Wednesday, November 29, 2006


The weekend weather was perfect. Picture perfect. I don't have a picture. I have trouble remembering to take the camera with me on my casual outings. When I do manage to remember to take the camera, I forget to point and shoot. One of these days it will all mesh.

On these picture perfect weekend days, I rode. I rode up, down and all around. It felt good. Very good. In addition to the rides, I stretched with my 4-Way AB band, concentrating on leg stretches.

Feeling pretty pleased with myself, having gotten my new resolve off and running, I went to the gym on Monday during my lunch break. You see, I'd fallen off track a bit. My expected work-out partner, wouldn't and then couldn't keep a regular schedule. The gym underwent some renovations and while not closed, working out during the construction was not an inviting notion. The post-Vegas malaise kept me off the circuit every couple of days. Development arrested.

I'd made a promise, something about holiday, food, not overdoing. Or, work-out. Work-out. Work-out.

I'm resolved to work-out. Hence the bike, the band and the gym during my lunch break.

The plan on Monday was to put in 40 minutes on the LifeFitness elliptical. I've logged a few miles on this machine and felt pretty comfortable with the motion and the work-out it provided. Somewhere, out of nowhere, the idea struck, like bad sushi, to try the other machine. The Cross Ramp EFX 5461. This appliance simulates running up ramps, adjustable to target particular muscle groups. That's the marketing da da. On the real, the torture instrument simulates running up baby mountains, after having had your right leg trade places with your left.

Two minutes on the machine and I realized I'd made a mistake. A big mistake. But, I can't stop now. There are people in the gym. People, who upon seeing me give up will whisper...wimp, chump, lightweight. I knew this to be true. I could hear them.

I stayed on the machine, struggling through the opp leg strides for EIGHT more minutes.

Then, somewhere, out of nowhere, the idea struck like, yeah, that. Hey, you're a gym rat. You're on a mission. You got more in you girl. Get on over there to those LifeFitness machines and work it out baby, no twist, a little shout.

Back on the original plan, the favored machine, gliding and striding for 35 minutes. I got into an acceptable rhythm after a rickety rocky beginning. Burning calories and strengthening resolve.

Tuesday morning I awoke sore. Both thighs. Sore.

Lunch break Tuesday, however, found me back at the gym. No pain, no gain and all that. 35 minutes, plus a 5 minute cool down on the LifeFitness glide and stride machine.

Tuesday night, both thighs VERY SORE!

After a good soak and a DIY rubdown. I was back in the gym today.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rev Up

It's that time of year. No, not that, yet.

Delivery of the 2007 calendar refills, however, spell the beginning of budget talks. Visions of sugar plums may be dancing in some heads. Mine is filled with talk. Talk of revenue, health insurance premium increases, revenue, cost-of-living increases, revenue, postage, revenue, catalog production costs, revenue, and still, more revenue.

To quiet the cacophony of costs versus revenue talk going on in there, I turn my mind towards my own year end assessments and projections for the coming year.

When 2006 began, I was a 45 year old, divorced mother of two, seeking answers to silent questions.

I am now a 46 year old, divorced mother of two, with much shorter hair. Some of the questions have been answered. Some questions remain.

They are, however, no longer silent.

Monday, November 27, 2006


The first taste is tentative. Slow, silent appreciation for the soft, silky sweetness. Each sip thereafter is a hurried response to a craving. That hurtful, hungry and fierce desire that must be soothed, now.

Iced, she bites. She struggles in your mouth, attacks your teeth, gums. She pretends to be offering the elixir for your fuzzy tongue trembles. Merely chilled, she offers crisp, cool caresses that leave you breathless.

She calls to you in the early morning. She begs for late night visits. She searches for moments to entice throughout the day. When you seek her out, she promises glossy satisfaction in every drop.

Before long, you realize you're hooked. You can't go a day without a taste, a gulp. You devise reasons to tap. A cookie, anything. You cannot get enough. You must, must have more of the sweet silky softness.

Got Milk?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Day After

I had positively no intention of venturing out of doors on Friday, save for a bike ride. I had plenty to do indoors. Plenty. Should I find a need to venture out of doors, in no way, shape or form, were those out of doors ventures going to include going anywhere near any sort of retail outlet.

