Just some things that have happened lately. 

Impartial, not-biased at all review of Hancock

When your sister says "Hey, Josh wants to see Hancock.  Have you heard anything about it?" she’s actually looking for is not if it will sustain his interest (because, hey, he’s 4 and 1/2.  He’s got a fairly short attention span) like you thought but whether there’s a lot of swearing and/or violence. 

Guess what?  There’s a lot of swearing and/or violence.  And you will spend part of the movie trying not to laugh at your sister who is glaring at you while she is covering your nephew’s ears. 

Also, if you are attending a movie with your sister, make sure that you do not let her have a drink of your pop.  Because when she figures out it is Mountain Dew, she will then start lecturing you.  And she is damn good at it.  As I am sure the other people in the theater can attest to (she probably wasn’t that loud, I remember a lot of hissing under her breath).

Kari:  You are going to kill yourself.  Do you want to be around for when your nephew grows up?  Blah, blah, blah.  Listen to me, blah, blah, blah.

DM:  Give me my pop back!

Because of course she is holding on to it now.  I do finally get it back.  And I enjoyed every delicious, syrupy moment. 

Hancock was fantastic.  Lots of violence and the occasional car chase.  I was amused greatly and also cried.  Because that’s what I do.  I cry at movies.  Doesn’t matter what movie it is, I will probably cry at least once.  I have also been known to cry at previews but those are typically horse movies.  I don’t know what it is about horses but they make me cry (as Beth and Keem can attest to after watching me sob after the preview for Spirit:  Stallion of the Cimarron).

BUNNY!

So my last post was inspired by a visit to Beth’s two weekends ago.  After a nice, relaxing weekend (where I organized my scrapbooking stuff while she was at work on Saturday night and mowed her front lawn on Sunday (and she cooked out!  On her new grill!  It was fun)), we are relaxing in her back yard.  There has been a small rabbit hopping around in the neighbor’s yard, looking incredibly cute.  Beth and I watch him for awhile.  He eventually hops into her yard and behind her garage.

It is the perfect evening.  There is the smell of fresh cut grass, the evening isn’t too hot (and we were in the shade since both Beth and I do not deal well with the sun (although I don’t actually hear my skin sizzling when I’m in direct sunlight for more than 5 minutes (that might be an exaggeration but not much of one))) and her neighborhood is quiet  (Neighborhood quiet is different for Beth than it is for me.  Her neighborhood is filled with the sounds of dogs barking in the background, the occasional car driving by, the sound of bike wheels turning (apparently there’s also a highway nearby but I don’t notice it unless she points it out).  My neighborhood is filled with police sirens and traffic.  You know how in My Cousin Vinny, Joe Pesci couldn’t sleep until he was in prison?  Yeah, it’s kind of like that for me as well).

I am reading my book (The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz.  Fantastic and the third time I’ve read it this year.  Apparently there have been two sequels!  I am missing out!) and Beth is playing solitaire on her iPod.  She mentions that she might go in and get her headphones.  I ask her where it is and am on my way inside when Beth softly calls my name.  The baby rabbit is right behind the grill which is on my way to the kitchen.

We sit and watch him again.  He is exploring, eating the occasional stalk of grass and looking around.  He hops toward the garage and disappears from view.

Beth:  Did he just go into my garage?
DM:  I don’t think so.

I stand up and see a tiny little cotton tail hop through the side door.

DM:  He went into your garage.

Beth gets up and walks over to her kitchen steps.  She is talking to him quietly, something about how he doesn’t want to go into the garage, and I come over and stand near her.  The bunny just looks at us.  He’s not afraid.

I may have squealed something about him being "so brave."  Occasionally I am a squealer.  Not often.  I try to maintain a squeal-free existence.

Eventually he tires of watching us and hops along to the driveway.  I go inside and get Beth’s headphones. 

Sitting in Beth’s backyard reminds me of what I am missing by living in the city.  It reminds me of growing up and having what I thought was the world’s largest backyard.  I think what I miss the most is the tickle of grass on my bare feet.  I can do without the mosquitoes.  Not many mosquitoes in downtown Saint Paul.  I think the exhaust kills them.

