Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rewind: Home. Work.

This piece originally posted on 10/17/12 when I (obviously) worked from home. Y'all, if you know someone who works from home? Don't say any of the below things. PLEASE. 

There are very few things that send me over the edge faster than the following:

“Oh my GAWD, you work from home? You must get sooooo much done around the house!”




“So you work like, what, three or four hours a day?”


“That would be awesome if you had kids. You wouldn’t even need daycare.”

Can we just discuss this for a minute?

Yes, I do get things done around the house. AFTER or BEFORE work. Because during work hours? I’m WORKING. If you worked in an office building, would you be able to stop what you were doing to clean your kitchen? No? Me either, even though technically the kitchen is only a few rooms over.

Yes, I shower. I get dressed too. One, because I like to be clean and fresh-smelling. Two, because working from home doesn’t mean becoming a slovenly lump of humanity. Thanks though.

No, I don’t work three or four hours a day. I work more like eleven to twelve hours a day, because it’s right there. I am also on call during evenings, on weekends, and on vacations. I can’t walk away from my office. I don’t have a commute during which to unwind.  I just have a room, a computer, and a smart phone. They’re always there. I work more hours working at home than I would if I worked off site. 

I wouldn’t need daycare? Are you crazy? Would you bring your children to your office and try to have meetings and conference calls with clients every day? I don’t have children, but if I did? I would ABSOLUTELY need daycare. In fact, for my employees who have children at home? Daycare is pretty much required. 

I don’t know why people think that working from home isn’t work, or is less work, or is not important work. I don’t know why people think that because I don’t get into a car every day and drive someplace I must have a cushy job where I just kind of cruise along, eating ice cream and watching tv in my pjs. 


And the next person who makes me get on this soapbox? Is probably going to wish they hadn’t.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Rewind: Turkey Day Part Four -- The Reckoning

I am going on vacation in a week and I am BUSY, y'all, so I'm going to be reposting some of my more popular pieces. This piece originally posted on 11/28/13 (and had some companion pieces: Part OnePart Two, and Part Three). Enjoy! I'll be back in a few weeks!

Turkey Day Part Four: the Reckoning


After all of the advice and instruction, I went with... Well, I still don't know for sure. I have roasting bags (in case I go for that) and tinfoil (for tenting, in case I don't) and a baster (which I do or don't need depending on who you ask). I have lemons and onions and rosemary to put in the cavity. I have herbed butter to put under the skin (the idea of which makes me whisper "it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again").

I have four cookbooks, two magazines, and a printout from the Butterball website on my counter.

I woke up at 6:30 thinking about stock. Two recipes (and a friend) said I need it. But I don't have any. 

I've also realized I don't have any dessert-type noms and if you think my brain can cope with the notion of making anything else right now, you are crazy. But then, so am I, because apparently I  am going to the grocery store.


Everything seems more doable when the wine rack is fully stocked. Everytime I walk past it, I swear it winks at me. "Relaxxxx. I can toooootaaallly help you with this." (It sounds like the surfer dude turtles in Finding Nemo.)


I don't feel good about my trip to the grocery store. I mean, the nice people shouldn't have to be at work. That's crappy. But then again, they looked bored, so ... I don't know.

Maybe after I finish my coffee I'll start tackling this beast.


Or I could just order Chinese food.


No, I'm going to cook it. 


Everyone who told me that turkey is easy is a lying asshole.

Here's what happened: I took the turkey out of its shrink wrap and discovered this mystifying bit of hard plastic holding the feet together.

No one had mentioned this, ever. In all of my turkey talk, not one person ever said, "oh and it will be wearing plastic shoes. Like Barbie. Only, you know, not."

However. Everyone and some of their uncles was all "get the neck and gizzards out! That's yucky! Can't cook with those in!" so I thought -- rationally -- that Barbie needed to lose her footwear and got out the scissors. 

