That was the sign that greeted a friend and I as we entered a local Malaysian restaurant for lunch. And they were not joking.

We were seated next to the tank that held the "LOBSTER MEAL OF YOUR LIFETIME!" and it was the size of a toddler. I'm serious. A toddler that can wobble around and speak--and can fight a feisty and ginormous crab (likely the CRAB MEAL OF YOUR LIFETIME!). And this toddler lobster had pincers that could easily snap off limbs... not digits, but limbs, people! The proprietor of the place kept pointing it out to different tables of hungry customers, "It's a great deal. Look at that lobster, it's GIANT."

I don't like shellfish, so regrettably I will probably never know the joy of the LOBSTER MEAL OF MY LIFETIME! I didn't get the lobster, but I did get a surprisingly awful after-lunch candy with the bill.

Note to self: Do not eat the hard candy that has a corn cob on the wrapper. You know why? Because it is candy that tastes like corn on the cob... on purpose!


Taking anything I can get right now...

I have been crab-o-licious the past few days and I don't like it. So rather than give into the whiny crabby tendencies that are ruling my world right now, I'm going to try and kill the crab with something sweet.

We're having a great flirtation with Spring. It's been sunny for over a week, my hellebore is in full bloom, and it's been staying light out so much later in the day (we're talking dusk after 6:00 PM, oh that makes me so happy)--of course having typed all of this I've probably jinxed us to a week's worth of rain and grey. Sorry, friends.

But, my favorite sign of spring is something a little more secretive.

One of my favorite things about my house is this great camellia shrub. It's planted squarely in front of my living room window, which when I bought the house during the summer months, I thought was great because it offered great privacy from the street, and honestly looking at the waxy green leaves beat any sort of view I would have on my block--ah, city living. It wasn't until last February, my first winter in the house that I realized why this plant was even more great than I had first thought.

Growing up in Colorado never afforded me the opportunity to see plants like hellebores, camellias, hydrangeas, tulips, daffodils, you name it, in their full glory. Maybe because winter there has the habit of sticking around and deep freezing until May, thus killing the lilacs you've been waiting for all year. Things blooming in February always amaze me, so when I first saw my camellia blooming I was beside myself.

First of all, I didn't even know this plant produced flowers--I thought it was fine with just leaves. But the blooms keep coming and coming and coming. However, it was the first bloom that caught my eye. Of all the buds on the tree that could have popped open, it was one that was right in my living room window, there it was just for me to see. A sign that the gloominess of winter was nearing an end.

You see her there saying, "Oh, hello, you." It's a bashful little bud, not wanting to show the rest of the neighborhood it's spring. So I relished in the fact that I got to keep her little secret.

Wouldn't you know it, I have another secret this year too. The first bud is in the same place. Just to prove it I took another picture. This time she's whispering, "You made it through the year."

She's actually really hard to see in that picture, but she's there (along with the great 1940s slipper chairs I found at an antique store. I heart them so). Here she is a little closer:
Note to self: Hey, crabby girl. Gather ye camellia buds while ye may...

To everything--every challenge, every sorrow, every smile, and every laugh--over the past year there was a season. And now my personal Spring is here, all thanks to my shrubbery... and there was much rejoicing.



I went to bed last night ticked off. I know there's this school of thought where you shouldn't go to bed angry, but the logic I've always applied to that has been because what if you pass away in the night--or if your significant other passes away right there in the bed next to you--there would be much regret that those last conscious thoughts and actions were rooted in anger. Is it the same if you're single and you're not going to bed or waking up with anyone even under the same roof? Or even if the person to whom your anger is focused has no idea that you are a-n-g-r-y?

Here's the situation. I haven't quite jumped into the boat (or as I like to think of it, ripped the band-aid off clean). While I was extremely reluctant about it, I was supposed to meet up with the J_______ last night (my plan was band-aid rippage). It was his his suggestion that we hang out. It was the only free night I had all week, and I really hesitated giving it up, but agreed to it. Deep down, I wanted out so I could go to the home show (ooh, yes, exciting I know) and meet up with another girlfriend. But, that's my thing, if I say I'm going to do something, I will.