I am a city girl but my roots are in the suburbs.*  It’s nice to be able to experience both sides of me now and again.

*Not the country.  The country scares me.  Although on road trips I try to pass time by talking to Keem about our future farm.  And she tells me to shut up because we are not going to live on a farm, no matter how many kittens we could have.  And the scrapbooking opportunities.

Hanging with Beth and Betsy on a Thursday night

Last Thursday, Beth picked me up after she was done with work and we went to the Chalet.  It was packed and, when we arrived, Betsy was having a conversation with some guy at the bar. 

Beth:  Betsy got stuck talking to someone again.
DM:  Yeah but she seems to be enjoying the conversation.*

*Apparently Betsy has a better fake smile than I do.  Mine is more of a grimace.

The guy eventually moved over to the other side of the bar, I got an NTN playmaker (you can play trivia at bars now.  It’s very cool and can also be a great way to discourage weirdoes from talking to you ("Can’t talk.  Playing.  You go now.")) and joined Betsy.  We’re both a little competitive and it can be irritating to watch my niece kick my ass.  Especially when she makes comments like "Well, you’re old."  Grr.  There’s also a video game that is rarely empty so Beth was happy to start playing a game called Word Dojo.

Later on, the guy Betsy had been talking to left but not without first writing his phone number down on a coaster.

Betsy:  That guy is more confident than he should be.
DM:  Um, yeah.  I could do better so you certainly could.*

*I may be biased but I think she’s quite cute.  I used to be that cute once.  Well, I was in the vicinity of that cuteness.

Betsy:  It’s mean but I was thinking ‘I’ve rejected guys who are more attractive and less drunk than you.’
DM:  I know!  I could take his number and call him and pretend to be you!
Beth (pretending to be me):  Can you come pick me up?  I don’t drive.
DM:  And then when we meet, he’ll be all shocked and I’ll say ‘You’ve heard of beer goggles, haven’t you, dude?’

Yes, yes, we’re mean.  It takes a lot of courage for guys to ask women out, blah, blah, blah.  In this guy’s case, it probably took about 12 glasses of courage.  Beer should not be used as a cologne.  Not attractive.

Betsy and I observed this one guy playing the game that involves a claw and you try to get stuffed animals.  What is that game called?  I don’t know but the Chalet has one of them now and the guy managed to get two stuffed animals.  As he was walking out the door, he offered them to Betsy and I because he didn’t want them.  Apparently it is the thrill of the hunt that is enough for him.

Betsy and I agreed and then spent the next ten minutes annoying Beth with our mock puppet show.  Betsy received a small winged devil that is carrying a black heart that says "Love" on it.  I got a small purple and white dog with floppy ears. 

Betsy (growly voice):  I am the devil.  I am dark and carrying a black heart.  Because love is awful and cruel and etc.*

DM (high-pitched voice):  I am a dog.  I am cute and adorable.  My ears are floppy and everyone loves me.
Beth:  Not everyone.

*I am paraphrasing.  This conversation took place last week.  I can’t remember conversations that I had today.

It’s a hard habit to break

Today was business casual.  People come to tour NABABNA every once in awhile and we try to convince them that we’re the perfect place for them to do business.  Apparently making me shove my feet into shoes that are too small helps convince these random people of this (not that they actually talk to me (and no, it’s not because I scare people.  I don’t scare people.  I might be somewhat cynical and really weird but I’m not scary).  I’m not in the right department for touring.  And I like it that way). 

Anyway, a few months ago, I picked up a nice black and white shirt at Catherine’s.  Short sleeved, linen, button up, sort of tailored (or it was until I got my hands on it.  I wrinkle clothes just by looking at them).  It also happened to have sequins and beads on it.  Some people wonder (usually out loud) why I buy shirts that have sequins on them.  Some people have predicted how long it will take for me to take the sequins off of the shirt.  I am not sure why but sequins annoy the heck out of me.  Or, let me rephrase that.  I like the way the sequins look (well, it depends on the shirt.  There are some god-awful sequined shirts out there) until that first stitch pops and the first sequin falls off.  And then I will start cutting the rest of them off. 