Yeaaaaah that didn't work. I don't know how that's attached but, even though the feet were released, the plastic was firmly anchored in.

So -- cursing to myself -- I filled the sink with cold water thinking, I'll thaw it out.


Oh, and everyone who was all "the gizzards and such are in a bag?" YOU LIE. There was no bag. There was what looked like the leavings of a serial killer stuffed into my turkey. I didn't know if I should keep wrestling with that plastic bit or call in CSI. It was nightmareish.

So I did what any rational Yellie would do: I called my mom.

"This? Is a fucking nightmare!" I said, not at all dramatically.


I explained the shoes and the icky. She said, "oh. You just ... Leave the shoes on."

I looked at my turkey. "What? I needed to take the Ickers out because they were in a bag but plastic shoe tie things are okay? I don't understand this and, fuck it, I'm not doing it."

"Yes you are."

"Might as well. Can't suck less."

So I cut off what I could see of the plastic, grimly reached in and yanked out the Ick, and went to work. Quartered lemons, stuffed 'em in the cavity. Chopped up an onion and stuffed that in too. Rosemary sprigs -- in you go. Pulled the skin away from the breasts and slid my hand in. I thought, "It's like a glove!" And then thought "I am going to be in therapy forever."

Under the skin: butter. More lemon. On the skin: olive oil. Rosemary. Salt and pepper.

Poured stock in the roasting pan, added lemon and onion and rosemary to THAT, and picked it up to put in the (preheated) oven.

And that was when my roasting pan broke.

"Fuuuuuuuuuucccckkkkk!" I said to the cat, who was keeping a curious but safely distant eye on the whole thing. And then I just got MAD. "Cook a turkey, they said! It's easy they said!" 

The handle on the roasting pan listed uselessly to the side. Mocking me.

"I was in O.M., pan. Screw you." I got a cookie sheet out and put it underneath. It barely fit but no matter.

TurkeyZilla is in the oven.

And I need a drink.


Note: if you're gonna baste, even though your mom told you not to bother, try not to melt one of your silicone potholders when sliding the oven rack out. 

But if you DO happen to do that? It would be a good time to open that wine.


Second basting. Managed not to fill the house with the acrid smell of melted silicone. Have no idea if the meat thermometer is touching the thigh bone or not (it's not supposed to. I don't think) so I'm hoping the pop up timer is a thing that works? Or something?

I'm also hoping I can get that thing out of the oven without spilling molten lava cooking liquids over myself, what with the "broken roasting pan" issue. That will NOT make for a festive holiday, and I don't want to have to explain my folly in the ER. Next year? I'll buy a real roasting pan.


More wine, anyone?


After four hours in the oven, the juices in the pan seemed like they needed to be siphoned off a bit. Which wouldn't be a problem because I have a baster, but which was a problem due to clumsiness.

That's okay. My entire kitchen needed to be scrubbed down anyway. Probably.

On the other hand? The pan juices smell so amazing that I'm almost sorry that I'm not making gravy. ALMOST.


Is it done?


I think it's done. Maybe?


I'm taking it out.


I hope it's done. 

I hope it's not TOO done.


Holy shit. It's delicious.

I have no idea how this happened, and I have no idea what I'm doing with all of this turkey. 


I do have a notion that I need to thank some people for their advice. So, in no particular order, thanks and big hugs to:

Charlene Hayes, Jodie Coward, Jessica Brodeur, Julie Rowe, Linda Campbell, Kristen Flink, Tricia Finch, Dot Winchell, Helene Harriman, Kelly Tipping, Neha Vanscoy, Shilo Fiel, John Perham, Matt Bemis and anyone and everyone else who offered advice and encouragement along the way (or invited me to eat with them and avoid the horror). 

You guys are awesome. 

And Martha Stewart can kiss my ass.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Randoms


"The word 'engaged' has GAG in the middle of it."


"What? It's TRUE!"


"Why haven't I heard from her yet?"

