Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fine Wining

Yesterday, hunky's sister arrived for a 5-and-a-half day visit. I had planned on letting them get together for dinner sans moi so I could finish cleaning, but hunky said those four little words I love to hear: We're going to Sterling's.

And so, just like a rat following the Pied Piper's magical instrument, I followed hunky to Sterling's.

One of the first things we did after sitting down at our table was to order a bottle of wine.

A bottle!

Hunky never springs for a bottle of wine at a restaurant. This must truly have been a special occasion.

Soon, the wine arrived and our waiter carefully poured the deep red nectar into our rather large and cumbersome glasses. I started on mine right away. On an empty stomach. And before I knew it, I was feeling rather tipsy.

Suddenly, everything hunky said was amusing. My focus began to fade... the waiter started looking handsome. When oh when was the food going to get to the table?

I finished one glass of wine before having any food, and the waiter came by just in time to fill me up again. He brought our salads right after, and the leafy greens did nothing to abate my inebrietated state.

Soon, I finished my second glass. Hunky, as designated driver, could not finish his wine, so he pushed it over to me.

Yay! More wine.

I started to gulp his down when all of a sudden I realized I had to go to the bathroom. Not a problem... or was it?

I was in the middle of the booth, with no way to escape. Todd and Diana were deep in conversation, talking about their mother. Crap. Now I was never going to get their attention... they could go on about their mother for days on end, without stopping for even a nap.

Finally, hunky paused slightly and I slapped his knee with my hand. He looked at me and I asked him where the bathroom was. He pointed me in the general direction, and I took my leave.

It took all of my concentration to get to the bathroom. For one, I was about to let it all go right there, bathroom or no bathroom. For another, I was having a bit of trouble finding the bathroom as my focus was a bit... off.

At last I spotted the sign that said "Restrooms" and headed in that direction. I almost took a wrong turn, but righted myself just in time.

I won't go into the details... suffice it to say everything went well, and I managed not to fall in the toilet.

I made my way back to the table, and we left. The rest of the evening was a blur... I know we got Diana back to her hotel. And I know hunky blathered on in the car about dogs. All I really remember is changing into my nightgown and curling up next to Purrscilla in bed. Or was that Spencer?

Who can tell them apart after a few glasses of wine? I mean, they're both gray. And furry. And warm.

Kind of like my tongue. But that's another story...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Crisis Cleaning

Flylady calls it "Crisis Cleaning." I call it "Lost Time." But no matter what ya call it, it's frenzied, it's chaotic, and it takes all damn day to do.

Actually, longer, because we're still not done.

What's the crisis? Hunky's sister is coming to visit. In fact, he's at the airport right now picking her up. Thank God she's staying at a hotel. There is no way we're ready for her.

What's the problem? Piles. Piles and piles of books that hunky has ordered from Amazon (we get a new shipment daily; I wish I was kidding). Piles of gifts my parents gave me for Christmas that still don't have a home. Oh yeah, and piles and piles of dog stuff: food, treats, toys.

I spent all day yesterday cleaning. I scoured the kitchen. I straightened up my bathroom. I tackled the bedroom. I did 7 loads of laundry. And it's still not all done.

Hunky offered several times to help. "Honey, what can I do?" He appeared helpful and willing. Yet, when assigned a task, he would disappear into his office for hours at a time.

With much prodding, he did clean his bathroom and shred a pile of sensitive material.

I finally stopped cleaning at 9 pm last night, in order to take a shower and go to bed. Oh who am I kidding? That was only an 8-hour break, designed to give me more energy to do it all over again today.

Where is Mr. Clean when ya need him?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why I Don't Feel Sorry For Oprah

In 2002, after feeling snubbed by author Jonathan Franzen (who stated he was uncomfortable with the "corporate endorsement" of his book), Oprah Winfrey childishly declared "It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share." She then stopped regularly featuring relatively new fiction releases in her Oprah Book Club. She didn't want to admit it, but she was embarrassed by the perceived snub from Franzen.

For a while, there were no Oprah picks, and then she alighted on a "novel" concept and began featuring classics. This didn't go over well with the public, so she switched gears and decided to focus on "serious" works, like memoirs.

Once again, reading Oprah picks became hip. That is, until it was revealed that the author just might be a bit of a Fibber McGee.

Oprah - for whatever reason: embarrassment, pride, you name it - decided to stand by Frey. Sure, she might have sounded a little disappointed to the listener, but she stood by her choice... and Frey's embellishment.

