Monday, November 27, 2006

Thank God For Jerky

5:00am: Wake up to the sounds of our cat (named Kat) trying to pull the folds of our comforter over a spot in the center of the bed.
5:10am: Finally get tired of listening to the cat shred our comforter and "gently" place her on the couch in the livingroom.
5:30am: Unable to go back to sleep and lay in bed thinking about the projects waiting for me at the office. Suffer mild anxiety attack.
5:45am: Decide to try and enjoy my last fifteen minutes of rest before alarm clock begins screaming. Pull blankets over myself and discover that our cat wasn't trying to shred the comforter, but was trying to cover up the fact that she pee'd on the bed while we were sleeping in it. Decide not to wake up Big Angry Husband for fear that he will kill the cat. Decide to pretend like I discovered the mess after he is awake which buys me enough time to shower and get ready for work.
6:00am: Take a long, hot shower because I'm afraid that I smell like cat pee.
6:30am: Big Angry Husband gets up to take his Good Morning Piss while I'm making my lunch. Decide that this is the time to come clean about the cat. Big Angry Husband remembers spending two hours in the laundromat washing said bedding the night before and is not pleased. Offer to spend two hours in the laundromat tonight rewashing bedding so that Big Angry Husband doesn't blow his top. Cat's death avoided.
6:45am: Step in a huge pile of dog shit while waiting for the bus to arrive. Migraine begins.
7:45am: Arrive at work ready to call it a day. Run into my friend, Izzy, who always makes me smile. Notice that he has a huge bag of homemade jerky on his desk and remember that today is Jerky Tuesday. Things are finally looking up. [More on Jerky Tuesday to follow]
5:00pm: Big Angry Husband gets home from work before me and decides to rewash the bedding himself, sparing me the horror of spending two hours at the laundromat.
7:30pm: Dinner is cooked and ready for Big Angry Husband upon his return. Rest of the night is spent watching favorite TV shows. Not bad.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving wrap-up

As you can tell by my lack of blog entries over the last several days, I've essentially taken myself out of the NaBloPoMo challenge. The problems with our motherboard, coupled with the fear of getting caught blogging from work and having to ask my husband to schlep his laptop home every night so that I could post here, really took the wind out of my sails. Something that seemed like alot of fun and challenging became a logistical nightmare which was anything but. However, all is not lost as I learned some valuable lessons for next year: (1) bank some ideas/material prior to the start of next year's NaBloPoMo so that I'm not faced with a bad case of writer's block on those days when I truly have nothing to report and (2) take a writing class some time between now and the next NaBloPoMo so that, should I choose to participate next year, I'm not forced to write, edit, and rewrite the same post a hundred times because I'm convinced that my entry looks and reads like a six-year old wrote it. Lessons learned, Internets. Lessons learned.

So yesterday was a pretty laid back holiday at the Pacheco homestead. We both woke up early, cleaned the entire house, and spent hours cooking a pretty decent meal. Our menu included a honey-glazed spiral ham, sausage and cornbread stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and Eric's garlic mashed potatos with parmesan cheese. We cooked enough food to feed an army despite the fact that we were only two (Eric's mom couldn't join us) and will be eating leftovers for the immediate future. Next up, we will attempt to brine and fry the turkey that Eric's boss gave us on Wednesday. If we somehow manage not to burn down our house, I'll let you know how it works out.

And that brings me to today, the day that my sister dreams about all year. Yes, Internets, I'm talking about (cue spotlights and drum roll) BLACK FRIDAY. My beautiful, funny, yet completely insane sister, Danielle, spends all year planning and strategizing for this day. She wakes up at 4am, arrives at the parking lot of her local mall or shopping center by 4:30am, and charges into stores at 5am - advertisements and coupons in-hand - with the hope of scoring that one-of-a-kind gift for cousin so-and-so at 98% off its regular price. While I'd love to come along one year and actually film her during this shopping frenzy, I'm afraid that I'd fall behind and get swallowed up by the horde of shoppers biting at her heals. It's amazing how the promise of deep discounts can turn a group of mild-mannered men and women into crazed lunatics wielding credit cards in one hand and weapons in the other. For this brief moment in time (5am-noon), friends and neighbors are no longer recognized and social norms are tossed out completely. It's kill or be killed in the appliance department at Kohl's and, if you are stupid enough to stand between my sister and that all-in-one toaster oven - the one with the rubberized handles and special frozen pizza settings - you'd better be able to take a knee to the groin because all is fair when in pursuit of the perfect holiday bargain and Danielle takes no prisoners. Godspeed, Dani. Godspeed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Go get 'em, Soldier

