Because i deserve it!

Save this spot

Tomorrow, I head for the Big City of Boston, where I understand, there's no longer a Big Dig. Which is disappointing, because I most hoped to see that. Instead, unless he doesn't, the intrepid SAM will be coming up from Connecticut, because he is a World Traveler, and I am a cracker from the Midwest (my apologies to the Ritz).

Except for the bright spot which is SAMiAM (who also promised me a present!) I will be seeing Boston from the bowels of the Sheraton, perfecting my consent form writing skills (at least my self-chosen workshops indicate this. Frankly, I think my consent form writing skills are top notch. And anyway, I don't write consent forms any more. I suppose I figured I'd become a MASTER of a skill I no longer use). Duncan Sheik is playing, along with other people, at some extravaganza or another Sunday afternoon. Which may be a more valuable use of my time than consent forms.

Fortunately, Boston won't be that cold. At least not any colder than here.

Not only am I not packed, I have not made out any lists, and haven't done laundry. I think I'm going to happy hour.

I got Wolfie safety inspection done today (and he got all oiled and lubed and everything). I can't believe I passed. Either Wolfie's in better shape than I thought or it helps to do tequila shots at the 55 Bar with your auto mechanic. Well, that's one more huge burden lifted.

Remaining burdens:

Emissions inspection (which should be fine)

License renewal

Christmas presents for my brother and my mother

Christmas present for the BGE

All things considered, these are not bad burdens.

I Think We're Alone Now

Uh, Richard Gere's middle name is Tiffany. But I can't win since I don't know what we're playing for.

Didja ever play Typer Shark from Pop Co? Sharks and other fish with big teeth would swim from one side of the screen to the other bearing letters and combinations of letters, and the player had to type whatever appeared in the fish before it reached the diver. At higher levels, some of these fish were invisible, the letters not appearing until almost at the diver.

That's what I've felt like for several days: as if all the obstacles fraying my nerves and battering my mood are invisible. It's not until I've cleared it out of my path that I realized it was indeed a problem. Today, I finished a project, and realized that a huge burden had been lifted. My mood improved immediately.

Of course, I still have Boston looming large.

Surf Shopping, Here We Come

I can't remember when I began doing my Christmas shopping exclusively on-line and spending time on many years ago. It was a far more novel approach to Christmas shopping and far more challenging to do this exclusively 10 years ago. Now, disappointingly, there's rarely any challenge, and I almost feel like I've cheated when I squeeze my Christmas shopping into about an aggregate hour or two of work time. (I even outsource most of the wrapping to my mother).

Now on-line shopping has its own special day! Black Monday. I'd like to tell the hordes of anti-capitalists out there that I refrained from purchasing anything on line today, but alas, today I scratched my sister-in-law off my list.

Elsewhere at the Casa: the artist from whom I purchased a nude drawing in December of '03, passed away this month. I was contacted by a friend of his family to see if I were interested in selling (I'm not), or having a copy made (perhaps). There's also going to be a showing/sale of his work (the proceeds of which will go to a trust set up for his kid). That'd be December 22. I've roped The Dude into attending (after all, it's his fault I bought the first piece) AND to taking me to a final supper at his favorite place (which is closing for good at the end of December).

Thanksgiving wasn't really all that bad; I've made it sound so much worse than it is. I sat at the table and cried tears of laughter at the very odd, very comic philosophies of one of the dinner guests. If you went to school in the Ladue school district and have ever chanted "amo, amas, amat..." you probably know him. Otherwise, it pretty much sucked and I didn't eat nearly enough food.

I think I pinpointed (and cured) a partial cause for the wreck of my mental state: work. I rarely stress about work since taking this new job, but I screwed around too much during the short week last week, and I have a short week this week (because of Black Boston Friday), and I had eleventymillion things to procure, produce and process. The pile of work is always higher when you can't see it. Stuff I thought would take me an afternoon, took me an hour. So I feel better. Plus, I popped a Celexa from the stash I keep on hand, and for me, unlike other anti-d's, work fairly quickly (despite the package insert, which tells you not expect an effect for at least a week).

And I told the BGE I really need another day to clear my head. I do.

