Hacky new year!

The other day, on Christmas Eve, I was sitting on the couch with my laptop on Facebook. Someone messaged me. It was a friend, but not someone I am in touch with regularly. He graduated two years behind me.

This guy: Hi
How are you doing??

Yours truly: what's up (insert friend's name here), how are you?

TG:Am not too good at the moment

Rut-roh. I didn't like where this was going. I kept it breezy.

YT: I'm alright--just chillin' (aside from all of that, does anyone say "just chill in' anymore? I mean besides me? No? Okay.). I'm sorry you're not doing well.

TG: I am currently stuck in London,uk......got mugged at a gun point last night
(so I'm going to write a random friend on Facebook about it instead of filing a police report)

At this point it sounds eerily familiar to a sob story a (real) friend shared about one of her Facebook friends contacted her about (except I think that "friend" was in Scotland).

The rest of the conversation:

YT: Jeez. Awful--sorry. I hope you did not get hurt

TG: All cash,credit card including cell phones were stolen away
i was hurt on my head

YT: I'm so sorry. I hope you can get everything straightened out soon. Take care of yourself. I have to go, but I will keep you in my thoughts.

TG: Glad still have life and passport saved.......i need your help

You see? I tried to break off. When I got the "I need your help" line I knew for sure something was amiss. I emailed my friend with the pasted conversation to say "Hey someone is scamming me" since she is familiar with random peeps (Does anyone still say "peeps?" Just me? Okay.) writing sob stories from the UK.

So once I realized--hello, someone got hacked. Someone is not having an adventure gone awry. Someone is not suffering from a head injury. This guy is probably okay and probably would never Facebook message me. My friend emailed back with: "Well you know, you have to tell him he got hacked, right?"

Well, yes. It's an unwritten rule. Even though I told her, "No ma'am. I don't want to. I don't want have to hear a fake sob story about someone getting assaulted in the UK (you see? My imagination is still picturing a vicious mugging, Euro style). I tried to give myself an out--I don't even have his email address. But then I remembered--I am connected with him on LinkedIn.

So I wrote and told him he got hacked.

And he replied "I reset me (sic) password. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year"

Ohhh. Okay. You're welcome. Do I need to add I pictured you on a dark London street with blood oozing from your ear and I wasted time feeling bad about it for you to be grateful?! Because I did!

Why do people not even say thanks for the heads up? It's almost like you're wrong for even saying anything. I did the same thing when Steve Jobs died and all of that crap about Free iPads was going around "in honor of Steve Jobs." I told someone THAT was fake and the guy just deleted it from his page. No "Thanks." No warning to anyone else. Just delete. Poof. It never happened. Ohhh! You're welcome.

I think people are ashamed to admit they fell for the okey doke (I do it every day). If you call that out publicly (see also: replying to alarmist emails with a link to snopes disproving it), you're the bad guy, not the one pulling the hoax or hacking the account.

Today I saw someone post this. And I thought "No way did she fall for this. How is 100 shares on Facebook giving someone a free heart transplant. That HAS to be fake." I googled (the truth is out there), had my suspicions confirmed and said nothing. Someone else can be the messenger this time.


The Good Baby

So the new kid is nearly 4 months old and the general consensus is that she is a "good" baby. It seems that a baby who is quiet unless she needs sleep, food or to be changed is "good." Does anyone ever say "Oh, this is a BAD baby. She's just awful! Send her back."


How high can you go?

To all of the ladies out there, please know that when you are hobbling around in wearing these:
I am watching, and waiting to see if you fall on your arse.


We knew this was coming

The last keynote Steve Jobs hosted, he looked thin. Like scary-thin. Knife thin. Turn to the side and vanish thin. iPhone thin. Had enough? Moving on...

He just didn't look well. I feel sad that he's gone. My best friend emailed me and for a few minutes I enjoyed my husband's blissful ignorance before I told him.

In the 90's I used to wonder why computers were that awful "putty" color. You would have your big ol' desktop or tower, a clunky monitor and matching keyboard and it was a big ol' pile of fug. And I used to wonder why it didn't look better? In college I used some shiny purple gift wrap from a present (I don't even remember who gave it to me) and I fashioned a frame for my clunker monitor. It was an attempt. Colored appliances were still unheard of. Later, when I tried to explain this to my husband, he said "Who cares what it looks like! It's just a computer!"

Not to Apple. These fascinated me. I wanted to make the switch, but my husband was hesitant. Then when we finally switched, (in this case, the iPod was the Gateway drug, and an Apple store employee admitted that all of the smaller devices are gateway drugs for the iMacs and MacBooks) it was "Why didn't we do this sooner?" This is what most people say after switching. After, my husband would marvel at the tight packaging and the design. And how well everything worked together. No more "Who cares what it looks like!" No more "it's JUST a computer."

Then the iPhone came out. We watched the keynote for that too. No one knew what it would look like. There were all kinds of drawings. Would there be a plastic keypad? A stylus? It was hard to imagine a smart phone without these things. They seemed necessary. Now they seem kind of silly. And now, people complain that the newest iPhone is a letdown. At some point you do something so well, people reach unrealistic expectations. It's like they totally forgot -- just a few years ago people did not love their phones.