"Well. She might still be at the doctor. OR... She might be eating a delicious hamburger!"


"I'm just saying. She has options."


"Awww, Townhouse is so funny. Serving size, three crackers. HAHAHAHAHA."

"That's like Ben and Jerry saying there are four servings in a pint. No, there is ONE. Come on boys, get serious. Plus, would I even be spooning this into my face if I was concerned about serving sizes?"


"Ugh. Facebook post: Life isnt about how many breathes you take but about the moments that take your breathe away."


"Apparently, life is NOT about punctuation. Or spelling."


"I would like that guy? Except that he's a terrible person who triggers a reflex in me that makes me want to punch him directly in the junk."

"But except for that?"

"Except for that I would totally enjoy him."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I was feeling super anxious about a thing (because, as y'all know, this is what I do) and working myself into a full-fledged, panic riddled, unable to breathe mess when I suddenly thought:

This is temporary.

It was like flipping a switch.

Since that moment, I have felt something that I can only describe as peace. It's like I have suddenly discovered a giant pool of zen and am just gently back floating in it.

I wish I had figured this out years ago. I mean, I had obviously heard the saying "this too shall pass" but it has never resonated with me like "this is temporary" is.

Because when you start to think about it? Life is temporary. In the grand scheme of things, our time is short. It has a finite stretch. Within that teeny span come and go so many moments. Some will be of great joy. Some will be filled with stress. Some will be so funny that you will laugh until you are crying. Some will be filled with pain. Some will be easy. Some will be incredibly hard.

But they all come ... and then they go.

So if you are sad? Know that it is temporary. It is not forever.

If you are angry? This is temporary. You will move through and past it.

If you are scared? It's just in this moment. Your fear will subside.

If you are anxious? It will go away.

It's temporary.

And it's going to be okay. I promise.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Adulting, Part 8973463746

I'm finally, at forty, starting to get some of this being a grown-up stiff down. For example, I now recognize that Diet Coke is NOT actually the same thing as drinking water. * Also, I totally understand that putting vegetables on pizza does not make it a salad, and that wine is NOT just liquid fruit. I also have gotten better about making a list before I go to the grocery store** and then actually buying the things on the list so that I have things to make meals and not just a random assortment of unrelated foodstuffs and six bottles of wine.


There are, of course, the things I am still terrible at, like throwing away magazines after I read them. What am I keeping them for? I HAVE NO IDEA. But they're still in a big stack in our book room. I'm still afraid of the dentist and bad about going to the doctor; I'm getting better about this, but I'm not super good at it.


Yesterday was grocery day, so I planned out meals and then we went shopping. I was making pasta for dinner (yay gluten free pasta).


Because in the afternoon, The Fella said, "Do you want to get Chinese for dinner? I know that's not the plan, but ..."

Let's see ... did I want delicious Chinese food? Do little birdies chirp in trees? Damn straight I wanted Chinese food!

Oh, but the pasta. It was kind of a complicated thing to make on a weeknight. Humph, what to do.

And that's when the adult-y part of my brain kicked in. "You could make it today," it whispered. "You could make it today and then tomorrow it will be all ready! You'll just have to heat it."

Okay, so here's the deal: I KNOW that this is a thing people do, this cooking things in advance. I believe there are entire television shows devoted to the concept. It's just not a thing I do, because I am organized, but I'm not THAT organized. That's, like, Martha Stewart organized, and I'm only at Yellie-level.

But I did it. I made today's dinner yesterday. It's kind of exciting, like the dinner fairy came, only I'M the dinner fairy. IT'S ME! WOOHOO!

Now if only I could take care of that pile of magazines ...

*What? Weight Watchers used to count it as being the same thing.)


Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Randoms

"What's the word for things that happen weekly?"

"Um. Weekly."

"You're the best!"


"Whatcha doing?"

"Being snarky on the Internet. Why?"

