Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals I Probably Won't Achieve by 2012, But It Won't Matter Because the World Is Supposed to End Then Anyway

Man, I simultaneously blew and sucked at working on reaching the goals I set for 2010. Oh well, I'm over it. Not reaching goals is something I'm very practiced at. Anyway, here's my one and only goal for 2011: LIVE BY A FREAKING BUDGET FOR ONCE.

Seriously, I've been 29 for almost two years now, and I have yet to set a budget and stick with it. But here's the thing: I NEED TO. Or there will be serious consequences. I don't have any debt other than my mortgage and loan for my basement, but that could change if I don't straighten up and fly right, and that's just what I intend to do. Part of my brilliant master plan is to refinance my mortgage and roll my basement loan into it. In theory, that should free up quite a chunk of money every month, which should make the budget more bearable. But f'rills. I'm making and living by a budget in 2011. And it's going to be magical.

All right, all right, and I'm going to work on getting more work, too. I'm shooting to make 25% more in 2011 than I did this year. *Deep breath* Here we go.

2010 Goal Round-up

Remember my goals for 2010? Yeah, I barely do either. But let's see how I did.

Goal #1: Stick to a daily schedule. This did not go over well. Here was the new goal: NEW GOAL #1: Don't sleep past 11:00 on school days, then make a list of crap I need to get done every day and do it. Done and done. I don't think I slept past 11:00 on a school day once after this. And I even started getting up at 7:30 for about three weeks before Christmas happened. So, total success? No. Good enough? Sure, why not.

Goal #2: Shower and get dressed at least six days a week. Erm... Not so much. But I'd say I did shower at least four days a week on average. That's something right? Okay, something to improve upon.

Goal #3: Use my treadmill. Shut up.

Goal #4: Stop spoiling myself. Honestly, I've been way, way, way better about this, but there is still room for improvement. We'll call it a mild success.

Goal #5: Increase client base. Okay, I believe my goal was something like two new repeat clients and three new one-timers. Well, I definitely got at least two new one-timers and one new repeat client. That's something right? Better than nothing, anyway. And it still leaves improvement for 2011. I wouldn't want the perfection to come all at once. It would be overwhelming.

Goal #6: Work on financial preparedness. Bbbballlllls. I'm worse off than when I started. But 2011 is the year of the budget, my friends! The year of the budget!

Goal #7: Get Milo 100% house broken. Done and done! *Wipes hands in self-satisfied manner* Milo whizzes outside with the best of them.

Wow, taking all this into account, I'd say I was only about 25% successful, and that's if I'm being generous. Well, I tried and I failed. I guess it's my fault for trying something I knew I probably wouldn't succeed at in the first place. ;) On to 2011 goals!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

With procrastination, we all win!

It's a fact that if I don't start working before noon, my desire to work decreases by about twenty gazillion percent. Right now I'm stuck in the contradictory predicament of hyperventilating because my finances are crap and I need more work, but not feeling like working on the work I do have. So for the past hour and a half I've been catching up on my Google Reader, updating my account (boy, was that depressing), paying all my bills, writing thank-you notes to clients, sending invoices, and just about anything else I can think of to put off actual paying work for another few minutes. This includes blogging. Hi.

Today got off to a pretty good start. I slept until 8:30ish, and then I actually got out of bed, dressed in work out clothes, and trudged on the treadmill for half an hour. (Don't be fooled: this is nothing like my usual morning routine, which involves sleeping until 9:00, cursing the daylight as I stumble into the bathroom, and then falling down the stairs where I get a couple of pieces of toast and a Diet Coke, and then sitting in front of the computer in my pajamas for the rest of the day.) Unfortunately it took me about half an hour to get the TV over the treadmill going, and that pursuit involved running down and up two flights of stairs for an extension cord, so by the time I actually started trudging I was already out of breath and sweating, two things I hate. After trudging, I showered and headed downstairs for my toast and Diet Coke when I got a text from my friend Brick asking if I wanted to go to lunch. Duh. Yes. So I had lunch at Chili's (so much for treadmilling, and so much for helping my rubbish finances) with B-Rick and G-Mac, and now it's 3:30 and I don't feel like doing anything, although I probably will eventually because deadlines scare me.

So what's new with you since we spoke last?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things about today that are totally awesome. And by awesome, I mean crappy.

  1. Woke up with zits by my nose and mouth. Sometime between my shower and 11:00 a.m., another one sprang up on my forehead. This is a violation of the ceasefire established between me and my body. We are now in all-out war. (I think my body is mad at me for putting it on a diet.)
  2. Working as fast as I can to finish a big, fat rush job for a very good client of mine. It's not happening fast enough and I'm already sick of both the project and the stress.
  3. It's so windy by my house right now I keep expecting small houses to blow by my office window. The noise is making my dogs bark. It's really annoying
  4. The batteries in my wireless keyboard went dead. I have shloads of AA batteries and D batteries on hand, but not a single AAA, which is what goes in my keyboard.
  5. Went to Target to buy AAA batteries so I could continue working on my rush job (see item #2). I was barely able to force my car door open and then got my hair and clothing whipped around while walking the thirty feet to the door (see item #3). Once my purchase had been made and I pulled into my driveway, I glanced in my rearview mirror and realized the zit by my mouth had reached epic white-head proportions, and I had walked all through Target with it.
  6. Somehow I have to put on a happy face and go visiting teaching tonight when all I really want to do is go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.
How's your day going?

Monday, April 26, 2010

A littla this and a littla that

About a month ago, work to finish my basement started. Not by me, heavens no, don't be ridiculous! I'm paying people to finish it. Currently it's framed, taped and mudded, and ready for baseboards and doors to be put in. After that it's paint, carpet, and the finishing touches, including the bathroom fixtures. Once it's finished, I'll be moving my office down there and writing the whole thing off as a business expense.

My kiester
I'm on a diet again. So far, not bad. I haven't even really been hungry. Or maybe I have been and I've just been telling myself to suck it up and ignore it. At any rate, I'm already down about three pounds. Huzzah!

The stupidest thing I've ever heard
I read a story today about guys who say they've received revelation stating the girls they're dating are supposed to marry them. PLEASE. If somebody said to me, "I've had a revelation for you; I'm the one you're supposed to marry." I'd say, "Incorrect, sir, and that is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I shall not be marrying you because you are obviously full of yourself and have no idea how personal revelation works. Here's a hint: it's personal." Also, this is officially false doctrine. Please alert your friends, sisters, daughters, roommates, etc. Also alert them not to date any tool who would actually do this sort of thing. He would be ZERO fun at parties.

Forcing talent I don't have
I finally realize that I regret quitting piano lessons when I was seven and decided to take back up where I left off. I bought myself a second-hand keyboard and started teaching myself to play using the handy-dandy LDS hymnbook. It's taken me about three weeks to perfect "Be Still, My Soul." I'm still tripping through "In Humility, Our Savior," "Sweet Hour of Prayer," and other groovy hits. Billy Joel, I am not.

Official declaration
My second 29th birthday is coming up in two and a half weeks. I've decided to be 26 again. Spread the word.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


This is my treadmill (see right). You can tell this is really my treadmill and not some picture I stole online because nobody would proudly post a picture of a TV (and a tiny one, at that) mounted above a treadmill with all the ugly wires showing. That's not how fancy-pants people roll, you know. I, however, am not a fancy pants and I am also too lazy to do anything other than wrap a twisty around the cords to keep them contained, so you can rest assured that this is indeed my treadmill and television.

That said, I'd like to share with you my theory on treadmilling and television watching. I love watching television. I hate treadmilling. "Maybe I won't hate treadmilling so much if I hang a TV in front of it," I thought to myself. Ironically, the TV didn't make me like treadmilling more, it made me like watching TV less. TV is really only truly enjoyable if you're slouched on the couch (preferably with a Diet Coke and/or treat/full-blown meal in-hand). Anything else is just a farce. Include sweaty, breathless exercise into the mix and you've totally ruined it. Sort of like pooping on a hot-fudge sundae; you don't even want to eat around the ruined parts.

