Who Does Steve Roach Think He Is?

FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS! I wrote 50,000 words this month. Actually, that's not true, because my blog posts are, on average, 800 words and I'm not even counting them in the 50,000 total. Actually, I have no idea if that average is true, but it sounds about right. Where was I? Oh, yes. MY NOVEL. You guys, I finished it! Actually, that's not true either. Apparently, I have become a liar.

Here is the truth. This month, I have written:

  • 30 blog posts (of questionable entertainment or literary value)
  • 50,000 words in novel form (also of questionable entertainment or literary value)
  • 6 post-it notes about nothing
  • 1 Christmas list
  • My name on credit card slips, more often that I care to admit.
My novel is not finished, but I did reach 50,000 words. Exactly 50,000. Because I am a little bit compulsive about numbers. And I am a little rebellious about writing assignments--I will DO IT, but I will do it to the limit and NO MORE. I'm not sure what that's about. I'm sure if I can ever afford a therapist, she would have some interesting things to say about that.

Anyway, I finished NaNoWriMo!! I really wasn't sure it was going to happen there at the end, but I managed to pull  it off. And I'm so happy I did. First of all, failure and I? We don't get along well. Secondly, it was an excellent way to do the thing I'm always TALKING about doing, but I never actually DO: write. The story has some major flaws and there's so much of it left to tell, but I feel like I've accomplished so much already.

So thank you, for all the words of encouragement you left in the comments. They pushed me on like nothing else could have. Except for Sister, who occasionally threatened to lock me in my room and sometimes withheld TV time until my words were done for the day. Thanks, everyone. You all made this an awesome experience!

This post also marks the end of NaBloPoMo! I can't believe I didn't miss a single day. I mean, I might have missed the mark some days, but I never missed a POST, so that's something. Some of you have asked if I'm going to keep posting daily. And I am! To the best of my ability and Internet connection, I am. Except on Sundays. Because I need an occasional break. And the Sunday posts were lame anyway. I would encourage you guys to go back and read them to verify the veracity of my previous statement, but they aren't worth the effort.

Thank you all for showing up here day after day to read my stuff. I know I tear it down more often than I say anything nice, party because a lot of it IS crap. But I am so glad I started this blog and I am incredibly grateful for the friendships I have made in this community. I'm also very grateful to have a place to share my thoughts with the world. Thanks for being willing to listen. And laugh at my lame jokes.

So now, on to the real post. I know, minds boggle at the fact that the preceeding 500 words were not the actual post. But it's true. I have a story to tell you.


Last night, I wrote over 7,000 words on my novel. I don't remember if I shared it with you at the time, but my previous daily word record was about 6,200 words. And I thought that was amazing. But last night, I just let it all flow from my fingertips. Because I was on a deadline. And I was not going to fail. And for once, the words were there. I crawled into bed at about 3:15 in the morning. But I was still incredibly jazzed from the writing experience. And probably some of the caffeine I'd consumed throughout the day (I totally tried to give it up this week and my brain almost exploded).

Anyway, I was in bed, kind of jittery and pretty excited about where the book was headed. To calm down, I read about 50 pages of magic pantsiness and then my eyes were SO SLEEPY. But I still had all this pent up energy buzzing through my limbs. I have been here before. So I grabbed my phone and started catching up on my feedreader. I read Temerity Jane's cosmo post. And I tired not to wake up Sister with my laughter, which started from the first paragraph and didn't end until long after I put my phone down.

Seriously, go read that thing. It's AMAZING. I'll wait.

I finished reading and decides blogs are too stimulating at that hour. I needed some sleepy-time music. I could feel myself calming down and sinking into my pillows, but I wasn't not quite there yet. I left my stereo remote across the room and even though the stereo is PRIMED with sleepy-time type music, I am too lazy to get out of bed and got get it. Instead, I found some headphones on my nightstand and had a brilliant idea. Because Pandora ALWAYS has what I ask it for. Except for a station based on my lullaby by Josh Kelly called "23." Sad about this, but still tired, I typed in "lullaby" and clicked on a station that DIDN'T say "toddler" or "child."

This station's called "Soundscapes & Lullabies." At first, it was just simple instrumental music. The next song sounded like flowing water, with piano played over it. It was at this point, I thought I might need to pee. The next song was very soothing, but the one after that was kind of strange. It sounded kind of New Agey, but also kind of futuristic. And there was this weird sonar pinging in the background. So I turned on the phone to figure out what THE HECK WAS GOING ON. And I saw this:

I took this picture today (since I had paused the song last night) which is why the time looks wrong. I swear I would never lie to you! I know you're all too smart to buy it.

Leaving the weird cave painting of an alien superimposed over what seems to be the internal structure of a computer out of the discussion, what the HECK does this mean? Seriously, Steve Roach, what the heck kind of title IS that for an album?

I mean, "dreaming..." is not a terrible title for an album, poor capitalization and ellipsis use aside. But you don't stop there, do you, Steve Roach? No, you don't. I don't even really know what the rest of this MEANS! Seriously, "now, then"  "a retrospective" "1982-1997"? Is this the musical form of all of your dreams between 1982-1997. It would kind of explain the cover art, to tell you the truth. But raises some serious questions about your dreams, Steve Roach.

But as I lay there in bed, staring at this image, all I could think about was TJ's commentary about Cosmo's view of sex. Apparently, Cosmo thinks sex has changed SO MUCH in the last year that they need to distinguish their sex tips by putting them in a "best of the year 2011" category. Because last year's sex tips are so out. Or something. Anyway, having just read THAT, all I could think about this nonsense was, "CRAP! They've changed sleep, too!"

I wasn't too worried about them changing sex--I'm sure I'll catch up when the time is right. But sleep? I LIKED sleep! HOW HAS IT CHANGED and WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Come on, Steve Roach! I need ANSWERS!


Oh Fishsticks!

I am currently curled up on my couch with a glass of sweet red wine, type-type-typing away on my novel. I need to complete a minimum of 5,000 words today and tomorrow each to get finished on time. I just crossed the 43K mark, so I still have a lot of work to do. But as much as I hate my novel right now, I cannot imagine getting to midnight on Thursday morning and realizing I failed NaNoWriMo with less than seven thousand words to go. That would be ridiculous.

However, getting to the same time on Thursday and realizing I failed NaBloPoMo by only two days would also be excruciating. So, I'm taking a break from typing that to type this. You're welcome? Probably not... Anyway, I thought I would tell you the sad sad story of Lola Betty, the Betta Fish and her true love Marty Allen, the Bluest Betta.

Lola Betty was my beautiful magenta betta fish... Wait, I should back up.

It was the summer between Junior and Senior year of college. Roommate and I had just moved into our new apartment, finally escaping Liar and the financial havoc she had inflicted. What with the move and finals and jobs and LIFE, we had kind of skipped over Roommate's birthday. I mean, we went to dinner and celebrated, but I hadn't had time to get her a super cool awesome present. Okay, who are we kidding? I am an awful gift giver. They are rarely super, cool, or awesome and are most commonly books.

Anyway, after ages of struggling to figure out what to get her, I just asked. I said, "Roommate, tell me what you want and I will take you out and buy it for you and hand it to you outside the store. And you can just pretend I was thoughtful and also that I wrapped it." Because I am an awesome gift giver.

It was around this time that we had been (half-)joking about getting a puppy--Roommate is not big on cats. But we knew our apartment wasn't really set up for either kind of pet. Plus we had no money and not a lot of time. And? Roommate had never had a pet (I know, right?!), so she was leery of starting with something so complicated. So I would say, "Let's get a kitten!" and Roommate would say, "No cats. How about a puppy?" And then I would say, "We have no money and no time!" and she would say, "Maybe a fish?" So for her birthday, I offered to buy her a fish.

She wanted a goldfish, but I had heard that they were actually rather finicky and died easily and you had to clean their bowls a lot. So when we got to the pet store, I steered her towards the bettas. I knew they were pretty hardy, so she was less likely to kill her first pet, which would be traumatizing and might ruin her for all pets in the future (hint... hint...). We also toyed with the idea of getting a plant first and seeing how it went, but I had great faith in her. So we looked at all of the teensy-tiny cups of bettas.

And look, I know they say bettas need very little space, but I think we go a little crazy with that concept. It's just mean! There were quite a few dead in those tiny cups and others looked nearly there. We wanted to rescue them all. But, like I said, we had very little money. So I ended up picking one for myself. A beautiful magenta female, with long flowy fins. Roommate kept wandering over to the goldfish and I kept telling her, "I'll buy you whatever you want, but I'd rather buy you something that won't die right away." Because I am an excellent gift giver.

Finally, she settled on a dark blue male betta. We carefully picked out glass bowls, rocks, plants, and decorations. I got glow-in-the-dark plastic rocks and a plant that we later discovered (in a very sleepy and strangely terrifying incident) also glowed in the dark. Glew in the dark? No. Glowed in the dark.

When we had everything we wanted, we took our fish and I paid for it all. And right before we got out of the store, we saw that there were some visiting shelter puppies up for adoption. I almost returned the fish--I'm just being honest. On the way home, we discussed names. We couldn't pick just one favorite name and they ended up with middle names. Which is a lot for such a little fish. She had Marty Allen and I had Lola Betty.

Because bettas tend to fight, we set them up in separate bowls. But we had this elaborate and ridiculous (and we knew it was ridiculous, but we thought we were hilarious anyway) story about how they were husband and wife, their love forever hindered by two pieces of glass and four inches of counter space. Sometimes, we thought they might even be communicating, since they would gravitate toward each other, watching through the barriers of their bowls. I'm not sure how often we leaned down to the counter and made stupid fishy-kissy faces at them, but it was a lot. They probably thought we were morons. 

