Utterly Brilliant Thoughts: 09.2006
Is It the Weekend Yet?
This has been such an odd week. Not like "I went to New York & became an assassin" or "I ate a live cockroach to get to the front of the line". More like mundane mixed with just a bit of "what the . . . ?".

  • Received an offer on our house. Excited? Yeah, me too, until I realized it was for over $20,000 less than our asking price from an investment company looking to buy homes for much less than the market value & then "flip" them.
  • Had a squirrel sit on the roof outside my window & stare at me. (This actually happens all the time at work, but it's still disconcerting.)
  • While screening a prospective tenant, discovered that, other than her name & social security number, virtually everything she had put on her application was false.
  • Met my new dentist, Malibu Todd.

  • I swear to you, he looks exactly like Malibu Ken, except for the outfit.
  • Watched United 93.
  • Realized that I am an idiot for watching United 93. Five hundred kleenex later, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball & hide.
  • Watched The Wild (or, as I refer to it, Madagascar Lite) in an effort to cheer up after United 93. Not even Eddie Izzard could save it.
  • Had a "customer service" person hang up on me when I asked to speak to her supervisor. After I sent a fax to the company, I received a very nice call from the head of the department, apologizing & generally kissing my ass which is always kind of fun. At least for the first few minutes, then it just gets annoying.
  • Steam cleaned the carpets on the 1st floor. Note to self: the little wet, soapy balls of cat fur that shoot out from the machine (yuck) are not mice, so stop jumping out of your skin every time it happens.
  • Steam cleaned the carpets on the 2nd floor. Little wet, soapy balls of cat fur still aren't mice but still make me jump out of my skin.
  • Had a colleague tell me she married her husband because she thought he'd be "good in an emergency".
  • Lost one of my diamond earrings but had no idea when or where so I couldn't even begin to figure out where to look for it.
  • Also lost my brush, dental floss & a pair of pants, all before 9 am on Thursday.
  • Had lunch with my mom, who could only drink tea since she's on the BRAT diet.
  • Wondered if my assistant ran away from home since I haven't seen her all week.
  • The UPS guy tracked me down as I was walking home from work to deliver a box full of hair products that I apparently won last month on allure.com. Yay!
  • Found my diamond earring quite by accident on the floor by my bed.
  • Brush, dental floss & pants still MIA.
  • Watched ER. Managed not to cry.
  • Started reading a (so far) really good book by Anne Tyler, Digging to America.
  • Had to call the police not once, not twice, but THREE times last night. From 11:30 to 12:30 last night, one of our neighbors played with an excruciatingly loud remote control car in the middle of the street & then spent 20 minutes revving his Harley & three-wheeler. The noise could wake the dead. Lights were going on all over the neighborhood. We can only assume he has completely lost his mind.

So now it's 11 am on Friday & I am sitting here drinking chai tea, staring at my computer & the piles of work on my desk & trying to wake up. And I just realized that I have a huge deadline that has to be met by the end of the day today. Completely forgot about it. Thank God I glanced at my calendar.

How many hours til Happy Hour?

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Feast #113
What is your favorite herb or spice?
Cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, chives, dill, garlic & basil. Impossible to pick just one!
That's why I love

Name a song you like but haven't heard in a long time.
Why did an Air Supply song just pop into my head? *shudder* I love Coconut by
Harry Nilsson & Wild World by Cat Stevens.

If you were to take just one minute to write down as many things as you can think of that you need (not want) to do, approximately how many things
would there be?

Dozens, so I prefer not to think about it.

Tell something interesting about one of your family members
(nothing scandalous, please, just something unique).

My cousin is the NCAA Wrestling Champion. I can't tell you how weird it is to hear ESPN commentators talk about your family. Especially when they get stuff wrong. No, wait, especially when they start talking about how "cut" he looks in his little tiny singlet. Ew.
What's the latest you've ever stayed awake?
Probably not more than 24-36 hours. I am ridiculously, frighteningly cranky if I
go too long without sleep. More so than usual, even!

Join the Feast!


