“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


And The Winner Is...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The votes are cast.

The polls have closed.

The ballots have been counted.

And the results are....

Actually, before I go there, I would like to address a very valid point about which Sojourning and HolyMama inquired. Every girl knows that in this world, whether bowling or not, there is truly nothing more important than shoes. Every outfit must be complemented by the perfect pair of shoes when at all possible.

As I was adorning my feet with the standard issue shoes provided by the bowling alley management the other day, I was wondering about this. What about the women (and some men I suppose, though it has been my observation that most [notice I do not say all] men I know are not aware enough of their shoes to care about such things as I am about to discuss) who bowl on a regular basis? What about league bowlers and even professional bowlers? Do they have to wear the standard issue shoes too?

If I were a pro-bowler, I would want the perfect pair of shoes to complement every outfit. I would refuse to be part of any league that made me wear one of those uniforms that looks like one of my grandmother's housecoats or a nurse's uniform jacket with a cheesy logo splashed across the back and a horrible pun-inspired name like...well I just can't bring myself to type them, but you can see some examples here. I think every womens' bowling league should allow it's members to be fashionable as they bowl, and they should be able to wear their own shoes, even if they must have those wierd hard wooden or cardboard (or whatever they are made of) soles.

As for the questions posed by Sojourning and HolyMama, the shoes were not cute. They were half red and half blue with white laces (very similar to the shoes in the picture above). They were very stiff and I chose to keep my nose as far from them as possible in fear that I would not be able to force myself to don them otherwise.

It's funny how every pair of bowling shoes makes your feet look huge. I have size 8 feet - not small, but certainly not gargantuan - yet somehow the shoes magically transformed my feet into clown feet. Being ignorant of magic like I am, I could not begin to explain this phenomenon.

So, now that you have my in depth opinion of bowling shoes (This blog is beginning to be a bit like Seinfeld, isn't it? I can blog on and on about nothing!) let's get on to what you all really came for.

The Results of the Bowling Score Contest!!!

Sojourning, I commend you for your valiant efforts. 382 is quite an extravagant score, one that is far beyond the realm of possibility, but that's quite alright. As I've probably mentioned before, excessive flattery will get you far with the Geekwif.

Yellojkt, thank you. I truly wish I could achieve such a score as 150. Perhaps when I have a little more experience bowling I will be able to do so. In fact, let's make it official. My new goal is to be able to bowl 150 someday.

Blond Girl, 107 is a right lovely reasonable score, and yet I did not obtain it. I'm sure I'll hit that on my way to my new goal of 150...someday...maybe.

Kristi, your guess of 100 was in the running for the closest for a while - until...well we'll get there. Congrats on almost winning!

HolyMama, you made two guesses - 400 if a high score was good, and 88 if low. The Geek informs me that there is no such thing as a score of 400 (the highest possible is 300), but I am truly touched by your generosity. Your guess of 88 is in a way the winning guess, but the problem is that you guessed that to be a good low score (like in golf) and unfortunately for me, that's not how bowling is scored. If the goal was to see who could hit the least pins possible, I would win for sure!

That leaves just one - the guesser extraordinaire! At the risk of being accused of nepotism, the winner is...

(drum roll please)

Hot Rod Mama!!!

You guessed 94, which was the closest guess to my pitiful little score. I suppose it was a bit of a fluke, since you simply guessed based on Grandma's age - kind of like those people who win the lottery using their children's birth dates - but, nonetheless, your's was the closest guess!

For those whose curiosity is getting the best of you right now, I suppose I should post my pitiful, diminutive score which was the mark you were all striving to hit. My bowling score last Sunday - the highest score I've ever gotten in my grand bowling history (all four times I've played) is...


Like I said, pitiful.

Now, on to the truly important part - the prize. HRM asked for a truly lofty prize indeed. In her words, " about posting your NaNoWriMo novel - yes, in it's entirety - on your Blogspot?"

