Utterly Brilliant Thoughts: 10.2006
Today's Happy Thoughts
Things To Focus On So I Don't Strangle My Co-Workers

Gingerbread Macadamia Biscotti
the amazing letter Chris wrote to me for our anniversary
Pumpkin Bread recipe
unseasonably warm weather
Most Haunted Live
leftover Halloween candy
what I want for Christmas (no idea, actually)
TSO concert this weekend
pants from last winter that still fit
Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee
french fries for dinner
a new episode of ER on Thursday
not working tomorrow
not working tomorrow
not working tomorrow
not working tomorrow
not working tomorrow

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Yes, I Know I Need Therapy
One of my blog friends (if by "friend" you mean someone that you don't actually know & have never met but for some strange reason know intimate details about their personal lives) mentioned that when she's feeling anxious, she calms herself by playing the worst case scenario game. You know, think "what's the worst thing that could happen?" in any given situation & then figure out how you would handle it. I suppose the rationalization is that if you have a plan, it makes you feel more in control of an uncontrollable situation. Or maybe that the "worst thing" isn't all that bad after all. Or something.

It's entirely possible that this helps some people.

Note: some people = not me.

My imagination & capacity for worry are utterly limitless and my worst case scenarios often involve death, dismemberment & financial ruin. My imaginary plans for dealing with these scenarios often involve curling up in the fetal position & hoping it all goes away. (I am a big fan of the Scarlett O'Hara "tomorrow is another day" school of thought.) So, not all that helpful as a planning tool / coping mechanism. That doesn't keep me from playing this game religiously, normally right before I go to sleep at night. Thus ensuring that not only do I have an ulcer, I also have chronic insomnia.

When we put our house on the market (dear God, 305 days ago. three. hundred. and. five. *whimper*), I played the game endlessly. My major concerns were:

  • we won't be able to find a house within 30 days of receiving a contract on our house and therefore will be homeless once our house is sold.
  • we won't be able to find a house we can afford in a neighborhood that doesn't make me want to weep or buy a bulletproof vest.
  • we will find a house that we love in a nice area but it will cost more than the GNP of Belgium.
  • we will buy said house anyway because otherwise we will be homeless or living in the ghetto. (Cue Elvis: ". . . in the ghetto . . .")
  • we will have to eat ramen and sell plasma in order to pay our mortgage.
  • we will have to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to pay our mortgage.
  • I won't be able to find a job before we move and will have to sell extraneous body parts (are both kidneys really necessary?) to pay our mortgage.
  • I will find a job that's just as bad as the one I have now & I won't be able to quit (see: GNP of Belgium).
  • we will never be able to have children because I won't be able to take any time off to actually give birth or afford child care afterwards (see: GNP of Belgium).
  • we won't be able to find people to help us move.
  • we will hire a moving company that will either lose all of our belongings or hold everything we own hostage unless we pay some exorbitant sum that was never mentioned in the contract (it happens, I saw it on Dateline).
  • we will find a house that we can afford in a good neighborhood, everything will be perfect & then the buyers won't be able to close but we'll have already closed on the new house & we'll end up with two mortgages that we can't pay . . . (start GNP of Belgium cycle again).
  • and on & on & on, until I finally put myself to sleep by naming everything in the room in French. What, you don't do that too?

Notice anything missing from that neurotic yet seemingly comprehensive list? Oh, yeah, that we wouldn't be able to sell the house. At all. Ever. No matter how low we dropped the price (already below the appraised & assessed values, at a significant loss to us) or what we offered (home warranty, inspection, chocolate chip cookies baked fresh for you every week for a year just please please please buy our house!) to make it more attractive to buyers.

So here we are, probably about a month or two away from being hauled back to court by The World's Stupidest Ex-Husband. (Scintillating backstory
here.) The worst case scenarios (weeding out the ones that involve death & dismemberment) include being told that a.) we have to relist the house with another agency, which means that we will end up owing even more money if it ever actually sells or b.) the house will be listed for sheriff's auction, whereupon we could end up owing as much as $60,000 and yet having nowhere to live. The best case scenario is that the magistrate will take pity on us (& believe me, I am not above crying in court) and allow us to continue to try to sell the house with my company. Considering the condition of the market, this could continue indefinitely. This would also mean that I would have to continue working at this job, Chris would spend at least 3 hours a day commuting and one of us will eventually spontaneously explode. You can see how there are a few flaws with this option.

