Friday, May 29, 2009

Can I Be on Your Dodgeball Team?

So do you ever get the cold shoulder from someone, and where you normally ignore the crowds that run away when you show up, it just hit you this time that, hey, nobody likes you? Because I just got some of that.

I'll admit, there are a lot of people out there that don't like me. I suppose I make myself quite hatable what with my talking WAY too much and saying what I shouldn't be thinking. Every office has that one guy you just don't want to get into a conversation with. I'm pretty sure that in every setting, I'm that guy.

I can't be the only one who's experienced the adult social equivalent of being picked last for dodgeball—the one where you're at a dinner party or church or a meeting and nobody sits by you. And you notice they're all crowded around the other end of the table as if you smelled (do I smell?). And you think, "Did I not get the memo that we were all sitting on the left side of the table today?"

So if anyone feels like having a nice conversation with me about their weekend plans or sitting by me at some point, I'd like that. And if you don't feel like it, no worries; I'm having one of those days where I'd pick me last for dodgeball too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Going to Look Good in a Bikini This Summer

Sure, I may not ever wear one (at least not in public), but I vow to lose 20 pounds and look awesome in one anyway.

Back in the day, looking fab in everything what what I did best. These days . . . well, let's just say I look more like a 30-something with three kids than a svelte early-twenties-ite. My metabolism tanked about a half-decade early.

So post-vacation, I've decided to revive and rev-up the diet beyond "generally healthy eating" to a popular Bikini diet: South Beach. No, I'm not starving myself; yes, I'm still getting carbohydrates; of course I'm exercising too! I've been eating lean meats, leafy greens and other low-carb veg, and low-fat dairy products. No sugar. No cupcakes. Oh, I'd give anything for a cupcake right now. Except that would be cheating.

So really, this post is about an inner war between cupcakes and Bikinis. I sure love cupcakes. But I would also love to not turn into Jabba the Hut. And with all the crap my body is doing, that's a legitimate concern. And I care about not being Jabba the Hut. I mean, I don't mind a little fat layer under my skin, but I'm getting to the point where it's making me kinda ugly. It's not that fat is ugly, but I'm not ready to spend the time and emotional wreckage it would take to figure out how Fat Amy can look pretty.

Sounds like the Bikini is winning, huh? Well, what about being happy and free to think about something other than cupcakes? Because if I didn't have to deprive myself of cupcakes and rice krispies treats and red vines and gummy bears and creamies and bread and crackers for the first two weeks of this diet, I'd probably be able to have entire conversations without the vomit-esque urge to mention cupcakes. If I could just go eat one of the dang things, I could stop writing about it and get back to business.

How long does it take to start liking V8—which currently threatens my gag reflex on a regular basis? When will I be able to enjoy (ugh) celery? And how flipping long will it take for me to stop thinking about cupcakes?

So I seem distracted, stare into space, have trouble following a train of thought, or act disgruntled, you'll know what I'm really thinking about.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Adventures of Amy and the Book Vending Machine

When Ben posted a link on Facebook about a new "Book Vending Machine" in London, I decided to make it a priority on my itinerary.

Now, let me tell you a little something you already know: Vending machines vend things. In the transaction process, they are the vendor. In essence, for any machine to be a vending machine, it must accept money and dispense a product. This brings us to the essential orifices of the vending machine: money slots and dispensing slots. Every proper vending machine has these orifices, just like every human has a food slot and a . . . ahem . . . dispensing slot. The point of a vending machine is to eliminate the need for a vending human to vend things.

That said, when I arrived at the Book Vending Machine (which is inside an actual bookstore—why have a machine in your store "vending" things you already vend?) I was quite shocked about several things.

First, and by "first" I also mean the first time I visited the bookstore to see said vending machine, I was shocked to find the machine walled off in a small alcove—obviously not a place customers were allowed to go. Thus, the "vending" machine required an actual human vendor to do the vending for it. Interesting . . .

Now, during that first visit I also noticed that there were no money slots and no actual customer access to the machine. So far, this monstrosity has failed every test of vending machineness. However, being a generous and understanding woman, I decided that I'd come back in a week, after we'd gone to Paris, and at least experience the joys of having a book printed, just for me, in minutes, right before my eyes. Who cares if I have to have someone else operate the so-called "vending machine" for me. The article (linked above) did use quotes around "vending machine," after all. But perhaps I could get some satisfaction from at least one promise kept.

So when we returned to London from Paris, I made another visit to the Book Non-Vending-but-Printing/Binding Machine. And it was, alas, closed for maintenance. For several hours. So I charitably allowed the machine several more hours to achieve mechanical perfection.