Just to be sure

I checked the archives, and apparently, last Thanksgiving wasn't all that great either. I'm starting to think, however, that worse than not having a date at Turkeypalooza, is actually bringing one. I could not instill in my boyfriend the concept that holding your phone to eye level and pressing buttons (whether to "make notes to yourself" or "look up something on the internet") is NOT acceptable social behavior. I don't CARE if it's just my dad and Rick watching football. It's rude and puts up a psychic wall between you and everyone else. In fact, it was probably unnecessary to bring the phone in the first place, and I'd have admonished him to leave it in the car or at least his pocket, rather than wear it on his belt, if I'd noticed.

Yeah, so it was apparent that the BGE was not having a good time. I was eerily reminded of the POB's one and only Thanksgiving with the family, only his psychic wall was erected by going outside every 30 minutes to smoke a cigarette. But that Thanksgiving, nothing could compete with the antics of my very obnoxious cousin.

Anyway, a perusal through the archives indicates that my current mood, which is execrable, is not necessarily indicative of the time of the year. I feel emotionally wretched. I'm not sure what's at the core of this, but I feel like I lost some crucial piece of myself this weekend, very much like something has triggered a sudden (and hopefully temporary) bout of depression. Like, all of the things that made me happy last week, are very much not making me happy. To quote Samantha Baker, "It's physically impossible for me to get happy."

I don't even think whiskey will help.

The casualty in all of this seems to be my relationship with the BGE. Mostly because there's a bunch of stuff that's pissing me off. Mabye it shouldn't piss me off, but it does. And I'm incredibly irritable. And I have to go to Boston on Friday. And maybe the time apart will be good for us. For me, anyway. Because as much as I was having relationship angst last week, this week I'm about 30 seconds to "I don't give a shit." And, well, since he's the same person he was last week, I can only assume this is attributable to my execrable mood, which was caused by something indefinable snapping sometime in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Or maybe things aren't working out as well as I thought. Maybe it's because despite early appearances otherwise, there's some social dissonance between us. And while normally I can let the specifics run off my back, lately I can't (including one egregious grammar error, which he's tired of hearing me correct, but wouldn't have to if he'd just fix it).

What I really want to do is just hunker down, and hibernate until after Christmas (pile my presents at the mouth of the cave; I'll open 'em in February).

Fingers crossed

I just checked my sooperdooper tracking system courtesy of Mojira and saw someone online on chaturbate with practically the same IP address as mine, which freaked me out, and almost caused me to press the panic button (do I still have one?) until I realized that I now share a workplace with another local blog person. Whew. You know who you are; please don't tell me if it isn't you :-)

Patty Lane I am not

...but I really did use the word "oodles" in my previous post, and this morning I did sing "Henry the VIII." However, hot dogs do not make me lose control, so I think I'm safe from a complete transformation.

Last night Blocker and I played trivia at Trueman's and won. Our opponents included the King and Queen of Soulard, who also fancy themselves triva professionals, so the victory was that much more sweet. The King dresses like an extra on That 70s Show--seriously: tight jeans, tight black Led Zepplin T-shirts tucked in and belted with biker belts. Yeah, and boots. Don't forget the boots. He actually swaggers and prances like Foghorn Leghorn. I can't make this shit up. He thinks he's the shit. The Queen thinks he's the shit, too, obviously, but I don't know what's to get all snotty about when your hair hangs like a before shot in a Pantene commercial. Obviously, I'm a fan.

Let's do the Time Warp again.

Anyway, the questions weren't too difficult. I yanked the author of the Ugly Duckling out of the nether regions of my ass, we knew an Olympic pool has 8 lanes, the Jazz Singer was the first movie with sound, and Vatican City is the world's smallest country. We fucked up the year Rick Allen lost his arm, but our 1985 was certainly better a better answer than the Vianney Alums 1970-something. Going into the bonus round, which was played like final jeaopardy, Blocker and I were tied for first place. We bet it all, because like Blocker pointed out, there's nothing like losing because you didn't wager enough. He basically won the game by deducing that Charlie Chaplin was the first actor to appear on the cover of Time in 1925. The other first place team? They also knew the answer was Charlie Chaplin, but guess what? They didn't wager enough points. Dumb asses.

The King and Queen tied for second but then were relegated to third after losing the showdown round. Tears were shed, and Blocker and I were good sports and stopped short of doing a victory dance. We were not congratulated by any of our competitors. And so. We will not be buying any of them drinks with our $50 gift certificate.

