My Work Day Inside the Fishbowl

22 Sep

At work I sit behind big glass windows near the elevator, stairs, and restrooms on the top floor of my two-story open-air office building. Everyone coming to work, leaving work, using the restroom, and getting their mail has to pass by my office doors. I know the lazy-asses who take the elevator up from the parking garage and the even lazier-asses who take it down. (Down? Really?) Most take the stairs.

A few people look in and smile as they walk by. Everyone else looks straight ahead, ignoring me, as if by not acknowledging me with a friendly smile will somehow render them invisible and I won’t know that their morning coffee has kicked in. One older gentleman, a CPA named George, always waves. Enthusiastically. Sometimes he comes in to chat. (He takes the elevator, but I would put him in his late 60’s and he often brings his dog to work, so I do not place him in the lazy-ass category. He’s earned the elevator.)

About two or three months ago new tenants moved in a couple doors down. I didn’t think much about it until I saw him. Tall. Handsome. Dreamy. He comes to work in rolled up jeans and flip flops. Sometimes he wears a hat. Not a baseball hat. A dapper looking hat with a brim. I call him my work boyfriend. Watching him saunter by my office doors is the high point of my day. (My work day, I mean. Because going home to Dave and the kids and making them all dinner, and then having the kids roll their eyes at me as I try to be an active and involved parent by asking them about their day and then cleaning up the kitchen as everyone scatters to do homework and walk the dog is the true high point of my day. Obviously.)

Hot Boyfriend

I stole this from my friend Jessica’s Two Funny Brains Facebook Page. You should like her page. She’s M-F-ing funny!

When the new tenant’s name was posted on the office directory I googled them. (Oh, like you wouldn’t!) Entertainment law. Apparently entertainment lawyers dress a lot more casually than other types of lawyers.

He wears a wedding ring which is good, because I really can’t have him falling in love with me. I mean, I am a married woman after all. (But I think some office fantasy eye candy is allowed.)

In real life he wouldn’t be for me. He’s a total hipster. (I mean what kind of forty year old wears rolled up jeans?) And I hate hipsters. Not because I think they think they are better or cooler than me (which I’m sure they do), but because I think they are better and cooler than me. Well, maybe not better. But definitely cooler. (But then, everyone is cooler than me.)

Once, when Marley was about nine she said, “Girls who hate Katy Perry want to be Katy Perry.” (That girl is wise beyond her years.) Or maybe it was Taylor Swift. It was someone hateable/I-wish-that-were-me-able.

What? You don’t want to be Taylor Swift? Really?! A rich, famous twenty-four year old girl who dates tons of cute boys and whose job it is write platinum selling songs about how they broke her fragile little-girl heart and tour the world singing them. Yeah, I don’t want to be her either.

Taylor-Swift-Boyfriends

Yeah, who’d want to be her?

I’d much rather be me. Sitting in my fishbowl day in and day out. I don’t get to tour the world singing about the latest boy who broke my heart, but sometimes when my work boyfriend passes by my office doors he looks in and smiles at me.

Photo credits: Boyfriend someecard “borrowed” from here and Taylor Swift Boyfriend collage “borrowed” from here.

Book Review – Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

10 Sep

I read a lot of books.

Okay, maybe not a lot. In my fantasy life I read a lot of books. I’m always reading something, but I’m a slow reader and only seem to have time to read before bed, and reading puts me to sleep so it takes me a really long time to read a book. Like, if someone says, “It’s a really fast read, it will take you two days,” it will probably take me two weeks.

But I digress… I read (not) a lot of books and I recommend them to my friends if I like them (You HAVE to read this book!), but so far I haven’t reviewed any on my blog. I don’t think. I’m too lazy (make that blazy) to look through my archives and check. So we’ll call this my first book review.

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

 

This is the story of Anne, a 27-year-old ambivalent college essay coach, and five of the students she is coaching through the college essay process. The author used to be a college essay coach herself, so she knows what she’s talking about. (Or rather writing about.) Remember when you The Devil Wears Prada and thought to yourself, “There is no way someone could treat their assistant that terribly,” but knew that there was? Or when you read The Nanny Diaries and thought, “I can’t believe there are parents that horrible,” but knew that there were? This book is like that, but about the college application process. Total insider stuff.

