Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I wouldn't normally do this...

but isn't it telling that in one country you have this, and in another country you have this.

Not that anyone has a choice, but where would you rather be raped?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lacy Underthings

This makes me happy in that kind of way that makes you look for the devil emoticon in your Instant Messaging software, only to find that your company has blocked said emoticon because it's an evil icon. Eeeeeviiiiil ... Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Sorry. Lace-makers whose previous clients included the Pope and Queen Elizabeth have recently branched out into making lacy underwear (including thongs--the official underwear of the devil himself). Apparently being lace-maker to the Queen doesn't support a whole village like it used to. The Internet, on the other hand, can support a village in its sleep, especially if photos of hot women modeling thongs are involved. Naturally, half the village has their knickers in a twist (because the same lace that once adorned the Queen's table is now "being worn on people's backsides." Well, not exactly the same lace, probably). Fortunately, the other half is so busy counting their money that they don't care.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Feel Bad

And not the guilty kind of bad I usually feel. Instead, I feel like I've been on a cycle of crack and downers for the last three days. Sometimes 3-day meetings do that to me. To any reader who was there with me over the last three days, seriously, it's no reflection on you. I just need things if I'm going to spend three days with a bunch of people. Like air. And possibly alcohol.

But at least I'm faring better than these little guys.

Monday, January 22, 2007

For the Record...

I'm willing to admit it was a little cold last night by Arizona standards. I still drove home with just a sweater and a scarf. I did not see anything that looked like this. It's sunny and bright here today, and the thermometer on my balcony says it's fifty.

Contemporary Vision

My glasses are a couple of years old now, and the plastic frames had faded. I also have a vague sense that they are less fashionable than they once were, not that I'm ever fashionable anyway. Since my insurance benefits have just turned over, I thought I'd get a new pair.

Alas, there are some issues with "contemporary" eyewear. First of all, it's not very contemporary. Stores are proudly showing some truly enormous glasses, harking back to the sixties and seventies--and not in a good way. Seriously, these glasses would be right at home on old photos of Elton John.

There are even a lot of white plastic frames. I tried some, just to see if I would look like Truman Capote. I can't imagine who they'd look good on, but I can safely say that it's a very small segment of the general population. There was also a spectacular pair of sparkly red Farragamos that at least looked like they knew they were a joke. Maybe you could wear them with irony and salvage a shred of your dignity.

The other trend I'm not so keen on is the giant arm. I'm not sure what they're called, but the arms on the sides of glasses have suddenly become very wide and bold.* Peripheral vision, never any great advantage for us bespectacled types, is thus reduced to nothing. And it's not just that you can't see what's there--it's that you're constantly seeing something that shouldn't be. It feels like a giant monster is sneaking up on you.

And the best part about having a billboard glued to either side of your glasses is that the designer can advertise. Nothing says, "I bought a pair of designer glasses" like a huge-ass "D&G" glued to either temple (some of the logos are helpfully covered with rhinestones--niiiice). Personally, I question this as a trademarking strategy. If you're going to sell something spectacularly ugly, you probably don't want to admit culpability. Everyone in the store looked like Michael Caine in "The Ipcress File." It's not the sort of thing I'd rush to claim responsibility for.

I did find a nice pair in the end, but I'm sure they're attractive enough to be considered "retro." They are by Prada, but I think you'd have to get within a foot of me to actually read that, so I'm trying not to hold it against them.

*Upon rereading this, it occurred to me that this is probably an engineering necessity. You can't support truly enormous specs on a slender reed.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Corrupting Influence

Last night a colleague's husband gave me far too much of a fantastic unflitered sake. I sipped it in front of the fire while we all three watched an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and was under the impression that I was a reasonably civilized human being.

Then I woke up.

This morning there are hogs crusading loudly around inside my head and my eyelids weigh about a ton apiece. And I have to be at the optometrist in less than an hour. Hope he doesn't want to shine a bright light into my eyes.

Now I understand why my colleague stuck with a more civilized beverage. She can probably speak and spell and everything this morning.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Littlest Room--The Biggest Expense

It's time to replace my bathroom floor. The folks who sold me the place installed their own tile, and they did it very badly. The whole top floor of my townhouse squeaks--it's fine with me, and it reminds me of my grandmother's house. But evidently the bathroom tile doesn't have such pleasant associations. It's loose, and the grout is coming apart.