Tim and I made a trip to the Imperial War Museum (which was awesome).

And then I returned to the machine, my hopes not yet extinguished for the Book Machine. I walked the now-quite-familiar path from the Leicester Square tube stop to the corner alcove in Blackwell Bookshop and was delighted to see a very bookshop-employee-looking guy at the helm of my book-in-under-ten-minutes miracle machine (that'll be the last hyphenated adjectival phrase, I swear).

"Hello, I'd like to have a book printed," I said, already fantasizing about the smell of binding glue and the burn of hot printed paper in my hands. The real miracle of the Book Vending Machine, it seemed to me, was it's ability to print/bind/finish and entire book while you're standing there waiting.

And then, "Yeah, there's a backlog, so you can place an order, but it won't be finished for two or three days," said the scruffy idiot of a bookmonger.

So let's get this straight. This machine doesn't accept money or interface with customers (it does not vend). It requires a human vendor to operate it. It's often closed for no reason. Its existence is redundant within a bookstore. And it completely fails to deliver its product with any kind of reasonable speed. This thing is not a "Book Vending Machine" at all; it is a mangy piece of office equipment masquerading as some kind of new technology. It should be ashamed of itself.

Even compared to discovering that the chunnel train was not a transparent sea-life watching adventure, the Book Vending Faker was the biggest disappointment of the trip.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Tomorrow morning we leave for Paris for our vacation's vacation. London has been fabulous. I've eaten too many cafe sandwiches to count (not bad), fish and chips (awesome), pizza (very different from what we make at home), sausages and mash (heavenly), and a cheese and onion pasty (too much crumble and goo if you ask me). I've gorged myself on wine gums (all the nausea of getting drunk without any actual alcohol), fruit pastilles (delightfully crusted on the outside and delicious on the inside—and sinfully fake), and all the cadbury creme candy I could stomach (I've been craving it since they stopped selling in the US for the year). Did you notice they made the eggs smaller in the states?

I have had the humbling experience of knowing a little of what cat-lergic Tim went through when we brought home Coco. Something about the common British park tree makes my whole head want to end it all with a fatal jump from the top of my shoulders. It wouldn't be the first head to do just that around these parts by any means. People with allergies, I salute you.

I did most of the other stuff you'd imagine (but probably with less time spent in museums) and that's about that. Our camera or SD card glitched (probably the SD), so we're missing about 24 hours worth of pictures. Westminster Abbey was in there, and I'm super pissed those are gone. It's an incredible building. They kept referring to it as a "living church." The statement didn't hold up well, of course, when the tour consisted mainly of graves and memorials. It's a living church chock full of dead people.

Anyway, it's way past my bedtime. But if you want to hear more about it, you're welcome to take me out to lunch.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


So I've been doing a lot of wandering around London, seeing things, taking pictures, traveling by tube, getting somewhat lost, and making quiet whimpering noises when my bare feet finally touch hotel room carpet at the end of the day. I'll post pictures later—especially since I'm concerned that somehow an entire day's worth of pictures have "broken" or whatever pictures do when they don't show up anymore for some reason.

I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to the parks here, because any time we stop in or near a tall tree, my sinuses swell up and start dripping, my eyes, nose, ears, throat, etc. begin to itch unbearably, and I start to feel like I have some kind of prickly plant matter choking me. Oh, and I start sneezing. It makes me feel really awful for people who are allergic to something they share a country with. Or a bed.

I know you all want to hear about my trip (or you're just sitting there hating me for being in Europe while you're . . . reading my blog when you probably have more important things to do). But I'd rather talk about Loathing.

(There are some spoilers [kinda] coming up next if you haven't seen Wicked or read The Host.)

I saw Wicked the other night. It really was excellent. But as for Loathing, I wish that the green girl and the good witch in me could simply part ways, fake a death or two, and get on with their respective lives like the two heroines do in the musical. The Host—which was MUCH better than Twilight—explored the duality of an individual much more closely, but even then in the end everyone goes their separate ways.

(End of spoilers [basically].)

So what do I do with the strongly convicted witch in my head that wants to crusade against the powers that be? And how do I do that in the same body where I have to "grovel in submission" for some very basic things; not just for popularity, but to support my family with food and shelter there is a lot of kowtowing to be done. Any man who would never beg might be reduced to doing just that if it's the difference between a meal and starvation. But are convictions just luxuries we either can or cannot afford?

The reality is that they are. Or some of them are. If I'm going to feed my family, I must kill the witch, cheer over her death, and never mourn her. The facts of life dictate that we sometimes kill things that are good (little g) to maintain the Good (big G). And we've been fighting wars over what's good and what's Good since the dawn of time.

