Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I have always felt that the antidote to obnoxious was a snappy comeback.

And I was looking for a blog topic to close out 2011, so...

Mr. RK and I went out to dinner, then stopped at the grocery store to get movie snacks. I am not a big party person, and always stay in on New Year's Eve to avoid the drunk drivers anyhow.

So the guy who rang us up at the grocery store is kind of a creeper - he got a little too friendly one time when Mr. RK was not there - and when he finished ringing up our non-alcoholic purchases he said, "Well, it looks like you guys are going to have an exciting time tonight."

I replied, "Actually, I'm a nymphomaniac with my own brewery."

I stole that line from a BBC show called Coupling, that sadly only made four seasons...

Mr. RK said he is proud to take me out in public, by the way. :)

Here's to more snappy comebacks in 2011. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Next time, include a return address

We got our first piece of hatemail from our annual appeal at work today.

Now occasionally we get a request to remove people from our mailing list, but this was a new one.

Based on what was written on the donation card, I'm guessing our hater was an adult during the 1970s:

"You STINK!"

S/he also wrote:

"You don't care about people!"

"You're just as bad as (another nonprofit where people do a lot of work for relatively little money, and also provide services for free.)!"

And a few other insults, as well as:
"Take me off your list!"

Funny thing was sent anonymously.

Seriously, I needed that laugh today!

Speaking of being removed from lists (and laughing), I got this note - no joke - from one of our volunteers:

"Flora W. would like to be removed from the mailing list, as she has died. She lives in Corona, California."

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside...

OK, nothing like what my friends on the East Coast are experiencing, but it's starting to snow about about an hour from here, which means it's possible that the entire metro area could be shut down by tomorrow. I know, it's ridiculous...

So if that happens, I plan on being somewhere in between Lucky and Earl Grey:

In the meantime, I HAVE to share this adorable video that Granny Annie linked to on her blog. If you can't see it, try the link.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And apropos of nothing except making you laugh

I was talking with a friend today about religion - she said she believes in God but not the hellfire and brimstone stuff. However, her brother does. She said years ago when she called to tell her family that she was divorcing her husband (who was apparently a real jerk), her brother said, "You should get down on your knees and pray for God's forgiveness."

Her reply (before slamming down the phone): "And YOU should go FUCK yourself!"

I laughed so hard I thought I'd pee my pants!

Then she said, "But he must have thought I was right, because later he helped me move to San Diego!"

On that note, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tips for the uninitiated in a Lutheran church

Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts, e-mails, calls and wishes...Grammy's funeral service was actually very nice.

That said, Mr. RK is my hero. A shy agnostic during the best times, he went through a very long day of meeting grieving people that he did not know, as well as a service that was a bit over the top at times.

I realized afterward that I should have given him a few words of advice about Lutheran churches. So just in case any of you happen to be unfamiliar with them, and end up in one in the near or far future, here you go.

1. Lutheran churches are cold. Always. Invariably. There aren't lots and lots of windows - are they cheap? Poorly insulated? Do they keep it cold on purpose, so you'll stay awake? Inquiring minds want to know.

2. The Lutheran church hasn't added a new hymn in about 300 years.

3. The old hymns don't sound so good. They're all in the same key, and if you can't sing in that key, God help you. Come to think of it, you'll be in the right place for that.

4. Lutherans believe in suffering. Unlike more enlightened denominations, Lutherans tend to believe that God sends you suffering as a trial and test of your faith. Consequently, everything bad that has ever happened to you, including disease and death, are "trials."

Personally, I don't buy into it, but be prepared for it when you hear them preach. (Maybe that's what they're doing with the cold churches?)

5. It's not OK to be gay. It is, however, OK to stay in the closet and reproduce and become a Lutheran pastor.

6. Pews are not made for comfort. Again, probably something to make you stay awake during all of that excitement with hymns.

7. Being trans is not OK, except for the kids in dresses, otherwise known as acolytes.

8. Lutheran church services are not supposed to be cheerful. In fact, I think smiling is forbidden.

I can't think of two more things, so feel free to invent your own :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Now I've seen everything

In times of intense stress - such as having a family member die and then having most of your extended family act like selfish assholes - I tend to burn a lot of calories.

I usually eat very healthy with a few treats thrown in. Needless to say, since my grandmother died, there have been more treats. I am still thinner than I was a month ago.

Anyhow - cats are carnivores, I am told, but I went on a junk food binge last week and Earl Grey started aggressively sniffing the curly fries. Think Snoopy sniffing in Lucy's rootbeer. I said aloud, "You can't possibly want one of those!"

He stared at me, hard.

I tore a fry into little pieces and he ate them!

Later on, Lucky (see picture above in the lolcat created by yours truly) actually went and dug the cold fries out of the bag and licked them. Yuck.

With my luck, I'll think of this picture during the most serious moment of my grandmother's funeral tomorrow and get stuck in the giggle loop.

I suppose worse things could happen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There's a new version of hell

I thought my version of hell would be waking up and being stuck FOREVER in one of those mini-playgrounds at the mall where idiotic parents let their kids run rampant.

But I came up with what must be a tie...working at the post office during the month of December. Seriously, I think the taxpayers should buy every postal employee a big round of drinks come Dec. 31, for putting up with all of the bullshit I witnessed yesterday. I'm sure it was the same at post offices around the country. Portland is typically a polite city...and it was one long bitch session.

Now mind you, I am no fan of long lines. But when I had to go to the post office for work on Monday - the biggest shipping day of the year - I knew it would be a wait.

Apparently no one else thought about this.

There were two women next to me in line who kept harassing some poor guy who was just trying to help (by directing those who could go to the automated postal center, etc.) to the point where I finally said, "Will you stop abusing this man! It won't make the line move any faster! It's the holidays, the line is long, live with it."

They both got quiet and then reassured each other that they were not being rude. Meanwhile, he thanked me.

For next year, I'd like to offer some tips for the uninitiated:

1. If you go to the post office on the busiest shipping day of the year, there will be a line. A big one.

2. The line won't move any faster if you accuse people of taking excessive breaks, thus, in your opinion, causing the long wait.

3. The line won't move any faster if you verbally harass anyone walking by who happens to be wearing a postal uniform.

4. The line won't go any faster if you ask these same people, while gesturing violently at people passing in uniform, "Why can't HE help? Or SHE help? Doesn't s/he work here?"

5. The line won't go any faster if you keep whining and ask why it's taking so long. But I might throttle you.

6. If you have wrapped your package in wrapping paper, it won't ship that way.

7. Ditto for duct tape.

8. If your package is fucking huge and heavy, it will cost you extra to send overnight or priority.

9. It won't change the rules or the price if you bitch and moan about 6, 7, or 8.

10. No one - especially not me - gives a shit HOW LONG YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING. I'm behind you in line, remember?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Random funny things from this week

Working on our annual appeal at work, I found out we have a member named Harold Furry. And one named Forest Byrd.

A moment at Mr. RK's work. His boss has a voice that carries.
Boss to female employee: "So you got laid last night?"
Like a movie, everyone becomes silent.
Boss: "Hey, she looked happy!"

