Monday, November 30, 2009

Now, about that smog check

I woke up, looked at my alarm, and promptly decided that I needed more sleep. Twenty minutes later I decided that I needed a valid driver's license more, so I hauled my cookies out of bed, got pretty, and drove my illegal self over to the DMV where I did NOT have an appointment. That's me, folks, living dangerously.

While applying mascara, my overly sensitive left eye began tearing. I dropped some eye stuff in there and finished the beautification process. Then, I was gathering materials for a quick knit project and could not for the life of me read the size printed on the set of DPNs I picked up. I needed size 6. I think they're 7's. No matter how far away I held them, I couldn't really see it. I know, I know--Get thee to the optometrist, woman!

The DMV was moving at a good pace. I didn't have to wait that long at all, maybe 30 minutes to be seen, then wham-bam-$28, ma'am. The woman processing my application told me to "step to the next window to read the eye chart." Uh-oh. I'm screwed now. Fortunately, there was a girl at that window and I had to stand back a bit so as not to crowd her. I read all the lines perfectly and the woman told me, "Oh, your vision's fine if you can read it from back there." Little did she know it's the up close that gets me in trouble. Then, she said the most wonderful thing she could say--"Just step over to the Camera line and get your picture." [a chorus of angels sang]

My current license picture is hideous. Yeah, I know, everyone's license picture is hideous. But seriously, mine looks like a mug shot, like I've been arrested for drunk & disorderly conduct. I'm talking Nick Nolte's mug shot looks better than my license photo. I hate having to show it the officer who just pulled me over (not that I get pulled over a lot, yo; just saying) because while I'm trying to be all cute and flirty, he's holding proof positive that I have THOSE days and it distracts him from my ample assets. (God help me if I ever get pulled over by a woman) And today? I look damn good, if I do say so myself. I even remembered to apply lip gloss. Now, I haven't seen the new photo so maybe she caught me blinking, but it's got to be better than the current one. Doesn't it?

Now, I only have to deal with my past due registration, which is being held up on account of me being drastically poor and needing the smog check this year. I should have it done by January. And they don't start impounding your car until you're six months overdue anyway.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My head's a mess

Yesterday afternoon I took a nap. It was going to be a quick one since "She's Crafty" comes on at 4:30 and I'm obsessed with that show. Three hours later, I woke up dazed with a headache. I went to brush my hair to put it up and--OW!--there's a bump on top of my head. Not quite a goose egg, mind you, but definite swelling and pain. What the hell happened while I was sleeping?!?

I took some Excedrin and settled in for some bad TV. I fell asleep later and woke up at exactly 3:20 from a dream in which I was helping to remodel some house and accidentally let a priceless fish go down the drain while cleaning the aquarium. Okay.

I went to bed for real and woke up every hour at exactly 20 minutes past the hour with dreams of living in some dystopian society, but different scenes each time. At one point I remember some renegades had my mother held hostage. They were returning her and all the adults in the house were coming out front to show support and to show the bad guys that we had greater numbers than they did. There were children in the house so I shouted, "No, some of you have to stay here and guard the other entrances. Haven't you ever seen that Billy Jack movie*?" Yeah, weird, I know. But sure enough, the renegades had people trying to sneak in the back way to steal the kids. You can't fool dream me.

Finally, at 8:20 I gave up and just stayed up. My head still hurts and it's cold like the Tundra in here. I've inadvertently discovered that when the temperature in my apartment drops to 63 degrees and below, one of my smoke detectors starts beeping. Once the temperature rises above 63, it stops. I wonder why? It's just the one detector, too. None of the others join the chorus. Curious.

