Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Job is Cool

For the next week or two I get to research Facebook. It's not nearly as intuitive as I expected.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The grate, the shoe and the hobo

I remember a time in the not too distant past when I could stay up all night for these conferences and not want to die by Friday morning. Those days are past. I have slept somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 hours since Monday and I am EXHAUSTED.

So, let's pretend it was exhaustion that led to the next set of events. Let's just pretend.

Yesterday morning, I happily dressed for work, in my business clothes which are more comfortable that anything I have ever worn for work, and felt that I could make the sacrifice for the cute shoes. I stepped out onto the sidewalk and into the pouring rain, quite confidently I might add, and . . .immediately sunk the heel of my shoe into a sidewalk grate. Of course, my left shoe was stuck tight, with my foot in it, but my right leg was moving forward forcefully, propelling the rest of my body with it. My right hand was stuck under the strap of my very heavy bag, the momentum of which was rapidly bringing my face toward the concrete.

In desperation I flailed with my left hand and inadvertently grabbed a hold of, well, a hobo. He had his back to me and was trying to get money from someone on the other side of the sidewalk, so clearly a little freaked out when I was suddenly clutching and pulling at him to prevent a serious case of road rash all over my face. He let me know quite clearly how freaked out he was with plenty of swearing, muttering, screaming, the works. Meanwhile. I am upright, but still stuck. My shoe will not come out of the grate. And I have a decision to make. And I need to make it fast because it's pouring rain.

Do I stand there, still yanking my foot up but able to defend myself should he start swinging, or step out of the shoe and bend down to pick it up and just pray he won't kick me in the kidneys while I'm down?

I gave a couple more tugs and realized I had no choice but to bend down. I had to have 2 shoes. It's required to get into the convention center. And did I mention the pouring rain?

So, while I am apologizing to him and fumbling to get my shoe out while trying to find money to calm him down, a lady going to my convention comes up behind me. She can see that we are going to the same place because of the badges we all have on, and she now feels a need to protect me. Of course she does. I have clearly proven that I can't actually get myself to the convention with two shoes and without pissing off random homeless men on the street. And I have no umbrella which also seems to bother her.

The funny part of this is that her conflict was totally clear. She can't bring herself to get close enough to actually share the umbrella with me. I mean, a homeless man is going postal in my face and I am holding one shoe and trying to hop into it. So, she settles for putting the umbrella halfway over me, thereby keeping a safe distance, but assuaging her need to help me out. I can't say no thank you. I mean, she is putting herself WAY out. Not her umbrella so much, but I really was fine with being wet. I was not fine appearing with a bloody face. Wet seemed like an OK trade off.

So, 6 blocks later, and carefully walking around all grates no matter how small, I arrived for the day. It was very entertaining explaining to my co-workers why I was showing up to the booth with half of my hair frizzy and fluffed around my face and the other half soaking wet, dripping on my blouse. I know, it's a glamorous life, but someone has to live it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Greetings from San Fran

A recap:
  • There are no easily accessible bathrooms on I5 before the airport.
  • It is more difficult than you think to choose between missing your flight or potentially peeing your pants.
  • The bathrooms in the gas station on the corner of Laurel street are nasty beyond foul. And not speedy.
  • Terminal 1 in San Diego Airport has serious issues managing their security line.
  • United should not have checked me in 29 minutes before my flight.
  • C'mon people. Laptops out of bags, jackets off, shoes in the bin. Let's go. PLEASE! For the LOVE!
  • Weird, I haven't run through an airport since 9-11. Come to think of it, that is the shortest amount of time I have spent in an airport in years.
  • I love the guys I work with.
  • The guys I work with love me
  • Things in my business life are really opening up. I have more options than I even knew I had. More than one person has asked me to come work for them. Some of them are fine with me working from home
  • High heels make my feet hurt
  • Cheesecake Factory is yummy
  • It's awesome to travel. On someone else's money.
  • Dave ate frog legs
  • I didn't puke. I did get queasy.
  • There is not enough hair product in the world for me to have a good hair day in San Francisco in February.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Try not to Miss me

K, I'm off and running- you know, doing enough of the never-ending laundry in order to pack a few clothes for the trip. Can't be running around a business convention in pajama bottoms (although the killer pants I bought are a knit material cut to give the impression of dress pants. AND only $10. AND, marginally too big so when I gain 20 pounds from the prednisone I started back on today, I won't have to repeat the shopping trip. A blessing, to be sure.).

