Wednesday, November 29, 2006

from the mouths of babes

Yesterday I was invited to share in a free lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant by a co-worker who had won lunch for 8. I was thrilled to hear I was included in his chosen 8, and gladly headed out just after noon for some free grub.

More of a big picture kind of guy, and not one to focus on the small details of any situation, my co-worker conveniently left out one minor part of this free lunch deal. In order to get our lunch, all 8 of us would have to sit and listen to a pitch by from a financial services sales rep. After sitting captive (and hungry) through this pitch, the rep would then allow us to order lunch.

We all arrived at the restaurant and were greeted at the door by a cute sandy haired, baby-faced guy named Chuck. I say “guy” because I can’t really go so far as to call him a “man”. I would guess Chuck’s age to have been 23, at the most. Wearing what looked like his dad’s suit – his dad’s suit that was two sizes too big – Chuck greeted us with a “Hey ya’ll, I’m Chuck from ************ (a financial services company)” and escorted the group to some tables in the back corner of the restaurant. We sat down and really without even a slight pause (or an offer of even a beverage, for crying out loud), Chuck went right into what I would really define not so much as a sales pitch, but really a full-on act, a one man financial show of sorts.

I say this because his presentation was more than just the facts: “At ************ we can help you learn more about how to invest your money”. No, what Chuck offered was more like this: “Ok, so you guys like to make money, right? I know I do. And how about making some money without working more hours? You guys like that idea, right? I know I do.” Chuck didn't make eye contact – he looked right over our heads and rattled off words that I imagine he rattles off several times a day, in the exact same manner. And the fact that he was speaking so quickly, and slurring many of his words together, I really wasn’t catching everything he was saying. He would laugh at his own jokes now and then, and we’d all perk up for that, but were quickly lost again.

As Chuck continued speaking, I started imagining that probably just a couple of years ago he was still in college, and I then reached the conclusion that Chuck was a frat boy. Everything about him said frat boy. Now I should probably explain something. I always had a strong feeling of love/hate towards the stereotypical frat boy in college. I didn’t like them, I felt like I couldn’t really talk to them and I generally thought they were stupid – but we all know that this was just a defense mechanism. Deep down, all girls – I don’t care who you are, how smart you are, blah blah – all girls find something about a frat boy overwhelmingly appealing, and deep down, we all wanted their approval. And apparently, I haven’t outgrown this.

I started paying a little more attention to what Chuck was saying. Somehow he had ended up on planning for retirement, and the use of trusts to give money to family members and charitable organizations. He started asking us questions about trusts, living wills, etc – and as I’ve shared here before, this is actually part of my job at the museum. All of the sudden, I was answering Chuck’s questions – questions that I don’t think he really wanted us to answer. At the end of my commentary on charitable giving through life trusts, Chuck smiled and said, “Hey there – she knows what she’s talkin about. Would you like a job with me at *********?” The group let out a tired chuckle, as did I – but, deep down, I felt really satisfied to have won the approval of Chuck, our frat boy financial planner.

Chuck wrapped up his speech with, “Ok, you guys can go order your food. Just don’t go over $10. And fill out these forms, I have to give them to my boss to prove I did this.” We all filled out our forms, giving our office mailing address and our office phone numbers. I expect to receive a call from Chuck in the coming days, and deep down, I’ll probably be kind of excited to hear from him.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

jive turkey

(Side note: I can't keep this to myself. The janitor at my office has "Sexual Healing" as the ringtone on his cell phone. And he never, ever seems to turn the ringer off. I was in a meeting this morning, and he walked past the conference room - and his phone went off - "Baaaaaby...I can't fight it much longer...." Anyway.)

I'm easily distracted today. This is my last day of work before Thanksgiving vacation. Images of turkey, pies, and an uncomfortably bloated belly are dancing in my head. Holy moses, do I love Thanksgiving.

This year, however, will be the first time I've not spent the holiday with my family. I am driving to Tampa tomorrow morning to spend Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's dad and stepmother. And I have to admit that while I'm looking forward to meeting his dad, I am going to miss my family.

And their food.

Like many families, our extended family is somewhat of a cast of characters - people who, were they not members of the same family, would likely never cross paths. Among them is the ultra-conservative Baptist delegation of my family that reigns somewhat supreme over family functions, this includes my mom and her two younger sisters...there is the "black sheep" Red Lobster waitress cousin whose whereabouts are often unclear...there's the 30-something police officer bachelor cousin (the waitress's brother) who might or might not be an alcoholic and is usually dating a woman no less than 50 years of age....there's the uncle who makes endless fart jokes regardless of the company he's in. And then there's my sister and I, caught somewhere in the middle. We like to pride ourselves in being the normal ones, though I'm sure everyone I just mentioned would probably say the same thing about themselves. All of this to say that, while I certainly have affection for all of them, on the surface we have absolutely nothing in common outside of being related by blood....and by an obsession with food. If my family can talk about nothing else, they sure can talk about food.

