Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Still alive....

I was inspired to finally update after seeing that Gryffinkat had, and since it's been about the same amount of time since either of us posted anything...

Not really much to say here, though. Shallow Man is still finishing up finals and we both can't wait for those to be over. I have all next week off and it will be wonderful to have a break. Work has been very stressful recently although we're trying to get it so that we're working from home, which will help a lot.

I'm pretty much ready for Christmas except a few stocking stuffers. We have to go buy the Sub for Santa gifts tonight and I have to make some more Christmas treats. It snowed on Friday and Saturday and Sunday, pretty much straight through for 48 hours, which made driving to church interesting. It's mostly melted off the roads now but we should still have plenty left for a White Christmas.

Tobey-cat is trying very hard to get my attention - apparently I'm not loving him enough at the moment. So, till next time, Happy Christmahanukwanzaadanstice!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just for fun

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I do have to mention, also, that I have the best husband in the world. The local professional theater company is putting on a stage version of Pride and Prejudice and he took me to go see in on Saturday -- on his own! I hadn't even told him they were putting it on. He just mentioned at dinner one day, "So, PTC is putting on Pride and Prejudice. Would you like to go see it?"

Seriously. Best. Husband. Ever.

The play was really good, too. *girlish giggles of delight*

Okay, back to procrastinating my day's dose of NaNo!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

They Said What??? Thursday: Fine Dining

We saw this sign on the wall as we were waiting to be seated at the IHOP. Being forewarned, we made sure all our food of animal, origin was properly cooked. Unfortunately, however, they were out of fish lamb pork.

License plate: DI8TSHN

And just in case you needed reassurance that your fast food had some nutritional value, you'll be comforted to see that the breakfast menu at Mickey D's is endorsed by at least one dietician. Or, at any rate, by someone who drives the dietician's car.

Friday, October 20, 2006

They Said What??? Thursday

So it's Friday. So sue me.

Which, incidentally, will not cost me much in court costs at all because I know two soon-to-be lawyers. Shallow Man and I got our scores back for the LSAT, and the Geneva Convention is definitely not pleased -- both in the top 10%, baby!

But I digress.

Of course, if I were my boss, I would probably have said "digest," judging from some of the choice remarks he's made lately:

Overheard from a telephone conversation:

"We'll try to get to it, but of course our projects take presidents over yours."

My coworker's snarky response for the benefit of our cubicle: "I want Washington." I'm holding out for Rutherford B. Hayes, myself.

Discussing what is vital:

Boss: We need to get the correct address, because that's quintessential in getting the letter sent out.

Me: (longish pause) Did you mean "essential"?

Boss: (even longer-ish pause) Did I?

Me: Yes, I think you did.

Boss: (longest pause yet, then continues as if nothing has happened at all) So I'll call and get the addresss....

It's not just my boss that says dumb things, though. Check out the headline on this article:

Experts: Some women perform well in math

Yeah, somebody needs to get a new copyeditor.

Have you had any "They Said What???" moments recently? Please pass them along so we can all enjoy (or at least shudder in pain together).

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I'm not quite sure what the real word is for doom that was impending and has now come and gone.

I know you're all wondering how the doom went, but I can't tell you too much because it could lead to an investigation and disciplinary action by The Subcommittee.

Yeah, the test administrators repeated that threat before the test, between each section, before and after the break and then again when the test was finished. Who exactly The Subcommittee is they didn't say, but they said it in that you-can-tell-it's-a-capital-T-capital-S kind of way, and you know no good can come from That, so I'd rather play it safe.

Suffice it to say that I slapped the LSAT around and emerged at least victorious enough to enjoy a late, late brunch (more like a linner, but with breakfast food) at IHOP. Whether that was victorious enough to actually get me into any sort of law school with actual credentials (unlike, say, Bubba's Legal Drive-Thru), we'll have to wait and see. Results come out on the 23rd...

In other news, since everybody seems to have a recurring alliteratively themed day feature on their blogs, I need to jump on the bandwagon and get one too.

So, coming soon, for your entertainment and to cater to my inner grammar Nazi:

They Said What?? Thursday (or whatever day I happen to post it)

P. S. Happy birthday, Teeny! You're my favorite littlest sister, even if you are getting disrespectfully tall. :)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ever get that feeling of impending doom?

So. Taking the LSAT tomorrow morning. This should be interesting. I'm not really worried about how well I'll do (I, like Shallow Man, intend to emerge victorious). I just don't enjoy four-hour tests, since they usually make my hand cramp up. (Especially after holding it in that photo for so long.)

Wish me (and my hand) luck!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Avast, me mateys, I did be wantin' to wish ye a belated happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which were Tuesday o' this week, the 19th o' September. I did be keepin' a weather eye out fer it this year so I dinna miss it like las' year. I hope all ye lubbers did be havin' a jolly time of it, and that none of ye got a taste o' the cat or were keelhauled. Unless, o' course, ye did be deservin' o' such, in which case I may be havin' to give ye the Black Spot!

Yarr, I hope ye all did enjoy yer day, engaged in pillagery and looting and drunken revelry (of the cleaner sort), and raised high the Jolly Roger. And while ye be waitin' fer next year, set yer deadlights on this website, (after ye've swabbed the deck) and have a bit o' grog. Fair winds, me hearties, an' a yo-ho-ho!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Three quick positives

In an effort to dispel the idea that all I do is complain about my boss, I need to mention the fact that while I do have many problems with him, he mostly means well. Today I was feeling sick and decided to leave work early. (Since I'd finished all my work for this week by about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, I really didn't see any point in sticking around.) I told my boss and mentioned that since I hadn't taken a lunch, it would be two and a half hours of sick time that I was using. He thought about it for a second and said, "How about I just put down two hours but you still leave right now?" I appreciated that, and it just goes to show that even though he can be really anal about dumb things, he still does care. So I wanted to let all y'all (what, five of you?) who read this blog know that I do appreciate things my boss does on occassion.

Two other positive things have happened (though not work-related) that I wanted to mention. The first is that I got to go to Enrichment twice this week -- once at my ward, and once with my mom to my home ward. That was lots of fun because I not only got to hang out with my mom, who is the coolest ever, but I also got to see all my friends from my home ward who I don't get to see very often. I also got to see my two youngest sistahs and we had fun going through Mom's old jewelry and telling her how much it would all sell for at an accessories shop. (My youngest sister likes to wear some of the necklaces to school and all her friends are jealous of her neat necklaces. My mom remains skeptical about the appeal of her "old-lady necklaces," but is glad to know that she is sitting on a goldmine if she ever chooses to declutter the old jewelry drawer.)