*In the movie, the bikers make a big scene in this guy's front lawn and when he runs out to see what's going on, some of them sneak in the back door and kidnap his daughter.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Favorite Turkey

Thanksgiving Day, 1981--It was early morning when we got the call. "Evelyn's in labor." Mom was preparing for the big meal. I was getting ready to go to the annual Turkey Day Game, a 65-year-old rival football game between East Stroudsburg and Stroudsburg high schools. It was a home game that year (Eastburg), as it is this year. Just before halftime, as the East Stroudsburg High School Marching Show Band (as they were called in those days) was about to take the field, I found my best friend, Joann, who was in the Silks squad (you may have called them Color Guard at your school). "Evie's in labor!" I shouted to her. She gave me an excited thumbs up.

After the game, we were all on pins and needles. Even though our team lost, something bigger was on the horizon--a new baby! We waited all day for the good news call. Dinner time came but no baby. Dessert was served, still no baby. Dishes were done, but no calls came in--well, not the call we were waiting for. Everyone else was rushed off the phone immediately. Leftovers were being picked over and for crying out loud we still didn't have a new baby in the family!!!! What the hell, child? Just follow the yellow brick road out of the womb already so we can relax!!

Finally, sometime after 7:00pm EST*, my brother Roy called to tell us that Evelyn, my lovely sister-in-law, had delivered a bouncing baby boy. The Roy had arrived. Mother was exhausted; baby was chillin' having taken his good ol' time getting here.

So, on Thanksgiving Day, 2009, when the East Stroudsburg South (because we now have two high schools) Cavaliers defeated the Stroudsburg Mountaineers by a shameful 42-0, I wish my favorite little Butterball a very Happy Birthday!! I love you, Roy.

*I may be wrong on the time. It could have been around 9pm, but I seem to remember 7ish because my brother called at 7ish am. Anyway, the kid took his time, but we still love him.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's my birthday, yo.

And this is what I look like today.Not much has changed except the additional padding and gray hairs, which you can't see thanks to Miss Clairol. I tried to do some eye makeup today for a glamour shot, but my left eye decided to be all sensitive and teary, so all my efforts were washed away. Hence, the not-so-close-up photo that makes me look cross-eyed in the sun, with my ghetto-fabulous work neighborhood in the background, as seen from P4 parking. But it's a lovely day today, as it always is on my birthday.

Just want to give a few Shout Outs:
Thank you, Mom, for not being satisfied with just one daughter and trying again. Thanks for teaching me to be crafty. Thank you for the sacrifices you made to keep us safe and sound and for everything you've done to get me this far in life. You're a keeper, Joanie.
Thank you, Dad, for the sense of humor you instilled and for my knowledge of tools and home repairs. Because of you I've been able to impress the shit out of several men with my ability to do basic electrical work. Sorry about all those folding rulers I ruined.
Thank you, Kate, for sharing a room with me all those years, for waking up to turn the bathroom light on because I was afraid of the dark and for talking me through the nightmares. You're my hero.
Thank you, Roy Sr, for being my rock through the hard times (you know what you did) and for having the infinite patience to teach me how to drive a stick. You succeeded where others failed.
Thank you to all my siblings and my best friend Joann for having beautiful children and making me an aunt many times over, thereby alleviating the pressure for my own procreation, which, let's be honest, is never going to happen.

And a very special thanks to all of my friends, both personal and Internet-based, who enrich my life in so many ways.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

They grow up so fast

My youngest niece, the beautiful Mary Kate, turns 14 this November 21st. She just goes by "Mary" these days, or sometimes Mae, or The Mae. We're apparently fond of putting "The" in front of our names. Anywho, this lovely thing is 14 years old and I can't believe it.

This girl has always had a mind of her own. She wrote short stories when she was 4 years old. Okay, so she couldn't write then. She dictated the stories to her loyal audience, who dutifully wrote down every word, then she illustrated the pages. And they were full stories, too. Oh, I'm not talking Caldicott winners, but I couldn't have been prouder. All of my nieces and nephews have caused me to marvel at the child's mind but Mary made me realize just how advanced their minds can be. I remember one day shortly after her 5th birthday, we were drawing on MSN Paint, a rudimentary medium at best. Mary became increasingly frustrated at not being able to draw a proper hand for her character. I tried, and while my hand was pretty good, it was not good enough for her. I told her, "Honey, it's really hard to draw with a mouse. Just do the best you can." She tried, erased, tried, erased, and tried again, but couldn't get it the way she wanted it. In her frustration, she threw the mouse, which being tethered came back at me. I scolded her and sent her away from the computer. I was so angry at this willful child. Later, as I replayed the events, I started thinking what she must have been feeling. I know the frustration of not getting things just right. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to be a child and have the vision but not the dexterity to pull it off.

