Monday, December 6, 2010

Stop me before I bake again.

Stephanie, the wonder coworker, has left me.

Okay, she didn't leave me, per se. She found a job that suits her life better and makes her happier. And I want that for her, I do. You would have been so proud of me, dear invisible friend. I only whined a little.

So. I have a new coworker. She worked her first weekend and, to make things easier, I was asked to work with her. No problem. Well, not much of one. Yes, it meant giving up a fair chunk of my off-time, but if it kept all running smoothly during a time of transition, it was worth it. Yesterday, she mentioned that today is her birthday.


Yes, this meant baking.

Now, you know I love to bake. I already had something on the books to make that day, though. We'll get to that in a minute.

I called Roommate to see if I needed to pick up anything at the grocery store in addition to the small items I would need for the day's baking, and Roommate reminded me that I also needed to make shortbread for her mother. [Roommate's mom decided to give pretty coffee cups as Christmas gifts and wanted shortbread to fill the oversized mugs. My shortbread, to be exact.] The way Roommate reminded me of this was too precious for words.

Roommate: What do you need to make shortbread?
Me: Butter, flour and sugar.
Roommate: Do we have that?
[small pause]
Me: Yes.

Yes. We have flour, butter and sugar in the House of Obsessive Baking. Followed closely by eggs, heavy cream and baking cocoa. In fact, if I am out of flour, it pretty much is the end of the world and we need to watch out for those four guys on horseback. And really, when I say that, I mean watch out. Look both ways before crossing the street. 'Cause whammo! Outta nowhere, here they come. And rude...! Rude. Every last one of them. Like, ohhh, you're the Pale Rider, you're such a tough guy. It would kill you to use a freaking turn signal????

Yes, yes, I digress again. One would think you'd be used to it by now.

Anyway. Baking.

When I got home, I started with the shortbread for Roommate's mom. [It's the cream-colored cookie in the picture above.] Fortunately, this is an incredibly easy cookie to make. [See ingredient list as previously mentioned.]

Then Roommate reminded me that she had received a "to die for" pumpkin bar recipe, and we should try it. I say unto you again, WE should try it. We. Much like "we made a horse cake." Remember how that turned out?

Actually, it wasn't quite like the horse cake situation. In this case, by "we," Roommate meant "Lisa." And so....

The pumpkin bars were not to die for. Oh, they're quite nice, really. Good texture. Pleasant moisture level. And thanks to my first experience hand grating nutmeg, fairly flavorful. But to die for? I think not.

These things completed, I moved on to the birthday cake. I considered making my go-to chocolate cake, but in the end, was compelled to make the peach-cinnamon-ginger bundt cake you see below, served with my cousin Dana's apricot syrup.

Pretty, huh? I have a Heritage Bundt pan I got from Williams-Sonoma. Pretty. So pretty. Of course, one must use half a can of Baker's freaking Secret to keep the pretty cake from sticking, but hey! Such is the price for beauty. Or so my friends who have had plastic surgery tell me.

And if it doesn't come out perfectly, well....God bless cousin Dana and her apricot syrup.

It was at this point I started on my last baking foray of the afternoon/evening and Roommate announced she was done washing the dishes I dirtied for the day. This isn't unusual or unreasonable, as I tend to use many, many dishes as I cook or bake. Fortunately, I was able to clean up the rest myself. This was not difficult. What was difficult, however, was the last item on my list.

French meat pie.

For this, I blame Guy Fieri.
If you are unaware, dear invisibleness, Guy Fieri hosts a show on the Food Network called "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and now and then, shows his viewers a dish I cannot resist trying to make. Such was the case with French meat pie.
I paged through a few of my ninety-five billion cookbooks after seeing this dish made on television and found a few variations on it. Then, emboldened by the first real success I had making pie crust for Thanksgiving dessert, I gave it a try and brought my efforts to work.
So many lovely guinea pigs at work.
One guinea pig---ahem, colleague in particular raved about the pie. So much so, in fact, that another coworker [who is also a dear friend] asked me to make this nice [albeit raving] woman a meat pie of her own. And, as this is essentially meat loaf with a crust, I said okay.
I said okay. I said sure. I did. I have no one to blame but myself.
Again, siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
So in the spirit of the season, let's sing together...
I baked
Four dozen shortbreads
Three zillion pumpkinbars
Two pounds of bundt cake
And a French meat pie for Mer-e-diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiith!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh, ouch.

A dear friend sent me a picture message just recently, showing off her brand-spanking-new microdermal piercings. On the back of her neck. Yes, my invisible pal, you read that correctly. On the back of her neck.

Now, before you shriek and run away, or turn a delicate, pale green, like the fragile leaves of spring, let me tell you a tiny bit of the information she shared with me. A tiny bit, don't be scared. I won't go on and on.

Was that an eyeroll? Mmm. I see. I'll let it go this time, but if it happens again, I might have to unleash The Look. You know what I'm talking about. Yes, you do. Yes, you do!

Anyway. Piercings.

Evidently, a microdermal piercing is a little different than the usual kind; the puncturing jewelry doesn't go in to one bit of skin and out another. No, no. One end gets rammed into the skin and then that end is screwed into a bit that lives under the skin. At least, I think this is what my friend told me. It's difficult to be sure, as I was screaming and rocking back and forth while she described this to me.

No, I wasn't really doing that. Ha ha ha.... I would never--okay, it was close. I nearly did that.

But back to my friend. She survived her piercing experience, has two new pieces of body jewelry [which makes her very happy] and claims she's done with getting any more piercings for a while. As I have seen the additional body jewelry she does sport, I had this to say in response:

Uh huh. Sure. No, I believe you.

Now, I appreciate that this is something my dear friend loves to do. And it is her body. I'm not judging. It's just that I have a different frame of reference. I look at piercings and tattoos and scarification and making the holes of piercings bigger and all I can think is OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But that's me. [Dreadful grammar, I know.]

On a daily basis, people who come into my lab to have blood drawn inform me, in dire tones, that they do not like needles. As if this might be news to me. As if I expect them to like it. Who likes getting blood drawn? And would we want to know them?

I think not.

There are people who don't mind the process, I admit it. Delightful creatures. But nobody actually likes it. What amazes me, however, are the people who inform me of their distaste of the process...while dripping piercings and being covered with tattoos. At this point, I am less sympathetic than usual.

Patient: I'm not very good at this.
Me [after spotting a full "sleeve" of tattoos]: Really?
Patient: Yes. I can't stand needles.
Me: Uh huh. And this was done with Magic Marker?
Patient: Well, no, but it's different.

Yes, it is different. I stick the tip of one sterile, single-use needle into a vein, blood flows out, and voila! We're done. Your average tattoo artist repeatedly injects ink into skin, sometimes using bundles of needles, in a process that can take hours. Different. Yes.

I'm not saying blood draws don't skeeve me out as much as the next person. I'm a wuss. I admit it. I was 35 when I got my ears pierced. Roommate forced me to come to the mall--well, okay, not forced. But she insisted. They gave me a teddy bear to hold. Roommate held my other hand [later claiming I "nearly broke" her hand---pfft!] and a six year old, in the store with her mother looked at me as if to say, "Jesus, lady. Get it together." It was mortifying. It was painful. And I will never, ever, EVER get anything else pierced in my life, much less anything tattooed. I would rather get blood drawn any day.

Microdermal piercing. [shudder] Really? Gah.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Joy in Portland

You know how people tell you where to go? No, no. Silly invisible friend. Not that way. One mentions that she's headed to Portland, for example, and if one is very lucky, a flurry of information drifts down on one's head, like happy snowflakes. But warm. And not so wet.

This is what happened to me. After hearing about a little place called Voodoo Doughnut, I had to go. And you know...they're correct. Good things do come in pink boxes. Heh.

This, for example:

This is the Dirty Old Bastard. On top of an insanely fresh chocolate doughnut, crushed Oreos and peanut butter drizzled resides. Or it did. Now, it's hanging out in my cellulite, with plenty of little friends.

Voodoo Doughnut also makes incredible apple fritters, a tropical delight called Mango Tango, a maple bar with BACON, yes, BACON, and countless other delicious treats. My favorite, however, is this gift from heaven:

It's called the Cock & Balls. It's a huge, light, raised set of doughnuts, slathered in chocolate and [naturally] filled with cream. It took me two days, but I ate it all.

Yes, I did.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top Ten What?

Oh, my darlingest invisible friend. Sometimes, in this wasteland that is my life, bounty appears. I never see it coming. I never know from whence it comes. But come, it does, in all of its glorious abundance.