If you have it in your house, it should be nice to look at. If you're going to spend a lot on it, it should be easy to use and you should love it. This all seems obvious, but so many techie companies completely missed the mark. One guy got it, and figured out how to design products with the obvious in mind.

Cardinal sins of Facebook

This isn't directed at anyone (okay, it kind of is, but I'm not into direct confrontation, so I'll just leave the names out of it). This is just a post of what annoys me (what else is new?)

1) Status updates that try to guilt/dare/bully/cajole/pressure you into copying and pasting by lumping you into a statistic. I tried to come up with one, but it sounded really lame and the real ones people post illustrate what I mean so much better. The generic format is: Righteous comment with possibly exaggerated or false information that may have some shock value. Random percentage of people who are too lame/lazy/cynical/selfish/thoughtless to re-post comes next. If you are not one of those losers, copy and re-post.

Here goes:
One day a father gets home angry & drunk. He takes out his gun & kills his wife, & then he shoots himself. His daughter was sitting behind the couch crying. When the police came they took the girl & gives her to her new family. The first day she attended church & notices a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross. She then asks her teacher "how did that man get down from the cross?" The teacher respon...ded "he's never gotten down!" Then the girl said: Yes he has because the day my parents died, he was with me behind the couch telling me everything was going to be alright. 66% of you won't re-post this. But remember that in the Bible it says "Deny me in front of your friends & i will deny you in front of my father." Post if your not embarrassed.

I'm embarrassed. Embarrassed that among all the repostings and whatnot, someone could not edit it to say "you're" instead of "your." Let's not even get into that ran...dom ellipsis.

And also, I want to know who comes up with the percentages. It's usually not a fraction, but a percentage. This one is odd because it uses 66%. Usually the percentage is in the high 90's. I want to reply and ask for the documentation to confirm these results. Did someone do a study on this? Are they using EVERYONE on Facebook, or only those who have friends that post this kind of thing? I want the details.

2) Giveaways. The latest: Steve Jobs died and Apple is giving away 1000 iPads! Just click this innocent li'l linky-poo and you could be a winner.

Do I have to say it? "If it seems too good to be true..."

I have one friend who posted it and I replied with a link and "It's probably too good to be true." Poof, he deleted it without even saying "Thanks for the heads up." Hmph.

3) Self promotion. I violated this one the other day. My friend Micki read "Coldest Winter Ever." I thought, Ooo, oo! I read it too. I posted a blog link in the comments. Then I felt icky and deleted it. I did not want to pimp my blog on someone's status update. It seems really tacky to me. I barely even pimp my own blog on my page. I do not want to bombard people with my two cents. Do I look like Andy Rooney to you? If they find their way to my blog, cool, if not, it's okay. I have read the book though, and here's what I thought. I obviously have no problem pimping my blog on my blog.

4) Inane (mis)quotations

“The thing about quotes from the internet is that it’s hard to verify their authenticity.” – Abraham Lincoln


2 months later...

I am now thinking about going back to work. I feel a little like Marsha the mannequin from the Twilight Zone episode "The After Hours." Maybe the Monday I'm supposed to go back I'll "forget" and someone will give me a phone call to clue me in.

I am *almost* ready to return. I guess what I don't like is that it's not on my terms, but what is allowed by law. If I stay out longer, my company has the right to can me. It's not really the best motivator, but it'll do.

Then there is the issue on pumping. I am returning with faith that the people who manage the office space have found a spot for me that is not a bathroom, and not a place where people will barge in while I'm topless. I made this need known in April, so I'm assuming that was plenty of time. That's six months of warning. Almost seven.

I bought work clothes yesterday (groan). I am two sizes away (okay, let's be honest...three sizes. But I will settle for two) from where I want to be and the heaviest I have ever been. I don't know why I expect the 9 months of pregnancy and the extra I was carrying around before the 9 months is automatically supposed to fall off. It's not. It will with some work, but I had this unrealistic expectation that nursing would burn off the excess. While the kid is eating around the clock and she has nearly doubled her weight in two months (Li'l Miss Colossus is in the 98th percentile), it's not enough. I have been walking, I have been sort of doing the "Tupler Technique" I have to give myself more time. I guess with things like Facebook, I feel even more inadequate. I have a college classmate who had her baby a week after I had mine and she posted a photo of herself in a bikini and her husband holding the baby (proof that this is not some old photo) and she looks amazing. I have another college classmate who has 6 children and also sported a bikini photo over the summer. You would never guess that toned up midsection ever harbored a human being, never mind SIX.

But it's Facebook. People only post the flattering photos. You're not going to see everyone who's let themselves go, or who is now sporting cottage cheese on the thigh region, or who has stretch marks. Facebook reflects only the best side of everyone's lives which can make life seem even more unfair than it really is.



***WARNING***If you don't want to read another post about footwear, skip this post.

I ordered these in black suede...size 8 1/2. I waited for them to arrive and...they fit.