Now, I would love to do this for you, but in my words, "I reserve the right to refuse and make you pick a different prize if I find it unreasonable, illegal, immoral, distasteful, or simply impossible." It may be unreasonable; it's certainly not illegal, immoral or distasteful; so I'm going with simply impossible. However, I will make a compromise. I will post some exerpts from it here on my blog for your reading pleasure. How's that? It may take me a few days - eh, better make it a week - but I will honor my promise and your request.

Well, that concludes our show for today. I hope you enjoyed it. Don't forget, I'm here all week. Oh, and don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses.


A Party, A Contest, And A Prize (For You!)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This past Sunday was the Geek's company Holiday party. I'm not quite sure what holiday they were celebrating: perhaps the week-after-Martin-Luther-King Day, or maybe three-weeks-before-Valentines Day. I don't know.

Anyway, the party was at a local hotel/bar/nightclub/bowling alley/event center. They started off by serving us snacky foods (yummy) while we played bingo (fun, though I didn't win). Then they sent us off to the bowling alley for a while where we bowled under black lights and smoke to music, some good (Seal's Crazy by Alanis) and some really not good (that annoying "Fly" song by the equally annoying Sugar Ray).

I have a theory about that smoke by the way. I think they just recycle the smoke from the bar and then pump it out over the alleys. (Icky, eeewww) After bowling, we went back to the snack room for desserts and prizes. Neither the Geek nor I won anything, but it was fun nonetheless.

The interesting part of this story (to me anyway) is that I bowled my best score ever. I'd tell you what it was, but I don't want to...not yet. First I want you to guess. That's right. YOU get to guess the Geekwif's best bowling score ever. Woo hoo, right?

Not only that, but I'm going to let the winner pick their own prize. Does that make it worth guessing? I hope so. There will, however, be a few ground rules to the "pick your own prize" part.

1) The prize you choose must not involve any monetary expense.
2) It must be something I can do on my blog.
3) It must not be of questionable legal or moral value.
4) You may not "guess" if I have already told you the score.
5) I reserve the right to refuse and make you pick a different prize if I find it unreasonable, illegal, immoral, distasteful, or simply impossible.

The prize will be awarded to the person with the closest guess as of Saturday morning. That's two whole days folks!

So, let the guessing commence! I can't wait to see your guesses and what creative ideas you might have for the prize!


Holy Mama!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I have a story to tell, but not enough time to tell it before I go to work this morning. Instead, I want to take a moment to take care of some urgent business. I must express my gratitude to one who seems to have become my biggest fan. Ever since she found me recently, she has been showering me with accolades; whether deserved or undeserved I will let you, my bountiful meager readership decide. She even mentioned me in a meme on her own blog saying she was a "huge fan". Woo hoo! I have a fan! I mean, I know there are a few of you out there who read on a fairly regular basis, but seriously guys, none of you have ever been so uttery flattering as to call yourselves my fans.

I could not simply disregard such noble deeds, so I decided I should give public (all 3 or 4 of you) thanks to my new biggest fan. Not only does she excel at flattery, she has her own blog and is witty, just sarcastic enough to be highly entertaining, intelligent, SAHM of three (?) (which is always a big plus in my book), good clean fun (well, there was that time when she answered the door somewhat unclothed and it was the pastor, but you know, who hasn't?) and...well, she makes me laugh and that can be a rare commodity these days. Plus, she's tripled my stats by coming back several times a day to check for a new post and that, if nothing else, is worth some serious kudos.

So, without further ado (adieu? adoux? adu? I have no idea)...

Large amounts of thanks and gratitude to Holy Mama! Please please please everyone, go visit her. She is so worth reading and I know she'll love the company, especially since she's fairly new to this whole blogging thing.

Have a happy day, HM! I hope this will bring a few extra hits your way.


Four Things

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I picked this up from Sojourning, and since I have nothing better to say today, you get to learn yet more things about me that you really never wanted to know.

Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. ticketer for Target (ticketing items on a long, hot assembly line)
2. National Accounts Specialist (aka customer service for important crabby people)
3. shelving books for Borders (I could gripe about this one, but I won't)
4. retail associate for a small children's clothing boutique (great job, but I stunk at it)

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Under the Tuscan Sun
2. Ever After
3. Notting Hill
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Four places you have lived:
1. Sioux Falls, SD
2. various places in the Twin Cities, MN
3. Mahtowa, MN (10 points if you actually know where that is)
4. about to live in western WI

Four TV shows you love(d) to watch:
1. Friends
2. Firefly
3. Lost
4. Battlestar Galactica

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Canada
2. Gulf Breeze, FL
3. Maine
4. Glacier Park in Montana

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Bloglines
2. BHG Room of the Day
3. Gmail
4. Wapsi Square

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Cheez-its
2. cheese
3. refried beans
4. ice cream

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. our soon-to-be-home in WI
2. in Peru where my in-laws are for the next year and a half
3. Hawaii (simply because it's warm there and I'm not)
4. Italy (I'll admit, it's mostly because of the movie, "Under the Tuscan Sun")


It's My Pity Party And I'll Cry If I Want To

Friday, January 20, 2006

This morning, before heading off to the cube farm for a good day's work, I wrote a post that will forever live in infamy in my own mind. It was brilliant, I tell you, b-r-i-l-l-i-a-n-t. As soon as I finished it, I had a not-so-brilliant moment and deleted it.

Actually I hit the back button on my browser instead of the link I should have chosen and then, rather than hitting the forward button, which is what any person of average intelligence and computer literacy would have done, I closed the window. No, I'm not blonde, though I don't blame you if you're asking that right now. (Sorry BG.) My only excuse is that I am truly, incredibly stupid in the morning. Brilliant, but stupid...if that makes any sense at all.

I've been wracking my brain all day, in between exciting adventures in software training, to remember just what it was that was so brilliant, but I can't remember it. There are only bits and pieces but I can't form them into what they once were, so now it is lost forever. I'm very disappointed. Can you tell?

So it will have to suffice to say that I found something horrible on my head today – something that doesn't belong on my 34-year-old head. Don't get it yet? It was the wrong color. Yeah. Now, don't any of you dare use that word in a comment. You know the one. It's a four-letter-word starting with the same letter as my name. I'll delete it, I swear!

So on top of my bad hair day, now I'm suffering from – um, wrong-hair-coloredness, for lack of a better word. Comment with your condolences on the loss of my youth if you wish, but I really mean it when I say, don't use that word! I might just be forced to pitch a temper tantrum, and believe me when I say, you don't want to see that.


Bad Hair Day

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why is it that bad hair days ruin your entire day?

On January 2nd I had my hair cut from shoulder length to quite short on an impulse. For me, "on an impulse" means that I had been thinking about it for about a month and finally decided to do it without telling anyone except my Geek.

It was really cute – everyone thought so – well they said so, anyway. I loved it. It was short and cute and flippy and fun and it felt so lightweight. It didn't even take much work. I would just blow dry it, which doesn't take too long when it's this short; curl it a little at the ends to make them flip; spray a little hair spray and it was done. Honestly, it only took about 10 minutes to do.

I've been thoroughly enjoying my new, cute, possibly even fashionable (gasp!!!) haircut...until today. It took two weeks, but it has all fallen apart. It's as if last night in my sleep it suddenly hit that magic length where it refuses to flip.

Now it just feathers. How horrifying is that? How does a person go from flip to feather in one night? Do people with short hair get it cut every two weeks to keep it from doing this?

So my entire day was tainted by this horror on my head. It's like I could feel it feathering against my will and I wanted nothing more than to pull it back in a pony tail like I used to do on bad hair days – but there's no hair to pull back anymore.

All I can say is it had better behave tomorrow because if it doesn' just better....

I really hate bad hair days.


Whose Birthday Is It?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yesterday was my Geek's birthday. (37th – just 3 years away from the big 4-0!)

Hot Rod Mama has always maintained that the birthday person gets to do whatever they want, eat whatever they want and has the innate right to refuse any and all unpleasant or unwanted chores that day. It's a long-standing tradition in my family, and to a certain extent, I have carried it on.