We took great care of those fish. We had a feeding schedule and everything. We took turns feeding them. We had a whole system for marking that one of us had fed them. It helped my flaky brain and satisfied Roommate that she wasn't going to kill her first pet. Our friends used to mock us, saying we were like a married couple with kids. "Did you feed Jimmy breakfast?" "Who's picking Sally up from school?" We didn't care. We loved those fish. And we both agreed it was nice to come home to something living at the end of a long day of work, school, and junk.

We had them for almost six months. Then Christmas rolled around. We were both leaving town for two weeks to see our families. It was the first time we were going to be away from the fish for more than two days. We went out and bought vacation feeders for them and Roommate arranged to have a local friend check on them halfway through the break. We finished finals, packed last minute (like always), and headed out of town. In the flurry, we forgot to give the friend a key. "Oh well!" we thought. "They have fresh water and vacation feeders. They're bettas. They'll be fine!"

There were two things we did not take into account. First of all, we had turned down the thermostat to save money while we were gone. Second, a huge storm hit our normally temperate city. The entire city was shut down for over a week due to snow and ice. Roommate's friend couldn't have gotten there to check on them anyway. In the end, all of the details conspired against us. When Roommate got home, she found their bowls covered in a thin layer of ice.

Lola and Marty were no more.

I felt incredibly bad for Roommate, who did everything she was supposed to do as a first time pet owner. We were so worried about forgetting to feed them or not cleaning their bowls often enough. I don't think either of us expected them to freeze to death. And I feel even worse, because when she called me to tell me, I think I made her think it was her fault. I was pretty much only mad at myself.  Sorry, Roommate. You were an excellent fish parent. Don't ever doubt that.

It's kind of depressing to think of them slowly dying in the cold water. I imagine Lola shivering and Marty reassuring her that we would come home soon and rescue them. And even though it might be cruel to laugh at the expense of the pet I killed, I have a strange brain. All I can imagine of their last days is an epic, Titanic-style death scene. Freezing slowly, calling out their love for one another. Saying sappy things like, "I'll never let go!" I imagine few of those musical fish from that song on The Little Mermaid probably played a tiny string quartet as the water got colder. Lola wishing she was a salmon and built for this kind of water, Marty wishing he had a tiny fishy door to put Lola on...

Wait, I think I took the metaphor a little too far. I think NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo have broken me.Anyway, that is the Tragic and Totally True Tale of Lola Betty and Marty Allen, the Well-Loved and Very Loving Frozen Fish. The end.


My Failures and Potential-Failures So Far This Week

Here is a blog in unrelated paragraphs. Because I am a REALLY GREAT blogger. 

NaNoWriMo ends on Wednesday... I only have 40,000 words and things are not going well in my plot. I really want to finish, but failure feels eminent. I am regretting every plot choice I ever made. So, you know, nothing really new.


I restarted WeightWatchers today. I'm not going to go to meetings anymore, because all the ones near me are so lame that they make me want to cry or hit someone, which is not really conducive to losing weight. I think this was part of the reason I did so badly the last time--I hated going to my meetings and, therefore, began to resent the plan altogether. Well, that and my soul crushing job with saboteurs. Instead, I plan to weigh myself at home every Monday between 9:00-10:00 am and do all my tracking online. I've done really well so far today with the points. Also, when I weighed in this morning, I was so afraid I would be heavier than my original starting weight from 3 years ago (which was over 300 lbs) and have been mentally preparing for the awful number. Praise Jesus, I am not over 300 lbs! But it's close enough. So it's a good thing I'm starting again.

However, I got an e-mail from WeightWatchers today that said that the program would be changing next Monday. I have to say, I got a little bit pissed. On the one hand, how could they know that I was planning on restarting exactly one week before they changed everything? They couldn't. So calm down, self. But on the other hand? They changed the plan around Thanksgiving last year in such a major way that I basically threw my hands in the air and gave up. So to get that e-mail on the Morning of My Renewed Commitment To Avoid Being Fat was slightly discouraging. But I bucked up, because it's either go with the flow or be 700 lbs by the time I'm 30. I think you can see this was not a terribly difficult choice.


Sister and I have finally finished LOST. It took us longer than most shows, but I think it was worth it. I've loved that show for a long time and Sister seemed to enjoy it, too. I know a lot of people hated the ending, but I thought it was kind of poetic and beautiful (even if it IS diametrically opposed to most of my personal theology) and had a nice symmetry with the pilot episode. Also, I'm not sure how they could have worked it out with any kind of closure with the rate that they killed people off, except for the way that they did it. So, in pathetic summation of a not-really review, Sister and I enjoyed it.

We had kind of already moved on to the most recent season of Big Bang Theory in the middle of the sixth season, just to lighten things up, so we finished that on the same day. We were wondering what to jump into next, since we have both now seen every single episode of every single show we own on DVD. But then I bought the first season of White Collar and we're back in business. For another twenty episodes, at least. Then hopefully we'll get something new for Christmas or we'll find something on good sale and be off again. Or there's always rewatching... West Wing, perhaps?

But I could use suggestions in the comments, if you guys have a TV show you like and want to share.


Remember when I told you about how our furnace was acting like a melodramatic emo teen girl? Well, we seem to have fixed it. Except that it still FEELS about 67 degrees in here, but the thermostat SAYS it's 70. I think we may have reached the secretive and lying teenager phase.

Also, every once in a while, there will be a really hot smell coming from the vents. Like when you turn the furnace on at the end of the summer and it has to burn away some of the dust, since it hasn't been used in a long time? Except that NO, furnace, you were on TEN MINUTES AGO--there should be no accumulated dust to burn off. So Sister and I periodically have to run around like crazy people and climb into the half-basement to make sure the HOUSE IS NOT BURNING DOWN (because the one time we don't check, it will be...). So I think we have also made it to the "Teen smokes periodically and secretively in the basement" phase.

Pretty soon, I expect the heating vents to start yelling things like "You're ruining my life!" and "YOU! Are a MURDERER! Of LOVE!!!!"

[Name that quote and I'll make you my BFF for a day.]


Last week, I used one of my favorite insulated polka-dot cups to make myself iced coffee, which was DELICIOUS. But I forgot to wash it out and the last tiny bit of coffe-milk and the melted icecubes have sat in it getting really nasty for several days. Because I keep these things all around the house with water in them, I didn't notice for a little while. LUCKILY, I did not try to drink it--I think I just gagged a little even thinking about it. But it was pretty gross when I opened it, so I had to scrub it really well with hot water and a lot of soap--something I don't do very often if all it carries is water.


I totally forgot that Sister had replaced the sponge on our little scrubby thing (you know the kind, with the scrubby sponge and the liquid soap all conveniently stored in the handle?). And the scrubby part of the sponge was all EXTRA BRAND NEW SCRUBBY and I totally scratched the heck out of the inside of my cup. As in, it's no longer transparent, only translucent. In a sad sad translucent way. And every time I go to take a sip of water, it makes me sad. And a little mad at myself for not seeing this coming.

I think my world has gotten really small since I quit my job....

Do you remember when I told you that Satan's Cat has started watching the ice dispenser on the fridge for drips because of that one time I overfilled a cup and she thought the dripping water was a toy? You don't? Well, I'm not going to link to the post, because I'm pretty sure that story is an obscure side-reference anyway and you'll be all confused when you click on the link and the post is all about me quitting my job. So, just remember that she used to watch for drips to chase.

Well, now, she also wants ice cubes. I'm not sure what she thinks she'll do with it if we were to give her one. Sister thinks she might like to chase it across the wood floor and is afraid of it getting stuck somewhere and melting and warping the floor. I think she's more creative than that. Maybe she's trying to make herself a Jack & Coke. We are totally kitty-buzz-kills. And? If she's satanic normally, I fear what she would be like with lowered inhibitions.

Anyway, every time we run the ice dispenser, she comes running and then stands under it crying when we don't let her have one. We have turned the tiny kitty tables on her though. Anytime we need to leave and she's hiding to avoid being put away (it's not like that has EVER kept her from being put away, but it has occasionally made us late for things, so I guess she's still winning), we just run the dispenser for a moment and she appears, as if by magic.

There was one day recently that we couldn't find her anywhere. None of her usual hiding places were occupied, she hadn't gotten locked in the laundry room, she was NOWHERE. We were wandering around, kind of bemused as to where she could have squirreled herself away, because there was NOWHERE we hadn't looked. Then I ran the ice machine and there she was. Magic Cat.

We're hoping that if we do this enough, she will learn our trick and stop showing up at the fridge when we want ice. It might make her harder to find in a time crunch, but we're really tired of making ourselves something to drink with an angry cat blocking the fridge.


Okay, now that I've warmed myself up on this failure of a blog post, I think I'll try my hand at noveling. Again. Only 10,000 more words to go and I still haven't gotten them CLOSE to being in love. I am THE BEST AUTHOR EVER!


Sundays Are The Hardest Blogging Days

As I've posted before, my Sundays are pretty simple: church, lunch, nap, different food, TV, more food, more TV, bedtime. Admittedly, Sunday laziness is not that different from my current everyday laziness, except for the nap. I don't really nap on weekdays; although I totally could, I just...don't (I think I may be wasting my time of unemployment. I'm now rethinking things...). Also, going to church and doing my media job is actually more work than I do during the rest of the week put together. Which is very pathetic, but true.

Ever since I was a small child, Sundays have been a day of rest. I mean, it's not like there was some kind of Sabbath Code enforced in my house or anything. But after church, we usually gathered for a large-ish meal. And then we would all scatter to parts of the house to do our own thing: watch TV, read a book, do homework, whatever. There was always the expectation that whatever we chose to do would be quiet. Because, inevitably, someone would be napping.

