Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monster Mash

I admit; Halloween is not a favorite holiday of mine. I just don’t really get it. I could blame my dad for terrifying his toddler daughters when he dressed up as Gene Simmons (KISS). I don’t think I ever fully recovered from that scare.

Plus, I don’t like scary movies and, after a couple rolls of Smarties, I’m done with the candy too. Living in a condo, I don’t even get trick-or-treaters stopping by to show off their cute little costumes.

But as long as we’re turning the clocks back tonight, I might as well celebrate. I’m embracing Halloween this year by going to a costume party. I’ll be appropriately dressed as an angel. It’s easy and doesn’t require me to squirt blood on my clothes or paint my face.

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween! To help get in the holiday spirit, tell me your favorite—or strangest—Halloween costume. I know there is a lot of creativity out there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What’s on your bumper?

Today’s post is totally random, but just stay with me for the heck of it. A few days ago I found myself driving through a parking ramp behind a car with a bumper sticker that said, “I Love Baton Twirlers.” It made me chuckle that someone would choose to declare something so unusual to everyone with whom they share the road. Then, not even 10 seconds later, I drove by a parked car with a sticker declaring three powerfully vivid words, “I Eat Poop.” Now, there are a lot of bumper stickers I’ve seen over the years that I haven’t really understood, but this one might just take the cake (or, the…never mind). Don’t you wonder what stories are behind those people and their crazy motivation for promoting such things on the rear-ends of their vehicles?

Personally, I have never understood why people choose to lower the value of their automobiles with these odd declarations. I’m not even a fan of the political and cause-related stickers that actually have a campaigning purpose. Regardless of whether I agree with the person or not, I don’t like the distracting propaganda at every stoplight. And then there are the proud parents of the honor roll students. Can’t they brag to some family members, friends, or neighbors? Why must they brag to me, a stranger who couldn’t care less and is just trying to get myself home?

Anyway, I know there are lots of crazy and unique things to share on bumpers, and I for one could use a good laugh or roll of the eyes from reading some good ones (from my computer…not on the road). So, I’m asking (even begging) for your participation in sharing the most interesting bumper sticker you have ever seen. Let me hear ‘em!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You know who you are...

Last week, a colleague and I were chuckling about yet another laminated note left by the kitchen sink in our office building. It said something like “Put your dishes in the dishwasher. Your mother doesn’t work here.” This is not the first such note. And we laugh because we all know who’s posting them (someone with way too much time on her hands) and truthfully, the notes just give us an even stronger urge to leave our dishes in the sink. Passive aggressive behavior at its best.

Another co-worker recently shared with me what has become one of my new favorite websites: Let’s talk about a few of my favorites, starting with this one:
Is Jesus winking at me in this photo? I love the thumbs up, which doesn’t exactly portray disappointment for the stealing behavior. If I made the sign, I would’ve at least used a photo of Jesus with a tear in his eye. That Bible verse response is brilliant though. There’s nothing like twisting the Word of God to justify any and all behavior. Cracks me up!

Other favorites include:

  1. Hot Pocket thieves. Really? Hot Pockets? When I bring a Hot Pocket to work, everyone knows Heather is reaching into the back of her freezer and desperately needs to go grocery shopping. You wanna steal my Hot Pocket? Fine. No love lost there.
  2. Talking office objects. If there’s anything more obnoxious than a note from a co-worker, it’s got to be a note from the toilet!
  3. Cheesy clip art. I have a passionate LOATHING for all things clip art. I even have a crazy clip art file where I’ve accumulated real flyers from work that promote everything from getting your immunizations (a smiley face with measles, coughing up germs) to injury prevention (a stick figure with a broken leg, crutch and a bunch of question marks swirling around his head…I think he’s dizzy.)

Oh, I’ve had many such opportunities for these kinds of notes or actions over the years with roommates, neighbors, colleagues, and the obnoxious lady in front of me at the grocery store check out. I’m not going to admit any of it here, but let’s face it. Sometimes we need to have the last word!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flying the unfriendly skies

Travel used to be such a fun word for me. It meant vacation, fun, different, new. Then, eight years ago I started working for a business travel agency (which is very different from a leisure agency) and began some business travel myself. The result is that travel has lost much of its luster for me. I still appreciate a good vacation, but it’s the getting from point A to point B that I could do without. With the poor economy, I’ve alluded most travel this year due to budget cuts. But over the past month, I’ve had a fair amount of travel, and I’ve been reminded why it’s such a pain.