This time, it came from the Land of eSchmarmony.

In case you were unaware, dearest, eSchmarmony will periodically email its victi--ahem, customers with gentle advice on how to find the love of one's life. These articles and slideshows are super, by the way, filled with words of wisdom. Things like, how to pick to the right photo[s] for one's profile. [NB: It's NOT the shot taken by cell phone in the bathroom mirror. Who knew?] How to recognize relationship sabotage. [Evidently, sleeping with one's emotionally abusive ex is bad.] How to spot red flags. [They're red. And they wave about like...well, you know.] And most recently, sandwiched between a list of movies that "make men cry" and a "free" newsletter that offers the secret to lasting love, was the unexpected wealth of information called.....

[Wait for it.]

Top Ten Pick-Up Lines.

Now, my initial reaction to this was a teensy bit derisive. After all, mine is a testosterone-poor existence. If I had eligible males in my vicinity on whom I could practice such techniques as pick-up lines, would I be on eSchmarmony to begin with??? No. In case you wondered, no. Okay, probably not.


I didn't realize the gift I'd been given, the gift I would share with you, dearest of all fictional friends. Let me extend to you now, the experience of eSchmarmony's Top Ten Pick-Up Lines.

And my responses to each.

All right, all right. These aren't necessarily my responses. They're just response one might encounter if trying to use these nuggets of social gold. Here we go

Top Ten Pick-Up Lines [from eSchmarmony]

Number One: Hey, I Love Your Shoes (or Handbag or Coat, etc.)

No. I'm sorry, no. Because you're gay. You might not realize it. But you're hitting on the wrong gender. Embrace who you are! Be proud! Yay, you!

Number Two: "Hi, I would love to get you a drink."

Sure....but who's paying for it? And I'm not easier when I'm drunk, just so you know. More belligerent. Or...oh my gosh! I'm sorry! I didn't realize you were our server tonight! Could I start a tab, please?

Number Three: "What kind of dog is that?"

[Okay, this one might actually work on me. Unless I get ultra-focused on dogs and forget there's a guy standing there. This has actually happened.

Friend: That guy was flirting with you.

Me: No, he wasn't.

Friend: Yes, he was. And you started talking about canine intestinal problems.

Me: So what?

Friend: You're an idiot.]

A non-dog freak, however, might respond with:

That's not a dog, that's my nephew/offspring/sister/mother/et cetera. [Things go downhill after this.]

Number Four: "Are you single?"

Insensitive reply: Yes, and thank you for reminding me why.

Sensitive reply: [muffled sobbing] Have you been talking to my mother???? I'm still a person, you know!! I still have value in this couple-driven society! [Things go downhill after this.]

Number Five: "Hi, who's your friend?"

Are you kidding? You walked across the room, shoved by hordes of people milling about, and you're asking about my friend??? [Things really go downhill after this.]

Number Six: "Nice to meet you. I'm ____ and you are beautiful."

Murphy's Law: Thank you, that's a lovely--oh dear, I can't believe I just spilled my....

Vision of self: Really? So you like the old-baggy-yoga-pants-and-ponytail-through-eggbeater look?

PMS: Uh huh. You're not getting laid.

Number Seven: "I bet you were an awfully cute baby."

Ew. That's just wrong.

And you're still not getting laid.

Number Eight: "How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice."

Seriously? Is that [sniff] is that [sniff] is that Limburger? That was some majorly stinky cheese, buddy.

And you brought up the weight of a polar bear to me because...?

Number Nine: “Excuse me, but you have something on your face," (when she goes to wipe it off you stop her and say) "No, no leave it. It's beauty."

Excuse me, but I seem to have gotten something on your shoe. Yeah, you probably want to wipe it off. It's vomit.

And Number Ten: "WHO are you?"

Who am I? Who the [insert appropriate copulatory Anglo-Saxon term here] are you?

And you're still not getting laid.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

GBS Groupie Moment

Hello, darling invisible friend! It's been too long, hasn't it? Oh, I am sorry. I really am. And so much has happened! We'll start small, though.

Last week, the roommate and I went to Portland again. Why? Well, for the very same reason we went to Portland this summer! Great Big Sea was there! And they performed a concert while they were there!!

This last sentence might seem to be unnecessary information; you might ask why the Newfoundlanders would be in Portland otherwise. I can understand the thought process. St Johns is a bit of a jaunt to Portland, Oregon. But...there are a lot of microbreweries in Portland. A lot. More than you think. Enough to tempt a beer-loving soul to travel. They could have just showed up for the beer.

But they didn't.

GBS performed at the Aladdin Theater, in-a-not-totally-residential-but-a-lot-more-residential-than-downtown Portland neighborhood. Yes, that is the official zoning description. According to a woman who stood in line with us, the Aladdin Theater was once an adult movie house that showed "Deep Throat" as its one adult movie. Now it's a small venue for musical acts.

Yeah. Just nod and smile. That's what we did. Well, that, and check the seats before we sat down.

Speaking of, we grabbed seats toward the front of the theater on the left side. Two rows back from the stage! And this is what leads me to my groupie moment.

Fairly early on, Sean McCann performed the title track to the newest CD, "Safe Upon The Shore." It was beautiful. One of those gorgeous, sad, a cappella folk songs that GBS does so well. After the applause died down, Alan Doyle said to the crowd, "Well...good night! 'Cause I don't what we're gonna sing after that!" There was laughter and protests and I called out, "Everything! 'Boston to St Johns!'" Around the same time, other people called out their own suggestions. I don't know if I was first or just loudest. But....

Alan laughed and said, "All right, no need for special requests." And the show continues. The first set finished with a brief break, allowing band and crowd to "refresh" themselves, in any way deemed appropriate [coughbeercough], followed by the second set and the obligatory departure of band from stage for the "encore."

Btw, I have no idea why this is necessary. They know we want them to play more. We know they're not really gone. But almost every band does this. Maybe it just makes everyone feel better about the end of the concert.

Concert goer: "Oh, they were going to end early, but we yelled their name long enough and loudly enough and changed their minds!"

Band: "They like us! They really like us!!"


When the sufficient volume of yelling and cheering had occurred, Alan returned to the stage. Alan. Not the whole band. Not Alan and Sean and Bob and Murray and Kris. No. Just Alan. With a guitar. After letting us settle down, he said rather quietly, "By special request...."

And sang "Boston to St Johns." I know!!

Now, I don't know that Alan heard my voice as I yelled out my request. Although, having met me, odds are pretty good. But I'm choosing to believe that this song was performed for me.

And yes, I giggle every time I think of it. Don't mock. You would, too.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And what do the Voices tell you?

I was having a day.

Ever have one of those? It's nothing terrible, really. And you recognize it, you do. You know that your reactions are just a wee bit overblown, your feelings are just a teensy bit overwrought, your voice is just a note too shrill. You know it. And yet....

I knew it, too. I could hear the Voice Of Sanity in my head, letting me know that I was having a day, but sadly the day continued. The Hideous Emotional Cow who was rampaging through my brain was confronted by the Voice Of Sanity.

"Hey, HEC, how's it going?" VoS asked.

"Horrible! Hideous! Just like me!!" HEC shrieked, high drama punctuated by a storm of hysterical weeping.

"Mmm." A careful pause. "Do you think you might be a little overemotional right now?"

A dangerous silence ensued. "What are you saying, VoS?"

VoS brightened, happy to be asked. "Well, if we look at this logically, we can see there's no rational---"

And that's when the beating happened. VoS, although logical, has a terrible sense of timing. And frankly, when HEC is on a roll, there's no good time to use the L word. No, not love, silly. Logic.

I could blame hormones for HEC's ridiculous behavior, I could. But I refuse to believe that I'm a victim to my emotional tempests or chemical huricanes. Sure, we all have visceral reactions to the world, but I don't think we have to stay in that reactive place. We can feed that beast or we can starve it. Right?

Now, if only I could apply this attitude to my job.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Pretty, huh?
The stitches are out. Okay, yeah, it's still poofy. And sore. And I can't really grasp anything yet, which is going to make holding a needle to draw blood a bit....tricky. But...oh, heck. That's only 50% of my job. So no big whoop. Right?
I am delighted to be returning to work, though. It'll be super to be awake at 0530. It'll be awesome to punch that timeclock. And oh, I cannot tell you how I look forward to my first cranky patient!!!
Don't worry. I'll tell you all about it. I will. Yes, I will!
[By the way, to get to the Irishmen, take the Pacific exit off of I-5, go west to Pacific, turn right and go down two blocks. The pub is on the right side of the of the road. Give me a five minute heads-up and I'll meet you there.]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recovering Nicely, Thank You!

