Utterly Brilliant Thoughts: 12.2006
Holiday Hangover
Is anyone else just completely useless this week? I don't feel like I've been at all productive, either at home or at the office. Or, I should say, I've been even less productive than usual. Laundry needs done, Christmas presents need put away, I can't even remember the last time I vacuumed & the computer room is full of empty boxes and random piles of crap waiting to be sorted and packed. I just can't seem to motivate myself. I did manage to make dinner the past two nights though. Wait, does Kraft mac & cheese count? Since Chris requested it, I'm going to say it counts. I love a man who, when asked what he wants for dinner, asks for things like mac & cheese or pot pies. Especially since, when he asks me, I want things like pasta frittata or stir fry, things that require an hour of prep time. Hey, wait a second. It just occured to me that perhaps his requests have less to do with his easy-going nature & more to do with my lackluster cooking skills. Hmmm.

Well, anyway, I am looking forward to having the whole long weekend to lie around like third base. Which, as you may recall, is one of my very favorite things to do. The most exciting thing on our agenda is possibly renting movies and watching them while consuming vast amounts of unhealthy food . Then maybe we'll play some games, toast the New Year (yay, champagne!) & pass out by 12:05. Although I think last year, we managed to stay awake long enough to hit the McD's drive-through at 1 am. Whooo! We're practically rock stars, we're so wild.

Speaking of rock stars (sort of) / staying up late, guess what we did last night? No, you perverts, guess again. All right, I'll just tell you. We stayed up until one in the morning watching 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders on VH-1. Oh, yes, we did. And that's not the worst of it. The worst part is . . . we've seen it before. It's not like there was going to be some kind of musical revelation involved. We just couldn't. stop. watching. Actually, maybe the worst part is that we got so caught up in it, we considered going online to look up even more information. Only pure, unadulterated laziness (and being pinned in bed by two cats who get Very Cranky when you disturb them) kept us from logging onto Napster at midnight, just to listen to more Ratt, House of Pain & Vickie Sue Robinson. God help us. So you can see how playing Trivial Pursuit and watching Little Miss Sunshine & or, Lord, even Jackass Number Two would be a vast improvement on what we normally do.

My New Year's Resolution is to get a slightly more exciting life.


Can I Have That in Cash, Please?

My blog is worth $2,258.16.
How much is your blog worth?


Feast #124
How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?
Chris & I have started a tradition over the past few years. We stay home, watch movies, play games and eat & drink until we're a bit sick. So it's remarkably like a normal weekend, except that we can usually see fireworks from our front yard.

Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.
We didn't expect to do any traveling, but ended up going to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Detroit, Cleveland &, of course, Pittsburgh. (You know, all the Hot Spots.) Which segues nicely into . . .

Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?
Toronto, definitely. LOVED it!

What resolution is your top priority for 2007?
No resolutions yet. I should resolve to worry less, but that may be futile. I should also resolve to lose 10 lbs., but since I'm already planning on eating my weight in cheese
& chocolate on New Year's Eve, that's probably futile as well. I'll have to give this one
some more thought.

Using just three words, describe 2006.
Stressful, frustrating, eventful.
I'm looking forward to 2007!

Join the Feast!


You May Call Me "The Duchess"
I've never really liked my given name, & now I know why. Clearly I should have been named:
Her Excellency
The Duchess Shawn the Expensive
of Withering Glance

Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Now if I could just get my husband to address me by this name . . .

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Christmas Spirits
So, I never asked: how was your Christmas? Mine was lovely, thanks. We still spent far too much time in transit, but it was infinitely better than last year, when we attempted to celebrate in two different states at three different homes (none of them ours) in 24 hours. I believe that was also the year when Chris "closed his eyes for a second" and almost drove off the road. So, yeah, this was better.

The night before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve?), we had dinner at Mom's with my extended family. Lasagna, four different kinds of pizza, salad, wine, mimosas (yes, we know the mimosas don't really "go" with lasagna; we just don't care) & enough chocolate, cookies & pastries to feed a small country for a week. The wine may have contributed to a rousing discussion about Catholic guilt, movies the Pope would enjoy & how none of us could have, um, shall we say, marital relations, if we lived in a converted church.

My cousin Billy. Cute, amusing, Ivy League graduate . . .
wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt that was one of the more normal things on his Christmas list.
We will never be able to get this boy a date. He maintains that with a family like ours,
he would have to be crazy to bring a girl home. I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about.
Hi, Bean!