And nothing really matters except that I'm having a hard time killing the witch. I like her. But even in Wicked, the witch doesn't do any real good at all, and it's Galinda the Good who puts on a front, takes only the measures she can without muddying her face, and really makes change happen. I suppose they call that responsibility and adulthood. I'd like to refer to it as politics.

I would pray for the courage to be good, but what I really need is the patience to be Good. And I loathe that.

Kill the witch.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Three Words

My feet hurt.

Tower of London.

Henry was compensating.

Harrod's is expensive.

Hot new jacket.

Wicked was incredible.

Missed my dinner.

Ate candy instead.

Off to shop.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Spirit Is Willing

It's a bit overwhelming to have an ocean between me and everything my life's been filled with for the past twenty-something years. And it's fabulous. This place is amazing. If I could, I'd walk the streets for days on end just looking at everything (and listening to everyone).

In fact, I've never gotten so much enjoyment out of eavesdropping. I had to get a phone, and just talking to the salesman made me nearly swoon with joy. I'm pretty sure that in Heaven, everyone will have British accents. Everyone. After listening to hours of British English, standing next to another American in the elevator is a chore.

Once we'd washed off our travel gunk, we went out for tube riding and walking. The people watching was as glorious as it always is in big cities, but with the added intrigue of an exotic locale. I saw a girl with more holes in her face than I could count, two people with unbelievably tall hair, and one man who looked more like a toad than I'd ever imagined a man could look without the aid of prosthetics.

We saw the Tower of London. And surrounding monuments. Wow. I imagine that being trapped in the Tower of London would be extra terrible—beyond the whole imprisonment thing, you have to watch the gorgeous Thames wash by out the window and know you can't just lie on its banks for hours. It's like working through a gorgeous afternoon you can only watch through a window (but worse, because they didn't get weekends).

When I see really cool things like the Tower Bridge, I like to imagine what it would have been like to make them: how long it would have taken to design and form all of the exquisite pieces, what it would have been like to watch it go from a pile of nothing on the margins of a huge river to a monument quite fit for a king (and one more royal than many who called it theirs).

To conclude our afternoon, we took a nice walk along the Thames and had Magnum ice cream bars (double caramel) before we stopped into some churches and things.

Tomorrow, I'm thinking we'll go on a guided tour of the Tower, take a boat along the Thames, and check out Jack the Ripper's old murdering grounds before we head off to see Wicked. Maybe we'll throw the Globe in there too. If my feet weren't so danged upset about their "mistreatment" so far today, I'd take them out to a whole lot more places. But as it is, they're barely willing to put up with the carpeted hotel room floor. So I suppose I'll give them 20 minutes, take them to dinner, and see if I can't get one more good trip out of them before I turn in for my first night in Europe.



The approximate number of hours I've spent on a plane today.


The number of airline meals served to me today.


The hours of drugged sleep I've had in the last 24 hours thanks to a double dose of Dramamine.


The number of times I woke up from said drugged sleep to find airline meal number two either present or absent on my tray table. Also, the number of times I contemplated eating said meal only to fall asleep again before actually doing so.


The altitude in feet at which gas in the intestines becomes incredibly painful.


The number next to "vomit my brains out" on my priority list upon landing.


The quantity of brains actually vomited out.


The percent happy I am that my first London experience was riding the tube rather than making an offering at the porcelain throne.


The number of minutes it took us to figure out how to get the lights working in our hotel room.


The amount of desire I have to ever leave.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's a Mothers' Day/100th Post-stravaganza!

Yes, this is post number 100. A lot of TV shows tend to lose their cool after the 100th episode mark, and I'm thinking this might be a good place to end my blog. My producers are balking at the continued cost and diminishing marginal benefit of keeping this thing going. Advertisers are losing interest. And quite frankly the plot is flagging. This might be the kind of post where I have an extremely thin plot where all of my characters reminisce about things that happened over the last few seasons, and I just fill in the gaps with text cut and pasted straight from past posts.

But nope, because this post is dedicated to MOM. My mom, Rose, is basically the most fabulous woman I've ever met. She'd be the most fabulous woman you'd ever met if you'd ever met her. Never has so much courage and strength and stamina and wisdom been packed into such a small woman.

Mom, I could thank you for carrying me around in your belly for 9-er-so months, but I'm sure that was the fun part compared to the sleepless nights I caused, the dirty diapers I (occasionally) produced, the public tantrums I threw, the embarrassment I heaped upon you, and the general yelly-pissyness I exuded during my teenage years. Thanks for those. Thanks for being the kind of woman who can put up with all of that and be the mom I needed when I was ready to listen to what you had to say.