Oh, darling invisible friend. It's been an interesting week. My surgery was profoundly unremarkable, requiring only MAC anesthesia, or "twilight" anesthesia. Nooooo, no pretty little vampires or precious werewolves involved, it was essentially like getting a little tipsy and falling asleep, and waking up midway through the party.

But without the hideous, my-friends-drew-on-my-face-as-I-was-passed-out aspect. Although...I was in a hospital gown with the ridiculous bonnet thing on my head. What more could they have done to make me look silly? No, don't answer that.

So the bandage is nutty-looking. And I'm to keep it dry and clean and intact. The bandage. Pay attention, silly. Other than a few ouch moments, it's been not too terrible. [NB: Whapping knuckle after surgery is not recommended.]
All right, it's time for an obscene amount of ibuprofen, again. Sigh. But better than narcotics!
Oh, and the Yeti....yeah. No. No. It was almost painful.
Remind me not to date forest creatures, won't you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Under The Knife

Well, dear invisible friend, this may be the last snippet of conversation from me for a while. Blogged conversation, that is. As far as I know, my mouth will still be functional after surgery.

Did I not tell you I was getting surgery on the moose-related injury? Oh, surely, I must have done. Really? Hm. Must have been a conversation we had in my head. All right. Here's the outline of events.

When I hit the moose in May, some glass shards lodged themselves into my knuckle. [NB: It is inappropriate to refer to my injury as "moose knuckle." Evidently, it means something entirely different.] What? No, I didn't punch the moose, I ran into it with my car. Remember? Yes, I did tell you that. Yes, I did. Go check, then.
Anyway. The first picture is my post-accident injury, almost immediately after I arrived at the cabin. Note rustic decor in background. That's genuine faux wood paneling, I'll have you know. The second is the same hand, a couple of days later. Again, take a moment to enjoy the newly recovered chair and ottoman that was my grandfather's, also featured in the photograph. And by newly recovered, I mean within the last twenty-five years. The last is a comparison of injured and uninjured knuckles, taken today. At work. Where I will not be for two weeks.
I shouldn't be gleeful about that.
After all, after the surgeon gets done monkeying around in my knuckle and taking out the icky bits, and yes, these are technical surgical terms, I'm supposed to keep said digit dry and immobile for the time I have off. This concerns me a little, as it is my left hand that is injured and unlike Inigo Montoya, I am left-handed.
Immobile. And dry. I can do that. Right?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Date To Remember

Ah, dear invisible friend, here we are again. I know, it's been too long, or even not long enough, but oh, how I've missed you. No, really. I have. Don't roll your eyes, they'll freeze that way.

It occurred to me, dearest, that I haven't blogged about a particularly memorable date I had in the beginning of this year. It was this date, in fact, that helped prompt my need for a blog, despite my friend Connie's response of "Because you...don'" Don't fret, I wasn't hurt by this. Much. No, no. At all. Because really, we've met, right? You know Connie wasn't wrong.


I had been on eSchmarmony for a little while when W contacted me. He seemed pleasant enough. We had a few conversations via email and IM, a few nice phone calls. While talking to him didn't make my heart pound or cause my computer browser to pop up gift registries, as if by magic, I tried to keep an open mind and a hopeful heart.

Perhaps I should have canceled the date when, after hearing that I was driving to Vancouver, BC, for my great-aunt's memorial service the day before our meeting, his immediate response was to ask me to smuggle some Cuban rum back across the border for him. That might have been a wise thing to do. Live and learn.

But I didn't cancel my date. I met W at a cute little neighborhood restaurant/bar, conveniently close to his home. Not that I mind driving. That's fine. He was waiting for me in the bar, having a drink. We chatted a bit and when the server came over to take my order, he spent a little time trying to gauge the bartender's comfort level with preparing "pre-prohibition era cocktails."

May I just say, here and now, that I think it's super that people have interests and passions that make them seek out the unusual, be it in food or drink or art or music. That's great. But I wouldn't go to Native American museum and complain about the lack of European Impressionist masterpieces. I'm just saying.

As the date/conversation progressed, my work in the medical field was discussed, and W lamented his inability to shock me with anything, given my job. I assured him that despite my exposure to all things icky, plenty shocked me. [No, I didn't bring up the rum request. Yes, it would have been brilliant. No, I was still trying to be nice.] W then asked what shocked me. I told him people shocked me. A delicate tendril of mockery tickled my ear as W called my answer an evasion.

Yes. I know. But he asked.

Perhaps telling him an anecdote about a child's death at my first hospital was inappropriate. But it really was one of the most shocking things I've ever encountered. And when I think of the circumstances, nearly twenty years later, I am still shocked. And he asked.

The next day at work, my lovely coworker Stephanie asked me about the date with W and the first thing out of my mouth was:

"I made him cry."

W, hereafter and forever more known as The Weeper, became the benchmark for bad dates. And I remind myself of this as I go to have a coffee date with...

...the Yeti.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Successful Walk

Well, darling invisible friend, the 3-Day Walk of 2010 is over. Roommate walked through rain and wind and wackadoodle heat. She climbed vicious hills. She developed blisters the size of San Diego. She figured out how to inflate the air mattress, since I wasn't there to do it for her. Despite a walking partner's [her lovely teammate, Crystal] injury/potential stress fracture that kept her from walking with alongside of her, roommate walked and walked and walked.

Okay, yeah, she rode the bus a little. But hey! Blisters the size of San Diego! Do you blame her???? At least the drivers didn't all know her by name. When I did the walk last year, they knew my name. Of course, instead of the frequency of my patronage of the vehicles, it could have been the fact that I said in my usual dulcet tones upon boarding the "sweeper" van,

"Oh my Gawd, I'm sweating like a whore in church!"

Some people might find that memorable. Hm. Maybe. Anyway.

In a moment of solemnity [don't worry, it won't last] I'd like everyone to think about the women [and men!] in our lives affected by breast cancer. I'd like you to think about the sixty miles my roommate walked to help end this vicious, conscienceless, heartless disease. And I'd really like it if you could consider donating to this incredible effort. In fact, here's the link:

Send it to your friends. Your family. Your coworkers. Donate because you loved someone and lost her to breast cancer. Donate because you love someone who fought the beast and won. Donate because you love someone who battles today and everyday to survive. Donate because you don't want your daughters and granddaughters and nieces to feel the fear and pain and suffering that goes with this.

Donate because this disease must be stopped.


That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Word to the Moderately Wise

Dating site photos are very often unflattering. They are. Oh, sure, I know plenty of people post the glamour shot pictures or that "one picture that I really, really like/captures the essence of me" on their dating profiles---even if the picture is twenty-five years old and they haven't looked even close to that since the '90s---but so many of the pictures are truly hideous. They're cell phone pictures. They're cropped from a work photo featuring 200 colleagues and are grainy and blurry. They're taken by someone who has my skill level of photography, AKA no skill at all. I really try not to judge a potential date/mate based on his picture. It's not fair. It's not right. And even if the picture is accurate, it's the book-by-its-cover thing. I know I don't like it when someone takes one look at me and can't even be bothered to learn anything about me.

It's only fair to give people a chance. After all, most of the planet isn't mouthwateringly gorgeous. some point I must say, "Gosh, you seem super, but I have a small problem dating a yeti."

I even had gluten-free Jen look at one man's profile and emails. Words like "sweet" and "simple" were used, but even she [possibly one of the nicest people on the planet] had to agree, this fellow made the Geico cavemen look civilized and...well, hot.

She did ask where we'd go on a date, snowshoeing through the Andes? Obviously, GF Jen has been married way too long, because you never travel that far on the first date. If Yeti and I did go out, it would have to be closer to home. Possibly a nearby forest. We could do a little foraging, like pigs for truffles. But the Andes? I don't even know if he'd have all of his shots and tags for international travel. And a kennel for that long a flight...not fun. Not comfortable.

But as usual, I digress.

I feel a little bad, being this judgemental. Not bad enough to stop, but bad.

Oh, my dear invisible friend, my dear fictional reader, I implore you. If you are in a relationship, and nothing too ghastly is occurring there, do what you can to make it work. Do not join me in this morass of single life, this level of hell called dating. In this case, the grass is not greener.

Trust me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What To Say

I heard myself saying something and had a moment of realization, a realization that I, myself, should never never never never use certain phrases. A friend of mine made some innocuous comment and I replied, "That's who I am. It is, in fact, how I roll."

I know. I know.