Mom called at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning. She would like to go to Target, if I don’t mind, which in our mother-daughter lingo means, come now, pick me up and take me to Target. I was able to stall until 9:30 a.m.

Target bled into Walgreens, which bled into CVS, which bled into the post-office, which bled into a fast food joint. Then home again, jiggity jig. My head hurt.

Daughter Dani decides that we should go get some cheapy sweats in preparation for her work next week. She’d purged all of her junky clothes several weeks ago. The only sweats and ratty jeans in her closet now are not suitable for public view.

She’d handed over the keys to her car for my mother-daughter errand with my mom, so off again, I go jiggity jig. "Mom, you know, we need bread and milk and ..." she reports. Wait! A grocery store too!?

Oh for Pete’s sake!

Friday found me maneuvering among the masses, probably my least favorite activity on earth, except for perhaps, a root canal.

The upside, the weather was wonderful, I did manage a bike ride after napping, excising the demons of the earlier day outings from my system.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hot Buttered Buns

There will be buns, yams, greens (mustard/turnip mix), birds, stuffing, pies and more. We will gather about my dining room table laden with food prepared by careful hands. My mom, I’m sure will have her contributions done, ready for transport by Wednesday morning. I will rise early as usual, Thursday morning to produce my parts. There will be the four of us, unless my brother and his family make an appearance. This will be his first Thanksgiving with them in six years.

For the food and the company, I am thankful.

Though this year has been trying both physically and emotionally for my mom, she has revealed some incredible resilience. I am thankful for her strength, even if she doesn’t see or feel it and for my ability to be of assistance.

Dani has been out of work for a bit over a month. She’s gone on a handful of interviews and was growing increasingly concerned about the burden she felt she was becoming. Yesterday she was offered a job by
The Anti-Cruelty Society. Orientation and training starts on Monday. This is a full-time job with benefits, working with animals. Of all the applications she’d filed, this was the job she wanted. I am thankful for the drive and gumption she showed in going after this job.

Michael has worked extremely hard and has been acutely focused with networking, auditioning and performing, while holding down a very demanding day job. He’s also tried to have some fun and continues to expand his horizons, despite the taunting. I am thankful for his spirit and verve.

The forecast is for pleasant temps and sunshine. I will be able to get outside for a vigorous walk or ride, to keep those hot buttered buns from having such an impact on my cool, when-you-dress-Caress, buns. You bet your stuffing, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Snack Food

Popcorn has a long and storied history, which I won’t regale. You may read about some of it here here and here.

When I was really young, there was always popped corn. My mom ate it by the bucketfuls. She hardly ever bought pre-popped or flavored corn. She only bought kernels and she popped at home. It wasn’t long before I was the pop poppiest kernel popper. It was the one thing she taught and allowed me to do in the kitchen besides washing dishes. My mom could have popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She did even on a popcorn diet, until she became very weak. Her sisters intervened. Even afterwards, she continued to eat a lot of popped corn.

Ever had left-over popcorn. Out from the refrigerator, with congealed oil into the popped pockets?

Sometimes Jiffy-Pop and microwave corn made special appearances, but mom was very loyal to the vintage methods of pop corn preparation.
As an adult, popcorn and I shared an ambivalent existence. It was a favored snack when Michael and Dani were younger, its popularity waning considerably over the years.

A resurgence may be on the horizon. The actor had an audition a few weeks ago, for a small film role. He was called back for a second look-see. Much too soon for exuberant spillage of glee, but hmm, movie theater popcorn, the sounds, the smells, the taste.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Anna writes, ‘I need a lesbian gurl friend.’ I know because she told me and the thousands of women registered to one of the four sites of meet and greet her.

The registrants proclaim themselves to be women looking for other women to like, love or lick like a lollipop should be licked. Me? I’m in there somewhere.

Towards that end I floated some balloons. The very first list was the least productive in terms of prospects and respondents. It remains so. Two of the next three have been a bit more promising. The third is new, so the jury is still out.