As I was leaving work I gave him a call, only to get a recorded message saying, "This number is not taking calls at this time." Really? So I sent him a text--no response. When I got home I shot him an e-mail (through our Internet dating site... which also informed me that he had been online within the past hour, so he must still be alive...). The e-mail was short and sweet, and sufficiently guilt laden.

Even though I got to do what I secretly hoped I'd get to do last night, and even though he gave me an easy way out of our plans, I was seething. If there's one way to really irk me, it's to blow me off.

Note to self: If you don't climb aboard that ship, you're going to be left for shark bait.

This morning there was a response to my e-mail. Turns out he lost his phone and subsequently my number at a conference in Vegas--bringing new meaning to what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But still, if you can be cruising the Internet for chicks while we're supposed to be hanging out, you can shoot me an e-mail and let me know what's up.

Throw me the ladder, I'm coming aboard.


What's that, Trolley?

In case you didn't know, today is the 40th anniversary of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood's television premiere. I loved--actually still love--Mr. Rogers. There's something oh-so-comforting about the blueness of the walls in his house, his cardigans, his comfy "inside" shoes, speedy deliveries, Daniel the cute little tiger in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, and on and on.

I heard a gentle and kind tribute to Mr. Rogers on NPR (if you have a minute and 15 seconds to spare, I highly recommend it) this morning and it got me all sentimental (and when I say sentimental, I mean it made me cry a little as I was brushing my teeth, and even made me hum the theme song while I drove into work). Sentimental and gooey for the innocence of childhood. It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling...

Note to self: Someone somewhere likes us just the way we are.

It's good just to remember that.


Long time listener, first time caller

Note to self: Beware the idle adolescent mind--or maybe, beware my idle adolescent mind.

In the spirit of revealing more of my somewhat creative, somewhat dorky, teenage mind (as evidenced by the code my BFF and I used to describe "that time of the month" and all of the fun that 13-year olds can handle when realizing they've become women...), I offer you this classic tale of suspected drug use, confronting the ones you like-like, and husbands who buy fur coats for their step-daughters.

It's a typical day in my world. I am a 15-year-old sophomore who is relatively naive, angelic, athletic, academic, etc. My BFF and I are definitely partners in crime, where one goes the other follows and we sure knew how to entertain ourselves in the most innocent and endearing ways possible (picture Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, only we may have been a little cooler--or was that only in our minds?). Said BFF and I are hanging out at my house after school trying to figure out how to deal with relationship drama that she's uncovered. You see, she has this boyfriend and he's older, like a senior, like ohmygosh! And wiser... or so we thought. Just the other day, she found a can of mint chewing tobacco in his car (cue the Hollywood symphony, "dah-dah-daaaaaaaaaah!"). Whatever will we do? I mean that's like a drug, plus it's like gross, and it could like give him cancer of the mouth.

I remember in elementary school we had "how to deal with peer pressure" lessons that she and I both excelled at (because let's face it, that's just how cool we were), and I think we even toyed with the idea of employing some of the skills learned there, but somehow suggesting, "Boyfriend, you shouldn't chew tobacco. Let's go bake a cake instead," didn't seem like it would get to the root of the problem.

Now that we are older and wiser ourselves, I'm sure we would both pick the obvious solution--ask him about the can directly. Sounds simple, but hello? How do you do that and is that really the right way to go about it? We should ask a professional, someone who knows how to deal with issues and problems of this EARTHSHATTERING proportion. We should call in to the afternoon psychologist on the local talk-radio station. Yes, she'll have the answer for sure!

So we made a plan and had outlined talking points and everything. But for reasons that could have only made sense at the time, she didn't want to be the only one calling in, so if she did it, I'd need to do it too. What was I going to talk to the psychologist about? I didn't have a boyfriend, let alone a mint-tobacco-chewing-behind-my-innocent-little-back boyfriend. No, my life was pretty plain and simple. But I agreed to it anyway. Partners in crime. For heaven's sake, we were part of the gifted and talented program, we'd certainly be able to think of something.

So she calls in (on my way cool 1991 clear plastic casio phone that lit up when it rang) and gets advice on her topic. I'm sure the advice worked and it was likely just talk to him about finding the can and discuss how it makes you feel. Whatever it was, that's not what stuck with me.