Funny but creepy - it's a first. I have never gotten hit on by someone delivering our water at work. How's this for a bad pickup line?
Guy: "Ooooooooh cookies! (Munching.)I bet your husband thinks you're the bomb because you make such good cookies!"
Me: "Yes, he does. He ate several of them last night."
Guy: "Uh. I bet you make good Christmas cookies, too?"
Before rubbing my velveteen shirt sleeve and saying, "Oooh, this reminds me of those red velvet seats they used to have in theaters!"
Where you probably jerked off also. OK, the funniest bit was that line in my head, wasn't it?

Seeing an e-mail that I sent a few of you about an angel who gets a tree shoved up its ass by a pissed-off Santa. A friend who volunteers e-mailed me in a separate e-mail and said, "See you tomorrow, my little angel!"

Stuffing condoms into holiday gift bags with several older volunteers, it suddenly turned into a hilarious hen house.
Woman #1: "If all of these get used, it really will be a happy holiday!"

Funny but sad (not to mention stupid): a county a few hours south of here spent $250K advertising that they were broke. No kidding.

My friend coming up with a great line about people whose IQs equal their shoe sizes.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

(almost) Wordless (nearly) Wednesday

"Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?"

Friday, December 03, 2010

Soft core porn and a sappy ending

That's the sum of the movie Love and Other Drugs. It took me two full-price movie tickets, plus popcorn, and one hour and fifty three minutes of my life that I won't get back, to figure that out.

What I really want to know is...

Why does Anne Hathaway appear topless in so many scenes, but Jake Gyllenhal never goes full frontal?

Sexist double standard, I tell you.

So after about 3/4 of the movie is sex scene after sex scene, it becomes...wait for it...a chick flick!

Honestly, I'd have rather seen a dick flick.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


How do you sum up a person's life?

My grandmother died Saturday night - peacefully, in her sleep, surrounded by family - after a couple of years of major health problems and some months of off-and-on dementia.

I am fairly certain she would not want me to sit around the house and mope, but I'm at the point where I'm just unsure of what to do with myself. So I've been sitting and thinking.

You know the expression that it's all in the details? It's the details about Grammy that run through my mind.

The fact that 20+ years after I bought her a teddy bear - you remember the Care Bears Grams bear? - it was still on her dresser.

The weird and wacky gifts that she found in the Avon holiday catalog and mercifully stopped sending a few years ago. I remember a hat with attached earmuffs and a wrap-around-your-face-scarf which made for some fun Christmas pictures.

Her key lime pie, which was just a dream to look at and eat. I could have eaten that every day and not gotten sick of it.

Her determination to be out in her garden, despite her arthritis and partial blindness. "I go out every day," she told me, "even if it hurts."

Her conspiratorial tone when she told me to go spend a Nordstrom gift card that she had gotten for my dad's ex-wife before they had separated.

"Now you don't need to worry about fibbing - just go to Nordstrom and tell them you're S-!"

Her lifelong depression, which most people (myself included) just took as needless worrying, until we knew better. Hers was a generation that still largely suffers mental illness in silence.

Her beautifully painted ceramic dolls and figurines, which she could have sold for top dollar had she cared to do so.

Her surviving breast cancer without one complaint.

Her secret smoking in the bathroom for 40 years! Which, by the way, she denied all along.

Her ability to be strong and go on with life after her son, my uncle Bill, died of a rare kind of cancer in his 30s.

Her anger when the far-right tried to determine who was "Christian" and who was not.
She was a pastor's wife, after all.

She underlined the words in some of the religious cards she sent, which we all thought was kind of odd.

She sent me $75 for my 30th birthday - I was unemployed and I felt terrible about cashing it, but my dad said they would be insulted if I didn't.

"I know what it's like to be poor," she told me.
I tried to explain that we weren't poor but she insisted that I spend the money.
"You go out and do something nice."

I feel bad that she would not let me visit over the past few years, postponing it until "I feel better." Pride runs in the family. How much better did she think it was going to get?

It is hard for me to understand the communication style - or lack of it - in her generation. My immediate family is always telling each other we love each other, we don't hide things and for better or worse, we always know where we stand. If a spaceship hit me tomorrow, everyone in my circle of family and friends would know I care about them.

Grammy could only really tell me how much she appreciated my dad; she told him she appreciated me.

Growing up in the dustbowl in the depression, being married to a WWII veteran who suffered PTSD before it was a diagnosis, I know she did the best she could in what was surely at times a difficult existence.

How to close? I admire her strength. I didn't realize until today that I got mine from her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's a major award!

Brownie points if you get that reference...

Thanks to Señorita for this award!

Here's the scoop:

1. Thank the person that gave it to me. (Done!)

2. Tell everyone 7 things about me that you probably don't know.

3. Nominate other people for the award.

So I can't remember who got tagged for this, and therefore I am tagging anyone who reads this and wants to participate.

Here goes:

1. When I was in high school, I got two completely random offers to be a back-up girl singer in a band. Both men who offered were way older than me and both of them said, "We're looking for girls who look like you." I said no fucking way.

2. I changed my last name in college and my middle name a year after that.

3. I used to eat steak with butter on it, chain smoke and binge drink. Somehow, I ended up allergic to cigarette smoke, a vegetarian, and a non-drinker.

4. I don't like plain chocolate. It has to be filled with something, mixed with something, or on top of something (e.g. a sundae.)

5. My exes include a retired police chief, a New York City Council candidate, and a press secretary for a Republican member of Congress.

6. Favorite quote ever, from my late friend Ward: "Relationships are difficult, with people. As opposed to plants."

7. I once worked with someone who lost his virginity in a Kentucky Fried Chicken. OK, that wasn't *exclusively* about me, but it made you laugh, didn't it? (And it's true!)

PS If you didn't figure out the reference for the title of this post, here's a hint:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The pleasure of being an adult during the holidays

No, you perverts, this post isn't about that.

I was talking to one of the volunteers at work the other day and we both agreed that one of the things we enjoyed most about adulthood was getting to choose who we spent the holidays with.

Or rather, not spending holidays with people we didn't like.

Who as a kid didn't dread having arrive at your house for a holiday dinner (or worse, for several days) the irritating friends of your parents or relatives? Their whiny children? The old cranky relatives? The old bitches who made you wait for dessert just because they were full? The people who wouldn't let you eat until they finished a really, really long prayer? The people who told you that you were ungrateful if you were salivating over the pumpkin pie but didn't want to eat the mushy green beans?

Are you with me?

I am happy because as an adult (or someone who poses as one), I will have people I like at my Thanksgiving dinner. We will eat dessert whenever we damn well feel like it and there will be no nasty, mushy green beans. We will swear, we will laugh, and we will be grateful that we don't have to spend the day with people who annoy us or make us unhappy.

For that, I am most grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Condoms, part 2

You remember that holiday gift bag project for the homeless, where one of my colleagues got condoms donated?

One of her coworkers who did not know about the project was out for a week, and he got back to find 2,000 condoms and several hundred HIV testing kits on his desk.