I was just going to slap some floating cork floor in, figuring that a floating floor would be able to handle the slight movement of the subfloor with more grace than the tile. But evidently that is a BAD idea. If you're going to install cork in a bathroom, you evidently want tiles, and all tiles (whether they are cork or ceramic) have the same aversion to a squeaky subfloor.

Which means I need some kind of professional to come and look at the floor, rip up the tile, and stop it squeaking before I can even choose a floor for the bathroom, let alone replace it. I have this horror film playing in my head that involves redoing the whole third floor of the townhouse. (How can you stop the bathroom floor from moving if the floor RIGHT outside the bathroom is moving all the time? Let's hope a pro has a good answer to that one.)

I woke up this morning feeling fairly energetic and ready to make some progress, but this news is very depressing. I may need to go back to bed now. Maybe if I stay there all day, I'll lose the pound and a half I inexplicably gained yesterday.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I can't help it...

I know I post links to half of the BBC News web site, but this was too funny to pass up. This is the best story ever. Underwear are appearing randomly in a Wiltshire village. I can't decide which is funnier, the assertion that the underwear seems new and "of quite good quality" or the policeman begging, "If it's a prank, please tell us."

I'm about as good at pranks as Frasier Crane, but I don't think it works like that.

Better than Weight Watchers

This article means that the laughing that I did at the Weight Watchers card captions I linked to earlier may be as responsible for my weight loss this week as the actual Weight Watchers program. I like this theory. Bring it! More Chuck Lorre Vanity Cards! More Don Hertzfeldt cartoons! More footage of Debra Winger with a bird glued to her head! More vintage Jack Lemmon movies! I can TOTALLY lose those 5 pounds by 2008.

At Last, Progress

The scale has now shown a loss three days in a row! Which means that although I probably shouldn't believe the actual number (although I want to, because it's good), I can go ahead and accept that progress has been made.

And thank goodness, because last night I opened the pickle jar at 8:00 and felt as guilty as if I had eaten a pan of brownies. Which reminds me that I must stop on my way home and pick up more bunny food--the carrots are no points, and the pickles I like (spicy bread-and-butter pickles that my mother got me addicted to over Christmas--thanks, ma) are a point for three lousy pickle chips. I honestly didn't think I'd eat 32 oz of carrots in four days, but they are all gone, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them. Plus, they help cut down on my nervous tension.

The other thing I've been trying to do is add up all my fat calories for the day and stay on the treadmill until the treadmill's "calories from fat" ticker hits that number. It's sobering, and I think it's given me a new way to think about fat in my diet. It certainly gave me a good way to think about the brownies I didn't buy this week--even if I could have scraped the points together, I would have been on the treadmill all week long.

Okay, I'm off to savor my victory by measuring the sugar I put into my tea. Mmmmmm, sweet victory!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Portrait of an Addict

You would think that if sixteen pairs of underwear arrived at your door, you'd be pretty much good to go, wouldn't you?

Au contraire. If you're me, you might look and say, "Hey, I should have eighteen pairs of underwear in this box." These things happen.

Well, I guess when you order eighteen pairs of underwear at a time (there was a sale--and there were so many colors! Oh, who am I kidding--the intervention is at 8 tomorrow morning, and you should bring brownies because of the triple-constraint) you become such a valuable customer that when you call and say that two of them are missing, they just send you the darn underwear. Because really, it's $6 and shipping, and people like me are obviously keeping them in business.

But it made me think. Where'd the other two pairs go?

I do not want to know what my UPS driver is wearing under his uniform.

I'm a genius!

Because I could have told them this. This is why the room that I was in laughed hysterically when our fearless leader said that now that the layoffs at our company were over, everyone must be chipper and ready to go, right? You betcha, honey. We'll be right with you. Right after we finish updating our resumes, absorbing our fallen colleagues' workloads and generally trying to prepare for an uncertain future. But after that, we'll be whistling while we work. Honest.

To her credit, my manager has been a star. She's encouraged honesty when we're overworked and found solutions. In other departments, people are actually being told that it's not overwork, it's an opportunity. Oh, sure, because I was looking at it without my rose-colored glasses. And my crack pipe. I have got to stop mislaying that.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Dear Jon Letter

My faith in "The Daily Show" is officially shaken. They said that Harold Bloom is America's foremost expert on literature. And in spite of their liberal use of irony, they were serious. If only they'd given me some way out. "A recognized expert." Or even, "a leading expert." But alas.