Flash forward to my call. I am completely nervous and trying hard to maintain my composure. I send Angie to another room with my totally rad purple casio boom box to listen in. I need complete silence and can't have any distractions in my room. For those of you that have never called into the talk radio psychologist--seriously, who hasn't?!--your first obstacle is the screener. This person's whole job is to take down your information, hear a brief summary of your issue, and determine if it is legitimate and worthy of FCC air space. Somehow, I make it through the screening. Like I said, people, I was part of the gifted and talented program (thankfully, I used my gifts and talents for good... well, entertainment and good). At this point I'm sweating so hard and want to throw up so badly, but I know I've got a show to put on; I need to sell my story to this mainstream radio quack--and a few thousand listeners in the Denver-metro market.

I hear, "You're on the air with Dr. Whatever-her-name-is. Caller, please tell us your name and describe your situation." And in my best grown-up woman voice, named the best grown-up woman name I could think of on the spot, Judy, I begin to tell the doctor about my problem. You see, I'm married to a man whom I adore and we've had a really good relationship, until recently. He used to shower me with gifts and attention. Oh, and it's my second marriage. But lately this wonderful husband of mine has shifted his attention to my 16-year-old daughter, his step-daughter.

"What kind of attention, Judy?"

Well, he's taken her out for a couple of nice dinners, just the two of them, while I sat at home. And for her most recent birthday, he bought her a really expensive fur coat.

"Judy, that's sick. That's sick and wrong. Completely inappropriate."

But I'm not sure what to do? I mean I love him, and I love her, but I'm starting to become very jealous of her (at which point my voice starts to crack and people may think I'm about to start crying, but really I'm about to start laughing hysterically, because AM I SERIOUS? Did I seriously make up a husband and a daughter? A husband and a daughter who may be having an affair? And did I seriously have him buy her a fur coat? BECAUSE EVERY 16-YEAR-OLD WANTS A FUR COAT! You know, for those special occasions like getting mud pies at Red Robin or taking the SATs).

All I can keep thinking is, "stop asking me questions, lady. I don't know how much more I can make up." Fortunately, I was the last caller of the show so time ran out on us. But Dr. Whatever-her-name-is offered me some terse parting words, something along the lines of my husband needing help, and my daughter probably needing help too, and while the help is being doled out, I probably needed to partake in some of it myself.

Fifteen years later, I'm thinking she was probably right. I may have needed help--at least help finding something else to do that afternoon... like I don't know, baking a cake instead.


Paying it forward

What a big day. No, not because it's St. Va... Va... Val... you know what day it is (close up of me inserting my finger down my throat and making gagging noises). No, it's the day that I'm finally--and humbly--accepting a little blog award.

It is with great honor that I accept "The Daily Dose" award from my oldest friend, my BFF from the third grade over at Flibbertigibberish. Thanks, Ang! I definitely get a daily dose of memories and laughs, especially over our celebration of womanhood--if any of you want a glimpse into my Jr. High brain you have to check that post out. It explains so much (and just imagine me times two and there you have our fearsome duo, we may not have been the coolest, but man did we have fun).

When I started blogging, I didn't think it would stick. I thought it was going to be one of those half-finished projects that seem to rule my life these days. But I'm happy to say that I'm still going strong, and even happier to know that there are people out there reading the fanciful details of my mundane routine (consider this my acceptance speech).

Note to self: It doesn't have to be Va... Va... Val... that silly Hallmark holiday to share the love.
I certainly have my own daily doses, and I'd like to recognize and pass this award along to the Link, my sister-friend who I swear is living a parallel life just a few hundred miles away. The laughs are perfect medicine to my sometimes cynical view of things.

To all my friends, real and imaginary, thanks for all the blog love. It's actually been a daily dose for me too.


And receive, ye shall

Indeed, there is a record. A record for an "overflowing toilet or urinal," with my name on it. Drats!

When the record was created (last night when I left the office), I received an automated e-mail letting me know that an incident report had been opened to examine my claim of an "overflowing toilet or urinal." And when I was about to leave work today, I received another automated e-mail letting me know that the opened incident report was in-progress. I'm willing to bet that tomorrow, I will receive yet another automated e-mail letting me know that the incident report is now closed, and would I, "like to fill out a survey about my experience."

No, not really.