If you are a parent who is hoping to send your offspring to college one day, or just sent your child recently, I think you will enjoy this book immensely. And if you are like me, who is knee deep in the gut-wrenching, anxiety-inducing, nightmarishly overwhelming task of helping your child wade through The Common Application, you will love it.

If you don’t have kids, you can still read it, but I will admit that this book probably isn’t for you. (Unless you, yourself, just went through the college application process. Then trust me, you’ll dig it.)

Ms. Crawford, like our protagonist Anne, must have been very good at her job because she is one hell of a writer – this book is extremely well-written. It will piss you off, make you laugh out loud, and break your heart. It does a great job of fictionalizing the college application process, while also giving you some very good intel and insight.

Warning: You will want to hit most of the parents in the book upside the head with a very heavy laptop. On the flip side, you’ll be smugly patting yourself on the back, because you are certainly nothing like the helicopter parents and tiger moms in the book. At least I’m not. (No matter what Chandler says!)

So, if you like to read (a little or a lot) and have visions of your son or daughter attending Harvard, Stanford, or UCLA, or perhaps a highly selective liberal arts college, or even the state university ten miles away, I highly suggest reading this book. The earlier the better.

My 2014 Snarky Emmy Remarks (Because I’m so Qualified to Give Them)

26 Aug

As Seth Meyers and his BFF Amy Poehler would say, Really, NBC? Really?!

The Emmy’s on a Monday? Sigh.

Look, I work until 6:00 and don’t get home until about 6:30 (okay, 6:20, but still). Then there’s the whole making, eating, and cleaning dinner business. I need to be able to watch my red carpet at 4:00 and my awards shows at 5:00 in order to have time to gather my snark. Plus I get up at 5AM. Last night at 10:00 by the time (spoiler alert) Breaking Bad won best drama (Yay!) I was fighting to keep my eyes open. I might have snored a little. Or drooled.

(Oh, and by the way, if you just got angry with my little spoiler alert above because you haven’t had a chance to watch the Emmy’s yet and it’s sitting in your DVR queue all ready to go, what the hell are you doing reading my Emmy comments? Really, Silly Person? Really?!)

So, due to the lateness of last night’s show and my selfish need for 6 1/2 hours of sleep, my report today will be rather short, but here goes…

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has obviously sold her soul to the devil. (Or has the best plastic surgeon in the history of the universe, but my very discerning eye says no, because it looks like she has had zero work done. Bitch!) Because, seriously, who goes from looking cute when she’s in her 30’s

Julia-Louis-Dreyfus-circa-1990s

to va-va voom stunning when she’s 53.

 

Damn, she’s gorgeous! (As Marley would say, “That’s not fair!”) Oh, and her dress was gorgeous too. Seriously though, deal with the devil. If not for any other reason, for the lack of under-arm fat. I could never wear a dress like that – my under-arm fat would be spilling over the sides! She’s 53, people! 53!!! But I LOVE her. And she is fabulous in Veep. I’m so glad she won. (And if I were Bryan Cranston I would have made out with her too!)

I really liked Allison Janney’s dress, but was that velvet? In August? She’s lucky it wasn’t 100 degrees yesterday. I will forgive the faux pas because she looked smokin’.

 

Lena Headey’s dress was gorgeous (and so was she), but I don’t know what surprised me more, her short dark hair or her multiple tattoos. (All those tats don’t seem very regal, and you know, queeny.)

I did not like Julianna Margulies’ hair at all. It was pulled way too tight and made her ears look elfy. Her dress was fine, but she is too skinny. Please Julianna, the Emmy’s are over now. Go eat a meal.

 

Some more dresses I liked…

Michelle Dockery looked regal, graceful, stunning. A true Lady, indeed.

2014-Emmys-Michelle-Dockery

Michelle Dockery – Photo Credit: Evan Agostini

 

Marley did not like Kaley Cuoco- hair, but I did. And I did not love her dress last year, but this year it was one of my favorites.