Mom would "rest" her eyes, which really meant a nap. But some kind of magical nap in which she still knew what was going on in the house and could coherently answer the pestery questions of children who apparently did not understand the notion of LEAVE HER ALONE SHE'S SLEEPING! She rarely scolded us--she just answered the queries patiently with her eyes still closed. It wasn't until many years later, I realized that, though her answers were coherent, they were not always conscious or remembered, which was QUITE a trick. Dad would usually settle into the couch with a book or something on the History Channel. And promptly snooze. And all of us kids, in one form or another, would end up with a small rest or full-on nap. When I was younger, I fought naps--it nearly drove my nap loving mother out of her mind. But by early high school, I craved them. And Sundays were ALWAYS nap days.

When I got to college, I had ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to nap--I had hours between my classes and I never thought to use that time for studying. But I learned pretty quickly NOT to nap, if I wanted to get to class on time and sleep on a regular schedule. It's kind of embarrassing to show up to a 3:45 pm class with pillowcase lines on your face and bleary eyes.

But Sundays? Oh, Sundays. Even when I wasn't going to church (because public transportation was really difficult for me) and the dorm was NOT all quiet and restful like my parents' house had been, Sundays held a strange sleepiness for me. It was like my body knew that it was Sunday, the Day of Napping. It REQUIRED a nap every seven days. It was weird. But who was I to deny my body what it needed?

Now that I live back in my hometown and I refuse to go to bed a sane hour for no good reason other than I'm stupid, Sunday naps have become a staple. Sometimes, Sister and I have naps for lunch on Sundays, instead of food. But since I've been sleeping until 11:15 most days recently, I decided to forgo today's nap in the hope that I will be extra tired tonight and will go to bed earlier. Because I need to spend ALL DAY tomorrow working on my NaNoWriMo novel, which kind of got forgotten over the holiday and is all the sudden TOTALLY BEHIND and I feel like I'm never going to finish by Wednesday. And writing ALL DAY is not nearly as effective if the day STARTS at NOON!

And this is why Sundays are the hardest blogging days. Because the only topic I can think of to post about is napping. Which is like a snooze-fest of words and letters. You're all probably napping by now. Which, if your Sundays are anything like mine, I guess you should thank me for... Yeah, still boring. Because I want a nap. And Sister IS napping. And I'm sleepy. And nothing else really happens on Sundays. Sundays are hard. When NaBloPoMo is done, I'd like to continue with daily posts. But I think I will use Sundays as a Blogging Sabbath. It will be better for all of us. I will get Sundays off and you won't have to read the drivel I try to come up with for Sunday posts. We all win. You're welcome.


Has anyone SEEN my list, by the way? It's a piece of paper and it says, "Ross" on it...

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and people have celebrated their gratitude by getting into fights at WalMart, the Christmas season is apparently upon us. And every year, around this time, Mom asks me very nicely for a Christmas list. And I tell her I will give it to her. Days and/or weeks later, she kindly reminds me again. I make a mental note to send her one, but I write it on some kind of off-brand mental post-it note that has really poor sticking quality. In order to avoid that frustration this year, I've decided to put it right here on the blog, since she reads it every day.

Elise's Christmas List 2011:

          1. One husband. Of the Christian variety, 6'2" or larger. Preferably with a steady income source and the ability to string together more than six words at a time.

          2. One baby. With a layaway option on 3 more over the next 8-10 years (like a savings bond). Please keep in mind that #1 is a prerequisite.

          3. One job. Preferably one that allows me to work from home and/or one without substantial mental and spiritual trauma.

          4. One last phone call to Nana.

          5. One teleportation device with portals near Roommate, Big Brother(and therefore Sister-In-Law and Niece), and the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

          6. One hundred pairs of yoga pants, black.

          7. One license to wear yoga pants in public without shame or mockery.

          8. One rear end that looks good in yoga pants.

          9. One Magic Digestive System that only absorbs the amount of calories necessary for the day and ignores the rest.

         10. Umm.... Oh yeah! That World Peace thingy. Because, why not?

I'm not sure which stores carry these items (except for #6--Target has TALL yoga pants), but see what you can do. Otherwise, I'd really like Sims 3 Pets. It's up to you, really. Whichever....

[I apologize for the obscure FRIENDS quote as the title of today's post. It's mostly for Sister. And a little bit for Temerity Jane. So if you didn't get it, just ignore it. Or go watch FRIENDS. Your life will be more complete if you do...]


Bad Behaviors That Annoy

Today, I'm going to climb on my high horse a little bit and "preach" about some bad behaviors that make me crazy. Like RAGE kind of crazy. I promise that none of this is about anyone in particular (unless it is and then it will be noted). I'm not calling anyone out, so calm down. But a few of these things really bother me and it's my blog, so every once in a while, I get to use it as a soap box. And you know what? I bet at least one of them is something that's bothered you before. Because that's the beauty of the Internet.


Bad Behavior Number 1: People who only know one topic really well and steer EVERY conversation in that direction.

This one will need some background information. You see, I had this boss. I think I might have told you about her once or twice. I called her Crazy Boss Lady. Because she was a lady (using this term to mean only "female" not "genteel and gracious") and she was my boss and she was completely BAT-SHIT CRAZY (yes, I just swore...it's the only way to get the point across this time, sorry Mom). Crazy Boss Lady was incredibly incompetent for the position she held, which she had gained through a series of ridiculous situations that no one seemed to foresee as one of the signs of the impending APOCALYPSE. Okay, maybe not that, but close.

Anyway, Crazy Boss Lady's late husband had been a beloved dentist in our community. And before she got the job in which she tried to stomp all over my soul, she helped him run his dental practice. And by "run his dental practice," I mean, she answered phones at the front desk for a few hours a week. This made her an "expert" in all things dentistry.

And that was the only thing she knew. I'm not kidding. She seemed to have no other skills whatsoever, unless you count the ability to reach inside a person's mind and diminish their will to live by using only fake compliments and creepy smiles. And in case you are wondering, my job (and by default, her job) had NOTHING TO DO WITH DENTISTRY. Oh, but she tried to MAKE it about dentistry. In any meeting with clients, at any meeting with her colleagues, or in any conversation with her employees, she would relate everything back to dentistry, her husband's practice, or the fact that three of her five children had chosen to be dentists. You would not believe how many things can relate to the care of teeth if you try hard enough. It was like playing The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but a lot less interesting.

The problem with this is not just that NO ONE wants to talk about teeth that much. It's how selfish AND stupid these people look when trying to turn the conversation toward their interest. Because, although Crazy Boss Lady makes the best example, I have watched countless other people fall into this pattern as well. In her case, I think it had to do with the fact that she wasn't understanding the current conversation and was too insecure to ask for an explanation. But some people do this just because they are bored with what YOU want to talk about, probably because it is not ABOUT THEM or THEIR INTERESTS. I think it's pretty obvious why this is a bad behavior that annoys me.


Bad Behavior Number 2: Thinking that other people think you are amazing and repeating their "praise" of you to others.

I had another boss, right after I had Crazy Boss Lady. We call him Big Jerk Boss Man. Big Jerk Boss Man was about as qualified for his job as Crazy Boss Lady was for hers. Actually, he had three different careers before gaining his role as my boss and he was kind of intelligent in his day, but he's now in his seventies and has some health issues that I'm convinced have affected his brain. Also, he grew up as a scrawny kid in the gangland of Manhattan in the 1940s and 50s, so he pretty quickly developed an inferiority complex and the ability to tear people down with his words (since his hands weren't strong enough).

Strangely, this man had an ego the size of, well, Manhattan probably. Now that I'm away from him for good, I can see that it's all a defense mechanism--he actually hates himself and doesn't want anyone to see it. But the EGO on this man was enough to crush you flat if you stood too close to him. And he was constantly coming to us, his employees, for both validation and to brag about how much people liked him. I think it's pretty obvious why I quit my job....

On occasion, my boss would be invited to speak at community events or business luncheons. Often, we were required to go with, in order to fully appreciate his awesomeness. And he would stand up and begin his speech and I would cringe. He was NOT a very good public speaker. He rambled. He meandered. He used way too much personal detail and made people uncomfortable. He forgot what he had been asked to speak about and improvised. He never prepared in advance and was always flying by the seat of his I'm-too-big-for-these britches.

BUT. Inevitably, some well-meaning soul would approach him after the speech and tell him he did a good job. Or, more often, he would go and ASK people if they liked his speech. Yeah, he would walk up to someone, who was usually in the middle of a different conversation, and would interrupt them to ask, "So what did you think of my speech? It was great, right?" He was a Social Skills Train Wreck. And the person, caught off-guard and cornered, would say something like "It was very interesting..." or "I've never heard anything like that before..."

Now, I think you (and most everyone else in the WORLD) is smart enough to see through the non-answer in those answers. Words like "interesting," "special," "unique," and "informative" (without giving details as to HOW it was informative) are all the lazy man's way of saying "I have nothing better to give you because that speech was boring/weird/bad/uncomfortable and I don't want to offend you and you totally just put me on the spot" and/or "I wasn't really listening."

But, oh how the boss would glow and preen at these comments. He would come back to the office and tell us all about how people LOVED the speech. How he'd gotten SO MANY COMPLIMENTS. How HE WAS THE BEST SPEAKER MAN IN THE HISTORY OF MEN WHO SPEAK. And we would smile politely and give him the same kind of feedback as those who didn't know what to say. Because we liked our paychecks.

And GOD FORBID anyone EVER critique or dislike his speech. They were immediately eviscerated with his words (sometimes in person, sometimes behind their backs), shunned, and ignored forever. This man could hold a grudge like no one I've ever met.

