Friday, January 25, 2008

The Ridiculous Pressures of Recommending a Book

Oh, Over-Thinker! I stopped by to read a Footwear Friday installment! Where can it be!? (...exclaims the one or two visitors of my blog)

Since I wore craptastic shoes today, I shall spare you the photo. Actually, our camera is's screaming CHARGE MY BATTERIES!!! I'm an awesome camera-mom. I've ignored its' plight for power in hopes that my husband will make the problem go a-way.

So, today the post is totally shoe-less.....

I need help, internet. I love reading books almost more than anything and can whip through a novel every three days (with glee!). I'm in a book club. I love our meetings. I love hearing their perspectives on a character's motivations. I like hearing what they find amusing about the prose. I enjoy debating about what would make a better ending.

I am 30. The youngest member. If I had to hasten a guess, the other nine members are in their 50s and 60s. To me, they are by no means "old" as age is but a number (I've totally adopted this way of thought since I hit the big 3-0.) I didn't feel like a young'n until it was my turn to recommend a book.

My preference is eclectic to say the very least. The current stack of books I'm reading through is made up of the following:

Cold Comfort Farm
Interior Desecrations
Adventures of a Jelly Baby
In Cold Blood
Murder Boogies with Elvis

(A long time ago I was a criminal justice/forensic science please 'scuse the interest in the slightly macabre.)

Last summer, the book club gals asked for members to recommend a good "summer read" that was "fluffy" but that had a bit of a twist. I confidently recommended, The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc

Okay, the book isn't the most stellar novella on my bookshelf, but I like it. The cover alone makes you want to pick it up. It has a bit of smut tossed in for good measure, but not so much that I'd blush recommending it to my mom. Just enough. Also? I liked the main character, Sissy. She's brash, daring, horny, independent and wistful. Truly, this is just a good book to read whenever you want something a bit lighter.

See, I thought they'd get a kick out of this book. Unfortunately, at the next meeting, I didn't feel the love. I heard, "A bit racy for my taste," "A bit smutty for my taste," "The characters weren't endearing and I found myself not caring about what happened to them."

Do you hear that sound? That would be the wind exiting my sails...

I'm pretty sure the gals thought a bit differently about me and not in that, "Wow, what an astute young lady!" or "What a fine young woman to have in our club!" Moreover, their thought process was probably along the lines of "JEZEBEL!" "TART!" "We're very disappointed in you, Over-Thinker." Of course, I'm exaggerating, but still. I felt like I had let them down.

So....I'm up to bat again. My hands are sweaty, the bat's heavy and I can't remember which way to run. I'm supposed to recommend a selection for May. I'm choking up here people!! Please recommend something that I can pass off as my own recommendation :-) I'm looking for a good mystery-- something smart, relevant, respectable (wha??). I will not turn my nose up at any suggestions. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I will take them and run. To help you make your recommendations, please suggest books with minimal profanity and without the following phrases*:
  • She let her eyes trail down the front of his sweat-stained shirt to his...
  • The pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs was still missing its' donor...
  • I will not eat green eggs and ham. I will not eat them, Sam I Am.
*Actually, go ahead and suggest these types of books because they're my FAVORITES. Alas, I'll probably not be recommending them to the fair ladies.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kickin' It Old School....Andy Rooney Style

For those youngsters* out there, Andy Rooney is a humorist. He was once part of the 60 Minutes cast--long ago, when it covered actual newsworthy topics and not just a bunch of sensational garbage. Actually, I love sensational garbage when it's blatant, not when it's disguised as intellectual stimulation. He is known for starting his monologues with phrases like: "Did you ever wonder why..." "Why is it that..." and my favorite, "I really hate it when..." Was he the inventor of the modern day rant? Probably not, but he knows how to put one out there.

I really have nothing pertinent to blog about at the moment, but I did have a bit of a "think" on the way to work yesterday.

Rooney-esque intro: Did you ever wonder what it's like to be a cop in traffic?

