Monday, July 28, 2008


Dear Snickers,

Nice work. With the introduction of your Snickers "Miniatures," you've managed to make me work four times as hard to feel twice as guilty for eating half as much candy.

Really. Good job.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wish you were here ... or that I was there, maybe.

Things you miss about home when you're on vacation with extended family:
  • Your own bed
  • Your own bathroom
  • Deciding for yourself when each day starts and ends
  • Making quick decisions about where to go or what to eat for lunches and dinners
  • Walking around in pajamas as long as you please
  • Holding the remote
  • Knowing for sure whether that towel in the bathroom is a new one or not
  • Controlling the thermostat
  • Not living out of a suitcase
  • Doing laundry in machines you understand, and for which you know all the quirks
  • Knowing when the milk was purchased
  • Not feeling guilty about doing absolutely nothing.

Never say never

Things I always thought were gross that I now don't mind:
  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Sour cream
  • Holiday "this-is-what-the-Jones'-have-been-up-to-for-twelve-months" letters
  • Baby saliva
Things that I used to love that I now think are gross:
  • Cool Ranch Doritos
  • Dean's "guacamole-flavored" dip
  • Bologna
  • Sleeping all day on the weekends (but I'm pretty sure this is just sour grapes)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

112 ... more

Some of you were kind enough to ask for this list. As requested ...