I know that all is fine and well, because I used the bathroom today--and yes, I used my favorite stall and it flushed without flooding. Yippee! But the best part was when I walked out of the bathroom I noticed the janitorial sign, "Caution--Wet Floor!" up against the wall. Yes, yes it was; thank you very much.


Ask and ye shall receive

After chugging a nearly full water bottle before leaving work, I decided it would be best to pay a visit to the restroom, lest I sit in traffic with a full bladder.

Maybe it's just me, but I am very set in my ways, especially when it comes to public restrooms. It used to take a lot for me to use a public restroom--A LOT. I'm certain that the number of times I used the facilities in high school is probably less than 100--and we're only talking number one here. Number two? In public? Come on, people. That's completely out of the question. As you can imagine, I did not find much comfort in transitioning to communal bathrooms in college.

Aside: you should know that as I walked into the bathroom I was thinking to myself (because I always think to myself in a narrative voice, strange but true): "So, what are you going to blog about? You need a note for the day. Your last post didn't have a note. Think really hard about what lesson you learned today. Oh, and make it funny." (A demanding narrative voice at that.)

Like I said, I'm very set in my ways in restrooms--even in the case of number one. There is really only one stall I like to use. And I'll use that same stall every time I'm in that bathroom. A little piece of me dies when I walk into the bathroom and someone else is using that stall. And sometimes, I'm tempted to wait, but with three open stalls that would be weird. The problem tonight was not that someone beat me out of my stall, nope. I had free reign of the place. The problem was that someone had used the stall before me and didn't flush.

Now I really do wonder if it's just me, but my first instinct is to mutter something under my breath (i.e., "what your flushing finger is broken?") and pick another stall. But then there's a little piece of me that thinks I can make this situation better just by flushing the toilet--like who am I? Smokey the Bear of public restrooms? Remember, only YOU can prevent the bathroom from being disgraced by negligent flushers. Guess what I chose to do tonight?

Note to self: When there is a wad of toilet paper sitting in the toilet, choose another stall.

Just to be clear, it was only toilet paper in the toilet. If there was more of a surprise waiting there, I would not be nearly so righteous. All signs pointed toward flushing being the safe and simple solution. Not so much. When I flushed it (yes, with my broken flushing finger), it gurgled at me and started swirling water around and around, faster and faster. This is about when I started stammering, "No, no, no, no..." hoping that may stop the water rising in the bowl. Whenever I've faced this problem at home, the water always seems to stop before it crests over the edges--just like magic. Either that or I drop to my hands and knees and turn off the water flow as fast as possible. Too bad neither of those things happened. The water just kept coming and splashed all over the floor as I stood there shaking my head at it. It eventually stopped, but there were definitely signs of flooding--and I made it happen.

Mortified, I stumbled back to my office. Since it was after 5:00, the receptionist was no longer available so I called security, and was transferred to facilities, where I reported an overflowing toilet in the fourth floor bathroom. And to make matters worse, I had to give the facilities person my name and e-mail alias, you know, for the record. While we were talking about that record, I made sure that she knew I was not the root cause of the problem (stopping short of telling her that I only use this restroom for number one and I was just doing my part to keep the bathroom clean), but somewhere at work there is a record with my name on it that refers to a clogged toilet and a flooded bathroom. There are a million reasons why I find that horrible, but the one delight I have is that I found my note for the day.



Half-finished projects rule my life right now. It's driving me half-crazy and it actually makes me feel fully ashamed. In an effort to throw that shame out on the table and have the internet hold me accountable to change my procrastinating ways, I offer you a top ten list of the things around the house that I've started, but just can't seem to muster up the motivation to finish:

10. GoodWill donating--I purged my closet over the summer and have an incredibly large donation pile. In fact I have all the clothes folded and organized and the shoes all in a row. I just haven't ever made the move to get them out of the house.

9. Commissioning my own art--For several months, I've been in the middle of a few "art" projects for my living and dining rooms. I'm painting some pictures for the walls--check that, I was painting some pictures for the walls. Now they are just random canvases collecting dust.

8. My major meltdown shelving--Remember this? Well, I figured out that if I put shims in behind the shelves they would hang straight and not be loose on the wall. I was so proud of myself for figuring this out... two months ago. Ever since then the full-length shims stuck out below the shelves. I got used to the look, which didn't force me to do a shim trim. Actually, last weekend I went berserk and trimmed the shims--oh the shelves look so nice. The only problem is, I still have two more shelves waiting to be hung.