So, on your 14th birthday, Mary, I hope you never lose your vision. I hope you always have that mind of your own, regardless of what your friends are doing and saying. And I wish you the very best day.
This photo stolen from her mother's Facebook page. She'll kill me for it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday--Sucker for a man in uniform

Today's (OMG, this is long) post comes with a tale of innocence and chivalry. It was October 1980. Jimmy Carter was barely holding on in the White House. Fifty-three Americans were still being held hostage in Iran. And I was but an innocent girl of 15 (going on 16) who still believed in white knights and Prince Charming, and who apparently thought hair in my face was sexy. My parents had been officially divorced for about a year and my sister's class had just gone off to college. A family friend, Billy, had been accepted at West Point Military Academy and that October his parents invited my mom, sister and me to join them for Parents Weekend. Billy's sisters, Suzi and Debbie, were friends of mine as well, so it was a fun little getaway.

We arrived on Saturday and Billy was scheduled to take watch that night. While the parents and Debbie, who was a bit younger, stayed back at Cullum Hall, Billy, Kate, Suzi and I headed over to Eisenhower Hall (aka Ike Hall) to find someone to cover Billy's shift for the evening. There was a cafe/ bar at Ike Hall where the cadets congregated. While Billy was busy finding a replacement, Suzi and I were in teenage girl heaven gawking at the fine young specimens of manhood. Suddenly, the lights flickered off and on. Billy told us this was a signal that meant closing time. It was early in the evening, so the cadets were confused, but obediently began making their way to the exits. As we were leaving, two young men ran up to Billy and said, "Excuse me, sir. We couldn't help noticing that you seem to have too many ladies to escort. We would be happy to assist you by escorting these two (indicating Suzi and me)." There was a dance that evening and they asked if we would like to join them. We looked at Billy with what I'm sure were pleading eyes, who replied, "We'll have to ask the folks."
So we did and, naturally, they said yes. Who wouldn't allow their daughter to be escorted by a fine upstanding member of the Corps of Cadets, with their strict rules about public displays of affection and their tradition of gentlemanly behavior? *cough cough*
The two plebes were handsome, to be sure, and Suzi and I had noticed them earlier. Suzi had a fondness for the blond, while I found the brown-eyed gent perfectly dreamy. Too bad they didn't see it our way. Oh well. Their choices were made obvious as they took our hands, neatly tucked them into the crook of the elbow, and led us off to the dance--which was a bust. The academy had invited ladies from a nearby women's college* so there were lots of single women and lots of chaperones (not the least of which was my sister who was doing her best to bring the Holy Spirit between me and my date). We headed back to Ike Hall, which hadn't closed early after all. Turns out the cadets just wanted to meet us, knew the guy in charge and asked him to flip the lights so they could have an excuse to escort us somewhere. Awwwww. I know, it got me all kinds of giddy.
My date, one Phillip Eric Anderson, was from Oklahoma and as sweet as they come. His friends back home called him Sweet Pea because of his initials. Suzi's date, his last name was Wolf, looked like the kind of boy who was up to no good. Public displays are forbidden and cadets are supposed to escort their dates in the traditional crooked arm pose (think wedding cake topper). Punishment for PDAs included marching around the large quad area, called "walking the yard." This did not stop the menfolk from getting a little frisky in the shadows. As we walked across campus, any shady area was an excuse to drop the arm into hand-holding position or to sneak a smooch. My very first real kiss was with my handsome cadet behind a statue of some famous general. Many more followed.
Curfew came too soon and the cadets brought us back to our parents, who were happily playing cards all night long. Mrs. Kuchinski (Billy's mom) invited the men to join us the next day for a picnic by the river. Suzi's date had to work, but Phil readily agreed. Um....I was kind of hoping he wouldn't. You see, he was cute and all, but even at 15 I had commitment issues and would have been happy to just leave it at that one night. Oh well, it's just an afternoon.
So, after mass and a champagne breakfast (woo hoo! guess who got a little tipsy?), we drove down to a picnic area by the Hudson River. Phil showed up right on time and he was perfectly adorable. What I really enjoyed about West Point was the respect commanded by just wearing the uniform and the respectful way the cadets treated others. Phil, Debbie and I took a walk up the river and around the campus and everywhere we went, picnickers and hikers said hello; some even invited us to join them. Phil and I held hands whenever we could, which wasn't often but still often enough. At lunch, Phil held my hand under the table, which had my mother in a fit of giggles. Also, he was telling a story about his apartment back home and how he had a "huge 36 inch (pause to swallow) oak table." The pause was too much; I got stuck on the "huge 36 inch" part and giggled, which made my mother kick me under the table. After lunch, we all toured the museum and the library on campus before it was time to say goodbye.