We spent Christmas Eve with Chris' family. More wine, more pasta, a similarly ridiculous amount of cookies & chocolate, PLUS the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. Oh, and let's not forget the bourbon slush. Between Chris' two siblings, there are seven children in the family, five under the age of eight, so chaos can erupt at any given time. Fortunately, we can always depend on the A Christmas Story marathon to lull them into an after-dinner stupor.

And, finally, Christmas Day at my step-sister's. There was food, lots of food, but what I'm remembering is wine. And egg nog. And Crown Royal. And, of course, mimosas. And then, by the end of the night, there were many shots of Jager offered in celebration of "the baby Jesus' birthday". The kids (only six of them on this side!) had a good time, or at least they didn't seem to mind too much when we appropriated their coloring books & Connect Four for our own use.

But by the end of the night, even the dog was digusted with us.

Go away.

I think next year, we're all going straight to rehab for the holidays.



Welcome to Meme-ville

So anyone want to hear a little bit more about real estate? No? Well, that's good because, believe me, between work & our house, I would be delighted to never have to think about real estate ever again. Unfortunately, between work & our house (yeah, okay, mostly our house), that's virtually all I can think about these days. Worse, that only leaves me with the ability to entertain (using that term loosely) you by either continuing to bitch about real estate ad nauseam or concentrating solely on memes, which require only a limited amount of brain power.

Aaaaaaand memes it is!

This one is kind of like t
I Never game that we played in college, minus the hangover. To play, copy & paste onto your blog & bold the ones that are true. Have you ever . . .

  • smoked a cigarette - I hate the smell of smoke, but believe it or not, this one is true. I did a lot of things in college that don't make much sense now; smoking half of a cigarette is the least of it!
  • crashed a friend's car
  • stolen a car
  • been in love
  • been dumped - I wish. There's a quote I like from The War of the Roses (LOVE that movie!): "There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?" I've always been stuck with the ones who won't go.
  • shoplifted - I was quite the klepto as a small child, so it's entirely possible.
  • been fired
  • been in a fist fight - Please, I am such a cupcake. Although there was the time that some girl clawed my face for allegedly stealing her boyfriend. She got thrown out, I went back to my Alabama Slammer, the boyfriend in question (Hi, Mike!) got dumped the next day. Not much of a fight, really.
  • snuck out of your parent's house - Sorry, Mom!
  • had feelings for someone who didn't have them back - Every boy I fell in love with in junior high.
  • been arrested - Not technically arrested. Let's call it "officially reprimanded".
  • gone on a blind date
  • lied to a friend - Probably, but not recently.
  • skipped school
  • seen someone die
  • had a crush on one of your internet friends
  • been to Canada
  • been to Mexico
  • been on a plane
  • purposely set a part of yourself on fire - Excuse me? Do people do that?
  • eaten sushi - I'm gagging a little bit just thinking about it. I have a thing about texture.
  • been jet-skiing - Absolutely not. Water is bad.
  • met someone in person from the internet
  • been moshing at a concert
  • taken pain killers
  • loved and missed someone
  • made a snow angel
  • had a tea party
  • flown a kite - My Uncle Mickey is a kite-flying genius!
  • built a sand castle
  • gone puddle jumping - Not as an adult, anyway.
  • played dress up
  • jumped in a pile of leaves
  • gone sledding
  • cheated while playing a game - I'm too competitive. It's not winning if you cheat.
  • been lonely
  • fallen asleep at work or school - I can barely fall asleep at home, in bed, with all the lights out.
  • used a fake ID - Just once. Then I realized that you don't need ID if you're a young, semi-attractive girl.
  • watched a sun set
  • felt an earthquake
  • touched a snake - Also known as the TKE fraternity house mascot, Apollo!
  • slept beneath the stars - That sounds suspiciously like some form of camping.
  • been robbed
  • been misunderstood - Oh, God, constantly.
  • petted a reindeer/goat - My Uncle Bob had a farm, goats included. They were mean, although not as mean as the chickens.
  • won a contest - Perhaps you have not noticed that I do not have what anyone would consider an abundance of good luck?
  • run a red light/stop sign - What, those aren't optional after midnight?
  • been suspended from school
  • been in a car accident - Three times that I can remember, thankfully none of them serious.
  • eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night - Hasn't everyone?
  • had deja vu
  • danced in the moonlight
  • liked the way you looked at least at one point in time
  • witnessed a crime - Only fashion crimes, but I've witnessed lots of those. And, to be honest, I've been the victim too. I was born in the 70's, after all. I've had the Dorothy Hamill 'do & 80's mall hair, worn plaid bell bottoms and rubber bracelets (not together, thank God for small favors). We should all just be thankful that I didn't have a mullet at any time.
  • been obsessed with Post-It notes - With . . . what? Is that seriously a common obsession?
  • squished barefoot through the mud - Ew. Do you not know me at all?
  • been lost - I actually have a pretty good sense of direction, but a few years ago, Chris & I got lost every time we tried to leave the tri-county area. I think we were too busy talking to pay attention to the road signs.
  • been on the opposite side of the country - California, once as a baby & then again in high school.
  • swam in the ocean - Water = bad, remember? I love the beach though.
  • cried yourself to sleep
  • played cops and robbers
  • recently colored with crayons - several times over the holidays, actually. Did you know that Crayola now makes a shade of orange called macaroni & cheese that is exactly the color of Kraft mac & cheese?
  • sung karaoke - No, & "you're welcome" to everyone who never had to hear me sing a drunken, off-key rendition of Margaritaville.
  • paid for a meal with only coins
  • done something you told yourself you wouldn't - Oh, yeah. I break my own rules all the time.
  • made prank phone calls - What do pre-teens do with their free time now that there's caller ID?
  • laughed until some kinda beverage came out of your nose
  • caught a snow flake on your tongue - Not really sure that would be something that would stand out in my memory.
  • written a letter to Santa Claus
  • been kissed under the mistletoe by your boy/girlfriend
  • watched the sun rise with someone you care about - That would probably require getting up early, right?
  • blown bubbles
  • made a bonfire on the beach
  • laughed so hard you pee your pants
  • cheated on a test
  • been kissed by someone you didn't like - And yet for some strange reason married.
  • gone skinny dipping in a pool - Haven't I mentioned how much I hate water?