This is why my spicy Cuban friend refers to me as "past white."

It's true. Although I prefer the terms Pasty American and pigmentally challenged, I recognize that I am overly Caucasian. Most of the time, I accept that. Every now and again, I wish I could step beyond the boundaries that have been set for me.

Let me be clear here. I do not think my skin color determines my ability to use certain phrases or assume certain attitudes. I think that this is a bone-deep quality of me, of who I am. I will never be able to wear the clothing of the day, no matter what day it is. I will never be able to pull off the savvy phrases and slang. And no matter how many dances classes or Zumba sessions or open minded young people there are in the world, there are certain moves I should never even attempt.

For this, dear Lord, let us be truly thankful.

Maureen, my Cuban friend, once said to me, "You white people take salsa lessons. We just start moving our hips." Really, I cannot think of a better way to define it.

It reminds me of that part in the first "Airplane!" movie in which the flight attendant is attempting to converse with two black men and is having a very difficult time. Finally, a woman who looks like a Norman Rockwell version of a grandmother steps forward and say, "Excuse me, I speak jive."

I don't.

Monday, August 30, 2010


The Stump War is OVER.
Evidently, the neighbors were sick of seeing us wage the Stump War. They came over with chains and electric chainsaws and ropes and what was, at one time, a truck. I thought they would give up after the bumper bent and part of the truck bed snapped in two, but by that time, they had us. By then, it was personal.
The bit of stump in the last picture? We're leaving it and giving it a decent burial. A memorial has been discussed.
Let me tell you, this stump fought hard. If you look in the third picture, you can see the previously mentioned damage it did to the neighbor's truck, and that was after heavy stump losses [see picture #2]. It didn't give up.
We faced the enemy. We learned, at great pain and cost, to respect the enemy. We defeated the enemy. Victory is ours.
I think it's because we have thumbs.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


We all have questions, don't we, dearest invisible friend? We all have things we really want to know. Who am I, really? Why am I here? Will I live to see a world at peace? Is there really an Omnipotent Comedian? What the hell is that, stuck on the bottom of my shoe? What's the air velocity of the laden swallow?

Allow to to reassure you, dear one, that I do not have the answers to most of these questions. Oh, sure, I could make something up, but we both know I'd be lying, and what, really, is the point of lying when one knows she is not going to get away with it? Far better to save the lies for something I have an outside chance of pulling off. Sadly, I am a terrible liar. I give it a try now and again, but I suck at it. Anyway....

Some questions can, of course, be answered. Example:

Q: Will my mother ever let up on me?
A: Of course not, you silly cow. Have you been paying attention during the last four decades?

It's nice to have an answer sometimes. Sometimes, one might wish she hadn't asked the question at all, but there we are. There are times when I ask a question and truly hope someone will tell me the answer. Ooo! Let's try asking one of them now!

Why would a man ask me to act stupid? No, really. He did. We were having what I thought was a pleasant enough conversation when out of the blue, this "man" said that after a hard week, he didn't want to be "challenged" by me and asked me, could I act a bit more feminine?

Yes, by all means, take a moment. I know I had to.

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked him if he could define "feminine behavior" in this case. He told me I should act a bit stupid, giggle, smell good and wear short skirts. I can only guess that the hair-twirling was optional.

Yes, I'm serious. And evidently, so was he. Hey, I can't make this stuff up!

It is in moments such as these that I ask far more pertinent questions: What is the end goal of this man, in regards to me? Does he want to date me? Does he hope to find his future life-mate in me? Does he merely want to divest me of my panties? All reasonable goals, really, when one considers it. But does this man think that this behavior will increase his odds at achieving aforementioned goal?

I have no answer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Family, revisited.

I am, once again, at the lake. Oh, the weather has been glorious! The journey here was uneventful---no moose---although Gluten Free Jen and her children traveled with me across the state. I don't believe I've spent better than seven hours with a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, in a car, traveling to a vacation house, immediately following said children and their mother's ten-day adventure with their grandparents, but I must say, I have a deep and profound respect for parents of small children at this moment.

Not to say I was bothered by the children. I really wasn't. I've actually fallen in absolute love with these kids. But my lord...they are relentless little people, aren't they? I got to be on the outside, really, because the kids were more focused on Mommy than me, but was like my terrier with a Bully Stick. And my friend stayed so calm! This is what mother love is, I guess.

I wonder when my mother stopped experiencing that emotion.

My parents arrived late on Friday evening, about five hours+ after we got their. Rex, GF Jen's lovely husband, had arrived beforehand and helped prepare dinner and wrangle children. [This is their term. "Rex will wrangle the kids." I do not believe there are any actual ropes or branding irons used.] My parents didn't arrive in time for dinner and in preparation for that, we'd set aside some of the dinner for them.

Was Mom delighted with this? Oh, thank you for asking. No. No, she wasn't.

In fact, I believe it's safe to say Mom wasn't delighted about anything, particularly me in the entire time she was here. It was 48 hours of unrelieved negativity and criticism. You think I exaggerate, beloved invisible friend? Are you smiling to yourself and wondering if this is simply hyperbole for dramatic/comic effect?


Dad left early the first morning for a golf game. Yes, he is a clever fellow. Golf and his hearing loss have been key success factors in 47 years of marriage. [An audiologist told him his hearing loss was restricted to the tones of a woman's voice. Coincidence? You decide.] When he arrived back at the cabin from his game, I went out to meet him. I'm not sure what my face looked like at that moment, but I know my hands were clenched into shaking fists and my eyes were about twice their normal size. Dad immediately, and kindly, took Mom to a nearby restaurant for a cocktail. They returned just in time for dinner.

During the cleanup of the meal, my mother and I "discussed" her general unhappiness with the amount of work she puts into the lake cabin, the dearth of assistance she receives and the absolute absence of appreciation for all of her efforts. [By the way, all of this--yes, all--was apparently my fault.] After much time and several moments of my use of a low and intense tone of voice talking with Mom [you know the tone I'm talking about...] I finally told her she had options in regards to the cabin.

No, I don't know why I bothered. Do you want to know what I said or not? Thank you.

1) She could just stop coming to the cabin and let other people deal with it. [Yes, she glommed onto this one and acted like I'd stolen her dolly and kicked her puppy.]

2) She could change her attitude and be joyful in what she chose to do with her time at the cabin. [No, I'm not holding my breath, either.]

And this is the biggie:

3) She could continue on as she had been doing, get herself a big, wooden cross, put it up in the front of the cabin and just climb on up and perch there.

The opportunity to say this to my mother almost made the two days of hell worth it.

Almost. Not quite.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It could have been worse.

It could have looked like the horse head in The Godfather.
But that's neither here nor there.
There are things I miss about my ex. The stories, the funny phrases. I did keep a few things from the relationship. One of the things is the following word:


As in, "My mum voluntold me to fix the neighbor's car."

It's a great word and perfectly descriptive. The roommate recently voluntold me to bake a cake for a five-year-old's birthday.

Okay. Wait. That's not entirely accurate. Let me tell you the whole story.

Yes, the whole story. No, I can't sum up. Have you met me? Just get a snack and settle in.

The roommate's coworker wanted a birthday cake for a five-year-old in her family. [Ooo, what did you get for a snack? Hold it up. That looks good.... Anyway.] Evidently, the child wanted a horse cake. No, no! Not a cake made of horse. Or even worse, horse leavings. Gah. She wanted a cake shaped like a horse.

While I love to bake and have inflicted the stories of such enterprises upon you, dear invisible friend, I am not nor have I ever been an adept cake decorator. I was willing to make a cake and let the adults involved place little plastic horses on top of the cake. I would have even frosted the cake in meadow green, so the horses would have looked as if they were frolicking in the grass. Maybe scattered candy flowers...well, you know where I'm going with this. But decorating a cake to look like a horse? Neigh!!!!

Ow!! Okay, I deserved that.

But roommate told her coworker if we could find a horse-shaped cake pan, then we would make a horse-shaped cake for this darling little girl. Yes, you caught the "we," didn't you? Well, that's what she said to her coworker. And you know what roommate did?

She found a horse-shaped cake pan. I know!!!!

I won't bore you with every detail of making and attempting to decorate this poor cake. The roommate and I did get a wee bit snappish with one another, standing in the heat of the kitchen at 11:00 PM after a long day at the end of a long week. Suffice to say, it really wasn't pretty.