2014-Emmys-Kaley-Cuoco-Sweeting

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting – Photo Credit: Frazer Harrisson

 

I’m not sure how I feel about Anna Gunn’s dress. I want to love it, but I don’t quite love it. (And I LOVED her dress last year.) I do love the color, so let’s say I like it. Plus she looked awesome. And I’m so glad she won again. She deserved it. She was A-MAZ-ING in her final season. Amazing.

 

 

And once again, Julie Bowen’s dress just seems to miss the mark. I appreciate that she tries to be bold and a little different, but I do not like that neck thing on her dress. (What is that?)

 

And speaking of missing the mark, this dress? Uh, no!

 

And was it just me or did Peter Dinklage look really pissed that Aaron Paul won for best supporting actor? Like, really, really pissed. Sorry Peter, you were awesome this season, Game of Thrones was awesome this season, but this was Breaking Bad’s year.

 

 

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I will end my post with a swoon-worthy photo of Kit Harington. (You are so very welcome for the eye candy ladies!)

2014-Emmys-Kit-Harington

Kit Harrington – Photo credit: Frazer Harrisson/Getty Images

 

I’d love to know, what did you love or hate about the Emmy’s or Emmy’s’ fashion this year?

Photo credit: Julia Louis-Dreyfus circa 1990s

Hello Old Friend

25 Aug

I have a good friend I’ll call Joe who lives on the East Coast. I met him and his friend, who I’ll call Jack, in Ireland in the summer of 1986 while backpacking through Europe with my friend Simmah. Since he lives almost 3,000 miles away from me we’ve never seen each other much.

Odds were against us remaining friends. Not only because of the distance, but because the following summer I ended up falling madly in love with Jack. And for a very short while he loved me back. Then he broke my heart. But that’s another story.

Joe and I don’t talk on the phone very often. I’m not the best about keeping in touch and he’s even worse. (Way worse.) But I still count him as one of my dearest friends. You know those people that you don’t talk to for a couple of years and then you visit them or call them and –BOOM!- you pick up right where you left off – no awkwardness or resentment about phone calls not made, emails not sent? That’s how it is with my friend Joe.

He’s not on Facebook, so we can’t keep in touch that way and somehow over the last three or maybe even four years we’d completely lost touch. It doesn’t seem possible that we let it go so long without talking, but sometimes the minutiae of daily life gets in the way of things that are precious.

About a month ago I found an old picture of us – Joe, Jack, my friend May and me- taken in 1989 during a weekend spent at a beach house in New Jersey. (I had gotten over my broken heart and had started a cautious friendship with Jack again.) I snapped a photo of the picture with my phone and texted it to Jack and Joe. Remember these people? I asked.

The three of us started texting a bit and Joe told me he was going out to Oregon in July. Looking at colleges? I asked. Our boys are the same age. He told me yes and that also his son was running a race. I had no idea that his son was a runner.

What does he run? Chandler’s a runner too. He does XC, 800M, 1600M.

Joe texts back: XC, 800M, 1600M.

What are the odds?

What are his PR’s? I text. (That’s Personal Record for those of you outside the running world.) Chandler’s are 1:58 for 800M & 4:32 for 1600M.

But Joe is slow with the texting. And I don’t mean slow like me where my fat, old thumbs take a minute to type a ten word text. I mean slow as in he must be doing something else because sometimes it takes 10-20 minutes for him to reply. So I lose patience and Google his son.

Oh. My. God. His son is fast!

Nevermind just Googled him. Shit he’s fast. That’s awesome! Chandler only has to speed up his 1600 by 25 seconds to beat him!

His son’s 800M time is 1:52 and his 1600M is 4:07. And he’s high school state champion for the one mile. I watched the race where his son ran a 4:07 online. I show Chandler and Dave and we are all in awe of his speed. I’m so happy for my friend Joe.

We talked on the phone for an hour the next night. We couldn’t get over the coincidence that our sons ran the same races. Middle distance races – the races most runners hate. We texted during his son’s Oregon race and spoke again the week after.

We talked about running and college, reminisced about old times, and scolded ourselves for losing touch for so long.

“Talking to you makes me realize how much I miss you,” I told him.

He has always been one of my favorite people. He can make me laugh like few others and he’s truly just a good, good person.

We tell each other “I love you” when we hang up the phone. But not in the way that would make either of our spouses jealous. The way you say I love you to a cousin. Or a sibling. Or a true long-lost friend.