In order to make the treadmill palatable I have to get geared up like I'm going on a plane trip. I arm myself with every type of media known to man to keep myself distracted enough to realize I'm getting exercise. Like giving your dog her heartworm medicine in a giant scoop of peanut butter. By the time she's worked it all off the roof of her mouth she hasn't even realized she's taken that tiny pill she spit out ten times before you wised up and buried it in a peanut butter spoon. Anyway, as I was saying, I prep for the treadmill by turning the TV on and finding something I want to watch with the sound off. Reruns of Law & Order, NCIS, and House are ideal, with HGTV renovations coming in a close second. You don't want the primo shows (Thursday-night NBC lineup, I'm looking at you, you sexy monkey) because the exercise will just ruin them. Once I've chosen my television program, it's time to get out the iPod. How anybody can exercise without an iPod is beyond me. I won't even consider working out if I don't have my iPod with me. Exercise without music is like breakfast without a Diet Coke. It's just not going to happen. With the TV and the iPod, I can usually stand to stay on the treadmill for about thirty minutes. Back when I was thinner--well, that's a stretch, let's say back when I was less fat--I got deluded into thinking I liked the treadmill and would stay on for an hour or more. Now it's an epic win if I even put my treadmill shoes on.

And that's why I'm writing a post on treadmilling. I've been letting the old girl lie fallow for a while. Over the next two weeks I'm going to try to muster the wherewithal to get back on. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Full disclosure on my 2010 resolutions

Remember at the beginning of the year when I posted my goals for 2010 so I'd have to actually do something to achieve them? Well, it's been about five months now (where did the time go?), so I thought I'd show a little accountability and tell the two of you who read this how I'm doing thus far. Here goes.

Goal #1: Stick to a daily schedule. HAHAHAHAHA! *Wipes tear* What was I thinking? I stuck to the schedge for about two weeks before I was like, "Forget this, I like to sleep in." The good news is I've gotten up between 7:00 and 8:00 for the past month or so because I'm having my basement finished and the construction guys like to come early. So, not a total loss. We'll see if I can keep getting up that early even when the basement is finished. Also, I've made my bed every day for, like, a week and a half, so suck that, Martha Stewart.
NEW GOAL #1: Don't sleep past 11:00 on school days, then make a list of crap I need to get done every day and do it.

Goal #2: Shower and get dressed at least six days a week. BOOYAH! Totally doing it! I'm showered and fresh as a daisy right this very second. Things aren't looking as bad as I thought as far as these goals are concerned.

Goal #3: Use my treadmill. **Facepalm** Okay, spoke too soon. Sooooo, the treadmill. Yeah, I've been crap. I've been taking the dogs for walks almost every day but the treadmill hasn't seen any action in weeks. I'm gearing up to start using it again, I SWEAR. It takes mental preparation. I promise I will get back on in the next two weeks.

Goal #4: Stop spoiling myself. Does spending massive amounts to finish the basement count as spoiling myself? Honestly, I think I've done a lot better about not buying crap just because I want it. Where I've royally failed is in the eating out department. Okay, renewing resolve to only get take-out twice a month....NOW.

Goal #5: Increase client base. Groan. My plan to do half an hour of marketing every day only lasted about a week. I HATE IT SO MUCH. The good news is I've gotten a bit of repeat business from people I didn't really expect to hear from again, so that's good, but I do still desperately need to work on getting new clients. Blerg. Okay, how about on Mondays I take ten minutes and send out some emails to prospective clients. I know you're not overwhelmed by my ambition, but I seriously loathe marketing myself.

Goal #6: Work on financial preparedness. Yeah, so this isn't looking so great. Right now I think I only have two or three months' worth of living expenses saved up. I'm considering putting ten percent of my income aside for savings every time I pay my tithing. I don't know if that will break me or not, though. Well, I still have my goal to get six months' living expenses saved up and then open a retirement account. We all knew I couldn't have this done in five months anyway.

Goal #7: Get Milo 100% house broken. Done and done! *Wipes hands in self-satisfied manner* Milo is an outside-pottying champ. I haven't seen an accident in the house in I don't know how long, and for the past week I've been letting all three dogs run around the house as they please and still haven't found any puddles or Tootsie Rolls. I'm so proud!

So there you go! I'm not perfect (yet...), but I have made some good progress on some of my goals. By December 31 I hope to have solidified some good habits. Then I'll throw them by the wayside to make room for my 2011 goals.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Men of HGTV

I go through phases in my TV watching. I've been through a House phase, an NCIS phase, a Law & Order: SVU phase... Basically I watch something until I'm so sick of it that I can hardly stand to watch it anymore and/or I've seen all the episodes. Three times each. Right now I'm in my HGTV phase, namely my Income Property and Holmes and Homes phase. I can't get enough.

I've always had a penchant for the quiet, computer-nerd types, but HGTV has started me thinking that maybe I shouldn't be so quick to discount the construction/contractor types. I mean, no, they don't earn their living by typing on a computer and attending pointless meetings all day long, but dang it, they can build and fix things. They handle power tools and haul stuff around with their big muscles. And I'm ready to open-mouth kiss just about anybody whose philosophy is to do something right the first time and make it perfect. Especially Scott McGillivray.

Jack. Pot. The teeth! The pecs! THE HAIR. That hair could bring about world peace. Quick aside: I may or may not have been watching his show Income Property a couple of weeks ago and involuntarily yelled "DAMN IT!" at the top of my lungs when I saw a wedding ring on his finger. Quadruple disappointed sigh.

The other man of HGTV I've been watching is Mike Holmes. I'm so conflicted about him, I can't even tell you. On the one hand he's this really nice guy who is unflinchingly staunch in his construction standards and he has an eye for detail that makes me swoon all day long. But what's up with the wife beaters? I mean, yeah, they show the muscles, which is fawesome, but they also show the ARMPIT HAIR, which is not. And he only ever wears overalls. Seriously, overalls? I can appreciate that tool belts might make your pants fall down, and nobody likes a plumber's crack, but when I think of overalls I envision My Buddy dolls and preschool-aged children. Still, he gets to working and getting all huggy and nice with his clients and I start suggesting that he take off those stupid overalls so we can get to know each other better.

My parents totally ruined Mike Holmes for me by saying that he looks just like this seriously gross guy who used to live in our neighborhood. I was absolutely horrified that they would even think there was a resemblance, but now whenever I look at Mike Holmes all I can think of is our old neighbor. Not sexy at all. Mike does NOT look like the neighbor, but he does look like a ripped version of a guy I was friends with in high school. He had that same low brow and broody look to him. That's a much better association. Trust me.

Stanley Hudson

I've been playing a lot of Mike Tyson's Punch Out on NES recently. I started cracking up the other day because I looked at Doc Louis (Little Mac's trainer) and realized that he looks exactly like Stanley Hudson from The Office. Seriously! Check it out if you don't believe me.

Seeing as it's already on, I'm obviously not the only one who thinks so.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gee, I don't know why I'm fat...

I skipped lunch the other day. I had had a late breakfast and when lunchtime rolled around I just wasn't hungry. By 4:00 I figured I might as well just hold out until dinnertime, which I did. I ate a Totino's pizza around 5:30 or 6:00. Quick tangent: holy poop I love Totino's pizzas. I don't care if it's gauche, those babies are freaking delish. Do I eat the whole thing? You betcha. I ain't sharing my Totino's. It's not like it's a biggole Freschetta. (Shameful aside: I was fstarving a couple of weeks ago and I totally ate an entire Freschetta pizza all by myself within the space of two hours.) But anyway...