7. Getting a grown-up bedroom--I have the furniture picked out, and even have gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket. Apparently, they aren't burning enough to complete the order. Well, and I need to get a new mattress, so that's been my excuse too--picking out a mattress is tough for a commitmentphobe.

6. Siding replacement--This one is bad. I've actually had this project on my to-do list since I moved in. I need to rip off some of the siding on the side and back of my house and replace it. I have the replacement boards cut and primed, just haven't gotten to the ripping and replacing. This was a project the marinara jar and I were supposed to do one Saturday in May, but instead of checking this project off the list, we broke up.

5. Let there be lights--I have six light fixtures I need to replace. I have two of the new fixtures purchased and in my basement. They'll probably stay down there in their boxes for a few more months.

4. Windows into my soul--I had my windows replaced this summer, which included installing new, un-primed un-painted stops. I need to prime and paint them.

3. Appropriately covering those windows into my soul--When the windows were replaced, it was summer and I have three big maple trees outside my bedroom window that offered privacy from the neighbors across the street. Alas, the leaves fell and for a really long time I still didn't have coverings up. At least now I have a few curtains sticky tacked up there so I'm not as self-conscious. However, I spent my New Year's Eve (no pity needed) measuring the windows for new blinds. Have the measurements, have the blinds, have not placed the order.

2. Installing the blinds--granted I don't even have the blinds ordered yet, but I know that when they do arrive, they will sit in their little boxes for a while until I finally install them. Let's just say I'm going on an educated hunch that my MO will not change drastically between now and then...

1. Of course... the kitchen. I haven't physically started on this project, but mentally I started it when I put the offer on this place almost two years ago. My greatest fear is that I will actually start on this project and my pattern of petering out midway will cause this to be the worst half-finished project ever. I think sub-consciously I think if I never start the project, then I'll never be half-finished so I can save myself much internal beating up. However, if I never start it then I'll never fully finish it, and will continue beating myself internally for not doing it. Oh, woe is me.

So there you have it. And I know I can ask for help on some of these things and I will, but that's not the point of me making this list. The point is to find the motivation to get going again, and hopefully I find that soon; it has to be hiding around here somewhere.


Treading water

This post is credited to my dear friend the Cheerleader. She is one of those friends that will unhesitatingly call it how she sees it and will always hold me accountable for the piddly stuff that I'm doing in my life.

I haven't been blogging about my dating drama, but I have been all up in my head about it. There's interesting stuff going on--and when I say interesting, I mean not good, not bad, just interesting in that gruesome train wreck sort of way; you want to look away, but that's just out of the question.

I was rehashing my most recent encounters with the J_______ to her and she just cut through the crap and aimed a giant spotlight right on my soul. Don't get me wrong, it was good and oh-so-needed.

Without going into too many details, I'll just say that there's a quirk (among many) that the J_______ has that really throws me for a loop. And now I can't NOT divulge this quirk, right? Okay... so there is no French kissing. And it's not that he's a germophobe and he's against tongues in mouths. He just thinks it's a very intimate act--which I agree. It's not like I go around shoving my tongue where it's not welcomed, I just think of it as that first level of intimacy. That first level of intimacy that people our age who have been seeing each other for two months can probably engage in. And if this was some declaration of chastity or purity, then maybe I could get behind it, but it's not. There is nothing chaste or pure about it. Let's just say if intimate acts were a smorgasbord I could gorge myself, except for French kissing. That's off the table, but there are a kajillion things on the table. Essentially, I'm not tongue-worthy. Subsequently, I've made the the declaration that until I'm tongue-worthy, he's not a kajillion things-worthy.

So this embargo is fine and well, but I really like making out--mothers, cover your children's ears--with tongue. GASP! I know, I know. I should be ashamed of myself.

What am I doing? Truth be told, I've had several good friends (and my improv class over beers last night) ask me precisely that. And I don't know. This is just one quirk, among the many that may be more than quirks and may be signs that whatever this is, it may not be right for me. Which is when the Cheerleader stepped in to slap me upside the head and say, "Ummmm, God is giving you a boat here. You don't have to swim out of this one."

