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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions and hopes

Every year Echo and her best friend Alicia come up with resolutions (a goal you can meet) and hopes (a goal that is beyond your control).

My resolutions for this year are:

1. Lose X* amount of pounds; save X amount of money; run X number of miles every week.

2. Finish New Project.

3. Teach Spence two new tricks.

4. Keep my car clean all year.

5. Visit a different country.

My hopes are not for sharing in InternetLand.

What are some of your resolutions and (if you feel like sharing) hopes?




* (X is an integer known to Ru, and if Ru has 15 apples and is traveling to the market at a rate of 7 miles per hour going west, what time will she need to come home to let Spence out to pee?)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A new development in the world of Spencer

I am anti-dog clothing.

My sister and mother knew this, and still decided to give Spencer clothes for Christmas.  (A puffy vest and an argyle sweater, respectively.)

Strangely enough, Spence seems to be surprisingly into wearing clothes.

Even weirder? They calm him down, much like Charlie and his Thunder Shirt.  Spence took four naps yesterday.

I don't know how to resolve this dilemma.

Calm, happy Spence ... versus being that girl who dresses her dog.

It's a toughie for sure.

You wish you looked this good in argyle.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's your favorite google search term?

If you're like me, you love checking to see where your blog traffic comes from.

My favorite is discovering which words people google to find my blog.  Usually there are a lot of "and then she was like blah," which is understandable. But now and again, you find some real gems.

This week my search term results are as follows ...

49 people googled "Game of Thrones" and found me.

7 people googled "tiara."

3 people googled "modern family mitchell."

2 people googled "Merry Christmas puppies."

2 people googled "pattern for corn husk flower."

2 people googled "telestial kingdom."

And 1 person googled "Sex and the City sucks."

That's has kind of a "12 Days of Christmas" ring to it, don't you think?

What is the funniest thing someone has googled to find you?  Or if you don't know, do you know plan to obsessively check your google stats to find out?











Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I probably won't go see "Girl With A Dragon Tattoo"

I don't like unintentionally ironic movies.

Ever heard of or seen the movie Funny Games?  It's a movie about two psychos who invade a family's vacation home and proceed to torture and murder them.  It's also a "statement" film, which means the filmmakers were trying to teach all us bad viewers about violence in entertainment.  You see, the psychos in Funny Games aren't just torturing a family, they're teaching us lessons!  Ham-fisted lessons!

Unfortunately, aside from the hit-you-over-the-head-obvious technique employed by the filmmakers, they also didn't address the elephant in the beach house: If we're all so awful for watching this violent movie, what adjective do we apply to the people who made and profited from this violent movie?

Opportunistic?

Obtuse?

How about that good old Internet standby: AWKWARD.

And so we come to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a mildly entertaining book turned into an entertaining movie remade into what I can only assume will be a very entertaining movie, but which everyone will act is if it has Greater Meaning. It's about violence against women! Societal abuse of the underprivileged! Neo-Nazism! Freedom of the press! Hidden dangers of socialism! Financial sector corruption! (Ahh, Greater Meaning. It's such Oscar bait.)

Don't you all know that Lisbeth Salandar is a revolutionary character, a post-feminist icon?* Now watch her get brutally raped on screen to prove it! (Don't worry, in about twenty minutes she's going to do what all of us secretly wish we could do to rapists--rape him back.)

Stieg Larsson's Swedish title of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was Men Who Hate Women, which is an accurate, to-the-point descriptor of the book. Apparently in Sweden, you can't go to the grocery store without tripping over a half-dozen sociopath misogynists. (Lesson: Never visit Sweden.)

But while I can't find any fault with Larsson's goals--elimination of violence against women, children, the underprivileged, improved transparency in government and business--I must say it feels a bit icky to read a book about the condemnation of violence against women when it is chock full of excruciatingly detailed violence against women.**

Does this mean books and movies about BIG ISSUES shouldn't be written or made? Of course not.

But much like the "I know it when I see it" test for pornography,*** sometimes you just know when something has stayed on the right side of grim subject matter discussed respectfully and not crossed into exploitation territory

I suspect The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will not only cross into exploitation territory, but apply for a business license and open a bed and breakfast there. And I don't imagine I'd like my stay.








* (To reach this conclusion, you must ignore the fact that she's essentially the polar opposite of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Archetype. Have you done that? Excellent.

REVOLUTIONARY CHARACTER! POST-FEMINIST ICON!)

** Spoiler alert: The sequel is about sex-trafficking and shopping at IKEA. Because even when it comes to Lisbeth Salandar, women be shopping. You can't stop a woman from shopping. (Name the movie!)