So I ate the Totino's pizza and realized I needed to go to the store because I was going to be getting together with my sister tonight and I wanted to get a brownie mix for us.. So off to the store I went. I won't bore you with the details of my shopping because it was a typical trip to WalMart--crying children, long lines, the usual. As I was unloading my cart onto the conveyor belt I started to chuckle at myself because, Totino's dinner be damned, I had apparently still been hungry when I went to the store. Aside from some sandwich meat and four bananas, the rest of my food purchases were basically just junk. "Way to debunk the fat-girl stereotype," I thought to myself. But I can totally justify what I bought! I can!

Hershey Kisses: I don't even eat them. I keep them on hand so my mom can have a little treat when she comes to my house.
Brownie mix: Hello, it's what I went to the store for. Besides, my sister was going to help me eat them.
Cheez-Its: My primary kids love them and I needed something to eat with my sandwich at lunch. Totally justified.
Cutie pies: Have you seen these things? They're like miniature Hostess fruit pies and you get six for about $1.75! And they're small so you can eat two. Ahem.
Robin's eggs (Easter candy): They're seasonal. There's no guilt allowed for buying seasonal candy because you can only get it three months out of the year.
Reese's Pieces eggs (Easter candy): Okay, see above. Also, I love those things and I would have been really sad if I hadn't gotten to eat least a few this year. Plus, I had been planning on buying them so that makes them a valid grocery.

Seriously, you guys, I flove Easter candy. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I literally gained five pounds last spring because of Easter candy. It's my all-time favorite candy. The rest of the year I really don't eat that much candy; I'm more of a baked goods and fast-food kinda girl. But when Easter candy shows up on the store shelves I just can't resist its pastel deliciousness. My favorites are Brach's jelly bird eggs. I ate two bags of them about a month ago and kind of wore myself out on them. But I'll be ready for them next year. Oh yes, I will be ready.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker

I'm sure that Sarah Jessica Parker is a sweet, lovely person. She's probably very nice to common little people like you and me, and you can't deny that she's got great hair and a slammin' body. I know a lot of people gush over her fashion sense as well, but since I care precisely not at all about fashion, I'm going to go ahead and remain neutral on that point. But sweet spirit and hot body aside, I'm sorry to say that Sarah Jessica Parker is a butter face. BUT-TER FACE.

My first instinct when looking upon the SJP is to whinny. She's got a biggole horse face with teeth to match: big, bucky, and curved convexly. I can't help but think she must be a prize-winning apple eater. Her nose is unbelievably long, which I guess makes sense if it's going to be in proportion to her face. But when you pair it with the mole on her pointy chin, I want to slap all these people who laud her great beauty and remind them that long, hooked noses and chin moles are characteristics traditionally associated with witches. Had the SJP been alive during the middle ages, I think she'd have had a terrible time outwitting wily, overzealous villagers trying to fool her into climbing up on wood piles or inviting her to dinner as an easy way to get her to voluntarily sit in a dunking chair. God bless her, she wouldn't last the week.

Now, I know all this sounds cold-hearted and judgmental, and it is. Heaven knows I'm no great beauty and I'm not going to be winning any modeling contracts in this lifetime. But I believe in calling a spade a spade. Let's appreciate the SJP for what she is and not try to delude ourselves or others into thinking she's a great beauty because she's not; she's thin with a perky bosom and awesome hair.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Holy poop, has it seriously been more than a month since I last posted? My goodness. Well, I can explain. It's not a good excuse (most aren't), but it's an excuse nonetheless.

I got really busy with work. Like, working twelve hours a day busy. After I spend that amount of time at the computer I don't really feel like spending more time there, you know? Then once things slowed down, I needed a freaking rest, so I didn't blog. During this time I was also wicked sick for two weeks with the added bonus of having my depression flare up. If you've ever thought to yourself, "Gosh, I'd love to sit on the couch and mouth breathe for a few weeks with no motivation to do anything at all," unmedicated depression is for you. Personally it's not my cup of tea, but it's all I've got to keep me company (besides all the pets).

Speaking of pets, some quick updates before we get back to our regularly scheduled program:

Chauncy's eggs did NOT hatch. She eventually quit sitting on them and, despite my best efforts, they all died. They are now sitting in the bottom of a 20 oz Diet Coke bottle in the bottom of my garbage can. They died about three weeks ago, but since I only produce about one bag of garbage a week, I only need to put the garbage out about once every six weeks or so. They'll probably still be there next week too.

In order to avoid any other unplanned/unwanted eggnancies, my sister graciously agreed to take Olive (my male cockatiel) and make him her bird baby. Now he lives at her house and bites a lot. What can I say? The egg fiasco weighed heavily on all of us.

Current pet count: three dogs, two birds, six fish. Holding steady there.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Build your own nest box!

As you know, my cockatiel Chauncy has laid four eggs. She has been sitting on them night and day like a champ because Olive (the father) is either too lazy or too stupid to help with the incubation duties. Anyway, from day one, Chauncy has refused to use the totally sweet nest box I bought her. It's made out of wood and has a removable lid and all sorts of awesome features, but she prefers the cage floor. Whatever.

At first she wouldn't even sit on the eggs if there was a paper towel under them. Eventually I got her to accept a paper towel, then a modified Swiss Miss cocoa box with paper towels lining it. But here's the problem I've been running into: OLIVE KEEPS POOPING IN THE NEST BOX. It's not like he's sitting in the nest box and using it as his own huge toilet. He sits on the perches above it and drops his little poop bombs on top of it. That was fine when the eggs were still new and I could change the paper towels. But it's getting to the point now where the chicks inside the eggs are pretty developed and getting ready to hatch, and you're not supposed to be moving the eggs around because it could disorient the chick and screw up hatching. Also, what am I supposed to do when the chicks hatch? They can't go stumbling blindly into piles of their father's poop!

The answer, my friends, lay in what I'm calling the nesting tiki hut. I cut up another box (this time scalloped potatoes, not Swiss Miss) and made a roof and four pillars to hold it up. Then I taped the pillars to the corners of the Swiss Miss box and taped the roof onto the pillars. Finally I taped a piece of cling wrap to the roof so I could remove it and replace it with a fresh sheet if Olive pooped on it. TA DAAA! Nesting tiki hut!

At first Chauncy eyed it with suspicion, but after a couple of minutes she got right in and hunkered down to brood on her eggs. This picture makes me laugh harder and harder the more I look at it. But isn't Chauncy so cute?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

An intimate look into my work life

This is my garbage can. More specifically, it's my office garbage can. Sadly, my office garbage can portrays a very accurate image of my snacking habits. Let's examine it more closely, shall we?

First, let's count the Diet Coke cans. There are eight cans visible, and probably twice that many underneath. You have to really strain since it blends in so well with the silver Diet Coke cans, but there is also a Pop Tart wrapper (there is actually at least one or two more in there, covered by the soda cans), flavor: S'mores. Have you had the S'mores-flavored Pop Tarts? Holy geez, they are delicious. I am not to be trusted around them.

You can also see the drink cup from Cafe Rio (or, as I like to call it, Mecca), from when I ate there last Friday. I got a veggie salad but they charged me for a pork salad. I got a refill on my way out to make up for the overcharge. (I would have gotten a refill on the way out anyway.)

Witness also the Red Vines wrapper. I finished off the last five pieces today as dessert after breakfast. You'll notice I carefully folded the wrapper and then tied it in a knot. I like my garbage to be as neat as possible. Red Vines are far superior to any other licorice on the market today. Especially Twizzlers, which are waxy and gross.

On the floor you'll see the wrapper (red) of a Lindt truffle. It's the last of the package I got for Christmas. While I appreciate the thoughtfulness, the truffles were sub par at best, which is why they lasted a month and a half. The Pop Tarts lasted exactly two and a half days. It was a twelve pack. I'm not proud of it.

And there you have my office garbage can. Be grateful it wasn't my kitchen garbage can. It's full of poop-covered bird cage liners.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Toe up from the flo' up

Call me a prude, but I believe a woman's personal grooming is something best kept between her, her partner, and her gynecologist. It is not something to be flashed at innocent, unsuspecting souls in the Comcast parking lot when all they want to do is pick up their new cable box and get back home to set the DVR. But try telling that to the nasty woman in the red dress and faux fur coat that parked next to me yesterday.