Third and very momentous for me, I found some good Camembert at the grocery store. This is big because it was one of my two favorite cheeses in Paris and I haven't found any here since we got back. So I bought it and ate it and it made me very happy. And on that note, I am going to go to bed and dream pleasant, Camembert-induced dreams.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Meet the newest additions to the family

No, no, no, I didn't suddenly and secretly give birth to twins.

Please give a warm welcome to Tobey and Gus! (And Shallow Man's leg and laptop, but they're not really the important part of the picture.)

Partly as a birthday thing for the Shallow Man, partly because of odd websites, and partly just because I felt like it, we decided to get a cat. So we wandered on over to the Humane Society and ended up coming home with two. (It was a two-for-one special on cats anyway.)

We actually ended up going to the shelter twice, because when we went the first time on that Friday night it closed before we had a chance to find a cat we really liked. This turned out to be lucky for us, because we had barely stepped in the door on Saturday morning before these two jumped out at us -- almost literally.
They hadn't been out the day before (still recovering from certain medical procedures), so we hadn't seen them. Once we saw both of them we knew we couldn't split them up, since they're from the same litter and, as you can see, simply too cute together.

They were nine weeks old when we got them three weeks ago and are just absolutely adorable. They're joined at the hip and very sweet with each other when they're not trying to lick, bite or pounce each other's ears off.

They are both white with black spots -- the same number of spots but differently dispersed. Tobey has a smudge on his nose, too.
He's the more cuddly of the two. He likes to snuggle up on my lap whenever I sit down and tends to sit by my feet meowing to be picked up and loved if I spend too much time paying attention to things other than him. He has figured out how to jump into the sink and his favorite wrestling move is the kangaroo kick.

Gus is a lot more independent but can be snuggly when he's in the mood. He loves to explore and has to be spritzed with the "discipline water" a lot more often than Tobey.
He, thank goodness, has not figured out how to jump up onto the counters, although he does very well at climbing up people. He thinks his tail is possessed by demons and likes to exorcise them while sitting on my shins as I'm typing on my laptop with my feet on the coffee table. This, of course, means that I can't wear knee-length skirts until he figures out clawless exorcism, because my lower legs are covered in beautiful bright red scratches that are set off very well by my pasty white skin. He is also a technocat who has figured out that he can change things on the laptop screen by pouncing on the keyboard, and manages not to do anything horribly wrong. (Tobey is not so adept; he also loves the keyboard, mostly for the warmth, but also accidentally deleted the "Finder" on Shallow Man's Mac...) Gus' favorite wrestling move is the Matrix pounce. I swear he defies gravity more than half the time. He also could probably make it in the wild since he's got a fairly good grasp on the hunter mentality.
Tobey, on the other hand, acts tough but would probably die in the first ten minutes because he's pining away for snuggles.

I'm really enjoying this whole pets thing. I never really had pets growing up because my mom was allergic, although we did have fish for awhile. I'm not quite sure why that ended... Shallow Man grew up with cats so he's been extremely helpful in showing me the ropes and all that. He also has kindly agreed to do all the litter box-related duties if I monitor the food and water bowls.

The best part about having the kittens, though, is that they are very therapeutic for me to come home to after a long day of listening to my boss enjoying the sound of his own voice. They're keeping my rage way down and helping me to control the Fist of Death.


Plus, they're just so dang cute.

Watch out, you other kittens out there, 'cause you are totally going DOWN!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Happy, happy

Happy Birthday to the Shallow Man!

Love you, honey!


I feel a bit better about this whole thing now.

This statement was released by Disney's Seven Dwarves today in response to Pluto's demotion:

"Although we think it's Dopey that Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet, which has made some people Grumpy and others just Sleepy, we are not Bashful in saying we would be Happy if Disney's Pluto would join us as an eighth dwarf. We think this is just what the Doc ordered and is nothing to Sneeze at."

At least someone is sticking up for the underdog.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I was rooting for you, Pluto!

Astronomers, man. Weird people.

Always doing crazy things, those astronomers are. When they're not moving in and trying to steal each others' observatories and fending each other off with microscopes, they're messing with the solar system.

I mean, for heaven's sake. My very energetic mother just served us nine? Don't leave us hanging like that! I mean, it was bad enough when we were potentially talking about how my very energetic mother couldn't just slice up nine pizzas, comely xenophobe. Of course, we weren't even sure that would work because nobody could make a definite decision on whether the series would end in "X" for "Xena" or "U" for "2003 UB313." (Huh. Speaking of dumb planet names...)

So the crazy astronomers took the lazy way out. Rather than persevere until an answer to the X/U debate could be found, they just cut corners... and cut Pluto.

Why couldn't they just leave my very energetic mother and her pizzas alone? All we wanted to do was have dinner as a family. Who cares if maybe you have two or three friends over now and then? Just because you don't want to let Ceres, Charon and...whatshisname live in the house doesn't mean you have to kick out little brother Pluto. There were nine in the system and the astronomers said, "Roll over, roll over!" So they all rolled over and Pluto fell out...

I mean, we haven't even known about Pluto for a full day of Pluto time. I suppose this means Pluto's fifteen Pluto minutes of fame are over. Just goes to show you how fleeting celebrity is these days. Poor little guy.

Apparently, for crazy astronomers at least, size does matter.


RIP Pluto: 1930-2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Crying while thinking of Margo

So it's grovelling season on PBS. This makes watching TV (the PBS variety, that is) rather tiresome and trying because they keep interrupting it every five or six minutes, trying to make me buy a CD for $60.00. I don't know how dumb they think I am, but I'm still pretty sure that CD's don't cost that much. So, like the spamalope, I remain calm but wary, and try not to be too distracted.

Because I just can't help watching PBS during the Grovel-a-thon, because that's when they trot out the fun stuff. You know, the stuff you'll sit through the CD spiels for.

