the phone. I didn’t’ call 911…. I’ve been on the land line… (gesturing to the phone behind the door)...”

the cop looks at me rather questioningly –

him: “isn’t this 585?”
me: “yeah. but. well yeah,.”
him: “is there anyone else here?”
me: “no. just me and my crazy dog…”

he eventually walks away.

as I discover later, I had accidentally dialed 9 -1- and then hung up, remembering I wasn’t at my office. I then wait with my finger on the hang up button to clear the line and then dial the conference line -- 1-866--. it goes through. I jump on the call and play catch up, not realizing I had dialed 911. so the cop apparently comes to my house, walks around my house, and bailey sees him, and goes nuts.

then he comes around and rings the doorbell and tragicomedy ensues.



and I haven’t even eaten lunch yet.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My uterus has a few years before it shrivels up...

An older woman who I have a lot of respect for gave me some strange advice today. I was talking about turning 29 (it’s been a theme with me lately) and mentioned that I’m getting old. (To be fair and to show I’m keeping things in perspective, I’ll add that I also said it’s not so bad because I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in those 29 years).
Anyway, she asked me if I want to have kids. I told her I do and she began to talk about getting married, having her kids and then getting divorced. She said a divorce is not fun, but it was worth it to be able to have her kids. Basically, she told me not to wait for the right guy, but to pick a decent person and have the kids I want. Obviously, I’m paraphrasing and her argument was a little more cohesive (and sort of made sense in some ways…) but she said a lot of women get to 40 and regret never having kids, which is not something they can change at that point.
I’m getting older, but I’m still young enough (or na├»ve enough?) to believe in love… I figure I can still hold out for it for a couple of years before having to take such a drastic measure. Little Miss Optimist here is not yet ready to throw in the towel (or have to pick it up for someone I don’t plan on spending the rest of my life with!)

The best compliment ever...

I ran into someone the other day who I haven't seen in a long time. When I got done complaining to him that I will be turning (gasp!) 29 in a few days, he said, "You don't look a day over... perfect."
Does it get any better than that?!?