Monthly Archives: October 2012

No, he’s space doody

Last week I was filling out an insurance form and when it asked for my age, I couldn’t remember if I am 27 or 28. Luckily, my feeble mind still remembers the year I was born, so I subtracted that from 2012 to find that I am, indeed, 28, and maybe also legally brain dead. I’ve been worrying about getting old ever since, so last night I decided to recapture some of the magic of my youth by carving a pumpkin.

Spoiler alert: Carving that goddamn pumpkin did not help me recapture the magic of my youth. It did recapture the magic of a stiff drink and reaffirm my life decision to not have children, so I guess that’s good.

If I were to recap my pumpkin carving experience, it would look like this:

5:15 p.m. – Go to Walmart to buy pumpkin carving tools. Feel my blood pressure rise as we walk into the Halloween section, which is packed to the gills with unruly kids picking out costumes. Cackle when one trips and falls on the ground.

5:18 p.m. – Complain to Walmart employee that I can’t find the pumpkin carving tools. He sends me right back to the aisle I just escaped from.

5:19 p.m. Unruly kid stomps on my expensive boots with his muddy shoes. Consider putting on nearby Hulk costume and body slamming him into the pumpkin-scented candle display.

5:20 p.m. – Procure carving tools. Stand in Express Lane for 20 minutes while elderly man in front of us pays for each item with a different credit card.

5:50 p.m. – Finally home. Pour 100-proof peppermint Schnapps into hot chocolate.

6:00 p.m. – Scooping out seeds. Breathe in the smell of fresh pumpkin and feel the delightfully slimy texture of the flesh slipping through my fingers. Plan to roast the seeds later. This is great! Wonder why it’s been so long since I’ve carved a pumpkin.

6:01 p.m. – Remember why it’s been so long since I’ve carved a pumpkin.The template won’t lie flat; the crow outline I carefully poked through the paper looks like a Rorschach test; the tiny saw is freezing my hand into Ross Gellar’s misshapen claw.

7:00 p.m. – Pour whiskey into empty hot chocolate mug.

After an hour and several broken carving tools, this is what I have to show for it:

If you don’t see a crow sitting on top of a tombstone, you don’t have enough whiskey in your system.

I think next year I’ll stick to fake gourds.

She could be a farmer in those clothes

On Saturday we headed up to Grants Pass to check out the corn maze and pumpkin patch at Fort Vannoy Farms.

We shot the pumpkin cannon, walked through a maze of 12-foot high corn stalks, took a horse-pulled wagon ride and hit up the pumpkin patch. Fall festivity is officially my bitch.

It’s been pretty chilly here for the last week, but it warmed up to the low 60s on Saturday, so that was nice. At one point when we were on the wagon ride I thought it had started to rain, but realized that one of the horses was flicking its tail, spraying me with mud and horse shit. So that was cool.

There was also a pumpkin cannon that you could use to shoot gourds at an old school bus – this was actually pretty awesome, except they charged SIX DOLLARS to do it. I feel like if I’m going to spend six dollars to press a button, it better do something a lot more impressive than shoot out a vegetable. Like open a door revealing shirtless Chris Hemsworth holding a puppy.

My plan was to carve my pumpkin today, but it’s 4:30 p.m. and I’m still in my pajamas so the odds of that happening are about as good as me eating a dinner that is not brought to my door by a Round Table employee, which is to say NOT GOOD.

Speaking of laziness, I just had this conversation with Dave:

Me: Somebody Photoshopped a picture of those awful Steelers throwback uniforms onto a bumble bee, but I think I can do better.

Him: May as well. Then you can say you did something today.

I hear they have a really strong bee-fense this year. (Original photo from USA Today. Please don’t sue me.)

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever cried about?

I had every intention of getting at least some exercise while on my recent work trip, but I wound up having to pack some A/V equipment in my carry on, which meant there was no room for my workout shoes/clothes (I almost never check bags for trips less than a week). Any walking I did in Baltimore was counteracted by the sheer volume of crab cakes I ingested. Actually, most of the walking I did on the trip was only to get to places that sold crab cakes. Why bother with moderation when you can eat NOTHING BUT CRAB CAKES is a good motto to adopt when you find yourself in Maryland.

I had completed level two of Ripped in 30 before I left, so on Wednesday night I cued up level three expecting to totally kill it – I was full of energy and ready to work up a sweat after taking a week off. And I did work up a sweat – DURING THE TWO-MINUTE WARM UP. It only went downhill from there.