Your turn! (Anthony & Mary, this means you!)

Edited to add: I tagged Melissa too; she never fails to amuse me & her life is considerably more interesting than mine. (Which isn't any great feat, but still.) While you're there, make sure to check out this post, which makes me want to move to Wisconsin & beg Missy to become my BFF so I can hang out on a bar stool next to her. In a non-stalkerish sort of way.


I am the only one who bothered to show up for work today. As a result, I have spent the better part of my morning answering the phone, which, as I have mentioned before, is never a good thing. However, this glimpse into the psyche of the Public At Large has induced me to share the following with you:

Tips for the Home-Buying Public
(& Others Who Have Irritated Me Today)

  • If you call a business for information, it would seem wise to have a writing implement within arm's-reach, or at least within a quarter-mile radius. It is entirely possible that the Nice Lady who answers the phone may have another line or three ringing and may not be able to wait for FIVE FULL MINUTES for you to find a pen. Strangely, she also may not care that you are irritated about being put on hold.
  • If you do not have a writing implement & decide to enter a phone number directly into your cell phone, perhaps you may want to warn the Nice Lady you are speaking with so that you do not permanently damage her middle ear with the 130-dB key strokes.
  • Similarly, please turn off the television / radio / power tools before making a phone call. Not only is the background noise deafening, the Nice Lady on the other end of the phone does not particularly enjoy having you scream at the top of your lungs into her ear.
  • When calling a real estate office, please try to have at least a general idea where the property you're calling about is located. Believe it or not, we have more than one property listed with our company. (Oh, yes, I have had clients actually say to me, "Oh, you have more than one listing?") It is very difficult to ascertain which property you are referring to based on "Um, yeah, it's a white house near where the Quik-E-Mart used to be."
  • I understand that the Public At Large has a compulsive and pervasive need for Instant Gratification, and that you are, of course, The Most Important Person on the Face of the Earth. However. It might be prudent to make an appointment to view a property rather than calling the agency once you are already sitting in front of said property and being stunned that there isn't anyone available to show it Right This Very Second. I understand that waiting an hour for someone to clear their schedule and drive 40 miles out of their way for you is simply unthinkable. Obviously, we should have Realtors stationed at all 200+ properties, just in case an interested party should happen by. We apologize for our lack of foresight.
  • If, for some reason, you do find yourself in front of a listed property and cannot wait for someone to show you the property, please do not cuss at the Nice Lady on the phone who will not give you the lockbox code so you can just let yourself in. That's what's known as a "no-no" in this business, as well as a huge insurance liability.
  • Also, if you have received a notice that you are going to be evicted from your home, please do not call and cry to the Nice Lady at the real estate office that will eventually be listing the property. Neither she nor anyone else at the company has any control over the situation. And while she sympathizes with you and agrees that the timing is unfortunate, and she's sure that you fully intended to "get back on track" after the holidays, the fact remains that you have not paid your mortgage for the past 19 months, you have received innumerable notices from the bank that now owns your property and surely you could have guessed this was coming.
  • "Ax" (or "axe", as you prefer) is a tool used for chopping wood, not a verb meaning "to question". Please make a note of it.
  • By the same token, "I seen" is never, ever correct. The proper past tense conjugation of the verb "see" is as follows, repeat after me: I saw, you saw, he saw, we saw, they saw. Notice a pattern? Not that difficult, is it?
  • If you call & ask to speak to the person in charge of, oh let's say insurance, and upon speaking to this person, do not get the response that you would have liked (i.e., thank you but we are quite happy with our coverage at this time and do not plan on switching to another provider), it will not help you to say, "Well, darlin' maybe I should speak to the man in charge." Because the Nice Lady will likely respond, "Maybe you should, but since the man 'in charge' does not, in fact, run the company, but I do, you have now guaranteed that we will never, ever use your company. Darlin'."
  • And finally, Realtors, please do not think that because you have been in the real estate business 25 years that you can call another real estate office and demand information that it is inappropriate, unethical &, in some cases, downright illegal for you to have. The Nice Lady there does not care how long you have been a Realtor, although she is stunned that you still have your license.