I have seriously never seen anything like this before and I never want to see anything like it again. I came walking out of the Comcast building and saw this woman standing next to her Toyota minivan changing her shoes. As I got closer, I realized that bending over had caused her dress to ride a good THREE INCHES up her backside, showing crack from both the back AND front nether regions. The great tragedy of it all was that to ease her task she actually hoisted her leg up into the van. I think you're getting a visual now. If this woman and her lady bits haven't already been featured on People of WalMart, they will be soon. All I could think was, "This woman must be a prostitute." But I still can't figure out why a prostitute would be driving a new minivan.

The only good that might come from this whole experience is the possible coining of a new term, flooned: when you're simultaneously mooned and flashed. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Okay, I think I'm going to finally break down and subscribe to DVR. The regular TV season is in full swing and I have shows on every night that I really don't want to miss (and sometimes two shows a night, which forces me into a which-will-I-watch showdown). I totally forgot the final season of Lost was premiering tonight and made plans to get together with my best friend from high school. I tried to find out if it was going to be rerun or available on On Demand, but there's just no guarantee. So I guess this is the kick in the pants I need to quit being so freaking cheap (hello, it's only, like, $16/month) and reclusive (when you're not accepting invitations to social engagements because you don't want to miss one of your ten favorite shows, it's time for change), and join the throngs of the living. I'm sure that once I get it, it will change my life and I'll wonder how I ever lived without it. But it still chafes a bit to finally break down and do what everybody's been telling me to do for years.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Egg Watch: Exciting News!

THE COCKATIEL EGGS ARE FERTILE! Do you like how I just threw that out there, first thing? No intro? No warning? Just BAM! fertile. That's right. I want you to feel the way I did when, on a whim, I candled all four of Chauncy's eggs (even though the day before they were all empty except for a big, yellow yolk), and saw red veins and tiny fetuses! I'm surprised I didn't drop the eggs, I was so shocked. It's too bad most people won't ever get to see a candled egg in person because it's seriously one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. I actually saw the tiny heartbeats in two of the eggs! And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. Like, go get a book, open to any page, and then find a period at the end of a sentence. That's how big the heartbeats were. The fetuses were barely the size of a grain of uncooked rice (if that big). But you could tell that's just what they were. So. Freaking. Crazy!

So now I have a female named Chauncy, a male named Olive, and four babies on the way. In about two weeks, this

is going to turn into this

then this

and finally

Aren't baby birds ugly? It's a good thing they get cuter or nobody would ever want them as pets. Yeesh. I'm going to have four of those ugly things stumbling around in just two to three weeks. And on that note, you should know that, as this is THE FIRST AND LAST TIME I plan to have cockatiel babies, I will be documenting the whole experience from hatching to new-home-finding here on the blog. So gird your loins, because this is probably going to be cockatiel baby central until at least May or June.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good karma or crappy service? You decide.

I don't know why but I have been craving apple fritters like mad lately. Actually I do know why, but this is neither the time nor the place to be discussing my PMS. Anywho, the apple fritters. I can honestly say that I don't remember the last time I ate an apple fritter, but my body's been telling me, "You need to gorge on apple fritters and you need to do it now." I pretended I was one of those holistic hippies who listens to her body and headed out to the store to procure apple fritters for a good gorging. I bought two, one for the ride home and one for after dinner (shut up, like you don't do it too...).

While at the store I decided to make my trip a bit more productive and bought four bananas, a bag of salad, and a loaf of garlic bread in addition to my two apple fritters (priced at ninety-nine cents each). When I checked out, my total only came to $5.35. I literally said, "That's all?" to the cashier, but she assured me it was right. I just shrugged and figured my Fresh Values card must have gotten me a super-duper fresh value on one of my items and went on my merry way. Later, I checked my receipt and saw that the checker had only charged me fifty-nine cents (the price of a regular doughnut) instead of the $1.98 it should have been. If I had noticed the mistake while it was still handy for me to call attention to it, I would have. But my personal conviction is once I'm out of the store/restaurant, it's no longer my obligation to rectify the situation (for the record, I've been overcharged for stuff too, and have just let it slide on more than one occasion).

The weird thing is that stuff like this seems to be happening to me a lot lately. A couple of months ago I went to lunch with friends where the waitress only charged me for the drink and side salad and completely forgot to charge me for the entree. When I brought it to her attention, she shrugged and said, "Well, I'm sure not going to add it on now," like it was too much of a bother. A few weeks later I was taking a friend to lunch and the waitress only charged us for one drink instead of two. I told the little Thai woman at the register that there should be two drinks but she just kept pointing at the ticket and saying, "This says one." I finally shrugged and mumbled, "I tried to do the right thing..."

So I'm starting to wonder. Is all this undercharging the universe's way of paying me back for all the times I've held doors for people, let people merge in front of me, and smiled at ugly children? Or is it just idiocy on the cashiers' part? Because if it's just idiocy I'm going to stop being so nice to people all the time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Marine biology

Me: Did they weigh you at the doctor's office today?

My sister: Yeah...

Me: Ugh, I wish they could just eyeball you and then assign a marine mammal that closest fits your physical description like, "Manatee."

[Later in the conversation...]

My sister: Doctors' scales always read so much higher than your scale at home.

Me: I know, you get on and it's like, "You weight one miiiillion pounds." And then you try to save face with, "I'm only 999,993 pounds on my home scale."

Egg Watch: 2010

Friday night I talked to my mom on the phone. Our conversation steered toward my birds (as so often it does), and I mentioned that Chauncy was hunkered down in the corner of the cage bottom, acting like it was a nest or something. "The dumb bird thinks he's going to lay an egg," I said. "Maybe he's sick?" Mom suggested. "Nah, he's not sitting like he's sick, he's sitting like he's brooding."

Even though the fine folks at the pet store assured me Chauncy was a male when I bought him, I have suspected for the past few months that he is actually a she. Ever since I brought Olive home, my kitchen has looked like the set of a bird porn video with Olive and Chauncy getting busy every chance they got. What was surprising was that Olive (who is supposed to be female and now I'm not so sure--jury's still out on that one) was the one attacking Chauncy (who is supposed to be male). Chauncy's sex was made undeniably clear Saturday morning, however when I came downstairs and discovered an egg--AN EGG--on the cage floor.

I panicked.

I went through the phases everyone must go through when faced with an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy (or "eggnancy" as one bird enthusiast dubbed it). First I was shocked and incredulous. Next all I could think was "Get rid of it! How can I get rid of it?!" Then I decided to get informed and spent a significant amount of time online and with my cockatiel books reading about nesting and chick-raising and so on and so forth. I guess you could call that step acceptance. Finally, the more I thought about it, I got kind of excited and started hoping Chauncy's little egg would hatch. I'm still in that final phase. Hatch, little egg! Hatch!

Let me tell you a few things I've learned about cockatiel eggs and babies over the past 48 hours. First, cockatiel books extensively cover what actions you should take when your breeding is planned: get a nest box, introduce the happy couple, they get busy, etc. But NOWHERE in these books is the chapter "So You've Ruined Your Life: Dealing with Unplanned Eggnancy." It's like the radical Right infiltrated all the cockatiel books and refused to even acknowledge that some eggs might not be a happy occasion. Thank heaven for the internet, where I learned that you should leave the eggs there, for heaven's sake, or your bird will just keep laying more and more until she dies of calcium deficiency.

I also learned that Chauncy will not lay just the one egg; she will lay one egg every other day until she reaches a full clutch of about four to six eggs. Baaaaaaallllllllsssss. Okay, okay. So, I would imagine this is like getting knocked up on your prom night and then finding out you're having quintuplets. While I was all for one egg hatching, now I'm not so sure. I mean, I would love for the little eggies to hatch and to have lots of ugly, awkward cockatiel babies, but what on earth am I supposed to do with them? It's not realistic to keep them, right? Especially when my cockatiel-sexing abilities are currently 1/2 (and soon to be 0/2 if Chauncy's eggs are viable). I thought I could separate the boys into one cage and the girls into another, but what if I'm wrong (again)? More eggs? More babies?! WHEN WILL IT END?!