And also, let me give a special thanks for the shoe designing geniuses that realized the need for wide calf boots. I can still remember being a college student, ordering a pair of knee high boots from the J. Crew catalog (yes, the catalog. Remember those?), and when they arrived, being elated that they fit my feet and then dismayed when they did not zip all the way up. I can't blame fatness on this as I was 40 pounds lighter, 15 years younger and in the best shape of my life. I just have "generous" calves. They just plain did not fit, and no amount of wedging leg flesh in and pulling the zipper together would work. You can maneuver clothes in an overstuffed piece of luggage and you can suck in your gut while laying in the bed when zipping too tight jeans, but leg fat has nowhere to go. So hallelujah, the boots fit my feet AND my piano legs, and if you know me, you already know I didn't pay the price listed in the link above.



No, not me, but my sister--this morning I received this:
This made me laugh so hard when i saw this about you lol a6r.org/MKijV8ch (<---don't go there!) I thought it was a little weird, since we usually just email each other, but like an idjit, I clicked the link. It led me to what I thought was Twitter's homepage, so like an idjit, I logged in. And then came to a page claiming Twitter was having technical difficulties. I returned to the message, clicked the link, lather, rinse, repeat (you know, like a really big idjit), same results. But I want to see what she saw about meeee, I thought. Then I looked at the web address and thought--Twittejr.com? waiiiit a minute--this is not Twitter.

Clever hacker.

(yes, I know, I once posted this, and though I have created an account, I obviously have remained somewhat clueless about the mysteries of the Twitter.)


Desperately seeking studs

I love studs. There, I said it. I love studded things.

I like this. I stalked and bought this. I have leather gloves with studs, shoes and boots with studs and a belt with rounded studs. The issue then becomes making sure you only have one of these items on your body at a time. It's the same dilemma that comes with wearing animal print.

"Oh that trend won't last much longer" my mom said one or two years ago, but thankfully it's still going strong.

I was watching Life on Mars on Netflix. (Sidenote: TV shows always make the past look better than it actually did) This show takes place in 1973, the fashion dark ages, but there was a female character wearing a beige corduroy blazer and it had (wait for it) flat antique studs around the lapels. I thought, "Hey I have a beige corduroy blazer. I don't wear it as much as I should but maybe if I..." (runs off to Google)"...get crafty and put some studs on the lapel..."

You see? This is how it gets out of hand. I was actually contemplating a BeDazzler! Then I looked up reviews on Amazon and they are not so dazzling.


I've written before about people having a hustle. I knew an Army major who would go to car auctions and find a car that someone wanted. She would pay the auction price and make money off of the difference the client was willing to pay. I have a friend who would do focus groups and mystery shop, and do product sample displays where people shopped. And we already know about Mary Kay and Avon (and Pampered Chef, Tupperware, and every other item you don't buy in the store that people throw "parties" for).

I think eBay is a great idea. Buy something for a bargain or regular price if it's in demand, and then set your price on eBay. It's going on right now with the Missoni for Target stuff. I think I could do that. Except I'm lazy. And maybe a small part of me feels bad jacking up the price of something well beyond what is on the tag (yes, I know, finder's fee and people are willing to pay). But mostly I'm lazy.

To the nines

I bought a pair of shoes while pregnant and I anticipated my post pregnancy shoes size while doing so. The shoes arrived and I tried them on, but they didn't fit. "Well, let's wait till I'm not pregnant and give it another go then." They still don't fit (sad horn). I had them in the donation pile when I realized my mom could wear them. They fit her. They look cute on her. So while I don't get them, at least I can visit with them. I'm not so worried about the new shoes though. It's the shoes I already know and love that pose a problem. Some of those shoes used to fit. And some of them were not cheap. They are in storage since we are getting the house ready to sell someday. I have this itch to go to the storage unit and find that box so I can try my favorites and be reassured that all is not lost.

I have a cute pair of flats that are still in the closet (not that there's anything wrong with that). I wore them to the first post baby date (Contagion, starring Matt Damon). They usually fit perfectly. This time they were slightly...tight. By the time we reached the theater they were uncomfortable. "I'm just not used to wearing closed shoes, that's all," I told myself. "I've spent the past 5 months in flip flops and my feet don't like being fenced in. They'll adjust." I even sort of said this to my husband for what? I don't know. Maybe some reassurance? It was one of those things where you add in a nervous laugh to show it's not really a big deal. Oh heh-heh, I may have to replace my entire shoe collection, but more shopping, right? Yay?

By the time we got home, I kicked off the shoes. The next day I looked up shoe stretching stuff on Amazon. There was a spray you could buy for leather shoes. One of the reviewers said you could mix alcohol and water and save yourself twelve bucks. I pulled out my husband's shoe trees and went to work a-sprayin' and a-stretchin. It helped. Some.

But there's a bunion. It's on the right foot. It's not big and obnoxious or hammer-time-y but it's there. People label problem areas on their body and my foot has its own problem area. The foot stuff started after my last pregnancy when I lived in flip flops. In the words of the podiatrist, "You're the youngest person I've seen with a heel spur." And on the bunion, she remarked, "Well, aging sucks."

So yesterday I bought a pair of shoes at T.J. Maxx. There were three in 8 1/2. I used to be a solid 8. After my first pregnancy, between 8 and 8 1/2. I'm assuming that now I am in the 8/1/2 to 9 range.