"What the hell happened while I was gone?"

Meanwhile, my accidental e-mail was mentioned at a board meeting.

"RK e-mailed me and told me she needed to talk to me about condoms!"

I am pretty sure I turned about as red as a lobster after I found that out...luckily they all laughed their asses off.

Hope you have lots of laughs in your weekend!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Patience is a virtue

...that I do not have much of.

I like what Ambrose Bierce said: "It is a form of despair disguised as a virtue."

Actually, someone recently said that I have patience "for those who deserve it."

I like to think so.

My problem is when there are people in my life who definitely don't deserve it, but I try to give it to them anyhow (even when I want to stick it to them) because they are in the extended circle of my life, by way of being connected to people I care about.

There are people I would love to never, ever see again. OK, maybe once every 10 years or so. That would be enough.

So the way I see it, it tries my patience enough having to see them more often than that, and being nice to them is even more difficult, since they are being shitheads to me.

See, I was raised to believe that the following things were part of the social contract:*

1. Manners
2. Not being a complete greedy bastardly pig.

There are people related to people I care about who seem to have completely missed out on this lesson, and, well...they are trying my patience!

Just cross your fingers for me. It's hard for me to keep my mouth shut but I am trying to keep the peace and not go off on the people who are pissing me off.

How do you stay patient?

*My friend K says part of the social contract also means you must wear pants in public. I agree.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Putting the "happy" back in "holidays"

At work, we are partnering with a local business to get together several hundred (we hope) holiday gift bags for people living in homeless shelters who also have mental illness. We had planned on putting in personal care items, socks, a small gift, and a warm item of clothing, like a scarf or gloves.

The other day I got a phone call from a colleague.

Her: "J is putting condoms in all of the holiday bags."
Me: "Bwahahaha!"
Her: "I'm serious!"

Me, to my boss: "Does this strike you as a little weird?"
My boss: "People need condoms!"

I was unaware of the fact that people living on the street have disproportionately high rates of hepatitis C, HIV and other STDs. So I got the OK from our contact at the business and a local county health department is donating condoms.

One of my volunteers: "I'm not sure how people are going to feel about that."
Me: "They don't have to use our condoms."

To get the OK, I had to e-mail one of our volunteers. I accidentally hit "send" before I finished, so the e-mail said, "I need to talk to you about condoms."

She called a few minutes later and said, "Um, WHAT??????????"
And then we both laughed our asses off.

Then yesterday I realized that one of my coworkers hadn't been in on all of these conversations and had just been overhearing the references to condoms.

Me: "Did anyone tell you about the condoms?"
Him: "No."
Me: "Well we're putting them in the holiday gift bags. Boss is fine with it."
Another pause, a hint of sarcasm.
Him: "Thank you for telling me."

Later in the day I got an e-mail that I bet none of you have ever (or could have ever) gotten at work:

"Hey, we are happy to help and can hook you up with condoms!"

This was from the county mental health department...

I wrote the colleague whose idea this was. She wrote back, "Merry Christmas to all!"

And I wrote back, "And to all a good night!"

Monday, November 08, 2010

My beef with Victoria's Secret

Open message to Victoria's Secret: you have customers who aren't flat.

I hate to be so crass but those of us with 38Cs need love, too.

Or rather, we need bras.

So I have a few questions spurred from a recent visit to one of your stores.

1. Why do you make entire lines of bras that don't come in my size?

2. When you do carry my size, why is it in the very bottom drawer, mere inches from the floor? Those of us who fall into this category have more to expose by bending over, don't you think?

3. Why do you advertise bras that "add two cup sizes"? You talk about a secret waiting to be exposed...

4. On that note, why not create a bra that reduces two cup sizes? Perhaps then I'll stop having quite as many men talk to my tits?

5. When you send out coupons, why not "a free pair of lacey/naughty underwear," rather than a coupon for a free pair of boring cotton granny panties?

Just asking.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What you really need to know how to say

While visiting the family, I helped one of my brothers (the one who is 14 going on 40) with his Spanish homework.

He pulled no punches when we started. "My book," he informed me, "sucks."

Unfortunately I think many language instruction books fall into that category. When my dad and I visited Japan in 1999, our tour guide told us that when she began studying English, the first sentence her English textbook offered was, "The boy is holding a pencil."

(OK perverts, you get the point.)

My brother's homework assignment included sentences such as these gems:

"The employee sits at a desk."

"The hospital is full of patients."

And my favorite:

"Who drives a car with lights? The police."

I told him, "You're right. Your book does suck."

One of my favorite teachers in high school got me a book of Spanish slang when I graduated.

"Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea," she said. "But I also don't want you to get in trouble in conversation!"

I wish I could find that had helpful translations, especially when it came to textbook Spanish words that worked in some countries, but were extremely naughty in others.

Examples from this book that I will never, ever, in a million years forget:

What you want to say: "Where can I catch the bus?"
How it sounds to native speakers:"Where can I fuck the bus?"

What you want to say (don't ask me why you would)
: "The policeman hit him with his stick."
How it sounds to native speakers: "The policeman hit him with his dick."

So back to my brother's homework. None of these are phrases he's going to need to use if he is on his own in Mexico, Spain, Central or South America, etc. So I made him a cheat sheet with the important stuff, which included:

"Where is the bathroom?"

"Hi beautiful, are you traveling alone?"

"Are you treating?"

And, probably the most important,

"Do you sell comic books in English?"

Monday, November 01, 2010

Good day, sunshine!

Forgive me if I'm not in blogland for a few days while I'm down here in California visiting my family. Though my parents live right in the heart of Silicon Valley, there is only one computer for several people and I'm kind of enjoying not sitting at a desk anyhow.

Last night we took my little sister trick-or-treating. She went as Cleopatra, but made sure to tell my dad that, "Unlike her, I'm NOT going to commit suicide!"

Me: "And where did you learn about that?"
My sister: "In the Scholastic Reader."

Yikes! The most serious thing I remember reading in that periodical was an ad for a Berenstein Bears book...

And in other news, we are congratulating my stepmom, who just received her first CEO offer! Yahoo! So long glass ceiling, hello sunshine...

Yep, that's right. It's sunny and in the 70s here. When I left Portland it was 44 and foggy. I'm due for a little unreality so I'll visit you all as soon as I get back...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Out of context

Sometimes I wonder about the way my brain works (or doesn't.) When I am half-watching or half-listening to something, or see something out of the corner of my eye, I often misperceive it as something perverse.

Case in point: on a trip to London years ago, I was soaking in a bubble bath while my friend was watching TV. Through the bathroom door, I thought I heard, "And he has a medium-sized penis and likes chocolate." I very nearly jumped out of the bath and yelled, "WHAT?!"

It turns out my friend was watching a BBC special about people who were in a pudding club (and no, they weren't talking about spotted dick.) Nothing said had anything to do with what I thought it had.

Tonight out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a sign that said, "Buy, use - retard!" It actually said, "Buy, use - reload!"

Another time Mr. RK was going over to his friend's house to jam - they both play guitar - and I said, "So when are you going to go over and play with Dave?" and dove into a fit of giggling.