On my drive to work, there are two very crucial parts of the commute: Both involve stop lights and crossing my fingers that I'm not behind someone who believes in that whole "Yellow means Yield" nonsense. (For any traffic police that give tickets via the internet, Yay for Yield, I totally Yield!) Basically, if I get behind someone who gives definition to the word POKEY, yields to yellow and doesn't believe the basic human right of making a right-on-red, it sort of ruins my morning. I don't get road rage, I just get disappointed. Apparently I see my morning commute as some kind of a challenge--if it's ruined by an idiot-on-wheels, it sours me. I'm not one of those people that bitches for an hour about traffic and quizzes people as they come through the door, "Did you hit that mess right off the interstate? Sonsabitches don't know how to drive when a damn light is out!" etc. etc.

This got me thinking about what it must be like to be a cop-- because what's the first thing you do when you see that a police vehicle is behind you? You slow down. To a speed you would never drive on your own accord. You become a believer in the Yield Sign, you signal into places like your drive-way, you may even get so paranoid that you throw a hand signal out your window to show your dedication to safety. That's what the patrolmen and women have to deal with at every moment they're in the car. Sure, there are the new, shiny officers who probably get high on the superior feeling that they're making someone nervous, but for the most part, they are commuting just like the rest of the population. They may not need to get somewhere at a certain time, but it still must be frustrating, nonetheless.

So, in closing: Yield Schmield. But if an officer is behind me, I'm immediately going to slow down to 25 (speed limit 35), set my "cruise" for good measure, confidently throw my arm out the window to display my intent to turn left, hit the signal and pull off the road, letting them pass. I will then promptly re-enter the road going the actual speed limit, passing the officer.......seeing them slam on their brakes as they come up to another chicken-shit that's spotted them in their rear-view mirror.

*Note to myself: You've used the term youngster; you are officially ready for orthopedic shoes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Footwear Fridays II

I took a vacation day today and I haven't left the apartment. I like to practice Hermitism (totally a word) whenever I have a weekday off. I did put on some tennis shoes to go take the trash down the hall to the shoot. I used to live on the edge and just wear my socks--once I caught a glimpse of some ishy-looking goo on the floor by the elevator and that curbed my daring, shoe-less ways. So for now? Shoes good...catching fungus bad.

Here are the kicks du jour ("Mmmm, that sounds good. I'll have a bowl of that." that movie)

(Sorry for the less-than-stellar lighting...forgot the flash on the 1st one)

Are those split toes, you ask? Why yes. Yes, they are. How does one wear these shoes with socks? All one needs to do is pose this question to Nike and ye shall haveth thoweth answereths--oh forget it, I'm developing a lisp. Here's what Nike came up with:

(Sorry for the photography always require an enormous caveat of apology.)

Is that a cloven hoof sock, you ask? Why yes. Yes, it is. Sort of reminiscent of those rainbow socks with toes. However did that trend not last? Actually, these socks are pretty comfortable. Took a bit of getting used to, but they're quite all right. Kind of like getting used to wearing thongs. (Shoes, people!....but, now that I think of it, it could apply to the underwear, too.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'll try to make this Brief...

Why do I see random pieces of clothing in the road? I've seen shoes, socks, t-shirts, mittens....and today: Underwear. Tighty-not-so-whities. I was in an area known for its' upper-crustiness and I was walking into a grocery. Lo and behold, there to greet me at the cart corral was a big ol' pair of lovelies. Complete with tire marks (not treadmarks, mind you--I didn't inspect them that closely) and torn ribbing. How does one lose a pair of underwear? Are they just so old and the elastic so shot that they simply fall down your leg and out the leg of your jeans? And at a grocery? I guess I'd understand this, nevermind, nothing could make me understand this.

**It's probably best not to look up "Underwear Lying in the Street" in Google Images. Not like I'd do that or anything...(You're welcome for not posting what I found.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Does Anal-Retentive Have a Hyphen?