The BGE managed to get into town at some point and I think the early morning hours found us at the Pig and Whistle. I am having relationship angst. Personally, I think it's a good sign that I'm having relationship angst five months in--normally by this time, I'm past the angst and into the "I don't give a shit." Unfortunately, the BGE's patience for my relationship angst is waning. I need a tune up.

Did I mention that I'm buying my mother shoe trees for Christmas? And my sister-in-law wants something called "cello bags" and "shred material." For Christmas. I'm ordering her what she refers to as "Something to put on my counter for my cooking utensils." Uh, gadget crock? My list, on the other hand, contained interesting items like the Bose Sound Dock for my iPod, a Calphalon cookware set, and all the Degrassi jasminelive seasons on DVD. And I have a kick ass Christmas wish list at Amazon. My brother did ask for a Directv HD/DVR 4 room system, though. That's the spirit! However, I'm buying him plastic poker cards, or something.

Neither of us, I'm sure will be getting a pony this year, for the 30th year in a row. Santa! Bah.


I don't often publicly indulge in sentimental introspection, like "What am I thankful for" but Kat asked the question on her blog, and it occurred to me that I have oodles to be thankful for this year:

The Big Three in chronological order:

My job. Despite my less-than-disciplined approach to my workload, I really am doing well, and this is a good fit. I also increased my salary by nearly 30%, the benefits are better and I'm overall significantly more happy to come to work here than I was there. Plus, we're about to get a Pony Espresso in the lobby, which is approximately 30 seconds away from my office.

The BGE. I've said it before, but I don't know what I did, or which gods I pleased, to deserve him. What's amazing is that he was RIGHT THERE all along. Sometimes I look at him and think, "[BGE] is sleeping in my bed. My legs are tangled in my bed with [BGE]." I wonder what the Christy of 2002 would think about THAT if she knew. He is really the Best Guy Ever. The reasons for this really deserve their own post so...

fawning over the BGE.

My family. I've experienced the BGE's family first hand, and have listened to my co-worker talk about hers, and I've experienced my family through the eyes of others this year, and looked at them objectively. My parents are great. And they're interesting. Even my brother is pretty great (and just a few years ago I referred to him only as 'The Dickhead'). Seriously, my family kicks ass.

Big at Off Broadway

Okay, I may go to my grave without seeing Tom Waits once, but unless something truly untoward happens between now and January 13, I will not be going to my grave before I've seen Ellis Paul ten times.

My dad, of course, is going, and I just emailed my concert-going pal Jim Gassmann to see if he's going to come up.

I'll be there early to be sure I get my favorite table. My dad and I went to the Ellis Paul/Vance Gilbert show at the Sheldon last year (thanks to Dr. L) but it wasn't the same as having him stand on a chair at my table during his unplugged set. And, you know, I guess I missed Jim, too. Somehow, it wasn't the same without Jim.

A quick peek at the OB calendar indicates that Lucy Kaplansky will be here on March 11 (Note to The Dude (formerly known as The Man): mark your calendar.

Still no Forbert in the Midwest.

Big in Japan

After reading several posts on the Raindogs list, and fearing that I, too, will go to my grave without seeing Tom Waits live, and after reading potential tour rumors, have decided that I, too, would travel to anywhere in the US if the opportunity presented itself.

I've seen Bruce, Brian and Bob. Tom's the only holdout. And I remember how I wanted to kick myself in the ass when Jerry died.

I want to be back in Florida

I didn't comment much about our trip to Florida, but not only did I have a great time, I find myself missing it. Not just the beach, although I'm never as happy as I am in the ocean. If not for the hurricane, I might never have gotten out of the water. My bodyboarding injury is almost healed (only a little pink remains) and my jones has returned. I'm dreaming about the water and occasionally a tsunami nearly every night.

I never thought I'd utter the phrase, "I want to be back in Florida" after my last debacle, but I want to start planning another trip immediately. This time, I'd forgo the Disney bit, although we had the most incredible meal (and I, an incredible wine) at Wolfgang Puck's in Downtown Disney. Although Disneyesque and not unlike Universal City Walk, where I've been a few times in LA, I wanted Downtown Disney to be in St. Louis. I think I said to the BGE, "I wish that real life were like this" as we walked through. I also wish that street signs were printed in some whimsical font like Comic Sans MS, too, because I think that'd make the mundane more exciting, but I can't seem to get the mayor to agree (don't even ask me what I'd name these streets). In all seriousness, I think the world would be a much better place if it looked like Disney, though.