By the way, "Nice Lady" is shorthand for "Formerly Nice Lady Who Is Now Disgusted and Weeping for the Public At Large".

In other news, I spoke to the Realtor who is (supposedly) selling our house. During the course of conversation, she remarked that she wished that this would close before the end of the year (just a few days away, in case you hadn't noticed). Since we still don't have a place to go once this does close, I was not very excited about that prospect. I wasn't too concerned about it though, since the appraisal hasn't even been scheduled yet. Good thing I didn't waste the time worrying. I just called the loan officer who is handling their mortgage to find out if we were on schedule for closing. He didn't even know what the contract closing date was since he never received a copy of the contract, which is required to schedule the appraisal and move forward with financing. AND the contract is in the wrong name, which pretty much makes it null and void anyway. So. Have I mentioned how much I love Realtors?

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Happy Christmas to All
And to all, a Good Night!


Feast #123
What is one of your Christmas traditions?
Baking Christmas cookies with my mom. And then, cleaning my kitchen (flour on the cabinets, icing on the floor . . . ) after my mom goes home. She's a messy baker!

Who is the easiest person on your list to buy presents for?
Chris, definitely. I always run out of money before I run out of ideas!

What is your favorite Christmas scent?

If you could give a fellow blogger a Christmas gift, who would it be
and what would you give them?

Mary. I would like to give her contentment in all things (job, men, family, etc.).
God, that's going to be hell to wrap.

What's something on your Christmas wish list this year that you need
(not just want)?

For my house to sell! ::fingers still crossed::

Join the Feast!


I Are Smart
Just in case you continue to think that I am doing something productive when I am not posting on this blog, I hope this puts that rumor to rest . . .

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Let me just say that this is unequivocally untrue. I paid attention during 75% of high school, max. You should also know that I attract Yuppies, I am a socialite partier (yeah, I don't know what that means either) & I have virtually no accent. With all of that decided, I guess I can sleep now. 'Night!

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Brought to You By the Letter "R"
As I may have mentioned, we finally have an accepted contract on our house. What we do not have is a place to live two months from now or anything packed or really any definite plans for the future. So you (being ever so much smarter than me) would think that obviously I spent the weekend house hunting or packing or something similarly ambitious. And I would like to tell you that's exactly what I did. But I would totally be lying. Because what I actually did this weekend was spend an absurd amount of time looking at paint chips for our fictitious new home (Seriously, why? And on a Friday night too. Could we be any more pathetic?), rent painfully bad movies & get the cats looped on 'nip. Oh, and we opened Christmas presents.