Also, Lisbeth gets a boob job. Feminism.

*** Little-known lawyer fact: the rest of the quote is, "and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."  Fun, eh?

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's not creepy if it has an "LOL" after it

Oh Pinterest,

Why do you have to enable crazy women?

Oh women of Pinterest,

Don't you know there is no excuse to have a pinboard of 10,000 wedding pictures on it?  Do your creepin in the privacy of your own bedroom, preferably in the company of your cats. 

Don't you know that some of these things you are tagging as "To Do Before I Die" are not that impressive?  I want to be in Paris on New Years someday too, but I don't hold that aspiration on the same level as "Own Every Color of OPI Nail Polish." 

Finally, I'll be honest -- I have pinned some online workouts, since I am easily bored and can never remember where I saw that "10 Ways to Spice Up Your Abs Routine!" article.  So thanks for that. 

But please, could we all put a hiatus on pinning scary skinny-ripped girls as "thinspiration"?  Because I'm sorry, no female gets a six-pack without abandoning all other goals and hobbies in favor of the gym.  It's gross.  And shallow. 

And it really detracts from my admiration of various reading nooks I'd like to build in a house someday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Well, I'll prepare for this to be misinterpreted

I hate the word "Mom."

There's something about it that grosses me out.  Maybe it's the long O sound combined with that nasally M.  Maybe it's that it's so short -- I find "bob" pretty vile, too. It might even be the way it looks written -- "mom" just looks so abrupt and judgy, like something in German. Nein.

I hate the way people say it. Either whiny or sycophantically or smugly or condescendingly. There's pretty much no way to say the word "Mom" that doesn't disgust me, unless you are actually addressing or referring to your own mother.

"Oh hey Mom, just wanted to call and check in."  A-OK.

"I can't wait to be a Mom!" Shudder.

"I made the reservation for us and Mom." Acceptable.

"But Moooooooom."  Gag.

"Mom said it was the second left after the light." Informative.

"I have the best job ever, I'm a Mom."  Kill me now.

But doubly bad?  "Awww, he's so happy now that Mom's here!"  Said to me.  At the vet's.  About Spencer.

(I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Spence and I do not have a parent-child relationship.  We have a 10-4, good buddy relationship.)

I hate attorneys who can't be bothered to learn peoples' names.  Henceforth Mom will do her best to to create a positive atmosphere for the kids and not refer negatively to Dad in front of them.  Dad will do his best to maintain appropriate boundaries and discipline and drop kids off at Mom's on time.  It's so smarmy and familiar, yet so obvious that you can't be bothered to shuffle through your papers and find out whether it was Kim or Karen, Bill or Brandon.  (Ahh, screw it, just write "Mom" and "Dad.")  Seriously, "petitioner" and "respondent" would be better.

And I hate that you can't tell people that you hate the word "Mom" without people staring at you like you've just kicked a kitten.

Oh look, that girl hates moms. Let's shun her. Or better yet, send her a copy of emotionally manipulative books like "Love You Forever." Yes, that's an excellent idea. Weep, cold girl on the internet, weep!

Anyone else there have an irrational dislike an otherwise positive-to-neutral meaning word?  Anyone hate "puppy," for instance?  (You monster!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

While I was in San Fran, Spence was getting Biblical

Text from Charlie and Alpha to me while they were puppy sitting -- I hope you find it at least half as funny as I did:


How think ye? If a Charlie have an hundred Spencers, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?


And if it so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that Spencer, than of the ninety and nine which went astray.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My new most embarrassing moment story

Subhead: Settle in for a long haul, friendos.

Today at work, we had our office Christmas party.  About a week ago, a coworker popped into my office to let me know that at this office we give gifts to -- and I quote -- "members of our team." The gifts didn't have to be elaborate, he explained, just something little, like a bottle of Martinelli's with a bow.  Since he knew it was my first year at the office, he just wanted to give me the heads up.

My team consists of another attorney, an analyst, and a secretary. But I supposed I should probably also get something for my trainer and the other two people he is training.

Add with me, people.  That's 6.

So I asked my crafty sister Echo to make 10 presents, on the off-chance I was under-estimating.  She made some cute little Oreo Pops, which is basically an Oreo on a sucker stick, dipped in white and milk chocolate, then rolled in crushed peppermint pieces.  Darling, no?

I set off to work this morning with some cellophane-wrapped gifties, feeling mighty satisfied with myself.

And when I flipped on the light in my office, I found that I had already received five presents from people who weren't on my list.