And yesterday when I went to hear my boss speak on a panel about mental illness and the corrections system, I *did* hear, loud and clear, a mental health professional describing what I think he meant as "I just grabbed this guy as soon as I saw him and got him into services."

But he said, "I just shagged this guy immediately and..."

But no one laughed! Maybe I'm just a pervert.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On the other side

Because of the nature of the work I do, I have come across countless people whose loved ones are struggling with mental illness - and there is nothing their families can do for them.

It is a broken system - even moreso than the rest of the healthcare system because the families are not included in support, treatment, or decision-making once their loved one is legally adult.

I have written here before about my struggles with depression and anxiety. And now I find myself on the other side of this coin.

When I get upset, I hide out. I don't e-mail or call friends or ask them to make plans, because I don't want to be a burden. That's essentially what I've been doing the last few weeks because some major family shit is going down.

In a nutshell, my grandmother, who has struggled with untreated depression (read: depression she won't treat) is now having some kind of psychosis. Because my grandfather won't admit that there is a problem, he won't get her to any kind of treatment or evaluation. We are not sure, miles and miles away, if it is dementia, psychosis, or a combination thereof.

My dad gets disturbing phone messages. This normally sweet, formal lady has run around the neighborhood with paranoid delusions and threatened my grandfather and threatened to harm herself.

But because of super strict state laws, we can't hospitalize her. Why? Even though she has made threats, there is no specific "plan." Or if there is, she won't tell staff at the one hospital she has been taken to.

One of my coworkers told me it sounded like Monty Python. Doesn't it?

It is terribly upsetting to my dad, to whom I am hardwired. I have been distracted and anxious and unable to wrap my mind around accepting that the other shoe will eventually drop.

Are we control freaks? It is so frustrating to be unable to help, to sit by and be unable to intervene as my grandparents' lives slowly go to pieces.

I am sad and I am angry - angry because my grandfather is so worried about what people think that he is neglecting my grandmother's care. Angry because my grandmother also seems to be able to turn this behavior on and off. The one time she was taken to a hospital by law enforcement she started acting normal and they let her go home.

I feel powerless, depressed, and pissed off all at the same time. Although my grandparents have never been terribly interested in their grandchildren, I do have some nice memories and it is horrifying to imagine what is happening now.

My dad has been too upset to even talk about it. So it hit me the other day - so many families that come to us at work must be on their very last nerve, having avoided the issue for quite a long time. Although my impulse is always to try to get help for something and fix it right away, the stigma of mental illness in my grandparents' generation is very, very real.

And even with all of the resources of my professional life, we are unable to help my grandparents because of that stigma.

So, please - we are all affected by this issue. Talk about it. That's the only way to change things.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cougars and bad pickup lines

Everyone seemed happy with the dinner, despite the fact that I was in my own personal hell that evening (nuff said), but of all of the unexpected things...

As those of you who do event planning know all too well, at least one unexpected thing will happen at every event. The most surprising thing at the dinner? Apparently, some people come to cruise.

I kid you not!

Mr. RK, saint that he is, took the pictures at the dinner (my boss asked if he would because he is very good at it) and told me this story.

An older gentleman approached a woman during the reception, and their conversation went something like this:

Him: "Hi, are you here with your husband tonight?"
Her: "No, I'm here with my partner."
Him: "Well, have a nice evening!"

He directly approaches another woman nearby.

Him: "Hi, are you here with your husband tonight?"

Mr. RK didn't hear the rest of that conversation because he turned around to laugh as inconspicuously as possible.

I've heard of picking up people at parties, but at a nonprofit fundraising dinner?!

And that's not all...

Mr. RK's friend D played music during the reception. They rode together and D's wife said, remarking on how he and Mr. RK looked nice all dressed up, "Don't let anyone pick you up...unless it's a rich old lady!"

Mr. RK and his friend are both 39. Apparently there were two very well-dressed women in their 60s hovering around them for quite a bit of the evening!

And last, but not least...I did not have any garment malfunctions. I did accidentally drop a piece of bread down my cleavage during one of the speeches, so we were all choking in our laughter, but that was better than having to go commando all night, right?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cross your fingers

Our gala dinner at work is coming up this week.

Long story short, last year I had a "wardrobe malfunction" and had to go commando that night in a room full of Republicans...and was dumb enough to tell a colleague about it...and haven't lived it down since.

So we're on the phone today and event dress code comes up.

She asks, "Will you be wearing underwear this year?"

Just cross your fingers that everything - garments included - goes smoothly for us, won't you?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is there innuendo everywhere?

Mr. RK was snacking and watching a show today that featured this dialogue:

Woman #1: "I like it to be 12 inches."

Woman #2: "Some people's 12 inches are different than others."

Woman #1: "Ooooh, I can see all the nuts!"

OK perverts, he was watching a vegetarian cooking show. They were making biscotti.

The hilarious part: Mr. RK said neither of the two women even stifled a grin.

I'd think this was a pretty obvious opportunity to laugh. Or am I just a pervert?

It reminded me of a time when I went on an exchange in Oaxaca, Mexico. My host family had explained the expression "doble sentido," or "double meaning." A couple of days later we were peeling plantains to fry.

"Watch out for some of the bananas, they can get really big!" my host mother said. I didn't get it until everyone roared.

At work a few weeks ago, I didn't aim quite as high but I still flopped. My boss wanted to know if the curriculum for one of our education classes would fit into a standard 1 1/2" binder.

"I think it needs a bigger one," he said.

"Size matters," I replied.

Dead. Silence.

As a business reporter, covering retail sales one year, my lead sentence for a story was this: "When it comes to holiday shopping, size matters." The point of the story was that big chain stores seemed to be doing OK, but smaller stores weren't doing as well.

I got away with it that one time, but the next time I had to do a retail story, my (male) editor said, "And by the way - this time, don't write about how size matters!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

...just go away!

You remember that Motley Crue song that had the refrain, "Girl, don't go away mad...just go away"?

If I wasn't sick and didn't have the voice of Kermit the Frog, I'd be standing on street corners singing the "just go away!" part of that song to all of the designers who thought it would be a good idea to reintroduce sweater dresses this year. Yes! Those piece-of-shit looking things from the late 70s/early 80s have made their way back into stores.

And I saw someone crossing the street in Portland today wearing leg warmers.


Neither of these ideas were good back in the day, so why resurrect them now? Are people actually purchasing these? If so, are designers having a serious laugh, as this whole thing was a big fucking joke?

I'm not a fashionista, but I draw the line at looking like a sock monkey.

And doesn't a dress made of sweater sound, um, hot and itchy?

What's next in the retro wave? The return of woolen underwear?

With options like these, it's hard not to protest and walk around naked.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

My great grandmother used to say...

"It takes all kinds of people to make a world."

Mr. RK revised that for me a couple of weeks ago.

"No," he said, "we're just stuck with all of the kinds there are."

I think he's right.