Every exercise in each of the three circuits was a complete struggle for me. (I’m starting to suspect that the person leading the video is actually Satan wearing a Jillian Michaels costume, and that hell consists of endless duck walks.) During the cardio portion of the third circuit, I started to hyperventilate from simultaneously fighting back tears and gasping for breath. So instead of pushing through it, I stood there and cried while Jillian and her sidekicks hopped around on one leg like muscular flamingos on amphetamines. At first my crying was due to frustration from feeling so weak, but then it was because I realized that I’m actually dumb enough to cry over a bad workout. Seriously, who does that? DUMB PEOPLE, that’s who.

While I’m thinking of it, here are some other dumb things I’ve cried over:
– When my kindergarten class sang “On Top of Spaghetti,” because I felt bad for the meatball when it rolled off of the plate
– Running over a squirrel
– That episode of Undercover Boss where the Russian 7-11 shelf stocking guy got his own store
– Accidentally cutting my bangs too short

Have you ever cried over something really dumb?

All I could say was hello

My Baltimore trip in (not-so-great phone) photos:

Clockwise from top left: Our hotel looked out over Camden Yards; my new favorite skirt; two ships in the harbor; Little Italy.

I also stumbled upon what may have been the best meal of my life at a fantastic restaurant called Charleston.

Shrimp and grits. Photo by Charleston Restaurant

That night was completely random and wonderful. It started when my boss and I got caught in a downpour while wandering around the city looking for dinner options. We wound up running into Charleston as a last resort – we had no idea it’s widely regarded as the best restaurant in Baltimore. They somehow agreed to seat us even though I looked like a street urchin in my jeans and flats when everyone else was in suits and cocktail attire. I had to pee really badly about halfway through dinner, but was too embarrassed to walk through the dining room to get to the restroom.

At around $150 for a three-course meal with wine pairings the bill definitely adds up quickly, but the food was so incredible that I’d probably go every couple of months if I lived nearby. For my three courses I chose a curried lobster soup, chanterelle mushrooms over a crispy grit cake with goat cheese cream, and grilled buffalo tenderloin with polenta, crispy shallots, and oyster mushrooms. For dessert, the chef sent out a selection of miniature macarons and chocolates. The guy at the table next to us spent the evening trying (very loudly) to impress his party with his extensive food knowledge, so it was a delight to hear the waiter correct him when he proclaimed his love of the subtle use of lavender in the “macaroons.” All that to say: If you like food and you find yourself in Baltimore, go to Charleston.

Much to my delight, I returned from my trip to find that cold, gray weather has settled over northern California. The mountains surrounding the town are dusted with snow, and I finally have an excuse to break out my scarves and boots. Speaking of boots, last year I bought these, and I find myself wanting to wear them every single day once the weather gets cold. I’ve been looking for a pair of flat-ish boots I can swap into the rotation, but can’t decide on which of these pairs I should get:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Sometimes when I’m online shopping the expanse of my options overwhelms me and I start to collect pages of links in my Google docs and visit them over and over like a creepy e-hoarder without actually buying anything because I DON’T WANT TO MAKE THE WRONG DECISION. Because purchasing a pair of boots is clearly a high-stakes situation. Somebody please just tell me which ones are the best in the comments so I can order them and get on with my life, is what I’m saying.


Kind of regretting packing this skirt…everyone else is in black or gray.


I did see one other girl wearing a leopard print sweater, and she definitely gave me a look of solidarity when she walked by. Do you wear bright colors or patterns to work events?

This should be open, ’cause it’s civil rights

I just finished packing for a business trip to Baltimore (I leave at 4 a.m. tomorrow … yikes), and I thought I’d share with you some of my travel essentials:

1. Mini liquors: If I forget these, I will grip the armrests for the duration of the flight and ask my seatmates, “Did you hear that??” every five minutes.

Small enough to go through airport security, yet potent enough to get me buzzed.

2. In-flight snacks that won’t make the entire cabin smell like farts (I’ve read several posts recently on healthy living blogs about airplane snacks, and they all say to bring things like hard boiled eggs and tuna. Just … no.)

Luna bars, trail mix

3. Envelope for travel cash/receipts: It’s way better to look like a dork pulling out your giant envelope at every cash register than to spend hours when you get home sorting through a jumble of receipts in your purse and figuring out what cash is yours and what is your company’s.

Make it really easy on yourself and paperclip your receipts together in order — this will definitely save time if you have to fill out a travel expense record when you get back.

4. Bottle of the polish I’m wearing: It seems like I always chip my nails while wrangling my luggage through the airport. Before I started bringing extra polish for touch-ups, I would spend the entire trip trying to hide my nails from my colleagues. Everyone thought I was weird. Don’t be like me.

Important: Don’t get this mixed up with the booze.

5. Big scarf: Drape it over you if you’re cold; bunch it up and use it as a pillow if you’re sleepy; loop it around your neck and look super stylish upon arrival.

You can also cover your mouth and nose with it if your seatmate pulls out an egg salad sandwich mid-flight.