C is in a relationship, she’s looking for pals. She has a partner who has a 9 year old son. She’s a buckeye and sounds (writes) bubbly.

K is a single mom. She has an 11-year old son. She lives in England and ‘came to the conclusion’ she was gay in 2001. The tale she tells so far is intriguing.

P is single and enjoys cooking for her siblings and friends. She works at a newspaper and doesn’t feel confident enough of her grammar to enjoy writing. No, she doesn’t write for the paper.

Others responding to a HI didn’t reply to my email. No harm, no foul. I got some HI s that raised my eyebrows a bit; the 19 year old I had to delete immediately. 19? That’s younger than my daughter, idonthinkso. The 22 year old was almost deleted, but she emailed me before I could and all but dared me to email her, ‘don’t let my age discourage you..’ Well I’m no chicken, I clucked her up, a week and counting and not a peep.

Some hellos were followed with ‘I’m not really good at writing, here’s my cell number.’ Dani tells me this is a BIG RED FLAG. ‘Mom, don’t! She’s probably some crazy stalker!’ I’d figured that part out, but she likes to give me advice, I like to let her, sometimes.

So far, so hum. I’m not as active as I probably could be, but looking at all those profiles is dizzying. Besides, there are other projects looming and are threatening to make themselves a nuisance. They must be addressed.

The anxiety expressed a couple, three weeks ago has pretty much evaporated thanks to some feedback, time and to this blogging community into which I find myself immersed. I’ve laughed out loud, silently cried and furrowed my sparse brows having been provoked to entertain a different point of view. Some have extended themselves beyond the blogs. Those connections are precious to me and continue to drive and inspire.

Y’all are the shiznit, yo!

lick like a lollipop should be licked - salt n pepa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


WMS? Women Must Sing? No.
WMS? Wild Monkey Stew? No.
WMS? Where's My Stuff? Bingo.

Jack calls and asks,"where's my stuff?" Before I can address Jack's question there is a question or two of my own to pose, like the purchase order number, billing name or zip code for the billing address. Jack will rarely know the purchase order number and often has difficulty either remembering or relaying simple factoids like a zip code.

Customers call. They call with a query, a concern or all-out problem. Hardly ever does a customer call to say, "hey!" or even, "I think you guys are doing a great job!" No, customers have problems. I get that call and it is my responsibility to solve that problem, no matter what.

I am no longer in the day-to-day trenches of incoming customer service. My responsibilities beyond debt collection, bookkeeping and other office management functions are to plug in missing spots and to be the voice of authority when a matter escalates. There are customers for whom blue is not blue or 'the last straw' is a regular emotional register.

Jacks often thwart their own goals by failing to offer accurate and/or logical information. Jacks feel that providing just jack is sufficient data to pull up their order.

Efficient and effective customer servicing requires knowledge of the company's products and processes, a calm and diplomatic demeanor and above all else the ability to stifle the exasperated sigh. Jack will certainly test a service representative's command of the situation.

Jack was asked to confirm his email address:
He replies: J as in um, um, J-ump, P as in um, um, um F-one
Jack, I'm sorry, was that B as in B-one?
I see, that was P as in P-aul? "Yes! P as in P-eople!
Jack's email address is eventually confirmed as

Fanatical customer service is not a single act. It is a habit practiced every minute of every day.

Jacks command nothing less.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Two Full Days

Inauspicious beginning what with the high winds and heavy rains greeting me as I left work on Friday evening. Suede shoes, cotton socks and double knit slacks paired with the gale force winds assured soaked extremities.

The condo was quiet, both Michael and Dani out for the evening. I shed the wet, trading for dry, heat soup leftover from earlier in the week. A check of email unveiled some pleasant surprises which prompted some quick replies. I trade the empty soup bowl for a mug filled with a warm beverage, settle in front of my trusty heater. Not a fireplace, but will suffice.

Satruday morning dawns, me fairly well rested. The kids and I share our various breakfasts, trade some stories and laughs of the week just past. It's still a bit chilly, calling for indoor chores. The book on Saturday closes with delivered Chinese and a rousing game of Scattergories with Dani and her boyfriend.