Weekend Posts...may not always happen. I seem to feel the need to make lists upon lists of things to accomplish in my "free time" a-ha a-ha a-ha ha ha

Today's checklist directed me to completely clean out the entry-closet, make marinara, chop 4 cups of walnuts for baklava and to try and clear out the damn DVR (Tivo to those who don't recognize DVR) so there's enough memory to record next week's Project Runway and CSI. It's 8:00pm and all I've done is clean out the closet. But, it was a lot of work and it now looks mighty fine.

I LOVE making To-Do lists. Unfortunately, I seem to transfer one day's list in full-form directly onto the next day's list. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Some of my favorite things:
1. Making Lists
2. Cleaning and Organizing Things
3. Organizing my list notebook.
4. I'm exciting.

Seriously though? I like the idea of having a plan of action. Also, I forget things quickly. I'm teased at work for my incessant note-taking. For example: My boss might ask me to do something as simple as "E-mail so and so and see if we can get blankety-blank for a such-and-such," Instead of starting the e-mail, I'll write the task on my to-do list and then I'll do it. If I don't, I feel a bit out of control. Is this weird? A friend of mine calls my need to clean, my anorexia. I also like being able to look back over my day's list and see that, yes, I actually did something. Another confession? I use white-out in this notebook. I can't stand clutter, mess etc. This goes for our home as well as my notebook. Out out damn spot. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Monk. I don't care if other people have knick-knacks in their homes or if they have lots of stuff sitting around. I happen to think that's normal. I happen to think I am anal-retentive, but only about my stuff. Really.

Full disclosure: I started dusting my friend's end table (WITH MY HAND) without realizing it until she said, "What. The. Hell. Are. You. Doing?" I got all embarrassed and apologized. I said, "Sorry! I didn't even know I was doing that." She said, "Well, don't stop now--you need to finish the room."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Putting the F in Fridays....

I think I'd like to do something each Friday...something to make my posting schedule slightly predictable in that oh so charming way. I've decided to do FOOTWEAR FRIDAYS. Why? Because I'm a woman who likes a good shoe. Cliche? Duh. I also like chocolate. Also cliche. Oooo CHOCOLATE MONDAYS. But I digress.

Each Friday I'll take a picture of the shoe I wore to work. I think this will make me start wearing cooler shoes on Fridays because I want to be honest about this. I'm not going to wear my rubber flip-flops or old black slides and quickly change into a pair of snazzy stilettos. What you see is what I wore. Maybe I'll include some witty anecdote about the shoes. Or maybe I'll triumphantly declare the price I paid and wait to be trumped by a reader who found them for less which will cause me to have shopper's regret which we all know leads to more shopping.

I'm trying to decide if I should take a picture of the shoe as it's on my foot (I almost spelled foot with a "ph"...weird.) or just show it plunked on my dining room table. Maybe I'll go all out and shave my ankles for an extra-special shot. Or maybe I'll throw on a pair of cable-knit tights and keep it all a mystery.

Total side note on cable-knit tights: My mom used to make me wear them when I was little. I'm sure she'd tell you that I wore them because they were soft and cuddly (and I had "security issues" which gave me a tendency to choose very comfy clothing and tuck absolutely everything into my underwear...that may have to be its own post). This is false. I hated them. They caused my toes to itch and made my bone-y legs look like encased sausages. I can still picture my puffy feet crammed into a pair of patent leather Mary Janes. Not attractive.

Maybe I should have titled this post "Digressions"?

No time for re-titling...I need to take some pictures.

Wow. I just took a picture of my shoe. Two pictures, in fact. It's almost as if I am taking an inventory for insurance purposes. Or perhaps for a "REWARD: MISSING SHOE!!" poster. they are.

Aerosoles $49.99

A view from a chair

A view from the side. This looks like a shoe in a crime-scene photo. "It must've flown off of her foot during the struggle! Oh the humanity!"