Victor Borge just seatbelted himself to the piano bench after telling the audience about his deal with the soprano: "She doesn't touch my piano; I keep my hands off her coloratura." Which makes me, in a roundabout way, think of my amazing friend and roommate Margo. (No, not the coloratura part.)

Margo and I could have used a seatbelt for that one chopsticks duet she patiently tried to teach me. I like to think I faked my way through it well enough to not embarrass myself too badly. (My piano skeelz are adequate but definitely pale next to those of My Margot.) Of course, that would have made switching places mid-scale kind of hard, but I like to think we could've worked our way through that one, too, if it came to that. It made me even more excited to do the duet thingy five the talent show twonce I saw that it was dedicnined three Victor Borge.

Few things make me laugh as hard as I do at Borge's inflationary language (see above; and you thought it was only gas prices that were going up!), unless it's his phonetic punctuation, which really can't be done on a blog.

Of course, I doubt I could even really type it anyway, since I'm now laughing so hard that I'm crying and can't really see the keyboard. The tears are streaming down my face and I only wish Margo were here with me, so she could laugh and cry, too.

Margo - it's coming up on four years that we've known each other, and I can't believe it's only been that long. Love you always and miss you bunches, and hope we find a good excuse to be in the same state at the same time before too many more years go by.

Monday, August 07, 2006


This afternoon I had a chance to relax a bit after a very stressful day at work (and my boss is on vacation, even...) and unwind with three of the greatest inventions known to man (or woman, as the case may is):

1. Thunderstorms
2. Cherry Chocolate Cake
3. Spongebob Squarepants Michael Buble

The only* things that can top that are Jane and a foot massage.

(Shallow Man, are you taking notes?)

*Assuming that snuggles with the hubby are not on the menu

Thursday, July 27, 2006


First off, I need to get something off my chest.

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! Not Allison! You were the most consistently talented girl there! Why, why, why?

Okay, now that I've just revealed my deep, dark, secret (yes, I watch a reality talent TV show, but only because they've got some darn good dancin'), let's get on to real business:


Yeah, I'm still really annoyed with my new boss. I wasn't so annoyed for a while, but then he came back from vacation and started having team meetings and all of my newly-formed positive resolutions kind of evaporated. It's going to be a long several months. (I still have no idea why he was hired over my uber-qualified and awesome co-worker Kate. But I won't go into that here.)

Aw, man. I'm watching local news as I write this and they're showing Allison's friends and family react to the news, and now her little sisters have nearly got me crying. This is depressing.

In other news, I am going slightly crazy, craving the Greek sandwiches from the Resto Beauborg. Have been for three days now. The problem: the Resto Beauborg is located in Paris. France, not Texas. Need to find a cheap substitute... does anybody know of any good Greek places in the Salt Lake Valley? I'd never really eaten Greek before we went to Paris, so I have no idea where to get any around here. I welcome your suggestions!

I am also craving some thunderstorms here. Last night we had an el-huge-o windstorm with Hat Island (the little tiny island nobody knows about in the Great Salt Lake) getting hurricane-force winds for about half an hour. Now, we don't live on Hat Island (as far as I know, nobody does, not even really bison...) but I did have worries that some of the trees around the parking lot would fall on Sonya, forcing us to get another new bumper. I don't know if I mentioned Sonya's new bumper. It's green. (Sonya is blue. Fortunately it's a non-clashy, rather flashy, green, so she looks two-toned rather than stupid. I'll have to post pics sometime.) None of the parking lot trees fell over, although some along the street in back did lose their tops. But no thunder at all. I miss thunderstorms. And by extension, my Margot.

Over the weekend we nearly died when Shallow Man found an even-huger-than-el-huge-o desk at the good ol' D. of I. Seriously, this thing is massive (36" deep by 72" wide, about 200 pounds), and he didn't believe me when I told him it was too big. I was able to persuade him that at the very least we would never fit it into Sonya, so we called up my daddy and he brought the minivan over to help us take it home. He ended up having to tie the back doors shut with ultra-strength DI twine and I still hurt from struggling up the stairs with it.

As a side note, my dad is the best ever. I seriously don't know what we'd do without him - from helping us move to fixing the car to paying for the wedding reception to lending us movies, my dad is the best. My mom, too. I hope you're reading this and I hope you enjoyed the ice cream and we really don't thank you enough. Love you, Mom and Dad!

We also finally have a dresser. The only problem is that it took so long to put together that we were too exhausted to unpack the suitcases full of underwear into it, so it's still empty. But it looks good.

Well, the Simpsons are on so I need to go cuddle and giggle with my husband. (Who forgot to mention, by the way, that he didn't actually decide to ask me out - I had to prompt him heavily. I'm pretty sure if we were relying only on his agency in that situation, we'd still be waiting.)

In closing, tha moon is very useful everyone. And I am waaaaayyy too easily amused.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Don't mind me. That loud noise you just heard was only the sound of Ultimate Suffering.

I was going to post something more cheerful, but I'm just too upset right now.

No, no deaths here. But you have to wonder what on earth is wrong with the world when they hire a practically illiterate (brags that he's never finished a book in his life, excluding scripture), has no ability to write a well-crafted sentence, probably wouldn't notice an even adequately-crafted sentence if it danced a polka on his nose, has limited social skills and absolutely no respect for personal boundaries or privacy, quit college to work two jobs full time (one in a call center and the other at Home Depot) person to manage a team of college graduates, all with English degrees (some with graduate degrees in English), whose job is to write letters all day long. Oh, and did I mention he also has no idea how to even begin to do the job he's supposed to be managing?

What really stings is that there was a perfectly-qualified applicant from the team who has a degree, who writes extremely well, who knows the job inside and out, who's been managing the team ever since the old manager left while still doing her own job and excelling at both, holding everything together seamlessly, and who has the respect of all the team members besides? (No, it's not me.)

I don't know if this is due to male chauvinism (hiring the unqualified male over the qualified female), total ignorance of the actual qualifications needed to do the job (the person doing the hiring really doesn't know what the job requires; so why is he doing the hiring anyway? Just one more unanswered question among many...), or just sheer stupidity (the pointy-haired boss system of management, hiring and promotions), but whatever it is, it stinks.

Please cover your ears for a moment while I mutter angry things under my breath. On second thought, you may just want to leave altogether so I can get back to screaming and tearing my hair out...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth!