That has stuck with me all day. It just cuts right to the core. Why am I not getting into the boat? It's not even a boat, it's a barge of reasons why this is not where I need to be spending my energy, but I'm still thrashing away thinking the breast stroke is going to get me somewhere.

Note to self: When there's a choice between getting on the boat and swimming for your life, choose the boat.

Besides, I'm deathly afraid of fish.



At my place of employment, several executives are inflicted with the most horrendous of plagues. It is a plague of tremendous proportions; one may even go so far as to say it is a SUPER! plague. For whatever reason (maybe they think it casually connects them to the worker bees in the trenches), in very public settings they make everything SUPER! "I'm SUPER! excited..." "we are SUPER! strategic..." you get the picture. SUPER!, right?
This over--and in my mind inappropriate--use of SUPER! drives me nuts. Yet tonight, as I sit transfixed by the results of SUPER! Tuesday, and all the talk of SUPER! delegates I got to thinking about my own SUPER!ness.

SUPER! relieving--I don't have to have finger surgery. The surgeon thinks that it's actually healing okay and that surgery would leave me SUPER! vulnerable to too many complications. So now I have a "pressure splint" to do therapy. And because I'm a SUPER! over-achiever, I've been doing the therapy three times as much as I need to... and now my finger is SUPER! tired.

SUPER! grown-up--Over the past couple of weeks, I refinanced my house. Mortgages are SUPER! confusing, and fortunately my mortgage broker is SUPER! great, and he locked in a SUPER! low rate, making what could be a SUPER! stressful situation, SUPER! easy. But seriously, when did all this growing up happen? It still blows my mind that I signed up for all that responsibility (and I don't even have pets or kids... talk about SUPER! responsibilities!).

SUPER! inspiring--Here at my blog, I'm not going to preach about politics; believe what you want to believe, and support who you want to support. In all honesty, this is the first election where I've actually felt inspired to really get involved and where I really feel like my voice can be heard. Regardless your candidate, I think this little piece is SUPER! moving (and sure, if you happen to be SUPER! enamored with a candidate that begins with O, ends in A, with a BAM between, then maybe you'll SUPER! love it, but if you strip it of any "partisan" connotation and just think about the message of empowerment, I'm willing to bet you get SUPER! goose bumps). Yes, we can.

The NPR correspondents are getting SUPER! slap-happy now--the sign that it's past my bedtime.

Note to self: Stay SUPER!


The good, the bad, and the fugly...

Finger update 2008:

I let out a huge sigh of relief when I visited the doctor Friday morning. Good news: they didn't have to re-break my finger. Bad news: casting it wouldn't do any good because there is too much scar tissue built up between the break and the original bone. The prognosis? Surgery.

I am completely bummed about that, but at least I'll get my finger fixed--and hopefully won't have too much arthritis in it later in life. Are you wondering what finger surgery will entail? I'm meeting with the surgeon tomorrow morning, so I'm not 100% certain, but my doctor said that it would either mean going in and removing the bone chip that's floating out in the finger sea or to go in and screw that chip back into place. Having a hard time picturing it? Well, lucky for you I've captured my x-rays and you can see what I'm talking about below:

Image 1: "Everything's going to be OK!" I love that I'm giving the a-okay sign to the x-ray. I'm all like, it's been two months, I'm tough. I'm okay!

Image 2: "Wha happened?!" Apparently everything is not okay. See that little rebel bone... yeah, he shouldn't wander off like that. Bad bone, bad.

So surgery isn't the worst of it. The fugly (and yes, I said fugly): my doctor was shocked that my bone broke like this. Apparently, it shouldn't have broke at all. She started asking me questions, which ultimately led to the fact that this could be the onset of early osteoporosis. WHAT?! How could that be, with the amount of milk I drank--up until recently--I think I actually exhaled calcium. So, I don't know if my bones are brittle (I'm 30 years old for crying out loud!), or if this is just an opportune warning that I need to start taking better care of myself, but I've learned yet another lesson. Note to self: Be sure you are getting 1200 mg of calcium and 800 mg of vitamin D, every single solitary day.

See, I told you lactose intolerance was the most horrible awful thing that's ever happened to me.