I was raised with incredible quantities of food at any family gathering. More food than could ever be considered reasonable. A lot of food, and a lot of conversation about the food. And as we've all gotten older, and find conversation topics harder and harder to come by, the focus inevitably turns to what's on the table.....who made it, how it was made, when it was made, what kind of difficulties might have been experienced in the preparation, where the recipe came from, how it might have been done differently, and on and on and on. And while my sister and I get pretty annoyed by the seemingly endless talk about food with our family, and the fact that food is the #1 focus of our gatherings, I think we both know that deep down we would find a Thanksgiving or Christmas without it oddly incomplete.

I have a feeling that this Thanksgiving may feature more normal quanitites of food. And maybe it's safe to assume that their family not being southern, perhaps they don't cook vegetables with a ham bone in the pot. I can, however, take comfort in the fact that while I won't be enjoying my family's feast this year, I will no doubt hear about it later on, in vivid detail.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

little bitch

I love pets. I have a cat that I love too much - and I'll be the first to admit it. I was raised in a home where the line separating humans and pets was fuzzy, at best. Today if you visit my parents you will immediately notice their cat will be spoken about and to as if he is another member of the group...the group of humans. Anyway, I say all of that as somewhat of a disclaimer - because I'm sharing with you today that I have grown to deeply and whole-heartedly hate the little dog that lives in the condo directly below me.

Her name is Lacy. I have seen her around my building for several months, but never put it together that she lived below me. Lacy is a Yorkshire Terrier. Now that it is cooler outside, Lacy is usually fully clothed - much like the dog pictured above. Her "hair" bow usually coordinates with her "outfit", and more often than not, Lacy has on "shoes" - tiny dog booties - for her walks outdoors. Lacy's owner is a woman probably around my age. I don't know her name - but I sure do know Lacy's name.

I know Lacy's name because if the aforementioned nameless owner is home (which isn't often enough, believe me), she is bellowing - over and over and over - "Lacy!!!!! Shut up!!!!!!!"

Since Lacy and her owner live in the condo directly below mine, of course their ceiling is my floor. And I rarely hear any other noise traveling up - just the screaming, and the constant - unwavering - unrelenting bark of poor little Lacy. Lacy barks from sun up to sun down; I awake to the sound of this animal barking, and I go to sleep to the same sound. On the rare occassion I stop by my home during the work day, the barking is going - going strong.

Again, until recently I didn't know where the yapper lived - I hadn't yet been able to pin point exactly where the sound was coming from. But last week while walking out to my car, I heard that old familiar sound, "LACY!!!!!!!! COME HERE!!!!!!" I turned to find a frazzled woman screaming after a tiny, barking dog in a red sweater running in the opposite direction across the parking lot. I walked behind this pair all the way upstairs and watched them go into the condo directly under mine.

I've wondered for several weeks if my neighbors were as fed up with Lacy as I was, until yesterday when we all received an envelope taped to our doors. The letter read as follows:

"Dear Neighbors,

I know that my dog barks a lot. I know that she barks most of the time and many of you have complained to our property manager. I am trying to deal with this problem. I love her and I can't just get rid of her. Please be patient. I am trying to work something out with my employer so that I can take her to work with me.

Unit 2218"

She's still nameless, but at least this anonymous dog owner is making some sort of attempt to own up to Lacy's reign of terror over our building. I cannot imagine where this girl works that she could possibly even entertain the idea of taking Lacy with her, but whatever - as long as the yapping stops, I don't care.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I do not endorse....

Still not blogging about anything of any substance...sorry. What I will share with you is another tip - this time I send you a word of caution - a product you should avoid.

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I may be alone on this - a lot of people like this creation, apparently. Everyone in my office sure seems to. I, however, think the Pumpkin Spice Latte is repulsive. I had one this afternoon and have nothing good to say about it. It cost over three dollars and it is now perched on the edge of my desk, more than half full - its overwhelming odor tainting the air around me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

product endorsement

Friends - I have little to say today. It's only Tuesday and it's already been a pretty stressful week. As I am sure you can relate, I do at times find myself turning to good food to soothe and alleviate stress. But, as I am also sure you are, I am often busy - on the go - during the week and need to find good food fast.

I give you the 3 Cheese Chicken Quesadilla Lean Pocket.

I could really go on and on about these Lean Pockets, but I'll keep it brief. They are fantastic. BUT, buyer beware, I'm only endorsing these 3 Cheese deals - don't hold the Nation responsible if you buy some other variety of Lean Pocket and end up disappointed. As for the 3 Cheesers, they make a great breakfast or lunch and they take 2 minutes in the microwave. I know it's hard to believe that any microwaved thing could possibly be this delicious, but trust me.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I'm taking the easy way out this morning and copying a great blogging idea from Bossy Bar Wife.

100 things about me.....