I went to the 9 aisle first. The 9 fit, but was a little loose. I went to the 8 1/2. The bunion was not happy. I went back and grabbed the 9. Then this morning, like a nerd, I looked up the shoe online and the reviewers said it was not true to size, which was slightly comforting. I don't know if I'm an 8 1/2 or a 9, though. I don't want to be in denial, shoving my feet into too small shoes because I can't accept the truth. My mom used to do this. Trying on too-tight shoes and saying "It's okay, they'll stretch." and I would say, "Why don't you just get shoes that fit?" Now I get it. When you are 5' 2 1/2 five foot three, size 9 is veering into boat territory. Just look at the display shoes in the store. Unless the small sizes are gone, that shoe will be a size 6, or 7 max. You know, the cute sizes, where the little details catch your eye instead of the length of the shoe. Then you look in the shoeboxes of the bigger sizes of that same style and ohhh. Not so cute.

It is all good if you're tall and the feet are in proportion but my feet are growing and I am not.


A Fool and her money

On a message board I visit, there was a post about Hunter boots. The boots in question are pictured above. She was asking if anyone had them, as she was considering a purchase. One of the people who has them and responded kindly (with a recommendation of where to buy them at a discount) pointed out elsewhere that this same person previously commented on the same boots with "Aren't those like $100?" (you could almost hear the hysteria while reading it). As in, "What kind of fool would spend $100 on some rubber boots?" It looks like pure hypocrisy as this person has now become the kind of fool that is willing to spend that much, but that's not how I took the alarmed response. I took it as, "I like those but I'm trying to justify why I would buy them." It's the agony of a cheap thrifty frugal person. I can relate to this.

There have been times where I have wanted a certain item but balked at the price. So what do you do when this happens? If the item never goes on sale or your size is sold out, you look for the cheaper less expensive alternative, usually made by another manufacturer. Sometimes it's a similar thing, but not a flat out knock off. Sometimes it's a blatant copy of something else (Sidenote: Skechers, you have no shame). Sometimes the copy is okay to get you by, but most of the time I wind up thinking, "It's close, but it's not what I really wanted." This means I wind up spending more because I go back for the real thing. When buying the faux version, I not only do I waste money, I also waste colossal amounts of time trying to decide what to do (buy the knock off? Get the knock off, decide I don't like it? Bite the bullet and buy the real thing...and so on. It would be a hell of a flow chart but illustrating that thought process would waste even more time. Let's just say I'm an all or nothing kind of girl (gal?) and probably better off buying the real deal if it's important. It's not like this with everything, though. I don't have a second thought over Heinz Ketchup vs. Noname Catsup. This agonizing only applies to big ticket items.

As for the boots above--I love them in that color. I might talk myself into getting them, however I am blessed with fat"healthy" calves and the wide calf versions don't come in cute colors, which means this fool will have to spend her $100 on something else.



Is it wrong to purchase a milkshake blade and a book titled "Lose your Mummy tummy" in the same order?

(Don't answer that.)


Avon calling

So I went to Aldi's yesterday. While in line, a woman struck up a conversation. We joked about not getting a cart (you have to pay 25 cents for a cart and you get your quarter back when you return the cart...but anyway). I said carts tie you down. It is the truth. Plus you tend to buy more with a cart (though Target shopping has taught me how to weigh down a basket).

She asked if I took the day off. I said "No...actually I'm on maternity leave." She eyed my stomach and didn't say anything (I was expecting "where's the baby?" but maybe she thought I was still pregnant? Hopefully not. Anyway.) Somehow we got to the "Do you work for yourself" question. I don't know how it got so personal, it was not a long line and she hemmed and hawed getting to that point. Then came the inevitable "Would you like to?"

We know where this is going, right? Be your own boss, sell (insert product here). Except with those things, you're not your own boss. She passed me her Avon card. But here is the thing--she took a day off. From some kind of job that pays the bills and I am willing to bet it wasn't Avon. Unless you are at the corporate level, harassing people in line at the discount grocery store and going door to door pimping skin so soft is probably not going to pay your mortgage, and even if it does, you're still working for someone else. You're not really the captain of your ship.

If you know me at all, you know I didn't say any of this. I just told her to enjoy the beautiful day.


Night at the Fair

How do you know when you're getting old? When rides feel more like you're cheating some kind of "final destination" type death and less like fun. Yes, we went to the county fair. After perusing the livestock, and consuming ice cream we took our daughter on some of the rides. I tried not to eyeball the distance I was above the ground or think about what might happen if the ride dumped me onto said ground, and whether or not I would survive such a fall. I tried not to think about how often these rides undergo safety inspections. Really, I tried.

Then there is the fair food. I tried not to think about how sanitary some of the food booths were or the cow manure smell that kept wafting around while I attempted to enjoy a root beer float. For the main course, I kept it to a burger, a small Sprite (sans ice) and a few fries. Like I said, old.


Where the earth moves

Yesterday we had an earthquake. I thought it was a gust of wind, but then the house kept shaking. And kept shaking. Aaaand kept shaking. It reminded me of the '89 earthquake (yes, I am taking it back to the 9th grade).