I really, really, REALLY try to keep this all in perspective. Chris and I are together; other than this mess, we are happy; we love each other; we're healthy; our families are healthy. I know that if this is the worst thing that ever happens to us, we are amazingly lucky. It's even possible that someday we will look back at this time and laugh. Well, maybe not laugh, but at least it will be in the past & we will have gotten through it. All of which is true but doesn't make the situation any less difficult or frustrating right now. Especially when I have to go home tonight & unpack several boxes of winter clothes that I packed last April in preparation for our impending move. *sigh*

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Feast #117
Create a new candle scent.
Starbucks Vanilla Crème with nutmeg & cinnamon. Or Starbucks Hot Apple Cider. I can't believe Starbucks hasn't come up with this themselves, they sell everything else.

Name one way you show affection to others.
I do little things to let people know that I was thinking of them, like leaving notes in my husband's lunch, buying small gifts for my mom or bringing candy for my co-workers.


What is your favorite writing instrument?
I love my Tiffany pen. But it was a gift & I'm paranoid about losing it, so it stays on my desk at home. For everyday, I use Pilot retractable gel pens.

If you were given $25 to spend anywhere online, from which site
would you buy?

Sephora, Coach, Zappos, Ann Taylor . . . tough decision. I'd probably shop around for a few days & then end up buying something for someone else!

Are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, what are you going to be?
Not this year, my parents-in-law will be in town & we're going to a hockey game. The last time we took my nieces trick-or-treating, I was a devil, which I'm sure many would find appropriate.

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This Explains So Much


What Day Is It?
The last week has sort of been a blur. This cold / flu / bronchial thing I've had is particularly noxious & persistent. Several times, I've thought that it was clearing up, only to have it return with a vengeance in a new, mutated form the next day. I will assume that you can live without hearing tales of coughing, snot & sleeplessness & just say that I think that there finally may be light at the end of the tunnel because for 2 nights in a row, I've actually been able to sleep lying down. Woo hoo!

Normally, I would try to work from home instead of contaminating my co-workers. (Which is how I got sick in the first place, thanks, Caroline!) However, I had to handle my boss' clients & paperwork as well as my own since his mom was still in the hospital & he was rarely available. Sadly, she died last Wednesday. She was 82, had open heart surgery at the beginning of September & had been in the hospital almost continually for the past two months, so you might think that her death was not unexpected. But 2 months ago, this woman was healthier & more active than I am (which may not be saying all that much, but you get the point). She died because she contracted malaria through a blood transfusion during the heart surgery. Malaria. Malaria not being all that common in this country, she went undiagnosed for weeks while the parasites attacked her organs. As you can imagine, the hospital & local Red Cross have been busy trying to keep this all under wraps & avoid widespread panic over the possibility of a tainted blood supply. The local newspapers & television stations have been covering the story, but because of the "spin" (which sounds so much better than "outright lies") provided by the doctors & other "authorities", the story that's being disseminated is almost completely untrue. Which makes me wonder about the veracity of every other news story being reported.

In happier news, apparently Bijou was just suffering from kitty menopause, or maybe seasonal affective disorder, or maybe it was all just a ploy to get me to feed her deli turkey by hand. In any case, she is finally back to normal. Which means she's carrying Smacky (her velvet mouse) around in her mouth, pretending Lemieux doesn't exist & taking up way too much room in the bed. Strange how I don't mind so much these days.

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It's A Boy!
Here's my newest cousin,
Micah Arthur.

He's obviously as even-tempered as the rest of us.

7 lbs. 9 oz.

Congratulations, Frank, Heather & Mara!


