Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Didn't I think of It?

It is brilliant I tell you.
So today after my kinda crappy week at work was over and having my hair cut and brows waxed, I sought out a massage. I found this pleasant place in Plymouth called The Massage Retreat that could take me on short notice. So, here's the deal- - brace yourself for a bit of marketing genius- - it is a membership based massage / facial / wax joint. The deal is, you pay about $50 a month as a member. With your membership you get a one hour massage of your choosing or facial of your choosing each month. If you don't use it in a given month, it rolls over to the next month. All other services used are steeply discounted (e.g.- a 90-minute hot stone massage for $59. The monthly rate is already about $30 less than I usually pay. How cool is that?? Not only does the business ensure that their massage therapists stay busy by getting people in the door regularly nearly guaranteeing the staff a steady income, the customer who always promises themselves a monthly massage but never gets one actually goes and gets one at a really reasonable rate.
Did I sign up? Uh, yes. And for signing up in August, I got a complimentary 90 minute hot stone massage in addition to my regular monthly massage. Fabulous.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wise Words of Advice

This is an old magazine ad that my friend Margaret kindly sent to me via e-mail. Not only are they wise words of advice to all you straight men, the ad also reminds me of an old friend Morgan who told me that as a teenager her mother once told her to preserve her chastity because boys don't like easy girls. All Morgan could think was "No, mom, boys LOVE easy girls."
Morgan's mother also was quoted as saying "Why sacrifice a moment of pleasure for a life time of shame?" To that, I think we can all respond- Why Not?

Booty Shaking to Relieve Stress

I know this Jem (no relation to Jewel) song is about two years old, but flopping around to it is really satisfying in a way that is silly and helps me relieve stress.

So, everybody stand up.

Do it now!

Hit play.

When the intro comes on that sounds a little like the Nutcracker Suite, stand on your tip toes (or en pointe if you're really sassy) make ballet arms above your head and do a little string of pearls across the room until the beat starts.

When the beat starts, quickly shift to this pose: stand like Miss Wiggins from the Carol Burnett show, put your bent arms up near your shoulders with palms facing out. Now shake your ass side to side and push your arms out double time. You are now a funky girl! Go funky girl!

When the kids start singing, switch to a Pee Wee Herman dance (like Tequila! only faster).

When the kids quit singing, switch back to above. You'll get a chance in a little bit to revert back to the ballet you did in the intro.

Dance. Repeat.

Fun for me to picture you doing it too.

My Crappy Work Week, or I Hate Having to Work With Others

Just as I predicted, this is not shaping up to be a fun week at work. This after a fabulous weekend in which we hosted our annual "Fall Fiesta". We had about 50 wonderful people over for drinks and a big spread, but more on the fun later. Let's talk about HELL ON EARTH! Could you hear the reverberations when I said that?

So, this is the sweetened condensed version of my previous rant:
Big Deliverable
Big Jerk (not me!)

Big irriation with BJ
Big Shiteous Headache
Big stress.
Big deliverable delivered to boss within minutes of deadline.

Done for now.
Off to Seattle on Saturday.

You know the old job interview answer cliche- "I like to work with people"? I've interviewed a bunch of people, including one this week who said the above. If someone says it and is lying, I can spot them at a thousand yards. I, personally, would never say that in a job interview, not only becuase it is cliche, but because I really don't like to work with people all that much. I have learned to work cheerily with and as part of a team over the years, but much prefer to get projects and deliver, deliver, deliver.

24 years and counting to retirement. Ah.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Rainy Weekend

It is finally raining! After only 2 or 3 short bursts of rain since June, we have now had two solid days of nicely paced rain. Southern Minnesota is another story where six have died in flash flooding since yesterday. Let's just say I'm grateful for what we got- - which means... the yard and garden should look great for Fall Fiesta next weekend! (Don't say it. I know I'm a little shallow about it.)
Yesterday and today, I've been shopping like mad picking up some outdoor lighting, some decor items, lots of food and lots of beverages. When I got home this afternoon, I multi-tasked. Do two tasks count or does it need to be more than two?. I'm counting it anyway. What, you ask, did I do? I made carnitas, which I am still making now- its a long process- and I got crafty and made some some lovely paisley table confetti and some multi-colored, stunning (?) tissue paper poof balls. Fabulous.
Today I also learned that broken digital cameras can't really be fixed in a way that makes economic sense. That stinks. So, I upgraded slightly from what I had, which wasn't much, and plan to get in some play time with the new camera tonight.
I'm still all creaky and sore today from last week at work. Not sure that the coming week is going to be any better. My boss described a reporting function that I'm working on (and is due on 8.30) as possibly the most important thing I'll do all year. He obviously didn't take into consideration my skin care regimen. What was he thinking? Anyway, I'm hoping this means I can coast for the remaining 4 months of the year, which is unlikely, but a nice fantasy none the less.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Handle Stress Well and Other Lies I Tell Myself