Today, I think most of those kinds of people helped volunteer at my friend's fundraiser. I went to help out and couldn't believe the kind of shit she had to put up with. Granted, she just started this job (she is a volunteer coordinator) in August and she inherited volunteers from the previous person, who assured her they were all fantastic.

I do events for work and you never know who is going to do well or totally fail until you see them in action. I swear events bring out the worst in some people.

Most of the volunteers were great; one is going to be photoshopped in a Satan costume by Mr. RK for my friend.

Some notable personalities from the event, who were theoretically supposed to be helping (read: not hindering):

Person #1 (picture a female Satan, but less endearing): Approaches Mr. RK, whom she has never met before, and says, "The big people shouldn't sit at the ends of the table! They get in the way!" She was so rude to one of the attendees that I looked right at her and said, "You must be nice to the guests."

She also asked over and over again why everyone wasn't eating at the same time. Um, because they arrived at different times, and it's a spaghetti feed. Not formal.

She told us there was no more spaghetti, causing everyone minor panic, when in truth the next batch was cooking.

She made a big fuss about someone who hadn't gotten their food. I rushed over with a plate of pasta. Turns out the person had eaten already.

Then some poor schmuck brought her spaghetti and she barked, "Not now! I'm eating my salad first."

Never have I been so tempted to shove a noodle up someone's nose.

Person #2: Whom I have never met before, asks, "Are you pissed at me or something?" Huh? Should I be? But when I left she acted like I was her best friend. Go figure. Perhaps because I did not shove a noodle up her nose, either.

Person #3: Thinking it was remiss that we did not have flowers on the tables, she broke off some small tree branches and brought them in and tried to put them in the donation cups on the tables. We said no. She said why not? We said no again. And again and again and again.

Person #4: Kept standing in front of me looking at the auction items before we were finished setting them up. I said, "Excuse me," literally four times before his wife said, "You're in her way! Let's move." Brilliant idea.

The guests, for the most part, were better behaved, if some were a little clueless.

I behaved. I did not say the things I really wanted to say, such as...

Guest #1: "Why didn't we get salads?"
Me: "Because we don't like you."

Guest #2: "Why can't we open up the (new, wrapped) garden set? Everything else is open and you can touch things."
Me: "Why don't you try the pants of that gentleman over there? I'm sure he's taking bids."

My poor friend has had one of the worst weeks of her life (before having to do her first big event) and I told her, "Don't worry, it's always so much easier the next time around. You do one event, and another...and then you start a blog."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Am I in the wrong generation, or???

I was chatting on the drive into work this morning with a friend who volunteers in my office.

She: "I have go to tell you something, even if it's TMI."
Me: "OK, what?"

Now I wish I wouldn't have asked...but I had to hear it, and now so do you. Apparently my friend S has a friend who wants to be more than her friend.

His way of telling her was to text her asking if he could send her a "naughty picture."

I'm thinking...what kind of naughty?

S knew exactly what naughty meant (naked) and replied, "OK, but don't expect one back." Apparently expecting one back is naked text picture etiquette.


Anyhow, he sent her the photo and she told me way too many details about the bits of someone I don't know.

"I think he's trying to get me to think of him as more than a friend," she said.

I personally don't know how any male could think this would be a successful technique for getting a date (or getting into a friend's pants.) Tip for the uninitiated: don't offer!

But more confusing to me was the fact that this was apparently commonplace.

Mind you, I've been off the market for more than six years, but I still have my share of rude come-ons. However...I've never had a guy text/email/snail mail me a naked picture. Or ask to.

I asked my friend L, who is the same age as me: "Is this a generational thing, (because S is 23 and we are 34), or are we just in the wrong social texting group?"

L replied, "It's a generational thing. Our generation's big thing was people getting on the internet."

Huh. I don't know if I should feel spared or ripped off!

Saturday, October 02, 2010


For the writing group I facilitate, our "assignment" this time around was to write anything we liked, in any genre, with the theme of "seasons." Since we discussed this writing assignment I've had these lyrics from sometime in the mid to late 80s rolling around in my head:

Seasons change, people change.

I thought it was The Bangles but it turned out to be Exposé.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I can see everything in my head that I want to say to describe why, but can't quite find the right words because everything seems to be stored in a succession of images.

Most of my favorite fall images and memories and scenes are from a place I used to live - New York.

Leaves in brilliant fiery colors in Central Park, children running through a field laughing. A palette of primary color pastels invoked in a drawing of trees bought from a vendor near the steps of the Met. Eating soup in a cafe with my dad when I went to check out my future school. A cafe that would later turn into a gray, soulless computer store. Watching a cute guy make on a pay phone in that cafe slowly turn around until he was totally facing me. (This was in the days when cell
phones cost $1,000 and weighed a couple of pounds.)

Buying a pea coat at Bloomingdales and wearing a rust colored shirt and thinking how free I would feel if I were to come and live here. Thinking how happy I would be.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adultery alphabet soup

I'm not sure where to begin. I woke up a couple of days ago feeling like something was weird with some of my elderly relatives (who I won't name here in case my family reads this.)

Turns out, an 85-year-old relative (we'll call her Relative A) is threatening to divorce an 86-year-old relative (we'll call him Relative B) because she says he is having an affair.

Now, normally I'd laugh this off because Relative A has unfortunately had several strokes and has had some paranoia and scrambled memories. However, Relative C (the adult son of Relatives A & B) lives nearby and told Relative D (another child of Relatives A & B) that it is true!

"Holy shit!" I said to Relative D, when I heard the news. "He can hardly walk, how can he have the energy to do that?"

Relative D: "You don't have to be able to walk well to be able to lie down."


So after some discussion, Mr. RK put my mind at rest, reminding me that Relative B is a super religious person who is also such a prude that he came up with pseudonyms for body parts when raising his children.

"Anyone who has to invent another word for penis," said Mr. RK, "has got to be pretty repressed. He is probably just having coffee dates with someone."

I think this reassured Relative D, but I am still in serious need of mental bleach.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Does it get up and dance?

I'm not into chocolate for its own sake, but I do like to visit a locally-owned cafe called Moonstruck: A Chocolate Cafe. I like cocoa and I like other desserts.*

Now, I've written about Moonstruck before when they tried to get all corporate and hoity toity. They listened to customer feedback and went back to normal - for awhile.

Now, my little bro and other members of my family, including Mr. RK, adore the chocolate bars from this cafe. They're not cheap ($3.50) but sometimes I send them down to California or bring them home.

Darth Weasel was nice enough to take me and Mr. RK there for my birthday, and gave me a gift card. When we went, I noticed a new chocolate bar for $7.

You read that correctly.

I went last night for a sundae and low and behold, they are replacing the $3.50 bars with a $7 bar.

Now, mind you, I know you get what you pay for, and dessert is no exception. But $7?

That's more than a dollar per inch.

At that price, I have to ask: what does this chocolate bar do for me? Instant orgasm? Make me happier, shinier, and nicer? Does it get up and dance?

Any ideas?

PS A tip for the uninitiated: don't do a Google image search for "dancing chocolate" without expecting some, um, surprises.

*Please note: the writer of this blog is prone to understatement.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging...

We had one of our events at work this weekend and I am TIRED.