Thank you for your patience, kindness, humor & intelligence. Thank you for still wanting to marry me after I was too clueless to realize that you had proposed. Thank you for opening the car door for me every time. Thank you for making me grilled cheese sandwiches when I don't feel well. Thank you for answering my incessant "why is that a penalty?" questions when you really just want to watch the game. Thank you for making even trips to the grocery store entertaining. Thank you for killing the really big spiders and disposing of dead mice and scaring away the monsters in my dreams. Thank you for understanding that flowers for no reason at all are the best kind. Thank you for not laughing (out loud) when I cry over something stupid, like an episode of ER. Thank you for thinking that my friends' boyfriends aren't good enough for them. Thank you for ignoring me when I'm in a bad mood & trying to start a fight. Thank you for realizing how much I miss Art. Thank you for knowing my family is warped and crazy and liking us anyway. Thank you for sharing your warped and crazy family with me. Thank you for being there for and with me during the best and worst times of the past three years. Thank you for showing me what it is like to be completely, ridiculously, overwhelmingly in love.

Thank you for finding me, marrying me & being the best part of my day, every day.

Happy 1st Anniversary!


Feast #116
What is your favorite beverage?

Bellini. I also like mimosas. Really, anything involving champagne. Non-alcoholic, I prefer water, tea & those mango smoothie things they have at Target.

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
Framed photos of my mom & nieces, stainless steel business card holder & a pile (getting bigger every second) of paperwork.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
Eight. I'm a terrible liar, but I'll tell a "white lie" to save someone's feelings.

If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
Why would I want to do that? Well, I would kind of like to have a city named
after me. It's all about me. :-)

What stresses you out? What calms you down?

Work. Selling (or, more accurately, not selling) my house. And I hate feeling like I am being forced into something or cornered. My husband is the best calming influence
ever. Even better than shopping & chocolate! (Although that works too!)
A long, hot bubble bath helps too.

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At Least the Steelers Won
This week is not starting well. I was sick all weekend & am just now starting to feel a bit better. To give you an idea of how sick I was - I stayed at home on Saturday afternoon rather than go shopping as I had planned. And then, when I managed to actually get off the couch & haul myself to the grocery store, I decided not to get Krispy Kremes. That's right, I TURNED DOWN both shopping and doughnuts. It doesn't get more dire than that. So instead of buying shoes & eating Krispy Kremes, I spent most of the weekend coughing, blowing my nose & cleaning the house for a showing yesterday. (Because isn't cleaning exactly what you want to do when you feel like death on toast?) Oh, and trying to sleep. Between the wracking cough & that whole pesky trying-to-breathe thing, sleep has been even more elusive than usual.

As if all of that weren't bad enough, I think Bijou might be dying. I keep saying that to try to prepare
myself for what I'm afraid might be imminent, but I know there's really no way to do that. I really hope that I'm wrong, that she's just going through some kind of phase ("kitty menopause", as Chris suggested). But over the past few days, I've noticed a change in her that mirrors how my first cat behaved right before she died. She just seems to be fading away right in front of us. Since she was adopted from a shelter, I don't know her exact age, but it's been estimated between 12 & 16. I guess that's a pretty good age for a cat, but I was sort of hoping she'd live a little longer. Like forever.

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Feast #115
Approximately how many hours per week do you spend reading other blogs?
Too many! Probably about 10.

Your community wants everyone to give one thing to put into a time capsule. What item would you choose to include?
Magazine / newpaper articles to remind us how polarized our country became after 9/11. And video so we can laugh at the Shrub.

What is the most interesting tourist attraction you've ever visited?
Everything in DC, but I especially love the Lincoln Memorial. I also really liked Assateague Island / Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, although I'm not sure that
could be considered a tourist attraction.

If you could give an award to anyone for anything, who would it be
and what would the award be titled?

Wonder Woman, for my mom. She can do anything & is
incredibly loving & giving. My husband should also get an award
for putting up with me every day!

What do you think your favorite color reveals about your personality?
I don't really have a favorite color. So what does that reveal? That I'm indecisive? Capricious? Multi-faceted?

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Things We Do
A few years ago, I was in Connecticut for a cousin's wedding. (And that right there is a story in itself, but it will have to wait for another time.) While I was there, I saw a sign that said:

There are things that you do
because they feel right,
and they may make no sense,
and they may make no money,
and it may be the real reason that we are here:
to love each other
and to eat each other's cooking
and say that it was good.