Dusk was beginning to fall, casting long shadows across the yard. Just before climbing into the car to leave, I leaned in and planted a lingering kiss on Phil's lips in plain view of several officers. I think I was worth a few trips around the quad.

Epilogue: Phil and I corresponded for a short time until I received a letter from him that was just filled with declarations of true love. Really? You knew me for two days, pal. I wrote back that I was not really looking for that kind of relationship and never heard from him again. Poor Sweet Pea. I broke his heart.

*Women had only been admitted to West Point for four years at this time and their numbers were still very few, so they still had to import them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ferris Wheel of Ick (and other things that are catchy)

I was sick for pretty much two weeks before the cough finally left. I still had residual scratchiness and my voice was kind of off, but otherwise I felt fine. Others in the office ran the gamut of sickness as well, but as of last Friday, the day before the fundraiser, all were feeling fine. Then, we ran around all day without coats, and while it was warm in the afternoon, by evening it was darn chilly. On Monday, Mirna, who sat next to me all night Saturday, announced she wasn't feeling great. Tuesday, she had a slight cough. Yesterday, she went home early and called back at 4:00 to say she'd be out today. Today, I woke up with a little roughness in swallowing. Drat! Will it never end? Every time I feel better, someone else is sick and spreading their Ick to the whole office.
I also woke up 15 minutes before I was supposed to be at work, which is 30 minutes away. Uh, I was dressed and out the door in 10 minutes and only slightly late to work, thanks to my extensive use of back roads. Fortunately, one of the gift bag items from Saturday's event was Activate water, which we still have tons of in my office. I grabbed a bottle of Energy (with yerba mate and other fine extracts) and later a bottle of Immunity (with vitamin C, echinacea and zinc). I'm feeling fine now, and hopefully I can continue to ward off the evil spirits.
Know what else I'm hoping to ward off? Babies! One of our directors has a 3-month old son, and now there are three more women in our office expecting, all just about the same number of weeks along, not to mention a few offsite ladies in the family way. Apparently, pregnancy is contagious. Who knew? Now I know that certain events are necessary to become pregnant (Shut up! It could happen.), but I am not taking any chances and have been careful not to get too close to these gals. Maybe it's something in the water?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bad merchandising

This is silly. It's marketed to dogs, but displayed on the top shelf. Well, dogs can't read it from all the way up there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday--I'm tired as all get out, but y'all need to see my unbearable cuteness

The big, gigantic, pull-our-hair-out-until-it's-over Fundraiser is tomorrow. TOMORROW!! I have to get a mani/pedi in the morning and I was contemplating a haircut but do I have time to run to Studio City and get it done before 1pm? I think not. Hm....