Aside: This is why we're the perfect couple. Neither one of us could stand it anymore, so we agreed that we can open one every day until Christmas. And to think, the first year we were dating, he was horrified that I wanted to open presents on Christmas Eve: it's not Christmas yet, the world as we know it will end if we open presents before Christmas morning, blah blah blah. I am more from the "we're adults & we can open presents whenever we want to" school of thought. (Extra points if you know what movie that's from!) Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Yeah, so anyhoo . . . you may have noticed that I'm even more scatty than usual. I'm afraid coherent thought continues to elude me. Which is why I am so thankful to the delightful & amusing
Metalia for sharing this meme, & assigning me the letter "R", & thus enabling me to avoid doing anything productive for a while longer. (A long while because, damn, this is harder than you'd think. Or maybe that's my severely compromised focusing skills surfacing again.) In any case, here it is:

10 Things I Love That Start With the Letter R

  • Reading. I will read anything, from the classics to bestsellers to trash. (Anyone else have a guilty People habit?) I recently discovered Augusten Burroughs (I know, where have I been?) & I've also been reading a lot of Anne Tyler lately. I just finished Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, which was amazing and shattering and horrible and wonderful.
  • Research. In case you weren't completely certain, let me assure you: I am a tremendous dork. I love searching for information, discovering new facts, compiling lists. I even used to enjoy writing briefs in my pre-law classes. (Don't tell anyone. That might make me the Queen of Dorkdom.) My dream job is writing the questions for Trivial Pursuit. Oh, God, I am the Queen of Dorkdom.
  • Redecorating. I can't wait to decorate & personalize our as-yet-undiscovered new home! I guess that was obvious when I said I spent Friday night looking at paint samples.
  • Relaxing. I am a Very Big Fan of sitting around & doing nothing. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it & tend to ruin the experience by thinking of all the things I "should" be doing. It helps if I add a large glass of . . .
  • Reisling. Yum! My favorite kind of wine, except maybe Gewurztraminer. But that's a lot harder to say after a few glasses, so it's best to stick with Reisling. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a way to make "champagne" start with an "R".
  • Ravioli, rigatoni, rotelli, radiatore. Okay, any kind of pasta. I am a good Italian girl.
  • Romeo & Joliet by OPI. A luscious, deep, dark merlot, this is my current favorite polish, especially for pedicures. OPI has gorgeous colors that last forever; I rarely use anything else. My other faves are Mmm . . . Vould You Like a Lick-tenstein?, Smokin' in Havana & Skinny Dip'n Lake Michg'n. My other dream job would be coming up with OPI polish names.
  • Redken Align Ultra-Straight Balm. Makes my curly hair straight, shiny & frizz-free. Which makes me happy. Now if I could just get someone to come over & blow it out straight for me every couple of days. (Hey, Mom, that was a hint!)
  • The Ref. Love, love, LOVE this movie, every single snarky second. This is my go-to movie when the saccharine sweetness of the season threatens to overwhelm me.
  • Rear Window. Hitchcock's best. Grace Kelly is glorious, although I never could understand why she was so hung up on Jimmy Stewart anyway.

If you want to join the party, just let me know & I'll give you a letter!

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It IS a Christmas Miracle!
We have (cue drumroll, please) an accepted contract on our house! I have never been so relieved in all my life. Of course, this is still contingent on inspections, financing, yada yada yada & we still have to take an obscene amount of cash to closing & we have no idea where, exactly, we are going to live if it does actually sell . . . but I am totally ignoring those realities right now. Right now, it is enough that we have an accepted contract.

And, as if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, then I found
Hee. But here's a tip: do not shave the Yeti* if there is a chance that a co-worker will stop by your office & witness you doing it. Especially if your co-workers already have reason to question your sanity. Yeti shaving is apparently not acceptable in mixed company.

* This is not a euphemism! Check out the link, & be sure to wait for the show after he's shaved. Again: hee. Have I mentioned I am easily amused?

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This . . . is a joke, right? I mean, it cannot possibly be serious. Surely he cannot be suggesting that if you give your little boy soy formula, he will grow up to be a homosexual with a small penis.

Stuff like this makes my head hurt.

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Feast #122
What was your very first job with a paycheck?
I think it was at a jewelry store in the mall at Christmas time. And thus began my lifelong aversion to Christmas music & the mall in December.

Did you ever lose something really important to you?
Considering the fact that I seem to be losing everything lately (including my mind), the answer will be a surprise: no. Of course there are possessions that I cherish, but as long as I have my friends & family, I consider myself lucky. The most important things I have lost were not "things".

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?
Hopefully, it will be this year: a new house & moving forward with our lives. That's if we actually get an accepted contract on our house today. ::fingers crossed::

Tell about a favorite "hang out" place for you and your friends
when you were in high school.
The Sigma Chi house at the local university. I guess we liked older men.
I have to assume that my mom didn't know about this.

Name something that always brings a smile to your face.
Oh, I can name lots of things!
My husband, my cats, lunch with my mom, our nieces & nephews, Eddie Izzard,
Get Fuzzy, Love Actually, Best in Show, Coupling (the original BBC version),
a day off, new shoes, going to the beach . . . I could go on & on!