This is me on a typical business trip: I get stuck in security behind someone who doesn’t know they have to remove their shoes. (Really? After all this time you’ve never heard that before?) At the gate, someone next to me is talking loudly on his Bluetooth headset. (“Um, excuse me loud cell phone man…we’re not all looking at you ‘cuz we think you must be important, we’re looking at you because we’re really, really annoyed and want you to shut up.”) While boarding, I am pushed around and nearly smothered by people trying to fit their too large suitcase into the overhead bin (I’ve seen—and almost been a part of—arguments surrounding the overhead bins). Upon settling into my seat, a sick person is coughing behind me and I’m trying to avoid breathing the same air. I can barely hear my iPod because I end up sitting right by the engine, but for some reason I have no problem overhearing the loud conversation in front of me. In addition, air travel for me almost always involves either an early morning or a late night. All that in itself is enough, so I won’t even bother getting into the joys of sleeping in hotels.

Honestly though, despite all this, sometimes I walk through an airport and think to myself that air travel is a pretty neat thing. Those stuffy planes have taken me to some unique and interesting places, and have helped me to earn a living for my entire adult career. And, if nothing else, it makes for some entertaining travel tales…like the last minute dash to catch a flight, or the lost luggage (or, in my case, the lost photo ID), or the airport celebrity sighting, etc. What’s your best travel tale?

While traveling, you also learn to appreciate the small things in life…a hot meal, familiar faces, and the fact that tonight I get to sleep in my own bed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Punching my card

Sometimes I just want to go back to working at the Gap. Right now is one of those times. I’m burnt out and crabby at work. Last week one of my co-workers even said to me “I miss hearing you laugh.” Now that’s just sad. But I know; this too shall pass. Things are just unusually crazy right now. I’m still happy to be putting my college degree to good use and doing something I generally love. And I mustn’t forget the most obvious blessing of my job these days—I HAVE one!

But the Gap wasn’t so bad either. In fact, I thought it was heaven compared to my first job as a Target cashier. I’m not sure why I disliked that job so much. Maybe because that’s where I realized I’d have to do this working thing for the rest of my life. It was a reality check. (What?! I’m going to have to talk to people I don’t like?! Get only a 15-minute break? And give the government a huge chunk of my hard-earned dough?! What a joke!) If only my mom had let me go to that Old Dutch potato chip commercial call back in second grade…my career might’ve taken a completely different turn.

Unfortunately, when I get stressed out, I also tend to spend money on things I don’t really need. Let’s just say that Gap discount would come in handy right now.

Your turn. What was your first job? And what did you learn from it?

Whatever your job situation—past or present, I think we could all take a lesson in office fun from these co-workers. You can bet that if I worked with them, I would join right in (but naturally, I would’ve picked an N*Sync song instead).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

High school humiliation

It’s High School Humiliation Week! Well, at least it is according to a Anne and May in honor of the release of their book, A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS. Now that I’m 30 and no longer embarrassed by youthful moments of dorkiness, I’m here to humble myself by posting a photo from the awkward years and my most embarrassing adolescent moment (which is actually from junior high, but lucky for you…I looked more awkward then compared to high school anyway).

Check out this girl, who is dying to be popular, but clearly not there yet…

Ugh..ok, picture her on a blue school bus headed to a youth group retreat at a camp a few hours away. She notices almost immediately upon the bus leaving the church parking lot that she has to use the bathroom. By the time we’re driving on a two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere, she is very concerned. Her friends think this is hilarious and start singing songs about water. A couple hours into the trip (after hearing there are no pit stops planned, and no gas station in sight), she starts crying (yes, crying) and tells the bus driver that he needs to pull over…right NOW! The bus pulls over and she runs into the woods. Two full busloads of kids wait…and word quickly gets out that Jenny is peeing in the woods. (I hope I ran far enough in to avoid spectators. It was humiliating, but the relief I felt was worth it.)

Anyway, I was reminded of that episode by retreat-goers for the entire weekend that followed. But looking back on it, I realized that no one really cared about it but me. So, it’s a good lesson and reminder to not take myself so seriously and just laugh at myself. I wish more high school kids realized that, but I think it’s just something you discover with age.