The cake didn't look so great, either.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Comment comment

Okay, just briefly: You know how I love the comments people make on my blogs, don't you, my darling invisible friend? I cannot tell you how it lifts my spirits to read:

Anonymous said... [in reference to my less than brilliant cement work]
"If you are going to be dumb you better be tough" -cadre member. Still rings true today.. :-)
July 25, 2010 6:28 AM


Anonymous said... [in reference to my stump battle]
C4 shapedcharge+detcord+detonator = 15 second solution to your problem.But it´s more fun this way, isn´t it? ;-)I predict this will be a tale of epic proportions that will involve princesses in distress, horses and a couple of white knights and a few dark spells before you lot are done.
July 19, 2010 1:02 PM

These comments were made by a dear friend who likes to tell me to shut up and question my higher brain function. Yes, he gets away with it. No, you really shouldn't try it. Because I said so. Because he is who he is. Okay, look. At this point, you need to get California-zen with it: Accept...and let go. Accept...and let go.

Moving on.

One of my favorite comments so far also comes from the post about my misadventure with concrete and was posted as follows:

Maureen said...
You are officially the worst lesbian I know.
July 26, 2010 8:36 PM

Not only did this provoke shrieks of laughter--which I probably shouldn't have done in the coffee shop with free WiFi, live and learn--but it was very similar to the comment a neighbor made. She saw the cement creations, heard the story and studied me a moment before saying, "You know, a real lesbian would have done a better job."

I could hardly argue with her. Hell, not many people could have done a worse job. This does, however, beg the question. What is it about being straight, or more precisely, a straight woman that makes one less capable in home repair? Is it my appreciation of Mr. Happy as a playmate? Am I so distracted by the cheerful nature of this organ that I cannot, even away from its presence, work on the house or start new projects without injury?

If this is the case, does it also apply across gender lines?

Or maybe, just maybe, I am a complete klutz who should be monitored at all times.

Nahhhh, that can't be it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Whoo hoo!!!!!

Okay, I know my dear NYC friend will make scoffing noises and accuse me of wishing I were Canadian, but darling invisible friend, this is not about nationality. This is about seeing a freaking AWESOME band in concert.

They just happen to be Canadian.

To be more precise, they are Newfoundlanders. Nooooo, not the big hairy dogs. That'd be a whole different kind of band. They are, by their own admission from "the tropical isle of Newfoundland." I am, of course, talking about Great Big Sea.

One of the security guards at work asked if they sing about ocean life. No, he really did. I did not laugh at him! All right, I did a little, but not until later, behind his back. I'm not a complete savage, you know.

This is the same band that the roommate went to see in Chicago, the band whose concert would have made the entire trip worthwhile even if Chicago had sucked. Which it didn't. But still!

Yes, we went to Chicago to see Great Big Sea.

This is the band that made driving to Portland two days ago worth Seattle traffic and summer highway construction. Yes, we did drive, mid-week, to Portland for a concert. We even drove back after the concert so we could sleep all of four hours and go to work the next morning. We worked until midday and then...

We went to see the band who made driving into Seattle rush hour traffic no problem, no problem at all! Two concerts in two days in two separate cities. Heehee!!! Go ahead, call me a groupie. I don't care.

Now, wasn't this much better than reading about my injury du jour?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Random piece of advice

Never mix 160 pounds of quick drying concrete with your bare hands. Yeah. Live and learn.

Because I can never just leave it at that---and really, did you think I would, darling invisible friend?---this is what happened.

As I have said, roommate is doing the three-day walk for breast cancer and to raise money, she is holding one of her mammoth yard sales. This works out really nicely for a lot of people.

1) People who have crap--ahem, items they're ready to cull, but have an insufficient number for an individual sale have donated their...stuff, thus freeing themselves from the burden of having it in their homes.
2) People who have had yard sales have donated the detritus of unsold items, thus saving themselves the horror of the post-sale clean up process.
3) Other people [please, Jesus, many other people] will find treasures and usefulness at gosh darn rock bottom prices, thus enriching their lives without straining their wallets.

And this one actually means something:

4) The Susan G Komen Foundation will get a minimum of $2300 from the roommate to use in saving the lives of women [and men] the world over.

So. Good cause, right? Many people benefiting, right? Uh huh. I agree. I'd like to have my basement back, but...there we are. Hopefully, by Sunday, the mountain of [deep breath] stuff will be sold and living happily in new positions of use.

Or just clogging someone else's basement. Anyone else's basement.

Anyway, with the volume of clothing donated, the roommate devised the clever plan of displaying the clothes on hanger, danging from rope strung between boards held upright in buckets of...


She bought the buckets. She bought the boards. She bought the rope. And she bought the two 80-pound bags of quick drying concrete. I carried those bags from the car to the front porch of the house where they have languished these many months. Every now and then, roommate would say:

"We still need to do those buckets."

Yeah. So we did.

Not to say roommate wasn't enormously helpful. She was. But when the concrete clumped like cheap cake mix, what else could I do? I got into the bucket and mixed. By hand. Bare hands.

Well, I know that now. Stop yelling. And where were you yesterday, if you knew this????

So between the lime in mixture and the texture of the stuff, I have bloody stumps for fingertips. Yes. Yes. I feel so darn pretty!


The fingertips join the legions of casualties in my little war: two shovels, the loppers, an ax, and of course, my boob all have their company now. The capper on this whole thing? After all was done, roommate said to me, "You didn't have to do all of that."


Monday, July 19, 2010

The battle rages onward.

It's not been pretty.
When the roommate and I moved into this house, there was a huge cedar stump in the middle of the yard. The problem was, roommate hated it on sight. did make mowing a little odd. It had a huge root mound and it need to be removed.
Do you know how much it costs to remove a stump? Yeah. Anyway.
The roommate was determined to remove it. Or, since we are cleverly disguised as lesbian life partners, WE would remove the stump. How hard could it be, right?
I think the biggest error was neglecting to inform the stump that it was to be removed because wow, has it been resistant to the whole process. The roommate actually bought a teeny weeny chainsaw to aid us in our efforts. Sure, it took 9 months and her mother's boyfriend to get the sucker running, but we have used it on the stump. The stump did not appreciate it.
We've broken two shovels, one ax, countless fingernails and any number of pleasant dreams about weekend activities on this stump. This past weekend...the stump really fought back. You can see in the above images before and after pictures of the stump; you can also see my stump bite.
That's right. It bit me. Vicious thing.
What I did not photograph and post was the other injury caused by the stump. It would not be appropriate to put a picture of this particular owie as it is in a...private area. In the midst of the stump battle, I tripped---and I do believe the stump arrange for this tripping of mine---and pitched forward onto one of the spiky bits of the stump. If you look up at the before picture of the stump that shows the back of our house, you can see the spiky bits in their original form. Since the battle started, those pointy things have gotten...pointier. When I fell forward, I landed on my [how to put this...] chest. Yes. That part of my chest. Exactly on that part of my chest.
I regret to say, there was bad language used. And I think I heard the stump laugh. Vicious, vicious thing.
Now, with every chunk of stump we pull out of the ground and laugh and say to it, "Oh, you'll burn this winter. You'll burn."
Believe me, it has it coming.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Small additions

No, I'm not talking about construction projects. On my last post, some comments were made [yay!!!] and I realized I wanted to add on a few things. Read the previous post first; this won't make sense without it.

Yes, I do too make sense sometimes!!! Sheesh!

Anonymous said...
Your desire is not unreasonable. Also reasonably, I invite you now to consider the other side of the coin:What kind of woman would that kind of man want?I look forward to your thoughts.
July 14, 2010 9:43 AM

All right. I know who made this comment [a dear, dear friend] and I have responded to him directly, but this, I believe, warranted additional commentary.

First, I did tell my dear friend that one of the biggest selling points of this imaginary man was his deep and abiding interest in me. Me. He would delight in me, I believe I wrote. Someone who thinks I'm freaking hilarious. Someone who wants to be faithful to me. Not because he has no other options. Hell, we all have other options. But because of who I am, he wants me.

That's the kind of woman he'd want. A me-kind.

The second point to this is the question that is inherent in this type of statement. It goes as follows:

Lisa Marie, how do you need to change and improve to be worthy of such a man's attention? Obviously, because of your fallibility and bone-deep imperfections, you haven't found this man. Ah, if only you'd lighten up/get serious/be nicer/lose the sarcasm/lose the weight/dress better/cut your hair/grow your hair/put out more/stop being such a slut/go to the right gym/go to the right bars/join the right singles group/be younger/be someone else, you would find this man IMMEDIATELY.