Unlike the Franzen snub that resulted in a complete overhaul of the Oprah Book Club, which was just accepted without question, the Frey support incensed viewers and fans. The evidence was clear: Frey lied. After a deluge of letters, emails and calls, Oprah could ignore it no more. She decided to interview Frey herself.

"Alternately fighting back tears and displaying vivid anger," Oprah supposedly lit into Frey, obviously more upset about her reputation and gullible acceptance of the book's story than Frey's untruthfulness.

All I can say is, STOP CRYING, Oprah. This never would've happened if you had stuck to fiction in the first place.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Oh Baby!

It's a well-known fact that I don't like children or babies. Or teens. And now that I'm older, I'm not too keen on 20-somethings, either. But I digress.

I don't like kids, and I never did.

When I was a girl of babysitting age, adults would sometimes say to me "bet you can't wait to have one of your own!" Wrong. I could wait. In fact, I knew even at a young age that I never wanted to have kids.

As a young teen and adult, I did everything I could to make sure I never had children. To me, the safest way was abstinence. In an effort to remain childless, I kept my legs crossed tightly on every date I ever went on, the fear of pregnancy being much greater than the fear of remaining single.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when my co-worker, Rob, and his wife Pam came in with their little baby girl, Brooke. She's less than a year old, and yes I'll say it: cute. In fact, I will even take the leap and say she's probably one of the cutest babies ever. She has huge eyes, long eyelashes, and a very pleasant disposition.

This isn't the first time I've met Brooke. No, this is my third time. And each time, she has seemed extremely interested in me.

Imagine that. A little baby interested in me, a child-hater.

After talking to Becky and Michelle in a different office, Rob and Pam came into mine and said "Brooke wanted to say 'hi'." I talked to Pam and Rob, and then a little bit to Brooke. She kept her eyes on me, and smiled occasionally, and even laughed at some of my lame jokes (though I doubt she got any of them at her age).

And then it came: Pam asked me if I wanted to hold Brooke. My first inclination was to say "No" like I normally do, but instead I said "Are you sure?" She said yes, that Brooke wouldn't mind. So, next thing I knew, I was holding little Brooke.

I sat her on my lap, and she seemed comfortable there. She turned around and smiled at me, and seemed to be having a good time on my generously sized thighs. As I talked to Brooke and her parents, I found that I was actually enjoying the experience. Huh? Could that be right?

Yes. It was. It was actually fun to be holding this little girl, watching her play around with her fingers and listen as she talked nonsense to me.

Before I knew it, it was time for Brooke to go back home. I actually felt a little sad to relinquish her.

Now don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean I want a child. I don't.

I just don't think I hate them as much as I pretend to.

The Bachelor

It's no big secret that I'm a sucker when it comes to ABC's The Bachelor. I get pulled in with every season, no matter how much I dislike the bachelorettes or the bachelor himself. And I don't even need to go into the "set ups" - the scenes that are so obviously contrived by the powers that be who run the show.

For all its faults, I'm still drawn to the show.

The big fault this year is the Bachelor himself. Chris Harrison calls him "Our best bachelor ever!" I am wondering if Chris is on drugs. Has he really even seen this bachelor? Did he take a good look at him? Or is he so hard up for drug money that he's willing to read ABC's dictum word-for-word unti he really believes it?

There is no way Travis Dork Stork is the best bachelor ever. First of all, he's not even good looking. In fact, he's kind of monsterish. Big head. Small ears. Squinty eyes. Secondly, it's clear that he is a big slob who ABC decided to clean up and makeover for the show. And lastly, the only reason he made it to the show is because he's a doctor. Isn't that every girl's dream?

Of course it isn't, but it's a universal illusion that every woman wants a doctor.

And that's what The Bachelor is really all about: illusion. I mean, really... who in the normal world gets courted in Paris? Or New York City? Who gets private audiences with well-known singers, while they're dressed in formal wear, eating a romantic dinner for two? Who gets chauffered around in limos rife with champagne on each of their dates? More importantly, who dates a man who is dating 24 other women at the same time?

Hugh Hefner's girls aside, the answer is "no one."

One illusion that's fun to watch is how quickly the women on the show are convinced that The Bachelor is "the one." It doesn't matter which Bachelor. Even crude, rude and man-whorish Bob Guiney broke hearts left and right during the first Rose Ceremony. "But I loved him! I am the one! Why can't he see that???" was the cry echoed by many Bachelorettes that first night.