I bought them over Christmas vacation at Macy's. I think they were on sale. Sort of an impulse buy because I needed some brown shoes. I thought they were cute. When I showed my mom, I said, "They're kind of like school-teacher shoes." She said, "The sure are." I'm fairly certain she didn't like them. Probably because they'd look terrible with cable-knit tights.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Unnecessary "THE"

Reading yet another hilarious post at Woulda Shoulda got me thinking...

Ever so often, I hear people put the word "The" in unnecessary places. Not that it's harming anything (other than my delicate, judgmental brain), but I'm wondering if anyone else has come across this phenomenon.

My husband and I were out shopping and we overheard a woman say to her daughter, "Let's go to The Mc Donalds for lunch." I'm pretty sure that's wrong. I've also heard: The Target, The Macy's, The Payless and The Wal-Mart. Actually, most of the times I hear a superfluous "the" it's usually being placed in front of Wal-Mart. Why is that? Will I someday over-hear, "Let's go to The The Mall"??

I hate to sound ageist, but it seems like an "over-50" thing. I don't ever remember my mom squaring her "the's" until she was nearing 60. My grandma does it, too. While staying at her house, I heard her employ this dialog once or twice a day: "Let's go the The Culvers and get an ice cream," "I'm going to meet Arlene at The Perkins," and probably my favorite..."The price of batteries at The Best Buy are ridiculous." (Side note: Lately, my grandma's quest in life is to find cheap batteries for 2 things: her hearing aid and this listening device thing she uses in church. She stocks up on them like a hunter stocks up on ammunition.)

I think what irks me the most is that an extra "The" always makes the subject sound more important than it is, almost regal. Especially when placed in front of "Burger King".

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tooling Around Town in Lesbian Rubbermaid

I drive a Saturn. A reliable vehicle not soon to be entered in a vehicle beauty pageant. It appears to be made out of plastic and a good deal of Teflon. Remember that Rubbermaid commercial where the car hits a Rubbermaid garbage can? It appears that the can has been destroyed by the car only to pop back into shape a moment later as if saying, "Haha! Didn't get me!" My car is totally that garbage can.

Someone I know informed me that a Saturn is a "lesbian car"... I've never heard of this. I have nothing against lesbians, and I'm pretty sure if they collectively endorsed a car, it wouldn't be my generic nerd-mobile. Hopefully they'd upgrade a few notches to at least a Honda or a vehicle with "rover" in the title. I asked a friend of mine (who happens to be a lesbian--this is very convenient as I was about to ask her about lesbian cars) if she'd heard of this phenomenon.

Me: Have you heard that Saturns are lesbian cars?
Her: Why? Are you trying to get me to buy your car?
Me: No. I was just wondering if you'd heard that before.
Her: I think so. Does that bother you?
Me: No.
Her: Don't worry, you're a crappy driver. People don't think you're a lesbian.
Me: Okay, thanks for the chat.
Her: Can I borrow your car?

Well, if my car is a lesbian, I'm fine with that. Apparently other people are, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First Post....How to Reel 'Em In

Decidedly, this must be with a list. An essential part of a blogger's archives. A Top-Something-Or-Other to keep the readers wanting more. How does an over-thinker go about writing one of these up, you ask? Here is the recipe I followed:

16 Hints of apprehension
10 cups of the delete button (more or less to taste)
3 mouthfuls of nervous laughter
5 beads of armpit perspiration
22 lbs of sarcasm
1 tongue in cheek
4 mis-used semi-colons; set aside 1 for the topping
1 tentative "Publish Post"

Repeat for a day and a half until you realize that you don't have any readers yet and you're starting to sound like a female Woody Allen.

21 Things You Should Know
1) I tell people that I'm a morning person because it makes me sound more lively. I don't tell them that I spend a fair amount of the a.m. in bed. Asleep.

2) I love Halloween. Once, I carved a jack-o-lantern out of a watermelon.

3) I normally say pumpkin, not jack-o-lantern, but saying that I carved a pumpkin out of a watermelon would make you think I performed some magical act of horticulture (see #4).

4) I can't keep any type of vegetation alive.