And this brings me to the conclusion of Bad Behavior Number 2: repeating non-compliment compliments in an effort to stroke your own ego is not only arrogant, it's sad and pathetic. Just don't do it, okay? Big Jerk Boss Man was the worst non-compliment compliment taker I've ever seen, but just like Crazy Boss Lady before him, he's no special snowflake. I've heard other people repeat things they think were praise and I hear as "that's the word people use when they have nothing better to say." This has also made me suspicious of praise directed toward myself, since I'm always wondering if it was actually intended as praise or if it was just something you say to be polite.


Bad Behavior Number 3: Women who constantly tear down their husbands and complain about their children on the Internet.

[WARNING: This is where I get less funny and more preachy. I would apologize, but I mean every word.]

I could probably just round this one out into "all people who spend the majority of their time complaining and whining about EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND THEIR LIVES OMG!" But I'm not going to, because this particular subcategory of complainers makes me rantastically crazy. And really, this is more directed at women who husband-bash than those who complain about their kids, because most women know that they'll get called out if they go too far in insulting their children but that most people will ignore husband-bashing rather than stand up for someone else's husband.

And I'm calling out WOMEN in particular, for these three reasons:
1. I don't spend a lot of time with married men without their wives, so I don't have a good sample of their whining, which therefore means;
2. When I see this behavior, it is almost always coming from a woman and finally;
3. Women just seem more prone to this kind of "public" complaining, which men may do with their buddies but don't seem to engage in online.

I see it all the time on twitter and facebook and a little less often, but still frequently, on blogs. I even find it in real-live conversations at work and church and the grocery store. There are some women who apparently HATE their husbands and their children. Now, I understand that the Internet can be a safe and anonymous place to say all of the things you cannot say in real life, so a lot of venting takes place here. And I also understand that marriage can be difficult and that raising kids is no piece of cake, so there are times when you JUST HAVE TO LET IT OUT.

And, in case I haven't couched this one ENOUGH, it should be noted that I'm not talking about the joking kind of complaining. Like when you say, "OMG, my kid just painted the wall with his poop. In unrelated news, he is now for sale on ebay" or "The baby kept me up ALL NIGHT LONG. I'm so tired I can't remember her name. Remind me why I wanted kids?" Those are funny and real and help us understand that your day has been rough. I'm not asking for sunshine and ponies all day long in your twitter stream.

Btu there are some women (probably not as many as I think, they are just so loud and obvious so it seems like there are more of them than there really are), who never seem to have a  nice thing to say about their families. And the things they DO say are so incredibly demeaning and disrespectful and unloving, that I want to vomit. I've seen tweets similar to: "My husband is so EFFING stupid, I don't know how he hasn't accidentally killed himself yet" or "My kids are the most annoying creatures on the planet. Why won't they just shut up and leave me alone?" I'm even bothered by the seemingly more innocuous tweets that say "I am so annoyed at my husband right now" when I've seen the same sentiment more than three times this week from the same poster.

I don't think it's okay to call your husband stupid on twitter and mean it (not saying that he did something stupid, but implying that he is ever in a state of stupid). I don't think it's okay to call him a loser or other derogatory names, when you're obviously not joking. I don't think it's okay to talk about your kids as if you wish you'd never had them. Again, I see this more often directed at husbands than at children, but I still see some really negative things about kids.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I am a single woman and deep down to the core of my soul and the marrow of my bones, I ache to find that one person who will love me for me and know me better than anyone in the world, with whom I will raise a passel of babies and next to whom I will grow old and senile. And every time I see a woman who has all the things I want, TEARING IT DOWN like it means nothing, it makes me kind of sick.

Right about now, I have a feeling a few of you are hiking up your sleeves, about to attack your keyboard in an effort to give me a piece of your mind, because you think I'm talking about you. I'm not. Really. This is a general observation only. But? If you were thinking that, it might be time to examine the percentage of your tweets/updates/posts that are negative toward your family and see how many of them you were "joking" about...

Because ladies? If you're constantly talking that way on the Internet, it's more than likely that some of that resentment and disrespect has already crept into your real-life relationships. And if you're not willing to love and honor and respect your husband, he might go looking for a woman who will. I'm not saying I'm out to take anyone's husband (I am SO not) or that all men who cheat have complaining wives. All I'm saying is that I've watched too many marriages fall apart because "she" tore him down and "he" went looking elsewhere--both wrong, both with devastating consequences. So treasure what you have and be careful with your words. They have incredible power.


Here is where I wish I had a Bad Behavior Number 4 to share, so I don't have to leave the post on such a bummer kind of note. But I don't have another one in mind right now and I'm not going to make one up for the sake of making you forget what I just said above. I'm also thinking about not posting this, because it might offend people or it's a little bit outside of the "Here's some crazy stuff that just happened to me and a recipe or two" thing I have going on. But I thought it and I wrote it and I still think it, so I guess I'm posting it. I'm also thinking of making a series out of these bad behaviors that annoy me, if no one yells at me too badly for this one. We'll see. For now, enjoy my opinionated rant and don't throw too many tomatoes, mmkay?


Elise's Honey Wheat Rolls

[I wrote this post yesterday from Sister-In-Law's house.]

The girls and I got together today to bake up a storm. Well, actually, I have no control over the weather, so I'm not baking a "storm" per se. But we are baking a lot. Sister-In-Law is making pie of many varieties--pumpkin, lemon, coconut, and maybe even chocolate cream (which is not really "baked," but whatever.) I'm making honey wheat rolls. Sister is making...coasters. That's not a funny name for a snack food. She's actually making Mod Podge coasters with scrapbook paper and other items on while tiles. She's a good cook and everything, but we'll have so much food that we decided the rolls would be from both of us.

Anyway, I thought I would make this a post about how to make my Honey Wheat Rolls, which I kind of made up, but not really. But kind of. You'll see.

Step 1: Locate the recipe, which was hiding in the back of my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, disguised as a folded piece of xerox paper.

Elise's Honey Wheat Rolls
1 C warm water
1 C warm milk
2 eggs
2/3 C butter, softened
1/2 C honey
2 t salt
2-1/2 C wheat flour
5 C white flour
4-1/2 t active dry yeast
3 T butter

Step 2: Assemble the cast of characters ingredients:

1: Yeast; 2: Butter/Margarine; 3: Eggs; 4: Cake pans; 5: Sippy cup of milk, for easy, no spill transport; 6: White flour; 7: Salt; 8: Wheat flour; 9: Honey

Oooh and aah over how pretty the honey is. Take a picture or two:

Step 3: Mix (by hand or with a mixer, but the mixer is easier) together all the wet ingredients and the yeast. Be careful not to overheat your water or milk (or even your butter if you're like me and forgot to take the stick out of the freezer in time and you have to microwave it to soften it and you end up with molten liquid butter that sits on the counter for a while to cool). Where was I? Oh, don't overheat or you will kill your yeast and get flat rolls. Just trust me. But don't make it too cold either, or your yeast will take FOREVER to do its job and you'll end up with...flat rolls. This is probably why people find bread so tricky. Just make sure it's a little warmer than your skin, I guess. That's my rule of thumb anyway--no, really...I stick my thumb in it and if it doesn't feel too hot, I use it.

Step 4: Stir in both flours slowly, until it's more dough than batter. You may need a little more or a little less than the recipe calls for--every batch is different. If you need to cut or add, do it to the white flour. Keep all the wheat flour you can.

Step 5: Knead in the remaining flour. Just dump the sticky mass onto a floured surface and go at it. It's quite relaxing, really. This is my favorite part. Really go at it for about 10 minutes.

Step 6: Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a towel--make sure it's in a warm place. If your house runs kind of cold, set your oven to 150 degrees and sit the bowl on top of it. Let it rise for 1 hour.Or until it's doubled. If it seems to be lagging behind at this point, give it another fifteen minutes and then don't worry about it. It rises again later.

Step 7: Separate the dough into 30 pieces (don't be like me a listen to the recipe--32 is a difficult number to make sit in the pans. Just do 30, okay?). Work each piece into a nice round, roll-looking-thing (specific, right?):

Step 8: Arrange them in two 13x9 cake pans and set them aside to rise for 1 hour (covered by a towel again). Or so. Use your best judgement--they will rise more in the oven, but you want them to be pretty large before they go in. And don't be like me (again) and not to the math on the timing and realize you have music rehearsal at 6:00 and the bread won't finish rising until about 6:15, so you leave them on the counter until 11:00 pm, hoping they don't take over the kitchen like that folktale about the magic spaghetti pot (does anyone know what I'm talking about?). So, yeah. Don't do that.

Step 9: Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until light golden.Watch them carefully, because the tops will not be as golden as you expect when the bottoms are done. Take them out a little early than your gut tells you to do, because they will continue to brown a little in the pan.

Step 10: Rub the remaining butter over the top of the hot rolls, allowing it to melt and run down the sides. It's okay if it pools between them. No, wait. It's MORE THAN OKAY. I used an entire HALF STICK of butter for this process and it seemed a little excessive, but they turned out great, so do with that what you will. The butter will make the tops a little more golden, will keep the rolls soft, and will taste like heaven at dinnertime.

Step 11: Serve warm (rewarm in a low oven for a few minutes if serving then next day). Feed them to your friends and family. Allow them to love you. It's okay. You earned it.


This Is More of a Somewhat Inspiring Journal Entry Than a Post

Yesterday, I was able to write over 6,000 words on my novel for NaNoWriMo (side note: you know you've spent too much time on twitter when you unconsciously try to add a hashtag to things like NaNoWriMo on your blog). That's more words that I've ever written in one day before. It brings me up to 37K. By the time I hit midnight, I was exhausted. Which was crazy, since I had barely moved from my couch. But my brain was SO tired. 