Don’t think you’re getting off easy…now that I’ve shared, I want to hear your humiliating moments from your younger years. Don’t hold back! I have other awesomely bad moments I could share, but not unless you add your two cents.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Behind the Bell

Before there was 90210 or The O.C., there was that fun bunch of teenagers from Bayside High School who I knew and loved. Saved By The Bell was the TV show that motivated me through my awkward junior high years and made me look forward to high school. I wanted to hang out at The Max with my friends. I wanted to see Bayside beat Valley in the big game. I wanted to be as smart as Jessie, as fashionable as Lisa and as popular as Kelly.

It’s hard to believe that this show actually premiered 20 years ago! Since then, I’ve seen every episode several times. And what would a 20th anniversary of a hit TV show be without a tell-all book? That’s right folks. Our very own Screech (a.k.a. unemployed Dustin Diamond) has just released his book, Behind the Bell.

Truthfully, I don’t really care what went on behind the scenes. I still like the show. Perhaps if the book came out 10 or 15 years ago, the revelations of drug use and womanizing might’ve been groundbreaking. But sadly, I think I’ve become desensitized to young Hollywood stars stirring up trouble. They live in a different reality. It’s great to see some stars rise above it, but it’s almost “expected” these days that they won’t.

Dustin’s interviews on his book tour make him sound sort of bitter and jealous of his SBTB cast mates. Apparently he was the geek on screen and off.

Needless to say, I won’t be running out to buy this book. I’m still holding out for a SBTB reunion though. Bring back Zack Attack and play some volleyball at the Malibu Sands Beach Club. Oooo, I’d be so excited…kind of like Jessie:

Best. Episode. EVER.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fair weather fan fun

I’m not a big sports fan during most of the year. Wild hockey is about the only thing I pay attention to all season long. However, if you’re from Minnesota, you couldn’t miss a short string of recent days in which the Wild opened their NHL season, the Vikings (with Brett Favre) beat the rival Packers, and the Twins fought hard for 12 innings (plus a few games before that) to clinch the division title and head to the MLB playoffs. It’s one of those rare good times to be a Minnesota sports fan—when the stakes are high and the teams are strong (at least for the moment).

For me, this is the time when I hop on the bandwagon and pretend like I’ve been following this stuff all year long. Yes, I am a fair weather fan and proud of it. I like to think it’s fans like me who help to add a sense of heightened excitement to these times. So, suddenly I’m following the Twins and the Vikings and sharing water cooler conversations about the previous night’s scores. I feel so… athletic. I mean, what’s more athletic than sitting on your couch watching other people be active, right?

What great sporting event is next, you ask? Well, for those of you who agree with me that dance is a sport, then I’ll be enjoying another great night tonight as I head to the So You Think You Can Dance tour! It’s more exhibition than competition at this point, but after following these athletes on TV all summer long, I’m excited to see them do their thing. Here’s video of my favorite dance of last season, which I'm looking forward to seeing live tonight (explanation: the male dancer represents an addiction and the female is the addict…such a powerfully illustrated story). It’s art; it’s sport; it’s two minutes of enjoyment for moi!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sew...a needle pulling thread

Back in junior high, I got an ‘A’ on my home economics sewing project. That nylon duffle bag might’ve just been the start of something big. Had I continued to refine my skills, you might find me creating designer handbags, or dressing Hollywood stars for the big awards shows.

But the truth is, I haven’t touched a sewing machine since that class. While I do own a sewing kit, if a seamstress were to examine my attempt at sewing a button on my coat, she would be appalled.

I have also been known to "repair" a ripped hem on my pants with Scotch tape. (Another dear friend and OKD reader once used a stapler—which makes me feel a little better about the tape!) Usually, when the hem rips on a pair of pants, I just consider it an excuse to go shopping and buy a new pair.

But today friends, I’m pleased to share that my lack of sewing skills will never again be a problem. Let me introduce you to one of my new favorite things:
When my Mighty Mendit showed up in the mail, I pulled four pairs of neglected pants out of my closet and—after a few seconds of careful handiwork—they are now as good as new. No needles, thread or scissors and no more feelings of insecurity about my lack of domestic skills. And what a relief to know that my hem will stay put even through storm force winds (according to the late Billy Mays)!

Now if they would just create a Mighty Mendit-type solution to fix leaky pipes, electronics and automobiles, I could conquer the world!