5) After being with my patient husband for nearly 8 years, if my butt's exposed, I still walk backwards out of the room.

6) When I really panic or worry about something, my brain feels like it's a melting ice cube. Seriously. It's like I'm practicing for my first stroke.

7) I have a tendency to think someone's a bit stupid if they don't use the correct form of a word in an e-mail. Ex. Your/You're, Bitch/Beeatch. Please note that I do not use "which" or "that" in the appropriate way. Ever. If I do, it is pure luck.

8) I'm pretty sure that I'll miss-spell something in the very near future and someone will call me out on it.

9) My brain got a bit "ice cube melty" when I started to think about sounding like a hypocrite.

10) If I know that I have a particularly stressful day ahead, I'll talk out loud to myself while driving to work. I practice having a backbone.

11) I'm not a vegetarian. I should be. Meat doesn't agree with me.

12) I'm not telling anyone I know "in real life" about this blog. (Except my clever husband who will ghost-write my really funny posts and my best friend so I can have at least one reader.) I just intend to worry about the potential discovery of it by co-workers.

13) I love mysteries...Books, Movies, CSI (the original, not Miami, as David Caruso is a butthead), etc. Someday, I want to have my own "Sherlock Holmes-esque" study in our house. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a roaring fire, my very own Watson, etc. A room where I can display my magnifying glass (that I get crap for having, quite frequently).

14) My husband doesn't want me to use his name on here. I completely understand--however, I'm having a hard time thinking of a moniker to use in place of his actual name. He's a graphic designer...think he'd mind if I refer to him as "Pixel" or maybe "Adobe"? Suggestions are welcome. And I'm fairly certain that my husband will be the one to suggest something.

15) I'm going to try very hard to not talk about work. Good or bad. I want to keep my job. I think. Actually, I don't want people to hate me. I wouldn't mind losing my job if I could find financial sustenance by blogging. Or sleeping until noon.

16) At the risk of totally reneging on number 15, I'll tell you that I work in the food industry and cook for a living. I work for a company that makes stuff. That you eat. See? I'm very stealth-like and elusive. And nervous about blowing my cover.

17) I have a wonderful husband who has written songs & poetry for me, sketched us together as children, designed my wedding ring...and purchased the entire series of South Park. A true renaissance man.

18) I wish I had a British accent. I can fake one pretty well (better than Madonna, anyway). I can also do a mean Aussie accent. When I was in my early 20's, I worked as a checker in a horrible electronic store that I will call Chest Guy. Shifts were boring. To entertain myself and my co-workers, I'd use an Aussie accent with customers. My favorite line to say (and I'll try to type this phonetically) was: Ah'll Need Tah See Ya Droivahs' Loisuns with ya chehk. Translation: I'll need to see your drivers' license with your check.

19) We have two cats: Abe, a tabby who possesses an extreme love of food and things that are potentially edible; Fidgit, a black and white Hemingway Polydactyl (extra toes). At last count, she has 23. Get it? She's named Fidgit because she has extra digits!! Cleverness (cleverosity?) around every corner in our house.

20) I worry about everything--I don't let much slide. I worry about messing with fate (If I stop to tie my shoe, will I be leaving the house later than I should and possibly get hit by a car that I would've avoided if I just left my damn shoe untied?) I worry about not being liked (Maybe I shouldn't have said "damn" in the last sentence. Should I use asterisks or is that too prissy?) I worry about sounding too enthusiastic on my voice mail messages and strive for the "yeah, no biggie, call me back whenever" vibe. I tend to use the "erase and re-record your message" option frequently. My future children are SO lucky.

21) I'm constantly told that I'm "the most laid-back, calm person"...whenever I hear this, I feel pretty cool. For a moment. Then, I grow concerned that I'm a big Fakey McFakerson. Over the years, I've come to the realization that I'm naturally calm and rational for nearly every public situation because, by nature, I want to take care of others and make sure that the peace is kept. I really try to be a good person. No one needs to know that my brain feels like it's melting.