See, this is what I find....well, let's go with troubling. Why would I want to waste my time with anyone who didn't want me, and why am I automatically the factor to be altered in this equation? Yes, yes, I know the only person I can control or change is myself. But seriously, isn't it wiser to pursue the type of person who wants who and what I really am?

And am I really so bad? Let me answer that.

I don't think so.

I'm not a terrible person. I'm kind of funny. I'm a decent cook and baker. I give great massages. I've gone long enough without to appreciate sex when it's available. I can carry on a reasonable conversation. I take responsibility for myself and my feelings....mostly. I'm nice to animals and better than half the people I meet. I can behave appropriately in public. I have no gag reflex.

Really, I'm a freaking catch.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All right, then.

What do I really, really want in a man?

I think we all have a vague idea of what we want, as we grow up. I think there's a picture in our heads of some mythical Prince Charming and sometimes, I think some of us find our prince. Sometimes he is the prince. Sometimes he just looks like the prince, but turns out to be the dragon. But for the rest of us, we go on, some searching, some not, for a reasonable prince-like facsimile.

If I'm not going to settle for Mr. GoodEnough, or Mr. HasAPulse, or Mr. OhHellIWantToBeMarriedSoYouWillHaveToDo, maybe I should have a concrete list of what I want. The things in a person for which I long. And yes, concrete is certainly the wrong word to use. I like to think I have some flexibility. But maybe, just maybe, if I'm specific enough, the Omnipotent Comedian...well, will find someone else to toy with.

Yeah...maybe not. But hey, we're here anyway. Right?

Now, dear imaginary friend. Do I need to list the obvious ones? Hmm. Maybe I do. Maybe I haven't been a clear on things I think are obvious.

Nice. A nice guy. I don't care what anyone says, the Bad Boy is not for me. The surly, tough-guy, hard-living, Harley-riding tattooed nightmare of most fathers? No, thank you. Someone who says please and thank you and how are you today. Someone who can be well-behaved in public and sincerely mean the kind things he says. Even if he doesn't say them all the time. The kind of guy who'll help out a stranger he sees struggling with something heavy. A nice guy.

Respectful. Not just to me, but to people. Not just to people in general, but specifically to me. Someone who respects himself, too. I think respect is the root of courtesy and sadly, this is a huge reason we don't see the flower of courtesy much.

Wacky, but in a good way. Someone who can be around me at my absolute weirdest and just laugh. At me, with me. Someone to whom I don't always have to explain the joke. Someone who blindsides me with something hilarious now and then.

Strong. Not invincible, not bullet-proof. Just strong. Strong enough to weather my storms and not be too fragile to every day of grumps I get. Someone who can look at me when I'm through my vent and says, "Done? Better? Okay, where do you want to go for dinner? I'm thinking Thai food." And this isn't to say I don't want a man who is--

Attentive. Maybe this is part and parcel of the whole "He's just not that into you" thing, but I'd like to be around someone who's actually interested in what I have to say and wants to hear me. I shouldn't dominate every conversation [and yes, I hear you giggling right now] but when I'm speaking, I'd really like him to listen. And pays a little bit of attention to what I say as well as what I don't say.

Yes, there are a few things I don't say. Shut up.

Passionate. I don't want to have to peel a guy off of me in public, fer chrissakes, but it'd be nice to have someone interested in being with me. I'd love to have a man who delighted in me. Who celebrated my person. Who would monkey---okay, I'll stop there. But you know where I was headed with that.

Honest and faithful. I don't want to share. Oh, I'll share a recipe. I'll share my lunch. I'll share my opinion with anyone or anything that sits still in my presence long enough. But I don't want to share a man. And as a bonus, I don't want to have to wonder if I've been exposed to STDs from here to Tuesday. I want the man in my life to choose me. Every day.

And since I'm dreaming....

I want a man who likes my cooking. Who's willing to share that job, but is thrilled when I've made chicken paprika and nokedli and begs me to make those killer chocolate chip cookies. Who's willing to try something new and thinks he might enjoy it. And doesn't get snotty if it's not exactly what he might have wished.

I want a man who will try to solve practical problems. Like why the lawn mower isn't running. And how to caulk the shower properly. Someone who wants to pitch in around the house, even if it's with only the "manly" stuff. Even if it's the un-"manly" stuff. Someone who will fix something and show it off to me and be as pleased as a five year old with a new frog when I ooo and ahh. [Btw, I'm completely willing to ooo and ahh. It only seems right, if I expect the same reaction to my cooking and...other things.]

I want a man who will understand my love for my dog even if he's not in love with her himself. Yes, it would be great to have a man who's as much of a dog freak as I am, but one who gets my attachment and doesn't get jealous.... Yes. Jealous. Don't make me tell you that story.

And mostly, I want a man who's capable of being happy. Whom I can please and delight and amaze and entertain. Someone who can find happiness in his own interests and friends that he shares with me and sometimes, enjoys on his own. Or with his buddies. Someone who finds joy in his life.

Is this really asking so much? Tell me if I'm being unreasonable in this.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Okay, I just got off the phone with another guy from the other dating website, and wow. Sometimes, people just...


In the twelve minutes and twelve seconds I spent on the phone with this joker, I estimate the time spent feeling less-that-cordial towards him was ten minutes and forty-five seconds. I'm guessing. It may have been a longer time. He started off by asking if I'd met anyone from the site. I told him I had met someone just that weekend, but sadly, I felt the person wasn't a good choice for me. When asked why, I told him that I feared the individual in question had a degree of autism. He asked if I'd picked up on this during the phone conversations we'd had, to which I replied we hadn't had a phone conversation.

That, I was informed, was my first mistake.

Let us pause, gentle invisible friend, to contemplate how much I adore being told that I've made a mistake. That meeting someone in a public place in daylight for coffee was, in fact, a gross error in my judgement. Oh, how I love to be told that my willingness to meet a new person is flat-out foolishness on my part.


The person on the phone went on to grill me about my sexual history and STD testing. Terrific. I can have this conversation. I do believe I passed that section of the deal-breaker questions; indeed, there were words of faint praise that I answered the questions as accurately as I did. Then Mr. Wonderful went on to ask what my response would be to an accidental pregnancy, given that I'm so foolish as to use only condoms as my method of birth control. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome not being a usual birth control method, I didn't bring it up, nor did I have the opportunity to speak to the effect chemical methods of birth control have on my system. The odds of my becoming pregnant at this age with PCOS are astronomically low, but we all know this is accurate only so long as God is amused with other things and doesn't need an extra chuckle in the day.

Evidently, even the 1% chance [his number, not mine] that I would be unwilling to have an abortion if such a thing occurred was the end of the romantic road for me.

Good bye. Best of luck to you.

Would this be as flabbergasting to me if I hadn't just finished an uncomfortable but necessary phone call with my ex? For those of you who don't know of him, this is the dreamboat who pursued me like a power forward does a puck during the playoffs, swore to love me forever, joked with my friends in my favorite pub about the engagement ring he would select for me, told me two weeks later, right before my birthday, that we needed to take a "break" until I made a decision on whether or not I would marry him and move to Alberta, and then dumped me because he'd met someone else during that break. The break in which I was to decide whether or not I was going to marry him. Yeah. I was supposed to decide whether or not I would marry him...while he was out taking a swim through the dating pool.

The fact that he told me that he was done with me, since he'd met Next, a mere five days before I had a needle biopsy on a mass in my breast surely has no significance.

Yes, he knew I had a mass and he knew that I was going in for the needle biopsy.

Here's the thing. The only reason I've dipped my toe back into the dating pool myself is because I will not allow the ex to be the last person I date. I won't. I won't do it. And I know there are good men out there. Sure, sure. Most of them are married to my friends and relatives, but they exist. What I do not know is why I keep finding the clowns and jokers I do, instead of one of these decent men.

Ohhhh...I forgot. The Omnipotent Comedian. Thank you. I'll just write that down.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ah, family. A beautiful thing.

Well, darlingest of all darling imaginary friends, here we are again. You must be as thrilled as I, to be sure, to be meeting again, so soon. My spicy Cuban friend may fall over in a dead faint upon seeing this, but we'll keep our fingers crossed that there are pillows or something else soft in her landing zone.

You might be asking yourself, "Self, what the heck is Lisa Marie doing, blogging again so soon? Isn't she supposed to be working on her current Work In Progress?" And of course, the answer to that is YES. Yes, I am supposed to be working on my WIP. Unfortunately, I feel the need to vent first.