Let's just say this was one crappy week at work. Lots of elements converged to stress me out in a way that hasn't happened in a long long time. I store my stress in my neck, shoulders and chest. I'm sure I'm clenching my ass really hard too the whole time, but it doesn't hurt like the rest of me.
I was supposed to have the day off on Friday, but needed to conduct an interview and work on a report for the CIO. So, by Friday afternoon, I was a hunched over, stiff necked, headachy monster and surly, surly, surly. Much to my relief, I got an appointment with a massage therapist at a local clinic who touched my neck and said "whoa" and then proceeded with caution. By the time he finished, I wasn't nearly well, but was at least mobile. Today, I am a sore and crucnchy monster. Crunchy monster? When I pull my shoulders back, my chest makes a series of crunchy popping noises that Curt can hear. Nasty. I think I'll try rolfing.

The Gayification of Imogen Heap: It Was Bound to Happen

Okay, so as I am impatiently waiting for Imogen Heap to come out with a new CD, even though her 2006 release is still keeping her quite busy, I come across this on YouTube. This is from a choral competition apparently and is a group of (gay) boys from University of North Carolina singing Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek. So, even though I've never managed to sing in harmony since high school, I think it is worth making a few kind observations to make the viewing a little more enjoyable:
1. Listen for the falsetto about half way through. Don't skip there because it is all the more stunning if you let the anticipation build. I think the Holy Spirit or maybe Satan took control of his body and just caused him to sing out. Praise Jesus (or Satan or whoever caused this moment of hightened something or other)! has this definition of falsetto, see if it applies: an unnaturally or artificially high-pitched voice or register, esp. in a man.
2. Watch the boy on the left throughout the piece. During the first half, he appears as though he is holding back a state fair blue ribbon winning turd. Then, suddenly, after the falsetto he looks as though heis preparing to fist someone. Neither would be pleasant to watch if true.
3. If there are any straight boys in this ensemble, the gay boys have hidden them in the back row. (I, too, was a choir rocker in high school, as loathe as I am to think of it now. So, I can pick 'em at a hundred yards.) So, the problem this presents is that, if you check out the group's website bios, only one of them looks like a homo. Hmmmmm. Oh, and they have a CD out called "Polluted With Style." Judge for yourself.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's Official

It's official. I am now my mother. Curt and I went to Valleyfair (our local amusement park) on Friday for a company event. The place was crawling with scantily clad teens of both genders. Mind you, Valleyfair doesn't even hold a candle to the Minnesota State Fair when it comes to skanky dressing. At the State Fair (and the Taste of Minnesota), the God of your choosing picks up the slimiest of trailer parks all at once and shakes out their inhabitants to walk the fairgrounds in the nastiest, smallest and most tasteless attire imaginable. It makes an interesting spectator sport. Really, it does.
Anyway, so we're in line to get a locker at the water park, when I look over and see an 11 or 12 year old boy and girl pair, they might have even been a small 13, wound around each other so tightly that each pore in one's body was giving the other's pores some good mouth to mouth sweat/oily secretion exchange action. Now, normally, when my signs of mental aging and fatigue kick in, say when I hear loud obnoxious music, I try to keep my internal monologue internal - "Could you please turn that crap down! What kind of crap are you listening to now?". However, that day, I turned to Curt and my mouth moved and spoke before my internal sensor could stop it- "Don't you think those two are a little young to be sliming around on each other like that?" There was a brief moment of silence, then Curt replied "Aren't you a little young to be sounding like my grandmother?" Yet another reason I love Curt- he tries to save me from myself. *sigh*

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Art of the Compliment

My one and only employee, who shall remain nameless but will LOVE to see the idea of herself in print, will frequently lob empty compliments at me when I least expect them, then snicker to herself that I sometimes start to respond with thanks and gratitude. "You're the best boss I have." Yeah, whatever. She keeps me in line in other subtle ways like today when she said "Should I come back when you have a sense of humor?" Even when I'm bordering on madness, she still seems to like me enough to rib me a little. She really is the best employee I've got.