Just wanted to take a brief moment to wish all y'all a Happy Fourth of July. Hope it was great, you ate lots of good food, and you enjoyed some fireworks.

Oh, and sorry for the long break... I think I slept through June somehow...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hello, people....

While I realize that editorial opinion is usually the province of Shallow Man, I needed to stop for a moment and just get something off of my chest.

Regarding "The Da Vinci Code" (don't worry, I'm not going to get into an argument about the religious implications), I just want to say one thing:


It bugs me that people would even think that a disclaimer at the beginning of the film, specifying that the following story is fictional, would be necessary. (Director Ron Howard's response to this was that you don't have disclaimers in front of spy thrillers telling the audience that they're not real.)

As I said before, movies are not real! Just because you saw it in a movie does not mean that it is an accurate depiction of the way the world really is. Sheesh. (And the fact that you picked up the novel in the "Fiction" section should also have clued you in on the fact that it is, well, fictitious. As in, not real.)

It reminds me of when we went to see "The Bourne Supremacy," and a disgruntled older man leaned over to his wife and said in an extremely disdainful and not-quiet-at-all voice, "There's our tax dollars at work." Like it was a documentary or something and that Matt Damon actually is an agent of the US Government. Um, I don't think so.

Ron, maybe we do need those spy movie disclaimers after all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

...but I was late to work.

Note: So this was delayed again, due to moving, traffic, finals, and freak blizzards in the middle of April. Now I'm trying to get this posted while I wait for Shallow Man to finish his last final (who schedules finals from 8-11 p.m., honestly?) and hoping I'll finish before my laptop battery dies, so this may not be as high-quality of a retelling as I'd hoped.

So I was driving to work early on morning about a month ago. The commute takes about an hour, meaning I have to get up at 5:30 to make it there by 7:00. This is a problem for a few reasons, as anybody who knows me can tell you:

1) I am not a morning person.
2) Morning hurts.
3) Whoever came up with the idea that the day should start any earlier than 9:00 a.m. should be shot.
4) Even then, my brain doesn't wake up until 10:00 a.m. at the earliest.

Combine this with the fact that I am genetically five minutes late at least and you can see that getting to work in the morning is a major challenge. (It's true, by the way -- I've been late all my life, starting with those extra 13 days before my birthday. My mom wasn't too happy about that.) Generally I end up leaving the house five minutes after I'm supposed to. When I leave on time, a fleet of semi-trucks and white Buicks descend upon me on the freeway and pen me in at 55 all the way. When I leave early, something drastic must occur.

Which is why I should have known something was going to happen when I was running early enough that I was 5 minutes away from work at 6:50 a.m. I was feeling pretty good, actually, and thinking to myself that I was going to be early, I'd be the first one there, they'd all walk in and there I'd be, wouldn't it be so cool, etc, etc, and so forth.

I was still paying attention to the road, though, because it was at that one spot where traffic is ridiculous and stops suddenly for no reason whatsoever. So when it stopped, I was able to do so as well, coming to a halt about a foot away from the car in front of me.

Unfortunately, the girl behind me had been trying to change lanes and was checking her blind spot when everyone stopped. So she didn't see until it was too late to do anything more than slam on the brakes so she wouldn't hit me at full speed.

She slammed into the back of me and pushed me into the car in front.

Long story short, it was about as good as it possibly could have been (if you'll forgive the obvious oxymoron of a "good car accident"). No airbags went off, nobody was hurt (other than a headache from residual adrenaline), all three cars were still driveable, nobody was a jerk, nobody had been doing anything wrong (I highly applaud checking your blind spots, actually; I've had several near misses when people around me didn't), everyone had insurance, and the car most easily repaired was the one with the most damage.

Yes, my poor sweet Sonya valiantly took the brunt of both impacts. She now needs two new bumpers (but no other damage, another good point), while the SUV in front had minor cosmetic damage and the Audi behind me had a bent grill and a headlight hanging out.

Of course, the poor 19-year-old behind me saw all of Sonya's other dents and thought she'd done a lot more to me. I tried to calm her down by pointing out which ones were already there, which was the majority. (The big dent in the back is another great story, but doesn't come into play here.)

I also pointed out to her that our license plate frame was even more appropriate now. That made her laugh.

That's about all I have time to post with the battery life I have. I know it's really anti-climactic after all that wait, but what can you do? I'll make a more exciting version later. It will probably be at least a week, though, as our new apartment doesn't have internet access yet. (Hence the feverish posting on no battery. My finally-delurking-faithful-readership-in-Texas would probably kill me via phone if I waited any longer.)

As some sort of compensation, here's some more blurry photographic evidence for your enjoyment.

More views of the damage:

Our front bumper, much less noticeable:

It was worse before my dad pushed the side of the bumper back in, but you can still see how it looks like a shark swimming up the side of my car:

The back bumper that is no more:

A final view:

Oh, by the way, this means our car has officially paid for itself now. But again, that's another story for another time...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

And now a word from our sponsor

Okay, so I know it's taking a ridiculously long time to finish off the to be continued. This is not entirely my fault. We're in the process of moving, my job involves an hour-long commute each way so I'm rarely home (although once we've moved it will only be 12 minutes, yesssss!), and the blurry photographic evidence is on Shallow Man's computer, which is home even less than I am. He keeps forgetting to put them up where I can get at them, and I can't get my hands on his computer to put them up myself.

So the story itself is going to be pretty anticlimactic after all this wait. I'm sorry. Maybe I'll post two versions: the real one, and the one you've all been imagining for the past two and a half weeks.

At any rate, I hope to have it up soon. Say, within the next 48 hours or so. At any rate, happy Eastovernox. (I think that about covers it; let me know if I missed anyone.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well, first off, I'm okay....

Have you ever noticed how, whenever something not-that-great happens, most people will begin telling the story to their friends, neighbors and relatives by saying, "Well, first off, I'm okay..." It's always spoken in a slow, deliberate, attempting-to-be-soothing tone: I'M OOOOOO-KAAAAAAAYYYYYYY, with the last syllable rising up slightly like a question. (I'm Okay? Right? Did you get that? Me? Okay? Yes?) This is invariably followed by a very pregnant pause.

It makes whatever comes after that seem worse than it may actually be. Anything you say after that will sound ominous.

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but I couldn't find the flavor of Goldfish crackers I wanted in the store today."