As some know, I do not get on with my brother. What's that? Oh! Yes. I have a sibling. No, really. I do. It is, in fact, one of the Omnipotent Comedian's greatest jokes that there is no one on the planet with whom I have a closer genetic tie. And that if one of us needed a kidney, we'd have really only each other to call. Well...let's be honest. If I needed a kidney from this man, I'd be S.O.L. And of course, no one would fault him if he turned me down flat; he is VERY IMPORTANT and has a wife and children. Naturally, if the tables were turned, I would be expected to rip out my own kidney and offer it up with bloody hands, trembling in gratitude. I am, after all, of no particular significance, I'm not married and I'm barren. Really, what else am I good for?

Anyway. Twenty years ago this Memorial Day, I'd had enough. The story of the Last Straw is long and involved and too much for this post. Suffice to say, I was done. And really, after all of that was over, I was okay with it. I didn't enjoy the meddling of others, mostly relatives, telling me to get over it and speak to my brother the pig, but I held fast and didn't really even think about the whole thing much.

Until the meddling started again. Last night.

My blessed mother decided to call me and let me know that the friends I wanted to invite to the lake cabin over the holiday weekend probably shouldn't come. Why, you may ask? Well, evidently, she felt it would be uncomfortable not to invite my friends to the communal family meals at the neighboring lake house, that's partly owned by my brother and his wife. Where my parents will be for dinners and such. Where, for some wackadoodle reason, my mother seemed to think I would be.

Nothing, nothing could be further from the truth.

If I'm at the lake and for some reason, I manage to be there when the other offspring of my parents is there, I really, really want nothing to do with him. Or his wife. Or even their children. They're all incredibly perfect and delighted with themselves; I can't imagine they'd even notice if I did or did not attend their functions. Well, other than the fact that my hideous form would despoil the perfection of their arrangements. But other than that...who'd care?

May I also say that, in my family, anyone who puts on a dinner or an event or offers a meal should be able to feed twenty. If the perfect princess of a sister-in-law can't do that, wtf is she doing in my family? God knows the sibling can't, but he's male and too delighted with the fact that he has a penis to be bothered with the care, feeding or comfort of others. That's women's work, after all.

My mother seems to think she's going to get her way on this. To quote a fabulous line from one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride,

"Get used to disappointment."

Monday, June 28, 2010

I hear you knocking...

Hearing is a funny thing, my dear imaginary friend. My ex said I had ears like a bat, mostly because I could hear him doing things like spilling large amounts of water on the kitchen floor and would ask if he planned on cleaning it up. I wasn't asking to be snotty--okay, not hugely snotty--mostly I was asking because he'd done enough damage to his hearing that I honestly didn't know if he could hear the same spill.

Now, the roommate would probably tell you a completely different story about my hearing. I can't hear a lot of what she says. Granted, her voice isn't bell-clear and enunciation is not always her gift; this may play a role in this circumstantial deafness. But sometimes, the roommate will say things from another room. Like the living room. While I'm in the kitchen. And she's watching television. And I have the fan going. And the stand mixer is on high. Yes, yes. This is the perfect time to ask if I've paid the water bill. Excellent.


Some of the time, I can't hear what people say to me because I'm not listening. Isn't that awful to admit? I just stop listening. It's the weirdest thing. If only I could do that at work, during staff meetings. Next to liquor, this might be the best way to get me to endure those delightful islands of time with any good grace at all. [Liquor's still number one, don't worry. If only they'd let me drink on the job.]

Every now and then, I hear things no one else does. Now, I'm not talking about the voices in my head, which by the way, really get a bad rap. They're darn good company at times. No, I can hear other things that other people miss, like God laughing. It's true! If you stand really close to me and listen carefully, dear fictional pal o' mine, you could hear it, too. I'm sure of it. Just wait for those moments in life when you see me cast my gaze upward and say,

"I hope you're enjoying this!!!!"

And sure enough, you can hear God laughing.

Lately, though...lately, the loudest voice I hear is The Kitchen. Fridge is the most vocal, of course, but Cupboards have been really chatty just recently. And the worst part? They pick the most inappropriate times to start their conversations. Like 2 AM.

"Psst. Psst! Lisa. You awake?"

"Fridge, what the hell? It's two in the freaking morning! I have to work tomorrow."

"I know, I know. This is why you should get in here now. I have a surprise for you."

"You're going to have a surprise when you're hauled to the trash, you wretched appliance."

"No, come on. Come in here. I have cheese. And turkey breast. Wouldn't that make a nice sandwich?"

At this point, a Cupboard chimes in. "Oh, on a mini bagel! I have mini bagels! And roommate won't even miss a handful of Cheez-Its. Mmmmmmmmm...doesn't that sound good?"

Fridge adds, "And a nice glass of milk. It'll help you sleep."

I stomp into the kitchen. "I was sleeping, you morons."

Fridge is silent for a moment, thinking about what it's done. "Yeah. But since you're up...."

Did I mention that I hate dieting?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back to the oven.

Well, my dear invisible reader, it's been an interesting week. I received a lot of email from people who read my last post and may I say, bless you all. It's just lovely to have good friends in the world. And a particular thank you to those who comment on my blogs; you delight me beyond reason.

This time, I want to stick to a less inflammatory topic: Baking. At least, it ought to be inflammatory. Word to the wise. If you are baking and something is on fire, and it's not the gas burner on your stove, something is very, very wrong. Generally speaking, fire + baking = BAD.

Feel free to make a note of that.

But let's move on. As some of the population of the planet knows, I did the 3-Day Walk for breast cancer last year. I say some of the population because when I attempted to walk sixty freaking miles in three measly days, I complained about. Oh yes, I did. I looked around on my first day, about an hour in and said, in my soft and dulcet tones,


No one had a really good answer for me. Oh sure, "You're doing this to save lives" was pretty good, but at the time I was a biscuit shy of three hundred pounds and 300 pounds + 60 miles/3 days = AGONY.

In case you wanted to see the math.

But I digress. No, I didn't think you'd be surprised, but you didn't have to say so. Hmph.

ANYWAY. One of the things I did to raise money was bake cakes. I called it "Cakes For The Cure," and when someone would ask me for a cake or baked good, I would oblige and said person would make a donation to the 3-Day Walk in my name. I got my baking jones satisfied, they got cake and a tax deduction, the breast cancer fund got a little bit bigger. Good stuff, all the way around.

The roommate is doing the walk again this year. What was that? I? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I learned my lesson. No. I will drive her to the starting point. I will pick her up. I will cheer for her. I will even donate. But I am not doing that walk again. At least...not this year. Shut up.

And for the roommate, I will bake cakes and have people donate. I know. I know. I'm a peach, I tell you. The most recent of these cakes was a "dirt" cake for the young son of a coworker of hers. Chocolate cake soaked in caramel, topped in crushed Oreos. The ones with the chocolate filling. Then gummy worms inserted into the cake. I should have found marzipan bugs, too, but I ran out of time. Ah, well.

The roommate sent me a text this morning to let me know that the cake was well received. She wrote that her coworker said they all loved the cake. And all the worms were gone.

I think I'm going to put that on my resume.

[Donations for the roommate can be made at Her team name is (wait for it) The Ta-ta-liscious Walkers, and she is team captain. I know. I voted for "The Blister Pack."]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kind of a grown-up topic. Not for the kids.

I had an interesting encounter with a man from one of the dating sites I visit. No, no. Not that kind of encounter. It was a phone conversation.

The whole thing started well enough. He emailed me through the website to indicate his interest in me, and as I'd been honest about my way-less-than-perfect body type, he expressed delight that I am not a thin woman. Okay. So far, not terrible. Flattering things were said. A fairly nice phone conversation ensued. When he found out that I write romance, some of the conversation got a bit more personal, but I wasn't shocked by this. Generally, conversations about sex don't shock me, and frankly, this particular website isn't really focused on helping people find Miss or Mister Right. More along the lines of Mr. Right Now. Plus, when people find out one writes romance, invariably, a discussion of sex just happens. I'm not sure why.

Anyway. We didn't pursue the conversation for long, as the roommate came home and was speaking with me, and this man ended our chat so roommate and I could talk about whatever household thing needed discussing. Again, so far, so good.

The next night, we had another conversation. I'd had a busy, productive day that ended with a cocktail and was fairly pleased with myself and life in general. When I texted this man, and he replied with something amusingly risque, I felt comfortable calling him. This is when things went south.

After telling me about his multi-orgasmic abilities [i.e., hitting a home run and still being at bat, so to speak] he worked his away around to telling me that he would not use condoms. Evidently, he has frequent STD testing, particularly HIV testing, and he doesn't feel that a fragile ply of latex should give one any false sense of security. He also relies on ovulation sensing tests for birth control. And if I insisted on condom usage, brainless as it would be, I would be missing out on his phenomenal sexual skills.