Unfortunately, I have been unable to write AT ALL today, due partly to the fact that I slept until 11:00 am (I went to bed at 3:00 am, so it's NOT that lazy... or so I tell myself) and partly due to the fact that I spent my afternoon at Sister-In-Law's house baking for the holiday. Tomorrow, I'll post the recipe and a few progress shots for these rolls. It's a recipe that I kind of stole and then made my own. I had a great time with the girls, even if I was FREEZING. I think I've mentioned that Sister-In-Law keeps her house a chilly 65 degrees. This may or may not have affected my bread's ability to rise.

So, no NaNoWriMo today and probably not much tomorrow. I'll take the laptop to Sister-In-Law's parent's house tomorrow, but I'm not sure how much I'll get done. Likely as not, they'll make fun of me for being on my computer when I'm with company. But half of them will be napping in front of a football game, so it's not like it's rude or anything. We're all family anyway. But I'll still get made fun of, because that's how it is when you're the youngest, excluding the grandchildren. And, actually, I'm now rethinking having my laptop near the grandchildren... Hmmm...

Anyway, I'm making progress in a way I haven't managed in over a week. I reworked some of the sections and changed my timeline a bit. I did some *gasp* editing, which is a NaNo No No. But I restrained myself and only edited where I needed to add new material to keep things consistent. And even though I found myself obsessing about typos, structure, word choice, and pace, I left most of it alone. If I thought that I was typing something inconsistent, I checked and fixed what I could and highlighted the rest. There were things that made me cringe and things that made me think, "Who the heck wrote that? Because it certainly WASN'T me..." I'm feeling simultaneously optimistic and defeated.

I've been saying for weeks that I really should be aiming for about 75K-90K words, instead of the requisite 50K. And that's never more clear to me now. First of all, 50K is only 200 pages--a lot of the books I read and enjoy are more like 300-360 pages. So there's that already. And then there are many (including Stephen King, I think) who say that your second draft is just your first draft minus ten percent. And what with these DAMN PUPPIES, I think my second draft will probably look more like minus thirty percent. So maybe 100,000?

Right now, in the throes of this, I feel like the book is going nowhere. Even after finishing what I think is an excellent scene or finding JUST the right words to get my point across, I will sit back and think, "Yes, but as a whole, it sucks..." I have these great dreams of writing a story that people read and think about long after they finish it. I dream of writing a story that touches someone deep inside their soul and changes how they look at the world, if only for a few days. And every time I back up from the immediate scene, I know this book isn't even close to accomplishing those things. And that's so discouraging.

But you know what? This is my first novel. And I'm actually writing it. It might will probably never get published. It may never get a full edit, unless the many of you who offered to read it and rip it to shreds were serious. And even then, I'm not sure it will ever be good enough. But I'm writing it. I'm going to finish it. I WILL write 50,000 words by November 30th. I WILL write all the way through the final chapter, whatever that contains. Everything after that is just cake, right?

So for those of you doing NaNoWriMo along with me this month, STICK TO IT. I'm just as lost as you are. But we're doing it! And so many people have already given up and will give up before next Wednesday. But you and me? WE'RE STILL AT IT. And I am so proud of us. 

For those of you who didn't think you were up to the challenge this year, I encourage you to get writing anyway. Don't worry about 50K. Don't worry about November 30th. Just write. Because we all have words in us. We all have stories to tell. And who know what? Yours might change someone's life. It would be a shame if it never got written. 


Phoned-In Face Photo

I'm hard at work on NaNoWriMo, finally making progress for the first time in days. I'm actually excited about where these new chapters are taking the story and I'm afraid I'm going to lose momentum if I stop to blog now. But I don't want to fail at NaBloPoMo, either. I TOLD you this could be an issue and that I'd likely fail at both. So, you know, no whining. In order to try to keep both going, today, on the 22nd day of NaBloPoMo, I am posting my very first "phoning it in" post.

Shut up! I have NOT phoned it in so far. I mean, I've written posts on my PHONE (including this one), but I haven't "phoned" it in. Seriously. Stop it. Those other posts may have been lame, but they still took effort! Ummm... I'm uncomfortable with the direction that sentence is going to take me. So I'm going to pretend you all get what I mean and get to the point.

Do you all remember when I wrote that post about seeing faces everywhere? No? I thought a post about my paranoia/love of accidental faces would be more memorable. Okay, fine. Click here to read it again. Or for the first time, I guess, if you're new. I'll wait.

Did you read it? Seriously, GO READ IT!

Okay, last chance.

Well, here's the phoning it in part of the post. This is all very anticlimactic, by the way. Well, I'm sure you're aware of that. If you're still reading this. Which you probably aren't. I believe the word you're looking for is anyways....

Here's a picture on another face.

This is Brother and Sister-In-Law's old kitchen sink. when they remodeled, they replaced it and put it on the back porch to take to the landfill. It snowed before they could and I think it looks like a sad, lonely old man. What do you think?


Welcome to the Apple Factory

As I am sure that many of you are, Thanksgiving is this week. Well, it is for us Americans, anyway. Which is very sad for the rest of you, I think. Unless your country has its own day some other time of the year. But still... Anyway, I'm looking forward to having a legitimate excuse to gorge myself on delicious food. Instead of the usual, "Hey, it's Tuesday! Let's eat two pizzas because one of them is free!" And I'm looking forward to it for another reason: come November 28th, it's back to WeightWatchers. For real. None of this meandering around, sometimes staying in the points, but usually chucking the whole program by noon. I figure it's ridiculous to try to start anything the week of Thanksgiving, but the FATNESS must END. So Thursday will be a Farewell Feast for my fat. Or something like that.

Our family's custom is to gather at Sister-In-Law's mother's house. This means everybody. Mom, Papa, Sister, Brother, Sister-In-Law, both her parents, her two sisters, their husbands and their children, and maybe even her father's brother and his family. Sister actually has three sisters, but one of them moved away a few years ago. Otherwise, they'd be there, too. It's always a packed house. And even though we have SO MANY PEOPLE, we always end up with more food than we can possibly eat. Oh, but we TRY! And even though I tell myself not to, I ALWAYS end up eating so much I'm in pain. And then I have pie. And then I have second pie.

So this year, even though Thanksgiving is going to be a kind of last hurrah, I have made a deal with myself: I will only have ONE of anything. I will try as many things as I want and will put decent sized portions on my plate. But after I have eaten the serving I have given myself, I WILL NOT have any more of it. In other words, no seconds. If I'm still hungry (okay, not hungry, just wanting more food) after my first plate, I WILL ONLY have vegetables. I think this is an effective strategy--no deprivation, but no pain in the end either. I'll let you know how it goes. Because apple pie may be my downfall...

As is also our custom, Sister, Sister-In-Law, and I get together at one of our houses the day before Thanksgiving to bake up a storm. I'm usually in charge of rolls, since bread seems to be my forte. Sister makes some sort of pumpkin-y whipped dessert or pumpkin muffins--yum! Sister-In-Law usually makes pies. This makes the house smell amazing! But this year, we're doing it at Sister-In-Law's house, since she has finally finished her kitchen remodel (complete with new counters) and she wants to test it all out. This means it will be her house that smells good, not ours (luckily, this also means I don't have to clean our kitchen).

So, in the spirit of the holidays, we've turned out house into an Apple Factory. We have a scented oil thing that plugs into an outlet. It needed to be changed today and Sister found last Christmas's impulse buy of cinnamon-caramel-harvest-holiday-spice-OMG-APPLES type of scented oil. So: APPLE FACTORY. We plugged it in about an hour ago and about ten minutes ago, I was like HOLY APPLES BATMAN! In unrelated news, I'm hungry again. Hmmm... I may have to rethink the Apple Factory and WeightWatchers combination.


Head Injuries Make Awful Love Stories

After yesterday's anti-sleep propaganda post, I sat and twittered (tweeted?) for a while. Then I tried to novel. And my eyes crosses and everything got pretty blurry. So just as the sun was finally lighting up the world (about 9:45... yeah, I know, right?), I went and curled up on my couch and finally drifted off to sleep. Sister woke me at 12:45 to say she was leaving to go shopping with Mom and offered me her non-broken, lovely queen sized bed for further sleep. I slept until a little past 3:00. At which point the sun was hanging low in the sky. So basically, I got about 2.5 hours of daylight yesterday. Oh, Far North, how I have mixed feelings about you...

I'm happy to report that I got about 6 hours of sleep last night and about three more this afternoon, which will hopefully only keep me up until 1:00 or so tonight and I'll be back on track. Or I'll become a bat and only flit about the world at nighttime. Whatever... Not that ANY of you cared to know this much detail about my sleeping habits. Because, seriously? Who else cares but me? And maybe my mother (Hi, Mom!). Moving on.

Since I spent most of yesterday like a zombie (LIKE a zombie, not BEING a zombie--hold off on your blowtorches and machetes, zombie killers) and most of today churching or napping, I don't have anything really interesting to report.

Well, except that Papa was struck with a very painful headache last night (rapid onset and high level of pain) and actually AGREED to go to the hospital to get checked out, which was pretty scary. He hates going to the doctor, so you know his pain has to be ridiculously high when he agrees to go. Anyway, it turned out to be an abnormal presentation of a migraine, not a stroke or an aneurism (not that my mind jumped to those conclusions or anything), but they gave him some pretty hefty painkillers and sent him home. The only thing is, he still had a terrible headache, he was now just woozy and disoriented on top of that, because the drugs didn't touch the headache. So Sister and I spent a lot of last night waiting at my parent's house for news about his brain and then an hour or so trying to be helpful with a very sedate and funny Papa.

