Friday, April 30, 2004

blogginess is next to godliness

My boss is Christian, I am a Jew and my admin is Muslim. I thought I had it pretty well covered.

Until I met a Hutterite. Aw, man are Hutterites cool! They're like the cool older brother of the Amish.

Like, you hang out with the Amish because she has an in-ground pool and, since it's summer, there's a good chance that the Hutterites will be home from college. You hear a motorcycle pull into the drive and the Amish rolls her eyes and says, "Great, my stupid brother, the Hutterites, is home." The Hutterites comes into the yard and peels off his shirt to go for a swim and you see a huge tattoo of a falcon or something on his back. The Amish jumps up and says, "Ummm! I'm tell-ing!" and runs off to tattle. The Hutterites looks at you, rolls his eyes and says, "The Amish are so immature" and winks at you. You're all like, "Yeah...Amish...immature" while you're staring at the muscles in his back. His back is really built because he's on the swim team in college and his specialty is the butterfly stroke. You know this because he sat and talked with you at great length about swimming one day while you were waiting for the Amish to finish cleaning her room before she could play. The Hutterites sat there and explained all of the various aspects of swimming and was so mature that he didn't even hint at a snigger when he said the words "breast stroke" like the Amish usually does.

You want to grow up and marry the Hutterites so badly that it doesn't even bother you that you'll have the Amish as your sister-in-law.

But he has one of those fucked-up beards, just like his sister. Kinda weird.

Barn raising-ly,


Next up in my collection - a Mason! ()

Sunday, April 25, 2004

i swear, i meant for it to turn out like this

It's a well-documented fact that I am a very, very cheap person. Not just frugal - not just penny-wise. I mean cheap. I won't buy what I can get for free and believe that a manufacturer's suggested retail price is just that - a suggestion.

I very rarely, if ever, buy things that aren't on clearance unless it's absolutely necessary, and even then I will ask the shopkeeper, "Is this your best price?" I've learned that the word "firm" is actually much softer than you would think. On the rare occasion where we eat out, at the end of the meal I not only box up everyone's left-overs but I will stuff my pockets with napkins and condiments. It's just the way I was raised - my mother has hoarded so many condiment packets that she hasn't had to buy ketchup or mustard since 1972.

I don't like going to buffets because they're so unsanitary, but when I do I make sure to take my big purse. I come home with enough brownies and rolls that we don't have to buy any for weeks, and I've honed it to such an art form that even Andy doesn't notice what I'm doing. I don't know what the policy is regarding loading your bag with cookies to take home, but the thought of being ejected from Old Country Buffet is such a humiliating prospect that I've had to develop a sleight-of-hand that would make James Bond proud.

With this cheapness in mind, it's only logical that I dye my own hair. But I've recently discovered that I get more bang for my buck if I go a highlight route rather than an all-over color. That way when it starts to grow out or, God forbid, another grey hair crops up it's kind of lost in the noise.

Last night, I picked up a highlighting kit that came with a mascara wand-type applicator. I applied an all-over highlight but balked at how much of the stuff was left. I spent ten bucks on the kit and used maybe four dollars' worth - this simply would not do. So I went back over my hair again, reapplying in bolder strokes and streaks until my head was fairly saturated. Still there was more left. So I called my eldest daughter into the room - she'd been after me for a while to have a blond streak - and did two streaks framing her face. And then we waited.

Now, my natural hair color is very, very black. This photo reflects the last time I had my hair anywhere near my natural color...the baby in the picture isn't Nico, my seventeen-month-old, but rather Zoe, who is now over four. That's how long ago that photo was taken. With black hair like mine I have to leave the dye on for much longer than usual...trouble is that I forgot to adjust the time for Samantha's hair. Her hair is light brown, so her streaks turned out practically white.

And me? I misjudged myself and didn't leave it on long enough, so guess what? Rust head! But worse than that, I didn't apply it in as uniform fashion as I thought. Rust head with black streaks. Not even streaks - big-ass chunks of black. A couple of light blond places, mainly rusty, with black accents.

I'm far too old to pull off that punk rock girl image. I drive an SUV, fer krist sake!

I work with a man who takes issue with my ear piercing - I have three holes in a triangle in each ear - so I've limited myself to wearing only one pair of earrings to work. He has issues with three piercings in my ear and now I'm going to walk in there with a Jackson Pollock on my head. He's going to flip.

But I'm too damn cheap to buy another kit to fix it today. I need to get my money's worth out of this one first.



It's actually much worse than I described - I may have to bite the bullet and post a picture of my mop. ()

Saturday, April 17, 2004

the right way and the wrong way

One of the hardest things about a new job is figuring out the right way to handle your coworkers. Observe:

The Wrong Way:

Listen, I think we desperately need to confirm the chemical attribute analysis of these vitamins and minerals. I've put in a call to a chemist at the university and he agrees that some of these don't seem accurate. I've put all of our printed literature on hold and have sent a memo to make sure we don't continue to spread factually-inaccurate information. The FDA has been notified and I've drafted the necessary paperwork to amend what is on file in their office. As of now, I've issued a suspension of all approvals until this matter is taken care of.