I’ve been receiving a few odd looks because the left side of the shirt is sequinless but the right side still has a bunch.  Plus, there is a sequin trail all around my cubicle.  I can’t help it, people!  I have a problem.  I admit it. 

Speaking of clothing, I was admiring Co-Worker Michelle’s skirt today (very retro, 50ish, yellow with red and blue print, wrap around tied with a red ribbon) and she told me that it was a curtain.  She found it at a thrift store, bought the one curtain (because thrift stores don’t care) and then got a wide red ribbon to use as a belt.  It is quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen and now I want to steal the idea.

DM:  That is such a great idea.  You are very crafty!
Co-Worker Michelle:  I was a girl scout for many years.

If I would have known that being a girl scout would result in me knowing how to sew and do other cool things, I might have lasted longer than the ill-fated Brownie camping trip (all I really remember about this trip is I apparently gathered a brown bag full of garter snakes.  Which my mother wouldn’t let me take home (I am terrified of snakes so I have no idea who this strange child was.  I apparently also ate tomatoes at one point in my childhood.  I even liked clowns for awhile.  Perhaps there was a terrifying clown, tomato and snake incident that I am repressing)).

I have just spent the last fifteen minutes trying to figure out why I’m singing to myself.  Googling the lyrics, I realized that I have been entertaining myself with the chorus to Chicago’s Hard Habit to Break.  Typing a title is all it takes to get a song stuck in my head.  This is very disturbing.

The ingenuity of the Internet

So I found another blog the other day.  If I am entertained by a comment left on a blog that I am reading, I will click and read that person’s blog.  This one is Kristabella, Full of Snark* and I am pretty sure it was a comment she left on NPW’s site that led to the discovery of quite possibly the most excellent use for Excel ever.

*I suspect Kristabella is not her real name, probably because she said it was a nickname but I haven’t yet found what her real name is.  I accept her usage of the name Kristabella though and will probably refer to her as that forever, just like Shelley (I hope it is with two E’s) will always be NPW to me.

Anyway, this brilliant, brilliant woman has solved my not being able to blog at work problem.  I managed to get past the whole posting thing since I can send an email and it will magically appear on my blog but there was the commenting.  I want to comment, damn it!  And I want to do it at work!  The Internet connection is faster, the keyboard here doesn’t hate me and leave out random letters in words and, most importantly, commenting at work does not distract from my rabid Pogo usage (www.Pogo.com.  I love this site.  If you find yourself here and want to try out Club Pogo (which has the cooler games, such as Tri-Peaks Solitaire and Jigsaw Detective), email me and I will send you a guest pass (I get three guest passes) to see if you find it worth joining.  A lot of the games are free as well.  And you earn tokens!  The tokens can be redeemed for sweepstakes entries (none of which I’ve ever won, of course).  Thus concludes the not paid advertising for Pogo).

And again, I got distracted from my whole point.  The point is, she created an Excel spreadsheet that she could use to keep track of the blogs she read and the comments that she wanted to post.  I did this Monday while on lunch and then commented on blogs and was very, very happy!  Happy!  Everything I wanted to say was right there.  I didn’t forget anything.  It’s amazing!  I didn’t have to worry about Keem’s stupid keyboard that hates me and the letter E equally.

You would think that with my love for Excel, I would have come up with this years earlier but my problem is that I am just not that organized.  I want to be organized but not enough to actually go through with it.

You can imagine how fun this is for me

I have a doctor’s appointment on Friday.  Without giving away too much in the gross details department, let’s just say that I’ve been having a slight digestion problem.  This problem has become more aggravated over the years and I’ve learned that there are certain foods that I just cannot eat anymore.  And this pisses me right the F off (I would use the actual F word except the work email gods don’t let you swear.  I am wondering if damn will get through) because, damn it, I love onions.  I want to eat onions when I want and not worry about whether I’ll make it to the bathroom in time. 