Yesterday, the Geek was in charge. He got to choose what he wanted to do all day, where we would eat dinner, and I did not ask him to do any chores, which I would usually do on a Saturday. By his choice, we had a lovely breakfast of muffins over a game of Settlers of Catan (which he won – twice). Then he played Dragon Quest on our PS2 for a good part of the day while I worked on his parents' website.

In the evening we went to Erte, a favorite local restaurant, for dinner. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but we have been there about three or four times now and have never been in the least bit disappointed. The Geek prides himself on his good taste in steaks, and he says that their's is the best he's ever tasted. I had a glass of a merlot from Chile that blew away my old favorite merlot. All in all, dinner was amazing.

The atmosphere in this place is kind of funky, yet elegant; moody, yet fun. We didn't have a reservation, so we sat right next to the band, which was not a problem. They were a fun kind of jazzy group that covered songs we all know, but made them sound fresh and entertaining. Even though we were only about six feet away from them, they were not at all overwhelming.

The crown of the dinner though, was the incredible creme brulee. Have I talked about this on this blog before? I may have, but it's worth mentioning again. They make the most amazing creme brulee you have ever tasted – seriously. Words simply can't describe it...but I'll try anyway. The caramelized sugar glaze is perfectly crunchy and toasty; the creme is subtle, not too sweet; and the perfectly proportioned dollop of whipped cream on top is freshly whipped and, like the band, not overwhelming.

If you are ever in the Minneapolis area, you simply must try Erte. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. (No, I am not being paid for this blog post.)

I felt a bit like it was my birthday yesterday, I enjoyed the day so much. It's always nice to get to spend the day with my favorite Geek. Today, we go to my parents' place to celebrate with them and his sister. More Catan is in order tonight, and in fact, he is waiting for me in the kitchen right now to play a game, so I'd better go. Wish me luck!


Childlike Wonder

Saturday, January 14, 2006

One of my favorite blogs to read daily is As I See It Now. She has a particular way of putting life into perspective that is refreshing, entertaining, and thought-provoking all at once. During the months of November and December I was mostly AWOL from blog world, so I am now catching up on a few of my favorite blogs that I missed those months. Her's is one - possibly the only - that I am reading every one of, or nearly so anyway.

Today I am up to her January 5th post, where she spoke of enjoying the mysteries with which God has infused our lives, even when some would ridicule or shame us for doing so. She used, as an example, the famous letter to The Star editor by Virginia O'Hanlon in 1897, which was answered so brilliantly by Francis P. Church.

Of course, I had heard of the letter and its response, but I had never read it in it's entirety until today. She quoted a line that was so enticing that I had to follow her link to the letter. I was so inspired by it that I thought I would share it here today.

His letter, in a way, outlines the manner in which I would like to live my life – full of wonder and childlike delight, never falling into the trap of believing only what my eyes can see and fingers can touch.

So without further ado, despite the fact that it is a little late for Christmas, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. (Just follow the links below.)

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
Debra's Post, Everyday Magic
As I See It Now


My Window Friends Are Back

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Back in September I posted about my window friends, nature paintings in the hallway of the office where I was working a temp job. They were the one spark of light I found in an otherwise dreary week of office work.

Just a few weeks later I started another temp assignment at the same company where I am still working. Unfortunately, this time my window friends alluded me. They still hung dutifully on the walls, cheering other passers-by who might happen to turn their eyes and notice their beauty; but the location I was working in and the job I was doing did not allow me to pass by those paintings on a daily basis like before.

I've been there for three months now. Over the past couple weeks, I was feeling a little melancholy about the job, the gray walls, the harsh flourescent lighting, the complete lack of sunlight on a daily basis. If you read the linked post, you'll see that these are all things that I understand everyone deals with and that I am not feeling sorry for myself or asking you to do so.