The Right Way:

The Lord told me that our vitamins and minerals now have even more power than before. Praise be.

The Wrong Way:

The Attorney General requires our annual report and this year wants our business plan and budget. Since I know you don't believe in business plans I've drafted one myself. I've gone back into the financials for five years and have retrofit our financial statements into five six-page reports which I have sent out to be bound in a swishy little folder. They're going to be scanned as pdf files and put on the charities accountability website for wide-spread distribution. I've also projected our budget for this year, which we are already set to come in well under due to the cost-reduction measures I've implemented. This frees up at least twenty percent more cash flow than we had this time last year that should be funneled back into the program. We need to scout another location for a food shipment - I suggest we partner with Malawi because they already have a continued-sustainability program in place on the ground and there's more accountability for food distribution. The UN wants a full report on the distribution process so I'm working with them and their Ambassadors to get someone from the UN on the ground when the shipment arrives.

The Right Way:

We're still feeding the little brown babies of the world. Well done, boss.

The Wrong Way:

Our Canadian office is having trouble getting their supplies sent across the border, and their local vendors can't supply them with what they need for their huge food packaging effort next week. I'm talking everything. They're severely hampered by this problem and we absolutely have to help them - I have a guy willing to schlep all of the ingredients up to Ontario over the weekend and I've already been in touch with the Canadian taxing authority and have received confirmation that our goods will be allowed to cross the border duty and tax-free with no other hinderance. We need to move on this right now.

The Right Way:

Canada needs some prayin'.

The differences are glaring, dontcha think? Thankfully, I'm a quick study.



I'm beginning to think I'm in entirely the wrong industry. ()

Thursday, April 15, 2004

how to get ahead in life without even trying

If you're going to be late for work and you know it, don't rush. Take your time. Dress a little nicer, make sure your make-up is even and relish the fact that for one day, you won't have to use your car's heater to dry your hair.

That's what I usually do - dry my hair with the heat in my truck. It's because I'm always running late, on account of being a lazy, lazy person. Thankfully, I live in Minnesota so I can use this technique well into June.

So you're looking nice and have had a relaxing morning, so you saunter into work sipping a latte you'd picked up on the way to work - who cares that you had to wait in line for twenty minutes for the damn thing? It's part of the plan.

You enter work, a picture of cool and casual. People are perplexed...why isn't she offering an excuse for being late? they will wonder about you.

Someone will follow you in to your office and ask how your morning has been. Laugh airily and say, "Oh, you know. Ninety-four."

Now, if you live around Minneapolis, 94 could be a reference to the highway I would take if I were coming to work from downtown. But ninety-four in any other situation is considerably vague enough to lead people to believe that there's something very important that you're doing that they're just too far down on the totem pole to know about. They will then walk back to their own desk and write the number 94 with a question mark on a post-it note. Keep 'em guessing.

Then go into the bathroom to "freshen up" your make-up. Make sure another girl is in the bathroom - freshening up your make-up indicates that you've been wearing it for a long time which gives the impression that you've already had a busy morning before getting to work. She will then say something to you like, "You'd better not be quitting. If you leave, I'm going to die."

She'll go back and spread the rumor that you were possibly at a job interview before work and people will panic. Your boss will then hint about "really big projects" coming down the pipeline and mention that "your involvement is crucial" and will generally kiss your ass. It's a wonderful feeling.

Next thing you know, people hear that you're looking for work and other companies will start courting you. "I've heard what you've been doing there and we're all really impressed. Why don't you stop by and see us sometime? We may have a position that is of interest to you." is the type of phone call you will begin receiving.

That's when you declare yourself a god (small g) and can then move the water cooler right into your own office.

Cuz man, I really, really hate having to walk clear down the hall whenever I get thirsty.

Upward mobile-ing,


Next I'm going to try to get a bathroom installed in my office. Maybe a skylight, too, because it's much more flattering to my skin tone. ()

Monday, April 12, 2004

i'm so exciting

This morning, I woke up thinking, "You really have to be a special kind of person to live in Montana."

Yesterday I woke up thinking, "An ice cream cone filled with Cool Whip would be fucking awesome right about now."

Why can't I dream about sex and money and flying like a normal person? And since when did I start using the word "awesome"?

Ah, the mysteries of our lives that are revealed by our subconscious during sleep...heavy, man. Heavy.



I just don't get it. ()

Sunday, April 11, 2004

happy easter

Jesus is coming - quick, hide all of the eggs! For some reason, Jesus really, really does not like eggs. Don't ask me why.