"Never mind. I can't interrupt your life's work."


"I really think that the most important thing here is that we recognize that we are this cat's minions and that we in no way own the house or anything in it."

(Cat meows)

"See? Her majesty agrees."


"Oh, I wanted to tell you..."




"I wanted to tell you some words but I can't remember what any of them were? So I'm going to go now."


"This shoe department is a mess."





"...Odyssey of the Mind nerds strike again."

"Pretty much."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Insomnia Thoughts

I keep hearing that Finding Dory is good. When it's on Netflix or something I will have to see it. If The Fella will watch it again. He saw it in the theater. Remember when I could go to movie theaters? That was ... well, it was bad. Why are they always COLD? Why does someone too tall always sit in front of me? Ugh. But Finding Dory is supposed to be cute, and there's an octopus, and I love those. So yeah. My mom didn't like Finding Nemo, but she doesn't like animated movies and, as she pointed out, "Fish don't talk." Unless maybe they DO and we just don't understand them? But no, they probably don't. Hey, you know what? The fish READ in that movie too. I'll accept a talking fish but a READING fish? That makes NO sense. How would a fish learn to read? And these were ocean fish, not aquarium fish. Aquarium fish reading would make at least a LITTLE sense because they might come into contact with words but OCEAN fish? When would they have books to work from? They would NOT, that's when. Oh, maybe litter. Maybe they are becoming literate by reading trash? God, that's depressing. Not fish learning to read -- everyone should love reading! -- but learning from the trash. That's sad. Although -- what would a fish WANT to read? And how would they turn the pages if they had books? Unless they recruited like, an octopus or a crab or something as their reader-helper buddy? Tag team reading! Go, you aquatic critters, go!

Good grief, I am tired.

Monday, August 15, 2016

When You're Born Broken

...You don't understand what it's like to be healthy.

... You are mystified when people say that they have a head cold. You have never had a head cold. You have had the sniffles, and then pneumonia, but never just a head cold. Ever.

... You hate the doctor. Not because they don't help, but because you're tired of it. The routine. The treatments. The steroids. 

... You are tired of being a burden to your loved ones. You know they worry about you. You know that when they hear you sneeze they brace themselves for the worst. It makes you feel terrible.

... You develop an allergy to everything. This antibiotic. That antibiotic. That other antibiotic. Your doctors get excited when something new hits the market, and maybe you'll only have to take a ten day cycle instead of a fifteen day cycle. You can hope. Unless you develop an allergy to that, and then it's back to the drawing board, AGAIN.

... People ask you about the status of your meds. Are you low? Do you need a new script? When was the last time you talked to your PCP?

... People don't want you to walk, carry things, try hard. Because they are afraid you will die.

... People will ask, "Do you have your meds with you?" Because they are afraid you will die.

... When someone with your condition dies, you will know ASAP. People will remind you, as though you don't remember every day.

... Some people with your condition will challenge you, as though your issues and theirs are exactly the same even though they are not. Refusal to rise to the bait will be viewed as concession. It isn't.

... You will not be afraid of the life you have, because it is the only one you remember. Other people will not understand this ... Mostly people who have bodies that are not broken. You do not have to explain.

... You may do things that aggravate your condition, because your body has never ever worked properly, so what difference does it make? (You eventually decide that this is very stupid.)

... You give up on the miracle you hoped for when you were younger. This is what you get. There is nothing else.

... When you have an episode, you sometimes wonder if this is it.

... You are sometimes so tired that you would be okay if this was it.

... You have experience with people staying by your side for days, watching you. Waiting for you to get worse or better. Willing you to live. So far, they have succeeded.

... You believe in a higher power because you are still here. It's not a complicated belief.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Randoms ... the Writer Problems Edition


"That last thing that you just wrote? I love that!"

"Um. I wrote that months ago..."


"... and it's been live on the site this whole time."

"Welp. Um... nice job?"