Sadly, it's raining in SF, so no straight hair for the convention. Good thing, as I am frightened to dazzle all those men (OK, mainly boys) with my grandeur. And I don't really know how to straighten my hair. Even a little. Not really a hair girl. . .

Anyway, I might or might not get some blogging done, so let me apologize now if I don't fill your day with wittiness again until Saturday or Sunday. Please know I still love you.

Yikes! I don't have time for this! It's nearly midnight and I still have to do laundry, pack, put clean sheets on the bed, clean the dog pen, finish my bedroom, do dishes, sweep the floor. . .no wonder I need the prednisone!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A shorter post for the ADD crowd

This is for everyone not interested in the marathon Fat Cyclist post:

Today was cleaning day in an attempt to get everything organized enough to have someone live in with the kids for 3 days while I go to my annual conference for work. I was going for a personal best of cleaning all 3 bathrooms in one day, but I was just exhausted after two. So I had to drop out of the competition. I'm going to console myself with some of Fat Cyclist's cake and then start training for next year. I think I can. . .I think I can. . .I think I can. . .

P.S. That cake really is good. Indulge. Now.

Fat Cyclist Cake

I had to share a recipe I found on Fat Cyclist. Why do I visit fat cyclist? Certainly not for the cycling. However, I can sympathize with the "pleasingly plump" side of his life and he is funny, so I visit him. I'm hoping that if I read his blog enough I will someday be inspired to get on a bike and get some real exercise. Or at least walk upright up the stairs to go to bed at night, rather than crawling. . .

This recipe made me both curious and a little hysterical with laughter. So, here it is. I will need to try it out before it gets a permanent place on the recipe blog. Don't worry though. It's my job to try out all manner of recipes so that you, my fans, can be protected from the grosser tastes in life.

Shameless excerpt from Fat Cyclist:

It is a Chocolate-Chip-Oatmeal cake. It is not a fluffy, airy cake that collapses away to oxygen and a whiff of chocolate when you put it in your mouth. No. It is a substantial cake, something you could make a meal of. The oatmeal keeps it dense and moist, and the chocolate keeps it chocolatey.

Do not put frosting on this cake. Frosting is what most cakes need to hide the fact that they are dry, over-airy, and flavorless.

I promise you, if you make this cake, you eat will three pieces before nightfall. You will gain three pounds before dawn. And you will look for reasons to make this cake again soon. You will make this cake whenever you are asked to bring a dessert over to a picnic, and you will be invited to an increasing number of picnics when people learn that you will bring this cake.

Your enemies will approach you to resolve your differences, just so they can have some of this cake.

I will, by coincidence, be making this cake later this afternoon for my wife, for it is her birthday. I will also give her an iPod, onto which I will copy our entire library of music — importing this library into iTunes has been a tedious labor, and ordinarily my wife would appreciate the work that has gone into it. But when she sees that I have made this cake, I expect she will toss the iPod — now forgotten — into a box and will throw her arms around me, grateful that I have gone to the effort of making her The Best Cake in the World.

I only hope that I have not undersold this cake.