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but we need a new couch because the one we have now is screwing up our backs."

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but the glass pan holding the enchiladas for dinner just exploded." (This actually did happen once, but that's a different story.)

"Well, first off, I'm okay... but our house just burned down."

See what I mean? Even the goldfish scenario there was giving me goosebumps of dread. What happened? Did you fall to the floor with grief and hit your head because there were no Parmesan Goldfish? Did the Rainbow Goldfish jump off the shelf and try to jump down your throat, nearly choking you and causing you to pass out from lack of oxygen and fall to the floor and hit your head? Goldfish may be synonymous with concussions for me from now on. I may never be able to go down the cracker aisle again without hearing the Jaws theme in my head. FOR PETE'S SAKE, WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE GOLDFISH?!?!?!

I don't know why we do it. Maybe we're worried that someone may not realize that we're obviously not dead if we're telling them the story of our terrible Goldfish tragedy. In essence, it's like saying, "First off, he wanted to get to the other side... but why did the chicken cross the road?" Spoiling the punchline.

And yet I can't count the number of times I've said it this last week. Now that a bit of time has passed, I figured I could (and should) blog about this, although the photographic evidence for the sad tale is not yet available...

So what is this sad tale?

Well, first off, I'm okay...

To be continued...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Don't you hate it when you miss the memo?

Well, actually, in this case, when nobody even SENDS you the memo?

I started a new job last month in the financial services industry. This has produced a fair amount of frustration since I have absolutely zero experience in that area (what is this money thing you speak of?), but it's been okay since I was hired because they wanted an English major to write letters for them. So I don't actually have to really know what is going on in other parts of the office.

Apparently the powers that be figured that "don't really have to know" translates to "why bother telling her?" when it comes to office-wide memos.

Like the one that went out this week saying that it's basically casual Friday until the end of tax season. So, casual March/April.

Generally we do have casual Friday, when we all wear jeans and feel a little lazy in anticipation of the weekend. So when I walked into my cubicle-unit on Thursday in my nice business slacks and everyone else in my group were wearing jeans (what, you think they only have enough letters for one English major to write? There are seven of us plus three or four part-timers), I was very confused. I spent at least twenty minutes surreptitiously glancing at my calendar, my notes, and my computer trying to verify that I hadn't pulled some sort of Rip Van Winkle and slept through Thursday. Or that it wasn't April Fools and they were all trying to pull a (not funny at all) prank on me. I finally asked one of my coworkers and she explained the Month of Casual Fridays concept to me, adding, "Didn't you get the memo they emailed out?"

She forwarded it to me, which is how I found out that for whatever reason, I am not on the office-wide email list. The girl who was hired a week or so after me is on the list, though, and she was wearing jeans like the rest of them.

Even though I looked dang good in my professional attire, I still felt like Lily in The Princess Diaries. "Why didn't we dress like her? We look like idiots!"

Well, at least the happy ending is that I get to wear jeans for the rest of tax season. And I do like my jeans, no matter how dang good my professional attire looks. :) And maybe next time I'll get the memo. But even if I don't, that means less junk crowding up my inbox, so I suppose it's a win-win situation.

Now if only someone could explain that money concept to me...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Just so you don't get the wrong idea...

So I had a birthday. And I have a sister (well, three actually, but only one who appears in this story).

A few days after my birthday, Teeny presented me with a really cute homemade card (which informed me of my age and that I am, and I quote, a "HAAATCHILD (hot child)." Ha. I bet none of YOU can put that on your resum├ęs.)

She also wrote me a letter about how cool I am:

Dear Elizabeth,

You are a great housekeeper!* Every time I go to your house, I have a blast! You make me feel welcome and appreciated. Thank you!

Love, Teeny

Now, before you think that I'm bragging by putting up someone else's compliments to me, let me finish the story.

I awwwed like a member of a studio audience and gave her a big hug. "Thank you for such a nice letter," I said.

"We had to write them for Young Women," she told me.

Don't get any ideas thinking I like you or anything, big sister.

This reminds me of the time when she was much younger and I was staying overnight at my parent's house and the only available bed (there were several guests) was Teeny's. She was so excited to share with her big sister (apparently I was cooler then), but when I got into bed that night her true feelings came out. She had been asleep for a few hours and had moved over to where I was supposed to sleep. I gently moved her back over to her side and when she grumbled in her sleep I told her quietly that I needed some room, too. Still fully out, she turned to me with a frustrated look and said, "Could you just please leave?" I nearly bit my tongue off trying not to laugh and wake up my other sister. In the morning, when I told Teeny about this, her eyes got wide and shocked and she cried, "I didn't mean it! I didn't mean it!" But I knew what she was thinking subconsciously.

And now it all comes out again.

I shouldn't be too surprised, though. I already knew she'd lost all respect for me when she decided to get tall.

Ah, well. At least she used me for her Young Women's project, right?

*Disclaimer: Do not read the following if you are a member of my immediate family, have visited my apartment or may visit my apartment at some point in the future.

Looks like I've managed to successfully fool her at least. My housekeeping skills usually only come into being about 45 minutes before someone, usually my family, is about to come over to visit. Then we panic and clean and throw all the spare junk into the bedroom and behind the bed where nobody can see it. Most of the rest of the time we live in slight squalor. Not real squalor -- I still have enough clean genes to avoid that -- but in the dirty-dishes-in-the-sink, yesterday's-and-probably-the-day-before's-clothes-strewn-about-the-room, piles-of-papers-everywhere-but-the-desk and for-goodness-sake-where-is-the-remote-control-and-my-left-shoe type of squalor. Easily concealable on short notice. But I'm still not comfortable enough to let other people see it, or to post pictures on the internet.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Feelin' smarter than somebody else

So, to round out this three-parter (hey, I'm a writer. Every writer needs to do a trilogy at some point), I would like to know if anybody sees anything wrong with this picture:


We found this in a shop in Chile. I think Ultimate Heroical Men Marvel is a much better title than the now-trite "superheroes," don't you? And I was rather surprised to see that Batman appears to have defected over to Marvel. Guess old DC wasn't treating him as well as he would like, eh? Or maybe they refused to call him an Ultimate Heroical Man. Heck, I know I'D consider that grounds for leaving.

Feelin' better

Good ol' Archie.