The last few weeks, however, things have been getting much worse.  Now, no matter what I eat, I will find myself in the bathroom for long periods of time and things have not been pleasant.  There is pain involved and there have been occasions where I haven’t made it.  Plus, it is starting to effect my work.  Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is?  To have to go to your boss and say "I’m sorry, I have to go home.  I soiled myself (okay, apparently some gross details are okay)."  Granted, that doesn’t happen very often but I also don’t think that it’s right that NABABNA pay me for the time I spent in the bathroom or worrying about what the heck is wrong with me or the sick headache that I had Friday that made me finally give up two hours early and go hide out in the Wellness Room until Keem was done working (since we’ve moved to our new location, I’ve had to take a cab once.  It’s expensive (and also an amusing story) so I wasn’t taking one home).

Anyway, since I like to eat food of all sorts of variety and refuse to go on the BRAT diet (I’m sorry but I hate bananas and applesauce.  And rice and toast are only good if there is butter involved) and am getting very tired of this and yes, am finally listening to my friends and family who have said "GO to the DOCTOR already!", I’m going to the doctor already.

I am hoping that it is just Irritable Bowel Syndrome (hoping.  There’s a word that isn’t used in this situation very often) and not Colitis (Mom had it) or Diverticulitis (which Keem’s dad had and can be fatal).  Another thing that is driving me towards finally doing something about this is finding out that one of my brother’s had Crohn’s Disease and had to have a colostomy.  Don’t want that to happen.

Wish me luck. 

Amusing cab story (aka Way to change the subject quickly)

So last Thursday I went to karaoke with Beth.  That meant Friday morning dawned with far too little sleep (and I also didn’t take a nap Thursday night, choosing to instead watch Last Comic Standing (Yay!  Iliza won the showdown!)) and I, as I occasionally do, overslept.  Grr.  Keem left me behind.  No big deal.  I’ll take a cab.

Yeah.  Big deal.  Big, big, big deal compounded with swear words.  Lots of them. 

Typically I will call Green and White Suburban cab.  Why?  Because their phone number is 222-2222.  I can remember that.  Plus I’ve had some good luck with them.  Decent cab drivers, pleasant conversations (including but not limited to:  Is Batman a better super hero than Superman?  Answer:  Yes.  Batman is awesome and doesn’t have super powers, he uses his giant brain and his really cool gadgets (although Clark Kent is better looking than Bruce Wayne (it’s the glasses.  Guys in glasses are hot (well, usually.  This theory doesn’t always work)), non-psycho scary people.

But, when I looked outside of my building, there were three cabs.  Why call a cab when there is one outside?  Save yourself some time, Dana.

Ha.  Hahahahahaha.

If you weren’t aware of it, I am here to tell you that there is a cab honor policy.  As the consumer, you cannot just choose the cab driver you want (not even if he’s really cute), you have to follow the hierarchy.  So I look at the cute driver, hoping he’s the one who will drive me to work and wordlessly ask "Which one of you was here first?"  Cute driver wordlessly indicates the guy who hasn’t paid any attention to me since I’ve walked up to the curb because he’s too busy reading the paper (and the wrong paper, I might add.  Of course, I grew up on the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.  I concede that the Star Tribune has its good points).  Dang it, I am here.  Stop reading and acknowledge me!*

*I am aware of the irony here, Beth.  I know there have been several times when you have arrived to pick me up and I haven’t noticed because I was engrossed in a book.  But I am Dana and my logic is odd and, in some cases, non-existent.

I get into the back seat of the cab.  I tell him where I need to go.  I, fortunately, do not give him the wrong address and end up half way to South Saint Paul before I remember that we moved to Mendota Heights.

Now, we’ve been at the new office since the end of June.  I have ridden with Keem many, many times.  So you would think I would be prepared when the cab driver asks me what he should take to get there.  You would think this but you would be very wrong.  I am directionally challenged.  Plus, hello, it is not my job to know where things are.  My job is to be amusing and quirky (if only I could get paid for that).  There is a reason why I am going to shell out a large sum of money to you, Mister Cab Driver.