I thought that I could give the babies away or sell them, but there's no way I can let somebody I don't know take them. I already love those little eggs (Chauncy laid her second egg this morning), and I'm sure it's going to be even worse if/when chicks come out of them. I would honestly rather spring for another cage or two and increase my bird food budget than let one of my animals go into a home where they might not be well taken care of. But I guess I have another three weeks or so before I even need to think about it. The eggs might not be fertilized, in which case all my worry will be for nothing.

But wouldn't it be exciting to have a bunch of ugly cockatiel babies?

Friday, January 22, 2010

EwHarmony: part deux

I just logged in to eHarmony to take out the trash so my mom wouldn't misguidedly try to match me with some jock whose favorite things were keggers, tailgate parties, and boobs. Ugh, there are so many losers scumming up the dating pool, I'm starting to lose my faith in mankind. I have nothing against people who love to camp and play sports; I don't like those things, but that doesn't make them bad people. I do, however, have a problem with somebody who wants me to know that he's "kick-ass." Just in general, he's kick-ass. Well, yeah, I am too, but I'm not going to write that on my online dating profile. I also came across a guy who just put down D as his name. My first thought when reading his profile was, "D... Is that short for D-bag?"

By far the most disturbing "match" proposed by eHarmony was some guy in Provo. He said he was 40, but according to his picture he was at least 60. At least. According to him, his pastimes were reading, television, and sex. Here's a newsflash, grandpa: it doesn't count as sex if it's with yourself.

Motivation: Zero

Since work has slowed down I don't feel like working at all. And if I'm not working, I don't feel like doing much of anything else except watching TV or, if I'm feeling ambitious, playing video games. Wow, I'm a winner! Yesterday I made a batch of peanut butter fudge, got my house all cleaned up for book club, and even ran a few errands. It didn't help my motivation reserves, it depleted them. Today I'm like bleeeeeehhhh, as evidenced by the fact that it's 10:49, I'm unshowered (but dressed!), and have no plans to rectify that. Over the course of the week I've just been getting more and more tired, so I decided that today I would let myself sleep in and see if it helps any. I got up at 10:00 and I'm still groggy (it takes me at least three hours to wake up in the morning, I swear), so only time will tell if it did.

I had the weirdest freaking dream this morning right before I woke up. I dreamed I went to Italy on vacation with a bunch of my old coworkers, and while I was there I ran into Jorge Garcia (Hurley from LOST) and Duff Goldman (the Ace of Cakes). Jorge was very nice and signed autographs and posed for pictures, as I always suspected he would. But Duff Goldman was crazy (crazy awesome!) and insisted on hanging out with me and following me back to the house we were staying to take pictures and make out. Sadly, I woke up while we were still taking pictures. Figures. I can't even get lip action in my dreams. (And for the record, I would totally make out with Duff Goldman--helloooo, the man is hilarious and makes CAKES!)

But anyway, back to having no motivation. My sister suggested it might be my super awesome unmedicated depression rearing its ugly head, but I don't know. At least, I don't always want to blame everything on that, even though it would be really easy and much better than the alternative--that I really am this lazy. Or maybe I just need some new work projects. Fingers crossed I get more soon. Like, today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alan Tudyk

Me: Dude, I freaking love Alan Tudyk.

Carrie: He has two?

[Rim shot]

Stupidity, cubed

This morning was a slow starter. I lay in bed for about fifteen minutes after the alarm went off thinking about how much I didn't want to get out of bed and how much I didn't want to work today (even though I've basically had the last two days off--not to mention the weekend). What finally got me out of bed was my promise to myself that if I would get up, get ready, and work on that huge project I've been putting off, then I could go to McDonald's for breakfast. McDonald's! Breakfast! I love McDonald's breakfast! Especially when you throw in a 32 oz. Diet Coke!

So I managed to get out of bed and carry out my morning routine, a little later than usual, but better late than never, or so I'm told. I giddily jumped into the car and drove to my local McDonald's, the promise of a sweet, sweet sausage egg biscuit sitting on the tip of my brain. I got into the left turn lane to turn into the parking lot. A middle-aged woman driving a green Malibu got to the entrance before me and was turning right into the parking lot so I let her go first. That was my first mistake. I waited. And waited. Aaaand waited. Finally the driver managed to get the car into the lot and began maneuvering with all the deftness of a retarded snail nursing an old war wound. She traversed the parking lot going barely faster than idle speed and trudged her car into the drive-thru and up to the first speaker. I waited. She ordered. I waited. She talked some more into the speaker. I waited. Finally the person in front of her pulled forward and she did the same. She pulled up to the second speaker and began to order again. By now I was almost tearing my hair out and stuffing down the urge to yell, "YOU ONLY HAVE TO ORDER AT ONE SPEAKER! PULL YOUR FREAKING CAR UP TO THE WINDOW!" I saw her order on the screen so I know she ordered two sausage biscuit meals. Easy. Two sausage buiscuit meals, why was this so hard for her? It takes me approximately six seconds to order, and that's on a slow day. "Hey, I'd like a number ___ with a large Diet Coke." "Will that complete your order?" "Sure will." "Pull forward to the window." Done and done. But not Malibu lady. No. Already she had taken a good four minutes of time, and counting.

I guess whoever was on speaker two told her she didn't need to order again because she finally pulled from the second speaker up to the window where the currency actually changes hands. Once there, she then proceeded to spend a good three minutes talking to the girl at the register. I have no idea what she was talking about, but if it was a problem with her order then she had to be a total moron because how difficult is it to order two sausage egg biscuit meals? This is where I pulled out my Sunday school training and started reminding myself that this woman was a child of God and that God loves everybody, even if they are too freaking stupid to have a driver's license and go through the drive-thru. I had to remind myself of this fact several times, up to, and including, when the woman got out cash to pay for her order and then dropped a coin of her change on the ground. Just leave it there, leave it there, leave it-- Of course she didn't just leave it there, she actually took off her seat belt, opened her car door, and leaned down to pick up what couldn't have been more than a quarter, tops. This is where I stopped thinking that she was a child of God and started contemplating the theory of evolution and wondering if it were my duty as a member to society to ram the back of her car and take her stupid genes out of the breeding pool. But since she was at least sixty I concluded she'd already done her reproductive damage and the risks (assault charges, jail time, and no McDonald's breakfast) far outweighed the rewards (the death of an obvious cretin, supreme satisfaction). Seriously, what was this lady's problem? She can't drive, can't figure out how to order from a drive-thru window, and can't even handle something as simple as handling her change. I could only think of one solution: she must be a renegade Amish woman who decided to leave her community and integrate (unsuccessfully) into average society. I finally pulled up to the first window and was greeted with an emphatic "I'm so, so sorry" from the girl at the register. I handed over my debit card and was at the second window within fifteen seconds. The stupid Malibu woman had gotten her food and chosen this as the time to drive like a bat out of hell toward the street. Who knows, maybe her orthopedic shoes got stuck on the pedal or something.

My experience with this woman led me to three conclusions: 1) the Amish need to stay Amish; 2) cash is passé--use your freaking debit card. If you insist on cash and drop your change like a moron, just leave it there. You obviously don't deserve to keep it; 3) just because someone's a child of God doesn't mean I can't hate her.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I recently signed up for eHarmony in a fit of desperate curiosity. For those of you lucky enough to not know how eHarmony works, I'll tell you. You spend about five hours answering a crapton of personal questions, eHarmony compiles a personality profile on you, then emails you a bunch of possible matches based on that profile. Science and romance, a match made in hell.