Did you know that in France, their Easter chocolate is delivered by a flying bell that comes in from Rome? Aye, struth!

The Easter Bunny is a German invention. Americans didn't start using him as our symbol until well after the Civil War. Aye, struth!

Swedish people burn nine different types of wood in their fireplace on Easter Sunday to make sure their chimney is free of Easter Witches. Aye, struth!

Polish kids get sausages and horseradish in their baskets. Aye, struth!

And what do the Jews do on Easter Sunday? I don't know about the rest of them, but today I'm going to be celebrating my husband's 35th birthday.

Happy birthday, schnookie wookums.

(What the hell did I just call him? Ugh, sorry about that - I'll never do that again, I promise.)

Happy birthday, you sad old git.

(Yeah, that's better.)



You're only as old as the woman you feel. ()

Friday, April 09, 2004

the adventures of holy man and christly boy, and their friend rudy the questionable-ethics christian

It was an ordinary day in Good Bookland. Holy Man and Christly Boy, Christian superheros, were hard at work discussing matters of great theological importance.

HM: No, I love the Lord more than you.
CB: No, I love the Lord more than you.
HM: No, I love the...hang that an alert coming through?

A box in the corner begins beeping and spitting out ticker tape. Holy Man grabs the tape and gasps.

CB: What is it, Holy Man?
HM: It's an alert from the Christian Crisis Connection. It's our friend, Rudy.
CB: You mean Rudy the Questionable-Ethics Christian?
HM: The very same. He's been in an accident. He's in the hospital. He may not live. And he's not right with the Lord.
CB: Gasp! We have to do something, Holy Man!
HM: Quick - to the God Mobile!

They both jump into Holy Man's Subaru and go racing to the hospital.

HM: Do you have the directions, Christly Boy?
CB: Um...I thought you had them.
HM: But I am Holy Man. God gives me all the direction I need!
CB: I think you just missed the turn.
HM: Blast and damnation - I can't make a u-ie because my alignment is shot. It's the devil, Christly Boy. This is what the devil does. He knows we're trying to do the work of the Lord and he's putting up barriers in our path. Making it tough for us. That''s why we're out of gas. The devil did that, too. We'll have to walk the rest of the way.
CB: Walk the rest of the way? It's two miles from here! I'm seventy-four; I can't walk that far.
HB: Oh hush up, you young whipper snapper. If I can make it, then so can you, because God will protect us.

Three hours later, Holy Man and Christly Boy arrive at the hospital. They pause to catch their breath and Christly Boy tugs on Holy Man's cape.

CB: Um, Holy Man? You're not going to like this.

He points to a sign that reads "Methodist General".

HM: Methodist? METHODIST?!? NOOOOoooooooooooo! Methodists are crazy, Christly Boy! They're worse than Catholics! The challenge to save Rudy the Questionable-Ethics Christian is going to be harder than I thought. If he's so confused that he wants to be treated at a Methodist hospital...well, all I can say is thank God that God is on our side. We're going to need him.
CB: (looking pale and shaken) I'm ready.

They make their way into the hospital and Holy Man bursts into Rudy the Questionable-Ethics Christian's room and thunders, "Are you right with God? Have you accepted Jesus Christ our Lord as your personal savior?" This startled the small child who was trying to recover from his tonsilectomy in the bed beside Rudy the Questionable-Ethics Christian, but Holy Man paid it no mind. Trouble was that Rudy the Questionable-Ethics Christian was unconscious.

HM: Ah, he lives. The good Lord is not ready for him yet. There is still time.
CB: I love you, Holy Man.
HM: And I love you, too, Christly Boy. And I love the Lord. Much, much more than you do.
CB: No, I love the Lord more than you.
HM: No, I love the Lord more than you.

Back at Holy Headquarters, Secular Agnostic Sarcastic Girl was waiting.

SASG: Where were you guys?
HM: Rudy the Questionable-Ethics Christian is in the hospital. It was touch and go for a while, but he should be okay.
SASG: Wow, that's fucked up. I was trying to call him last night. Explains why he didn't answer his phone. Geez, now I feel bad for leaving him those bitchy voice mails.
HM: As indeed it should.
SASG: Damn it - Rudy owes me money, too. Is it really tacky to ask him for the money now? Probably, huh?
HM: I would think so, yes.
SASG: Hey, where's the Subaru?
HM: Oh, you mean the God Mobile? It's um...out of gas at the side of the interstate.
SASG: Right. The devil made you forget to gas up again?
HM: Erm...something like that.
SASG: Pesky devil.
HM: Indeed.
SASG: Hey, just between you and me...I heard that Christly Boy loves the lord more than you do. Is that true?
HM: WHAT?!? Christly Boy, you get in here right now!...

Ah, I love the smell of sanctimony in the morning.