Oh, Jon. I'm so sorry, but I think our brief affair was just too beautiful to last. I thought it was love, but it was just a sophomoric infatuation. Oh, but wait. You knew that, didn't you.

You Can Have Too Much Google

Ya know the stress I spoke of earlier? Well, sometimes to amuse myself and escape from the stress, I google random terms until I find something that makes me laugh really, really hard. It sounds challenging, but I find that as the wee small hours tick by it tends to get easier. I wouldn't share those things with you. Sometimes when I wake up, I can't even remember them.

But this, this was funny. It made me laugh so hard I counted it as my ab workout for the day. And so I give you the product of a lot of googling that had to do with my obsession with my ill-gotten five pounds.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stress, Weight, and Money

In project management, there's this theory known as the triple-constraint. It basically says that scope, budget, and schedule are all related, and you can't change one without affecting the others.

I think stress, weight and money are my personal triple-constraint, and let me just tell you that I have blown all three. Yeah, that's right. I'm a stressed out, overweight woman with a credit card. I've just been stressed to hell recently, and my regular stress management strategies (spending time with friends, walking it off on the treadmill, escaping into a good book) have all been unequal to the task.

First the uncontrolled stress affected my weight. I gained five pounds right before the holidays. I realize that for a lot of people this is no big deal, but I used to be a lot heavier, and it was a good six months of Weight Watchers meetings and obsessive point-counting before I got down to this size. I never, ever want to weigh that much again. I like being able to climb a flight of stairs. I like being able to have a conversation while I walk with someone. So five pounds really scares me, and the worst thing is that I've been trying since January 1 to lose it and my weight is just completely random. Honestly--it's just like high school algebra. No matter how careful I am, I have no idea what's going to happen. Sometimes it's down, and then maddeningly the next day it's up again, even though I have done nothing different. At least it hasn't gone up past the five-pound mark. Hopefully eventually consistent effort will show up on the scale.

Naturally, this has blown my budget. Eating healthy costs a lot more than eating crap. I should probably have been eating healthy anyway, so it's not exactly a bad change. And I think I'm eating out less, so that's okay. But who am I kidding? The stress spending is definitely not confined to Healthy Choice frozen entrees. I've been spending WAY too much money, especially on girly items like sexy boots and (this is a long-standing stress reaction) underwear. Yeah, I know. How much underwear could anyone possibly buy? How could it be a genuine spending problem? Well, lemme tell you, there's a whole industry in this country devoted to making women by far more underwear than they need (or far less, depending on whether you're measuring dollars or acreage). It's a successful industry. And there was a sale.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Blackberry Bump

I have to say, THREE people e-mailed me today to ask whether I'm ever planning on blogging again. If I'd thought any of you were still looking for a blog entry, I would probably...well, I wouldn't have written anything, but I would have been wracked with guilt over not writing. But thank you for the support--I'll try to do better.

I recently found myself on a plane from Phoenix to Philadelphia, and on the plane I met the last charming CFO in America. No, honestly. He was witty, genuinely interested in people as human beings (I wasn't aware that you could do this as a CFO--I kind of thought they had to remove this functionality to get the CFO program to run), a devoted husband, a proud father, and just an all-around great guy. He reminded me immediately of one of the best bosses I've ever had. I had resumes in my briefcase (bad habit), and I have to tell you, I was hard-pressed not to hand him one. Should you have a hankering to work in real estate in the Philadelphia area, you should work for his company immediately.

This rare character alerted me to a cultural phenomenon that had escaped my notice. His patented name for it is the "Blackberry Bump," and it occurs when two people who are unsuccessfully multitastking on their Blackberries collide. He claimed it was the hot new workplace compensation claim, and you know, he may be onto something. Counting Blackberry Bumps is now my favorite airport pastime (I counted three just at my gate on the way back--although I did cut myself some slack and count it even if only one of the portable electronic devices concerned was an actual Blackberry). Apparently it's rife in the Real Estate community.

Anyway, Dan, if you're out there, that was the best plane flight ever. I got:
  • a great conversation
  • a new pastime (highway alphabet was getting dull)

  • my faith in humanity
That's a pretty smokin' gift with purchase--way better than frequent flier miles. Thanks again!