A 7:57 a.m. call from mom signals the start to Sunday. Well, not really. Sunday actually began at 2:00 a.m. I was shaking off the effects of a disturbingly funny dream when I heard Michael come in from his show and more. Fully awake now, I putter for a few hours, online and off, finally dozing off to the tail end of Hitchcock's Birds. The 7:57 a.m. called signaled the second beginning to Sunday morn.

The rest of the day progresses without incident. Our plans to attend the roller derby championship being shelved in lieu of preparing a pot roast, watching football, soccer and more football.

I discovered that roller derby was alive, somewhat, and well in Chicago only a few weeks ago. Too late to attend any matches. I found myself on the mailing list for the Windy City Rollers. I hope there is another season, as I do, so much, want to see a match in person, finally.

Two full days, back-to-back, felt like bliss. I'd forgotten how much I missed feeling anything like this. Future weekends I'm sure won't be quite so easy breezy. There are some projects looming ahead that might result in an ordeal or two or three.

But for now, Sunday lobbies to join Saturday in the favorite day derby.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Ok. I don't need an anvil dropped on my head. I get it. Several days, a purse pack and roll from home later, it obvious the building management will not be supplying personal paper products to the ladies rest room anytime soon. Previously lacking BigRolls or any of the kissing cousins, the room is now also devoid of bountiful towels. There are some options open to me, the purse pack, I've exhausted. Some others uncovered by Wendy, though intriguing, are simply unacceptable.

I find it necessary then, to add to the current list of home at the office provisions of foodstuffs like oats, skim milk, cottage cheese, fruit, tuna crackers and coffee, other necessities, like vitamins, pain relievers, aunty flo accessories and utensils..


The office is becoming too much like home. How many more days until the next vacation?

By the way have you ever been to a toilet paper museum? It's not the M C A but give it a whirl.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Saturday is my favorite day. Why? I don’t put on a watch. I don’t operate on a schedule. Saturday is my grocery, laundry, dry-cleaners, yard, sweeping, mopping, and many things in-between day-accomplished in no particular order, with no specific design, unless a task is related to my mother.

If I had any kind of social life to speak of, Saturday would also be my Queen-For-A-Day day, but that’s another topic.

There are constrictions and restrictions, the weather and retail business hours, but otherwise, it is my one and only loosey goosey day, where I can do what, when and how I want, generally.

That is, however, provided I can stay on my feet.

After the Sunday through Friday work week that encompasses about 70 hours including commutes to and from both jobs, Saturday morning has begun to arrive all too quickly after about only 26 hours of sleep through the week.

Lately, Saturday has been my crash and burn day. The day starts with promise. I rise, do some stretches, drink some java, eat some oats, take my vitamin and Glucosamine and get to crackin. Two hours in, I take a breather, have some water and contemplate the next moves. I do my best contemplating while sitting on the sofa. Next thing I know, the second college football game is in the second half. Holy boondoggle, I’ve slept away the rest of the morning and a chunk of the afternoon.

Being that it is my loosey goosey day, I’m not stressed about what didn’t get done, the chores left undone are deferred for another Saturday. However, weeks of this kind of tom-foolery leads to chores bleeding onto an errant Tuesday, or even worse, a Thursday evening, because loosey-goosey or no, the stuff must get done, eventually.

Nothing I’ve tried has yielded any more sleeping hours. Nothing. Am I destined to crash and burn every Saturday thereby insuring that extra sour cream is constantly being added the already loaded weekday?

I have one more, no-holds barred, come hell-or-high water plan to salvage my Saturdays.

Quit the second job. This week will be my first two full days weekend, unless I’m sick or on vacation weekend in five years. Two full days, the possibilities tantalize the senses.

I was saving this for when I get a date, but I think I know where I can find another, Yee Haw!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The results of this quiz reports that I have the personality of a badger. They further define that personality as: Grumpy & hardworking. You seem to have a hard time enjoying the simple pleasures in life, but this doesn't seem to bug you. People find you cynical, but you appreciate the ones who treat you with love and respect, Which you give back in bulk. You're not as bad as people think you are.