This season is no exception. The very first Rose Ceremony left one highly educated woman ranting and raving that Travis was an imbecile because he couldn't commit to reproducing babies with her.

Huh? First night, and she already wanted to have his babies? See what I mean about illusion?

Maybe it's the cameras, or the lights, or the sense of competition that permeates the Bachelor air, but these women are convinced that the Bachelor is "the one" the moment they first lay eyes on him. They must have him, no matter what the cost.

The cost is usually their humility and pride.

I have to admit, though, their emotional expenditures make good TV, which is why people like me continue to watch The Bachelor - even when he is a dork.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Todd Special

At the Snuggle Ranch, we have a little phrase we use a lot. It's "The Todd Special," and refers to the fact that hunky ALMOST ALWAYS gets some sort of deal when he's out and about.

For example, we'll go to a restaurant and order a meal, maybe a drink and maybe an appetizer. When the bill comes, there's no charge for the drink. Or perhaps the appetizer. Or maybe extra salad.

Now this kind of stuff never happens to me, but it happens to hunky all the time. So, we've christened it The Todd Special to reflect his special surprise discount.

Last night, though, I received my first Todd Special. After dinner with friends, hunky took us to Barnes & Noble. After wandering around in the discount section, I found a couple of things I just had to have. With my finds in my hand, I was looking at a display in the New Age section and I heard this "Hey! Pam! Pam!! Over here!" At first, I didn't look, because anyone who knows me knows I hate being called Pam. But the voice was so persistent I thought "Hey, maybe someone is calling me." I turned, and lo and behold my Risting Tradition instructor was there.

Now I knew he worked at Barnes and Noble, but I never had seen him there before. I walked over, and we talked for a few minutes. Then he said "When you're ready to check out, make sure you come to my till."

And so I did.

As he checked me out, he asked if I had the Member Discount Card. I said no. He said "No worries! I will use mine for you." He keyed in the number, and I got a 10% discount on everything I just bought.


I was psyched. "Todd! Guess what? I just got a Todd Special! My first ever!"

"Good for you!"

"You know, this just could be the start of something... maybe I'll get more discounts! Maybe we'll have to rename it from The Todd Special to the Pamela Special!"

Hunky cut me off. "Honey. Honey. Whoa."


"I think you're failing to key in on something important."

"What's that?"

"You were here WITH ME. I'm sure my presence had influence over your discount."

"Um, but..."

"Think about it. Has this ever happened to you when you were alone?"

"Um. No."

"Has this ever happened to you when you've been with someone else?"

Sigh. "No."

"Okay then. I think you have your answer. There will be no renaming... it shall and ever remain The Todd Special."

"Yes dear."

So I may not get the discount renamed, but the fact remains: I am the proud owner of several discounted books and one very cool Tarot set. In my book, that's still something!

Signs O' The Times

Sign #1: Hungry. All the time.

Sign #2: Constant craving for coffee.

Sign #3: Sore globes. (Okay. So they're not really globes. In fact, they're hardly even marbles. But still... they were sore.)

Sign #4: Irritable.

Sign #5: Cramps.

And yet... I still did not key in to the fact that I might be about to start my period. I mean, come on. I just had it a little over two weeks ago.

But, Whoop, There It Was.

Guess I need to learn how to read the signs... no matter how unexpected.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Professor Profound Is Out to Lunch

I am in a giddy mood today.

Giddy feels good on me. I wish I were giddy more often, but the cold hard fact is I'm not.

I'm actually giddy today because I did something slightly wrong. It's funny. At least, I find it funny. And everytime I think about it, it makes me giggle. But... still... it's slightly wrong.

Thing is, this very same wrong could be done to me, and I'd probably be a bit stung. Yet, for some reason I don't care.

That's not normal for me. I usually do care. But not today.

Today I am giddy and giggly and having fun.

Tomorrow I'll pay. But, tomorrow might not come, so for today I'll be giddy.

Christmas In January

Okay, so it might not be in a signature red cup, but right now I'm drinking a decaf Christmas Blend from Starbucks.

Oh yeah. You know yer jealous.

As for me, I'm not jealous because I'm ME. I'm the one drinkin' the decaf Christmas Blend. And I'm happy, I tell ya, happy.

When I called my local Starbucks and asked what the decaf blend of the day was, I couldn't believe my good fortune when the barista said "Christmas Blend!" I said "What? Christmas in January! And here I thought I missed out!" She assured me I hadn't, so I put on my best underpants and ran to Starbucks.

Oh wait. I think I already had underpants on. That's right... I did. I actually switched to my banana hammock before trotting to Starbucks, because, after all, this was a special occasion.