Forgive me for being in absentia from blogland for a couple of days while I relax with Lucky and Earl Grey. They definitely have the right idea.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just the middleman

I have written quite a lot here about work - much of it in jest, some of it serious - and a lot of times I have had to learn to write off the less pleasant parts of it with laughter.

Once in awhile, though, something happens that makes me glow all day long. Or in this case, all week long.

I volunteer facilitating a writing group for people living with mental illness for one of our affiliate chapters. Last week, it was pouring buckets, and I only had one out of the normal five or six regulars show up.

I have always known K - a 26-year-old artist who lives with her parents - as a chatty, can't-wait-to-get-the-words-out-of-her-mouth person. Before the writing group started last year, she was in the art group. I was shocked to find out a little while ago that she hardly spoke in that group at all until she came to my group.

She has told me that being in my group has helped her overcome some of her shyness and initiate conversations with other people. She said she was grateful that the group was free - all of the services and supports the organization I work for are offered free of charge - because she had looked into taking a writing class at a local community college and could not afford it.

And last Saturday, she told me that coming to the group has not only helped her stretch as a writer, but that it has helped her mental health.

Wow. I don't know what her diagnosis is, but that was just a shock - an amazingly pleasant shock - to hear. All of these months I never realized that was happening - and who knows? Maybe some of the others feel that way, too.

It was one of those truly humbling moments because I live with depression and non-chemical things that have lifted me out of it have been few and far between. So I understand what a big deal it is to have something that helps.

The thing is, the group is not about me at all. I start each session telling the writers that the group belongs to them - I just want to be the facilitator. I ask them to flesh out their ideas and challenge themselves, and they do.

I'm just the middleman, but what a great position to fill.

So I suppose the moral of the story is not to underestimate the impact you can have on someone for the positive. Make the time, if you have a couple of hours a week. Someone will be glad that you did.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Top 10 Sunday

The lovely Claire wrote a neat post about some of her favorite things, which inspired this post. I have been writing so much for work and a volunteer writing group that I facilitate that I've been a slacker at writing at home.

Anyhow, here are my top 10 (G-rated) that come to mind:

1. Fall, before the rainy season starts. A crisp, clear, sunny fall day with just a bit of a breeze. New York's Central Park is the perfect place to be on such a day, with foliage turning red and orange.

2. Iced mochas. Sucks because I can't have much caffeine (it makes me hyper, achy, and anxious) but when I do have them, my latest favorite is at a local cafe here. Nom nom!

3. Cafes. I mean good cafes, where you can sit back and chat with friends without watching the clock. Cafes with old furniture and local art for sale hanging on the walls and espresso shots pulled by hand. I love sitting in this kind of place and people watching when I'm on vacation.

4. Vacation! I love my job, but it can be emotionally intense sometimes, so I equally love breaks. One rule for myself: I never watch the news or read the news, even though I am an ex-reporter and a news junkie.

5. Reading. I especially love reading and snuggling with my cats and Mr. RK when the weather is nasty.

6. Stationary. I come from a Hallmark family. I love writing on interesting cards and paper, and I probably write more actual letters than anyone I know. The writer Erica Jong says that writers are good correspondents because it gives us an excuse to put off writing what we actually have to write, and I'm inclined to agree.

7. Children's books - good ones, funny or warm and fuzzy, not the kind that are dumb and talk down to kids. I have written one such book (not to brag, but I know what I like and I wrote it that way) and am working on another.

8. Color. I work in a mostly residential neighborhood and when it's nice out, I love talking walks and peering at some of the most amazing flowers. I am intrigued by color in art, in nature, and even in other people's makeup. Oddly enough, I usually wear black and other neutral colors and hardly any, if any, makeup.

9. Laughing. I love to laugh - I think it really is the best medicine - and I love to make other people laugh, too. Usually, when I send a sympathy card or a get well card, I try to send one that will give someone a lift. (See related LOL cat above.)

10. Just about anything from the UK. My family is a mix of Irish/European/Apache ancestry, but I've never felt as at home as when I've been in England. I am an anglophile for sure.

How about you? I tag you if you want to be tagged.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Funny things

I am out of brain cells. But I like to laugh, and so do you. So here are a couple of unintentionally funny things that happened the past few days.

Driving home, right as it starts pouring, Radiohead's "High and dry" comes on the radio.

Driving by the cemetery (different day, same radio station), "Digging in the dirt" comes on the radio. (Am I morbid, or is that hilarious?)

Meeting for an all-girls dinner before a meeting, I spill it to my board president that I am constantly having sex dreams about my boss (who I'd never, ever, EVER sleep with, even if we were both single and didn't work together) and how embarrassing it is to even look at him in the morning after this happens! I thought she'd spit out her sandwich, she laughed so hard.

Realizing that - oh shit! - one of our key volunteers, a gray-haired 40- or 50-something, has a haircut just like Justin Bieber, and trying really hard not to laugh during the meeting as I was thinking about it.

Getting a link to this awesome make-your-own-greeting card site from my friend K. (That's where this pic came from.)

Mr. RK walking in, looking at a Victoria's Secret clothing catalog where the model is wearing a sweater with shorts that barely cover her ass, and saying, "If she was really that cold, she wouldn't be wearing those shorts!" (I like their underwear but their catalogs and e-mails are definitely targeted to a horny, heterosexual male audience, which is kind of irritating. Every e-mail they send has a picture that may as well read, "Come fuck me!")

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday funny

I went out for drinks (non-alcoholic for me) with a couple of girlfriends last night and as usual, we ended up talking about sex, boys, and exes.

Then my friend S was talking about pets (no connection) and referencing animal control having to come into the homes of people who couldn't take care of their pets properly.

My friend J piped up: "Yes! That's what I totally should have done with a couple of exes! 'Animal control, come take this pig away!'"

I wish I could have thought of that!

PS If anyone is sick of the LOL cats...too bad :)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Today I Feel Like a Warm Fuzzy

No, that's not naughty - do you remember that book from the 70s?

I read and re-read that book at age 5 so that eventually the cover fell off. I think I still have it somewhere.

Basically, it was a sweet (OK, fuzzy) little feel-good life lessons book for kiddos. I remember always feeling good after I read it.

I thought about this book today after I had a couple of conversations with my dad. His parents are ailing and despite the fact that in my opinion, they were not very good parents or loving people, he has taken very good care of them in their old age. The visits are never fun, and they're expensive (in my opinion my grandfather tries to wheedle as much money as he can from him, and it pisses me off), but he still does his best to make sure they are comfortable.

Even when he's not around, he sends nice stuff. Every month he sends my grandmother a bouquet of flowers, because although she was once an avid gardner, she gets so depressed now that she doesn't go outside.

Anyhow, we were having a conversation about this the other day and he told me that both he and his sister think, based on their upbringing, that they are missing the emotion that tells them they are loved. Meaning, they don't know what that feels like, even though they know people love them.

That made me so sad! We all love him to bits but I suppose all I can do is tell him over and over.

Meanwhile, I was thinking: what makes me feel loved?