I love that. For many reasons, including the fact that Chris routinely tells me that he likes my cooking, even when I forget to put the filling in his cream puff or burn the biscuits. (Am I the only one who thinks that both of those sound like euphemisms?) And I firmly believe that there are things that you do in life even if you really, truly, desperately don't want to, because you were raised right & it's the right thing to do. Which is why, instead of going home early, snuggling with my cats & willing this cold to be gone, I found myself in my boss's office this afternoon, holding his hand while he cried about his mom, whose health has suddenly deteriorated.

Now I really need a nap.


I came home from work on Monday & completely passed out for an hour. When I woke up, I turned on the television & discovered that we were the lucky recipients of a Showtime FREE PREVIEW WEEKEND!! Obviously, I was starting to get sick & must have been a bit delirious because normally, this would not be exciting news. In fact, normally, Showtime's commercials alone irritate the hell out of me because, seriously, blockbusters? Excuse me, powers-that-be at Showtime, the last time I checked, Chopping Mall & Saw II were not blockbusters in any sense of the word and the few movies in rotation that could reasonably be considered blockbusters (As Good As It Gets, Single White Female) were not even released in this decade.

ANYway, like I was saying, I was obviously getting sick because I was inordinately pleased about this FREE PREVIEW WEEKEND!! & inordinately upset about the fact that we had missed the first 3.5 days. Want further proof that I wasn't thinking clearly? I started watching Alfie. You might think that there are worse ways to spend an evening than gazing at Jude Law, but you'd be wrong. (At least, in this particular movie. I quite liked him in Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil.) I kept thinking that it would get better. It didn't. But I was optimistic (or delirious, take your pick), so we watched the whole damn thing. (Oh, yeah, I made Chris watch too. It wasn't that difficult since he'll watch anything, & I do mean anything. I have four words for you: Classic Bowling on ESPN. Didn't you always wonder who watched that stuff? Wonder no more.)

You would think that we would have learned our lesson after that & perhaps turned to something a bit more stimulating like WE or Cartoon Network or even (gasp!) turned off the television, but again, you would be wrong. Because as soon as Alfie was over, the remake of The Amityville Horror came on, and we watched that too. (Showtime also seems to have cornered the market on remakes.) I even remarked to Chris as it was starting that there was absolutely no way it could be good since Ryan Reynolds was the lead actor. And yet we watched it anyway. And it, too, was spectacularly bad. What a surprise!

Now you must be thinking, well, it can't get any worse than that. You're probably also thinking that we would be smart enough to turn off the TV, go to bed & vow to never, ever watch Showtime again . And, again, you. are. so. wrong. So wrong! Because guess what came on next? Dark Water. The Japanese original, with subtitles. And not only did we watch this cinematic monstrosity, we stayed up until after midnight to see the end.

I hope I feel better soon because I think there's another FREE PREVIEW WEEKEND!! coming up & I don't think I can handle this much excitement in one week.


What a Waste
I've been trying to avoid it all week, but it's officially happened. I'm sick. My eyes are burning, I'm achy & chilled & completely unable to swallow. Just generally . . . yucky. I think that's the medical term. I'm feeling so horrid, I think I'm going back home & going to bed. The worst part? I'm having a really good hair day today & I'm completely wasting it. Am I shallow or what?


True Confessions
I just listened to Nick Lachey (What's Left of Me) on Napster.

On purpose.


All of the music in the world available to me, & that's what I chose to listen to (twice!). I suppose it could be worse. It could've been Jessica Simpson. Or, even worse, Ashlee Simpson. I feel better now. I mean, it's not like I downloaded it or anything. Yet.

Edited to add: Make that three times.
Edited to add: Four.
Edited to add: Someone please stop me.


Feast #114
Name a song you know by heart.
Lots! For some reason, the first one that came to mind was
Walk the Line by Johnny Cash.

What will you absolutely not do in front of another person?
Use the bathroom. Ick.

How often do you use mouthwash and what kind do you like?
Listerine Tartar Control (the blue stuff), twice a day.