  1. I always open ketchup packets two at a time. If there’s only one in the bag, I’d rather not have ketchup at all.
  2. I bake when I’m stressed.
  3. I know what it feels like to fly. I think it comes from my dreams.
  4. Before I met my husband, I was convinced I would skydive someday. Now, I’d rather not take that kind of chance.
  5. I feel like a better person when my pantry is organized.
  6. I would love to chuck every article of clothing I have and just start over.
  7. Cotton candy creeps me out.
  8. Because I always rode my bike in the same direction around our circular neighborhood and took all right turns, it was years before I could smoothly turn LEFT while riding.
  9. I love jigsaw puzzles.
  10. I think I’ve forgotten how to play. I hope my son can teach me how to do it again.
  11. I really don’t like being outside all that much, at least not in my hot, muggy hometown.
  12. I still don’t know how to put on eyeshadow properly.
  13. I love not having student loans anymore. A part of me honestly believed I’d have to spend the rest of my life paying them back. (Thank you, husband, for your incredible debt management. It’s really more like debt slaughtering, I guess. You rock.)
  14. I’m thankful my parents never let me wear makeup in high school. It made for crappy prom pictures, but I think it’s why I like my skin now.
  15. If allowed to spend freely, I would buy too many books and greeting cards.
  16. I only like coffee if it tastes like something else.
  17. I have a secret passion for stadium nachos.
  18. I once went on the Atkins diet and lost 20 pounds. However, I grossly overestimated my ability to live a life without potatoes or dessert. (Hello again, hips.)
  19. I prefer to close window blinds such that they slope down from inside the room to outside. I think they block more light that way.
  20. Flying a kite is terrifying to me. The way the wind tugs the string in your hand makes the kite feel alive, like some kind of powerful bird of prey trying to get away.
  21. I dread the day my son starts school, because that means I’ll be a slave to a school schedule again. (But for other reasons, too. Like, I’ll miss him.)
  22. I never rode the bus to school. I always lived too close, and was therefore never on the route.
  23. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 18.
  24. I taught myself to blow bubbles while chewing grape Bubbalicious gum.
  25. I wish they made Flintstones vitamins for adults.
  26. I don’t like food that is so spicy it hurts. Why do habanero peppers even exist?
  27. I am a member of Amazon Prime.
  28. I’m a pretty good shot with a .22 handgun.
  29. I totally can’t handle a .45.
  30. I never had a bad English teacher. I think that’s why I fell in love with the subject so deeply and later majored in it in college.
  31. Before becoming an English major, I tried my hand at an accounting major. No one benefited from that experience.
  32. The best paper I ever wrote as an English major was for a film class. It was an 18-page paper on the role of technology in the first two “Terminator” films.
  33. The highest praise I ever received on a paper was on one I wrote about the fall of man in Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” My professor (whom I idolized) wrote, “You taught me something about this work that I didn’t know.”
  34. Watching football makes me swear way too much. It’s very unladylike.
  35. I believe that my mom’s lasagna is the way lasagna is supposed to taste.
  36. The only two times I’ve ever had an asthma attack, I was playing Laser Tag. I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing – the fact that I played Laser Tag, or the fact that it made me so excited on two different occasions that I had asthma attacks.
  37. Though I’m getting better about it, I still care way too much what other people think.
  38. I pray more now than I ever have before in my life.
  39. My prayers have largely changed from starting with “Please …” to starting with “Thank you for …”. I lead a truly charmed life.
  40. I prefer Ovaltine to Nestle Quik.
  41. I haven’t watched TV regularly in six months. Turns out the only thing I miss is “The Office.” Oh, and “Lost.”
  42. While running through a parking lot (wearing hiking boots – I know, brilliant), I stumbled and fell, splitting my eyebrow open to the bone. That was the first time I ever got stitches, and the last time I ever took my brother up on the challenge, “Race you to the car.”
  43. I love pot pies.
  44. I’ve never ordered lobster for myself.
  45. I’ve been known to strike up conversations with strangers on a regular basis.
  46. Of the handful of times in my life I’ve been pulled over for speeding (ok, maybe six or seven), I’ve gotten an actual speeding ticket only once.
  47. When I get really tired, my legs ache right behind the knees.
  48. One of the reasons I love my husband is because he knows this about me, and when he sees me fading, will ask, “Getting that ache behind the knees?” And then he makes me put my feet up.
  49. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.
  50. … but I know what I want to be. And that’s a wife to this man, a mom to this boy, and a member of this Faith.
  51. I don’t know how to drive a stick.
  52. My first car was an ’86 Ford Bronco, full size. Made me feel tough as nails, being a girl and driving that truck. It was a piece of crap but I still miss it.
  53. I’ve never had a perm.
  54. I’m a firm believer in the C.A.Y.G. cooking philosophy … Clean As You Go. Who wants to tackle an entire meal’s worth of dishes and pots and pans after dessert?
  55. I have never taken a real risk with my hair other than to go short. I’m thinking, now that I’m a stay-at-home mom and out of the corporate dress-coded world, it’s time to do something daring.
  56. I believe that if you lie on your back in the grass and stare up at the clouds, you can feel the earth moving.
  57. I am a recent convert to the beauty of naps.
  58. Cookie Monster and Ernie are my favorite Sesame Street characters.
  59. I have never roller-skated.
  60. Sometimes I still surprise myself with how many 80s songs I know all the lyrics to.
  61. I’m appalled at the grammar of the previous item on my list.
  62. I miss gorging myself on good fiction like I used to, before I became a mom.
  63. I’ve never been stung by a bee.
  64. In junior high, I was hit in the head by an aluminum baseball bat during P.E., resulting in a concussion, an enormous lump on my forehead, and a hospital stay. My science class made me a get-well poster with a unicorn on it, along with everyone’s signatures.