But, again, that's probably not that interesting to you guys either.So I thought I would tell you a story. The story of my first kiss. I know. Awesome, right? Are you ready for this?

I was four (shhhh! I'm telling a story; don't interrupt with your laughter). His name was Jordan and he was three (which is kind of funny, because I have never again liked a younger man). His mother babysat me a few days a week (maybe less, maybe more... I'm not sure; I was four) and Jordan and I would play together for a few hours. My favorite thing to do was to dress up like Belle from Beauty and the Beast and make him waltz with me all around their basement playroom. It was my favorite movie at the time. I had a satiny yellow dress like the one she wears in the ballroom scene and my mother made me a blue cape with a hood, just like hers. So I would make Jordan be the Beast and I would play Belle and we would dance ALL DAY. Because I was a nice friend and never monopolized out playing time.

We also played other things, including Tonka trucks, which I thought were kind of awesome. We also colored, played in his sandbox, and did all of the general "kid" activities one does with a friend at age four. His mother was the first to introduce me to rhubarb, which I hate to this day. His mom also gave birth to twins at some point that year, which was the first time I had ever encountered that concept. Let's just say, my mind was BOGGLED by the idea of two babies at once and the fact that they could possibly look EXACTLY THE SAME (these two didn't, because one was a boy and one was a girl). Actually, I'm pretty sure that's why I have always wanted twins. The funny thing is, if I had been just slightly older and had noticed how tired and frazzled she looked and how difficult it was for her to get both of them to sleep at the same time, I probably would have a life long aversion to the idea.

Anyway, do any of you remember doing that thing, where you're at a friend's house and your parent shows up to take you home and you hide? Anyone? It wasn't a naughty kind of hiding, like I hated my parents or I was going to refuse to leave this person's house or I'm hiding JUST to frustrate and annoy my mother. It was more of a, "Hey, let's be funny and hide in this closet and giggle as Mom walks past on her way to the playroom, then jump out and say HI!" type of thing.

One day, I hear my mother upstairs, talking to Mrs. Jordan's Mom and he says, "Hide!" And I giggle and run around looking for a spot. He opens the laundry closet, which is basically louvered doors in front of a space exactly the depth of a washer and dryer. In order to do laundry, you have to open the doors and you can't stand in there when they're closed. But if you're four, you can sit cross-legged on TOP of the washer and the door closes just fine. So I'm sitting on the washer and I can see Jordan through the slats of the door. I hear my mother call for me and I giggle again. Then Mrs. Jordan's Mom calls for him and, being a very obedient three-year-old at the time, he immediately opens the laundry door to tell me we have to go upstairs.

But as soon as he opens the door, I LAUNCH myself at him, all flying squirrel-like. I hit him in the shoulders, knocking both of us to the floor and squashing him underneath me. Then, impulsive like I have never been since, I peck him on one cheek, then the other, then his lips. Then I jump up giggling and flounce up the stairs as if nothing has happened. I'm pretty sure my mother told me to say goodbye to Jordan, which I just yelled down the stairs in his general direction, and we were out to the car before he appeared.

And that is the story of my first kiss. It was a good one, right? I wasn't ashamed of it or anything, but I also never thought to tell anyone about it. Until my first year of college. A bunch of us girls were sitting around talking about our first kisses and I was slightly embarrassed that I was eighteen and had never been kissed. And then I remembered Jordan. So when it seemed like my turn, I told that story, not letting on that I had not been kissed since. The girls thought this was an incredibly funny and also enormously original way to kiss a boy.

And it became this thing. They would say something like, "I really like him! Maybe I'll take him to the laundry room and just tackle him, Elise-style..." with a licentious eyebrow waggle in my direction. And I would remind them that: A. the laundry room was not private, by any means, so they would need to be cautious if "tackling him" meant anything other than kissing; and B. the laundry room floor was poured concrete, which meant they were far more likely to concuss their love interest than they were to kiss him. None of them ever seemed to listen to me. But none of them ever tried it either, as far as I know. No traumatic brain injuries occurred in the basement of our dorm building while I went there, anyway...

One of my friends, who had been there when I told the story, was completely enamored with one of our guy friends. She claimed he had given her all sorts of signals, but she was still waiting for him to "make his move." And even though each of us had gently tried to help her see that he wanted nothing to do with her whatsoever and had told more than one of us so, she remained smitten. In fact, she would devote significant portions of her day (and our conversations) to planning their wedding and naming their children. She was a little... off-kilter. But she was particularly fond of my story and the idea of "tackling him in the laundry room." And every time I hung out with him, I had the strangest urge to go all PROPHECY VOICE on him and say crap like, "BEWARE THE PLACE WHERE CLOTHES ARE CLEANED" or "DETERGENT AND SOFTENER MEAN DEATH TO ANY HE WHO ENTERS HERE."

But, instead, I stopped spending time with crazy people and boys who play with girls' emotions. Three years later, I ran into both of them, separately, around graduation time. All she was could talk about how much she liked him and wondering when he was going to make his move (!) and he didn't know who I was talking about at first when I mentioned seeing her. She's engaged now and I think he's a priest. So it all worked out for everyone, I guess.

Except for me, the girl who STILL hasn't been kissed. And I used to be embarrassed about it. But when I think back to all the stories those girls told, most of them regretted who they kissed or it was awkward and disappointing. So I figure it will happen when it happens and when it does, it will be GOOD. And until then, I am content in knowing that I was once bold and impulsive and an example to amorous college freshmen and that I make an impressive flying-squirrel.


Prophetic Slap-Happery

Happy Six O'Clock in the Morning to you all!

That's right. It's 6:00 AM. No, I did not get up this early. I haven't gone to bed yet. I wish I could impress you with fabulous tales of my NaNoWriMo pursuits, how creativity struck right before bed and how I dragged myself to my (almost-iconic) purple couch and wrote passionately until the wee hours of the morning, unable to resist the siren call of the muses (I think I may be mixing mythology here...). But, alas. I cannot.

Here's the real story:

10:32 PM

Sister and I begin watching LOST. We've been doing other things all day--Her: Shopping with Mom and pinning crafty things on Pintrest; Me: Not writing.

11:14 PM

I begin doodling idly in Microsoft Paint. I've been reading a lot of Hyperbole and a Half and This Is Not That Blog lately, so I guess I think I can do it, too. I cannot. But that does not keep me from doing it anyway. This is probably why and how my novel will get written.
12:07 AM

Sister and I finish the last episode of Season Five of LOST. Now, anyone who owns television series (serieses?) on DVD knows that it is almost physically impossible to finish a season finale and NOT put in the next season's premiere when IT IS SITTING RIGHT THERE (RIGHT!THERE!) on your shelf. Especially when the finale was a cliff-hanger. Which, what show doesn't end the season with a cliff-hanger these days? The View? Probably. Anyway, I'm off track.

So even though it's late, we'll watch just one more episode, to make sure that people had really died/hadn't really died and all of that. We figure, "Tomorrow's Saturday! We never leave the house anyway. It's not like we work or anything!" Or at least I figure that. I have no idea what Sister is thinking and I shouldn't put words in her brain. I actually don't know how I'd go about doing that, but it sounds tricky and kind of messy. But that's beside the point. The point is, I fail to remember that the Season Six premiere is a two-episode-time-block-mega-episode-extravaganza, so it's over an hour and a half before we find out who's dead, who's alive, and that we really know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT THIS STINKING ISLAND (well, Sister is maybe confused... I've seen them all, so I'm not that confused... only a little bit confused).

1:58 AM

We retire to our separate rooms--Sister to her peaceful slumber and me to my fitful tossing and turning (SPOILER ALERT! Oh wait, I already told you how this ends... Never mind, move along). I crawl into bed and do as I usually do: mess around on my iPhone and then read a chapter or two of my latest book. Right now, it's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #2, which I've already read, but I need to re-read because I haven't read #4 (I don't think). Plus, it's been awhile and I really want to read the newest one: Sisterhood Everlasting. Because Sister said it made her cry and she never cries. At books, at least. It's not like her heart is made of stone or she's Cameron Diaz from The Holiday or something. But if a book made her cry, it's probably worth reading.

2:38 AM

I can only get about ten pages before I want to noogie each character (this is not a reflection of Ann Brashares' work, but my own inability to deal with TEENAGERS right now). I turn out the light.

This is a pretty late hour for me most of the time, but recently, it's become the kind of late that 12:30 used to be. It's not obscenely late or anything. But it's definitely time to be asleep. So I close my eyes, turn on my left side, and snuggle close to my stuffed monkey named Cranston ahem, my extra pillow.

3:00 AM -ish

I toss and turn for a while. Then I lay with my eyes open, doing a pretty routine mental exercise that's half-fantasizing and half-book-plotting. Tonight, I'm wondering what it would be like if I (and by "I," I could mean either my actual self or a character like me) fostered-to-adopt a safe-haven baby. Please don't ask me where I come up with this stuff; heaven only knows and probably not even that.

I lay there, mentally redecorating Sister's library (the room we often refer to as Godson's room) as if I owned the place, putting the crib against one wall and the changing station with the baskets of cute-but-gender-neutral cloth diapers on the other wall, trying to decide if I want an old fashioned rocker (nostalgic, but tough on the carpet) or a glider/rocker (more functional, but takes up a lot of space), and imagining bringing this stranger-baby into my home forever and ever.

3:42 AM

Since sleep has detoured on the way to my house tonight, curiosity gets the better of me and I grab my phone. To start researching what safe-haven laws say about adoption. Yeah, really... I know. Just... I know.