"Oh I love this sentence! Good job."

"You wrote that."

"I did??? OH I DID! What do I need you for then?"


"Those two words mean the same thing. So, when you create two headings for them, you basically have two columns that mean the same thing. We should get rid of one of them."

"But there are two."

"But there should only be ONE."

"... but there are two."


"I kind of want this to say all of these other things, like about teamwork and beauty and the nature of work."

"Did you read the whole thing?"

"No, I just read the first sentence. Why?"

"Because the rest of it is about teamwork and beauty and the nature of work?"



"Could you rewrite this so it says this same thing but uses completely different words? That would be better."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

You Know What You Know

I have been making oatmeal for The Fella's breakfast for a while. It is not a complex task: two cups of boiling water plus one cup of rolled oats, cook for fourteen minutes, and voila, oatmeal.

Well, maybe it is a little complex. It took me a while to land on the fourteen minute cook time. You see, the package says to cook them for ten  minutes. You know what you get when you cook oatmeal for ten minutes? No? Me either, but it's not really oatmeal. It's ... a very wet substance that looks in no way like something you should voluntarily ingest.

So I experimented. And after some trial and error, I discovered that fourteen minutes with the oven burner set to four made a perfect bowl of oatmeal. Yay for me!

My mornings were like clockwork: put the water on, empty the dishwasher, pour the oatmeal into the now boiling water, stir, eat my own breakfast, and by the time I was done with my meal, the oatmeal would be done. Brilliant. I love a routine.

The world at large, it seems, likes to screw with my routines. Because The Fella has been instructed to eat exactly half of that amount of oatmeal daily now.

No big, right?

I mean, it shouldn't be a big deal. Half is half. One cup of water plus half a cup of oatmeal, cook for seven minutes, done.

I knew it.

But I didn't believe it.

What if seven minutes ended up being too long? No one wants overcooked oatmeal. I stared at the boiling water and then, poured the oatmeal in and set the kitchen timer for five minutes. Five was probably right, I reasoned. I'd come back and check.

You need seven minutes, my gut said.

But what if I DON'T, my brain argued.

You probably know how this ends. When the timer went off after five minutes, I checked the oatmeal.

It needed ...

... two more minutes.

I KNEW IT. And I knew I knew it, but I didn't trust what I knew. I think a lot of us do this -- we don't believe in our own intelligence or experience or power. We doubt ourselves, and because of this, we make more work for ourselves. We make other people question us when we question ourselves. We are afraid to step up and show what we know. We don't act confidently.

It needs to stop. We are all smart. We have all had experiences that we have learned from. We all deserve to stand tall and proud and lead the way when we know what to do. No one should question you when you say you know how to do this, you know how this works.

Especially you.

And especially me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

2 AM (Just Breathe)

There are some things that my brain does not enjoy. It does not enjoy crowds, or movie theaters. It doesn't like clutter very much. Getting lost makes it freak right out.

There are things that my brain LOVES. Like reading, and cleaning, and singing in the car.

My brain also loves some really stupid things.

Like 2 AM.

My brain LOVES 2 AM. Specifically, it loves to be awake at 2 AM, no matter what else we're up to. It wants to be awake and thinking of things that I could write about and coming up with really funny tweets ... things that I absolutely won't remember in the morning. The other thing it likes to do at 2 AM is take me on an anxiety spiral, which is REALLY fun. There's nothing better than waking up to a panic attack that you can't really do anything about.

While my BRAIN apparently loves 2 AM, the rest of me does not. The rest of me loves sleeping and getting rest so I don't spend the next day looking and feeling like someone punched me in the face. My brain does not care about this so much. In fact, sometimes it's so excited about 2 AM that it doesn't settle down about the joy it is experiencing until, say, 5 AM. That's the BEST. That's a heavy under-eye concealer day right there, because let me tell you -- it's not pretty.