1. I love corn dogs.
2. I love any outdoor festival or fair, and being at one immediately puts me in good spirits.
3. I was painfully shy as a child.
4. I lived a block away from Fenway Park in Boston for three years. I could hear every game from my apartment kitchen.
5. I hate talking on the phone.
6. I love finding unique greeting cards, and love receiving a well-chosen card.
7. I really enjoy wrapping presents.
8. Potted plants gross me out a little bit.
9. I think there few things more repulsive to eat than cow liver.
10. I love fried chicken livers.
11. I cannot exercise without listening to at least one Guns & Roses song.
12. I have two nephews whom I adore.
13. My 30th birthday is in exactly one month.
14. My family tells me we are distantly related to To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee.
15. I won my high school's pageant, and have a tiara boxed up at my parents' house.
16. Winning that pageant was a really big deal to me at the time, which is funny to me now.
17. I have never been stung by a bee.
18. I drink no less than 2 cups of coffee every day.
19. I love mimosas.
20. I get very anxious on long road trips.
21. I was an RA for three years in college.
22. If I could, I would wear flips flops every day of my life.
23. I never tire of good mexican food.
24. Cold cuts (in my frig at home) generally gross me out. If they are over a couple of days old, I cannot eat them.
25. I think mayonnaise is delicious.
26. I had a blood transfusion 2 years ago.
27. I have never donated blood.
28. I have performed in 8 operas.
29. I think Skittles, and really all fruit candies, are terrible.
30. I like to eat Tootsie Pops while I'm doing household chores.
31. The chore I like the least is putting away laundry. I will put off doing it until I absolutely have to.
32. I do not mind cleaning the bathroom at all.
33. I am far more comfortable standing up and speaking to a room full of people than having to mingle with that same room full of people.
34. I worked at Harvard for a year.
35. Though I haven't had them since I was a kid and would never make them for myself, I love fried Spam sandwiches.
36. I enjoy watching televangelists.
37. I wonder what God thinks about people like Jerry Falwell .
38. I can watch a documentary on any subject.
39. (Nobody will believe this....) I did not see an entire episode of Friends until after it went into syndication.
40. I could watch The Golden Girls every day.
41. I have excellent handwriting.
42. I only recently started to comprehend what a gift good health is.
43. Multi-vitamins make me incredibly nauseous. I have to take them immediately before I go to bed.
44. I was Student Council President my senior year of high school.
45. I got lost on foot in Vienna with Bossy on a college choir tour.
46. I did not have a taste of alcohol until I went to college.
47. I grew up Baptist.
48. I have never smoked a cigarette.
49. My dad recently kicked a 40+ year smoking habit.
50. I spent most of high school having crushes on guys I didn't know.
51. I didn't date much in high school.
52. I am never totally at ease on a boat.
53. I have to know at least a few personal details about the people I work with before I feel totally comfortable around them.
54. I like to share personal details about myself with others.
55. I own my home.
56. I hate wearing shorts.
57. I am comfortable doing just about anything alone.
58. I caught mono from my boyfriend in grad school.
59. I am not as close to my mother as I wish I could be.
60. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is my favorite Rolling Stones song.
61. I think my feet are unattractive.
62. I have a long nose, but I don't dislike it.
63. I love history.
64. I loathe math.
65. I don't like the addition of Meredith Vierra to the Today Show cast.
66. I adore Matt Lauer.
67. Since junior high I've always kind of wanted to be a news anchor, and I still dream about it sometimes.
68. I think Larry King is the worst interviewer on television.
69. CATS is the worst thing I've ever seen.
70. I am a perfectionist about silly things.
71. I cannot fathom buying a whole chicken from the grocery store.
72. Tuscany is my favorite perfume. You could call it my signature scent.
73. I will always love watching Steel Magnolias.
74. My fondest memory of my girlfriends in high school is of our renacting scenes from Steel Magnolias, for fun. I did a great impression of Shelby during her diabetic episode at the beauty parlor.
75. I was a singing waitress in Daytona Beach...
76. during Bike Week.
77. I spent about a year and a half on The stories from that period of time could occupy an entire blog.
78. If I had a year in which I didn't have to work for a living, I would try to write a book.
79. I think little girls are forced to grow up too quickly in our culture.
80. I adore southern cooking.
81. When I was in kindergarten, I thought my dad was black. Turns out he was just very tan.
82. I am a much stronger person than I ever thought I would be.
83. I would rather have 1 set of high thread count sheets than a closet full of cheap ones.
84. I love going to the movies.
85. I hate going to Blockbuster.
86. I am terrible about returning DVD's to Blockbuster on time.
87. When I am focused on something, I overlook other things easily. I have to keep a calendar for every dayn and have to live by it.
88. I have to fight the urge to scowl at people talking on their cell phones in public places. If it's not an emergency, I promise you it can wait.
89. I love Popeyes fried chicken.
90. If I really need to think about something, I go for a drive.
91. I have talked my way out of a traffic ticket I know I deserved.
92. If My Big Fat Greek Wedding is on TV, I watch it. Always.
93. I hate packing for a trip. I either take way too much or not enough.
94. I waste shampoo.
95. I love conversations that get off course.
96. I avoid small talk if at all possible. I hate it.
97. I make terrible cole slaw.
98. If Ghostbusters is on TV, I watch it. Always.
99. If I could eat Krystal burgers for lunch every day, I would.
100. I know that laughter is always the best medicine.