And what you had (and still have) to say, and the things you taught me by who you were, are why I'm happy and successful today. And why I'm so totally awesome and witty and good-looking. Oh yeah, this is about how fab you are. But I wouldn't be all of those things if you weren't such a wise and funny and good-looking mom. You're number one. All others are number two or lower.

My mom is the woman who came face to face with a bear and chased him off. She's the woman who isn't afraid to shut up the racist lady in the Costco line with an awesome comeback. She's the woman who does what it takes to make it. She's the woman who meets her goals. She's the woman to whom God sent me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

And while I'm talking about awesome moms, I can't forget Sheri. My mother-in-law is amazing. First, she raised Tim. It takes class and skill and some unidentifiable x-factor to raise a son like Tim. And Sheri has all that and more. She's certainly more than I'd ever hoped for in a mother-in-law. Needless to say, I certainly don't struggle with any of the typical MIL nightmares. She's the kind of person I can be friends with and enjoy spending time with. She respects her son, and she respects me. That takes maturity far beyond your average parent's.

It's Mothers' Day, so every mom is getting thanked for the whole birth-and-raising thing. But I want to thank you for so much more than that. There's nothing I can give you to tell you how well you've done at your job. Even my meager achievements aren't evidence enough of your excellence. I love you, Mom.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who(m) Else Would This Be About?

I am blunt. If you've ever read anything here before, you'll know I tend to be 100% candid, for good or ill. This isn't some kind of front. This is not a face I'm putting on to make people think of me a certain way. And I'm fully aware that ANYONE can read this: friends, enemies, family, associates, strangers, and ex-boyfriends! I'm not so honest because I'm ignorant of those to whom I tell my truths.

I'm honest here because I want you to know who I am. I want everyone to know what a real human being is like. I don't believe any of us are alone in our thoughts and feelings and struggles, and I'm trying to give the rest of the world something to relate to on a level they usually keep hidden. And that particular opinion is actually quite integral to my personality as a whole. I'm the girl that puts too much information about herself on the internet. It's taught me that I'm not alone. I think I'm putting my freedom of speech to pretty good use.

I realize that on occasion I might be misunderstood. I like you people. I like everyone (except maybe Steve Jobs). Like most people, I sometimes dislike situations that involve people I like. I still like those people. So if I've offended you (and I've honestly tried not to), I'm sorry. I like you. We're friends. If you need a ride to the mall, I'm so there.

I might not be very good at my attempts not to offend. In fact, the thin-skinned tend (not unwisely) to turn and run at the sight of me. I'll keep working on that.

But at this moment, this is who I am. The girl who often screws up, complains about things that are probably her fault, can't leave well enough alone, and will be who she wants to be on her own schedule. The girl who struggles sometimes even with the people she adores. The girl who changes her mind all the time because she's so frequently wrong. In a lot of ways, you're probably that girl (or guy) too. And you have every right to think you're better than me for keeping your mouth shut about it while I give away the secrets of my humanity.

Someday I might grow wise and decide to keep my gaping maw closed, but today, I'm going to publicly revel in the person I really am. I like her.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Moles and Ants

I have a secret.

Correction: I had a secret.

And now that it's not a secret anymore, I'll tell you guys. Tim and I are moving to Denver in fall. Probably. I mean, nothing's sure until you're basically there, but that's the plan. So now you know.

Nobody was supposed to know for at least another month, but a while back I accidentally let slip to Chris that we're moving, at which time I swore him to secrecy. A while later, Lisa just flat out asked me. I wasn't going to lie, so I told her. Then, not wanting Shar to be the only writer out of the loop, I told her out of courtesy. I also happened to mention it to Ken, who naturally told April. Still, everyone was sworn to secrecy.

Then suddenly Extremely Diplomatic HR Lady knew. Out of the blue. And I'm thinking—there's a mole! Suddenly it's a dark and stormy night and I'm trying to figure out which of my dinner guests offed the butler. Either that or I talk REALLY loud. And that wouldn't shock me. I'm not the best at controlling the volume of my voice.

But EDHRL swore herself to secrecy. After that, I told both Carter and Josh. And neither of them are the type to go gossiping about something as inconsequential as a move that's at least 3.5 months away. But then today, somehow my boss knew! I mean, he was totally cool about it and really helpful, but it would have been nice for me to go to him about it rather than him hearing it elsewhere.

So who is the mole? Who is the murderer at my dinner party? It it one of the guests listed above? Or is it the maid? Or is it someone's secret twin that nobody even knew was in the house!?

I'm going to go rent Clue.