But every morning, like clockwork, 2 AM rolls around and my eyeballs spring open. "Let's play a game!" my brain crows. "Let's write a whole blog post in our head! It will be great!"

So I do.

I don't want to, but apparently my brain does.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Randoms


"I don't know, I just stopped ... believing."

"You are not allowed to do that, according to Journey."


"And then he was all like, you should come over, and I was like ... umm..."

"... I'd love to but I just remembered that you're wicked creepy, so I can't?"



"Tell me again why I'm not a world famous scientist?"

"Because you majored in English?"



"My PMS is demanding a ham sandwich."

"Your PMS is oddly specific."

"It wants what it wants. Don't judge."


"I haven't been to Target in over a week."


"Yeah. I think my bank is going to file a missing persons report."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I know today is a post day and I know I'm super late but a) I have been nonstop all day and b) today is the third anniversary of when I lost Bean.

If you never loved a pet, you probably think that continuing to grieve is stupid. Even if you have loved a pet, you might think I'm insane for still mourning her. To which I can only say, as politely as possible: please piss off. For ten years she was my continual sidekick, and I'll miss her furry little face for as long as I do.

Lizzie B., Miss Elizabeth Bennett, is a lovely companion and I adore her. But she is not my shadow the way Bean was, and I'm actually thankful for that. Lizzie is my adored cat. Bean was my baby. Again, you might think that I'm nuts but you can feel free to take a long walk off a short pier. It is what it is. Bean was with me through marriage and divorce and moving and moving and moving and homelessness and there was never a time when she didn't chirp with joy when I walked through the door or charm the shoes off of anyone she met. She was my familiar, and I loved her to pieces and miss her like crazy.

So yeah. This is a crazy cat lady post and I don't even feel that badly about it. Hug your pets. Hug them tight. Spoil them like mad while you have them. Do it for Bean.

Monday, August 1, 2016

For Your Consideration

I have been thinking -- about thinking.

Sometimes, at my current job, I have moments where it probably looks like I'm not doing anything. My primary function, though, is to write, and in order to write, you have to think. Sometimes thinking looks like doodling. Sometimes it looks like staring into space. Sometimes, for me, it looks like drinking tea and air-drumming along with the radio because I'm an air rock star. (Obviously.) The point I'm making here, though, is that in order to do my job I have to be able to think about what I'm doing, and sometimes thinking doesn't look like very much.

I was considering this in light of one of my previous jobs, where my supervisor thought that you needed to be doing something every moment. This person liked to proclaim, with some regularity, that breaks were at their discretion, and that they would determine if you really needed one. However, this person ALSO frequently complained that none of the people who worked under them was really an independent thinker -- there was no innovation of process or procedure coming from any of the people who worked under them.

I had yet another previous employer who used to like to say that we -- the people who reported to him -- needed to take the time to think about the "big ideas" and that he would give us an hour every day just to think. However, he would change his mind about that and ask us why we hadn't produced this report or answered that email in the hour that was supposed to be spent "just thinking" OR he would tell us that our thoughts were incredibly stupid and that none of our ideas were worth anything. (There's a reason I call him Crazy Boss...)

The thing is, though, that in order to innovate or create, you have to have the time to think. You have to be able to step outside of your process and procedure and think about it: why it functions the way it does. How that function could be improved. Why it SHOULD be improved. In order to be creative, you have to have the time for creative thought. You need a break. You need to be able to air drum or stare into space or whatever getting lost in your thoughts looks like for you, if only for a couple of minutes, so that you can start to put together ideas.

I know that I'm lucky to have a job where not only do I get the time I need to think about how to best complete things but where I'm encouraged to do so. I know that's rare -- but should it be? Shouldn't all employees be encouraged to think about how they can best contribute, and given the opportunity to both do and share that thinking? Is it benefitting anyone if there is no ability for everyone in an organization to have the chance to speak up about how to make it better?

I don't know.

But I'm thinking about it.