Recipe for the Best Cake in the World


  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water — do not put your fingers in this water, for it is hot!
  • 1 cup oatmeal — regular oatmeal, not instant, you cretin.
  • 1 c. brown sugar — how come it tastes so good?
  • 1 c. white sugar — I have no clever comment to add to this ingredient, unless you consider this comment clever.
  • 1 stick butter — No, don’t use margarine. Use butter. Margarine is gross.
  • 1 tsp baking soda — I tried brushing my teeth with baking soda. Once.
  • 1/2 tsp salt — Or go crazy and put in a whole teaspoonful.
  • 1 3/4 cup flour — Warning: flour may contain wheat products.
  • 2 eggs — From a chicken; ostrich eggs are too big, and taste nasty.
  • 1 pkg milk chocolate chips, or semi-sweet if you think you are too good for regular milk chocolate chips.

Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal and stir. It’s best if the aforementioned pouring of boiling water over said oatmeal occurs in a bowl. Stir and let set for 10 minutes. Put the butter in about 5 minutes into this ten minutes, so it can melt.


Stir together in a different bowl:

  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

Once the 10 minutes has elapsed…

Stir the brown sugar and white sugar into the oatmeal mixture.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then stir the eggs into the oatmeal mixture.

Mix the flour mixture into the oatmeal mixture. You should now have one mixture. If you have more than one mixture, you need to reevaluate some life choices you made in your childhood.

Stir half the chocolate chips into this mixture. Do not snitch more than 5% of the chocolate chips as you do this.

Grease and flour (or, in my house, just spray with Pam) a 9 x 13 pan. Note that this is an update. Originally I said that "you should use a 9 x 9 pan. Or an 8 x 10 pan. Or a 40 x 2 pan. Something that comes out to about 80 square inches." I was guessing. I was wrong. I regret the error. I have other regrets as well, but another time, another time.

Pour the cake batter in, then sprinkle the other half of the bag of chocolate chips on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the center of the cake is not a gooey mess. Let cool at least a little bit or the molten chocolate will burn the living daylights out of the roof of your mouth.

Serve warm, or at room temperature if you must. With vanilla ice cream if at all possible.



Sunday, February 17, 2008

As if the misbehaving kids are not bad enough

Sunday, the day we rest

. . . but not today. To fill in a little back story, last night at midnight I was upstairs turning out lights and begging my kids to put their freaking books down and go to sleep so that church (and all things associated) would not be a disaster. Right, so.
Today went a little something like this:
Mom: Everyone up! C'mon! Outta' bed.
Mom: (10 minutes later) Kids. get out of bed. C'mon. Everyone up!
Mom: (9:05 am) Everyone! Get out of bed. I mean NOW! Don't make me come in there and drag you out.
5 kids finally mutter and grumble their way into the kitchen, at which point Nate decides that Sunday morning is the perfect day to incite riot from his brothers, and they begin tearing around the house using very loud and high pitched voices. Very loud. Did I mention the screeching?
Once the screeching begins, then the whining must ensue.
Ellie: E-v-v-a-a-n. s-s-s-t-o-o-o-o-p it! Stop touching me! M-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-m! (please everyone whine along with us now)
Rebi: Ellie, you're so annoying! Shut up.
Ellie: Rebi, stop yelling at me!
Rebi: I'm not yelling at you, I'm trying to be heard over Evan screaming!
Evan: (unintelligible joyful screeching at Nate or Ty)
Ellie: Why does everyone hate me? (or something similar and dissolve into tears. I always thought children became emo once they hit puberty, but I'm beginning to wonder if some of them are just born that way).
Mom: QUIET! Eat your breakfast. NOW!
Fast forward to 10:05 (we have to leave at 10:15)
Mom: Everyone get down here and let me see you!
No answer, more screeching from upstairs. Naturally, at T-10 and counting, I am
a) beyond frazzled my own self and
b) ready to do damage to any child not already fully clothed and ready to walk out the door.
So, I go to the bottom of the stairs and what should I see? 3 boys in various states of undress, none of whom have anything resembling church clothes on. More dialog? Sure. It goes a little something like this:
Brilliantly, they ran and got dressed and we were on time to church.

Excuse me now, I need to go take a nap.