Here's the absolutely brilliant part: For a minute or two, I bought into it.

Now don't get me wrong, he seemed a perfectly decent fellow, other than this. Funny, articulate, bright. Appreciated me for the size I am, though he used the unfortunate moniker of "thick chick" to describe me. Chick? Really? I think not. And the conversation had a lot more in it than the summation I've typed here, dearest imaginary reader. But I did actually feel bad about my need to have condoms used in sexual situations for a little while.

Then, after hanging up the phone, I started to think about this. Number one, although he had input from various people in the medical field, he and I disagreed with the actual prevalence of HIV and the risks therein in today's dating pool. Second, whether or not he was correct in his assessment of those risks, I'm still the person who has the deposit left in her account. And third, while the odds of my becoming pregnant are slim to none, given my advanced age and endocrine disorders, I think we all know that God has a sick sense of humor and I am but a jester in the King's court. Can we all take a moment and imagine that delightful scenario?

While his grasp on the science of the matter was sound enough, this man has no clue how dumb luck and an omnipotent Comedian play a part in my life. And frankly, even if all I said was I really want a condom to be used here, that should have been enough.

Missing out on stellar sexual skills may be a loss in my life, but being with a man who values his own pleasure above and way the hell beyond my feelings of safety and security would be a much larger hit. If he can't treat me with courtesy and respect, if his desire isn't to please and protect me, why should I let him in the door?

After thinking this over, and recognizing my own culpability in my emotional state, I uttered the phrase that has been a huge part of my life these past few weeks. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and said out loud, "I take back my power."

And I felt much, much better.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Small Goal

No, this isn't a hockey post, my dear invisible friend. Despite the fact that tomorrow is Game Day Six of the Stanley Cup Finals and Chicago is 3-2 over Philadelphia, I'm not going to talk about that. Much. Or much right now. No, no. This is a personal goal.

I would really like to be able to get through one meal without wearing some of my food.

One meal. One FREAKING meal.

How does this happen? And not once or twice, now and then. How does this happen all the time? Okay, okay, I can see it when I'm reading as I'm eating. As I'm perched on the couch, watching the final minutes of the third period of an awesome hockey game. When one of the hideous little beasts [AKA dogs] in my home hits my elbow as I'm about to deliver a forkful of pasta and red sauce safely to my mouth. I can see it then. But come on!

I was just having my lunch, or as I like to call it, "What Little I Am Allowed To Have On This Hellish Diet," when the combination of mustard, tomato and lean lunch meat produced a slurry of sandwich juices that--you guess it--escaped the miserable, Alcatraz-like prison of whole wheat bread to land squarely on my shirt.

Was it so bad, Oh Slurry of Lowfat Sandwichitude, that you had to break free? Is your current locale of my lavender shirt really that much better? And isn't there some profound feeling of rejection from my immediate attempts to wash you out of my shirt? You know you'll be spot-treated later. Was it worth it?

I leave it to your conscience.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And this is why...

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that many people think my roommate and I are married. I find it amusing, for the most part, that after having lived a relentlessly single existence, it would be assumed that I'm married to anyone. There haven't even been any near misses on that score. And really, if I were going explore my Sapphic side, I'd probably have done this while at the women's college I attended. Lovely women there. Truly.

Not saying that my roommate isn't a lovely person, too. Bryn Mawr was just a different range of opportunity.

But, almost sadly, my roommate and I are both heterosexual. We're pro-boner, if you will. And I say "almost sadly," my dear imaginary friend, because I am in a nearly penis-free zone. Sigh. That's not even almost sad, now that I see it in print. It's downright depressing. And please don't suggest the do-it-yourself route. It's not the same. Sure, sometimes it's better, but one misses the inherent cheerfulness of the penis. Such a happy little organ.

Moving on.

I understand why many people think the roommate and I are a couple, I do. We do a lot of things that married people do. I'm in charge of the yardwork in the household. She does the vast majority of the housework. If someone asks me to babysit [human puppy or furry child] I've found it behooves me to "check" with her, first. [It's not that she would say no, she just likes to feel like she has some say in the matter.] If I [or we] are invited to do something, I usually end up asking if we have something else going on that day, or if I can accept the invitation without consequences. We grocery shop together. We plan meals together. We refer to the dogs of the household as "your dogs" when they've been naughty. I've been known to take her car to have work done on it, fill it with gas and have it washed. When I come home from work, there's often a bag of garbage on the porch, that I put into the garbage cans before entering the house. I'm in charge of putting out the garbage and the recycling as well as putting the receptacles for said garbage and recycling away on Monday nights, after they've been emptied. If there's something I particularly like, such as mushrooms, she will add it to sauces or casseroles for me and pick them out of the food on her plate. She buys allergen-free cleaning supplies so my skin doesn't get irritated.

I know. I know!

The funniest one happened a while back. The roommate and I were going to meet her mother for dinner out one Sunday evening. It had been a lazy day, bad weather, movie on tv. About fifteen minutes before the time we were to drive to her mother's place, the roommate stood up and turned off the television and looked at me.

"Is that what you're wearing?" she asked.

It took me five minutes to stop shrieking with laughter. Later that evening, I told her mother that the roommate MUST start dating men. Immediately.

To be fair, I understood that she wasn't critiquing my ensemble. She was letting me know that I had a limited window of time if I wanted to change or primp. I got that. It was still pretty funny.

So I understand why people think we're married. We take care of each other. We work as a team. We balance each other's moods and generally, we're on each other's side.

We're certainly not having sex.

Hell, maybe we are married.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Diet Failure. Epic.

I made it through most of the day. I had Cream of Wheat for breakfast. I had strawberries. Steamed salmon with pico de gallo, mushrooms and cukes on the side. Carrots. A low fat granola cookie. One. That's right. One. Then Greek yogurt and Grape Nuts with flax seed.

And then came El Paraiso. Dammit.

See, I just went there to meet Nina and other X-ray people for a cocktail. I could have had plain iced tea, maybe with artificial sweetener. If necessary, I could have ordered a small salad with chicken. I could have. I didn't.

I blew my diet like a prostitute does a sailor on his first shore leave: quickly, completely and with absolutely no fanfare or foreplay. The margarita would have been bad enough but throw in an entire basket of tortilla chips, two fish tacos, a wedge of quesadilla with sour cream and guacamole, and oh hell, let's have another margarita...

Diet Failure.

I must stop this. The fact that my butt has its own zip code is never going to change unless I do.


Monday, May 31, 2010

The New Baby

Well, I did it. I actually did it. I... [deep breath] bought a computer.

Quit laughing. I swear to Pete, I won't tell you about this if you keep it up. Done? Okay.

I've been using computers both personally and professionally for some time now, but I've never actually purchased one myself before. I've been using laptopasaurus for years now.

Laptopasaurus, for those of you who are unaware, was a gift from my parents when I went back to school. In 1997. Laptopasaurus was old and rehabbed then. I know. I know!

Since the advent of laptopasaurus in my life, I've been with other computers. That's right. I've cheated on my technology. And I'm not just talking about the computers at work or the library. A friend built a desktop computer for me out of leftover parts he had lying around. I don't even want to know how you get to the point of having enough leftover computer parts that you can build a whole computer, but there you are. Then, three years ago, my roommate bought a new desktop computer. It's a lovely computer despite its operating system.

No, I don't want to talk about it. Mac people, be quiet.

So I've made through the last decade of so without buying anything new. Part of my reason for doing so has been fiscal, part has been fear-based. I was terrified to buy a new computer. Picture this: I finally summon up the nerve to throw down an enormous volume of money. I do the research. I watch the sale ads. I find the right machine for me and my needs and I march down to whatever store I've chosen, point to my computer and hand over my debit card. After loading up hard drive, monitor, printer, approximately nine billion cables and anything else I absolutely must have, I walk to the front of the store where I am stopped by a kind, friendly, helpful store employee.

"Ma'am? Did you just buy the new ___________?"

"Yes, it's right here. I have my receipt."

"Oh, that won't be necessary. I'm sorry to tell you, ma'am, but that computer is now obsolete. If you'll just come back to the counter, we'll take care of upgrading your equipment."


But I pushed aside my fears and I bought a netbook. Well, no, to be accurate, I bought my roommate a ridiculously expensive phone [adding her to my cell service plan] and got the netbook for "free." Yet another reason why people think we're a couple, but that's a whole different topic. But I have the netbook.

Now. To get to work on it.

No pressure.