Sidenote: You might be wondering why, at this point, I didn't run to the store to buy more presents.  The short answer is that I have a client I have been trying to talk to all summer long about his case.  
I periodically call or email him to see if it's a good time.  It never is.
Who decided to email me the morning of the Christmas party and say he'd "pop in sometime today to talk"?
You guessed it.

So for roughly twenty minutes, I sat and panicked in my office. More gifts arrived.

Every person who brought me a homemade jar of jam, banana bread, and gift box from Bath and Body Works received a bag of Oreo Pops.

And my anxiety ratcheted up-up-up, because how the hell am I supposed to multiply a finite number of Oreo Pops?  

That's when I remembered Echo's original plan.

"Why don't you just get people a package of Twizzlers and write 'Twiz the Season' on a sticker?"

Though it seemed cheesy to me at the time, I seized on Echo's idea and proceeded to text and IM every person I could think of who might be able to run to All-A-Dollar and buy 10 packages of Twizzlers and Christmas package stickers.

Finally I got in contact with Charlie, who agreed to head to All-A-Dollar after a meeting with his graduation counselor.  The only problem was that put his arrival at my workplace around 2pm.

Sidenote: Why is that a problem, you ask?  Well, because the Christmas party was scheduled for noon, with everyone leaving the office afterward as a gift from our boss.
Why is that not a problem?  Well, because I could just sneak the Twizzlers into offices and pretend that they arrived in the morning, like all the other, more thoughtful gifts had.  
Genius.

So I sat in my office, trying to work, trying to ignore the growing pile of presents on my desk, and waiting for the Mystery Client.

This is how things looked BEFORE NOON.  I didn't even have the heart to take a picture of the final haul.

Finally it was time for the Christmas party, and I trudged off to a sumptuous feast, all the while trying to avoid eye contact with the coworkers who had bestowed me with homemade fudge, only to be rewarded with a big, fat nada.

And then, in the middle of a musical number -- seriously, my coworker's children came and SANG -- Charlie texted me.

"Done early. Where do you want me to deliver this stuff?"

Now, the most important of my little plan was that no one realize (a) I came grossly underprepared to show my love for my coworkers the day of the Christmas party and (b) some people got Oreo Pops, and some people got cheap bags of Twizzlers.

So I texted Charlie back, "Leave the bag on the curb, I will come out and get it when I can get out of this party."

Sidenote: Why didn't I just stand up, walk out, and meet Charlie outside?
Answer: You try walking out of your boss's recitation of "Tilly's Christmas" by Louisa May Alcott.


And because I know Charlie, and I know he's never met a plan that he didn't think he could improve somehow, I texted him again.  "Seriously.  Leave them on the curb."

***

At this point, it's incumbent to switch to Charlie's point of view.  For fairness' sake.

Charlie arrived at my place of employ and stared at the curb nervously.  Do I really leave this bag on the curb? he wondered.  I mean, I know my sister who has worked here for a year told me to, but this is a [big secret, people] GOVERNMENT BUILDING.

According to Charlie, there were three squad cars of cops chilling in the parking lot.  And he just couldn't take the chance.

***

Here's where we switch back to my point of view, and I argue that "three squad cars" was most likely one pudgy member of Highway Patrol, and that even if dropping a plastic bag is suspicious, IT WAS A PLASTIC BAG OF FULL OF TWIZZLERS.  What's more, my government building doesn't even have metal detectors, because in New Denver, packing heat is strongly encouraged.

In short, I can say with total confidence that had Charlie dropped a bag of Twizzlers on the curb, not one damn thing would have happened.

But Charlie felt like he couldn't take that chance. So he popped into the building and left the bag with the front desk secretary. Who proceeded to come into the Christmas party and deliver them to me.

In the middle of a musical number.

In front of LITERALLY every single person I work with.

Who could all see that I had clearly forgotten to plan appropriately for gift giving.

And that I bought their presents at ALL A DOLLAR, as the plastic bag was so proudly emblazoned.

After the luncheon was (mercifully) over, I skulked off to my office to slap Santa stickers onto bags of Twizzlers, shove them into mail slots (since there was no point in being sneaky anymore), and make my escape before I had to talk to anyone.

To make things even more amazing? As I was leaving, I saw that the other attorney who started with me last January gave everyone CDs.

C-freaking-Ds.

And as I drove back to home my home, roughly twenty minutes after my escape, the Mystery Client (remember him?) called.  He had not received my email that I was leaving for the day at 2pm.  He was in my office. And he wanted to meet.

Sidenote: You would think that my most embarrassing story would now be over.  You would think that, and you would be wrong.


As I wallowed on the couch tonight, nursing a giant Diet Coke and holding a snuggly Spencer on my lap, Hannah came home and I proceeded to tell the tale.