So, after the last post, I was flipping channels on TV and came across the end of "Sleepless in Seattle," where Meg Ryan gets up to the top of the Empire State Building by mentioning Cary Grant. And it occurred to me just how good Cary Grant is for making everything better. As if to prove my point, when the movie ended, the next one on was "North by Northwest." And after watching Cary Grant for awhile, I did feel much better.

Not that I feel any less decrepit or that my stomach's any happier, but at least I have a pleasant distraction.

Yes, everything is better with Cary Grant.

Feelin' decrepit

It's nice to look back over your week and feel like you accomplished something. Myself, I turned one year older. I won't say exactly how old that is, but let's just say that ten years ago I was still well short of "dating age" and still couldn't go to Stake dances. So I'm really not that old at all. But I'm feeling nice and decrepit at the moment.

This could partly be due to the stomach flu I've been fighting off for the past day or so, which hasn't exactly leant itself to feeling young and chipper. Of all types of illness, the one I detest the most is anything related to my stomach. Queasiness, nausea, anything that makes me feel like I've been on a boat and may require some Pepto Bismol (*shuuuuuuudder*), I'm just not that in to. Not that I like colds any better, but it's a lot easier to function and lead a normal life with a cold. Stomach stuff, shoot me now.

Or the decrepitness could be residual frustration from starting a new job. A new job in an industry in which I have absolutely no experience. Not only no experience but also a very, very tenuous grasp on any of the principles whereon said industry runs. Not that my job really requires extensive knowledge of the industry (I mostly write letters in response to client complaints), but it still is a good way to feel rather stupid and ignorant. Not the best for feeling young and chipper, either. (Although I am learning, which is something. But I'm still, in my second week, wandering around in a haze of confusion, blinking in semi-panic and mumbling about needing my blue blanket to calm my hysterics. ("It's only a minor compulsion. I can deal with it if I want to.") I'm hoping this will fade with time...

I think the best cause for decrepitness is my family, though. Specifically my little sisters.


Back up a bit. My big brother got married in January, to his high school sweetheart, the girl that my oldest little sister, Rachel, and I decided he should marry back when they first met seven years ago. (This also gave me a sense of accomplishment, although, strictly speaking, I didn't do much to bring them together because they were already doing such a good job themselves that it wasn't necessary.) Great fun was had by all and I thought how nice it was to have another married sibling. I was the first in the family to get married and, until January, was the only one. So it was nice to have another couple in the family. Plus I finally got a big sister. (Hooray!)

Fast forward to last week. Rachel calls me up at 11:00 p.m. to tell me that she is engaged to her boyfriend Daniel. This is not a surprise, really. In fact, we'd gotten a call earlier in the evening that I had thought was Daniel using a funny voice to tell us, causing me embarassment when I asked the caller (in confusion again, seems to be developing into a bad habit) point blank, "Are you sure this isn't Daniel?" It wasn't, but luckily for my sanity, Rachel and Daniel called about 30 minutes later with the real announcement. Initially I was very happy for her and quite excited. Daniel is a great guy and treats her well and is polite and funny and gets along well with the family. Not to mention that they love each other quite a bit and would be another married couple in the family. So I congratulated her and let her gush over the phone for a while and then I went to bed.

Lying in bed, it started to dawn on me that this is MY LITTLE SISTER getting married. (Reminder: I did not turn so very old this last week and she is as much younger than me as I was short of dating age ten years ago, if you follow that weird mathematical equation.) MY LITTLE SISTER. IS OLD ENOUGH. TO BE GETTING MARRIED. Well, I guess technically she's not really OLD enough, but she is definitely mature enough so it amounts to the same thing, and my brother and I always said she'd get snapped up pretty fast, seein' as how she's gorgeous. BUT SHE'S GETTING MARRIED.

If she's old enough to be getting married, how old does that make me?

Add to this the fact that my next-oldest little sister, MeeAnne (no, my parents aren't that cruel; that's just my nickname for her), is, at the very moment that I am writing this, out on her first-date-ever. IF SHE'S OLD ENOUGH TO DATE AND RACHEL'S OLD ENOUGH TO GET MARRIED....


At least my youngest sister isn't making me feel old. Just short. She's not quite as old as I would have been ten years ago and already she's only half an inch or so shy of MeeAnne. Who is only an inch or two shorter than Rachel. Who is only barely maintaining a respectful height difference between her older sister, namely me. I'm still the tallest by maybe an inch, maybe only half an inch. But enough that I'm still definitely taller, if not by much. Teeny, however (again, just my nickname for her, although it's becoming less accurate by the day), has definitely not finished growing. You can tell she's just getting started, respectful height differences in regard to older sisters (who are more than ten years older!) be hanged. She's just going to be tall, try and stop her.

But at least she's not making me feel decrepit yet, which is more than can be said for our two other sisters. Disrespectful children, all of them! Getting married, getting dates, getting tall... where do they get the nerve?

And yet, in spite of all that I'm terribly fond of all of them and wouldn't have them any other way. So I guess I deserve to feel decrepit, eh? Maybe, like the confusion, it will all pass with time...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ah, the romance...

Ah, Paris. The most romantic city in the world. The place where young couples in love dream of going just so they can stand on the plaza in front of the Eiffel Tower and kiss in the rain. Just like in that movie. And that other movie.

So when our first Valentine's day as a married couple found us in Paris, you would expect that the day would be triply or quadruply romantic. You know, first big romantic holiday, big romantic city, big romantic radio antenna, gazillions of patisseries and chocolate shops and flower shops on every corner... Oh baby, we had struck the V-day jackpot. How could we ever top this in Valentine's days to come?

Pretty easily, as it turns out.

Back up a few months.

My DH is, for reasons which are beyond me, a political science major. (No offense to any other PoliSci majors out there. I just don't understand the appeal.) As with English majors, upon finding out that you're studying political science, the first question everyone asks is, "What are you going to do with that?" Shallow Man wants to go the State Department route so he can live overseas for the rest of his life. (He loves his country and wants to work for it, but apparently living here bores him to death.) So, in September 2004 he decided to apply for a summer internship with the State Department, to see what he thought and maybe get his foot in the door.

During the application process, they informed him that if he was accepted, they would notify him in November or December, and if he was not accepted he would find out in December or January.