Join the Feast!


Are You Fucking Kidding Me?
As in real life, I don't swear much on this blog. But sometimes, there are situations that call for it.

This is one of those times.

I just spent the last two fucking hours waiting for the damn phone to ring with some sort of news about our house. "What if they decide to keep looking? What if they decide they don't want to buy at all? What am I going to do if we don't get a contract? I will kill someone if I have to spend another year at this job . . . " and similarly helpful thoughts kept swirling through my mind. By 2 o'clock, my stomach was in knots, my head was throbbing & I was certain the deal had completely fallen apart. I was carrying my cell phone with me wherever I went, including the bathroom, where I threw up. Twice. I suppose I should be grateful the Realtor didn't call then. Or, at least, she should be.

When I finally did talk to her, approximately 15 minutes ago, she told me that, after rescheduling their appointment multiple times throughout the afternoon, her buyer finally called to tell her that "the cable guy is running late" & the appointment would have to be rescheduled for tomorrow.

So, yes, I get to repeat this little drama all over again tomorrow. Joy. I'm sure there is some lesson that I should be learning from this, like not to waste your time worrying about something that may or may not happen & that you have no control over anyway, or some such crap. But I swear to you, if anyone even thinks of suggesting such a thing to my face, I will vomit on them. Jesus, Mary & Joseph, won't this ever end*?

* Note to Mom: this is starting to seem like our excruciating, interminable trip to Connecticut. Minus the turbulence, buffalo farm and visits to the hospital. I suppose for that, at least, I should be grateful.


Still Waiting
It's 12:54 pm. The Realtor was meeting with her buyers at noon, supposedly for them to sign the paperwork. Somewhere, strangers are sitting around a table with our future in their hands. I am dying a little bit every second. Please please please buy our house . . .


How Little It Takes to Make Me Happy
Considering the fact that I STILL don't know what the hell is going on with my house, it has been a surprisingly delightful day. (Continued as a list because lists make me happy &, as I keep telling you, it's All About Me.)

  • As soon as I got to work, I was pulled into a pointless meeting with my boss & one of my co-workers, which basically involved sitting in a comfy wing chair, nodding & adding the occasional "mm-hmm" & "absolutely", & which allowed me to mentally compile a list of everything I need to do this weekend & completely avoid any kind of actual work for well over an hour.
  • Then I had an even more pointless, but infinitely more entertaining, conversation with my friends from the non-profit organization downstairs about Dr. 90210, Britney Spears & the state of Tori Spelling's breasts. (Oooh, there'll be some interesting hits on the stat counter from that phrase!)
  • Co-worker Karen practically kissed the UPS guy, who delivered a huge Harry & David gift basket this morning. Of course we had to eat a few of the Bing Cherry Chocolates right away. You know, in case they were, um, stale or something. Okay, I don't recall the exact reason, but I'm sure there was one. (Other than "no willpower".)
  • Oh, and then - and this is like the Best. Thing. Ever. - I was instructed by my boss to spend the rest of the morning shopping online with his credit card. !!!!! It's like a dream! A happy, sparkly shopping dream! Well, in the dream, I'm sure I would be shopping for myself, or at least people that I actually like. Instead, I was buying Christmas gifts for various work associates, which isn't nearly as much fun. But still! Getting paid to shop & using someone else's money? Pretty much my dream job. God knows I've been training for it my whole life.
  • I also went to lunch with my mom & my aunt, two of my most favorite people in the world. Impromptu lunches like this will be one of the few things I truly miss if we ever move. Plus I had smashed yukon gold potatoes, which were scrumptious.
  • When I came back from lunch, a package from Sephora was waiting for me. Woo hoo! I love love LOVE receiving stuff in the mail, & I am a hard core product junkie, so this was very exciting. Especially since, if we do sell our house, we will officially be poor, so trips to Sephora will be few & far between.

The Realtor is meeting with the prospective buyers tomorrow at noon. So, hopefully, by this time tomorrow, we will have an accepted purchase agreement on our house. We will still have to take an obscene amount of money to closing, but I have decided to look at it as an investment in our future. If this is what it takes to move past this & start the next phase of our lives, it will be money well spent. Besides, my stomach can't take any more of this indecision. Just a few more hours . . .

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This is the seventh day of negotiations pertaining to the sale of our house. We still do not have an accepted contract. The buyers refuse to come up on their offer & cannot seem to understand why we are therefore unable to give them every little thing their heart desires, such as appliances, custom-made window treatments, custom-cut mirrors & a home warranty. You would think that it would be enough that they're buying the house for over $10,000 less than the appraised value, but apparently not.