Yesterday eHarmony matched me with somebody who, by all accounts, was perfect. The right age, funny, successful, not bad looking, a gentleman who is very nice, in the immediate area, has the same personal and moral values as me, oh, and he has a great family. Yes, that's right, a great family. I know because HE IS MY COUSIN! EHarmony matched me with MY COUSIN. Call me crazy, but I think it's creepy to date a person who shares a set of grandparents with you. Talk about a fawkward family reunion.

I went through a barrage of emotions when I clicked the link and saw my cousin's face smiling back at me. It started off with confusion, quickly followed by sheer horror, which was eventually replaced with hysterical laughing. I hurriedly closed the match and looked for a reason that best seemed to fit the situation. Sadly, eHarmony doesn't offer "This person is a blood relative," so I looked a little harder. "Our family backgrounds seem too different" certainly didn't fit the bill, so I settled on "I'm not ready to take the next step." Lord, that was the truth. I sent my cousin a text saying he was one of my matches and asking when he was going to take me out. We had a good laugh and, I like to think, silently agreed never to speak of it again.

Later that night I gave my mom my login information and told her to have a good time trying to find me a date. I just can't deal with it anymore.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A long, drawn-out way to get "free" pens

If you find yourself in need of a pen and have some time to spare, might I suggest selling your house and buying a new one? In the process of buying and selling a house just over two years ago, I procured approximately six to eight brand new pens for myself. Everybody wants to give you a pen: your real estate agent, your mortgage broker, your title company... Anybody who's dealing with you on your real estate transaction is going to force a pen, or pens, on you. For your examination, exhibit A:

Three pens from Backman Title. I very much enjoyed working with this company, particularly the person in charge of my file. I don't remember his name anymore, but he was a very nice, middle-aged man who loved shaking hands and handing out pens. "TOWR, hello! Good to see you again! *shake hands* Here, have a pen!" Then you would sit down to sign paperwork, where they would give you yet another pen for all your signature-ing, and force you take that pen as well. "But I've already got a pen." "That's okay, take this one anyway!" In all, I got four pens from Backman Title (one is in another room and not convenient for photographing). But considering they probably made hundreds, if not thousands, off transferring my titles, I'd say I'm probably the one who came out on the short end of that exchange.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"That's what she said" Thursday: Yuletide edition

Christmas Eve I was over at my parents' house dropping off pies and other miscellanea for Christmas dinner. My mom was decorating the dinner table while my dad got the turkey ready for the oven. These little gems are courtesy of my mother (as usual).

[helping my mom twist bead ropes that were going to be placed down the middle of the table]

Mom: Here, I'll hold and you twist.
Me: That's what she said!

[Dad and mom arguing over how to prep the turkey for the oven]

Mom: For crying out loud, Jack, just grease it up and stick it in!
Me: That's what she said!
All: [laugh hysterically]

This has been your "That's what she said" Thursday.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A grammarphile's guide to online sex chats

I would never engage online sex chats, but if I did, I know for a fact this is what it would look like (except I would capitalize the first words in my sentences, and I would also spell the word sentence correctly. This person is a bit of a hypocrite).

Obviously brought to you by Fail Blog.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Dying alone

Okay, so that post title makes it sound like I'm going to start talking about how I'm a spinster and boo-hoo I'm going to die all sad, lonely, and alone, the shell of a once-vibrant woman who had the life sucked out of her bit by bit with each passing day she spent not cradled in the arms of a man who loved her. I mean, yeah, that probably is what's going to happen, but that's not what I'm actually going to talk about. Today I'd like to talk about the dangers of living alone*.

If you've never lived alone, you've probably never given any thought to how carefully you exit the slippery bathtub or whether that noise downstairs is a home intruder who's been waiting on the street corner for you to turn the lights out so he could come in and ravage your body to death before he makes a fedora and matching wing-tips out of your skin, the stylish devil. But these are the things that plague my thoughts, my friends, and they are very valid concerns.

The common American house is a death trap for a single person, especially my house. The only tub in my house is super wide and deep, requiring you to lift your foot good and high in order to get your leg over the side. I swear, mounting a horse would be less awkward. I usually avoid the tub, but sometimes you just want a good soak, and when the desire strikes me, I usually find myself gripping the towel rack for dear life as I both enter and exit the tub. One of my friends has a two-inch scar above her right right eyebrow from when she threw caution by the wayside a few years ago and began exiting her tub with thoughtless abandon. She soon found herself in a big, wet, naked heap in the bottom of her tub, covered with blood from the giant gash in her forehead. This, to me, seems to be the most insulting of any injury that you could incur in the home, particularly if you found yourself incapacitated and in need of help from another individual. It's one thing to fall and get helped up fully clothed, but I imagine dignity is in short supply when you're all naked and slimy from shower residue and tears of pain and embarrassment.

The next potentially dangerous item in my house is the clock above my kitchen sink. Twice a year I find myself teetering precariously on the three-inch lip of granite in front of my sink while I make the clock leap forward or fall back an hour, depending on the time of year. The sink-teetering is only part of the dare-devilry involved with the time-change. Since I am approximately as tall as the average seventh grader, I have to drag a kitchen chair next to the counter, step onto it, and from there step onto the sink. To keep my balance I support myself using the lip of my cupboard door. Each time I shimmy onto the counter to change the clock I tell myself this could be the time the cupboard gives out and I topple backward to my death. I make peace with myself, perform a short ritual of repentance, and start my ascent. So far, I have lived to tell the tale.

Bathtubs and kitchen clocks are quite dangerous, but I don't think they're going to be what kills me in the end. No, the basement stairs are going to have that honor. Steep, dark, and uncarpeted, my stairs are the perfect storm for a trip-and-fall accident. When you consider that I pile crap next to the basement door at the top of the stairs and throw empty boxes down to the bottom, it's pretty much a done deal that I will eventually, one day, eat it to the nth degree, topple down the stairs, and be dead by the time I land arse-up on a used Amazon shipping box. Not a great way to go, but at least I won't be dripping wet and naked.

My great-grandmother actually died from a slip-and-fall accident. There's not much to tell, she slipped, broke something, and then lay on the floor for two days until somebody found her and got her to the hospital. But by then it was too late and I think she died from the shock of it all. Of course, times are different now, and I carry my cell phone on me at all times just to be on the safe side. So if you call and I don't answer, I've probably fallen and am now lying dead or unconscious on the floor. Please come and make sure I'm fully clothed before you call an ambulance. I don't want the cute EMT to see me naked in case I'm only unconscious. A girl always wants to look her best.

*If you are a rapist or murderer, I do NOT live alone. I live with my UFC champion, body-builder husband and our, two pit bulls, three German shepherds, and one doberman pinscher.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cooking for one

Thanks to the great Spend Less Initiative of 2010, I have started planning and cooking my meals at home. Let me tell you a little something about cooking for one*. It stinks.

Cooking for one is just as hard as cooking for six, with the unhappy side effect of copious amounts of leftovers. I've even tried halving my beloved family recipes and guess what I get? Three servings instead of six. That means that if I cook something on Monday, I'll be eating it until Wednesday. Truth be told, I don't really mind leftovers, but I do mind them when I'm eating them day after day after day.

"Why don't you portion them out and freeze them?" Mom asks.

Been there, done that. Most prepared things don't freeze and reheat as well as you'd suspect, and usually, even after you've let them hang out in the freezer for a couple of weeks, I'm still sick of them from when I ate them fresh out of the oven (three nights in a row).


What is a girl to do?

My friend Carrie bought me an awesome cookbook for Christmas, Cooking for Two. I have yet to try it out (it's much, much fancier than what I'd normally cook for myself--Beef Wellington?!--and uses ingredients I've never dared touch--I'm looking at you, filo dough), but I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes in the coming weeks and months. Mostly I'm excited to just eat something twice and be done with it. I'll keep you abreast (heh, breast) of the results as soon as I do.

Now go eat something delicious!