  65. I used to believe that if I could only twirl fast enough, I would turn into Wonder Woman.
  66. When I was in high school, I carried around a copy of the lyrics to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” in my purse for at least a year.
  67. That fact still makes me laugh now.
  68. I used to regularly attend hip-hop dance classes with a girlfriend. I had a great memory for the routines we learned but a significantly-less-than-perfect execution. Put another way – I’m not getting any callbacks for MTV videos anytime soon.
  69. I’m addicted to XM Radio.
  70. I’ve become one of those annoying people on facebook who primarily uses photos of his or her child as a profile picture. I don’t even care that it’s annoying. The kid is freakin’ cute and also the best part of me.
  71. I feel the same way about blow-drying my hair as I do about working out – I hate doing it, but I always feel better once I finish.
  72. I once carried a 27-pound bass drum three miles during a Fourth of July parade while suffering from a pinched nerve in my back, all because someone said to me, “don’t be a hero.” Moral of the story: Don’t tell me I can’t do something. Also: I’m a moron. It really hurt.
  73. I have absolutely no desire to ever 1) go to Mardi Gras, 2) go on a cruise, 3) try snorkeling, 4) learn to scuba-dive.
  74. Things that nest perfectly for storage make me happy (like Tupperware, glass mixing bowls, shoeboxes).
  75. I hate hanging up clothes. I’ll always prefer to fold them and put them in a drawer.
  76. I’ve always used bits of blue ribbon to identify my suitcases at the airport. Now that I’m about to tie new ribbon onto new suitcases, I think I’ll go orange.
  77. I make killer baklava.
  78. I’ve never made a main course that I thought turned out well, unless you can count soups as entrees.
  79. I really want to visit the Highlands of Scotland someday.
  80. LASIK is in my future. I’m tired of never knowing what time it is in the middle of the night until I’ve felt for and put on my glasses by feel in the dark.
  81. I’ve never had a surprise birthday party thrown for me.
  82. Unless you’re talking about dirty diapers or IRS audits, I love surprises.
  83. I get very cranky if I don’t get enough 1) quiet time to myself, 2) chocolate, 3) opportunities to have control over some decisions, even if they’re as small as what’s for dinner.
  84. My gramma, who died of breast cancer when I was 15, once owned a lovely little print of a woman in a yellow dress reading a book. Years later, while volunteering (in honor of my gramma) at a breast cancer event, I bid on the same print in a silent auction without realizing the connection. When I got it home, my mom told me it was the same picture. I believe that was my gramma telling me she loves me.
  85. I hate, with great virulence, doing yardwork.
  86. I write excellent thank-you notes.
  87. I’m awful at actually keeping up with thank-you notes. But when I write them … see number 86.
  88. I still sometimes catch myself squinching my eyes closed while I brush my teeth, the way I did when I was five. I don’t know why I do it.
  89. I love having brothers.
  90. It’s only within the last 10 years that I’ve learned how to be a good friend to other women.
  91. I have stopped my car and gotten out to help turtles get safely to the other side of the road.
  92. When I buy candles or hand soap, I always buy food-y smells. Flowery smells give me migraines.
  93. I will never understand why I have good handwriting days and bad handwriting days.
  94. I love my handwriting on good handwriting days.
  95. My brother and I used to play church and pretend that small potato chips were Communion wafers. We’d solemnly intone, “The body of Christ,” as we fed each other Ruffles. Sacrilegious? Probably.
  96. I’d rather be cold than hot.
  97. I’d rather hold my tongue and be miserable than open my mouth and hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel bad. Even when they deserve it.
  98. I have to talk myself out of opening my first Caffeine-free Coke of the day at 8 a.m., so intense is my craving for Coke. I love the fact that the bubbles are so sharp that it hurts my throat and makes my eyes water.
  99. I’ve seen “The Shawshank Redemption” maybe nine or ten times, and still get hooked every time I hear Red’s voiceover narrative on cable.
  100. I feel like I’m keeping up with technological advances by the skin of my teeth. In a few years, I imagine I’ll be “that woman” who has to get her five-year-old to help her transfer numbers from one cell phone to another.
  101. I miss sleeping in on the weekends, but watching my infant son wake up smiling (even though it’s at 7 a.m.) is more than enough compensation for the loss.
  102. I tend to vote Democrat.
  103. I do not have an eye for interior decorating at all. I rely on the judgment of my sisters-in-law and girlfriends.
  104. My favorite Lousia May Alcott book isn’t “Little Women,” but “An Old-Fashioned Girl.” I have my mom’s cousin’s copy, which is dated 1911 on the flyleaf. I love the way the pages smell. It’s like holding my own private vintage library in my hand.
  105. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school. These days, as I untangle my son’s little fingers from my hair and wipe his drool off my shoulder, I have never felt like more of a success.
  106. Every year since I lost my gramma and grampa, I visit their graves when my family and I travel back to my mom’s hometown. Every year, I spend a few minutes telling them what’s happened lately with me and what I hope they’re watching from heaven. Every year, I cry.
  107. I prefer dark meat to white meat.
  108. I’d rather load a dishwasher when friends leave the house than set out paper plates for them to use.
  109. Taking a shower at the end of a long, sweaty travel day is de-LISH-ious.
  110. I never know how much to talk to my massage therapist. I want to talk enough to make it not awkward, but I also want to just enjoy my expensive massage. Plus, it’s hard to relax and make “I’m-digging-this-massage” noises when you’re worried what you sound like. As much as I love massages, I always leave one feeling like I could have relaxed more.
  111. I prefer Coke out of a can, over fountain Coke or bottled Coke (unless it’s in a glass bottle).
  112. I have the feeling someday there will be a new 112.

