Monday, March 31, 2008

I mean really. It's the PHONE company, y'all.

When the phone rang early enough on Saturday morning to get me out of bed, I didn't even bother becoming annoyed. I was sure it was my friend Tawana, who for the last fifteen years has done her damnedest to catch me lolling about in the bed on Saturday. She's been fairly successful at it too--I can count the number of times I've gotten out of the Saturday bed on my own steam with the fingers of one hand.

But instead of the friendly, gotcha voice I expected, I heard a prerecorded message. "Hello. Please stand by for an important message about your account with Alltel. This is not a marketing call."

Now perhaps you remember me telling you a while ago about how I had so perfected my procrastination technique that I neglected to pay the electric bill. If so, you will also remember that the utility company (who does not procrastinate) was quick to offer to disconnect my service for me. So I sat up in bed and got all interested, despite the early hour.

As it turns out, the telephone company is looking for Judi Dench, whose cell phone service will apparently undergo some sort of change on the 30th.

And who, according to Alltel, lives at my phone number.

In its urgency to get the message to Ms. Dench, the telephone company presented me with the following three options: (1) Pause the recording so she could come to the phone, (2) take a message, and (3) report a wrong number.

I'm guessing that option number 3 is out of order, since, despite choosing it, I received this same call another three more times on Saturday and twice on Sunday--one of which was unfortunately timed during the nap window. During the final call, I pressed so many unauthorized buttons in an attempt to get a live person on the phone that the recording hung up on me.

So I guess I'm taking a message, after all. Dame Judi Dench, if you're reading--give Alltel a ring. I'm sorry, I don't have their number.

Friday, March 28, 2008

God spiel.

One of the many benefits of living in the bible belt is that you don't have to go very far if you want someone to tell you about Jesus.

Spend a little time in this part of the world, and you'll see scripture posted behind the cash register, and Psalms printed on the to-go napkins. My friend Tawana has observed that your brand-new neighbor might say "Nice to meet you," but is much more liable to make your acquaintance with, "Hey, what church do y'all go to?"

If--like me--you've lived your life on the outside edge of the straight and narrow, it might even do you some good to spend a little time with people whose last act every day is to run back through their memory in search of people who need praying for. And really, I don't mind a little proselytizing every now and then--just as long as I know it's coming, and can already have my story straight.

But sometimes, these people come up with a combination of Christianity and commercialism that makes me just the teeniest bit uncomfortable.

As I was driving to work yesterday, heading for the on-ramp and trying to build up enough speed to convince the cars I was supposed to yield to that "No, I will not be able to stop," I noticed that the oil and lube joint on my right was running an oil change special. I just happen to be in the market for an oil change right now, so I allowed my eyes to drift from the road only as long as it took for me to read the scrolling LED marquee out in front:

Convenient Oil Change--Quick--God has a purpose for YOU!

Because I was not watching the road as I would have been had I not had such an interesting sign to read, my car drifted to the right and the front tire jumped the curb--very nearly taking out the subject sign and almost certainly necessitating a tire alignment in addition to the oil change that I will be purchasing someplace else.

Just in case they got the license number, or something.

Image, Elkridge Geneology Site.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

To-Do Lists. Yeah, I got 'em.

I'm a huge fan of the to-do list. My life is littered with them.

They're tucked into magazines and books, so I know where I was when I gave up ever trying to finish reading that particular publication. There's one on the refrigerator to remind me of the food I need but can never buy because the list is always on the refrigerator. There are always several in the bottom of my purse. I can't find the one stupid dime I need to have enough money to buy a canned Diet Coke, but I can put my hands on a raggedy to-list pretty much any time you care to see one.

I've got lists of books to look for the next time I'm at the bookstore or library, and lists of minutia I want to look up the next time I'm unsupervised on the intertubes. I always make a list on Saturday morning to ignore until late Sunday afternoon, and of course, I've got lists of things I have to do at work to make sure somebody rings the bell for me. Most of my lists, though, are for possible future blog posts. Something almost always reminds me that I am out of toilet paper, but I hardly ever remember an idea I've let get away from me.

Sasha Cagen's blog is all about lists, and I get lost over there all the time. Lots of people do, and for the longest, I was attributing our fascination to just plain old voyeurism. But if you take a minute to think about it, any kind of to-do list carries with it an implied hope--faith that any amount of crap can be accomplished, once organized properly.

And for that, you gotta have a list.