On Friday, I got just the pick-me-up I needed. The manager needed to move us (myself and the other temp working with me) out of the cubicals we have been working in so that he could make room for some new permanent hires. We ended up at desks in what was once a small conference room. For just the two of us, it's quite roomy – you could easily fit another desk in there – and while it echoes a bit, it's the closest I have ever had to an office of my own, shared or otherwise. That's not even the best part.

There is a tall narrow window in the office next to the door. It looks out onto a large open space in the hallway – kind of like a clearing in a forest. There is a small seating area there that is rarely ever used by anyone. In the center of the space is a large tree. It's an actual, real live tree, and I can see it clearly anytime of day by simply turning my head a few degrees to the left. Above the tree there is a deep skylight that allows a little bit of real sunlight to shine down into the space. I can see that from my desk too.

As I exit through our office door, I am greeted by a neighbor lady working in her garden. Yes, you read correctly. There is a large mural painted on the wall and she has become my constant gardening friend no matter the season, but even that is not yet the best part.

I got my window friends back. Those lovely glimpses into nature that my eyes ache to see every day instead of the cold hard plastic of a computer screen are mine to cherish again. In the morning when I walk to my office, in the evening when I leave, whenever I go to get a soda or to lunch or to the ladies' room; they are always there waiting patiently for me to gaze upon their refreshing mountains and lakes and cool blue skies.

I am only assigned to be there for another couple of weeks, but this change has made those two weeks much more bearable. Even if it extended into another month I think I could be content with my window friends to encourage and refresh me every day as I walk by.


Ultimate TMI

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

On Friday, the last day of work before the three-day New Year's Eve weekend, I had nearly completed my workday when I was suddenly and unexpectedly faced with one of the most unusual experiences of my professional life. I was sitting at my desk working when the woman who sits in the cubical next to me came walking back to her desk. Since I had been working hard to get out of there on time, I had not even realized she was away from her desk.

As she walked by my cubical on the way to her own, she exclaimed, "Oh, I feel so much better now." Over the past couple of months I have found that this woman will take advantage of any hint of interest in conversation to tell her entire life-story in one sitting, so having heard her life-story two or three times already, I simply replied, "Well, that's good," and continued working. I figured this was the perfect response – ambiguous enough to apply to whatever she might be referring, terminal enough to not encourage a continued conversation, yet attentive enough to prevent her feeling ignored. Perhaps it was the perfect response, but I could not possibly have been prepared for what was coming next.

There was a moment of silence as she sat down in her chair, and then it happened. Over the cubical wall I heard her say, "I just came from the bathroom," and she paused as though expecting a response.

At that moment, I just kept thinking over and over, "Oh, please let her have just said something else, anything else, just anything other than what I think she just said." Unfortunately, I had heard her correctly. She said exactly what I thought she said, and she wasn't done yet. No, it was about to get so very, very, very, much worse.

I was still sitting there in silence, stunned by her previous statement when she continued, apparently thinking I, a temporary employee in the office, needed further explanation of her recent whereabouts. "I just sat there and I pushed and pushed...."

You think I'm kidding, don't you? I wish I was. Honestly, I am not. This is the absolute truth, no exaggeration whatsoever. She honestly said that very thing.

There is only one person I can think of who could possibly get away with saying something like this to me, and even he would laugh in embarassment over it if he did. There is no one else who could even come close to telling me something like this; my family wouldn't, and none of my friends would –not even Blond Girl, my closest friend, would ever accost my ears with such repugnant words. Somehow this woman whom I barely know seemed to think it was appropriate casual workplace conversation. Casual indeed.

On the other hand, I do feel sorry for her. She has been a widow for several years, and while she has a daughter and grandchildren who she is very close to, I think she is desperately lonely. I can't think of any other reason for her nearly incessant chatter, so I am torn between feelings of pity and horror at the utter impropriety of her divulgence that day.

This story doesn't really have a conclusion yet. Though by now she may have forgotten that it ever happened, I still can't get the incident out of my head. One simple conversation – nearly one sided at that – and now it's all I can think about whenever I see her.