So, here's some adorable school photos from 1st grade through 5th, and then some additional photos just because. Please note: my 6th grade photo was so horrible as to redefine the very word "horrible." No one shall see it.
And then we jump to...You've seen it before, but this time in color.

I spent a lot of contemplative time in my youth. Not that I didn't have friends or like to be with people; I just liked to spend time alone...and apparently on my front porch.

I'm actually sitting with a spelling workbook. Yeah, it's summer vacation. What of it? I told you I like words. I was probably practicing my penmanship, too. I did a lot of that.
years later...same porch, still in need of a paint job. I'm playing with a broken car antenna. For some reason, I really liked playing with it. This was back when they still did that telescoping thing.And just because I like this photo of the neighborhood kids. A reporter from the local paper happened by while we were playing a dice game on the front porch. "Take our picture!" we begged. So he did. From left to right: my brother Roy (father to the infamous nephew Roy), my sister, Kate ( in her awkward years), BFF Joann (Lewis) Wallie, Kevin Jones (he lived two doors down), and me, with rare short hair (if I weren't all slouchy, you'd see it's chin length).

Next week--Teen Angel

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm not pretentious. I just really love words.

I never knew how bothersome my love of the English language could be to others. A friend of mine, who's kind of a math nerd, looked at me today after I pointed out a misused word and said, "and you wonder why I call you pretentious." She has, you know, on several occasions. It's because I draw attention to ads and websites and posters with misspellings, homophones used instead of the intended word, and other grammatical errors. Like a certain hotel chain that offered its executive suites with "sheik decor." I looked at the photos and saw nothing that looked like "Midnight at the Oasis." Or the website that sold a "weaved leather belt" when the correct adjective form is "woven." (weaved being the past tense of weave, as in "She weaved through traffic with the skills of Andretti.") I actually once dreamed of winning a bet on the difference between proved and proven.

I don't point these things out to be a bitch or to feel better than the rest. It's just that I can't understand sometimes how these mistakes can be made. Don't websites and such have proofreaders? If not, they really should. How can people still say "irregardless"? It doesn't even sound right. I forget that some folks might not have had educational opportunities or that English is their second language* or that they just don't care about grammar (GASP). I'm sorry if you've been bothered by me in the past. I would say I'll try to curb my behavior, but I know it would be a lie. As I read on a T-shirt once "Bad grammar makes me [sic]." **

At least I've stopped (mostly) correcting people as they speak the way I did when I was much, much younger. The neighborhood kids called me the Department of Corrections. Oh, and "pretentious" isn't really the right word. I think she meant obnoxious.

*True story--one Halloween I was at work wearing plastic candy corn earrings when my friend Nick came in and said, "Aren't you cute with your candy cones." I said, "It's candy corn, ESL student." I was joking, but turns out English really was his second language (German was his first). His accent was more Hoboken than "Hogan's Heroes" so how was I supposed to know. Although when he was really tired or had been drinking, his W's turned to V's and it was so adorable.

**Shout out to the Grammar Nerds who got that.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My Farm is possessed

Facebook users who play with the Farmville will get a kick out of this. Last week, I had a plot of land that was growing things super fast. Like I planted the pumpkins and they were instantly withered. They're supposed to take 8 hours to grow. I plowed them over and planted wheat, a three-day plant. It instantly went to 48% grown. Clearly, that plot was under some evil influences, so I deleted and plowed again. It's fine now.

So, just now I checked in, you know, to harvest my plants and check on the animals. I was harvesting my squash when all of a sudden, one of the ducks starts walking around. What the? When did the animals start moving on their own? One of my horses then started walking around. Then the chickens got all bunched together and when I clicked on them to collect the eggs it said, "this animal is busy." Doing what, you filthy fowl? All this independent movement has led to some interesting animal placement.What are that sheep and that goat doing, I ask you? It's not natural. Also, please note I'm being attacked by bunnies like "Night of the Lepus."
Then there were these pigs...I don't want to know.My farm's gone rogue.

