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January 2005

Sweet dreams are made of prescriptions

It's been a long week. Bleah. I don't know that I have much more to say besides that.

Ohhh, I'm sure I'll come up with something...

It's my new sleeping potion, I think. It's doing wonders for my crazy-making insomnia, but not so much for the day time. I'm groggy and headachey and it seems to take hours to wear off, even though I take HALF a pill and I take them at NINE-THIRTY. I'm not going to complain too much, though, because I'll take the hangover effect over middle-of-the-night-paranoia any day. I was encouraged to try Ambien, which is supposedly a fabulously magical wake-up-instantly-coherent sleeping pill, but Ambien is habit-forming. I appreciate the sentiment, but I've got enough drug addictions, thank you. I mean, what with all the Vicodin and everything...

JUST KIDDING, MOM.

No, really, the first time I ever told my doctor I had problems sleeping she ripped off a prescription for [extremely habit-forming ELEPHANT TRANQUILIZER] before I'd even finished talking. That little bottle of pills sat in my medicine cabinet for TWO YEARS, making me nervous every time I reached for the Costco-sized tub of Advil. I finally tried them a few months ago when I was getting super duper fed up with the no sleep situation, I MEAN IT, but those things work too well, you know. As in, "I suddenly feel light and floaty! I think I'll tuck into my big comfy bed! Nighty night!" Not exactly a, um, long term solution. Ideal for turbulent flights, a touch scary for someone fighting nightly battles with Mr. Sandman.

What's working for me now is my new potion, at least a half-hour of television garbage (oh, how I've missed you Nick and Jessica!) and getting into bed way before the time I've subconciously told myself I should be asleep. A bit of Dorothy Sayers and poof- I'm asleep, even if Phillip is trying to learn the bass line to "Sheep Go To Heaven" in the next room. If you're interested, here are Maggie's Tips for Sleeping Like A Normal Person: Exercise. Not eating sugar. (I KNOW. I don't want to believe it either. But holy crap I felt awesome the one week I went without cookies.) Getting your husband to make you laugh when it's dark out and all you're thinking about is whether or not you'll fall asleep that night. Someone told me that warm milk works, but ew, gross. And I did I mention TiVo? Oh holy and blessed TiVo? What doesn't work: wine. It was helping for a while, but should the happy tipsy subside and you want to throw back some Benadryl to notch up the drowsiness, your liver will end up like the moldy disintegrating coffee filter I found a few weeks after our Christmas party because I TOTALLY FORGOT WE EVEN MADE COFFEE. Because I don't drink coffee anymore- it's the second thing on the Doesn't Work list. Number three: All-engrossing thrillers (see: The Da Vinci Code) because hello- you're trying to calm DOWN. Also making the top ten: chocolate at night (supposedly it has caffeine, but that just might be a HUGE NASTY TRICK someone is playing on me), self-diagnosing oneself via Google and lying awake in bed, in the dark, late at night, when your husband is snoring and the water in the gutters keeps drip-drip-drip-dripping and you are slowly going INSANE. Get out of bed and watch TV. That's what TiVo is for.

The best thing you can do? Remind yourself that not getting "enough" sleep is RARELY as bad as you tell yourself it will be.

ANYWAY,  I'm grateful for a weekend that does not involve waking up early, running errands, doing laundry, or frightfully dumb entrance exams. In fact, I have nothing to do. How amazing is that? I need to fit in a few laps around Green Lake, lunch with a friend and a week's worth of TiVo I didn't get to during the week, but I think we agree that none of that qualifies as Stressful. The only potentially high-stress situation I'm liable to encounter is the conversation I'll have with my husband after spending hours looking up townhouses on real estate websites. Because we got pre-approved this morning and I am ready to shop. Phillip, on the other hand, as the person who actually discussed the details with the bank (whatever, I was at work) and therefore the person in the relationship for whom $[super huge bucket of cash] does not mean "FREE MONEY!", is a tad more reticent. I understand the phrase "mortgage payment"- that means "a little more than rent", but "closing costs" and "down payments" and "other miscellaneous fees I haven't even heard of yet"- yeah... not really thinking about that. Phillip is all, "You're not going to start, like, house shopping now, are you? Because this pre-approval letter is just for our information" and I'm all, "Right right right. So what color should we paint the living room?"


If you are breathing you can teach

The day before I took the WEST-B, I called up my sister, a future teacher- the kind who will flunk your butt should you forget your multiplication tables- and asked a very pressing question: "HOW MUCH MATH?"

You see, Internet, the last time I did ANY math I was sixteen years old and working trig problems in excruciatingly neat handwriting every night between basketball practice and going to bed. They might have stuck me in pre-algebra in seventh grade, but I knew the truth: math? So not my forte. I worked HARD in that class and I couldn't even buy an A. The day my trig teacher looked at me (unsympathetically, I might add) and the big fat B on my progress report and said, "Well, maybe that's the best you can do" was a horrible soul-crushing day in the Maggie Space-Time Continuum. The best I could do? Attention teachers: think carefully before you say something of that nature to a Type-A perfectionist teacher's pet freakazoid such as myself. That's all I'm saying. The next year I took calculus, but my school was so small that the four lonely calculus students didn't even have their own class. We sat in the back of a trigonometry class and pretended to "teach ourselves" because "you kids are smart" and "should be able" to "TEACH YOURSELVES CALCULUS" but instead we played Hangman all year. It's possible that Sean Deering, the only one of us even remotely able to teach himself complex math, tried to turn Hangman into a function, but that was the end of my math career. I can rock a spelling test and pick out every grammatical error on public signage, but calculating 67% of 238 is a paralyzing experience. (And seriously? My sixth grade class shot a movie all year instead of learning percents and probability, a fact that continues to horrify my father every time I take more than five seconds to figure out a tip. As I recall, my sixth grade teacher was once a movie extra and somehow thought making an actual movie- written, directed, and acted by sixth graders- would be a worthier endeavor than that old fashioned reading, writing and 'rithmetic. I wasn't complaining then, and not so much now either. I was much lauded for my ability to cry on cue.)

ANYWAY, the Washington Educator Skills Test- Basic, a test existing only to weed out those with lobotomies, contains a Math section. I had no fear of the Reading and Writing sections or even the two essay questions at the end, but the Math section- oh. Maybe the above paragraph didn't make it clear. I DON'T KNOW ANY MATH. The University of Washington does not require English majors to take any class involving functions, graphs or even NUMBERS.

Rebecca provided me with these pearls of wisdom: "Make sure you know what mean, median and mode are. That's it."

I must tell you, Internet, that I wasn't entirely satisfied with this advice. I wasn't worried enough to stay home the night before and study, mind you. No, I had plans involving a long creepy movie and a Fabulous Slice of Chocolate Cake. I printed out some sample math questions and took them along, but I didn't even bother to look at them when I was sitting out the rest of the movie in the lobby. (Seriously. Cutesy biographical flashbacks are one thing in Amelie, they're quite another in a war movie rivaling Saving Private Ryan for gore.)

I managed to look at a few over a glass of wine and the fabulous chocolate cake and spent a few minutes looking up mean, median and mode at Dictionary.com (isn't that where you would go to learn some math?) but I was pretty tired. And you know what they say about cramming.

At 8am on Saturday morning I slouched into the car and drove myself to the testing site where dozens of other Future Teachers were milling around with their coffee and their test tickets and their fistfuls of number two pencils. (Do you know where I got my pencils, Internet? I dug them out of the backseat of my car where Rebecca left them after SHE took the test.) The test people finally let us into the classrooms at 8:30 and the test was administered at 9. I started at the beginning. Raced through the Reading Section. Whipped through the Writing Section. I had a bit of trepidation entering the Math section, but oh my Internet, if my sister wasn't EXACTLY RIGHT ON with her Mean, Median and Mode advice. These were math questions that I UNDERSTOOD. Do you know what that means? It means that in Washington State, you can have the math skills of an incredibly lazy math-is-her-least-favorite-subject 10-year-old and still be entrusted to educate Our Nation's Youth. (You also don't need to know a whole lot regarding literacy either, as far as I could tell.) I could have left ridiculously early, except for the fact that I AM the Type-A perfectionist who can barely function when forced to write an essay in longhand (AN ERASER IS NOT AN EFFICIENT EDITING TOOL.) For my essay on What Makes An Effective Teacher, I waxed rhapsodic on my senior English teacher, the man whose ability to make you tremble with a slight narrowing of the eyes ensured that only the dumbest students didn't finish David Copperfield in time. For my essay on Minimum GPAs for High School and College Athletes: Good or Bad, I quickly hammered out a manifesto on why universities should just cut the crap and PAY the football players already. And then I went home. I have MUCH better things to do on a Saturday.

What's funny is that I don't even really want to apply anymore. While I'm still interested in teaching and think I could make some teenage lives miserable with heavy reading lists and fat writing assignments, I don't really want to go back to school. I especially don't want to pay 25 grand to earn a degree good for only one profession and the chance that I might not even like that profession. Of course, the fact that I'm liking my current job more and more helps with the whole I'll-even-go-to-grad-school-to-get-outta-here scenario. I thought about not showing up Saturday morning, but I paid for that test and maybe I'll think about applying again some day.

I got to trash it on my website too, a fun fact that should definitely not be overlooked. Thanks, WEST-B!


Mis. Er. Y.

Twice in the last week I have attended services at [local house of worship] and twice I have endured the searing agony that is The Reader. The Reader, I'm sure, is a very pleasant and amiable man. He has a cheery-looking wife and an important looking cell phone strapped to his belt at all times. Unfortunately for me- and everyone within hearing distance of [local house of worship]-  The Reader is the Absolute Worst Reader in the Entire History and Universe of People Who Read Out Loud. Worse than people who read the directions for the SAT, worse than President Bush, worse than my medieval lit class when we had to recite the first eleven lines of Beowulf in Old English. So bad that each minute my ears are forced to suffer the heinous public speaking crimes of The Reader,  my palms sweat, my head pounds, and my heart beats with painful intensity- a condition to which I'm already predisposed and I sincerely do not need The Reader escalating my situation.  For The Reader drives me blind with cacophonal craziness and I cannot breathe freely until he leaves the podium and peace is restored.

It's not obvious at first. The Reader is quite adept with big words. He speaks clearly. He raises his gaze from the text and makes eye contact with the congregation. He projects his voice. My high school debate coach would be proud.

Except for the fact that The Reader's own high school debate coach must have sat him down one afternoon and told him the words that would haunt all those in The Reader's wake for the rest of his life, "[Reader], are you trying to outrun a train with your mouth? For the love of God, SLOW DOWN! And do you know what this caused? The miserable wreck of Reading that this small statement inflicted on the World at Large?

Oh, Internet, save yourselves. Now we have The Reader turning ten-verse readings into the Passion while the entire congregation turns blue holding its collective breath each time he takes a pause. A pause is not a pause when The Reader is at his podium- it is a lifetime.

He waits until [local house of worship] is settled and silent before he stands- with excellent posture- and marches righteously towards the podium. Steps before he reaches it, he puts his hands behind his back, slightly bows his head and clenches his jaw. We the congregation, already bored, watch him ready himself in preparation. It is a small illustration of what is to come.

This.

Is the Word.

Of.

The Lord.

And then? It commences. Each space between words is given the full weight and solemnity of the Almighty Comma. The comma, in turn, is treated as a distinguished and respected Period. The period? You'll have time to draw several yoga breaths before The Reader gets to the next sentence. You will examine your nails, rummage around for your offering envelope, memorize the bulletin, and write a doctoral thesis on the popularity of the hymn On Eagle's Wings before the next verse begins.  And God help the congregation if The Reader reaches a semicolon.

It's as if The Reader repeats the "wise" words of his debate coach between every sentence. He adds an extra beat or two to every break, stretching his readings to nearly unbearable lengths. I'll give him credit for consistency, but every time a sentence ends, my muscles tense in expectation, waiting for him to begin the next one.  Instead of listening, I sit there anticipating each new pause and measuring them. The readings themselves aren't long or boring, but when infused with so much space, the focus switches from the Story to the Incredible Growing Gaps in the story. And Reader, O Olympic Champion of Slowing Down? YOU ARE CAUSING NEEDLESS SUFFERING AMONGST THE MASSES.

Tomorrow: the great moral profundity and shocking dearth of smartness in the Washington State educators basic skills test.


And if it has a yard, I can get a puppy!

I've been killing some time doing some extremely premature house-shopping online. And if there is one way to screw up a not-too-rainy and still-light-out-at-four-pm day, it's to look at what you might be able to afford in Seattle, and then see what you could get for the same amount in the town your grandmother lives in, an hour south. SO INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING.

A few weeks ago we saw an ad for a rental house a few blocks away. And the rent was somewhere between "more than what we're paying now" and "pinnng". (First person to email me with the correct movie reference wins Phillip's Star Wars trilogy set.) (JUST KIDDING, PHILLIP!) So we got all super excited and called up the landlord and made an appointment to see the house. Perhaps all you apartment-dwellers can sympathize: there comes a day when the fourteenth trip outside to the moldy basement laundry room- in the RAIN because you have to go OUTSIDE to GET THERE- becomes the most unfair and infuriating thing on the planet. I would pay significantly more rent to acquire my own washer and dryer. Phillip would pay significantly more for more kitchen counter space and a living room layout where his wife would finally permit him to set up his surround sound. (But you know what- you all could really do me a favor and email me that movie reference right quick and then there would be no NEED for surround sound.) (JUST KIDDING, PHILLIP!) (Everyone else: SO NOT KIDDING.)

So the house! That was the day it snowed, so even just getting to the house was exciting. And the outside was pretty cute. It's one of those 'skinny' houses, where there's a one-car garage on the bottom and a big window and balcony on the second level. Like a townhouse without the other houses attached to it. There's a whole row of these houses right near our friends Won and Nathan and come to think of it, maybe THEY'RE the ones who advised the landlord not to clean the first-level bathroom because maybe our friends are secretly clairvoyant and knew we were interested and they were all, "It's already a pain having them five minutes away- we simply could not survive if they lived RIGHT NEXT DOOR." Yeah... the inside? Not so cute. Which was too bad, because it was a fairly new house with three big bedrooms and a huge kitchen. More than enough counter space for Phillip to chop his weekly plethora of stirfry vegetables. Unfortunately the bathrooms were vile- potential renters should not have to wonder if the bathtub is really that dirty or if the porcelain is just a gray color. We will not mention the toilets. The rest of the house was a notch above "Five former frat boys partied here until they got evicted." Some paint, a vacuum, and a case of Comet could have done real actual wonders for this house, but apparently no one thought that was necessary. No, we were not interested. Some college girls were there too and maybe they rented it, because I don't see the ad on craigslist anymore. Oh well.

That little episode did fire the "let's buy a house!" conversations up for a few days afterward and we finally decided to go get pre-approved. According to everyone who has been through this mysterious process, it only involves an hour with a snippy detail-oriented bank employee demanding to see your pay stubs, bank statements, previous tax returns, your list of New Year resolutions, your SAT scores, and all of your junior high diaries. And then maybe maybe you are pre-approved for $60,000 which is enough to buy one-half of a walk-in closet in a Seattle-area townhome. As yet we have only experienced the somewhat embarrassing initial phone call to discuss scheduling the appointment- I'll let you know just how demoralizing it is if and when the appointment actually happens.

In the meantime I'm stuck with my apartment which, all things considered, is a pretty sweet deal. For one thing, it is CHEAP. Cheap cheap cheap. The Apartment Gods were smiling the day our frazzled nearly-married selves agreed to rent that place. It has a room big enough to hide the myriad of wires and metal boxes Phillip likes to call "stuff I NEED". It fits the gigantic couch and chair and footstool AND the dining table. In fact, we may never be able to move out anyway because Phillip swears there's no way we'll ever be able to lift the sideboard, let alone move it. And I mentioned the insta-friends who came prepackaged in an apartment building a five-minute walk away. I'm okay staying there a bit longer. But I think my mother-in-law is getting pretty sick of us bringing our laundry every time we visit.


At least we didn't order room service

Let me take a moment here to (mis)quote the esteemed Ferris Bueller: I love staying in hotels. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend spending a night downtown in your own city.

When a night in Leavenworth wasn't exactly working out, Phillip and I turned to Priceline to salvage our weekend. We scored a room at the Sheraton (although Phillip admitted that he didn't think Priceline was going to accept our third and final (and not terribly cheap) bid, but oh well, there we were, and he was going to ENJOY HIMSELF.) I told my mom we weren't going to shop, but when you're downtown with all the stores and the restaurants and the ATM machines whispering your name from every corner, well, you're probably going to spend a little extra money.

And oh, I love hotels. Especially the swankier ones with gigantic lobbies and baby grand pianos and six elevators and gorgeous front desk operators with slight European accents. We shunned the valet for the Freeway Park garage where overnight parking was ten bucks cheaper. And we didn't order cocktails in the lounge or get the doorman to hail a taxi or click-clack across the lobby in stiletto heels on our way out for a Fabulous Night On The Town. But the bed was a sea of bright white down, the view was beautiful, and the movie theater was right next door. Sunday morning we slept in, used every little soap and shampoo, walked down to the market and had crepes for breakfast. I could totally get used to that.

As usual, a Flock Of Frightening Youth had infiltrated our hotel. This time it was hordes of pimply-faced twelve-year-olds in shockingly short skirts, all in attendance for some event I swore to Google later. And now I have: ugh. Talent scouts. At least they left us some hot water. (And Stage Moms? Seriously. Your sweet little girls are not doing themselves any favors by aping Lindsay Lohan, much less yourselves! It was all I could do to keep from buying out Nordstrom's stock of cable-knit white tights and patent leather Mary Janes and distributing them at the front entrance.)

Anyway, after spending the afternoon shopping, I mean, window shopping, we went back to the room to take a little nap before dinner. (Phillip: "The channels are the same!" Maggie: "Because we live 10 minutes away." Phillip: "But it's still cool. We're in a hotel. But I know what channel American Chopper is on." Maggie: "Yeah, it's weirdly comforting to see familiar faces on the local newscast. Other cities' local newscasters always creep me out." Phillip: "We love you, Jean Enersen!")

We had high hopes for dinner. I expressed them by wearing fishnets and high heeled boots (tasteful fishnets, Stage Moms, there is such a thing, and boots that in no way connote Lady of the Evening) and putting on lipstick. Unfortunately, Saturday night is apparently a fairly popular evening for dining out and no one had space for us until about an hour after our movie was supposed to start. I'd thought about making reservations that morning, but Phillip and I sometimes inhabit an alternate universe in which we are the Universe VIPs and things like reservations are only nuisances. That meant we ended up at the hotel restaurant which, when it is not laying out a completely fantastic dessert buffet, is just a sad and uninspired "cafe" serving gray hamburgers and french fries out of a bag in the freezer. Also, the "chef" gave Phillip the bottom halves of the bun and gave me the tops. The bottom of my chicken sandwich had sesame seeds on it. Sheraton, I did not keep my toes pinched inside two-and-a-half-inch heel boots for that.

Good thing we had tickets to the Topher movie, which as just as sweet as everyone wanted it to be, and could not have worked without Topher's ability to pull off sheer assiness and utter adorableness at the same time. There is a reason I watch That 70's Show, people. (Speaking of movies, I saw The Aviator today and Leo, I still think you're kinda meh, but today I found myself totally forgetting that you were ever King of the World and have decided you are ultra-deserving of your Golden Globe. Well done.)

And after the movie? A slice of cheesecake to eat in the hotel and Topher hosting Saturday Night Live. Yum.

(Sugar disclaimer: This weekend totally did not count. And we went to the gym after our breakfast crepe. So there.)

The rest of my weekend involves building a database- in my FREE TIME- and is extremely not interesting. Today Phillip came home with a portable USB drive. For me. The Realm of Geek, it is drawing ever nearer.


Crush #47 (this time on a famous guy)

The snow, it has not arrived. Unless you live north or south of me and all of you people are at home in your pjs eating pop tarts and watching all the goodies TiVo caught for you last night. It's okay, I don't hate you. Even though it's been four o'clock for, like, hours. You go ahead and start Lost without me.

Also, no one is here. Last weekend was the three-day weekend, people. No fair going home early.

It's just me and The Mountain, the station that refuses stop playing Modest Mouse songs, no matter many threatening letters I send.

Right now, however, we are being treated to the adorably conflicted John Mayer, he of the dreamy eyes, lush voice and crazy bouncy leg issues. Really, John. What is up with the pyscho leg?

I used to be in love with John Mayer. Seriously. I kinda missed out on the whole crush on Kirk Cameron thing when I was a kid. Okay, I might be a little too young for Kirk Cameron. But there were no Tiger Beat pictures of Jordan Knight and Joey McEntire in my bedroom and I never wrote "Mrs. Brandon Walsh" on the cover of my notebooks. I had no preteen romantic fantasy outlet whatsoever. I blame this on my parents, who might have been running a convent as the most dangerous influence to ever enter our home was the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff tape my best friend used to bring over so we could listen to it on my two-deck tape player (that I got for Christmas when I was 11 and thought was the absolute coolest thing EVER.) And the first time a boy ever called me, my dad demanded to know who was on the other end and when I silently stared at him with complete and utter horror, he took the receiver, coldly announced that his daughter was not allowed to be receiving phone calls from a willful and audacious young man like my caller, and hung up. I can't even remember who called, such was the chilling fear running down my spine. Okay, maybe I lied and said it was my friend down the street and then my dad went all Psycho Dad on the phone, but still. How are you supposed to have an unrequited teenage crush in that kind of environment?

I had to wait until I was twenty-three before finally experiencing the wistful pining anguish one can feel for a super cute extra-talented Rock God. And John Mayer? That summer? Most certainly a Rock God. Of the dreamy, droll, mellow and self-deprecating variety, of course. He was my Adam Brody before there was an Adam Brody. (Although there was Dave Rygalski. Sigh.) That was the summer his first big album came out and all the college kids were making out to "Your Body Is A Wonderland" and I was in Majorly Deep Like. With a famous person. Who I knew from TV. Who might have been dating Jennifer Love Hewitt. Ew. Did I mention I had a boyfriend? A serious boyfriend? A boyfriend who became my fiance mere months later?

Right. Whatever. What really mattered was that my kick ass friend Sean took ME to the John Mayer Private Concert at the EMP when he won two tickets off the radio. I prefer to think that Sean chose me to attend this most joyous and overwhelming event because we're tight, man, and he knew- he knew- about unrequited crushes on famous people. But I may have threatened him with bodily harm. Either way, he took me, and that's why I'll refrain from telling the Internet about his famous 'girlfriend'. Heh.

But anyway. He is totally going to kill me. Whatever. So I go to the show, right, and I was way nervous and totally aware of how every single girl there had hotted herself all up. We all wanted to know what happened to our lunch boxes. I knew I wasn't going to be, you know, invited for a drink after the show or anything. Mostly. Yeah, I was just there to soak up the dreaminess. And also to catch the Crazy Bouncy Leg in live action. Dude. You should really get that checked out. But the most important thing is this: John Mayer shook my hand. Eeeeeeeee!!!

So suddenly I am writing Maggie Mayer on my notebooks and obsessively reading the funny-when-it-first-got-started road journal over at his website. Because, you know, I was going to run into him again. And this time I might get to even introduce myself.

Then, like I said, I got engaged. Phillip even knew about my secret boyfriend, that's how much he loves me. And let me tell you: planning a wedding sucks the very life soul out of you and that's includes any and all hapless crushes on Rock Gods, Movie Stars, or That Cute Guy On That TV Show. (Future post topic: Why a newly engaged girl should drop everything and RUN in the face of the Wedding Magazine Industry.)

And now? I am crush-free. Oh, I still get a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I hear 'St. Patrick's Day', but ever since I saw a Crossroads episode with Brad Paisley and John Mayer, there's no more love. Because John? Was kinda arrogant. In the whole "I know there are a million girls dreaming about me right this very moment" kind of way, but I'll be happy to note that I was so not one of those girls. And you watch out, Adam Brody, before you get all into yourself too. But Brad Paisley? Call me!

Now I'm going to be all red-faced because aren't these things only supposed to happen when you're twelve? And the Internet KNOWS. The Internet also knows that I watch the country music channel. Because it's awesome. Shut it.


Winter wonderland

Speaking of my New Year Resolution, I would like the Internet to know that I live in the Fittest City. I think this means that the Americans who live here are a little less fat than all the other Americans. Note our dear mayor, resolving to go for more walks with his wife and work out near City Hall. Adorable. Don't you feel good about yourself, fellow Seattleites? And the guy who walks around Green Lake every day recommends getting a dog. [Did you read that Phillip? A dog. Preferably a dog closely resembling a fuzzy bedroom slipper. Does anybody want to buy me one of these?]

But who cares about that- it's going to snow. The weather forecasters have been predicting snow for the end of the week- not nearly as much as those of you who live in fat cities are seeing, but enough to incite Extreme Urban Panic. Well, at least we're fit. Discussing the chances of snow around here is like discussing Impending Doom. A dusting of snow arrives and suddenly everyone has simply forgotten how to drive. We'll just have to park our cars, get out and walk home. In case of a Freak Snowstorm tomorrow morning, the boss has assured us that he will dutifully make the rounds in his truck and take us all to work. Apparently we will be sitting in the bed, because, what? Whatever. So not riding bitch in the boss's truck at 8 in the morning.

Anyone who has followed this site will know that I drive a Big Ass Ford Explorer, however I am a wussy girl driver and terrified to drive any weather condition that requires me to use headlights and/or wipers. I don't like driving in the rain, people, and I live in Seattle. "You have four-wheel drive," the rational people say. "You'll be fine." But no. Snow means ice and you can't see ice, and from there it's pretty easy to whip up some lovely visions of sliding along the Ballard Bridge till a weak guard rail breaks your fall into the water. NICE.

A freak snowstorm hit us last year when I was working downtown. I took the bus to work then and it's hard to shove off work if the buses are still running. But I got to go home at noon when my boss' wife called and ordered him to let me leave early. The buses, apparently, were getting stuck. Which I thought was funny. Ha! Stuck buses!

I was very proud of our bus driver who made it as far as the Ave in the University District before the chains fell off the tires and we couldn't go any farther. We all sat there chewing our cud and staring out the windows. The bus? It was broken. Our fearless driver? Totally useless now. I think we kinda expected Metro to promptly deliver another bus, thank you very much.

BUS DRIVER: Looks like that's all, folks!

RIDERS: ...

BUS DRIVER: Looks like the chains are broken. Won't be moving for a while! Isn't it beautiful out there?

RIDERS: ...

BUS DRIVER: Well, I guess feel free to sit here as long as you like, but we're not going anywhere! You might want to start walking ahead, though, and catch another bus! Hey, there's Fred plowing along- maybe you can--- oh--- wait--- looks like Fred's stuck too. Ha!

RIDERS: ...

Most of us got off the bus and started walking north, waiting for the next bus to drive by. I befriended a woman who lived near me and we walked most of the way. Haven't seen her since. Isn't it lovely how Nature brings people together?

My favorite part of last year's three whole days of snow was turning on the news and watching the news van slide along First Hill. With the camera guy inside practically peeing his pants he was so excited. Snow! Sliding! Look! Whee! And we did look- we watched the news van slide into a parked car on the side of the road. Crunch!

Oh calm down, Seattle. Go wait out the storm at the gym.


Resolve

Well Happy New Year, everyone. Especially to those four unfortunate folks whose new years were ushered in via the hot pot that never boiled. Why? Because the combined force of mine and Phillip's stupidity ensured that we left the second pot in the hot pot, the extra bowl, the one that completely prevented the other one from ever ever boiling. Also, I have not seen an electric appliance dim the lights so much since my stint in the godforsaken Azores.

Which isn't to say we didn't eat. Eventually Phillip dumped the contents of the hot pot into a big pasta pot and boiled it on the stove. Nothing becomes between a man and his razor-thin slices of beef.

And another year arrived without a kiss for me. We were up in Phillip's office on the 27th floor, keeping an eye on the Space Needle for signs of fireworks. Phillip went down the hall to see if we could get a better view- and didn't come back. And the fireworks started. So there I am trying very hard to concentrate on the pretty fireworks so as best to ignore the two friends totally making out next to me. And Phillip saunters in all "They started already!" as if they might have shot off the fireworks early, like, before midnight, and followed this up with, "I was in the bathroom!" Yes, Internet. My husband was in the bathroom. So began another kissless year.

Not much has happened, unless you count the Universe's impressive display of hostile indifference while a monster tsunami washed away entire villages. I posted some aid relief links yesterday, then I took them down. No one comes here to find out where to send money. And unless you are Sandra Bullock, the most you can hope for is that your couple of bucks turns into some diapers or a bottle of water. On Sunday my priest gave a tidy sermon about the whereabouts of God when such things occur. As a rather fervent believer in the always everywhereness of God, I was a touch more bitter and sat in the pew composing an angry letter beginning with, "I thought you promised not to do that anymore!"

Well. It tends to make the every day crap in your own life look puny in comparison, doesn't it? My hot pot didn't boil. My heaters aren't working. I've had to scrape ice off my car every morning. Wah.

Which isn't to say I'm going to stop whining about those things now. I most certainly will. I'll just try and have a certain amount of perspective.

Biggest hopes for the new year? That the day will start getting a little longer (that's pretty much a given, eh?) and that my new year resolution sticks long enough to make a difference. And gah, I hate to be so trite, but I've joined the legions of folks hoping to be a few pounds lighter at this time next year. Seriously, I am way bummed about how common this resolution is. What about resolving to finally embrace my generation and get a cool piercing? Or resolving to learn something useful, like HTML and CSS so this site doesn't scare people off with the pink frilliness? I could finally learn to swim (I know) or learn to love those scary Chinese meatballs Phillip adores so. But no. After a miserable discussion about how we felt entirely too bovine to try on bridesmaid dresses, a friend of mine completely blindsided me into losing weight before the wedding. Which is this summer. Which means I have to, like, lose actual weight. So every day now this sadistic friend (armed with a pedometer and Cooking Light) sends me an email that states "Steps: Fifty Bajillion. Sweets: None. Even when faced with entire walls made of ice cream cartons." And I'm sending her emails that read "Steps: Um, a few. And I tried that Pilates tape until the phone rang and it was my sister and she was depressed and needed ice cream, like, urgently, and I HAD to help her out. Sweets: None. Except for the ice cream. Which was an obligation. Honest." (Okay, my sister is totally not depressed or in need of ice cream and also happens to be twee and tiny, but I needed an excuse. I'm sure you understand.)

And now the Internet knows, which means expectations. Wah. So here you go, Internet: I have not eaten anything sweet in FIVE DAYS. Five. Entire. Days. I think that is the longest I have gone without sugar in my whole life and I am so not kidding. I grew up believing that Bread, Chocolate, Coffee and Wine were the four main food groups and having to change this inherent part of my thinking is turning my poor little world upside down. The exquisitely wrapped European chocolates my mother sent me for Christmas were hanging out on the coffee table last night and speaking to me.

Anyway. Like I said. Not much to complain about.