t-shirts and texting

I have some bad news for my ego that I have been avoiding for quite some time. I might be old now. Maybe. I'm not entirely certain, but I have seen some evidence lately pointing to that conclusion.

1. I have not been IDed in, um, I don't even know how long. Not at the grocery store (but they did yell at me for just putting the six packs in my cart after checking out - I was trying to save a plastic bag, but apparently, beers must not leave the store naked, and there are no exceptions - even if you are trying to be environmental), not at the bar, not at dinner out with my girlfriends. I swear I heard one of those "We ID anyone that looks under 30" signs laugh at me last week.

2. When cleaning out my trunk of "things I somehow cannot bear to part with for no good reason" this weekend, I found a bunch of old t-shirts. I was showing them off to Scout (who was not entertained at all by my antics), and I pulled out a Rutgers rugby t-shirt... from 1993. I have a t-shirt that is 14 years old?

3. My dad challenged my bio line of "newly 30". He said it no longer applied, as I am closer to 31 than 30. Wait a second... my DAD is making fun of my age? By the nature of our relationship, he is clearly older than I am! How can he make fun of me? Hmph.

4. Professional athletes suddenly look young. College athletes look ridiculously young. When did that happen? Whilst I was munching on chips and cracking open a beer on my couch?

5. I stopped the other day to look at new cell phones. I picked up each shiny new device and examined it. After looking at half the phones in the store, I found myself asking the salesgirl (and I do mean girl - I think her parents had to drop her off at work, 'cause there is no way she is old enough to drive) if there were any simpler phones. You know, phones without all the fancy features - I don't need to play music or send video or email with a miniature keyboard. Apparently my technology aged out at text messaging.

Okay, off to bed for me... it's getting late! I guess that should have been number six on the list...


trophy wife

When my parents recently moved to Florida (I know, how atypical – old peeps moving to Florida – it is a new trend sweeping the northeast), one of the many boxes was lost along the way. Obviously, it was filled with critical items one cannot live without, for when the moving company notified my mother weeks after the move, she had no idea it was even missing. The moving company sifted through the box carefully examined the contents of the box, and when they decided it wasn't worth hocking determined it was a box of items belonging to yours truly, she told them to ship it to me in California.

Three and a half months after the move, said brown box arrived on my front porch. With five “FRAH – GEE – LAY” stickers affixed to the crumpled cardboard, I suspected it had been visiting with Tom Hanks and his buddy Wilson on their deserted island during its three month tour. After photographing the damaged box (in case the valuable contents were ruined, I had exhibit A for the lawsuit accusing emotional damages), I carried it inside.

I opened the box, and after removing the top 6 inches of paper stuffing (the contents must be very important if they were packed with so much non-news-paper), I reached the first item. I lifted it out of the box… it was pretty heavy… I slowly unwrapped it, and there it was in all its glory. Gleaming in the late afternoon sun, it looked exactly as it did the day I first saw it – a gold-leafed statuette marking the memorable softball season from 1986. I cleared off the mantle above the fireplace, and placed the trophy in a spot for all to admire, and continued unwrapping items. By the time I reached the bottom of the box, I had quite a display, and a new wardrobe!

My new(old)found treasures contained 7 trophies and 4 plaques ranging from 1986-95. Strangely, there was a disproportionate amount of softball trophies to my participation in that sport - perhaps softball teams are more trophy oriented than soccer or basketball? The plaques started showing up around '91 - not sure if that is due to a trend towards plaques in the nineties, or if it was a result of my age at the time - was it cooler to give plaques to high schoolers?

Not only were the trophies wrapped in paper, but the bottom layer of wrapping was handled by reversible jerseys. It was a double surprise with each item - one trophy and one reversible mesh jersey! I now have 4 reversible mesh basketball jerseys (two with my name and number on the back), 1 non reversible basketball jersey (lame - what if I change my mind in the middle of the day - I am only stuck with only one color?), 1 soccer jersey, and 2 shorts - all PURE POLYESTER! Too bad summer just ended - they would have been perfect when it sails past 100 degrees here. In case I want to mix things up a bit with some natural cotton, I have 2 sweatpants (which are so old that when i held them up by the inside of the waistband, the elastic just crumbled, so now they are stuck in the stretched out position) and 1 project graduation tshirt.

I arranged the trophies and plaques tastefully on the mantle, and laid out my new wardrobe in front of the fireplace (as if Mr. Claus had just deposited them there after squeezing through the natural gas line, landing with a bound). I think it is quite a nice display for the room, and the golden bronze colors are very autumnal. How lucky is my husband to have a trophy wife?


PEN pals

I remember when I was in school (back in the nineteen hundreds) and all English assignments required writing essays. Actually writing essays - with a pen - on paper. These days, the most writing I do is on my grocery list,which, as you know, isn't a very frequent occurrence.