Why I Don't Watch TV
  • Am I the only one who thinks that Senator Mike DeWine a.) kind of looks like a monkey & b.) sounds an awful lot like his good buddy W? For those of you non-Ohioans, check out the commercial here. Lord, but I hate political commercials.
  • Last week, I was in tears during the season premiere of ER. Chris had to get me a tissue & everything. I'm generally not a crier, but Abby & Luka's baby was born early & then she had to have an emergency hysterectomy, & Jerry was shot & had to have surgery, & Sam's husband kidnapped her (although I totally knew she would end up killing him, thank God, does that mean she'll leave the show now because I'm kind of getting sick of her & her bratty kid) & I'm starting to think maybe I'm getting a little too emotionally involved here.
  • Everything on E! / all reality shows. Did you know that there's a series that features Playboy Playmates as they frolick around the world? I just saw the commercial, but let's just say it did not make me proud to be a woman. Is it possible that these girls are acting? Surely no one could honestly be that stupid, right? Right? And apparently the Carter family (including both Aaron & Nick Carter) has a new reality show. The Lohan family can't be far behind. What a train wreck.

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My Suspicions Have Been Confirmed


Feast #112
Measured in minutes or hours, how much
exercise have you had in the last week?

Does cleaning count? I mopped my (very large) kitchen floor twice, vacuumed twice & scrubbed the carpet in the foyer. I also walk to & from work every day.
Maybe 3 hours? I'm such a slug.

If you had to change your blog title to something else, what would it be?
Maybe Here's the Thing . . . because I say that all the time.
Or Confessions of a Neurotic Newlywed.

Name one television show you watched when you were 9-12 years old.
Family Ties & The Cosby Show.

If someone gave you $50 to spend with the one condition that it had to be educational, what would you purchase?
Books. I could spend hours in a book store.

Do you tend to prefer dark colors, neutral shades, or lighter/pastel hues?
Definitely not pastels! This time of year, I tend to gravitate towards deeper colors
like garnet, copper & hunter green.


Someday soon, I will have to interview for a new job. It is likely that job will be in Pennsylvania. This is actually something I've been looking forward to, for reasons that should be obvious if you either know me (& have listened to me complain incessantly about my job) or routinely visit this blog (where I also complain incessantly about my job). Of course, I have the usual change-related apprehensions, but I never worried about this:

In the state of Pennsylvania, it is legal to ask a prospective employee if she is married, pregnant & / or has children & then deny her employment based on her answers.

Preposterous! Of course that's illegal . . . except it isn't. I even called an attorney I know to verify it. (Yeah, I'm a suspicious bitch & believe nothing without verification, even if the nice people at
MomsRising.org tell me it's true.) If you think this is ridiculous & needs to change, click on this link to sign the petition. You don't have to be a Pennsylvania resident, just someone who thinks this archaic practice needs to stop. Let's get this bill passed!

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Thanks to Miss Zoot (who also happens to be the designer of this shiny new blog template) for alerting me that September 23-30 is Banned Books Week. Did you even know there was such a thing? Me neither. And I was truly astonished - wait, what's stronger than astonished? alarmed? stunned? appalled? - when I read the list of the 100 Most Challenged Books. I've read nearly half of the books on this list, liked some, hated some, loved many. Regardless of my feeling on any of these books, it isn't my place to decide which books are suitable for public consumption. What's that quote? "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Can you imagine missing out on the Harry Potter series or To Kill a Mockingbird just because someone thought that they promoted the occult or racism? If you don't want your kid reading certain books, that is certainly your prerogative. But don't tell me what my (future) kid can read or try to restrict access to the rest of us. As far as I'm concerned, anything that will get a kid to read is a good thing, even if it's the Captain Underpants or Goosebumps series. Unless, of course, you would rather let your child play video games, surf the 'web or watch television. No foul language, violence, racism, misogynism, sexuality or "mature content" there.

Last Friday, Chris took Cat to Animal Rescue League in Pittsburgh. Here she is in the car. She did eventually emerge from her hiding place & spent the rest of the ride curled up on his lap. He's obviously much stronger than I am, because there is no way I could have handed her over after that. Cat is now ready to be adopted & can be seen here. They named her Dahlia, which was on my short list of names for her. Yeah, I know, don't name the kitty. Thank God ARL took her, because I was about one kitty headbutt away from keeping her. Since Lemieux recently developed an aversion to other felines, complete with hissing, growling & throwing himself at the door, I can only imagine how much fun that would have been. Truthfully, I am completely misrepresenting it when I call it "hissing". We refer to it as snorking. There's really no way to describe it. If I ever get it on video, I will absolutely share it with all of you. It is quite the experience.