Image, To-Do List.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In one ear and out the other.

I had a dream last week in which my boss leaned over to me during a meeting, peered at the left side of my head, and said, "You have the cleanest ear!"

When I woke up, I rolled over on the cat, said something like, "Huh. That was weird," and promptly fell back to sleep.

And had I kept the stinking dream to myself, I would now be alternately offending you/making you laugh with my comments about living in the Bible Belt. But because of my extraordinarily poor judgment, I am instead compelled to use this platform to try and find out what this dream might possibly mean.

Why? Because unlike other people whose dreams are boring and offer way more insight than anybody ever really wants to know, my dreams are interesting. Compelling, even. My dreams are so compelling that I myself felt compelled yesterday to recount this particular dream to my boss.

Now I don't know what the dream means--and under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn't care. But some time after the conversation in which I laughingly described the dream to her, I began to wonder--what if my boss is some sort of expert in dream interpretation? What if she's like, the dream whisperer? And what if ear dreams mean something--well, something else?

So, if you have any sort of background in dream interpretation--if you have ever been in therapy, taken a college psychology course or maybe saw something about it on Oprah--well, now would be a good time to drop me a line.

photo, Marek Haiduk.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Keeping those lines of communication wide open. That's how we keep our household operation running.

From my office voice mail, sometime Monday morning:

Hey, Mom, it's me. Listen, I just wanted to let you know that the cat threw up on the rug in the living room. I can't clean it up right now, but I didn't want you to come home after work all excited and run over to the TV and--you know--step in it, or something.

It's shaped like a heart.

Just in case I don't recognize it. What with my excitement to get to the television, and all.

Monday, March 24, 2008

We've just traced the call, and it's coming from inside your guilty conscience.

My friend Tawana, who is also a powerful and important professional person, has been really busy for the past few weeks. She has to travel a lot for her job. She has a new grandbaby. And I secretly suspect she has fallen off the poker wagon and is spending the odd weekend at the casino again.

And even though I am never entirely sure from whence she is calling, for almost the entire span of our decades-old relationship, we've spoken on the phone at least once a day. Every day.

Until about two weeks ago.

When you're used to rehashing tiny bits of every day with someone else, you might make mental note as your day goes on. "I must remember to tell So-and-so about this." "So-and-so will really think this is funny." "I wonder what So-and-so will have to say about that." Before too long, all those tiny bits add up. I was working on an entire storehouse of tiny bits by the time Tawana and I finally connected.

Foremost on my mind, though, was my decision to take a break from blogging. I already knew that that news wasn't going to go over well with her. Tawana is the one who harangued me into starting a blog in the first place. As far as she is concerned, I owe her 150 words per day. Since I was sure to get a trip to the woodshed for my trouble, I went out of my way keep the conversation away from the blog until the last possible minute.

"So." She said, after we'd been talking for a while. "Do you have anything else you want to tell me?"

Nobody else in the world, with the exception of my mother, has the power to make me feel like I did in that moment. It was way worse than I had expected. Suddenly, I was 13 years old again, and powerless to do anything but stutter and wait to see how much trouble I was really in for getting into that car/wearing that halter-top/smoking that cigarette/sporting that hickey.

"Oh. Well, yeah, there is that. I guess you've already been on the site and seen it?"

"Seen what?"


"I don't know what you're talking about. Today is my birthday. Did you forget my birthday?"

And I had. I had forgotten my best friend's birthday. I didn't buy a new calendar at the beginning of this year and when left to my own devices, I can't differentiate Tuesday from Thursday. It wasn't about me, so I forgot.

So, it's a little late, but...

Happy Birthday, Tawana. Your corn dog is in the mail.

Tawana has never forgiven me for allowing her to forget my birthday several years ago, and has pronounced my forgetting her birthday as the greatest gift I could have given her. She wants me to think that this now makes us even. However, this would mess up the balance of the universe. That is, if I didn't already know that she plans to lord it over me for the next 11 months. Universe balance restored.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Whew! I almost missed it.

Late Breaking News:

Did you know that today is National Corndog Day? Sadly, I did not, or I would have hosted myself a NCD party.

That's okay, though. According to the NCD Website, someone else is hosting a party right in my town.

So what if I have to watch a little basketball to share in some corndog love? It's a tiny sacrifice.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Posting resumes on Monday, March 24.

Admit it. In your heart of hearts, you thought I had lit out for parts unknown.

See you Monday.

photo, sneak peek from Leisure Arts Traditions. Available June, 2008.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just one less thing for you to remember.

On Tuesday, the more observant of you will notice that the web address for this blog will have changed to simply

But don't worry--I won't leave you behind, even if you forget. You'll get an automatic redirect if you go to the blogspot address by mistake.

Even if you type in the old address, you'll still land here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You can keep checking for updates...

...or you can add me to your home page or reader.

I think you should add me. I don't want to miss you when I come back.

Click the orange button in the upper right corner of the page.

photo, G. Baden

Monday, March 10, 2008

A la estaciĆ³n, por favor.

A couple years ago, a blog I had been following and recommending to my friends just up and disappeared. An email to the author revealed that she had moved the site after her mother found it. She's 32.

I'm not on the lam from my mom (yet), But I am taking Jane on brief hiatus. While it's fun to have a place to show off the latest cool thing happening on the intertubes, that was never really what I meant to do here--at least no more often than every now and then.

I really had rather be writing, and sharing that writing with you. So I'm going to take a couple weeks to recharge, get out of the house, find some people to make fun of.

I plan to be back. I hope you will be too.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Why you should not let your boyfriend buy you a puppy.

One of the things I like most about being unattached is not receiving jewelry as a gift.

That doesn't make me sound terribly gracious, I know. But you have to admit, there's absolutely nothing that compares to that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you have to find a way to make a gold unicorn necklace work with your wardrobe. You can't even work it into rotation. You gotta wear it every day, right there--over your heart.

The Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry site. You don't want it. He can't have it back.

By the way, I did date a man who wanted to buy me a new tires, and another who gifted me with socks because my feet were always cold. Lest you think I don't know a good thing when I see it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The archive of flexible portion control condiment packets. Since it's condiment week, and all.

This is the fully searchable condiment packet collection of Chris Harne.

From the site:

"I began collecting condiment packets in November of 2003. Initially the purpose of the collection was a more practical one. I came to the conclusion that ketchup was no longer a reasonable thing to spend money on. A handful of packets here and there would do just fine. I began to pick up other condiments as well. I stopped at a variety of locations in order to gather new types of condiments. It was around this time that I discovered how many different condiment packets existed. A collector by nature, the only logical thing for me to do was attempt to get every different packet design I possibly could."

*He's probably a perfectly lovely person, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to go out to dinner with him. Probably wouldn't be that keen on sharing an apartment, either. Not that he's asked me yet.

*Yeah, I know--could be short for Christina, but I don't think so.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hey Baby, where'd you get that bag?

Guess who is gonna be the new public face of Louis Vuitton?

You're going to be flipping through your next issue of O magazine when you come across this ad, and your first thought is going to be, "You know, I should get me one of those Louis Vuitton bags."

That's how marketing works. I don't understand it, but there are people in charge who do.

Like Vuitton's head of communications who says that the ad will start appearing in April publications. "I think when people are flipping through a magazine, this will stop them."

See? Experts.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How fortuitous. I was hoping for something perfect to show you.

You know those days when I use excuses like not feeling all that well--you know, sort of sneezy and sniffle-y and headache-y and mostly just leaning toward wallowing around on the couch in front of the third season of Lost in order to justify not having a new post for you to read on Tuesday morning?

You're not alone.

This is so brilliantly beautiful that I don't even feel guilty for serving it up instead of original content.

I can't stop watching it. Even the tag line is perfect.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lost weekend.

I stopped watching the television series, Lost, after season one, but took it up again when it began this season. Mostly, I've been really confused and a gigantic pain in the ass to anyone who happened to be watching with me. Too many questions, I'm guessing. I was told to watch the other two seasons or shut the hell up.

Thanks to my boss, who loaned me her copy of the second season, I spent a large portion of my weekend on the couch/chair/floor, catching up. It's both exhilarating and exhausting to watch an entire season of any television show in one weekend. You gotta commit.

It's also difficult to watch previous episodes of any series at the same time you've been watching current episodes, but in a series that relies as heavily on flashbacks and flash-forwards as does this one, it's particularly confusing.

And, I've discovered, more than just a little bit dangerous. Twice on Sunday, I almost violated the space/time continuum, and had to back silently out of the room after leaving for snacks and returning to find myself already there.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Just in time for Sunday brunch.

Clicking on the table will take you there. (Plus, it's easier to read.)

via BB-Blog.