I’ll kick his ass if we lose touch again.

 

 

Are Yours Real or Fake?

21 Aug

When I first started blogging I didn’t really think about it. I just jumped in and started to write. I chose my name as my blog handle instead of something clever and cute because I wanted to get my name out there (and because try as I might I’m really not that clever and too old to be cute).

And one of the things I didn’t really consider was whether or not I should use my children’s real names when I blog. Some people do, some people don’t, but the point is, it wasn’t even a consideration with me. On my very first blog I wrote about my kids’ inability to get along and just typed out their little names for everyone in cyberspace to see.

Hello, Bad Mom of the Year Award 2008.

Of course I may be a bad mom putting my kids’ names along with their private business onto people’s computer screens, but I always change or eliminate my friends’ names when I have a funny or potentially embarrassing story about a girlfriend to tell.

For example, last week when my girlfriend told me that she was mortified because her cleaning lady found her vibrator under her bed and placed it standing up and her night table, I told her that that would definitely be something I’d have to work into my blog. (See how I just did that?)

“If you use my name I’ll sue you,” she told me.

“I would never,” I said. And I won’t.

Yes, I am a bad mom, but really, really good friend.

I have another concern as well: as my kids get older and I tell the world my story, do I have the right to tell theirs? I’m not very discrete and I know that I tend to over-share, but I really don’t tell all of it. Trust me, there are so many gems I would love to write about as they would be fantastic, interesting, sweet, funny blogs, but I don’t in the name of privacy. (And let me tell you – it kills me I keep them to myself!)

I’ve thought about going through every blog I’ve ever posted and changing my kid’s names, but considering I’ve written well over 100 and can’t even get to the things on my list that would only take 5 minutes of my time (some of which are incredibly & ridiculously important), I don’t see it happening any time soon.

And I wonder too, why does it really matter? I’m just a suburban mom who writes a little blog. I don’t think anyone cares or has given it any thought. (Until, you know, now.) We all know the names of famous people’s kids. Why not un-famous people’s kids?

Am I harming them? Have I told too much? Eh, that’s what psychiatrists’ couches are for.

Six years into blogging and seventeen and a half years into motherhood and I’m still trying to figure this whole Internet and blogging and motherhood thing out.

Has anybody really figured it out?

*Edited and slightly updated this post first appeared on the now-defunct skirt.com blog on January 10, 2011.

 

You’ve Got Spam

1 Aug

I’ve become lazy with my blog. No. Make that blazy. (Have you noticed?)

But that hasn’t stopped the spam from coming. Usually it gets detected by my Akismet app, goes directly into the spam folder and I ignore it. I do skim the folder occasionally. Usually it’s someone hawking SEO or designer purses or weight loss pills in poorly worded English. Something like this:

It was hard to find your posts in google. I found it on 17 place, you should build a lot of quality backlinks , it will help you to get more visitors. I know how to help you, just search in google – k2 seo tricks

Thanks, but I like to keep my blog hard to find. You know, exclusive. Like one of those trendy clubs without a name or address on the door. Keep the riff raff (and 99.999999% of the blog reading population) out.

Sometimes the spam will compliment my writing in hopes of me clicking onto their website. (I guess?)

I especially like this one from a blog called Education Bandwagon:

I believe that is one of the so much significant information for me. And i’m glad studying your article. Howwever want to observation on few basic issues, The web site taste is perfect, the articles is actually great :D. Just right job, cheers

Oh, I’ll be hopping on that Education Bandwagon alright! I hope they’re a tutoring site. Chandler needs some help getting his SATs up.

Every once in a while the spam slips through and ends up in my comments waiting to be approved. And those ones are the weirdest of all. Like this one for example:

This build-up of abdominal muscles will push out against the fat and make your belly fat to appear larger and thicker.
It can cause you to collect fat specifically in your abdomen.

(Okay, you’re obviously selling some sort of diet pill. But then the next sentence says…) 

Considering that the estimated total number of breeding African penguins in 2010 is equivalent to the number of penguins rescued in the Treasure oil spill just 10 years earlier,is cause for grave concern.

Um… what?!