Today my car battery died and with no questions asked, Mr. RK drove across town, figured out the problem, figured out which store to go to so we'd spend less because it was under warranty, and fixed my car.

That's one example. How about you?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


So I have been thinking for a few days about what would make a good post.

Then I nearly got t-boned on the way home today.

Which inspired a haiku.

To the prick in the truck,
I hope your dick gets whiplash
just like my neck did.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The disembodiment of memories

My dad and I were talking for awhile today. He said felt old knowing that in 25 years, he'd be his parents' age (my grandmother is not doing well and I just had a birthday, so this inspired the age discussion.) I said I felt old when places I loved closed down.

A Greek restaurant near where I live just up and closed last week. The Barnes & Noble near Rockefeller Center in New York is closing.

Is there anything spectacular about these two places? No - just nostalgia.

The Greek restaurant we found by accident when my parents lived in Portland. We were super hungry - my dad, me, and my little brother, who was 4 or 5. Santorini served some of the best Greek and Italian food I've ever had...and the first time we went just happened to be a weekend where they had belly dancing. I've never seen my dad so embarrassed. My brother, on the other hand, couldn't take his eyes off the dancer!

I've had many meals there since then. Notably, Mr. RK very nearly proposed to me there - he had his hand in his jacket pocket, on the ring box - but a waiter appeared at exactly that instant to take our order.

The Barnes & Noble closing makes me just as sad. A story I read said it had been there for 15 years, so I must have started going there in college right when it opened. I liked their iced mochas, and it was a good meeting point on the Upper West Side. Since college, I've been back there on return trips for the same reason, having cheesecake with Mike D, getting books and cards with my dad and my brothers.

And I kissed my friend, happy, on escalator on the way up to the second floor of that bookstore - college, a lunch with a couple of margaritas. I had a huge crush on him and nothing ever happened with us romantically after that, but it stands out as a memory.

When places where we have made happy memories no longer exist, it's unnerving, my dad suggests, because the memories are then disembodied.

But as he put it, time for new memories somewhere else, even while we treasure the old ones.

So here is a picture from something I won't ever forget. One of my friends who has been seriously broke for awhile came over and brought me a box of gourmet cupcakes for my birthday. The cupcakes are long gone, but the thoughtfulness will linger, and there's no place attached to it that can be closed, demolished, or left behind.

Monday, August 30, 2010

TMI, anyone?

I thought I had heard it all at work.

We have screening processes for volunteers who teach our classes and lead our support groups. But there's no such thing as a fail proof system, is there?

A colleague and I were chatting after work tonight and she said, "Oh! I totally forgot to tell you the funniest part of the training!"

Apparently one of the people in one of our recent trainings - who is in school to be a therapist, by the way - did nothing but rant about her ex-husband during the training weekend.

Then, during one of the breaks, she says to my colleague (whom she has never met before), "By the way, I just went out and bought a new vibrator! I haven't had an orgasm in 20 years!"

Try to figure out why...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Up to what?

I spent a good portion of time this morning arguing with the internet people, attempting to cancel our upgrade order because we got totally fucked with our pants on.

Read: if you order a certain mbps speed, you are not guaranteed anything near that speed, although you will be charged for it.

The fine print = your speed will be up to 7 mbps.

From zilch, zero.

In fact, although I had signed up for a certain speed, I was actually getting less than half of that speed. When I went back to the regular speed, I literally only got 0.1 mbps less.

If they can get away with this concept, I have decided, so should the rest of us.

We could work up to so many hours a week, when employed full-time.

We could promise up to so many sexcapades to our partners.

Our cats could give us up to so many cuddles. (Although I think I will be getting more, thanks to my spiffy new blanket from K!)

We could pay up to the listed prices of movies, dinners out, clothing, shoes, etc.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How awesome is this?

Normally I scoff at people who geek out about electronics - Mr. RK, family and friends included. The only things I like to spend extra money on are 1) people I like and 2) experiences (trips, etc) and 3) bras and shoes - those are things that are an investment, lest the body parts look and feel like shit later in life.

But I got hypnotized by a little pink phone - and Mr. RK bought it for me for my birthday! Of course I didn't wait until the actual day (come on, would you?) Nope, I'm the person who wants to open presents at midnight on Xmas Eve and rips open birthday cards the minute they arrive.

In fact, this phone has me sort of in a vampiric trance...or maybe it's because I started reading Anne Rice?

What do you geek out about?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tips for the uninitiated

I am no HR person. I am not a hiring professional. But I still have advice for people in general after being in on the hiring process at work.

Mind you, we've gotten some great resumes. But we've also gotten many clueless people as well.

So here are some tips I have come up with. Tell me if you think they're clever.

1. When referring to yourself, capitalize "I."

2. Don't apply for a position we do not have - particularly when you are referring to a specific job we posted on craigslist.

3. Don't simply say, "I'm smart," and expect to think it'll land you the job. One cover letter simply said, "I'm a smart person. I can do this job." Not kidding. No more words in the cover letter - it was actually more like a cover sentence. Another person listed his IQ and MENSA membership as reasons we should hire him.

4. Don't send us your resume in power point format, including a picture of yourself in sunglasses. As my board president said, "We're not doing a movie screening!"

5. Don't send a generic cover letter that you've sent everywhere else to all kinds of different people in different industries.

6. Don't simply send an e-mail saying, "I'm moving to your city," and send a resume that says you have no experience in our field and are currently waiting tables or working at a sporting goods store.

7. For God's sake, don't say 1) "I'm the perfect fit", 2) "I'm the ideal candidate," or 3) "I know I'm the right person for this job." Because guess what? Aside from the arrogance of it, a bunch of other applicants - surprise! - have said the same thing.

8. When you know us personally, don't address your cover letter to "dear hiring manager" or "dear sirs."


10. Don't e-mail me and say, "I could do the job perfectly, but I'm making soooooooo much more than that now!"

I'm not making any of this up. Happy almost Friday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

When I am an old lady...

I won't wear purple. I will be kick ass like my grandmother!

OK, so my grandmother isn't an old lady - she is only in her 70s, and she is more active than most people I know.

She e-mailed me out of the blue yesterday to let me know she and my grandfather (who the rest of us do not squash like a bug simply because we want to see her) are in Oregon on the way to an RV trip with some friends. They cross the country in this way much of the year. We are going to meet them Saturday for dinner (Mr. RK will be meeting them for the first time.)

So today I spoke with her on the phone and she was all excited about her new cell phone. "I even text!" she bragged.

So cool. If I make it that long, I vow to try to be that cool myself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kindergarteners are more mature than this

Good news: we have just gotten the approval to hire another person at work! Yippee!!

Until that happens, however, my boss and I (the only two full-time staff) are still juggling 1) administrative shit and 2) program delivery, which unfortunately includes doing trainings.

Now, we have many great volunteers who deliver our programs, enabling us to provide them for free.

But there are a few people who have been such A PAIN IN THE ASS this week that my boss and I both wanted to say, "Don't come to the training! Go back home!" and a few other choice words.