Let’s recap.

Cab Driver (CD):  What do I take to get there?
DM:  Uh.  Um, that highway that’s up by the Xcel Center.  I think it’s 35.

It is 35.  35E South, to be technical.  Thankfully, the cab driver is able to interpret my complicated direction.

CD:  Do I take 494 to Pilot Knob?

Now I am directionally challenged and admit it.  But even I know that Pilot Knob is in Eagan.  And I told you that I needed to go to Mendota Heights, dang it!  And yes, I did learn later that Eagan and Mendota Heights are a lot closer than I thought.  I always think that Eagan is near Minneapolis and it really isn’t.  I think I get it confused with Edina.  You know, because they have three of the same letters.

DM:  I don’t think so.  I don’t remember taking 494.  I can call my roommate to be sure.
CD:  No, that’s okay.  I’ll ask my dispatcher.

He calls the dispatcher on the radio.

CD:  Hey.  How do I get to Centre Point Drive in Mendota Heights?  Do I take 494 to Pilot Knob?
Dispatcher:  Let me think. 

Two seconds go by.

Dispatcher:  Yeah, that’s right.

No it’s not!  And how can it only take you two seconds to decide this?  Did it just sound right to you?

I am convinced that this is not right because I don’t remember ever going to another highway.  For example, when going to Beth’s, I know that we drive on one highway and then we veer off to the right onto another highway.  I don’t actually know what those highways are called but I can point you in the right direction.*

*Oh, shut up.  I’m the person who doesn’t remember if you go through Michigan to get to Chicago, remember?  Although, to quote Diana, you can go through Michigan.  If you go by way of China first.  Which cracked me up when I reread her comment.

I resolve to pay extra attention to where we are going.  As we journey down the highway, I notice all of my landmarks. There’s the sign to indicate that we’re driving over the Mississippi River.  There are the odd little sphere shaped things that are on the power lines (I am not sure what they are for.  Keem said it was to warn planes that there were power lines there and not just river.  Which makes sense).  There is the exit for Caribou Coffee.  A-ha (Take on me!  Take me on!  (This has to stop!  How can I get this many songs stuck in my head?)!  I know that the next exit is the one I want.

DM:  You need to take this exit.
CD:  But that’s not 494.
DM:  I know.  You don’t go on 494.
CD:  But Pilot Knob Road is…
DM:  I don’t work on Pilot Knob Road!

He still would have had time to take the exit but had to argue with me. 

CD:  Well, now I have to go to 494.  I missed the exit.

Okay.  I don’t say anything because I am quietly seething.  I plan on saying something once I have formulated a response that doesn’t sound like "I hate you!  You bastard!  You better hope I don’t get a fork anytime soon!"  He then says something that makes me forgive him.

CD:  We’ll adjust the meter.

Damn straight you will, buddy! 

The cab driver drives by a business center on Pilot Knob.

CD:  Is this it?

I look at him in disbelief.  The internal dialogue goes through my head:

Let’s look at the clues here.  First of all, I have just told you that I don’t work on Pilot Knob Road.  Secondly, I said that I worked on Centre Pointe Drive when I first got in the cab.  If you add that up, I think you will reach the logical conclusion that I do not work here!!!!

What I say is no.

The cab driver calls his dispatcher again.  The dispatcher then acknowledges that "Hey, I led you the wrong way!  Sorry about that."

Really?  You’re just figuring this out now?

Long story short (too late!), I end up at work about a half hour late.  I say to my co-workers "Hey!  Guess what?  Did you know that we work on Pilot Knob?"

I tell the story.  We laugh.  Co-Worker Christy says she would write the company a letter and complain.  I figure it is not worth it.  Plus, hey, at least I can blog about it, right?  After all, $23 later, I ended up at work.*

*It would have been $28 before adjustment.  I did not tip.  Was that wrong?

************************************

It’s actually Thursday now.  I’ll post an addendum after my doctor’s appointment.  Hope you all have a good weekend.

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