What in the name of all that is holy was that last night? What a train wreck. I refuse to dwell on it, but I will mention that I said back in August that 1st round draft pick Santonio Holmes was a mistake & I'm sorry to say I haven't seen anything yet to make me change my opinion. Keeping my fingers crossed for Sunday against the Bengals . . .

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Holy Cow
Continuing the shoving-my-beliefs-down-your-throat theme today, I received an email from a prospective client whose username is catholicmomtobe. Turns out, catholicmomtobe is an acquaintance who rushed my sorority back in the day. I was a bit surprised at the username because, well, she was not what you might call discriminating back then. (I won't tell you what we did call her, but it rhymed with cranky doe. Yeah, we weren't nice. Thank goodness I'm not like that now.) Anyway, she recognized my name when I contacted her & we exchanged small talk. Literally five minutes into the conversation, she asked me if I attended the Catholic church near my home. I told her that I am no longer a practicing Catholic & occasionally attend the Unity Church where Chris & I got married. That began an irascible, five minute long diatribe about how we weren't truly married in the eyes of the Lord, our children will never be able to be baptized within the Church, I was going to go to Hell for turning my back on the Church . . . there was more, but my brain stopped listening after about 30 seconds. After that, I heard Andrea Bocelli singing Ave Maria. Appropriate, no?

Remember that this is a girl that I barely knew over ten years ago, yet she feels completely justified in judging my personal choices & blithely condemning me to eternal damnation. I'm going to Hell for not attending mass, but this girl, who honestly drank, smoked & slept with everything she could get her hands on in college, & apparently has some anger management issues these days, is completely assured of her place in Heaven. The worst part isn't what she said, it's that I couldn't really respond that way I would have liked to because she's a prospective client. I think I said something along the lines of "Well, at least I'll be with people I know" & got off the phone.

Now, I think it's great if you have a strong faith in a higher power, whether that be God, Buddha, Allah, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever. And while I have strong opinions on God, same sex marriage, the right to choose & many, many other issues, I can recognize that other people may have differing opinions, & that's okay. I guess I am just from the "religion is a private thing" school of thought and would no sooner ask someone about their religious preferences than I would ask them about their finances or their sex life. It is a personal choice and certainly none of my business. And I cannot imagine demanding that everyone believe what I believe or face everlasting anguish if they have the audacity to believe something that differs in even the slightest way. To me, that's not much different than feeling justified in killing thousands of people in the name of Allah. But maybe that's because I'm a heathen.

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Well, That Was Fun
Today started off fairly normally. I woke up to say good-bye to Chris, felt vaguely bad that he has to gaze upon my overwhelming loveliness every morning, fell back asleep, hit snooze twice, watched Stephen Baldwin proclaim that God told him to write a book on Today while I put on my makeup (did God tell you that you have to refer to yourself in the third person too, Stephen?), realized that I was running late, threw on some clothes, scraped my wet hair back into a bun, scooped some cantaloupe into a bowl & made it to work on time. In case you're wondering, my interpretation of "on time" means anything less than 15 minutes late.

About an hour later, my boss came & asked why one of the checks I gave him to deposit on Saturday was dated July 31. For one thing, the person who writes the checks isn't the person that signs the checks, so the checks languish on one desk or another for a few weeks until they get mailed to us. Then I deposit & distribute a batch of checks about every six weeks. These are not payroll checks or company income, but part of an incentive program for the Realtors. They receive 100%. This is also not a new procedure; this has been the standard operating procedure for at least 3 years. He started getting all worked up about it, telling me that these checks have to be deposited & distributed at least every 30 days, blah blah blah. I tried to explain to him why that would be an issue & that the Realtors were quite happy with this arrangement, but I could tell he wasn't listening since he kept talking over me & repeating the same thing over & over. So I just stopped & did what I normally do with him: tell him whatever he wants to hear. This is when, for no particular reason that I could tell, he started to shout at me. He does this periodically when he is in a mood & wants to fight with someone. I don't see any point in fighting with him since a.) he's my boss & b.) he's not listening anyway, so normally, I would just walk away. This is when today stopped being a normal day.