6. And finally, a sassy weekend bag: I’m a chronic over-packer, yet I fit all my clothes for the five-day trip plus a projector and speaker in that sucker.

Because checking luggage is for fools

What are your travel essentials?

I’m a sith lord.

My friends and I trick-or-treated until we were like 15. Pretty embarrassing, right? One year, the local newspaper did a story about trick-or-treating and interviewed a couple who, as a social experiment, set out a big cauldron of candy and a note that said, “Please take one.” They had a secret camera set up and recorded the whole evening. In the story, the couple expressed their disappointment at a group of teenagers who discussed the situation at length and decided that since the note didn’t specify one “what,” it could technically mean one “handful.” (They SHOULD have expressed their disappointment that a group of teenagers was lame enough to a) be trick-or-treating, and b) actually discuss that topic at length.) Anyway, that group of hardcore candy rebels was me and my friends.

I remember being so scared when I read that story — for weeks I was convinced the homeowners were going to study the tape and canvass local schools for the perps, culminating in my arrest. (100 Grand theft?)  I was so distraught that I actually sat down and confessed to my parents that the group in that article was me and my friends. And they were all, why is our kid such a nerd?

Honestly, I’m sad that I can’t trick-or-treat anymore. Every year I say I’m going to dress up, but then I wait until the last minute and either don’t dress up at all or fall back on my old standby, Pippi Longstocking. But this year I’ve been looking around online and have found a bunch of awesome options, many of which would be pretty easy to make yourself:

Aw, breast friends

Mario and (Slutty) Peach

Girls Gone Wild

Leg lamp from “A Christmas Story.” Fragilé!


Tobias Fünke and Lindsay Bluth. Best costume in all the land.

Party on.

And after posting that last one, all I can think about is how much I want to be Babe-raham Lincoln. Are you dressing up this year?

Fettuccine alfredo, time to carbo-load

A while ago I wrote about doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, and I believe I promised to post results photos … I of course forgot to take some once I finished because I was focused on more important things like watching reality shows about people addicted to eating couch cushions. (In the episode, the girl says she prefers the edges of the cushions because “they have more flavor.” Clearly she has not spent much time pondering where kids wipe their boogers when they’re watching TV.)

Anyway, once I finished the 30 Day Shred, I moved on to Jillian’s Ripped in 30 program. At first, I thought it wasn’t going to be all that tough – for a moderately active person, level one is pretty much a walk in the park. Level two, however, is like you’re taking a walk in the park and somebody jumps out of the bushes, holds a gun to your head, and gives you the option of doing another round of cardio in plank position or taking a bullet to the brain, and you are only upset because they are not shooting you fast enough.

I’m still on level two, and I’m really nervous to see what she has in store for levels three and four. I don’t know how it can get any more painful, unless it involves a surprise plane ticket to Nepal, where Jillian will be waiting in a rickshaw for me to pull her to the top of Mt. Everest. In plank position.

The good news is, even after just two levels of Ripped in 30 I’m seeing more results than I did after the entire 30 Day Shred (although I’m sure that doing the shred first set me up for better results). I can definitely see more definition in my abs, biceps and shoulders. My thighs don’t appear that much smaller to me, but I am now able to fit in a pencil skirt that was previously a little too tight to wear to work, so I know I must have lost a little in that area as well. I can also, for the first time in my life, do legitimate pushups. Like, a bunch. In a row.

Sometimes when I’m at home I’ll drop to the floor and bust them out JUST BECAUSE I CAN.

Why am I so white?

My goal with these DVDs isn’t necessarily to lose weight, as my BMI is right in the middle of the “normal” range for my height and build. In fact, I haven’t changed my eating habits much at all – I try to net around 1,400 calories per day, which means eating slightly above that on the days I work out (4-5 days per week). My philosophy is that drastic changes and fad diets generally aren’t sustainable, so I try and eat reasonably most of the time and track my calories as best I can. I’ve used MyFitness Pal in the past, but I recently discovered a fairly new site called SlimKicker that’s pretty cool – it turns calorie counting into a winnable level-up game. (If you’re a total nerd like me, you’ll probably become obsessed … it sort of reminds me of the feelings I had toward my Nano Pets back in third grade.) As you level up, you become eligible to participate in giveaway challenges, which is awesome – who doesn’t love free stuff? The website also has healthy recipes (including recipes for diets like Paleo and Weight Watchers) and calorie counts for tons and tons of foods. You might consider checking it out if you’re looking for a fun way to track calories and meet your fitness goals.

Stop! Hammer time

When my alarm went off this morning, I had a strong urge to turn it off and stay in bed all day. But then I remembered everything I ate over the weekend, which was enough motivation to get me out of bed and into my workout clothes. After allowing Jillian Michaels to abuse my body for 30 minutes, I got cleaned up and spent some time putting together a cute work outfit with the new skirt and shoes I bought over the weekend. I was actually feeling pretty good as I gathered up my purse and keys to head off to work.