I spend an inordinate amount of time and brain power dissecting the psychology of what would make a mother desert her child like that and the likelihood of her coming back to reclaim custody. Because I don't have a job, I don't own my own home (or even my own car!), and I'm single. So, yes, the trials and joys of adoption are EXACTLY what I need to be fretting over in the middle of the night. But usually these kind of mental rabbit trails are a good way to get my mind to disengage from the day and drift off to sleep. Unless I get into the storyline. Then all bets are off.

4:00 AM

I get up and go to the bathroom, hoping it's my bladder keeping me up.

4:05 AM

I crawl back in bed, blind in the dark because of the bathroom light. I re-tuck my covers, which have become ridiculously twisted from the turning and the tossing and the God-knows-what-else-ing. I hear the sticky notes that comprise my plot map becoming unstuck from the back on my bedroom door, one by one. I make a mental note not to use that surface anymore.

4:20 AM

I scavenge a string cheese from the kitchen. I'm feeling kind of shaky, almost hypoglycemic-ly.

I am not actually hypoglycemic.

4:26 AM

I think that maybe I should be using this insomnia episode for something productive. Like writing. Since I battled with my characters all evening and am not-quite-sure-but-almost-there-just-wait-one-more-minute-I-think-I've-got-it-oh-wait-no about my plot and my killer, I don't really feel up to it. I beg the gods of sleep to stop torturing me. I will tell them anything they want to know, just let me sleep.

4:44 AM

I play another round of Josephine on my Card Shark app.

4:51 AM

I begin composing this post in my head.

5:00 AM

I force myself to close my eyes and deep breathe, with the promise/threat that if I'm still awake at 5:30, I'll get up and get something accomplished. BUT! Only if I keep my eyes closed and really concentrate on sleeping.

5:27 AM

I don't want to blog this early. Desperate to use my last three minutes wisely, I turn on my lullaby.

5:29 AM

I realize OH HEY NO! It's not insomnia hypoglycemia. It's not my bladder or my eyelids or my left knee cap or my hypothalamus (although it IS kind of warm in my bedroom). It's not even an imagination/will-power issue that can be fixed by soothing music.

It's the pint of Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino Ice Cream I ate while watching television.

You know, the ice cream made with REAL COFFEE?!

The kind of coffee with REAL CAFFEINE?!

Yeah. That one.

5:30 AM

Resigned, I get up and creep down the hallway to the living room, where my computer is plugged in. I grab my insulated polka-dot cup, because I am not worried about my bladder anymore. I decide NOT to fill it with ice, but just the coldest water my kitchen tap can give me, so as not to wake Sister.

5:31 AM

I manage to gather cup, laptop, and power cord without making a sound.

5:32 AM

I bash my giant rear end into an old glass of water on the side table, which crashes noisily to the floor. Noisily and wetly. Niiiiiiice.

5:32.5 AM

I stand cringing and wet-footed in the dark of the living room, praying Sister does not wake up and think she is being burgled. Again.

5:34 AM

I set the laptop on a flat surface (I almost use the back of the couch, quickly see this turning into an episode of the Three Stooges, and think better of this plan). I flip on the light, grab a few dirty towels, and whisper swear words to no one but myself as I clean up another mess caused by my inability to locate and manage all the parts of my GIANT BODY at the same time.

5:36 AM

I settle into my bedroom as quietly as possible and open my computer. I find the drawing I did earlier:

Who knew it would be a prophetic self portrait?


UPDATED: Commenting Failures, Foiled Rants, and Bait & Switch Snack Cakes

First, bloggy business: 

This blog has a web version and a mobile version. I love the mobile version, which I only discovered was available a month or so ago. I'm guessing that a lot of you guys who access your feedreader or twitter via your phones also appreciate the streamlined mobile version. But I discovered something last night. Commenting is OBNOXIOUS on the mobile version. I apologize that I didn't notice this before. The reason it is OBNOXIOUS is that it uses the standard Blogger commenting system, which includes the dreaded word verification.

On the web version, I have DISQUS installed. I don't know how you guys feel about DISQUS, but I've found it to be a great commenting program. I like that I can reply directly to comments, link to them, and moderate them on an external platform--it's more customizable than the standard Blogger system. But DISQUS doesn't seem to have a mobile version and Blogger doesn't allow me to do anything other than say yes or no to the mobile version. It does not allow me to manage anything about it, once it is in place.

This adds two problems if you want to comment on the mobile version: You have to go through the dreaded word verification AND the comment doesn't show up in DISQUS on the web version or send me any kind of notification that you commented. Which means that I am probably missing quite a few comments right now. There is a work around that is possible: I can go to DISQUS and import all the comments periodically to pick up those that were made on the mobile version. But this will most likely lead to repeat comments in DISQUS. Which is annoying. 

So here's what I need from you:
1. How do you feel about DISQUS on the web version?

2. How do you feel about the Blogger commenting system on either version?

3. A. Should I remove DISQUS altogether so that both versions are the same?

3. B. Should I turn off the mobile version so that you only have access to the web version on your phone and will therefore use DISQUS by default?
3. C. Should I leave it as is and re-import periodically and run the risk of missing and/or repeating comments?

Let me know and I'll do my best to find a solution.

Second, foiled rants:

I had this inspiration to get all ranty about those new toilet paper commercials about the "roll cover." Because having a "naked toilet paper roll" is apparently "inappropriate, dude!" Like getting a cutesy  cardboard cylinder with a cap is some kind of incentive to buy your brand of toilet paper. It's FREAKING TOILET PAPER! Who cares if it's naked. It's all ridiculous.

But when I sat down to write this, a warm kitty Satan's Cat nestled on my lap. This is unhelpful for two reasons. One, because I could not comfortably reach the keyboard and we all know ranty posts require excellent access to the keys (especially my shift key) in order to really give it that extra oomph. Two, because apparently all of those statistics and studies are right about how cats lower blood pressure and increase calmness (which I have never really understood before, because my blood pressure is usually through the roof with this cat, what with all her climbing and destroying and whining) and I got too comfortable to give it the effort it requires.

So, while I was all poised get a good RANT on, the cat muffled it with her snuggliness. She is such a rant foiler. She's gone now, but I can't seem to relocate my rant--it ran away when she did. Now all I can accomplish is: Toilet paper covers are silly, right? Just... silly... and unnecessary... and, um... silly, right?

This is probably why Temerity Jane is so much funnier than me--she has dogs. Well, that, and also an incredible wit. Hmmm... So maybe it's not about the pets...

Third, bad gifts:

Now I have nothing ranty or interesting to tell you. This post has basically been poorly disguised maintenance work. It's like a snack cake with a kind of cardboardy cookie-thing on the outside, but you bite in anyway, because you assume that the filling will be all light and tasty and sweet, but all you get is a mouthful of... shaving cream. Or spray-foam insulation. Yes, that's it.

I lured you here with the promise of a delicious and delightful snack cake and all you got was insulated cardboard. So basically, I built you a poor excuse for a house. You're welcome?

UPDATED: Rant now included in the comments, for no additional charge! Act now and you, too, can be reading ridiculous opinions on toilet paper concealment devices.  

Offer does not include shipping & handling, operations & maintenance, travelers insurance, or indemnity against stolen identities, over-crowding of toilet paper concealment devices, or loss of friends because you are lame. Batteries sold separately. Void where prohibited. Offer ends 30 days from receipt of this notice.


I'm Like Dr. Seuss, With All These THINGS

Today, a blog in Things.

I really hope you guys who haven't read and commented will go read and comment on my post yesterday. It's not a very good post (I'm totally selling you on this, right?), but you have the opportunity to tell me how to kill people without anyone judging your violent tendencies. So, go. Comment. Tell me how and why to kill people. They're fictional. But you can pretend they're not, if that's your kind of thing...

I remembered to pay my credit card bill on time. It's not like I'm really bad at this. I'm not dodging the bill or barely making the minimum payment. I pay the whole balance every time. So I only fail a little, but I do it every month. You see, with the time difference between Far North and Big City Where Credit Card Companies Are Headquartered, I'm always about a half hour late.

That's right. A HALF HOUR. And that means a full day, because they are closed by 9:00 pm their time and cannot process my payment until the next day. So for the last four months, I have been stuck with a $1.50 late payment or something equally silly. But it's money I don't need to spend and it may be affecting my credit score (I'm not sure about this...). So, today is THE SEVENTEENTH. And even thought my bill is always due on the NINETEENTH, I paid it TODAY.

And I'm not even going to fake it; I'm incredibly, ridiculously proud of myself.

I have a strange thing on the underside of my chin that is very likely a pimple that got lost on its way to my nose or forehead, but is just as likely (in my mind anyway) to be some kind of cancerous growth or the subcutaneous egg pouch of some exotic spider that got me while I was sleeping. I think I might be spending too much time over at the Sarcasm Goddess's blog, where she discusses her hypochondria proactive approach to health care and her twisted love-affair with WebMD. Probably.

Oh, AND? I totally forgot to tell you guys--or maybe I did and I can't remember. I don't even know how I would go about looking for this. So let's pretend that I never told you and if I did, please gasp and widen your eyes appropriately, okay? So, starting over:

Oh, AND? I totally forgot to tell you guys that while I was away being all piratey and kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really getting fired, I GOT BITTEN BY FLEAS!!! I'm not even exaggerating here. Five or six of the women who went to Ladies Retreat developed these tiny hard red bites all up and down our arms and legs. And when we looked them up, the only ones that matched were FLEAS.

The camp claims we are crazy and I never knew fleas even existed in Far North, since we don't have any kind of poisonous snakes, insects, or spiders--it's just too darn cold here for them to survive past the first frost. But I think we get some stuff here every spring in shipments and on airplanes and they die off by the fall, but in the meantime? FLEAS! It's crazy right? But I swear it's true. Just ask Sister or Sister-In-Law. Or my pastor's wife. She wouldn't lie about the FLEAS. Trust me.