I don't know if it's because I wasn't feeling well last night, or if the insomnia has finally caught up to me, or if I have just had enough, but whatever the reason, I finally reached my breaking point. I snapped and told him that he was not to raise his voice to me, I refuse to put up with this behavior & if he is going to continue to behave like this, I am going to leave & he can deal with the checks and everything else on his own. There was more of this nature, then I ended with "Now I am done discussing this. That's it." Then I turned away from him & continued updating the website. After a few minutes, he quietly walked away.

I'm sure there is a lesson in here somewhere, but I'm not quite sure what it is.

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Feast #111
What was the very last song you listened to?
Josh Groban, Let Me Fall (from Cirque du Soleil).

What is one company/store/corporation you would recommend that people stay away from?
Aside from Wal-Mart, The Source of All Evil? Any of the Sterling Jewelers (Kay, LeRoy, Jared, most of the "mall jewelers"). I prefer to use small, independent jewelers because of the service & unique merchandise, but I mistakenly let LeRoy Jewelers clean my antique engagement ring once. It's a long story, but the short version is, they lost one of the stones & that started a month-long battle to get them to restore the ring to its original condition. Zero customer service or basic jewelry knowledge. The positive side was that this led me to a local, independent jeweler who is AMAZING & has my business for life.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy having your picture made?
Maybe a 5. I actually liked having my photo taken by our
wedding photographers.
They're so talented, I completely trusted them to make us look good & really capture the emotion of the day.

Besides a bookmark, what is something you've used
to keep your place in a book?
Take-out menus, a post-it note, ribbon,
the receipt from the library.

Name a food that you like that most people don't.
Brussels sprouts. Asparagus, but only the way Chris makes it.

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Do you think the sun is ever going to come back out? If I am this lethargic & moody after a few rainy, overcast days, I can only imagine how much fun I'm going to be by January. Amongst other things, I am hating:

  • my co-workers. I have colleagues that are unable to find a file, decipher a contract, download photos or access their voice mail without assistance. The worst part is that they truly have no desire to be self-sufficient. Apparently, it is much more efficient to stand around & ineffectually whine about it until someone (namely, me) breaks down & does it for you. I am getting MUCH better at ignoring the whining. Good practice for future parenting, I think.
  • my job. Well, duh.
  • real estate. This morning, I spoke to the Realtor that showed our house at the beginning of the month. He literally spent 10 minutes telling me how "beautiful" & "immaculate" the house is & how "amazed" he is that it hasn't sold yet. Welcome to my world, Troy. Unfortunately, his buyers have to sell their home in Maryland & find jobs here before they would be willing to make an offer. (I don't know why they are looking now when neither of those goals has been accomplished, but then there are lots of things I don't understand.)
  • being tired. I feel like I can't even focus, I am so exhausted. I can't wait to go home, collapse on the bed & sleeeeeeep.
  • laundry. The same basket of laundry has been sitting in my bathroom for three days. I know, all of the moms out there are laughing hysterically right now. One basket? Just three days? When there are only two people in your household, & one of them is me (read: neurotic), that's a lot. The thought of hauling it downstairs, washing it, drying it, folding it & putting it away . . . see #4.
  • dinner. Do other people find it this difficult to decide what to cook every day? It was much easier when I was single & could happily eat a fudgsicle or Cheerios for dinner. Chris is funny about wanting, you know, food in his food.
  • NBC. The bastards canceled West Wing last year & I still haven't gotten over it.
  • The Shrub. If he wasn't the President, I would find his cluelessness & complete denial of reality tremendously amusing. Unfortunately, he is the President. For another 859 days.
  • the holidays. Preemptively. Already looking forward to Christmas, which Chris & I will spend sleep-deprived, punch-drunk & mostly in the car.
  • & my hair. Humidity is not my friend.

It appears that my happy-go-lucky attitude has not deterred a new cat from trying to adopt us. Cat showed up on Sunday evening & has not left our back patio since. Oh, did I mention that we're feeding it? And that I put a fuzzy blanket on the chaise so it would be more comfy? Yeah, that might have something to do with it. Fortunately, Chris found a no-kill shelter near his office that will accept her so I can stop feeling inordinately guilty about someone else's cat. (By the way, Cat seems perfectly happy with the way things are. We supply her with food, water, a snuggly bed, twice-a-day attention & the freedom to come & go as she pleases. Bijou & Lemieux probably dream of the same.)