I have felt four earthquakes in my life--2 in California and 2 here. Oddly enough there was one last year and the epicenter was a couple of miles from my house.

Even odder, for all of these quakes, I was in the master bedroom. There is a joke in there somewhere, but I am too slow/lazy/tired to make it.


Turn my headphones down (the unfriending of D.J. Fisticuffs)

I know I have talked about self-promotion before. I don't know why or how things have come to this--if you have completed something you then need to pimp it. The problem with this is the attention goes to the loudest people, not necessarily the best. And there is no way to know if it's good. You can't rely on a critic with similar taste. Instead, what you have is the person who created the work yelling and hollering at you that it's good, or at the very least, informing you that their product (music, books, lecture series, and so on) is coming out so you'd better get in on it.

I just unfriended someone for this. Honestly, I don't remember the guy, but I think we went to college together. Lately he has been talking about his music. It's on iTunes, It's this, its that. On his wall he is soliciting:
FaceBook Homies...I need help! Who is dope at graphic design! And I mean dope...like you know that shit like the back of your hand????

(As an aside...Homies? Dope? People still talk like this?)

The only reason this irks me is because I had a baby last week and among the congratulatory messages on my wall was one from this guy in an effort to make me aware that his music is out. If it has any of the language of that wall post requesting graphic artists, I probably won't be listening. It's back to the Wiggles and ABC's for a few years for me. But also, I just had a baby, idjit. Don't post that crap on my wall and then continue to post the same garbage on everyone else's wall, especially when it appears your friend request was just a way to garner a captive audience to your crap.

And also, when people pimp themselves like this, I tend to think the product is probably, well, not good. Post a sample or something. Let us take a listen before telling us to hurry to iTunes for a purchase (yes, I know you can sample on iTunes, but i don't even want to make that much of an effort). It's much easier to click "unfriend" and move on with my life.


"a medium to large size breed of domestic dog that originated in Rottweil, Germany"

Self publishing is getting big, and with eBooks it's becoming more affordable for people to get themselves out there and let the readers be the gatekeepers. But if you self-publish, please make sure you do your best to make sure what you're putting out there is actually good.

There is a graduate from my college who has published two "books." There are samples available on Barnes and Noble and you can buy it there or on Amazon. He also sends out messages through the graduate network when these books are released. I read the sample of the first book and was not inspired to buy. Out of morbid curiosity, I checked out the second book. In it was a scene where he described a neighbor with two big, tough dogs. He even named the breed. I had to read the breed name twice to make sure I wasn't seeing things. What kind of dog was it, you ask?

A "Rawtwhiler."

Read that. Sadly I am not kidding. And he used this spelling twice. Even on blogger there is a dashed red underline beneath that word, telling me something is not quite right. If you Google that word, the correct spelling will come up. If he used a word processor, I'm betting it would not have made it through spellcheck. This is basic stuff, no need for a fancy pants editor to catch it. He could have gotten someone to read it, or you know, ran it through spellcheck.


Role reversal

I like having an almost 6 year old. It's fun. I love babies (don't you love that disclaimer? As if someone would admit to hating a baby?), but I think I'm a better parent to a potty trained kid who has grown to have a better understanding of the world. The fun part sometimes deals with language. She knows many words, but not all of the right ones to describe what she has in mind. It makes for interesting conversations.

Last weekend we saw "Captain America" in the theater. She said "Is that the guy with the shield?"


"Oh. Who was he reversing?"

After some explaining on her part, we figured out she was asking who was his nemesis.

Last weekend

Last weekend I met the son of my husband's parents' family friends. It was kind of a big deal because this couple sort of lived parallel lives with my in-laws. Both couples had two sons, and I know my husband's "counterpart" also was in the military (if you count the Air Force). I have heard about this family a lot over the years.

Anyway, last Saturday I finally met this alter ego and extended my hand for a shake only to be rebuffed with "Don't get too close! I don't want any more kids."

I backed off and said, "Oh-kay."

Who says this? It's not necessary or even remotely funny. If you think about it for too long, your head may hurt.

His wife saved the day with: "It's not contagious!"

The comeback came to mind two hours too late but I'll share it here. Ready?

"You know, there's a surgery for that."

So simple, yet so woefully late.The timely comeback is my main argument for time machines. I am queen of thinking up the ill-timed comeback and then not sharing it because it would look idiotic to say something when the moment has already been long forgotten. This is why I write. You have all the time you need to come up with witty dialogue and snappy comebacks.

I liked his wife right away. I got the feeling that he was outmatched. You know that feeling? When you think one half of the couple outshines the other? Here is another example--the wife said I looked "small." This is great to hear when 1) you know you are not small and 2) you are at the full term point of your pregnancy and 3) the person who is saying it is pretty petite herself. Even if she was not being honest, it was convincing.

The husband added: "Yeah! YOU were HUGE!"

Again, was that necessary?

Obviously the parallel life stuff did not account for personality. My husband does not say these things, EVEN IF I SAY IT ABOUT MYSELF and I actually am huge. Instead it's "Well (duh), you are carrying a child" and if the situation calls for it, a hug is thrown in. He knows better and likely will not say something like this because he knows I carried his kids, I put on the necessary weight to grow them and I did it for the better part of a year. But this other guy? That appreciation seemed totally lost on him.