I walked 5 kilometers and lived to tell about it

Okay, I know, It's like three miles. Big Deal. But I haven't walked three miles at one time since I got a car, and I've been sick all week, so it was a big deal to me. Plus, I walked an additional 7 blocks to the Red Line station and then another 3 blocks from the bus stop at 39th and Hill. Sidebar--I saw this drag queen on the train this morning wearing a dress that looked like a cheerleader outfit, but all black, with arms like a linebacker, hairy legs (dude, at least shave the legs) and a long black weave that he twirled in his fingers like a pretty pretty princess. It was 6:45am.

I met Liz at Chano's on Fig and we walked over to register. We got our shirts and some free sunscreen from Neutrogena, not that we needed it. Soon our whole team arrived, donned our team shirts, took pictures and got ready to move. Three of the schools we work with had teams of students walking and the kids made these awesome signs to carry. Our kids are the best.

After a rousing send off from Mark Ridley-Thomas, we were off. I warned the ladies that I would not be power walking today so I brought my iPod in case they left me in the dust. Before we even reached Jefferson, all but Joanne had moved far ahead. Thanks, Joanne, for sticking with me. The route went north on Figueroa, west on Adams, south on Hoover, east on Jefferson, then zigged and zagged inside the USC campus around the museums and back to the Coliseum. Did you know those statues outside are anatomically correct (and he's not Jewish, if you know what I mean)? I never noticed that before. We made it in about an hour and 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it took that long to get out of the parking lot. Joanne was kind enough to give me a ride home, which I appreciated because I had blisters on my heels from my sneakers and my thighs were aching.

So, I just want to say Thank You again to all my friends who gave so generously for this worthy cause. You helped me exceed my personal goal, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Update: My throat is no longer sore and the cough is mostly gone. Walking did me good!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday--A Family Affair

With special thanks to the most awesome sister in the whole world, we continue the photo journey of Laurie Ann. You may find yourselves asking, "How did she get to be so amazing?" Well, I had a lot of help from my delightful brothers and sister. In our Easter bonnets, with....oh, yeah. This would be me with my sister, Kate, sitting on the front porch. You'll see in future pictures that I did a lot of sitting on the porch. Mom always said Kate was not happy getting her picture taken, but I was charming as ever. This, too, is a theme.
Easter again, a few years later. We're just like the Five Stairsteps, only lighter and not musically talented. That is me in the Cindy Brady dress (could it get any shorter?), followed by Kate, Roy, Brian, and Michael all lined up on the front walk.We do love our Easter photos. I'm not sure where the rest of the siblings are, but Roy and I were happy as clams...well, I was happy anyway. Bonus--A rare glimpse of my parents, Joan and Jake, when they were still happily married. And look! That's where the sidewalk ends or begins, depending on your direction. I guess because there were no houses up the street (we were #1) they didn't feel the need for more sidewalk. Several years later, the borough put in new sewer pipes and tore up the roads and such, and part of the deal was new sidewalks up and down both sides of the street in the whole neighborhood. This would lead to many skateboarding injuries, but that's a story for another day.Kids--It's what's for dinner! Sometimes when you have so many kids you don't know what to do, you just throw them in a giant cast iron pot like lobsters (watch out! the big ones are escaping). Actually, this is another photo from Gingerbread Castle in New Jersey.
I swear, we were happy kids, but you'd never know it from this picture. It's like they just told us Santa Claus was dead or something. Maybe it's just the weather. This was taken in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut.

Next week--some delightful school photos

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Back at work

I am still sick, but I had to come to work in order to get stuff done for the fundraiser next week. I walked into my office to find a bag of candy corn, two bags of mellowcreme pumpkins and a bag of "autumn mix," which contains my second favorite candy--the candy corn with the chocolate layer. Can I swallow without pain? No. Did this stop me from eating candy corn? Have you met me?

As for actual work, I got precious little done. My head is not in the game. I did find out that one of my co-workers has the exact same symptoms as me. Neither one of us thinks it's the flu. I also managed to get some knitting in at the reception desk, so all was not lost.