In any case, The Weather Channel is predicting sunshine this weekend, Oprah's new season starts & the Steelers play on Monday & the new Rolling Stone has Justin Timberlake on the cover - things are looking up!

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I Hate Fortune Magazine

I just read Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" report. This was a mistake. First of all, surprise, my company's not on the list. Yeah, who would've guessed? Second, did you know that some companies actually pay 100% medical & dental benefits, 100% tuition reimbursement, maternity & paternity leave including the month BEFORE your due date, AND offer adoption benefits, 401k & profit sharing, onsite daycare, 16 paid holidays plus sick days plus vacation days . . . I could go on & on. Lastly, are you aware that a customer service rep at Smucker's, Nordstrom salesperson & Fed Ex courier ALL have a higher average salary than I do? PLUS benefits! Benefits like you can't even imagine! Benefits other than "ridiculously short commute" & "can design & print wedding programs at work"! Sigh. That's okay. I've made it possible for my boss to build a new villa in Florida, install a home theater system in his other home & spend a third of the past year on vacation while I run the company. You just can't put a price on that kind of achievement, can you? Apparently not, since I haven't even seen a cost-of-living wage increase this year.

God, I need to sell my house.

BTW, don't you just adore Anne Taintor? Me too. Maybe I should just move to New Mexico & work for her. Probably she'd hardly ever say "What happened with the thing?" and then get mad when I didn't know what "the thing" was. Or call me at home on a Saturday morning to ask what the FedEx number is. Or tell me that I should put half of my salary in a secret account, so that I'll have it when my marriage fails. Probably. Of course, she might not greet me with "hi, sexy" either and where would the modern workplace be without a little soupçon of sexual harassment?

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Feast #110

Name 3 things that you are wearing today.
My engagement & wedding rings, a Banana Republic salmon/coral silk sweater & white linen pants. On sale @ Target!

Who was the last person you hugged?
My husband, before he left for work today.

What do you like to order from your favorite fast food place?
I don't really have a favorite fast food place.
I love McDonald's fries, Wendy's burgers, Arby's turkey ranch & bacon wrap, & almost anything from Panera Bread, if that can be considered fast food.

What time of day do you usually feel most energized?
Late at night. I am not a morning person.

Using the letters in your first name, write a sentence.
(Example: Sweet Unusual Spaniels Are Nice.)
Not another one . . .
Smiling Happy Alligators Wander Nearby Every Evening.

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Hola, Detroit!
My Latent Criminal Tendency Rears Its Ugly Head in Motown

When we first arrived at Comerica Park on Saturday, Chris was accosted by an overly enthusiastic little man who wanted him to enter a contest to win free insulation, of all things. For some unknown reason, rather than simply walking away like a normal person*, Chris filled out the card with bogus information, including a new name: Sanchez. When Chris informed me of our name change, I immediately decided that I wanted to change my name to Isabella to match my new last name. After much contemplation & discussion, we decided that, since I am the quintessential white girl, my new, WASP-appropriate name would be Daisy Vanderhoofen Sanchez. Did I mention that the game was delayed a bit due to the rain? Rain delay = way too much free time for Chris & Shawn, obviously. I can't even claim drunkenness, although it is possible I was strung out on hot chocolate.

So anyway, about an hour later, for reasons that have since become unclear, but that I believe had something to do with a free Detroit Tigers t-shirt (approximate value: $10, max), I completed a Detroit Tigers credit card application. Since I didn't want the request to impact my credit score & I have absolutely no need or desire for another credit card (or another t-shirt, for that matter, but that's hardly the point), I decided to use my new "identity". Unfortunately, I screwed up immediately by using my old alias instead of my new & improved one. The suspicious bimbo accepting the applications was distinctly skeptical that the pale-to-the-point-of-translucency green-eyed redhead in front of her was named Isabella Sanchez (that's some form of reverse racism or something, I just can't put my finger on it) and proceeded to QUIZ me on the information in the application. The nerve! But guess what? I PASSED!! That's right, I remembered my fake name, address, ZIP code, birthday and Social Security number! Ha! Take that, distrustful Visa lady! I have trouble remembering my own cell phone number, but I can remember made-up details about my Hispanic alter ego. The brain works in mysterious ways. Regardless, this is incontrovertible proof that I still have a few working brain cells left. So, yay, me! Chris has taken great pleasure in calling me a felon, but I'll be willing to bet that won't stop him from wearing his free shirt. Crime does pay!