"Wait," she said as I explained what Charlie had bought at All-A-Dollar, "why Twizzlers?"

"So I could write, 'Twiz the Season' on the sticker," I explained.

"Oh. So did you do that?"

Awkward pause.

No, my friends, I did not.  In the midst of my anxiety and frustration, I forgot to write the cheesy line that was the whole point of getting Twizzlers to begin with. I put the sticker on the Twizzlers, stuffed them into boxes, and ran for my life.

So tonight, all over the greater New Denver Valley area, my coworkers are looking at the presents they received from their colleagues and wondering, "Why the eff did that girl give me Twizzlers with a Santa sticker?"

And now my humiliation is complete.

For the record (hee)

Yes, people -- lawyers go to law school.

I'll say it again, in case someone googles it: lawyers go to law school.

So it's not necessary to ever ask a lawyer, "Oh, so did you go to grad school for that?"  The answer is yes, and that grad school was called "law school."

Dentists never get this, I suspect.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fantasy gift giving

Today we're playing a fun, nerdy little game called, "What would you get the following fictional characters for Christmas and/or other winter-based holiday?"

1. Harry Potter

2. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice

3. Walter White from Breaking Bad

4. Primrose from Hunger Games

5. Sawyer from Lost

6. King Arthur


7. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead

8. Sue Sylvester from Glee

9. Clifford the Big Red Dog


10. Ophelia from Hamlet

11. Or anyone else you'd suggest.

Funniest answer gets a million props.
Some nicely and not-so-nicely wrapped presents on my table. PS, I think I should do a series of pictures for the blog where Spencer's bum is somewhere in the background.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Well, this is a high class problem

Feel free to judge me.  It is the internet, after all.

Seeking to soothe some of my anxiety, I sought out a massage this weekend.  Between bad posture, stress, battling overgrown rose branches, and some trouble sleeping, I figured my poor back deserved it.

But unfortunately, I was scheduled with a massage therapist who took the "therapist" part of his job too seriously.

I know I have a lot of tension, inflammation, rigidity, etc. in my back, shoulders, and neck.  But what I want out of a massage is not someone who will fix me in an hour, but someone who will just make me feel better for an hour. 

Ramming an elbow into my glutes while manipulating my knee?  Not making me feel better.

"Wow!" he exclaimed at one point.  "The muscles in your neck are like piano wires, do you feel that?"

"Yes," I replied through gritted teeth, trying to ignore his index finger jammed into my neck.

Next time, I will make do with an ice-free Diet Coke and a puppy snuggle.

Friday, December 9, 2011

the things to do

Do you ever look at your life and think, "I know this is all manageable individually, and yet collectively, I still feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew"?

The Casa
  • Needs to be rewired, but according to the electrician I met with yesterday, will cost 50%-100% more than I originally budgeted.
  • Did you know I have a rose archway?  I do.  I also don't know anything about roses, much less climbing roses.  But I do know my archway is severely overgrown and it has come time to hack away at it arbitrarily.
 
We're going to take over! Just like in The Happening!
  • I need to get a door for my office.  And posts for my porch.  I'd explain this in greater depth, but basically now I walk through Diego's room to get to the office.  And my house is in danger of falling down in the next snowstorm.  No big.
  • I also need to get serious about cleaning my room and organizing my office.  Enough said about those topics.
  • (As a final note, does anyone else find formatting bullet points on blogger extremely difficult?)
Work 

So ... much ... needs ... to ... happen ...

Christmas

What is a girl with no money to do when it comes to Christmas shopping?  You might suggest something like thrift stores or homemade goods, but I have some really materialistic siblings, and that is not going to cut it. 

I can imagine Christmas morning, Echo offering me some DVDs, new earrings, and sweater ... and I give her the calendar I made on my iMac and printed off at work.  On the color printer. 

No, friends. Just no.


Writing

Remember what I just said about the office?  Well, back when I thought I'd only have to spend X on new wiring, I bought myself a lovely new computer for my office. As it turns out now, that was a poor choice.

But I digress.

When it comes to being creative, I need to have organized space.  (When it comes to being a lawyer, however ... well, let's just say my office does not reflect that personal ethic.)  But I am currently overwhelmed about the piles of books and electronics piled up in the office.  Am I the only one who has an extremely difficult time getting rid of wiring?  It's like hoarding for the electronics generation.  Who knows when I might need that Nokia phone charger again!?

And cleaning with Spencer running around is one of the greater banes of my existence.  I will be organizing a file cabinet ... he will be chewing on paperclips.  I will be trying to figure out why I have 15 ethernet cords.  He will be chewing the ethernet cords.