Other things

I have a bunch of thoughts that can not justify their own blog posts, but collectively I could cobble something together. I can not promise it will be interesting.

Twitter: I have an account. I don't do much with it and have not checked it in weeks. So many have ditched Facebook for Twitter and I guess I'm just not catching on. And I have also received a Google+ invitation. I don't even know what that is (and have not Googled--heh, heh--to investigate the details). I can not keep up.

Office microwave etiquette: My husband heated fish in his office microwave and told me it stunk up the place. What did he expect? After 8 years on the road as a sales rep, he does not know certain unspoken rules of the office. The big one is not to heat fish in the microwave. And not a rule, but more of a law of nature: If you pop popcorn, in the office microwave it will burn.

Words with friends vs. Scrabble on iPhone. Sure, they look the same and operate on the same concepts, but I am good at Words with Friends and I suck at Scrabble.

In the past two weeks I have removed a sizable hair clog from the guest tub and two from two sinks. It's not an exercise for the weak-stomached. Drano has nothing on my hair, so I try to pull out what I can before resorting to chemicals. I had to finish off the second sink with the tiny sink plunger, but it drains now. I keep thinking if I had short hair, this wouldn't keep happening.


Last day at work

Why was my very last week at work the busiest? I was doing my best not to leave a confusing mess behind (to minimize the possibility of panicked phone calls while I'm on leave, of course). This meant having a binder filled with all of the information I thought was helpful and directly related to my responsibilities as well as two electronic versions--found on a shared network drive and on our SharePoint site. I tried to leave written explanations where I thought they were necessary and send emails highlighting what were possibly going to be issues while I am away.

The most interesting comment? "I didn't realize you did so much."

Uh, thanks? I don't toot my horn and there are plenty of days when I don't do so much but most jobs turn into problems only when something goes neglected. Also, the people talking about how much they do are usually doing just that. Talking.

I also felt like I was getting tasked with stuff BY PEOPLE WHO SAW ME ALMOST DAILY. Like stuff that was due well past the time I planned to leave. As if I am just getting bigger in the gut area because I have a beer problem? I sent a few "I am not doing this, I am on maternity leave when it's due, so find someone else" (unsaid: Dumbass) messages (cc'ing at least one other witness so they can attest that I am indeed not going to be here and so they knew it needed to be handled) in response. What else can you do?

The last week consisted of 10 hour days, which was good, because it meant I could take the Friday off without eating up vacation time. It was bad because by the end of the day I was cranky and my feet were balloons. I rode down in the elevator with our boss, the promotable colonel who is in charge of the entire operation. His daughter just had his first grandchild last month, and he shared that she was off and not thinking about work. He assured me that everything will be here when I get back and told me not to worry.

I won't.

Impulse buy

So....I was perusing the swimsuits that did not have crotches like tapeworm heads and happened upon this one at a steep discount in a size that I assume will fit once I am back to being a body without a person contained inside of it (and I am not talking inner child, I mean an actual growing person, albeit a small one). It was cheap because it was the laaaaaast one.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!


A serious question

Does the swimsuit pictured look good on anyone? I think *they* call it a "monokini," but I have to be honest: the crotchal region reminds me of the head of a flatworm.



Pissy Pregnant lady holds her tongue and saves her vitriol for the blog, News at 11

Dear cashier who rang up my lunch,
when I asked how much the fountain drinks cost, the reply, "Soda? You don't need soda, you need to drink water" was the wrong answer.

1) Fuck you.
2) I drink 2 liters of water a day at my desk, excuse me if I want some variation.
3) I was getting green tea since the bottled version of it costs almost twice as much.
4) Fuck you.


It's that time again

The time when I have to renew my registration for my car. Of course I got the notice earlier this month, but in my usual style, I would much prefer to renew on the nearly the last hour of the last day that my current registration is still valid. It keeps life exciting (yes, I know I'm lying to myself, work with me). Then I have to print out the handy dandy temp registration to float me until the replacement decals arrive. At this point it's gone beyond being a bad habit. It's more of a tradition.


Cheap Fun

Courtesy of the Thinkbabynames.com Random name generator:

Bluebell Stetson
Rufina Patient
Athie Brucie
Wren Madison
Beyonce Kia
Nefertiti Angle
Diamond Seema
ZsaZsa Fina


Bacon and eggs

On my LinkedIn account, I clicked a few links to discover that I am three degrees from Kevin Bacon. Interesting, right? No? He also spells “Bacon” in his listed email address with a zero instead of an O. So apparently some “lesser” Bacon already took the Kevin.Bacon username. Then again, if you were Kevin Bacon wouldn’t you have your own set up? Like you wouldn’t need gmail or yahoo as your email domain? Maybe this isn’t THE Kevin Bacon, despite the film credits listed in the profile. Waaait a minute, this is probably not Kevin Bacon at all. More like Kevin Fake-in’. Yeah, I know. Nothing gets past me.