Christmas in January! Who'da thunk it?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

She Is

She is single.

She is living with someone.

She is in love.

She is a cat lover.

She is a daughter.

She is a sister.

She is a witch-in-training.

She is sometimes angry.

She is sometimes sad.

She is routine-oriented.

She is a traveler.

She is a writer.

She is a tarot reader.

She is sometimes unlikeable.

She is sometimes irrational.

She is sometimes bloated.

She is plagued by migraines.

She is health conscious.

She is funny.

She is sarcastic.

She is a published author.

She is in love with magazines.

She is perimenopausel.

She is someone who prays.

She is someone who sings. Badly.

She is someone.

She is a reader.

She is often tired.

She is often restless.

She is often making up stories in her head.

She is loyal.

She is opinionated.

She is resilient.

She is sentimental.

She is a bargain hunter.

She is the kind of girl who looks like your sister.

She is the kind of woman who isn't threatening.

She is attractive, but nothing to write home about.

She is small-breasted.

She is big-hipped.

She is hard on herself.

She is wishful.

She is a coffee drinker.

She is a homeowner.

She is messy.

She is a good cook.

She is a decent broad.

She is afraid of losing everything.

She is a loner.

She is loved by her parents.

She is honest with herself.

She is not happy with her hair.

She is a member of the Victorian Tea Society.

She is in love with Lost.

She is not happy all the time.

She is shy.

She is an introvert.

She is someone you should know.

She is me.

She Was

She was a virgin until age 39.

She was waiting to turn eighteen to kill herself.

She was always the last to be picked for team sports in PE.

She was a roller skater.

She was a loner.

She was an avid reader.

She was in love with celebrities: Tony DeFranco. Clay O'Brien. Matthew Broderick. Eric Stoltz.

She was always interested in the paranormal.

She was afraid of vampires, both real and imagined.

She was very naive.

She was hopeful.

She was a dancer.

She was inspired to write.

She was afraid to write.

She was bored with writing.

She was picked on, harrassed and bullied every school day for 12 years.

She was a swimmer.

She was a runner.

She was detail-oriented.

She was afraid of authority.

She was afraid of men.

She was afraid to speak.

She was shy.

She was the youngest soldier in her basic training platoon.

She was an advanced reader.

She was slow to learn how to tie her shoes.

She was in an aerobathon.

She was loved by her family.

She was loved by her animals.

She was loved (or so they said) by several men.

She was in love three times.

She thought she was in love three other times.

She was a traveler.

She was a friend.

She was an enemy.

She was plagued by self-esteem issues.

She was diagnosed with a precancerous condition.

She was a Shirley Temple fan.

She was obsessed with all things Judy Garland.

She was an actor.

She was born again.

She was almost raped.

She was hooked on Hostess doughnuts.

She was hoping to get married.

She was a dreamer.

She was me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Rage Inside

I have a friend who recently had a miscarriage. Her second, actually. She has been using her blog to write about her feelings, so I've been privvy to them all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The ugly appeared in today's post, when she admitted that she wants to slap and spit on all the pregnant women she sees. This comment shocked me.

Yes. I know she's angry. I know she's grieving. However, I don't understand the violent envy aimed at random people... people she doesn't know. People who have nothing to do with her miscarriage. People who deserve to be happy.

And yes, she also deserves to be happy. I'm not saying she doesn't. I am saying that I don't understand the magnitude of her rage that is directed at others.

I made the mistake of writing about this in another blog of mine... one that's read by a core group of friends. And, now I feel like the "bad guy" because I appear to be insensitive to what she's going through.

I'm not. Insensitive, that is. I might be a bad guy, though. God knows, but he's not telling.

But back to the point: I simply don't understand the desire to cause harm to strangers, just because they have something she doesn'tt have.

Someone pointed out to me that anger is one of the Five Stages of Grief, and went on to say that in that regard, her anger is normal and healthy. And again I say, yes while it is "normal" to feel anger, is it normal to want to slap and spit on random pregnant women? That doesn't seem like a healthy anger to me.

It's just not this one friend, though. It's all the others I've known in my lifetime... the single ones that get angry when another one of us gets engaged. The married ones who are angry when us singles get to just up and go at the drop of a hat. The ones in debt who get angry at their friends who have money to burn.

Believe me, I get envy. But I don't get the anger part of it. Rather, I don't get the RAGE part of it. I suppose envy is a form of anger. But rage... that's another story altogether.