In January we left for Paris for a three-month Study Abroad program. By that time we had still not heard anything back from the S.D., so we figured it was probably a no. On January 31st, when we still hadn't heard anything, including a refusal, Shallow Man emailed to see what was up, just to make sure.

Still no reply. Then, after coming back from group trip to Geneva on February 6, I got an email from my parents. We had forwarded all our mail to their house while we were out of the country. My mom said that they had gotten a letter from the State Department three days before (while we had been in Geneva so she couldn't contact us) saying Congratulations, you've been selected for an internship this summer in Chile, hooray! There were a bunch of forms that needed to be filled out and returned to DC by Feb. 16th. That's returned; not postmarked. Mom had sent the letter and forms to us via Priority mail, marked URGENT.

Fast forward to Valentine's day. Two days until the forms have to arrive at DC. The letter and forms still has not arrived at our place in Paris. Shallow Man had downloaded most of the forms online and started filling them out so we could FedEx overnight them (Paris to DC, pricy...). But he still needed to get fingerprinted.

That meant that he spent all day on Valentines day in a last-minute effort to get this job done, standing in line at various places around Paris to get the forms, the prints, etc. He was bounced around several times between the Paris police, the American Embassy, the American Consulate, and then running back to the Institute building where we had classes to take our History of Religion Midterm. (My Valentine's day wasn't much better. I spent it taking notes in Political Science classes and then taking a midterm. Ew.)

So by the time we finally met up and could acknowledge each others' presence, he was absolutely exhausted. I had a cold starting (which ended up settling in as full-blown flu five days later on the Chunnel on our way to spend a weekend in London with Kat, but that's another story for another time), so I was pretty tired as well.

All we really had energy for was a quick dinner and a metro ride back to our apartment so we could crash. The nearest food to hand was that American Institution so dear to my southern husband's heart.

Oh yes, you guessed it. KFC, baby.

A Valentine's Day in Paris and we got KFC.

What does that say about our relationship? I hope it doesn't mean that we're doomed or hopelessly unromantic or anything like that. I kind of like my husband, if truth be told...

Oh, well. At least it won't be a challenge to top every year. This year he gave me flowers and enough chocolate to feed a small army. ("Because chocolate is better than chicken," he says. Gosh darn it, that guy is cute.)

I can't wait to see what happens for V-day next year...

(Oh, and yes, he did get the forms in on time. Two days after we overnighted them the letter arrived from my parents. Three days after that he got an email from the State Department saying that they had extended the deadline till the end of the month. Prompt notification as always! What gets me is that if they had notified us when they were supposed to to begin with, the V-day catastrophe would not have happened... It turned out to be typical of State's treatment of us. But again, that is another story to be told another time.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Scientific Progress...

So. I have this husband, see. And he likes gadgets. Usually gadgets related to either cameras (a toss-up between Nikon and Cannon) or Apple.

About a year and a half ago I got a new laptop. My DH persuaded me to go the Apple route, which meant that we also got a rebate for a free iPod at the same time. My husband got a regular iPod and I chose the blue Mini, which has to be one of the cuter gadgets I've seen out there. My husband's iPod subsequently goes kaput, meaning that he has now "inherited" my Mini. I have limited visitation rights on weekends.

A couple of weeks ago, Shallow Man came home from class with that "Please don't hurt me for my stupid mistakes" look on his face. I asked him what was wrong.

"Well, I have good news and I have bad news," he said. "The good news is, your iPod still works just fine. The bad news..."

At this point he pulled my iPod out of his backpack and showed me the damage. I don't know how well you can tell from the picture (my husband would say it's the fault of our camera and we need a much nicer one; nice try, hon), but it is no longer the sleek cute blue thing that it once was. It now has scratches and dings all over the place, not to mention a couple of healthy-sized dents in it.

I stared at it, shocked. "What happened? It's not cute anymore!" (Note: My liking for gadgets is pretty much strictly aesthetic in nature -- if it's cute, it's good. If it's ugly, I'm not that interested. It doesn't matter so much what it actually does.)

"But it works still!" He gives me a hopeful grin.

"What did you DO to it?"

Well, it's like this. Shallow Man's story (and he's sticking to it) is that while he was walking along, listening to happy tunes, his hand caught the earphone cord. This pulled the iPod out of his pocket and launched it into the street, where it was promptly run over by a car. (I think he said it was a Nissan, but I wasn't paying attention at that point.) He ran out and grabbed it, thinking, "She's going to kill me," and noticed that not only is it still on, but it's still playing happy tunes -- it didn't even skip a beat.

Now, as happy as I am to see that all is well in Apple-land and they've managed to break the car barrier, I am still rather upset that my cute iPod is now decidedly beat up and non-cute. (Yes, yes, yes, I am shallow in that respect.)

Here's what I think REALLY happened:

Scene: A sidewalk in Provo. Shallow Man is walking down the street, listening to happy tunes. He stops suddenly as a look of ponderment crosses his face. We hear his thoughts as he contemplates the iPod.

SM: Hmm. I know their laptops are nice and durable (note from me: they are. We accidentally dropped one once and it still works fine. It's still cute, too). I wonder how the iPods hold up? For example, what would happen if it got run over by a car?

A look of diabolical cunning crosses his face. He smiles a nasty smile.

SM: This isn't MY iPod, after all...

He runs into the middle of the street, pausing to look both ways -- he may be scheming diabolically, but safety always comes first! -- and drops the iPod on the road. He retreats to the safety of the sidewalk to await results. An incoming Nissan Altima sees the iPod in the road and accelerates directly towards it.

NISSAN ALTIMA: Vrooooommmmmm!

DRIVER: Yeee-hawwwww!

iPOD: Crunch!

SM: A direct hit! Scientific progress moves forward once again!!!

Once again looking both ways, he does a celebratory dance out into the street and picks up the iPod.

SM: (examining iPod carefully) Good thing it's still working. Otherwise I would have to walk home sans happy tunage.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Telemarketing rules of etiquette

My husband had to go to work early today (he has a job on campus that follows a weird schedule), so I thought it was him calling when my phone rang around 8:20. I dashed out of bed to grab it before the machine kicked in and instead of being him, I hear a thick Southern voice, too thick to be his mother:

"Hello, is Shallow Man home?"

"No, he's at work. May I take a message?"