I am still considering the self publishing route. This is after years of believing and sometimes outright stating that self-published authors are hacks. Here comes the backpedaling: things are changing and people are hiring their own editors, cover designers and people to format their books. Sometimes authors that were previously published the old way have decided to take business into their own hands. I have to weigh whether I am considering this to avoid the painful search for an agent followed by the search for a publisher that wants what the agent is pushing process or if I think what I have is good enough to do well on its own. I think I know the answer, and maybe it’s: Try it the old way and if, after a certain amount of time, nothing happens, then self publish. But I know I will need to invest in a decent editor and cover designer first. I do not want to produce a work of crap. I will also have to do something very difficult—self promote. I seem to be able to do this in a resume and at job interviews, and I have to look at this the same way--it's a job. Whatever I do, I can tell you the current method of leaving it on the hard drive isn’t working.

I’ve been avoiding posting because I don’t want to come off as the cranky pregnant lady. I can’t quite explain the logic in my thinking here—wait three more months till I’m just the plain non-pregnant run-of-the-mill cranky lady? Meanwhile we are wasting away in Blogaritaville. While people mean well (yes, I know, they really do, please don’t remind me) they also think it’s necessary to comment on you like you’re public property. Like my husband’s uncle asking him “Is she exercising?” Uh, are you? Would you even care if I wasn’t the life support for someone else? Or random people asking when you’re due, only to remind you that it will be smack in the middle of a hot, swampy summer when August hits (Because really? I had no idea) and then keep harping on it as if it’s a tragedy that cannot be overcome. Did air conditioning and ice water somehow disappear from the earth while I wasn’t paying attention?

So for work, there’s an organizational day (AKA “mandatory fun” event) coming up, and to defray the cost, there are various fundraisers planned. The latest one in our office was chili and hotdog sale at lunchtime, AKA heartburn and preservatives. I did not contribute. Why? This is going to sound petty, or maybe it won’t. As a contractor who works here every day, who is otherwise considered part of the organization when there is work to be done, we have to take paid time off to participate in said mandatory fun. Where I work, contractors are most of the bodies that fill the seats, but when it comes to these events, I am willing to bet we will get many emailed reminders telling us that our place of duty that day is in the office. So it’s perfectly okay to take our money, but not okay for us to attend unless we do it on our own time. Be sure to stay tuned for the whining that will happen later, when shockingly, very few people participate.

Last week at work I got into a yelling match over the phone. Not very professional, I know. I will preface this story by saying the person on the other end started it, and is notorious for being a yeller. She also apparently works from home. I’m going to take a guess that there’s a good reason that she is not in an office environment with other people. Why does she get the benefit of telecommuting because she’s a jerk? But here is the real question—why do people just accept this? Why do people just roll their eyes and say “Oh, that’s just how she is?” One person who overheard me actually knew who it was without hearing her voice on the other end. Another gave me a high five after I hung up. Has anyone told this person that she is *that* person? Does this person realize no one wants to deal with her, that her email messages go unanswered because she is an incorrigible pain in the ass? I’m guessing no. But why is this? It’s not even that she is in a position of power, yet she stays employed and everyone else is forced to deal with it. When I yelled right back, and said I would hang up if she kept speaking to me that way, she calmed right down and admitted she didn’t know she was yelling. And she apologized. Lesson learned: Don’t try to out-crazy the pregnant lady, Mmm-kay?

Mother’s Day was okay. My husband attempted breakfast. This was a “bless his heart” moment. Once upon a time he used to cook for himself and was even competent with breakfast. Let’s just say he’s out of practice. I think eggs are right up there with pizza and burgers on this list of foods that you cannot eff up. I mean, you have to actively try to screw up eggs. And hurrah, he did it. I scooped out my portion of sticky scrambled eggs and tried hard not to mention the perimeter of oil surrounding them on my plate. Okay, I’m lying. I didn’t try that hard. Contrary to what one of my former section sergeants used to say, I don’t really believe there is a need to “lubricate the body.” This is also why I stay away from Popeyes chicken. Later, I didn’t feel so bad when he admitted that the eggs were “horrible.” Verdict: It was a failed omelet that morphed into a greasy mess. This was either an honest mistake, or more proof to support my theory that sometimes men purposely do things badly so the women in their lives will do it from that day forward.


E for entitled

So the other day I took metro to work. I did this for years and most of the time it was fine. I decided to take one of the seats designated for handicapped people and seniors. While I am neither of those, I figured I was safe since I am obviously pregnant. Besides, there were seven other seats occupied by people who, from what I could tell, were not pregnant or in dire need of the seats.

You know where this is going, right? If you know anything about my kind of luck, you know where this is going.

So after a few stops, a woman gets on. I saw her for years and years on the train. I knew from her badge that she worked at the Pentagon. Who knows, maybe she knew me too (I’m inclined to say, probably not). So the train is packed and she’s standing. Then I hear a man beside her say, “Say ‘Excuse me.’” So she goes, “Excuse me,” and points to the handicapped sign over my head. I pull out my earbud.

“These seats are designated…”

This is being said with the lemon yellow SmarTrip card being brandished. She was literally pulling the senior card on me. I’ve seen her whip out the almighty card on someone else before and now it was my turn.