Oh, and today there was an ant on my desk, and since anything with more than four legs makes me extremely uncomfortable, I asked Chris to kill it. So he walks over to my desk, grabs my nail file, smacks the ant with it, and leaves the remains on my desk, saying, "You deal with it."

Clearly, chivalry is dead.

Needless to say, both the ant corpse and the nail file are in my trash. And Chris isn't getting a Christmas card this year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mr. Toomey

My dad is a movie consumer. I vouch for neither his taste nor his good sense when it comes to which movies to purchase and watch. If movies were food, he'd definitely be a gourmand and not a gourmet. So when my brother and I were young, we were exposed to quite a number of movies—movies that weren't necessarily classics. A disproportionate number of those movies were made-for-TV adaptations of Stephen King books (and I definitely won't vouch for his taste at all), including an interesting treat called The Langoliers.

Anyway, if you get the chance to see it, you'd be wise to go to the park and enjoy the sunshine instead. But where I grew up, it was rainy, and the parks were usually full of scary alcoholic bums and enough ganj smoke to give a herd of elk a contact high. So we stayed inside, built a fire, and turned into adults with these kinds of thoughts.

In The Langoliers, Mr. Toomey is an insane businessman with some kind of stress-induced schizophrenia, and his only pleasure comes from ripping papers into even strips. Considering the unusual amount of joy I receive from ripping things to shreds, I've feared for a long time that I would end up just like Mr. Toomey—screaming at voices in my head right up to the moment I get eaten by razor-toothed time-eating monsters.

I'd mostly forgotten about Mr. Toomey until today, when I hit an intense moment of stress that made me consider whether working for someone like my boss is good for anyone's sanity. He's not a bad guy at all, he just knows how to get the maximum possible work out of his people. That skill makes him a great boss. That skill also makes me feel like Mr. Toomey some days.

So if you see me ripping up papers instead of using the shredder or talking to nobody or sweating gallons of fluid from my forehead and temples, I may be beyond the reach of a nice talk or a massage (though I'd appreciate both), and you should probably just have me committed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


After a few years of being unable to afford dental care, I acquired insurance and had a hefty fine in fillings and subsequent sensitivity to pay for my negligence. I had some trepidation about returning to the dentist, but when I arrived at my appointment this morning, things were different.

The whole thing took less than 45 minutes, and between a credit on my account and some generosity on the part of Dr. Hamblin, the whole thing cost me nothing. He patched a filling and performed two sealants (fast!) without even having to numb me. Never mind that at one point I nearly flipped because there was a hole in my effing tooth, I left happy and quite on time for MOAT meeting at work.

For the first time ever, I left the dentist feeling like it's my lucky day. Chris is kindly lending Tim and I some of his travel accessories for our trip (told'ja I'd mention it as much as possible), and he brought them today, too. I'm pretty sure the only way this day could improve is with the addition of free food (hint).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Who Wants to Drive Me to the Airport?

My goals for this week:
  • Get maps and draw routes of travel
  • Pack
  • Brush up at least a teeny bit on my French
  • Catch up on my British TV
  • Mention my trip to London and Paris as many times as I possibly can
That's right XXs and XYs, in less than one week I'll be on my way over the Atlantic to Albion and later on to Lutetia for as many delicacies as I can stomach.

Flights booked. Hotels paid for. Chunnel trip reserved. I'm four workdays, one weekend, and a layover in Houston away from finally getting off this continent. I may be headed to the land of full-size beds, but I couldn't be more excited (unless, perhaps, I were going to the moon—and the moon had king-size beds).

I'm not sure yet whether I'll be too excited to blog or too excited not to blog, so you'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I realize this might be a bit too relevant for those of us surrounded by the threat of the H1N1 virus, but this game is just too perfect for the moment. Enjoy being the mastermind behind an infectious disease out to destroy the world! It's something to do while you're home sick, anyway.

Oh, and if you're wondering why I use the politically correct "H1N1 virus" rather than the common name for the bug, it's because I think cute little piggies (and fat, muddy, pink lard bags) are getting a bad name for something that's really not their fault. While rodents really were a huge problem as vectors for the bubonic plague, swine haven't been running around Mexico spreading disease the way flies, rats, mosquitoes, and other nasty things have done in the past.

So ladies and gentlemen, give the pigs a break and focus on the real contagion spreaders: you. Not Mexicans. That's right, I noticed the other day when you didn't wash your hands after using the restroom or before touching the pizza on pizza day. I was there when you sneezed on your hand and then wiped it on your pants—as if your pants weren't teeming with germs already. It's a simple thing to guard from disease, and you're not the only one you're protecting, you doorknob-touching, hand-shaking, elevator-button-pushing fiend! Wash your hands!