I Heart Dumb Moves By People I Don't Know

I love this story because it didn't happen to me. Go snake!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pawlenty Pisses Me Off

In the wake of the bridge disaster in Minnesota last week, our numbingly asinine governor Tim Pawlenty came forth with a proposal to provide increased funds for roads, highways and bridges by doing what? Raising our gas tax. Hmmmmm. This is a serious change of tune for Timmy after 5 years of having his head deeply up the ass of the MN taxpayer's league. One thing I despise about politics these days is that our elected officials are so beholden to their party's platforms that it is almost impossible for leaders to choose to do the right thing when it is most needed- before something terrible happens. Other reasons I don't like Timmy:
  1. In 2.2006 he vetoed a proposed tax increase to provide increases in transportation funding. However the same year, he imposed a "health impact fee" (aka- a TAX!) of 75 cents per pack of smokes. Because he could justify not calling it a tax (in his own mind, no one else was fooled), it wasn't a tax, and he maintained good standing with the taxpayer's league.
  2. Pawlenty has also starved our schools by severely limiting funding increases year after year as part of his reducing the size of big government agenda. This has resulted in local governments needing to raise individual home owner's property tax astronomically year after year. In the three years we have owned our home, we have had a cumulative increase of over 45% in our property taxes. Sweet.

One more thing, did any of you notice during the TV coverage following the bridge collapse that it tool less than 90 minutes to have a Republican on the airwaves taking jabs at the Dems? Grrrrrrrrr.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Where Will Nostradamus Get Headlines Now??

It was only a vicious rumor until I finally found the accompanying news story on Reuters- the World Weekly News is ceasing publication! Though I have only purchased a few in my lifetime, I have thoroughly enjoyed headlines like:

  • Cabbage Patch Doll Strangles Mom! It Was an Agent of the Devil Say Researchers
  • Mother Nature Endorses Al Gore for President
  • Bat Boy ... (fill in the blank with anything from 'aids in hunt for Osama Bin Laden' to bites Santa Claus


Look What's Blooming Today

It has been trying really hard to rain today, but can't seem to do much more than spit. Of course, the plants under the heaviest tree cover are still parched. I'm probably going to do some more supplemental watering there this morning. Tree cover has one key advantage for hosta lovers like me- it really minimizes damage from hail. I've had summers in other homes where my hota get shredded by hail and look like hell all summer long. No fun. This year, we've had maybe two good thunderstorms and almost no rain in between. *sigh*

The top picture is a hosta called "Sum & Substance." My gardening friends will say 'well, duh," as this is probably the most popular gold hosta in the world. For those of you not in the know, it is a glorious variety that has the potential to be huge- about 3 feet high, six feet wide with leaves up to 18 inches across at maturity. Though it is common, it is still a favorite.
The lower picture is an heirloom lilium variety called 'Black Beauty'. Though it was only introduced to the market about 50 years ago it has been around for a while longer. Once established, this lily is pretty much indestructable and multiplies pretty rapidly to produce nice sized clumps. Love it!

The Mesmerizing Life of an Aging Stereotype- chapitre deux

5:30 a.m.- woke up about 45 minutes earlier than usual having to pee. I drank too much Crystal Light before bed while watching the film version of The History Boys. Once I'm awake, I'm awake. There is no going back to sleep. So, I let the dogs out, gave them their breakfast treats, put them back in bed with Curt, scanned some online news sources and headed off to the farmer's market.