So I stood up (I should have placed a hand on the small of my back and struggled to rise for emphasis) and said “I sat here because I’m pregnant. I usually don’t take these seats.” I sat back down (imagining The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” theme playing in the background).

She says, “Oh, I see.” And instead of turning to one of the other seven candidates, she stands there like she’s going to patiently wait for the next 3 ½ months to pass until I have the baby and she can rightfully claim her seat.

Most people wouldn’t give this a second thought. All I could wonder was why I had been singled out. I wore my gray hoodie over my work clothes because the one fleece jacket that still fits just makes me look fat, and when you're pregnant and feeling fat it helps you feel better to wear clothes that help make the distinction, so I went with the hoodie. But the hoodie doesn't exactly say "Off to work", either. So did she come to me because I looked like schlubby and not on my way to a “real” job?

Or, in the words of my best friend, did she come at me to re-enact a Rosa Parks scene? I want to say probably not. I know there are people that would gladly go back to those days, but I hope the people I encounter are not like that. The thing is, you don’t know, and if you’re not white and this happens to you, you can’t help but wonder.

I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she just wanted that seat. She usually sits there, and here I was, taking “her” seat. Maybe it’s just a psychological thing. Or maybe she's just a classist/racist.



I ran into a former coworker during my walk to pick up lunch on Friday. I was basically laid off resigned in October 2009. I got the quick rundown on how everything has changed (of the twelve people that were on my old team, I think three are left. And two of those are managers. MMm-kay.). Anyway, I told her my company name and she squinted--you know, the way people do when they have never heard of what you just said. I wanted so badly to be smart about it, but I left it alone.

But the thing is, the name of the company I work for is in big giant letters on the top of the building where she works. So either she needs to look up more often or companies paying all that extra to have their name on the building are wasting their money.


Borders filed for bankruptcy. I have mixed feelings on this. I don't want to see a bookstore close and the Borders near me seems to do pretty good business. But they also insist on having the "Black book section." I haven't gotten into how much I hate this. No other group gets marginalized like this, but we're special. And while you're in that section, you will find anything from erotica, to "urban" lit to whatever else people think belongs there. If it's an Alice Walker or Toni Morrison work, I'm sure it will be placed with the "real" literature, but otherwise it will likely be placed with the AA books. To their credit, they did put a Tananarive Due book I read for a bookclub in the Horror section, but otherwise, this type of categorization makes no sense. I know some readers prefer to have that so they can find what appeals to them (if you are only reading books by one group...well...I'm glad you're reading, but you're missing out on a lot), but overall it's not doing black authors any good. So while it's sad that Borders is not doing so well, I would have more sympathy if they didn't insist on a separate but unequal section for "us." I am sorry that writers, especially midlist ones, will be negatively affected.

For the past six months I have been looking into what I need to do to get published. Writing the book doesn't even sound like the hardest part. You have to revise, get beta readers, incorporate feedback, write a query letter (which has to have a hook and enough pull in 300 words or less to make someone want to read more), have a "platform" get busy on Twitter and on the blog (ha) and so on. You have to build a following and then maybe, if someone is interested and the subject seems marketable, you get an agent. Then the agent must go around to publishers and pimp your story. Oh yeah, and then you still have to go on with your day job, because if you get a deal, it's unlikely that it will be enough for your to make a living.

I think what I have is marketable. There may be an issue with the era (early-mid 90's) but other than that, I think it can go somewhere. But this is not enough--I have to sell it to make someone else think it will go somewhere. The main character has my racial background and from what I have heard this is not a selling point. Sad. There is no major "struggle," no details on the history of slavery or the Civil Rights movement, sorry. There are annoyances that are race related that pop up here and there, but you get to know this character's personality first, and she never declares her race outright or constantly talks about it because people generally don't do this in real life. You figure it out by seeing the world from her eyes, and since I believe people are more alike than different, it's going to be a slight change in perspective, but the insecurities, the fears, and the triumphs of someone during their college years are there. I am not sure how to label it. For a liberal industry, there are some issues with white washing covers and being pigeonholed into writing your own race if you are not white. It's made me feel discouraged before I even send anything out.

There are some encouraging changes too, one which affected Borders-- e-book sales. There have been a few authors who are extremely successful going the non-traditional route. I usually laugh at people who self-publish, but some know what they're doing. If you price a book right and get the word out there through interviews and talking with readers, you can do pretty well. I'm going to consider this after the traditional route. Then there are some who self publish and then get picked up by a major publisher--it's not all gloom and doom, but the road seems to have a lot of detours.


Dear Target (AKA possibly the closest thing to an "announcement" as you will get)

When you are selling Maternity jeans, wouldn’t it be a good idea to use accurate sizing, instead of having things run SMALL? Like 2 sizes too small? Yes, I bought the jeans anyway, but only after taking home the original pair and discovering they were cut more like a size 2 than a 12. Making jeans that run small for women that are expanding on a daily basis = not smart. And if the panel was just an inch higher, I could be sporting what appear to be strapless jeans. Not cute atall.

Blog awakes from two month coma, news at 11

So, er, how 'bout them Packers? Uh, Valentine’s day? Happy new year? My resolution is to blog more.


(stop that laughing)