Well, I think I have developed carpal tunnel syndrome today. Not from excessive repetitive use while typing , but from writing too much with a pen. I have been corresponding as a pen pal with my sister's nieces (not my nieces, so follow: her husband's sister's kids). They are eight and five, so not only do I write (on paper! with a pen!), but I have to write neatly so they can read it.

I draft my letters on the computer (did I write that out loud?). I just can't write as fast as I think... but I can type like crazy! And Bill Gates is kind enough to include spellcheck with his programs... I have yet to see a Bic that can do the same. Also, I can edit my letters better when I type them... you can never have too much rigor around a pen pal letter to an 8 year old. Did I convince you yet? I think the drafting is a bit strange myself, but who am I to criticize my own behavior?

So, after the ink dried on two letters to my pen pals, I have self diagnosed myself with carpal tunnel syndrome. My wrist is killing me, and I think I also may have torn a muscle in my forearm from so much writing. You would think I wrote a novel to them, but it was only 23 lines (for 223 words - see? Bill even put a word counter in his program... what do you have to say to that, Bic? .... Bic? Hellllllo? Are you still there?).

I have often wondered why we have so many pens in our house. Those scripting sticks are everywhere... in drawers, two full pen holders (one downstairs, one upstairs - in case of pen emergency), a few in the car, 2 or 3 in my purse, probably even one in each purse in my closet! Now I know why they are so prolific - with the digital age, it will take me until 2023 to use all the ink in those pens. Hopefully by then, someone will have developed a bionic wrist so I can get a replacement after mine is damaged from all that writing!


speaking... the public variety

Since I was not going back to school this fall, I thought I should at least take some sort test this year... but I didn't really want to put too much energy into it, so I found a test that questions me on something I know quite a bit about... myself! Here are the results of my personality test:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Am I surprised by the results??? Hardly! If anything, I am surprised that I am not 100% extraverted!

Surprising, however, would describe my behavior today (as compared to the results above) during an "All Hands Meeting." We had a 150 person meeting at the Marriott today - I kind of felt like I was at a wedding reception... um, without the bar, or the dancing, or the centerpieces, or the favors, or the white dress and tux... and instead of toasts, we had speakers with power point presentations. Pretty much the same thing. Riiiiight...

Anyyyywayyyy... as with all "All Hands Meetings" (can you use repeated words if you are using quotes), we had a breakout session for some random activity, and I was the scribe. Partly because I love writing with Mr. Sketch markers (we had the yummy blueberry scent), and partly because I wanted to get out of my chair. After we compiled our illustrious list of positives and challenges (don't say positives and negatives, because in holding with buzzword lingo rule 10.c, all negatives are to be referred to as challenges or obstacles), they asked for a representative on each team to present our top two items to the room. Since I was the uber-dork that jumped up to use the (sniiiiiiiiiif) blueberry marker, my team unanimously voted me the speaker before I could even put the cap back on the marker and enjoy my last inhale.

We were table 13, and as they were working their way from table 1... table 2... up to our lucky number, I felt the familiar panic setting in... My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking, and my mind was at odds...
Halo: "There is nothing to be nervous about - you know all these people"
Horns: "But you have never liked public speaking"
Halo: "All you have to say are two stupid things"
Horns: "But they are approaching with a microphone"
Halo: "Nobody will even remember what you said"
Horns: "Unless you totally fuck it up"
...I know, I shouldn't reveal my inner thoughts. They have trucker mouths!

As I sat in my red and gold diamond patterned banquet chair, sweating, shaking, and breathing quickly, they decided to sneak up on me, and suddenly, microphone Vanna chick was in my face, waiting for me to bestow my brilliant comments upon the crowd. (Yikes, I think my heart rate is going up just typing this)! I quickly said my lines (forgetting to say my name), and sat back down. It was all a blur. I remember as much from that 30 seconds as a young freshman girl would remember about a frat party come Sunday morning.

I don't understaaaaaaaand (read in a whiny voice). I LOVE to talk... Verizon can vouch for that fact! All 14 pages of my cell phone bill, listing each call and the ungodly total minutes used per month. Sometimes I wonder how many minutes actually are in a month, but I am afraid of the answer. WHY can't I master talking in front of a crowd? And it isn't all crowds... I can talk in front of small crowds. In fact, I lead sessions at work. Small sessions. Not a problem. In fact, I like doing that kind of stuff. I am always the person with a comment. On Monday, I was cajoled by my team, because in one day, I uttered the strange phrases, "I don't have any questions" and "I am ambivalent"... both in one day! They all asked if I was okay, or if an alien had possessed me.

It has always been like this for me - speaking at weddings is terrible... and yes, I have tried the age-old trick: attempting to dull the nerves with some champagne (but not Bud Light - I have seen how those toasts go). Strangely, it doesn't seem to help. In fact, Scout reports that it just makes me talk faster. SofastthatyoucanhardlyunderstandwhatIamsaying.