It's not a good combination.

But ... for all of you who were wondering when I'm going to get back to the subject heading of WRITING ... I do have a new sassy idea that I'm pretty stoked about.  So my writing to-do list looks like this:
  • Sass up first 10 pages of old project, send to final agent.  If said agent does not care for said project, investigate Kindle Direct Publishing.  (Yes, it's happening.)
  • Evaluate NaNo project.  (Official final word count?  21,000 words.  Yes, I'm terrible.  Suck it.)
  • Start new project.
  • CLEAN OFFICE.
 In no particular order.

Spencer

Yes, he gets his own to-do list.  You see, little Spence knows three tricks -- sit, down, and shake.  He's masterful when it comes to those tricks. An Olympian, if you will.

But does he come when called?  Only if you have cheese.  And can I get him to settle down when I want to eat dinner unimpeded?  Certainly not.  These are issues I must address if I want to be a good pet-owner.

And while I know it's frivolous, I also want him to learn to play dead if I point my gun fingers at him and say, "Bang!"  Because that is just damn adorable.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have made a grievous error in my pet training.  Namely, I believe that people and pets should maintain separate sleeping spaces.  It's fine if you believe otherwise, but I think my bed should be a HUMANS ONLY zone.

But when Spence was neutered, he came home really dopey and in pain, so I let him sleep on my bed.  And the next night, when I realized he couldn't fit his coned head into his kennel, I let him sleep on my bed.

And this went on, for two weeks, until the cone and his stitches were no more.

So now, even though I don't want my dog to sleep on my bed, much less a dog that is inclined to start pacing three or four times a night to sleep on my bed (and yes that happens), Spence knows that if he starts whining at 3am every morning, my sleep deprived brain will inevitably cave and let him sleep in my bed.

He had a taste of the good life, my friends.  And there's no going back.

Which means every morning l blearily wake up for work with paws and puppy breath in my face, and mentally (and verbally) berate myself for cracking again and perpetuating the whining = special treatment cycle of bad behavior.

But at 3 am, I can be convinced of pretty much anything.

I need to figure out a way to make this not happen any more.

So I guess this all boils down to me saying that CHANGE SPENCER'S BEHAVIOR PATTERNS may be Number 1 on the To Do List.  Perhaps even before "prevent house from falling down."

I told you, I'm serious about this sleeping space issue.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

(i totally forgot to give this a title the first time)

I don't know what it is about Pinterest, but it has really decreased my attention span. Not only do I waste a lot of time looking at adorable crafts, all the while knowing I will never actually try any of them, but I think it's also impacted my blogging.  I just want to upload pictures of Spence and have you guys gush over him. Effort!

I swear, I will be back on my game soon.  My brain is just a little scrambled due to my mass consumption of bite-sized bits of adorableness.  Tip of my hat to you, Neil Postman, it turns out you were right.  

But I still love Pinterest. In all your craftiness and your snarkiness, I love you.


 I'd like to think that I'd commit to making this.


But realistically, I'll just "like" this on facebook and call it good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What is the very worst part of _________?

When I'm lawyering, the very worst part of my job is checking citations and cross references. So. Boring. And yet ... so necessary.

The worst part of trying to be a writer is querying. Hands down.

The worst part of owning a house is trying to figure out where I've gone wrong in my attempts to winterize.

The worst part of having Spencer pie around is scooping out his food in the morning.  (Seriously, you thought it was going to be picking up poop, am I right?  That is pretty bad, but those bags are easily disposed of. The smell of puppy chow lingers on your hands even after you've washed them.)

Indulge the grumpers with me, people -- what are the worst parts of the things you do?  Never fear, we can talk about the best parts of things another day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This is what happens when you get the janky gingerbread house at Michaels

Hannah and I gave into our baser instincts to create a strip club gingerbread house.



Note the little Tim Riggins outside.



And the fact that I misspelled "Panthers," but then decided the issue was really the subpar education strippers got at Dillon High.

i like to share my life lessons

Life lesson number 183:

Even though people will tell you aluminum is bad for you, and they are probably right, you shouldn't buy all-natural deodorant.

If hops and honeysuckle were enough to keep you from stinking up the joint, don't you think our forebears would have always used hops and honeysuckle, thereby negating the need for future scientists to invent bad-for-you-chock-full-of-aluminum-deodorant?  Exactly.

Love,

The girl who made the mistake of buying Tom's All Natural Deodorant this week

Thursday, December 1, 2011

These better be the best beef medallions EVER

I just registered. Have you?

Let me know and next May we can sneak off to J-Dawgs when the box lunches prove to be woefully subpar, as all box lunches do.