But back to the thing on my chin. It just showed up today. Like, when I got out of the shower. It was all of the sudden just there! And I had one on my forearm last night. My forearm. That's not normal, right? So I'm going to go with exotic bug and/or amnesiac pimples. Which is probably more information that you needed to know about my skin, but whatever. In fact? I'm going to take it one step farther and tell you about the time I got shingles. No. No, I'm not. Because it's a hard time to talk about and also, ew.

The book is going better. I'm still not sure why all of these people are dead, who killed them, or how my detective will figure it out. but I drew a really complicated and confusing plot map this morning and it made me feel better. It didn't solve ANY of my problems, but just looking at it makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere. I'm not, but the trick is to just feel like I am so that I keep writing.

Just in case you guys didn't get enough of me talking about my body, I just have to let you know that I have two small woodland creatures taking up residence on my forehead. Seriously, my eyebrows are OUT OF CONTROL. I get them waxed every time I get a hair cut and then I try to keep them nice until my next haircut, because I know they grow faster than my hair (especially since I keep my hair several inches past my shoulders). I tweeze and I pluck and I ATTACK!

But there comes this point. About a month and a half after the haircut, that they are suddenly, irrevocably Muppet-like. And my tweezers just cannot keep up. I'll pluck them the day before and then the next day, BAM! It's all over. Does this happen to any of the rest of you? Maybe this is just because I stole Groucho Marx's eyebrows. I feel bad about it now, but this curse is disproportionate to my crime. Like those pirates with the gold. Or something. Does anyone even know what I'm talking about now? Do I? Probably not...

I dreamt last night that I was on a cruise ship and I was afraid of several of the staircases and hallways, because I thought I would get stuck. I had an ACTUAL FEAR and avoided certain parts of the ship, because I was TOO FAT TO FIT (I think we all know the meaning of this dream, which I contemplated extensively while I was munching on some delicious chocolate-chip cookies).

ANYWAY, that's not even the real part of the dream. That was just like background noise in the dream. No, the dream was that I kept getting drunken texts from famous football players. They apparently had gotten my cell number from The Bloggess. Because apparently, she knows a lot of famous football players who like alcohol and she knows my cell phone number. Because she and I are besties and all that. And by using the term "besties," I am simultaneously mocking those who use it unironically and also telling you that I wrote The Bloggess an e-mail the other day with an idea for a holiday card involving her giant metal chicken (that post has gotten me the most traffic ever) and SHE RESPONDED, saying that she had already thought of it. We think alike AND she responded to my e-mail. That totally makes us best friends. Or something.

There is no thing seven. I just can't stop typing. Type-ity-type-type. I think it's a sickness or something. Probably a side-effect of the bites from the Amnesic Pimple Spiders. I'm going to go eat some fajitas. Bye.


I Don't Know How to Kill Them. Or WHY!

This is going to be a quick update, because I'm running out of time today and I'm at Brother and Sister-In-Law's house watching the last Harry Potter movie. I think they will get annoyed by my constant typing if I go on as I usually do. So I'll just update you on how my novel is going. I apologize to those of you who just don't care about my fiction. I apologize, but this is still what I'm going to talk about today. So, you know, leave at will. But if you do, you might miss out on an opportunity to kill people. I'm just saying, is all...

Today I passed the 26,000 mark, which is a little behind schedule, but far more than I have ever written on a single novel before. So I feel a great sense of accomplishment! That has been quickly squashed by the overwhelming sense of OHMYGODICAN'T! But I have now discovered a few things about my characters. My leading man started out as a detective, but has now become a former Army MP who lost a childhood friend in battle and has both physical and emotional wounds because of it. My leading lady is more twisted and broken than I had originally conceived, which is interesting, since she was pretty messed up to begin with. I have finally gotten rid of the litter of puppies she accidentally adopted and have figured out how to connect her to the detective's case.

What I don't know is WHO KILLED NICKY SPARGO? He's my original victim. I've got bodies piling up all around him. I've killed off a judge and an ADA. I'm pretty sure I'll be killing off my leading lady's estranged father, connecting him to all the other victims. I've even connected this case back to my detective's very first homicide case. But I don't know who killed those people EITHER! OR WHY! So now I have to figure out creative ways for all of these people to have been murdered while linking them without making it look like they're linked or at least withholding that information until the opportune time and OHMYGODICAN'T.

Or at least I think I can't. And then I keep going. I keep writing. I get through a few more hundred, a few more thousand words. And I don't feel so bad. Until I remember all the time and words I wasted on those STUPID PUPPIES and I worry that I'm going to have to write over 100,000 words just to have enough book left when I cut out all the bad parts. And pacing. Oh, the pacing. It's bad. It's awful. It's... nonexistent.

But then I remember that all of those rules for writing: show, don't tell; don't give it all away at once; don't use adverbs when referring to dialogue; don't info-dump; make every scene meaningful; et cetera. The problem with these rules is that they're really rules for second drafts. And then I read a really awesome post by Near Normalcy that makes me feel like maybe I'm not so crazy after all.

But my point is, the time for letting the story flow around me has passed. I'm close to halfway through the novel and it's now time to start making some decisions and revealing some secrets and forming it all into a cohesive story that connects you to the characters and makes you fall in love with them and makes you remember my story long after you put it down and OHMYGODICAN'T. But... Who knows?

And most of this post has probably made little sense or served little purpose. For that, I am sorry. I needed to get some of this off my chest. I'll be back to being witty(?) and funny(!?) and interesting(heh...) tomorrow. Until then, if you know of any ways to kill someone or some very interesting and twisty motives for murder, which will OF COURSE be used only for fictional purposes (I think...), please leave them in the comments. Mkthxbye.


Forgive My Typos--My Hands Are Frozen Claws

It's officially winter here in Far North (I think I may have already said that on this blog or maybe on Twitter, but I cannot be bothered to go check). There's over a foot of snow on the ground, I feel like hibernating every evening at about 5:00 pm, and we've seen negative numbers several days in a row. And that's not "negative" like below freezing. That's "negative" like below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

This is last night's read-out from Sister's car, when we ran out to buy some food that we didn't actually end up buying. We didn't steal it or anything. We just didn't end up buying any food. It was kind of a wasted trip. OH! We returned movies. That's why we went out. AND we also wanted food. We were incredibly disappointed. In related news, WHAT IS UP with grocery stores in Far North closing before 9:00 pm? Seriously? What. Is. Up.

You know this summer, when people were complaining about the heatwave in the Midwest? I was kind of jealous. Okay, not really, because I cannot survive in anything over 80 degrees. Because I am a wimp and a sweater. No, I'm not a piece of clothing. I mean I sweat a lot. But only from the head, which makes me look like I just climbed out of the shower all summer. If the shower smelled badly and also made my face blotchy. Sorry, these are details that no one really needed to know. I've got a bit of an over-share thing going on right now. Anyway, the reason I bring up the heatwave is that people would kinda-sorta-almost-BRAGGISHLY say things like "It's 110 degrees today. IN THE SHADE!"

So  now I'm going to kinda-sorta-almost-BRAGGISHLY say "It was 7 degrees today. IN THE SUNSHINE!"

That's right. Seven. Like the number that comes before 8 and after 6. The number that apparently caused fear in the number six by consuming the number nine. Seven. For any of you who haven't experienced that particular degree of heat, let me just say that it is a mite bit CHILLY. 

Now, normally, I would be all complainy about the fact that I have to warm my car and scrape the ice off the windows and drive home from work all shivery and sad (and terrified). But I don't have a job. And I DO have a heated garage. And a sister who prefers driving over being driven. So my car is almost always at least 50 degrees when I leave my house and I don't stay places very long. So I won't complain about chilly cars. Or being chilly on my way to and from places. Because I don't really GO places.

But you know what I will complain about? Our furnace. It seems to have a problem. You see, we like to keep our house at 70 degrees. This is too hot for Brother and Sister-In-Law (who prefer about 65) and too cold for my parents (who prefer 72, although their house always seems colder than that so who knows...). I'm sure you each have a preference on this and I'm sure there will be some of you who say "Seventy? That is too hot! And expensive! And not Earth Friendly!" and I have to say that I really don't care. That's just where we keep it. Well, where we would if it weren't for our BLASTED furnace.

Like I said, we keep it at 70 when we're home, but if we're out or sleeping, we keep it at 66. And it's on a timer (set for the times we would usually leave for and return from work and when we go to bed and get up), so it switches automatically. Except when it gets cold out or the filter needs to be replaced (EVERY OTHER BLASTED MONTH it seems) or when it's feeling lonely and sad and needs a hug or for any other reason we cannot currently divine. Then it likes to stay at 66 all day. And no matter how high you put it, it blows cold air half the time and cannot seem to get any higher. Then, this morning, we woke up and it was 63. That is chilly! Especially when it's negative degrees outside.

Now, Sister is doing everything she can and should in order to keep us warm. This is not a post complaining about her or the house she lets me live in for ridiculously cheap rent that doesn't even need to be on time. This is a post complaining about the BLASTED furnace that is like a TEENAGE GIRL in its mood swings. And I WAS a teenage girl. I know ALL ABOUT the mood swings.

So, the whole point of this post has been to say, "You guys, I'm really cold today." Which I guess would have saved us almost 700 words. But whatever. Don't blame me. My brains are cold and I'm not thinking straight. I think I'm going to go boil my body in the gigantic bathtub in Sister's bathroom, which she also generously lets me use (see, Sister? NO COMPLAINING FROM ME!).

Wishing you warmth and... more warmth,