The next day, we checked out "GM World" on the first level of the Renaissance Center Marriott. (Seriously, the car manufacturers own EVERYthing in Detroit. Public transportation is an urban legend there.) When we got downstairs, we were greeted by a sign that expressly forbid us to eat or drink in GM World. Emboldened by my newly successful foray into the criminal world, I thought, "like they're going to kick us out for having Starbucks" & convinced Chris to ignore the sign. So we played with a 'Vette that cost more than our house, and a sexy-as-hell Solstice convertible, and an H3 that totally made me understand why people buy Hummers. We merrily toasted the security guard with our beverages and mockingly took this photo:

And then, literally 1 minute later, this one:

Divine retribution? Perhaps. All I'm going to say is that I wasn't the one who spilled it. In any case, I am taking this as a warning and my short criminal career is officially over. I'm sure the law enforcement community is very grateful.

* It has occurred to me that this is a "people in glass houses . . ." situation.


Thank God for the Three Day Weekend!
At about 11 am today, I found out that one of today's advertising deadlines was moved up to YESTERDAY. Um, yeah, see, I left my psychic powers at home AGAIN, so I didn't actually know about this, and I forgot my time-reversal powers as well, so just how in the hell am I supposed to submit these pages?? Our rep grudgingly said I could submit them today (I would probably feel a bit more grateful if it hadn't been her responsibility to tell me about the change in the first place) , but it had to be done by noon, when I originally had until 11:59pm tonight. No one was allowed to talk to me this morning.

Then the MLS spontaneously & mysteriously shut down for the afternoon. Which was right about the time that a client called & told me he wanted to buy one of our listings and was willing to pay full price and where should he bring the money? As much as I would enjoy just looking at $75,000 in cash, I had to explain to him that there were a few legalities that needed to be observed, such as, oh, I don't know, executing a purchase agreement, and even then he was absolutely, positively, not going to bring $75,000 in cash to my office in a brown paper bag. And did I mention that he calls himself Sir Richard?

We have another showing on our house tomorrow, FINALLY. After 2 full months with no pending sales in our area & price range, hopefully this is a sign that the real estate market moving again. And I just cleaned the house on Wednesday, so I don't have to rush home & clean like my life depends on it. Which, in a sad & twisted way, I guess it does. Although since the basic cleaning has been done, it leaves me free to focus on the Really Important cleaning jobs like vacuuming the basement & organizing the linen cabinet. Sure, because most people base their homebuying decisions on things like basement cleanliness & cabinet orderliness.

After the showing, we're off to Detroit. Yes, you read that correctly, I said Detroit. Don't be jealous. I'll let you know if it's as fabulous as everyone says it is . . .
Edited to add: Comerica Park was amazing & the Zoo was one of the nicest we've visited. I might not want to live there (don't be offended, I don't want to live here either), but it definitely didn't seem to be the crime-infested cesspool that many had led me to expect. And I'm refering to Detroit residents! Might be time to take another look.

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Feast #109
What are some lyrics you have misheard
(such as, instead of "Gettin' Jiggy With It" you heard
"Kick a chicken with it")?
Kick a chicken with it?? It drives me crazy when I can't figure out what they're saying, so I am constantly looking lyrics up online.

What is the worst movie you have ever seen?
Oh, God, so many to choose from! Chris & I seem to have a knack for picking really, spectacularly bad movies.
The Punisher comes to mind . . .

Using the letters from your favorite number,
write a sentence.
Example: Tomorrow has really easy experiences
Tired wallabies observe.

What was the most interesting news story
you have heard this week?

Well, apparently Pluto is no longer a planet, which just confirms my belief that everything I learned in school is now completely worthless. But I think that was last week.

Which word(s) would you choose to
describe your wardrobe?
Classic. Lots of J Crew, Banana Republic, Gap & Ann Taylor.
Crowded. I have a very large closet, but I could use more space. Especially for the shoes!

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