So, I will add another item to my lifetime "to do" list: master speaking in front of crowds. (Knees knocking as I add it to my mental list)... I am off to have horrible nightmares about standing in front of a crowd.


cheese IS dairy

Today was chore day - laundry, ironing, carpet cleaning, meal planning and grocery shopping. Although I am a chronic planner, I just cannot master meal planning. Part of the problem is that it involves cooking (I shudder just typing that word). But, today, I tried again... attempt 42 at planning meals for the week.

I sat down on the couch with my favorite cookbook (Better Crocker's healthy AND hearty - 'cause what is the point of eating healthy if you are just hungry after your meal?) and picked out a few recipes. I wrote down the ingredients, confirmed the items in the house (surprisingly, a lot of them), and added the needed items to my grocery list. I KNOW... a list. Novel idea, and not usually something that accompanies me to the store. I generally wander and grab the usual suspects: milk, eggs, cheese, deli meat, fruit, bread... and whatever else looks good along the way.

I entered the grocery store with an air of confidence. I had a list! And in a bout of energy before I left, I organized my list by aisles in the store (since when am I type A?) Rather, where I thought they might be in the store; I didn't actually know, since some of the things were items I had never purchased before.

Before I continue, let me explain something about the grocery store I frequent - it is not your typical grocery store. It is humongous. They have a section that sells dinnerware - not paper plates, not plastic plates, but actual real pottery plates. They have wine tasting on Friday nights. It is so big that you can't just run in to quickly grab a gallon of milk, because the milk is located in the back 40. So they added an end cap in the front of the store stocking milk, butter, yogurt and other quick pickup items. It is so big that they have a convenience store inside the store!

I was quickly filling my cart and crossing off items on my list: milk, yogurt, mozzarella cheese, and then I encountered cottage cheese. I looked through the entire cheese section, but it was nowhere to be found. One of the helpful employees was stocking the cheese, so I asked her where the cottage cheese was located. She replied, "In the dairy section." Huh? As far as I know, cheese IS dairy. I recognize that the FDA has changed the food pyramid a hundred times since I learned it in 6th grade, but I seriously doubt they reclassified cheese. I stood there with a blank look on my face, and she added, "by the milk." Of course... why would cottage cheese be in the cheese section? It would be too obvious.

I would also like to add the fun tidbit that there is a second cheese section - the GOURMET cheese section. No wonder I never want to cook - too much effort to find anything at the store! Oh, and the effort of cooking.


culture... of the pop variety

As mentioned previously, I am from Jersey. Undisputed fact when you get me fired up, or on the phone with one of my immediate family members. RunnerGirl is also from Jersey (how we met is another story for another day) and since we are from Jersey, we have instituted a rule that anything Jersey related is automatically approved in the fiscal budget (hi, honey!).

On Sunday, we went to see the musical "Jersey Boys" at our local travelling Broadway theater (rather, theatre - apparently, it is fancier with the "re" than the traditional "er"). The funniest part of the whole night was when we were in the lobby before the show, and we overheard a fellow patron say, "You know how those people in Jersey talk"... I think he meant "tawk", but I'll let it slide.

The play was awesome, even though I knew nothing about the Four Seasons. Sure, I had heard the songs, but I was not really "into" them when I was younger. RunnerGirl was practically jumping out of her seat with every new song (and I think I heard her sing along a couple times) since she had the full cassette tape collection, as it was one of the approved musical groups by her parentals when she was younger. I did not know the story behind the group (giant gasp by the entire state of Jersey - shame on me!), but I learned so much during the 2.5 hour show... in fact, I am sure that if they had presented History in the form of a musical, I would have learned much more history in high school! Really, between the History channel and musicals, they could have saved me hours of schooling!

When I came home, I was telling Scout how I loved the play, and I was going to expand my cultural exposure by going to see Phantom of the Opera in the spring... you know, a play that was a real play, not a musical! He had a moment of silence (that I have come to know as the "is she kidding?" thought process). When he realized I wasn't kidding, he said, "but you know Phantom is a musical?" I replied, "yeah, but it's not a musical musical".

Clearly, he does not understand that musicals consist of pop culture music. Musicals have songs that are/were on the radio... songs that people sing in the shower. Songs that I can sing along with in my seat on the tippy-top row of the theaTRE. Which means that Phantom qualifies as real culture, not the culture that I am so masterfully versed in... the POP variety. Duh.



I was willing the start of fall with my outfit today. Unfortunately, autumn was on to my silly ploy, and the only outcome was me sweating in my September outfit because it was 95 degrees outside.