No real Christians were harmed in the taping of this broadcast. ()

Thursday, April 08, 2004

you know you're a boring-ass loser when...

When you sit listening to the market report and news that the price of soy has hit a fifteen-year high ends up sending you into a panic and consumes half of your morning while you're busily calling your supplier and giving your affiliates a "head's up".

Yeah, I'm cool. I am such a fucking rock star.

On the other hand, I spoke to the inventor of the informercial today. I told him that I want to kiss his ring, while my husband wants to punch him in the throat. He said, "Yeah, I get that a lot."

Again, rock star. Rock star extraordinaire.

Envy me-ingly,


His name is Beryl Wolk and he's sevvenitty-five years young! and enthusiastic enough to make me fall asleep. I believe he is the role model of every single infomercial host to date. He's a man that can make Turkey Jerky sound appetizing. ()

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

just don't call them libyans

The director of the charity where I work has a bit of a fetish about Liberians. Not a fetish, really, as a fetish indicates a preference rather than a necessity. He has an obsession with Liberians. He has, literally, given the shirt off his back to a Liberian in need. This makes him very, very popular with the Liberians. Me? Not so much.

They're an interesting people - before working here I'd never had much, if any, contact with a Liberian person before. I don't know anything about the culture or even where it's located on the map. I probably did know at one time, but after weeks and weeks of Uganda, Romania, Bolivia, Haiti, Belize, Sudan et. al they all sort of blend together into an amalgamation of "over there". One girl who works in the office was talking about going to Puerto Rico and I asked, "What crisis are they facing?" She called me "Duh" and very carefully explained that she's going there for a vacation. Ahh, vacation! I remember those...they usually came after lunchtime, am I right? Lunchtime being another elusive beast that's sorely lacking in my life - I couldn't envision a vacation.

But back to Liberians. Fascinating, fascinating people. In Liberia they don't use watches - trouble is that Liberians in America don't use them, either. Two p.m. on Saturday afternoon could just as easily be ten a.m. the following Tuesday as far as they're concerned, and they are really put-out if you're otherwise engaged when they finally show up. "But we made the appointment two weeks ago!" Really? And how would you know, Ms. I Keep My Own Standard of Time? It can be frustrating, but it's just another cultural difference I have to learn to contend with.

I sat for a long time with a Liberian man who was utterly captivated by my watch. At first I responded in much a "Duh" fashion - oh, well, isn't it obvious! - but I found myself thinking hard about the little slave-driver I voluntarily wear on my wrist every day.

May I see the watch of you please?

Sure - see?
It is quite pretty. Why is it so pretty?
Because...well, because I have to wear it all of the time, so it might as well look nice, right?
But you are ruled by the watch?
Um...well, kind of. I mean, yeah, in a way.
So you dress it up so it's ornamented and not ugly functional.
I suppose so.
And who makes the watch go like this?
What do you mean, the manufacturer?
No, what I mean to say is who makes the time go?
Makes the time go? No one makes the time go - it just goes. Whether you have a watch or not - time just goes.
So why you keep track? Let it go.
But I can't.
Why you can't? I never watch a watch and still I plant, and still I harvest.

The moon is your clock.
The moon not to fit on your hand. You cannot hold the moon. You wear a pretty watch.
At least I'm on time.
You are on time for the people who are on time for the other people who are on time and you all a slave to time and you die and the moon kisses you on your grave and weeps. You all you people agree on time and then change the time to fit you. Moon does not change. Sun does not change. You have to change your keeper on your wrist and the moon still goes and the sun still goes and things are done when they need to be done, and no pretty bracelet is going to make any of that any different.

I don't wear a watch to work anymore.

I still watch the clock, obviously. We all do - we have to. Could you imagine a world where Saturday afternoon could mean Tuesday morning? It would be madness.

But think of a world where everything that needs to be done is done, to completion. The Liberians stick with one thing until it's totally finished - and if their deadlines are pushed back, then so be it. They're still busy with the other thing and they'll get around to the next thing all in good time.

Maybe it was all affected. Maybe that guy was playing with me. I do know that Liberians are awful at keeping time, but maybe it's not so ethereal as all of that.

But I still won't wear my watch to work, because it's Tuesday so that must mean the Liberians are coming in for our Saturday meeting, and for some reason my watch makes me very sad.

On ticking-iously,


I meant to put the disclaimer "Caution - blanket generalizations ahead" at the top of this post but I forgot and don't have the time to go back and fix it. ()

Friday, April 02, 2004

a haiku for a dumb dead bird-brain goose

Yesterday two geese
Carelessly blocking my path
Two geese is now goose

Stupid bird. What kind of dumb-ass animal hangs out on an interstate off-ramp, anyway?



I'm allowed to be crass with regards to geese because I have it on good authority that they are little fluffy bodies of bird-shaped pure evil. But I can't reveal my source...(andy)... ()