*Cooking for two would be crappy as well, I would imagine, but still not as crappy as cooking for one.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The day my life was almost ruined

Before we get started there are two things you should know about me:

1. I love Diet Coke. A lot.
2. When it comes to food, texture is as important as taste. The first (and only) time I had tiramisu I thought the lady fingers would be crispy. Turns out they were soggy, and it totally put me off tiramisu forever. Apples should be crispy, Twinkies should be cake-y, and liquids should not be chunky.

I think you see where I'm going with this.

I've heard horror stories of people ordering fountain drinks, getting to the bottom, and discovering a big, fat cockroach (true story) or something equally horrific at the bottom. Needless to say, I do not want this to happen to me. Particularly when I've just finished enjoying a delicious, cold, fizzy Diet Coke, my drink of choice, my reason for living. One of the worst things that could ever happen to me, lifestyle-ly speaking, is finding a baby's toe or, God forbid, a hobo's tooth in the bottom of my Diet Coke can. It would literally put me off Diet Coke for life. And oh, how sad would I be!

The day after Christmas I headed back over to my mom's house for about the ten billionth time in three days. I brought my full-throttle caffeinated Diet Coke with me (my parents only stock caffeine-free--hey, whatever floats your Diet Coke boat), and had enjoyed the majority of it, down to about the last half inch in the bottom. I went into the kitchen for something (let's be honest, it was probably a snack), came back to my Diet Coke, and tipped my silver baby bottom up. Everything was business as usual until I felt a chunk--A CHUNK--come out of the hole and plop onto my tongue. Understandably shocked and disgusted, I somehow managed to spit the contents of my mouth back into the hole (side note: I hated the larger holes they started putting on soda cans a couple of years ago, but you'd better believe I was grateful for it this day) and ran in a blathering to the garbage can (You know the sound the crazy cat lady makes on The Simpsons? That.). I threw the can in and screamed, "IDON'TKNOWWHATITWASBUTTHEREWAS SOMETHINGINMYSODA!" To which everybody (my mom, sister, and teenage nieces), properly horrified, screamed back, "WHAT WAS IT?!"

Now, maybe you're the kind of person who wants to know what non-soda items fall out of your soda can and into your mouth, but I am not. In this case, ignorance is as blissful as you can get. My mom tried to get my niece to be all stealthy about pulling the can out of the garbage and finding out what the offending item was, but I intercepted, decreeing, "NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO LOOK IN THIS CAN. EVER!"

Then I sat back down on the couch and contemplated the rest of my life. This had huge ramifications on my lifestyle. After this incidence I obviously couldn't drink Diet Coke anymore, at least out of the can. What was I going to do with the fifteen cases of Diet Coke still lining my basement wall? How would I wake up in the morning? What would I have to wash down my breakfast? What would pick me up in the afternoons? What would make my eyes go all big and dreamy, with Diet Coke out of the picture? Is it still acceptable to drink Diet Coke out of a bottle? What if I just pour the contents of the can out into a clear class? Through a strainer? There must be some way out of this disturbing, disgusting mess...

My friends, I fretted over this the rest of that night and all the next day. I still hadn't worked out the finer points when I went out to dinner with my family the next night, so I ordered a water to be on the safe side.

"Why are you ordering a water?" my brother asked.

"Because there was something in her Diet Coke can last night and she's all freaked out," Mom answered for me.

My brother started to laugh, his shoulders shaking.

"I put a piece of cracker in your can last night," he managed to get out. "I totally forgot about it until just now."

If I had caught him in the act of actually putting the cracker in my Diet Coke, I would have given my brother a swift punch in the junk. But now I was so relieved that it wasn't a bug or piece of human appendage that I couldn't be angry.

"You swear it was you?" (I demanded this multiple times over the course of the evening.)

"Yes, I swear it was me," he replied.

I grabbed my mom's Diet Coke and took a huge, long gulp through the straw. After a tenuous twenty-four hour separation, my true love and I were back together at last. And it felt so good.

Monday, January 04, 2010

This schedule thing is a success... for now

About two or three weeks ago I devised a schedule for myself in anticipation of the new year. The main objective of said schedule wasn't to increase productivity, duplicate synergy, or any other corporate-speak nonsense. Basically, it was to keep me from slouching on the couch in a dirty shirt all day and make sure I showered on a somewhat regular basis. Behold! Day one has been a success! Here I am showered, dressed, makeup-ed, and smelling like a rose in clean clothes. I am the very picture of hygiene. "So," I can hear you asking yourself (if you're not asking yourself, maybe you'd better start so I don't look like an idiot [like a bigger idiot than I already am, that is]), "what's on this magical schedule of hers that's keeping her one step above 'bag lady' on the hygiene scale?" Well, I shall tell you:

8:00 - get up
8:02 - make bed (note I left two minutes for cursing and bad attitudery*)
8:05 - shower and get ready
8:45 - take care of animals (food, water, change cage liners, etc.)
9:00 - breakfast
9:10 - check email, read blogs, etc. (all my online shenanigans)
9:30 - market myself
10:00 - commence actual paying work
1:00 - lunch!
1:30 - recommence paying work
5:00 - blog (guess where I am in today's schedule!)
5:30 - change clothes (wha--change clothes? Why?)
5:40 - BAM! Treadmill!
6:00 - Make and eat dinner (Shut up, twenty treadmill minutes is better than no treadmill minutes so you can keep your healthy, self-righteous comments to yourself.)
6:30ish - free time! Yayayayay!
10:00 - animal babies get put to bed
10:05 - get ready for bed (contacts, jams, teeth, the usual routine)
10:10 - get into bed and commence reading
10:45 - lights out

I also have a less regimented schedule set up for Saturdays and Sundays, but they're more like to do lists and not interesting at all. Except that Saturday is now my official meal planning and grocery shopping day. I really need to spend less and I waste a veritable bumload of money on eating out. So who has two thumbs and decided to love cooking? This girl!

Anywho, there's really not much point in bragging about sticking to a schedule for one day. I'll let you know how things are looking in one month. I hope I'm still with it then because, frankly, it's just not healthy to sit around in your own filth.

*I realize that many (probably most) people don't have the luxury of getting up 8:00, and I realize how lucky I am. However, you would be in the same boat if you'd just spent the past year and a half waking up whenever you wanted (read: 9:30-10:00), so please don't get all mean and sarcastic with me. 8:00 is the starting point; I'm hoping to eventually turn that into 7:00. But I won't get up any earlier than 7:00, or, as I like to call it, "in the middle of the night."

Friday, January 01, 2010

A girl can dream: my goals for 2010

I have goal-achievement envy. I keep reading all these bloggers' year-end recaps detailing the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year and how they fared in their achievements. Why am I envious? Because I don't even remember what goal(s) I set for myself for 2009, let alone if I achieved them. One of them was probably something like, "Don't fail at my freelancing business," which, I'm happy to say, I achieved. Here I am, still self-employed and not crawling back to my old employer or begging my parents for mortgage money. So yay for that, I guess. But I'm getting off track. My point is I'm going to throw my goals out there for everybody to see so that I can be properly shamed if I fail to meet them by 2011.

Goal #1: Stick to a daily schedule. This means no more getting up at 9:30, going to bed at 1:00, and waiting to eat until I'm so hungry I could rip my arm out of the socket and start gnawing on it. No, no. I will be a woman who lives by a schedule (specifically, the schedule I made two weeks ago in anticipation of this goal).

Goal #2: Shower and get dressed at least six days a week. I'll be honest, if I don't have to go somewhere or have someone coming over, I have very little motivation to shower and get ready. Even I think it's disgusting. How will I achieve this goal? By sticking to my new schedule where I have allotted shower, hair, dressing, and makeup time (see Goal #1).