And then there was this one…

Lawat leaf extracts are traditionally used in preventing hair loss, promoting hair growth and releaving itchiness and skin inflammation. It can affect the appearance, confidence, and maybe even the self esteem of a person.

(Okay, so this time, some sort of hair loss prevention site. But then…) 

She did not seem too enthusiastic about it and claimed that she had just been to the toilet and did not feel like peeing any more.

Yeah, and you thought the penguin thing was weird, right? I mean does she not want to pee because she’s losing her hair? I’m confused.

The weird search terms keep coming in as well. Here are a few of my recent favorites for your amusement:

ジョニーウィアー ウェディング (Thanks to Google translator I know that this means “Johnny Weir Wedding” in Japanese. The crazy thing is three people searched for it. Yes. In Japanese.)

spongebob ross or pants (uh, that’s Spongebob Square Pants, Silly!)

charlene bad mom (I am not!)

what the hell is vajazzling (It’s this!)

And a special shout out to all of you who are looking for pictures of Bradley Cooper or Enrique Iglesias shirtless or naked – you are my people!

So yes, I’ve become blazy. My muse has checked out, gone on vacation. Perhaps she’s in Europe with half of my Facebook friends. I look forward to her speedy return. But hopefully I’ve managed to amuse you in her absence.

My Grandmother’s Candy Dish

17 Jul

 

 

One of my strongest childhood memories is of my grandmother’s candy dish. It sat on a table in her living room between her couch and the front door. It was almost always filled with M&Ms. Sometimes they were peanut, usually they were plain, but any other candy would be sacrilege.

No trip to Grandma’s was complete without reaching into the candy dish for a little nibble.

When we were children my brother and my cousin and I would try to sneak into the candy dish as the grown-ups were usually in the kitchen or in the den. Of course this was no easy task as the candy dish has a lid with little tines that must be matched with the scalloped edges of the dish in order fit properly. This results in a sound being made every time the dish is closed. Ting.

Candy Dish with M&Ms

 

“Who’s in the candy dish?” was always the call of my grandmother from the other room no matter how carefully you put that lid on. I am telling you after a lifetime of trying, it is almost impossible to put that lid on without making a sound.

Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, the call would be, “It’s empty,” as if you didn’t already see that cursing the fact that not only did you get caught trying to sneak candy but there was nothing to actually sneak.

The funny thing is my grandmother would always say yes if you asked her if you could have some candy. (Of course mom might say no.)

The candy dish was my great grandmother’s originally and my mother and her brother played the same candy sneaking game when they were kids.

When my grandmother came to live with my mother the last six years of her life of course the candy dish came too. It now sits on the bar of my mother’s sun room.

Yesterday I was at my mom’s house with Marley and my mom and I heard the familiar ting of the candy dish lid.

“Who’s in the candy dish,” my mother called though of course there could only be one answer.

“You know that candy dish is mine,” I told my mother. “I’m calling it right now.”

“Good luck,” she said. “Everyone wants that dish.”

“Well I only have to fight Richard and Carrie,” I said referring to my brother and my cousin.   “And I’m the oldest.”

“Christine and Jason want it too,” she said referring to my step-sister and brother.

“No way. They’ve only been in the family 25 years and I’m older than them too.”

The funny thing is the dish does not go with the décor of my house at all. If I saw it at an antique store I wouldn’t give it a second glance. But I don’t care. The ting of the lid brings me back to my childhood every time I hear it.

Like the scent of someone’s cologne can take you back to that crush on your college professor or the smell of the air after it rains can bring you back splashing in puddles on the street you grew up,  the sound of that candy dish brings me back to my grandparent’s home…

To spending hours going through my grandmother’s dresser drawers and walk-in closet to play with her costume jewelry and try on her silver high-heel shoes.

To fuzzing the top of my grandfather’s buzz-cut-head as he sat in his easy chair in his zippered jumpsuit lovingly calling me a pesty kid.

To my grandmother rolling across the kitchen floor to get something she left on the counter on her wheeled dinette chair rather than get up.

To my grandparents hugs. To my grandparents kisses.

Oh how I ache for more of their hugs and their kisses.

Ting

That candy dish is mine.

 

Milk Glass Candy Dish

 

This piece originally appeared on skirt.com on March 7, 2011.

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