After reading it, I was all fired up, ready to rip quizilla a new one for the grumpy description.

I AM NOT G R U M...oh wait, perhaps, just perhaps I logged some ticks on the grumpy meter.

I do believe that Ms. Grump appeared when I realized I'd once again donned the socks that routinely lose their way and find themselves tangled down inside my shoes, limply clumped around my toes.

Madam Grumpy may have reared her frazzy head when yet again I discovered the upstairs neighbors failed to deliver their garbage bags all the way INSIDE the dumpster or recycling bins.

I'm quite certain that Gramma Grumps made a guest appearance when the boss asked for the hundredth time if we (the business) could afford a new printer and I responded, after the pre-requisite pause, that we couldn't afford not to.

So quizilla, grumpy in her various frocks has indeed popped in from time to time. I don't abide by the suggestion that she's taken up permanent residence. I couldn't get through the days with grumpy grumps hanging on my shoulders like Nevada heat in August.

Now if we could talk about this cynical comment and what the heck is this about me not being as bad as people think I am? That's just bunk! I am bad to the bone, but not at all grumpy.

This message inspired by Betty and paid for by the committee to rationalize grumptitude.

It's An Express

Much to my delight the public transpo service nearest my home added an express bus to one of the various options for my commute to work. This express bus versus the non-express shaves 20-30 minutes from the commuting time.

The new service, in operation for about 12 weeks now, keeps me off the train and the mountain of stairs leading to the platform. At 7:30 a.m and frigid temps, a mountain of stairs is a tough feat for my less than supple joints. I was not looking forward to another Winters worth of commuting.

The express service is working very well for me with one exception. Many patrons along the route have not quite grasp the idea of express. They continue to expect the bus to stop at every other corner. They continue to rant, rave, stomp feet and wave fists from the back door; "Hey! Let Me Off!"

Driver's have been instructed to amplify the signage; 'this is an express bus' before boarding and often throughout the ride. Over and over, 'this is an express bus'. Still, some patrons are ranting, raving, stomping feet and waving fists, demanding to be let off. The rides are not nearly as pleasant as I expected.

Perhaps I'll try the non-express bus, it's likely pretty empty these days.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Revolution Evolution (?)

The talk around the house has been about revolution. Not the New England MLS team nor of the A-1 spinning tops, but the movements for rights; civil, human, voting. The battles for equality.

Battles that were hard fought. Results won with the blood, sweat and tears of many valiant revolutionaries.

All those battles, all those years ago, bring us here, to where we are today. Folks, many of them Black, tossing around the N word like confetti. Black folks chiding others for 'talkin white.' Folks embracing, even celebrating and perpetuating CP (colored people) time. "Chile, I don't have no tolerance for White people," or "why you always reading books by White people?" and similar statements follow many Blacks who step outside the box. There are folks who don't want to know you if you don't eat, sleep, drink and bleed Black.

Michael is going to the opera, Salome . He mentioned it to a few cast mates and he was ridiculed and had his loyalty to 'his people' questioned. He, we are proud of our heritage. We support, attend and pursue many activities, representing a number of cultures. We do have those rights, those freedoms. No?

A life long revolutionary with no revolution to feed her passions, pain or obsession engineers events, she hopes will galvanize the community to rise up against 'the man' and the injustices that she believes still permeate the Black community. This is the basic premise of Panther Burn, Michael's current stage work.

I saw the play on Friday. He was fabulous. The play is limited in its scope, I think the playwright could have told a more intriguing story. But, he told the story he wanted to tell and the performances were fine. Michael's role called for him to be angry, very angry the entire time. He is such a cheerful, optimistic soul, it was hard-yet fascinating to see him sizzle with that much heat.

The talk around the house has been about revolution. There are battles still to be fought. There is homelessness, joblessness, lags in education and resources. Not to mention the 'darkie' mentality. There are results yet to win.

Question is, is it a battle against 'the man' or the man in the mirror?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pet Pups

We are a fuzzy household. We'd like to be a household of furries with breath and a pulse, but for now we are a household of fabric fuzzies. There have been a bevy of fuzzies that have passed through and passed on. Several remain still. The top two of the menagerie of muppets are Wags (the tiger suited fellow up top) and his sister Wagette (all decked out in her skeleton sweater).