"Oh. Then is Elliespen home?"

"Yes, this is she."

"Well this is (our bank)," (for a moment I'm filled with dread, thinking someone had stolen our identities and run up a kazillion dollar debt on our account -- after all, why else would our bank be calling this early on a Saturday morning? It must be something urgent), "calling to let you know that we are offering free 60-day supplemental auto coverage..."

I nearly snapped. You woke me up to tell me you want to sell us insurance? "We already have auto insurance, thank you."

"Yes, but I want to stress that this is SUPPLEMENTAL..."

"No, we already have coverage, THANK YOU."

"Alright, if you have any questions our toll-free number is...."

Now, I don't have a problem saying NO to telemarketers. I used to meekly cower on the phone and listen to their whole spiel, waiting for them to pause for breath before I told them I wasn't interested. Then I'd have to listen to the secondary spiel, rinse wash and repeat. Eventually I would get them off the phone, but not before they had wasted a full five to seven minutes of my time.

My reasons for this were that, even though it was annoying to me, I had done phone work before (surveys, not sales, at least) and knew how horrible it was and how hard it was to have people be rude to you. So I was trying to make their day a little less horrible. That's before I realized that phone calls don't bother other people as much as they did me. I also gradually realized that they were putting their job before my personal comfort and convenience, so I didn't really need to do the same. Someone had to look out for MY interests, for goodness' sake!

So now I have honed my interruption skills to a fine point. I listen just long enough to hear what they're offering and then tell them that I already have it, I'm not interested, or that my current long distance company beats the pants off of THAT offer. Then I firmly repeat this as soon as they begin the secondary spiel. I can get them off the phone now in a minute to a minute and a half, depending on how persistant they are. If they break that 90-second rule, I just hang up. This makes telemarketers much easier to deal with, so they don't bother me quite so much anymore.

Until they break the sanctity of my Saturday morning, that is. The one day I really have to sleep in. The one day ANYBODY really has to sleep in (unless you have small children, I know. But we don't yet). I will never call anybody before 10:00 on Saturdays just in case they wanted to be lazy in bed for awhile, unless they have given me specific directions to call them earlier. It's just common courtesy. I thought everyone knew that.

In a pinch, I can even condone people calling as early as 9:15 or so. It's cutting it closer but is still within the realms of human acceptability. But in that case I would only call a close friend or a business. In the first case, they'll forgive me, and in the second there's no danger of waking someone up.

So where on earth do the telemarketers get the gall to start calling me before 8:30 on Saturday morning? That's just plain bad business. How many people are really going to say yes to something after you've dragged them out of bed? That's like calling in the middle of dinner, but worse. Especially if they already use your services -- you want to keep them happy, not antagonize them. For the first thirty minutes or so after the call, I was considering switching banks. Maybe I can find one who, even if they ARE more interested in my money than in me, at least has the decency not to show it.

Or maybe I'll just post a rant on my blog in protest.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Appomattox and Shoes

Side note before beginning the real story here: I asked my husband how to spell "Appomattox" to make sure I had gotten it right and his response was "I have no idea." This wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact that he is from the South and makes a big point of being a "suth'n boy." He dreams about fried okra, has nightmares about chitlins, and gets passionate and excited and all patriotic-like when the subject of Robert E. Lee comes up. He doesn't get teary-eyed over old Bobby, although I think this is due more to the fact that I have only known him to cry a total of three or four times since I've known him than to any lack of respect. The movie line he laughs hardest at is from "One, Two, Three" (taking place in divided Berlin; great comic movie with James Cagney) when Mac gets mad at Scarlett (a suth'n girl) for blowing up balloons that say "Yankee Go Home":

Mac: You were making anti-American propaganda?!
Scarlett: It's not anti-American, it's anti-Yankee. And where I come from, everybody's against the Yankees.

So with all that Southernness going on, you'd think he'd know Appomattox. Was he faking his suth'n-ness all along? Or is this one of those "The South Will Rise Again" denial-type issues? I'll have to look into it. In the meantime, on with the show.

Today, in a dramatic ceremony (at which no photographers were present, thank goodness), The Cold surrendered its family heirloom sword to me. Actually, it had been hiding behind some rocks, trying to evade the deluge of orange juice, and came out waving a white tissue on its swordpoint. I have won! Of course there are a few straggling regiments that I have to go take care of who haven't realized that they've lost yet, but my trusty Kleenex box can more than handle them. It'll all be over in a day or so.

I was so excited about this that I went out and bought some new shoes. Actually, I'd been needing to buy shoes for a while but hadn't been able to because of said cold, but still. I love shoes. Especially black shoes. A girl cannot have too many pairs of black shoes. My college roommate Margo (one of the world's most amazing people ever) can attest to this. She was always impressed at my collection of black shoes and my ability to walk into a shoe store at random, usually on a trip to help her find shoes, and come out with something adorable for myself, while she had been unable to find anything she liked. I think at the high-water mark I had nineteen pairs of black shoes, not counting a few other pairs of non-blacks. Since I've been married, though, my shoe collection has dwindled severely and I generally only get new shoes when there is a special occassion or when old ones wear out.

Today was triple-point shoe day. Two of my favorite pairs (one of them being my tri-continent shoes) had worn out and there is also a special occassion coming up, as my brother is getting married on Thursday. So I got a nice pair of black work shoes, some cute flats and some uber-fun, very high-heeled Mary Jane types. Life is good.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


So I was going to resolve to be a bit more consistent about posting on my blog, once all the crazy Christmas rush was done. (Christmas in retail, oh joy!) And I really was going to do it.

Only once all the crazy Christmas rush was done, it started catching up to me.

By the time Resolutions Day rolled around I was battling the cold of the century (my immune system apparently having made its own resolution to cut back on the hard work and spend more time with the fam'), and it's still anybody's guess as to who's going to win this one. The Cold is gaining ground as I am rapidly running out of tissues. But I am valiantly beating it back by drowning it in orange juice, so it may all turn out okay in the end. Until I run out of oj, that is...

At any rate, since I missed the holiday season, I'd just like to wish you all a belated happy Christmahannakwanzaadanstice, as my sisters would say. (We really overlook the Druids this time of year. I'm sure they wouldn't mind it if we wished them a Happy Winter Solstice now and again.)

Freaking Druids. They're everywhere...