Although the weather was uncooperative, fall did respond with the start of football season. Now, I am not a team fan, nor is Scout. But I do love watching football. Not the dedicated sit-on-the-couch, cheer and watch every game of the season type of watching football, but I do love the game. In fact, I like watching all sporting events. I am unbiased, as demonstrated by one of my favorite sport shows, Ninja Warrior. I digress... the start of football, but not fall...

Football brings back fond memories over many different eras of my life. (Am I old enough to have eras of my life?) Junior high games at Ungermann field (under the lights - so very grown up)... the Warriors vs the Red Devils... followed by a trip to Dairy Queen. High school football games... getting all dressed up in my corduroys, plaid shirt and wool sweater... and maybe my barn jacket if it was really cold out.... standing in the upper left section of the stands cheering for our not-so-great team. College games - okay, I need to clarify this... I only went to about 3 games in my entire college career. In fact, the only reason I knew we even had games was because I had a penchant for dating the football players. But we did have some great tailgating!

Fantasy teams, friday night lights, body painting, first and ten, player of the game, and only two nights of the week without games... now that football has started, maybe the weather will catch on?


the bears and the bees

Camping trip was a success. Such a success, in fact, that we brought back the lovely aroma of campfire to our house. Why is it that every time we go camping, I forget that we will have that scent in our lives for the week following the trip? I have washed my hair 3 times, and sent all our clothes through the washing machine to no avail. I hope our house doesn't catch on fire - I'm not sure I would notice.

I really enjoyed our time in the great outdoors, with the exception of the following: the bears and the bees... (RunnerGirl would argue that I should add birds to that list - from her personal aversion, and also to create a more ironic title).

the bees
Scout and I were the first to arrive at the campsite on Saturday. We stepped out of the car with our yummy sandwiches from the Yellow Submarine (our favorite sandwich place in Tahoe - we might be partial based on the name alone). Plopped ourselves down on the picnic table, enjoying the great outdoors... and were immediately joined by 20 bees. They were clearly more interested in our processed meat sandwiches than any food they might scrounge up in their natural habitat. To avoid accidentally swallowing a bee trying to nibble off our lunch, we headed for the safety of our car. Yes, we ate our lunch - in a campground - inside our car - with the air conditioning blasting. Very outdoorsy and environmental of us.

the bears
As always, the campground has a form you must sign upon entering the park acknowledging the danger of bears and vowing to place all food items (including toothpaste) into the bear lockers provided at each site. Should you fail to comply, a $1,000 fine will be assessed... if you manage to survive the night without getting eaten by a bear. I have signed (or seen) this form many times, and always have the tiny nagging fear in the back of my mind that a bear could come into my tent and devour me while I slumber. Scout assures me that I will not get eaten by a bear, but I have seen Grizzly Man, and - spoiler alert - he most definitely was eaten by a bear. Could happen.

Due to the fires in Tahoe, and the destruction of their natural habitat, bear sightings have been more prevalent recently, and unfortunately, someone in our campground saw a bear on the first night. This news travelled faster than the high school rumor mill, and was all the buzz in our campground.

At the restrooms, random dad was waiting for a group of kids to make their last pit stop before tucking them into their sleeping bags for the night. The kids were riled up about the bear sighting, and to assuage their fears, he told them, "The bears are always there - the only difference between last night and tonight is that someone actually SAW them." Um, is that supposed to be comforting? Now you are telling me they are always there? I like to think that if I can't see them, they AREN'T there (mild panic ensues). He continued, "The bears are not interested in us - they are only interested in our food, so you shouldn't worry about them." One of the boys bravely proposed, "And they are more afraid of us than we are of them, right?" Random dad chuckled and replied, "No - in this case, you are definitely more afraid of them." I second that motion. And thanks Random dad, for not making me feel any better about this bear situation.

My first night was spent listening for giant footsteps, and jumping at every light I saw through the trees (in case the bear coming to sneak attack me was carrying a flashlight?) We heard gunshots at 1:30am - what? Were we camping in the hood? A bear drive-by shooting? Bear gangs? Scout suspects it was merely a noise scaring tactic. Which clearly means the bears were too close to people. Not helping...

The second night, I developed a highly complicated plan... drink enough beer to bring my judgment down just enough notches to quell my fears, but not so many notches that I would have to get up during the night to make the lonely trip to the restroom. You never know, that bear could have been waiting for me, if he knew I had to pee in the middle of the night. Those bears are smarter than you think.

Scout said he was proud of me for making it through the night without freaking out. Yes, I am a master of overcoming fears... with 5% lager assistance. I think this method will work great for the future... can't you just see us, heading out for a family camping trip, Scout advising the kids, "Remember to brush your teeth and put on your PJs early, cause mommy is going to have to drink herself silly so she isn't afraid of the bears." What a shining example I will be.

Or, maybe I could submit a comment to the campgrounds of the world to please not allow bears or bees at their facilities. They ruin the great outdoors.