So here we are. Waiting. "Anxiety" doesn't even begin to cover it. I have consumed copious amounts of chocolate & wine & taken innumerable bubble baths, & I just ended up sort of nauseous & distinctly shriveled. So I've completely given up & am now just taking showers & popping Tums. (To be quite honest, I don't think Tums actually help to control the vats of acid churning up from my stomach, but I have consumed so much calcium in the past week, it's probably virtually impossible for me to break a bone.) On the plus side, I think I have actually lost weight in the past week. Yippee. I'm too miserable to even care. The people who have advised me not to get completely stressed out over this neglected to mention exactly how I was supposed to accomplish it. I am open to suggestions.


No Thought Required

I am completely obsessed with real estate-related matters right now (which, believe me, NO ONE wants to hear about), so rather than write an actual post that requires things like sentence structure and coherent thought, things I am quite frankly unable to generate right now, I'm going to jump on the meme bandwagon provided by Melissa & my sister-in-law, Kim.

  • Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, with extra points for marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon or amaretto. I try egg nog every year because it seems like something I would like, creamy & nutmeg-y & bourbon-y, but somehow, it's just . . . not good.
  • Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? In our family, if it's not wrapped, it's not a present! Everything gets wrapped, even the stocking stuffers.
  • Colored lights on tree / house or white? White everywhere except the tiny tree in our bedroom, which has colored lights.
  • Do you hang mistletoe? I used to, but I haven't for the past few years. I haven't noticed a lack of kissing without it!
  • When do you put your decorations up? Usually the week before Thanksgiving. Chris starts talking about decorating immediately after Halloween & that's normally as long as I can hold him back.
  • What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Pasta, made by both my mom & mother-in-law. Both of them make huge, amazing Italian feasts for Christmas dinner & everything is insanely delicious. I always eat too much.
  • Favorite holiday memory as a child? Christmas at Nana's house with my entire extended family.
  • When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What do you mean?? Is there something about Santa that I should know? Honestly, I have no recollection. I obviously wasn't traumatized by the revelation.
  • Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Absolutely. Are you kidding? I can barely wait that long!
  • How do you decorate your Christmas tree? A mix of ornaments that Chris & I had before we met, plus ones that we bought together. No theme of any kind, but every ornament has a history.
  • Snow! Love it or Dread it? Dread. I deeply & totally hate snow.
  • Can you ice skate? No, & with my aversion to cold (as well as to falling down), I have no desire to learn.
  • Do you remember your favorite gift? The Barbie Town House was a big hit when I was seven. Now, I love everything that Chris buys me, both because he puts so much thought into his choices & because he's so excited to give them to me. My favorite gift that I gave to someone was the quilt we gave to my cousin Art when he was undergoing treatment for cancer. Each square was designed by a friend or family member, including some people he had lost touch with after high school. He was totally surprised and overwhelmed. It was a great moment & I love that we were able to do that for him.
  • What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being with my family & making new traditions with Chris.
  • What is your favorite holiday dessert? Cannoli, fudge, pie . . . there isn't a whole lot that I don't like, unfortunately.
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition? Decorating the tree with Chris & baking Christmas cookies with my mom.
  • What tops your tree? A large stained glass star that's so heavy, Chris has to wire it to the tree so it won't tip over.
  • Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I can't lie, I love getting presents. But I like giving them a little bit more. I love finding the perfect gift!
  • What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night is my favorite traditional song. Non-traditional, I like Please Come Home for Christmas.
  • Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum! Especially if you're using it to stir a cup of hot chocolate. But they have to be the traditional red-and-white peppermint ones, none of this multicolored, fruit-flavored nonsense.

Your turn!

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According to The Weather Channel, the temperature outside is currently 20°, but it "feels like 6°".



Do you think there's any chance that's an error or a joke or something?


Feast #121
Which language would you like to learn and why?
Italian. I'm half Italian & I've always wanted to be fluent in the language.
I think it's beautiful.

What's the funniest thing you've heard or read so far this week?
I just finished Augusten Burroughs' Possible Side Effects.
I read constantly but rarely find anything as funny as the book jacket promises.
This had me laughing out loud more than once.

Which movie was so bad you couldn't watch the whole thing?
For some reason, I apparently lack the ability to turn a bad movie off / walk out. I always hope that the movie is somehow going redeem itself in the last five minutes. (Hasn't happened yet.) And since Chris seems to actively seek out the absolute worst programming on television at any given time, I spend an inordinate amount of time watching truly horrid movies.