Monday, July 07, 2008

At the risk of seeming self-absorbed ...

I found the exercise of the "112" so stimulating that I'm working on version "1.1". I started it just for my own gratification, but am having so much fun with it that I'm considering putting it here. I'll post it if there's interest -- leave me a comment if you have any desire to read through another random list.

I think I've probably completely missed the point of how other bloggers have done it -- the two lists I've seen on other sites were carefully crafted to represent what seemed to embody each writer's core personality. But as you all know, I don't edit. So my 112 ended up being some things about me, not the definitive ones.

Plus, as rockalamp says, it seems ridiculous to assume that any one thing would permanently define any of us. I like the idea of doing the 112 periodically to see how I'm evolving, and would welcome the chance to read others' lists, whether it's the first take or the third or the eleventh.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Distinctive" cookies, moronic marketing staff

Dear Pepperidge Farm:

As a long-time customer, I have a few questions to pose to you. In light of the loyal constancy I've shown your products and company (especially throughout my recent pregnancy), I'm certain that you will welcome my candor on these matters. I've long been either confused or irritated by two things about your marketing, and wanted to raise these issues to your attention.

First: When I am faced with the task of choosing from among your delicious cookie varieties, I almost always note the fact that your Milano cookies and your Double Chocolate Milano cookies are selling for the same price. This disturbs me for several reasons, which I will attempt to enumerate for you. If your Double Chocolate Milanos contain truly TWO TIMES the chocolate of the regular type, then why does the price not reflect this tremendous difference in chocolate-y goodness? With the current pricing strategy, you imply one of a number of things:
  • Your chocolate is actually of such a low quality that using twice as much doesn't add any value for the customer or cost you any more; or
  • You use so little high-quality chocolate in the regular Milanos that doubling the amount for the Double Chocolate Milanos doesn't impact your manufacturing costs; or
  • Your marketing department is incompetent and fails to recognize the opportunity to offer either a savings for regular Milano customers or a chance for Pepperidge Farm to charge premium prices to choc-o-holics such as myself for the Double Chocolate variety; or
  • You don't really use twice as much chocolate at all.

None of these implied truths is flattering to Pepperidge Farm, as I'm certain you can clearly see. Since I am no idiot, and recognize a bargain when I see one, I will continue to purchase your Double Chocolate Milanos happily, reveling in what I feel is indeed more chocolate than the regular variety (though I don't know that I am actually getting TWICE the chocolate I'm used to in the regular Milanos). However, your attention to the matter I've stated will enhance my confidence in your company immensely.

Second: I have noted on many occasions to myself that your cookies are packaged usually with five cookies in one "level" of your distinctive bags, with each bag containing several levels of cookies. However, you persist in stating that a "serving" of your cookies consists of two cookies. I ask you: Why do you torment me? If you package five cookies in one paper cup that EASILY fits in the palm of my hand, I consider one serving to be five cookies, not two. When will you recognize this, and either repackage your fine products, or update your nutritional information? As the situation currently stands, if I wish to know the nutritional value of the cookies I am consuming, I'm forced to do mental math that eludes my sleep-deprived new-mommy brain. Please address this matter on future packages of your delicious cookies. Also: You owe me $69.50 for a new pair of jeans I was forced to buy as a result of consuming your true "servings". I will gladly accept a check in this amount by mail, or you can contact me for PayPal information.

Your attention to these issues is greatly appreciated.