Wags and Wagette, gifted to Dani on consecutive Christmases in her 8th and 9th years hold very special spots of honor in our hearts and home. They have their own chairs and with the help of a master, their own voices. They hold court over Mollie McBear, Babs Bunny, Diggy Puppop and a host of other critters.

The boy pup, Wags, dubbed, 'the so fine' is quietly fierce. His personal hero is Spike (from Tom and Jerry) and when the free flowing estrogen threatens to topple him, he escapes to man land, where he and Unkie Mikie can watch man movies, eat pizza and burgers and reset his balance.

Wagette, dubbed, 'diva' likes to wear jewelry and is a bossy little fuzzy. She rules the fuzz with an iron paw. She is quick to add a caustic comment when such is needed. She is drama personified. Wagette has been quite vocal in her lobbying efforts to get a live pup in the mix. She feels same would enhance the homey atmosphere that exists in our fuzzy abode.

Hard to argue with the 'diva.'

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Calendar Daze

As the keeper of the time, it is my responsibility, obligation, duty and chore to assist in the coordination of days off for the other eight employees. I do not authorize or decline the days off, I am the record gatherer, advisor of conflicts and keeper.

For this purpose, I print and release to the two other supervisors and the general manager a blank calendar, save for my own scheduled days. Generally speaking, planned days off are requested, at minimum 10 days prior to event. I usually plan mine a month in advance. There remains room for contingencies.

The managers fill in the appropriate dates with the appropriate codes for all employees under their purview and of course their own dates. Each manager returns his completed calendar, I transfer the data to a master, note and advise of any conflicts, as necessary. Once cleared, the completed calendar is posted in the breakroom.This has been a monthly occurrence for five years now.

I'm DP. The fh shown on the calendar is floating holiday. Floating holidays are personal days. These are above and beyond vacation days. As you can see, I've scheduled a personal day for 11/17/2006. November 23rd and 24th (Thanksgiving and day after) are paid holidays for our business, have been for five years.

One supervisor came in my office to ask me about 11/21 and 11/22. "Do you have anything special planned for those days?" I quickly dismissed that he was asking me out or if I might be available to clean his gutters. I most always respond to questions from this particular co-worker with a question of my own as I can rarely offer the reply that is tittering on the edge of my tongue. I ask the buffer question to give the titter time to dissipate.

He acknowledges that the days are blank, thus affirming that I have not asked for nor been given authorization to take those days. He goes on to tell me how he'd like to have those days because his mom will be in town and he needs to...I don't know, I stopped listening. I don't authorize days off. I re-iterate that I'm not planning anything for those days, if he wants them-he should go and get them.

The general manager, my boss yells from his office, two doors down, "do we get the Friday after Thanksgiving?" Did I mention the Friday after Thanksgiving was added as one of our paid holidays five years ago?

The radio volume is tweaked upward ever so slightly. On this day, it was 70's rock.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Memo First Draft

To: Management of Building --Where Deborah toils.

From: Toiling Deborah

Re: TP ( Toilet Paper )

Sirs, Madams, Drones; the women's room, you know the only one, the locked one, the one with 4 stalls and 2 sinks, on the third floor, that serves, at last count, uhm let's see....ONE female, yes, that one, the women's room has been without toilet paper for the past several days.

I know that Ishmael is aware. I told him and he must have noticed because the mopping supplies are in a closet, inside the women's room. He mopped yesterday.

Now, I know that times are tough. I know that some corners had to be cut.

Given the state of the economy and the pinch you must be feeling, I must admit some shock and awe at the distribution of the space heaters. I'm here to tell you that my elbows and toes are eternally grateful for the whoosh of warmth.

However, if a choice must be made, I'd gladly broker a trade. You can have my portable heat, for a few rolls of Charmin, Cottonelle, hell heck, you could pass on some Bounty.

Your consideration is much appreciated.

Best Regards,
Toiling Female Tenant Office Suite 3B