If there were a holiday in your honor that didn't use your actual name,
what would the day be called?

Smitten Kitten Day. Seriously, it's after midnight, I have no idea what I'm saying
& I couldn't possibly care less what it's called, as long as I get the day off.
Edited to add: champagne & chocolate also required.
Thanks to Blaine for reminding me!

Name one movie which is coming out soon that you would like to see.
Nothing immediately comes to mind. The Pursuit of Happyness, maybe. Or The Holiday. It's been a while since I've seen a chick flick & this one has the added bonus of Jude Law eye candy. Wait, doesn't George Clooney have a new movie coming out? Mmmmmm, love The Clooney. The Good German it is!

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In my post-offer haze, I almost forgot to tell you my really exciting news, which totally beats out we-got-an-offer-on-our-house-today-well-sort-of-yeah-okay-not-really. Are you ready?

Are you sure? You might want to prepare yourself 'cause this is exciting stuff. Okay, here it goes . . .

I found my sunglasses!

Aren't you excited? Me too! In fact, I was so excited, I may have actually said the words "Woo hoo!" out loud. I want to go on record that I still believe that the cats are behind this. Because I found my glasses in the top drawer of the linen cabinet this morning. Which, first of all, is not exactly a normal place for one to keep one's sunglasses. And second, I am in & out of this drawer several times a week. And yet, today, suddenly, there they were! Nestled in between the hairdryer (which I just used last night, by the way) and the Aveda travel kit, right next to the extra tube of toothpaste that I just put in there last weekend. So, it had to be the cats, right? I'm not sure how they got around the whole lack-of-opposable-thumbs thing, but clearly they did. Because the only other option is that I have completely & totally lost what was left of my mind. And obviously that can't be it.

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A Christmas Miracle (sort of)
I spent all of Monday channeling my inner twelve-year-old, willing my phone to ring, only to have my hopes destroyed when it wasn't who I wanted it to be. (Looking back on it, I can't even remember who my twelve-year-old self could have been waiting for. Mary, do you remember? Who was The One in seventh grade? Fortunately, by the end of high school, I became smart enough to discontinue the whole waiting-by-the-phone thing. Honestly, what the hell was I waiting for?) ANYWAY, the Realtor finally called yesterday to set up a second showing for this afternoon. And, after spending nearly an hour in the house with the Realtor, her prospective buyer and his dad - bribing them with chocolates & freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, I might add - we have an offer. Oh yes, you read that right, AN OFFER!

Except . . .

(Oh come on, you knew that was coming.)

It is a low offer. Very low. Not as low as the ones we've had from investors that just want to flip it, but still very, very low. The house is already listed for less than what I paid for it, and ultimately, we'll end up losing about $20,000 if we accept this offer. And that thought, quite literally, makes me nauseous. So I'm going to figure out exactly how much money we'd have to take to closing to get out of this & then I'm going to stop thinking. I'm going to go home & watch Without a Trace reruns, eat something incredibly bad for me & drink some of the wine we bought over the weekend. And I guess a looooong bubble bath couldn't hurt. And maybe after that I will feel better equipped to make this decision. Or maybe I'll just feel drunk & pruney & even more nauseous. At least I have a plan.


They love it. Thank God & St. Joseph, they LOVE it. I left the house for 40 minutes, & when I came back, the Realtor and the buyers were just sitting in the dining room, "soaking up the love". Yeah, I don't know what that means either but THEY LOVE IT. The Realtor told me to expect an offer some time on Monday or Tuesday, after they meet with their loan officer. It's going to be a loooooong weekend.


Feast #120
Have you ever flown in a helicopter?
No. I've heard it's very loud, so I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy it.

What color is your warmest coat or jacket?
Ivory. Not very practical! I also have winter coats in black (three!), camel, green, grey & red. We won't even discuss how many spring jackets I have.
Hi, my name is Shawn & I'm coat-aholic.

What is your favorite rainy day activity?
Oh, you mean like today?? Staying home, curled up in a blanket with the cats snuggled next to me, drinking hot cider / cocoa / tea, watching movies or reading a really good book. Sometimes I talk Chris into playing Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly.
God, I'm boring.

Describe your hands.
Small, usually cold, always manicured.

If you could eat only one nut for the rest of your life, what nut would you pick?
Pecans. They're so versatile (great as a snack, in desserts & to cook with), it would take me a long time to get tired of them.

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