Goal #3: Use my treadmill. Twenty minutes per day, six days a week, to be precise. I didn't realize the havoc working from home would wreak on my body. I get little to no exercise and it's just not healthy. I'm sure walking twenty minutes a day will do wonders for my health and help keep my unmedicated depression at bay. Huzzah! (also included in Goal #1)

Goal #4: Stop spoiling myself. I'm pretty sure this goes against everything American media is telling us, but seriously, I'm way too indulgent with myself, and I'm sure it's to my own detriment. If I want something, I buy it; if I want take-out, I get it. The problem is it's making my bank account skinny and my butt fat(ter), and I'd actually like the opposite to happen. By not giving in to each and every little whim and fleeting desire, I'll be able to save money. Plus, self-denial is fun, right? RIGHT? Hmm, this goal might not be specific enough. Let's say I'm going to limit my I-want-it purchases to one a month, and eating out alone (because I'd die if I didn't get out for lunch with friends every now and again) to twice a month. I think that sounds stingy enough for now. "Walk before you run" and all that...

Goal #5: Increase client base. I won't bore you with the details, but I need to increase my income. To do that I either need my current clients to give me more work or I need to get some new clients. Now that I think about it, I was actually pretty good at this in 2009. I got two new repeat clients and three or four one-timers. For 2010 I'm going to shoot for one two new repeat clients and three one-timers. Imma make that happen with increased, regular marketing (time already allotted in daily schedule from Goal #1) and a spanky new website (currently under construction by Make My Blog Pretty).

Goal #6: Work on financial preparedness. At one point I actually had six months' of living expenses saved up. Yeah, not anymore (see Goal #4). So this is actually a two-part goal; get six months' worth of living expenses saved back up, and, once that's done, open a retirement account, transfer my two 401k's into it, and start contributing 10% of my net income to it. This is mighty ambitious of me. We'll see how I do.

Goal #7: Get Milo 100% house broken. He's already 90% of the way there, so this shouldn't be too hard to do. As soon as I'm satisfied that he's all the way there, I will have the carpet professionally cleaned as a reward. (Lest you think I've been walking on pee-saturated carpet, please know I have been diligently and regularly cleaning my carpets. I just think a professional cleaning will handle the deep cleaning my little cleaner can't.) (I hope this doesn't violate Goal #4...)

And there you have my seven goals for 2010! Lucky, most of them are just smaller parts of a larger goal, but they're all important and I think will ultimately be good for me.

Oh, how I hate things that are good for me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not really cute

The other morning a local radio station was conducting a poll: what things do girls think are cute, but really aren't? Here are my answers:

Ugg boots. Sorry, no. They're fugly. The more dangly crap and roadkill you put on them the uglier they get. That's why they're called Ugg. That's the sound you make when you see them.

Crocs. Ditto.

Playing dumb/ditzy. Really? Is it 1956 when girls are still supposed to be inferior to boys? We've come a long way. Try not to ruin it for the rest of us.

Sitting next to your boyfriend/husband in restaurant booths and truck cabs. That's a whole kind of insecure that I just don't understand.

Zac Efron and any Carter brother. Blech. 'Nuff said.

Those vinyl stick figures on your car's back window. Nothing like advertising to would-be kidnappers and child molesters just how many children you have for them to snatch.

Having your three-year-old record your voicemail message. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HIM.

Joint email/Facebook accounts. See comment for "Sitting next to your boyfriend/husband in restaurant booths and truck cabs."

"That's what she said" Thursday

Me: "That's a big mail truck. You know what they say about big mail trucks."

Mom (nods knowingly): "Big packages."

Ok, it wasn't a That's what she said, but it still cracked me up.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poor, poor Chauncy

A couple of weeks ago I was awoken at about 6:00 a.m. to the sound of birds thrashing in their cage. I sat still in bed, waiting to see if it would happen again. It did, only it didn't stop. I ran downstairs and threw on all the lights to see my lutino cockatiel Chauncy covered in blood and clinging to the side of his cage. Blood was splattered everywhere. You know that episode of Mad Men where the guy's foot gets run over by the John Deere mower? Yeah, it was kind of like that.

Cockatiels can't see in the dark, and they can get frightened by noises and sudden movements (even if they have a nightlight, as Chauncy does). Since birds' natural reaction when frightened is to fly away, they start thrashing around in their cage, and they can injure themselves pretty badly. This last night fright wasn't Chauncy's first, but it was certainly his worst. Seriously, there was blood everywhere. It was splattered on the walls and all over the cage, and even worse it was dripping from Chauncy's wing (where he had broken a blood feather) into a small pool on the bottom of the cage. I grabbed Chauncy and applied some paper towels to his wing to stop the bleeding. (There's actually a powder you can buy to stop bleeding but I don't have any of it. I obviously need to get some.) Once my shoddy first-aid was applied, Chauncy just sat on my finger and let me scratch his head. After a few minutes I put him back in the cage and went back to bed. The next morning I spent a good half hour scrubbing up the blood and disinfecting everything. I also took Chauncy into the shower and got all the blood cleaned off of him, too. I'm happy to say that he's much better now. But here are some gross pictures, just for entertainment value.

The bloody cage

The blood-spattered wall

The blood-covered wing. Blerg!

And here he is happy and healthy, and giving you the stink-eye.


When I was eleven I went to the grocery store with my dad. Going to the store with Dad was fun because he actually listened to you when you started hounding him to buy item A or product B. My mom had learned years earlier to leave us kids at home or, failing that, to tune us out for as long as she could and then threaten beatings when she couldn't ignore the whining anymore. I didn't know it at the time, but that trip to the grocery store would forever change how I looked at money management.

Everything Dad bought that day, from baggies to cereal, was store brand. Having been quite effectively brainwashed by television commercials for brand-name products, I was horrified. "No, Dad!" I urged, "Buy the Zip-Loc baggies! They're better!"

"How are they better?" He demanded.

How are they better? How are they better?! Well, let's look at the packaging, for one thing. The colors! The professional design job! Everything about the packaging screamed superiority. But that argument didn't fly with my dad.

"They're exactly the same," he insisted. "And I'm not spending four dollars for something I can get for two."

At the time I thought he was a total dweeb. Now that it's my hard-earned money on the line, I'm singing a different tune.

At the grocery store I almost always buy the store brands. I do make an exception for my shampoo and conditioner because I've tried cheaper brands and I just prefer the way Herbal Essences makes my hair feel and smell. But other than that, it's store brands all the way, baby. I've also started clipping coupons. And when I say "clipping coupons," I mean, "printing them from online."

You should totally check out: (I think that might only be good for Utah)

They have tons of great coupons, and Savvy Shopper Deals' shopping wizard is totally awesome because it ranks how good the deals are (Wow!; Great; and Good). Seriously, go check them out. You'll save a grip of cash.

And before I buy anything online I always check to see if there's a coupon code for it (there almost always is). I've saved money on Papa John's pizza and shipping, among other things, and just recently Kristen saved sixteen bucks on a new camera because she Googled the site name + coupon code. Buying an airplane ticket? Find the flight you want on a site like Travelocity, then go right to the airline's website and buy the ticket through them. You'll save the $10 booking fee. Because, as Dad said, why spend more for the exact same thing?

When in doubt, haggle. Three years ago I would have been mortified at the thought of haggling for something in a respectable shop, but after seeing a segment on the Today show about haggling and how much money you can save, I decided to give it a try. Last year my sister had her eye on a bench at Pier 1. We went in one day to browse, and she noticed the bench was on sale. It was marked down from about $300 to $189, which was still a bit out of my sister's comfort zone. The sales person came over to see if we needed any help or had any questions. "Well, here's the thing," I told her. "We love this bench, but I don't know that we $189 love it." She went to talk to her manager and informed us that they could reduce the price to $99. I was floored. I thought they might be willing to drop the price to $150, but never in my wildest dreams did I think they would sell it to us for $99. I used the same tactic a while later at a little local shop, and they gave me 15% off. Just because I asked nicely. I'm not saying it always works, but it sure doesn't hurt to ask.

So, yes, I am a cheapskate. Along with pale skin and freckles, a hatred of sports, love of animals, and obsession with correct spelling and grammar, it's just one more thing I've gotten from my dad.

So, now that I've told you how I save money, how about you tell me how you save money?