6:08 - 7:15 a.m.- I arrived at the Minneapolis farmer's market a little earlier than usual. It was great at this hour! Plentiful parking and smallish crowds. It was also early enough that the Moms weren't there. The Moms are the annoying parents (yes, men can be Moms too) who believe that the farmer's market is a cool place to be seen on a Saturday/Sunday morning with a double wide baby stroller and the toddler who has no sense of where he/she is standing/running/whining in relation other people. The Moms rarely actually purchase anything, but they sure know how to stop their double-wides in the aisles to talk to other Moms with their double-wides about the oh-so-cute fart that little Ariel or Stone (whichever Disney or soap opera name happened to be hot last year) issued at the dinner table over take-out last night. Ha ha ha. I'm so not amused.
I like the farmer's market because I can get a cup or two of good coffee from the French Meadow Bakery, stroll around at my own pace buying up locally grown produce, and talk to the hosta vendors about what is new this week. So here is what I purchased this week: vine-ripened tomatoes, green onions, sweet basil, citrus stuffed green olives, sweet gherkins with hot peppers, two large balls of fresh mozarella, red bell peppers and, of course, the gayest flower of them all..... two large bunches of gladiolas! This week's colors- coral pink and white with a coral pink center. Last week's colors: plum and white. (If you pay close attention, you can see certain Minnesota gays with big pick up trucks who drive away from the farmer's market with bunches of gladiolas in their rear window gun racks. I can hear them now- "Ooooh, Mary, I just love our butch truck with the gladiola rack. God bless the sister sledge who came up with that fabulous idea.")
There is a reason I buy gladiolas- I'm good with matching colors, but I can't arrange flowers well. Some gay men just have a genetically predetermined flair for making stunning floral arrangements. Not me. With gladiolas, I can trim the stems, snap off the underdeveloped floppy top bit (which, by the way, helps them to bloom all the way to the top faster) and stick them in a vase. Easy peasy. There are other gay genes that I was denied: the tidy gene, the gym gene, the fashion gene, the "I can name that paint chip color at 50 yards" gene and the "I would pay $1250 to see The Barbra- what fool wouldn't" gene, among others.

7:30 a.m.- arrived at home, stored food purchases in fridge, followed gladiola prep steps mentioned above, hung up some shirts from the laundry, evaluated my checking account to see if I have enough money to maybe buy some more art at one of the three big art fairs going on this weekend. Later we'll be going to Aqualand to purchase a really big aquarium for Curt to start a discus tank. Cool.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Look What's Blooming Today

Despite the horrid drought, our gardens are looking pretty good. Our water bill not so much.
So here are two things that were blooming today. On top is a daylily called 'Hyperion Elite'. The color isn't retouched. It really is almost neon yellow- think the big oversized shirts you ladies wore with belts and collars up in the 80's. Much prettier in the garden. The bottom picture is of our hardy hibiscus. The day before we had about 15 of these flowers going. They can be up to about 10 inches across. They remind me of clown flowers- like when you walk up to them they might squirt you or something.

Update on Bridge Collapse

Today was a tough day at work. We got an announcement at about 10 a.m. saying that all of our employees but one had been accounted for after last night's disaster. We found out that a co-worker Sherry Engebretson was missing and much later found out that she had died in the collapse. You may have seen her family interviewed today on just about every news outlet as they waited for news. Though I had only met her on a few occasions, I knew her repuatation and her work. Very very sad news.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bridge Collapse in Downtown Minneapolis

For my out of town friends. Link to story in Star Tribune
This is terrifying news. The north and south bound lanes of I35W over the Mississippi River collapsed during rush hour at 6:05 p.m. this evening.

Happy Birthday, Louis!

Claire, left; Birthday Boy Louis, right
Today is our dog Louis's 11th birthday! Not only did Curt bring home some special gravy, which they got after work today , he brought home some toys- a rubber hot dog and a big rubber donut with pink frosting and sprinkles. Louis got the donut; Claire got the hot dog.
There are bunch of things that make Louis a great dog, all of which I'm going tell you about right now. Okay, I'll pick just a few:
  1. He's terribly cute. He can't help it.
  2. He's fluffy and soft.
  3. He's knows his obedience commands.
  4. He's still really speedy after all these years.
  5. He always lets us know what he wants. Playing hockey with his dish is a little annoying sometimes, but it sends a clear message.
  6. He's a champ at the beauty parlor.
  7. He lets us call him all kinds of silly names and responds to baby talk.
  8. He is a blue ribbon kisser.
  9. He doesn't hog the bed- at least my side of the bed.
  10. He adores us in a way that makes me feel completely humbled.

I hope we have many more happy birthdays together.