So here's the deal - we pay for the entire training costs of people who want to do our classes and support groups. Meals, materials, hotel, etc. All they have to do is get here.

Keep in mind, we are a grassroots (read: low budget) nonprofit.

But this week, I have had complaints including:

"But I want MY OWN hotel room!"

"I'm not staying there. Have you seen the ratings? It ain't happening. I have to have a hotel with a hot tub!"

"Dare I suggest we have this catered at a retreat center?"

And my favorite...

Man X, who is married, requested sharing a room with Woman X, who is also married. We had two men, two women, and put the women together as roommates and the men together as roommates. Man X: "WHY DID YOU SEPARATE US? I SAID A MONTH AGO I WANTED TO SHARE WITH HER!"

Man X was, in fact, so upset that he called our trainer and threatened that both of them would refuse to show up (after we have paid for hotels and other materials) if he did not get to share with Woman X. My boss said, "Fine! I don't think I want them here anyway!" Then they booked their own hotel room at another hotel, after we had already paid for their rooms. Apparently Man X couldn't keep it in his pants for 48 hours.

If you didn't know better, wouldn't you think this was a kindergarten? No, wait...kindergardeners are more mature than this.

I think I need a cookie.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not quite wordless almost Wednesday

OK, not quite wordless. Mike D sent me this and it totally summed up my Monday! Today was better. One of the people who made my day hell yesterday call and apologized. "I had a really crap day," he said.

"Me too," I said. I did not tell him, "And you contributed to it!"

But I thought it quite loudly.

Thank you to everyone who made today better...and Mr. RK for making yesterday end on a nicer note. Diet 7-Ups and cuddles always help!

Speaking of Mr. RK, he bought me an early birthday present...but it was appropriated.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Gripes about the nanny state

I live just outside of the City of Portland for a reason: there are some things I do not like about it, Sam I Am.

I work there. I hang out there. But their local government, on occasion, makes about as much sense as Berkeley.

Now, some people presume that because I am progressive that I am a flaming lefty. Not so when it comes to many things - I believe very strongly in personal responsibility and the less the government interferes in my life, the better.

Mind you - and this is relevant - I am a healthy eater. I do not think anyone should be able to sell us shit filled with dangerous chemicals or cows that have eaten other cows, or anything else that is, well, unnatural.

However, I don't need my calories printed on my blackberry smoothie receipt, people.

Multnomah County, which includes Portland, is now requiring this kind of disclosure at the drive through. I got a smoothie on the way home the other day and just about passed out.

Not only was the calorie count there, the percentage of carbs/calories/etc based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day and a 2,500-calorie-a-day diet were also included.

New York City - where the mayor is such a health nut that he salts his pizza (Darth, you're right, where is a sarcasm font when I need it?) - enacted a similar law. Getting coffees at Starbucks on our vacation, we saw each pastry in the bakery case labeled with the amount of calories and grams of fat. Ugh.

Now I DO want access to this information as well as - and more importantly - the ingredients. But PLEASE! Do you need to print it right on my receipt? Post it right in the pastry case? Having a brochure available would be enough. I am an adult. I know a smoothie is not as healthy, as, say, a head of plain lettuce.

Is this for my own good? Maybe. But every now and again I enjoy a treat. I seriously doubt this is going to prevent obesity. If the government really cares about our health, I'd rather they find a way to keep soda machines out of schools and PE programs funded.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Animals are better, because...

I am not whining, but the past three weeks have really kicked my ass at work. Tip for the uninitiated: when you have two big events and two trainings and everything in between to plan for, and one of you is on vacation - and there are only two of you - you will be tired!

It's not just work that has been busy...a couple of friends are going through rough times. Learning more about the horrible things they've gone through makes me want to hug them and cringe at the same time, because some of these things happened when they were kids and I don't see how their families could have been so cruel.

All of this reinforces my belief that animals are much better than people! Let's face it - take my kitties for instance:

1. They're always happy to see us
2. They are always honest with us
3. If they're upset, they let us know
4. They get brownie points for snuggling with our partner
5. They are not going to ask why a grassroots nonprofit (read: low-budget) organization with only two full-time people is not holding a training at a retreat center, catered. I'm not making this up. There is one volunteer I'd just like to turn upside down and shake until all of the dumb things in her head come out for good!

Animals are so much better than humans, don't you think?

So here is a cute video for those of you who haven't seen it, to make this a shiny happy post!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Things that drive me nuts on a Monday

Caller #1 - this was someone who called asking for a call back "ASAP" because it was "really important." A volunteer calls back and this person says: "I need to call you back. I have to make another call."

Um, yeah, we've got time to twiddle our thumbs on the busiest day of the week.

Caller #2, who called four times and e-mailed, equally insistently. He calls again and he says, "I can't talk to you people right now."

Person #3, a volunteer who insists on having our meetings at his exclusive club. Since no one else is a member, he has to sign us in. He does not show up. The four of us squeeze into three chairs in the lobby and huddle to have probably the committee's most fucking efficient meeting ever.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

20 questions meme

I stole this from Grannie Annie, who had some really interesting answers!

I forget who does and doesn't like to be tagged, so please feel free to do it if you like. I love to see other peoples' answers :)

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing that you thought? Oh my GOD, only Mr. RK could see my hair like this and still love me without throwing up.

2. Do you miss anyone right now? I miss my friend Ward, who died in 2003.

3. If you could move anywhere else, would you? Depends. I'm happy here but have always wanted to live in the UK.

4. If you could choose, what would your last meal be? Cheese enchiladas with this addictive serrano pepper sauce that I get at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

5. What famous person, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with? Jesus. I'd want to know what he thinks of the neocons, Joel Osteen, and people who say "God wants you to be rich."

6. What was the last book you read? A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie.

7. What was the last movie you watched? Despicable Me

8. What was the last song you heard? Something on the radio that I did not recognize.

9. What’s your dream vacation? Going to Ireland and Scotland with Mr. RK, and stopping in England to say hi to Chella and Sarah, Claire, and Joey.

10. What is the next trip you’ll take? Not sure. Probably down to CA to visit my family for Halloween.

11. Did you ever go to camp? No, and I never wanted to.

12. Have you ever been in love? But of course! That cheesecake was divine... ;)

13. What do you want to know about the future? So many things, I don't know where to begin. I'm a curious sort of person.

14. Where is your best friend? Putting the sheets in the dryer!

15. How is your best friend? A bit tired from a 25-mile bike ride

16. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? A volunteer in my organization that I try not to talk to very much 'cause she never shuts up.

17. What does your last text message say? "Good"

18. What are 3 things you’ve always wanted to do, that you still plan to accomplish? Publish my book (I hope!), start a volunteer GED program, and visit South America

19. What is one thing you’ve learned from your parents? From my dad, life is short. Do your best to be the best person you can be and be compassionate to other people. From my biological mother - inadvertently - blood is not thicker than water. Surround yourself with people who love you and make you feel good about yourself.

20. What is one thing you hope to teach your own children? I don't have any, and won't have any, but I hope my little brother and sister grow up to be compassionate and generous and open-minded human beings. They are doing a good job so far!