Then I opened the front door and saw that the city had roadblocks up on both ends of my street and there were crews doing some sort of work down in the sewer. Which, whatever, I get that sewers sometimes need maintenance, tax dollars at work, etc., but is it unreasonable to expect a little heads up from the city before projects like this? Even just a little note taped to the door being like, “Dear resident, we plan to dig giant holes in your street on Monday, effectively trapping you in your home. We are warning you because not warning you would be really dick-ish.”

I stood there and weighed my options for a few moments. I could be an adult, change into more sensible shoes, and hoof it to the office, or I could get in my car and peel out around the roadblock in a fit of rage, knocking over a few cones in the process.

Sorry construction workers, cute shoes always win out.

Then, as I walked up to my office building from the parking lot, I saw that it was covered in scaffolding and the front door was blocked by a ladder. Because apparently the closure of my street was not a clear enough sign from the universe that I was supposed to spend today cocooned with cheese products in my Snuggie watching Golden Girls.

I was able to shimmy around the scaffolding and crawl under the ladder to get into my building, only to find some dude sitting two feet from my desk wielding a sander. Turns out, there’s nothing like the sound of power tools screeching next to your head to take a Monday morning from a mildly irritating experience to the dawn of a full-blown opiate addiction.

At one point I thought I could finally focus on an important project because the sanding stopped and the guy vanished. Just as I had my files pulled up and ready to go, he re-appeared; this time wearing a belt with all sorts of hammers on it. He made some lame Hammer Time joke and I laughed, but oh how I wish I had strangled him with a pair of parachute pants instead because OH SWEET JESUS the hammering. I’ve been home from work for several hours now and I still hear the awful sound, haunting me, like the melody of a Carly Rae Jepsen song. Once the hammering stopped he moved on to drilling. All of this was obviously super conducive to phone calls. One poor soul asked what that noise was and I was all, “Oh, just the sound of a table saw harmonizing with a power drill and four staple guns; does this not happen inside your place of business?”

My lunch hour took its sweet time to arrive, and as I headed into the office kitchen with my soup, I was informed that I was not allowed to use the microwave. Because even though our outlets were powering more tools than you’d find at a Creed concert, my pathetic little cup of chicken soup apparently would have been too much to handle. So I drove home really fast to get food, only to remember that, oh yeah, THE ROAD IS CLOSED, only this time there was no driving around the roadblocks due to the giant chunks of asphalt littering the roadway. And so I did the only thing that can be done on days like this: I watched It’s Always Sunny clips online and all was right with the world.

That reminds me, I’m also thankful for thongs

It’s finally fall, and it seems like every female blogger in the universe is all, “Pumpkins! Boots! Scarves!” I really want to resist hopping on that bandwagon, but the thing is, “Pumpkins! Boots! Scarves!” are such a nice relief from hot days and finding a way to walk to the copy machine in my un-air conditioned office without anybody seeing the super sexy sweat stain running down the back of my dress. (I finally figured out how: Don’t copy stuff from July-October.)

I love it dearly, but Pinterest has made the blogosphere’s annual fall-gasm even worse. I’m all for pumpkin patches and cider and hay rides, but some of the things people pin just make me shake my head. For example, the super-popular “Fall Bucket List” of all the autumnal activities you need to schedule into your life because otherwise you will not care enough to do them. Forget “Sip a pumpkin spice latte while wearing riding boots and getting lost in a corn maze,” my Fall Bucket List would consist of “Full body CT scan,” because this scenario basically assumes that I’m going to die as soon as fall is over. Actually, forget the scan — my death is more likely to be caused by a crazed driver speeding to Hobby Lobby for twinkle lights and evergreen boughs to stuff into mason jars (Genius!!!).

While I may not be into painstakingly scheduling my seasonal fun, I’m still a total dork about fall stuff. People were giving me dubious looks all day yesterday because was 80 degrees out and I was wearing boots. Also, I went crazy in the plastic leaves/gourds aisle at the Dollar Store last night and now it kind of looks like a scarecrow barfed all over the house.

I was actually going to buy more stuff, but this guy pushing a cart stuffed to the gills with many of the household chemicals required to cook meth was following me around creepily so I decided to get out of there.

And this weekend I plan to make these totally decadent pumpkin whoopie pies. The secret to a successful experience with these is to eat one or two yourself and then give the rest to friends or family. They’ll be all, “You’re the best!” without even realizing that really you just want their ass to get bigger instead of your own.

Eating these will clog your arteries and probably lead to an early death. Perfect for your Fall Bucket List!

And because my brain is too tired to finish this post, here is a picture of the cat enjoying the cooler weather: