Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's Not Pretty, But It's A Post.

I've been seriously neglecting this blog lately.

First, it was all, "waaaaa I'm too busy to blog" and then it was all "waaaaaa I'm in too much of a funk to blog" and today it was about to be all "waaaaaaaa I have more important things to do than blog, like salt the walk and get quotes on how much it would cost to fill in the entire basement with cement"...

...but then I realized that, just like personal hygiene, if I don't MAKE the time to do it, things could go south real quick.

So I'm blogging, EVEN THOUGH my basement is filling with water from this most recent snowmelt + endless precipitation + angry, vengeful god combo.

I'm blogging EVEN THOUGH I had to run out in this mess first thing this morning to get 4 dozen red roses for a friend's wedding this Saturday.

I'm blogging EVEN THOUGH I have cramps that make me want to schedule a last-minute hysterectomy (ladies, you know what I'm talking about).

So there.

Except now that I've finished complaining about reasons why I SHOULDN'T be blogging ...I have nothing else to talk about.

Go figure.

I have cramps, the basement is flodded (yes. Again.), and I had to run errands this morning in this shit-for-weather we've been getting in Jersey lately.

My life is still up in the air, and my plan changes every day, which is super fun for Brian as he has to spend a good portion of every night explaining why I can't A) run away and join the circus, B) start a doggie daycare business in the backyard, or C) "just go barefoot and make babies for the rest of my life".

Not flexible enough...zoning issues...and apparently I'm meant for more important things than procreation alone, FYI.

My sister and I are still planning a trip, and while we've resigned ourselves to the fact that we probably don't have the time or resources to join an Ashram in India or hike and Annapurna Trail in Tibet, we're still determined to go on a soul-searching journey of the spirit.

Or to Disneyworld - We haven't really decided yet.

I finally - FINALLY - got more freelance work, some of which has the potential to be quite steady, so hooray for me and all that jazz, although this newest piece of information YET AGAIN changes what I may or may not be doing with my life.

And Milo still sucks, although my sister was managed to take this Ah-DORABLE picture of Jericho and Milo yesterday when they were post-run-on-the-beach exhausted.

...which almost makes up for the fact that Milo threw up on my sweatshirt this morning.

So that's my life in a nutshell right now.
Crappy weather.
Unending life uncertainty.
Flooded basement.
Cute-ish pets.
Potential new source of income.

Wish I had more exciting things to blog about....or maybe I don't, seeing as I've had just about as much as I can handle right now.

So if you could send some positive, "help me sort out my life" kind of vibes my way, that would be great.

Or better yet, do an Anti-Fucking-Rain Dance before the furniture in my basement floats away.

Do that instead.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Dishwasher, My Friend

When you don't have a job, you begin to become a bit of a recluse.

For example, I had no idea that Conan was no longer on television.
Or that Avatar could be seen in 2- OR 3D.
Or that the Olympics were going on. Like, right now.
(no, I'm not even kidding about that last one).

Lately, my life has revolved around my computer, my fireplace, my dogs, and various household chores. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, since it covers all my basic needs - income, companionship, warmth, and a sense of accomplishment (as much as clean folded laundry can be viewed as a life goal). Speaking as someone who generally loves her little cozy house in the woods and avoids crowds like the plague, quitting my job has definitely lent itself to a feeling of serenity and oneness with my environment.

That said, I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I feel more comfortable hanging out with my dishwasher than I do with real live human beings.

I see this chick, sorting laundry and planning dinner and picking up after her husband and I'm all, is that me?!?!?
It's trippy.
And it reminds me that everytime I dare to think that I know who I am, I find a whole new dimension of myself that I didn't even know was there.

Like that time I killed that prostitute....
But I've already said too much.

So that stupid unending question - that "who am I and what should I be doing with my life" question - rears its ugly head again.

And I know I've been blogging about that question a lot lately but you'll forgive me for pointing out that it's really the only big thing going on in my life. So it's either THAT... or I blog about the fact that I made pecan-encrusted salmon for dinner last night. Which was delicious and nutritious but not exactly blog worthy. (Or WAS it? Message me if you want the recipe.)

(and you DO want the recipe)

Fact is, I have a hundred different options right now. I have a hundred different things I could be doing with my life - a hundred different doors that I could go through. They're all here, right in front of me. I just need to take that first step.

But man. That first step is a doozy. That first step entails deciding what makes me really, really happy. That first step entails finding a very integral part of myself that has thus far escaped every trap I've set for it.

I swear, at this point I would have better luck trying to find a ninja during a blackout than trying to find the part of myself that I need to go forward.


Desperate times call for desperate measures.

A trip - a chakra-centering, soul-searching, me-finding, possibly massage-including trip is in order. I'm lucky to have a sponsor for this trip, a myseterious character known only as la madre, whose heart appears to be as big as her checkbook. I'm also lucky enough to have a sister who, wouldn't you know it, is having the same sort of life crisis as we speak.

And everybody knows that simultaneous mental breakdowns among siblings = awesome.

So a trip will be taken within the next month.
A trip that, hopefully, will help me find my purpose in life.
And if it happens to be eventful enough to inspire a novel that puts me on Opra's Book Club?

All the better.

Details will be forthcoming.
For now, I need to get back to my dishwasher.

It misses me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You, Me, And A Cheesecake Makes Three

So there's this cheesecake factory.

It's in a run-down part of NJ in an old, half-abandoned industrial park. To get there, you have to pass ditches filled with litter and grimy railroad tracks and that guy - you know who I'm talking about - that guy walking down the side of the road in a hoodie, with his hands jammed in the pockets of his baggy pants who is UNDOUBTEDLY up to no good, so you discreetly lock your car doors as you drive by but hey, these are the things we do for cheesecake, no?

Once you get to this factory, you have to find the dingy little store attached to it. It doesn't look like much from the outside - in fact, I'm pretty sure they don't even have a sign up - but ohmygod you guys, the INSIDE of the store makes up for it's shabby exterior.

...because it's filled with cheesecakes.
SEVERELY DISCOUNTED cheesecakes on account of the fact that their delicious graham-cracker crusts crumbled or their moist, creamy centers cracked in the production process.

Defective cheesecake at rock-bottom prices?
Yes, please!

So my mom brought one over for Brian and I a few evenings ago, because there is no limit to her awesomeness. It's some sort of "turtle" thing with nuts and caramel and chocolate and pretty much everything that is good in life.

We finally broke into that bad boy last night after a harrowing round of frolf on the Wii (I am a notoriously poor loser, dating back to my early failures at Candyland, and Brian has quickly learned that consolation prizes are obligatory in this household).

And when I say it was good, what I mean is it was smack yo' momma good.

Brian (in post-cheesecake bliss): Oh man that was good
Me (slumped on the couch in a stupor): Oh my god, that was amazing
Brian: I need, like, a cigarette or something.
Me: A cigarette? I think I need a priest because there is no way that was not a sin
Brian: Honey, I hate to tell you, but I think I just had my first affair.
Me: It's not cheating if I participated. That was more like a threesome.
Brian: A cheesecake threesome. I like the sound of that.
Me: Same time tomorrow night?
Brian: Absolutely. I'll bring the forks.
Me: Ooh, I love it when you talk dirty.

So there you have it. Other women might worry about their husbands cheating on them with college co-eds.
I have to worry about my husband cheating on me with a turtle cheesecake.

It's a match made in heaven.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Warning: Sappy Content Ahead (Vom Buckets Highly Recommended)

First, a few housekeeping notes:

I lost two readers this week. I'd love to say I don't care, but the fact is, I do. I do care that there is a strong possibility that two people were reading my blog this week and decided that whatever they THOUGHT I was? I wasn't.

However, I have also come to the terms that I'm not a clown. Nor am I a comedian or any other sort of professional entertainer. All I am is me, and if two people don't like it, I'm going to have to deal.

(or at least pretend that they both died horrible deaths and somebody kindly disabled their Blogger accounts.
That MUST be it).

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Yesterday was Valentines Day.

Some people love it, some people hate it.
I'll admit that I've had a lot of different feelings about Valentine's Day, ranging from deep disappointment to self-empowerment to head-over-heels love.

When I was in grade school, Valentine's Day meant special treats, a gift from my parents, and cards in my "mailbox" (usually a decorated brown paper bag attached to my desk, filled with as many valentines as kids in the class because my teachers mercifully declared that if you want to give even ONE valentine, you had to give one to everyone. Even the guy in the back corner who picks his nose and eats it.)

In highschool, Valentine's Day morphed into a day of suffering and depression, wherein I looked at the cool kids - the ones with boyfriends and/or girlfriends - and cursed the gods that I was not so fortunate to participate in such a holiday. The one year when I had a boyfriend? He forgot - FORGOT - that we were supposed to go out to dinner (at Olive Garden, no less...THE place for highschool romance). I yelled, he begged, and in the end, I dumped his sorry ass and never looked back.

In college, Valentine's Day was just another excuse to party (as if we needed another excuse). When I met my first serious boyfriend, I finally, FINALLY got to do all the Valentine's Day things I had dreamed of. There were dinners eaten and cards exchanged and gifts purchased, and while the guy didn't end up being The One, he certainly had a knanck for making me feel special. And pretty. And drunk (he was 22 and I was 18 when we met and he exercised his newly obtained right to purchase alcohol quite freely).

And then there was The Ex.
Oh, that guy.
Valentine's Days with The Ex started so well...with presents and fancy dinners and the whole sha-bang.
But by the time we celebrated our last Valentine's Day together, he was spouting off about how the Corporations were trying to control us and make us buy things and feel things, and I was doing housework and silently plotting my escape.

Let it be said that spending Valentine's Day with a borderline paranoid-schizophrenic is a little less than magical.

But now....things are different.

This year, Valentine's Day meant so many things to me.
A chance to spend some time with the man I love most.
A chance to show that I listen - very carefully - when he casually mentions things he wants or needs.
A chance to look back at my life and realize that the other Valentine's Days can't hold a candle to the ones spent with him.

And most importantly, a chance to look forward and realize - with great joy - that every Valentine's Day from here on out will be spent with my best friend, my companion, and the love of my life.

Happy Valentine's Day, Brian!

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Post Was Designed Specifically To Make You Feel Better About Yourself By Comparison

My friend Carrie from Brick City Love has made several appearances on this blog. Not only is she wicked creative, she pretty much single-handedly pulled off my wedding day, and looked FABULOUS doing it.

She also made TastyKake gift bags for everyone to take home with them, so is it any wonder that this girl is near and dear to my heart?

However, as close as we are, it's pretty clear that she and I march to the beats of two entirely separate drummers.
(FYI, Hers is kind of neat and well put-together, whereas mine is usually missing a shoe and tripping on acid)

The girl can organize a mean closet.

Granted, her "before" picture is pretty rough, but at the end of the day, what separates her and me is that she observed her unsightly closet and felt an unquenchable thirst to fix it.

I, on the other hand, have never been up at all hours of the night worrying about how organized, (or not) my closet is,
But to hit the point home, let's capture this juxtaposition with a little picture, shall we?
"What," you might be asking yourselves, once you get over the shock, horror, and awe of this picture, "is a sock bag?"
Well, I'll tell you.
The sock bag happens to be my piece de resistance of domestic laziness.
You see, the amount of laundry that Brian and I (but mostly Brian) produce negates any type of "Laundry Day" in our house.
In essence, laundry is run at a near continuous cycle, wherein one of us runs out of underpants and we stare each other down until one of us breaks and agrees to do a load of wash.
And so begins the 6-day triathalon that is our laundry.
(on the 7th day, we rest)
Of course, with laundry being washed nearly incessantly, once can imagine how difficult it would be to pair socks.
They go in the bag.
Am I ashamed that I, a 28-year old wife and homeowner, resort to a sock bag for my foot covering needs?
And no.
Yes, because I'm apparently failing my duties as homemaker, and no, because it's convenient as hell and let's face it, the back and white Bed Bath and Beyond bag goes perfectly with our bathroom decor.
I'm thinking of marketing this idea - developing a swank bag (sans BB&B logo, natch) and selling it for the low, low price of $19.95 (and if you call in the next 10 minutes, we'll throw in an additional bag for FREE! That's TWO bags for the price of ONE!)
And thusly, I will build my SockBag empire (copyright pending).
Anybody want in on this shit?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lessons Learned During A Blizzard

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, you might have noticed a little bit of snow outside your window today.

I certainly did.

Not that I'm complaining.
If it's going to be winter, Mother Nature might as well throw down and snow like a muh-fuckah instead of handing out that sleety crap that we usually get in NJ (complete with irate NJ drivers who igonore said sleety crap and drive 90 mph to get to work on time).

But on the downside, not only do NJ firefighters NOT get snowdays...they actually have to work overtime, which would explain why I haven't seen the hubs since 6:00 this morning and won't seem him until late tomorrow night.

Oh baby, it's cold outside.

Luckily, this pity party, like ANY good pity party, comes with a glass (or four) of merlot, and I am indeed in rare form tonight.

So let's commence with the bulleted lists, shall we?

Allow me to present to you, Lessons Learned During A Blizzard:

1. I don't care what kind of snowblower you have; I win.

It's true. Go ahead - tell me what kind of big mamba-jamba snowblower you have. Talk to me about your RPMs. Brag about your diesel engine. I will raise my eyebrows in feigned defeat, until I throw down the hand that always...ALWAYS...wins the pot:
We clear our driveway with a front-end loader.
Of course, I mean "we" in the Editorial sense, as it is actually my awesome neighbor who owns and operates the front-end loader. But still - I win. And that's all that counts.

2. Sometimes it pays to be a hominid.

When I let the dogs out this afternoon to do their business, Jericho (the good dog) gave me a look that could only be interpreted as, "are you seriously going to make me squat in this shit?"
And the answer was yes.
Yes, Jericho, you have to literally jam your asshole into the snow to go to the bathroom.
Because you are a dog.
And most of the time, being a dog rocks.
But not today.
Because today? You have to try to do your business in 3 feet of snow.
Godspeed, my friend. Godspeed.

3. Electricity is vital.

This one seems obvious. But being spared every regional black-out that has hit this area for the past two years, I'll admit I'm a bit cavalier with our electricity...
...until the power went bloop for half a second, and I suddenly realized that if the power goes out I would no longer be able to 1) watch TV 2) go online 3) do the laundry, or 4) flush the toilet. And then suddenly, I thought back to snickering at Jericho for having to poop in the snow and let me tell you...things got very real for a second or two.

4. I didn't get married to kill my own spiders

Brian kills the spiders in this house. End of story. So when one crawled across the kitchen floor (much to my cats' delight an my intense horror), needless to say...we had a problem. Oh sure; when I'm backpacking and sleeping in a tent and cooking my food over a portable stove, I can pretty much pull a daddy longlegs out of my pasta and keep on eating.
Because I'm in THEIR house, and I totally get that.
But in my house?
I will kill you. husband will kill you....if he's home.
If I'm home? I'll scream like a girl and try to sic all 4 animals on you before giving up and squemishly stomping on you (with much squealing and general carrying on).
Hey, I don't make the rules here - I just follow 'em.

5. When left to my own devices, there's no telling what might happen.

Today, I did 4 loads of laundry.
I also painted half a painting - a thing which I haven't done since highschool.
And then I ate 2 packs of Tasty Kakes, cleaned the bedroom, shoveled the front walk, and baked cornbread while imbibing on the better half of a bottle of wine.
What I'm trying to say here is, there's no telling what I might do when left alone for 36+ hours. Tomorrow might be Yoga and reorganizing the kitchen.
Or it might be interpretive dance, snow-sculpture, and de-clogging the bathroom drains.
The fact of the matter is I have no idea why I do what I do; science has yet to come up with an explanation.

6. Just in case you were worried - never fear - Milo is still barking for no G-D reason.

No explanation required. He's still an asshole.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is It Date Rape If You're Married?

It's Memoir Monday over at Travis's place, and this picture pretty much sums up our lives right now:

Both in the metaphorical sense - as in, the cat represents the crushing weight of financial strain and life uncertainty, and the handsome, possibly-dead man represents our failing struggle to cope with such an oppressing burden.

And in the literal sense - as in, we don't really get out much.

And no, if anybody is wondering, I did not slip my husband a roofie, although that guy had enough Nyquil in him to take down a bull elephant and chances are, I could have probably had my way with him.

But who are we kidding?
You can't rape the willing.

Moving on....

I've been finding myself in a bit of a quandry lately.
As I've been sitting here, struggling to make ends meet while searching for freelance gigs and filling my spare time with various hobbies and housework, I can't help but think I'm squandering an enormous opportunity.

I mean, how many times have you ever said to yourself, "If it wasn't for my job I would..."

Me? I must have said it a million times. And that elipsis was followed by a million wonderful things, like moving to a foreign country or hiking the Appalachian Trail or opening a Cold Stone franchise and eating myself into a diabetic coma.
The point is, time after time, I felt that the only thing holding me back from accomplishing a truly great existance was my job.

And now that my job is no longer in the picture?
I seem to spend a lot of time folding boxer shorts and hanging out on Facebook. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing and lord knows I like handling my husband's underwear (really, Lily? You're REALLY going to write that on your blog?!?), but it's isn't exactly what I would call an epic existance.

And lately? I can't help feeling like I have the drive and motivation to do something truly great, and instead of wasting my time chasing gigs to do writing that I don't even really like that much, maybe I should take this golden opportunity and do something thats worth putting on a tombstone.

Of course, there are other significant hurdles. Like money, for one thing, and the fact that Brian and I practically have a meltdown if we don't get enough quality time with each other. And of course, there is the big question of WHAT WILL I DO?

I mean, I have some ideas, but most of them require either money or significant time away from my spouse.

But I can tell you this. Something - SOMETHING - is bubbling inside of me. And for once, it's not gas.

Whether I like it or not, I have been handed a great gift.

And now it seems like the only questions left is, what will I do with it?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Miracles: Aisle 5: Next To The Toilets. Get Some.

Dear Lowes Home Improvement Store:


I mean, I knew you were a good store. I knew you had all of my home improvement needs covered from day one.
That time Brian and I refurbished the entire basement?
You had that shit locked down.
That time, soon after Brian and I refurbished the entire basement, when the entire basement flooded?
That massive sump pump was totally clutch.
The two floods that came AFTER that original flood?
You were on it like white on rice. (and your return policy is awesomely lax, if I do say so myself)

But this?
This goes way above and beyond your typical scope of home improvement conveniences:

I mean....

You can prevent SNOW NOW?!?!?

It's just that...Jesus Christ!

You might want to start advertising for this service a little bit, because I'm pretty sure that if everybody knew you had a center designed specifically to prevent snow?
Let's just say that certain stores - and not to name names, but they might rhyme with "Shmome Shdeepo" - might be out of business right about now.


your newest disciple.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Potatoes. Again.

There comes a time in every woman's life when she's half way through a bowl of potatoes - just potatoes - for lunch and she suddenly realizes that she either needs to get some damn money or commit to an ascetic lifestyle wherein she chooses to deprive herself of basic human needs.
Like PB&J.
And soap.

I mean, it's not like I'm so poor that I can't afford to eat.
It's more like I'm just poor enough where I can't afford to eat AND buy shampoo.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not hatin' or anything. I've been broke before. I've been college broke where you go to the grocery store and you're all, "I've got $40 in my wallet and need to buy a month's worth of food with enough left over to buy a dime bag."

But the thing college? It was cool. Because everybody was broke, and a "night out" typically included a few hours of pregaming with boxed wine in your dorm before heading out to the local bars to flirt with guys so they would buy you drinks and possibly throw up on you.

But now, being closer to 30 than 20, having had at least one reasonably well-paying job and being well off enough at one point to afford weekend lift-tickets and occasional trips to Wegmans....well....boxed wine and vomit has lost some of it's magic.

Surprising, I know.

My friends? They pretty much still have money (except for a select few of you and HELLO, MY NAME IS LILY AND I'D LIKE TO BECOME THE NEWEST MEMBER OF YOUR CLUB). They're all makin' babies and buying flat-screen TVs and having dinner parties and pretty much doing things that responsible people my age like to do with their money.

And now...I'm finding myself on the the other side of the railroad tracks.
It's gritty over here.
And cold.
And it smells a little like pee.
But here I am, living my life, fighting for my paychecks, learning how to make do with less...and I'm realizing that in many ways? I have a lot more.

It's all about your priorities, yanno?

But the potatoes.
Oh, the potatoes.

My kingdom for an unlimited grocery budget.

So if anybody asks you what the price of freedom is?
I have a hint for you:

It's not death.

It's culinary variety.