And there is a bucket of Dubble Bubble bubble gum on the receptionist's counter courtesy of the program department for Happy Week (it's a moral booster thing we do), which brought back some great memories for everyone. One summer, my BFF Joann and I chewed a whole lotta Dubble Bubble so that she could send the wrappers in for prizes. She got a duffle bag, a T-shirt, and a beach towel. Joey loved the Dubble Bubble and had a very indulgent father.

My sister sent me a treasure trove of photos for Vintage Photo Friday; almost too many for the weeks I have left. I'll have to decide what stays and what gets saved for another time. One set will have to get a post of their own. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Being sick sucks

I woke up coughing up a lung and decided it was best to stay home and rest rather than infect the whole office. I slept a lot. I finished reading a book (which I hated but I can't leave a book unfinished). I did some knitting. I watched a video on knitting. I chatted with Criss. I watched Ellen. Oh My God, it was so boring!!!

I hate being sick!!! I'm probably going to work tomorrow but I'll stay in my office and try not to spread my ick.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Tale of Tuesday

(for San Diego Momma)

I woke 30 minutes before my alarm with an urgent need to pee and a blinding headache. Eyes closed, I stumbled to the bathroom, kicking my unplayed guitar along the way. I mumbled an apology to Dave--the guitar is named Dave--and no sound came out. Sitting on the toilet, I tried to speak, "Hello. Hello." The voice that croaked from my sandpaper throat sounded nothing like my own. "Crap, I'm still sick," I said. I was hoping the power of positive thinking would have cured me overnight.

On my way back to my bedroom, I made a side trip to the kitchen for a couple of Excedrin tablets. I stopped in the living room to make sure Dave was okay, then back to bed where I discovered the fitted sheet had torn. The sheets are old and made of T-shirt material, so the tear didn't surprise me, but I was annoyed as my toes caught the hole and tore it further. "Seriously," I said to myself before closing my eyes to let the Excedrin work its magic.

At 5:40, the blinking light of my alarm clock woke me again. "What happened to my cell phone alarm, " I wondered just as the cell phone started beeping. The cell phone read 5:31. I grabbed the flashlight on my night stand and checked the atomic clock on the shelf across the room. It read 5:38. Time is relative and malleable at Frau Gardens.

I showered and pulled my hair up in barrette. Makeup or no makeup? I looked in the mirror again--MAKE UP! Thank God for Bare Minerals and the two-minute makeup routine. I even had time to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I grabbed my purse--is my knitting in there?--and my jacket and ran down the stairs. It's November 3rd and my registration expired three days ago along with my parking permit and my paycheck, but the gods of parking enforcement have smiled upon my yet again and there is no ticket on my windshield. The drive to work is mundane, as usual, made briefly better by the new John Mayer (yeah, I know, he's an asshole, but sometimes...) and relatively little traffic. I made it to work by 8:05, which is fortunate since I was supposed to cover the reception area for the morning while Mirna, our usual gal, is at the doctors.

It's really, really, REALLY boring at the reception area. No one comes in and hardly anyone calls, except the boss. I finished the minutes from yesterday's meeting and ate half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What will I do for lunch? Mirna came back at 10:30 and I headed back to my office for a day of writing Thank You letters and data entry. The walls between my office and the boss's office are paper thin and she has a penchant for talking on the speaker phone. "I need this report," she said to the person on the other line. "I'm waiting for Laurie to enter the information," the other person said. Two minutes later the phone rang. It was the other person. "She had you on speaker. I'm working as fast as I can," I explain. Thirty seconds after I hang up, the boss comes in and tells me to make it a priority. It is! I swear!

My day, what was left, consisted of entering names and addresses into an Access database. My throat, which felt fine around midday, has gotten progressively work and is back to the sandpaper feeling. Each swallow feels like shards of glass are ripping my esophagus. It's 7:59 and I've been here for nearly 12 hours. It's time to leave.