Speaking of Disney, I found myself (and I think the BGE, too) more charmed by the Magic Kingdom than I expected (and I expected to be charmed). I found Epcot, though, to be a little disappointing, especially the World Village or whatever, despite the fact that the International Food Festival increased the number of food and beverage places from which to sample. I think I would have found Epcot disappointing even if we hadn't gotten into some wicked fight nearly immediately and then again as we were leaving. And it rained pretty hard sometime in between. I took the hotel shuttle back to the Wyndham even, while the BGE drove. He made it before I did, and I found him sitting on the floor, blowing one of his shoes dry with the hair dryer. As a conciliatory gesture, I plugged in my own hair dryer, sat on the floor and began to dry the second one. Dinner that night sucked. I wasn't very hungry, but due to some sneaky name thing, we found ourselves at a different restaurant than we hoped we'd be. The atmosphere basically sucked, the waitstaff lackluster, and compared to the meal the night before, this one (for roughly the same price, and MINUS a bottle of wine) couldn't live up to the expectations of our spoiled buds. (Lesson learned: it's Bonefish, NOT Fishbones--beware of anyplace Frommers calls "nautically themed").

We did spend 3 days in Clearwater, where the patina of disappointment which held sway over day 2 in Orlando, disappeared. Despite the clouds and rain that heralded the pending Hurricane, we had a great day on the beach, followed by good, relatively cheap food (Cooters: bad name, good food) and some really incredible white sangria (Frenchy's South Beach Cafe). But I'm certain that even a Big Mac from the McDonald's next door would have tasted excellent eaten beachside.

Our last day, we headed out towards Madeira Beach and John's Pass, via Indian Rocks Beach. We'd eaten at the original Crabby Bill's our first night, but the gift store was closed and we wanted t-shirts. (On our way back, that first night, we stopped at a Liquor Store, where I emerged with only wine. This Liquor Store, rather than attached to a a print shop, was attached to a bar and Mexican grill. The McGlynn's should take note). On our way to John's Pass, I saw a funky looking little bar, so we stopped. I wish I had words for this place that would do it some sort of justice, but anything I'd say would make it seem less interesting. And yet, cleaner. Imagine if the Venice Cafe exploded and instead of rebuilding, Jeff, who would have sustained a head injury in the blast, just decided to paint over some stuff and left the rest as is. Pretty good beer selection, and an outdoor area that looks like the Shanti on steroids. (I used that comparison "like the [St. Louis institution] on steroids" a lot while we were there. Everything's bigger in Florida, I guess). Even the Bob later recognized my description of the place as Mahuffer's (aka Sloppy John's). Anyway, here's a page of pictures from Mahuffers' site...scroll down.

The boardwalk on John's Pass was a little strange. Kind of like a parallel universe kind of place, or something like the astronauts encountered in The Martian Chronicles ("The Third Expedition"). Most interesting was the Florida Winery, which specializes in flavored wine, and wine fermented from fruit juices. Notable among them: Midnight Sun (which combines an orange wine with coffee), the Cocoa Beach (similar, only with chocolate rather than coffee) and something that included some sort of hot pepper (would be excellent in pasta sauce).

We nearly missed our flight out of Tampa, because we got all lost in dolphin watching, and then couldn't find the rental car place. I blamed all of this squarely on the shoulders of the BGE because he's the man, after all. I also screamed loudly at the National Car Rental customer service person, after being on hold for some 10 minutes, while the pilot was firing up the engines of our 737. He (or she) hung up on me, leaving us at the mercy of non-english speaking Hertz and Budget people, one of whom ran alongside of the car, leading us out of the garage and onto the right road, barking out directions in pidgin, to which both the BGE and I thought the other was listening. The kind Skycap called out to the gate for us, after we managed to arrive at the airport. We monorailed to the gate, tired, screamed out, screamed at, and ready for a drink.

The plane again stayed aloft, in part due to the intercession of St. Bernoullli to whom I prayed as we taxied; our bags made it back, and I thanked God once again for Herb Kelleher for making it all possible.