Finish this sentence: I am embarrassed when . . .
I make a mistake. Or when someone comes over & my house isn't clean.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

What was the last food you craved?
Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts. No nutritional value whatsoever but oh so gloriously scrumptious. I haven't had one for weeks, can you tell?

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Somehow, I managed to lose my favorite pair of red boots. Seriously, how do you lose boots? It's not like a pen or keys or sunglasses (which I lose all the time; I lost the last pair in a bathroom in Chinatown) or, I don't know, something normal. Who loses boots? Well, apparently, I do. While I was searching my closet, I decided to try on a few outfits that I was considering wearing this weekend. That wasn't fun. The thing is, size 2 pants don't fit all that well when your ass is now a size 6. So now I'm going to have to go to our nephew's baptism in a white linen sleeveless sundress because basically that's the only thing that fits other than yoga pants, capris & one pair of jeans. Too bad I can't find my boots, I'll bet they really would've pulled the whole thing together. I don't think white linen is inappropriate for October in Pennsylvania, do you?

Damn my thirtysomething metabolism. I should have enjoyed the days of sitting around like third base, eating pie & gaining precisely nothing while they lasted. When I lived by myself, I would eat something like cereal or salad or rice for dinner & rarely ate breakfast or lunch. Probably not the healthiest diet, but I was lazy. (Was, she says! Funny!) Then Chris moved in. He's a great cook & likes to have actual food type things in the refrigerator, not just milk, spinach, condiments & cheese. Imagine that. By the time we were engaged, I'd gained five pounds. I did try to lose the weight before the wedding. For six looooong weeks, I exercised for at least an hour a day & monitored every single thing I ate. I restricted myself to 1200 calories a day (amount calculated by a nutritionist), which quite frankly is not a sufficient amount of food for a normal person. Or even a semi-normal one. I have to imagine that I was not pleasant to be around. (You know, unlike my normal, sunshiny self.) And at the end of those six weeks, do you know how much weight I lost? Not. One. Ounce. Not even water weight. And don't give me that, "muscle weighs more than fat" business because my clothes fit exactly the same too. So I figured, if I'm going to weigh the same whether I exercise like a fiend & eat celery or lie on the couch & eat bon bons, well . . . wouldn't any rational person eat the bon bons?

Ten pounds worth of bon bons later, I fit into virtually nothing I own. And, ya'll, I have some cute clothes. If you come over, we can sit in my closet & admire my wardrobe. In fact, if you're a size 0 or 2, help yourself, because I sure as hell can't wear this stuff anymore. I cannot motivate myself to get on the treadmill or keep myself from eating an enormous bagel with cream cheese. (Oh, Lord, the cream cheese. I simply adore the warm, melty cream cheese.) I used to think that I would never gain a significant amount of weight because I have so much willpower. Turns out, that willpower thing? More like a phase. Or, at any rate, I've completely lost any trace of it. Maybe it's with my boots.

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We were supposed to have a showing on our house today. It was cancelled because the buyer . . . well, she has issues. The first, & most important, one is that she is looking for something similar to her current house & neighborhood, but for about $200,000 less than her current mortgage. You can see how that might be a problem. There's no way she's going to be happy with our 1,800 sq. ft. Century home in a regular residential neighborhood when she's coming from a 3,000 sq. ft. 10-year-old luxury home in an exclusive development. Did I mention that her house (that she would have to sell to buy anything else) has been on the market for nearly 2 years? She has only had one interested prospect because she allows her dogs to poop in her house & then doesn't bother to clean it up. And the one couple that expressed some interest? She refused to even consider selling it to them because they're black. So . . . yeah. Issues.

Natural woodwork! Pocket doors! Oak mantle! Ceramic tile hearth!
Flooded with natural light! Don't you want to live here??

I am so frustrated & disappointed right now. Amazing that I can still be optimistic about a showing, but obviously I can, because I was so upset when it was cancelled. (Somewhat less so when I found out who the prospect was; that would have been an utter waste of Swiffering.) Right after I found out that it was cancelled, a co-worker walked by and said, giggling, "You mean your house hasn't sold yet?"

And then I killed her.

You don't think I overreacted, do you?

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