A colleague and I were discussing a New York Senator's proposal to reinstate the draft. Upon hearing that this Senator had also proposed extending the draft age to 42 and that, at 37, he would be eligible, a second colleague stood up and said, "If I was drafted, I would tell everyone that I only wanted to kill women and young children. And when given a gun, I would shoot every one of my commanding officers. Of course, I'd try to kill a General first, but I would definitely kill all of my commanding officers."

Well, everyone knows that you kill the Generals first. Like, duh.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My conscience hurts

After reading this, I feel really bad about making fun of Rachael Ray. While she's not my favorite Food Network personality (is it me or has her Long Island accent become thicker and even more annoying as her fame has grown?), no one deserves to have the embarrassing details of their spouse's sex life released to the internet. Ouch.

On a separate note, who knew that there was so much money in saliva? Had I known that, I could have saved myself a lot of time and money by skipping college.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


It is 3:01pm. Looking out of my office window, all I see is my reflection staring back at me. The view outside of my window, which faces north on Madison Avenue, has been replaced with blackness as the storm clouds roll in. For the last several days, barriers have been set up around the SONY store opposite my office building. While not a gamer, I knew that they must be related to the impending release of Playstation 3. Throughout the day, the gaming faithful have been lining up inside of the barriers. The store, which typically caters to the tourist crowd, will open its doors at midnight and allow the first several hundred people on line to drop a cool $600 on the new gaming unit. As the first few drops of rain hit my window, a colorful sea of umbrellas opens up on the street below. It's going to be a very long night.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Forty days and counting

1. Grand Theft Auto - Liberty City Stories (PSP)
2. Arrested Development on DVD (Seasons 1 through 3)
3. Speakers for a laptop computer
4. "Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama

Here are some of the gifts I'll be giving family and friends this holiday season. What are some of the gifts on your shopping list?

Monday, November 13, 2006

You're single? I'm shocked.

Overheard at the bus stop this morning:

Girl #1: What did you do this weekend?
Girl #2: I broke up with Manny on Sunday.
Girl #1: Why?!? What happened?!?
Girl #2: He was too clingy. He called me, like, ten times a day, but never had anything to say. He was so annoying. I stopped taking his calls and just let him talk to my voicemail. I mean, get the hint already. They both laugh.
Girl #1: Wow. Are you OK?
Girl #2: Yeah, I'm totally cool with it. Plus, Angela told me that her brother might like me. She looks at her watch which makes me check my own. It's 6:55am. I've called his cell like four times since I woke up. How come he hasn't called me back?
Girl #1: Maybe he's still sleeping.
Girl #2: Maybe. I'll try again before first period.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In a word? Disappointing

After spending yesterday moping around the house and taking care of mundane errands, I was determined to get out and do something today, weather be damned. With a copy of "Off the Beaten Path - New Jersey" in-hand, we set out for Lambert Castle. Located in Paterson, the castle was built by a silk baron named Catholina Lambert on the brow of Garrett Mountain in 1892. Lambert died in the castle in 1923, at nearly ninety years of age. The house and grounds were acquired by the Passaic County Park Commission in 1928, and the building was opened as a museum six years later. The place sounded interesting and I was excited to take the tour and, perhaps, some cool photos.

We arrived around 1pm and were surprised to see a parking lot full of cars. We eventually found an empty parking spot and made our way to the castle's entrance. It was there we discovered that the castle is playing host to a holiday fair through November 26th. Sounds charming, right? Wrong. Each room of the castle was full of All Things Homemade, including Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and assorted cakes and pastries. The place was packed with holiday shoppers who were being directed by older women decked in Christmas-themed sweatshirts and stuffed reindeer antlers. It was loud, crowded, and terribly cheesy, not at all what I expected from a 114-year old castle. The woman who sold us our tickets told us to keep them in a safe place as we could use them to visit the castle two more times between now and November 26th. I'll be sure to keep that in mind in case I run out of other fun things to do, like getting a root canal or a bikini wax.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This REALLY sucks

So we definitely need a new motherboard which, I'm told, is a pretty costly repair. Since I know squat about computers (just one of many areas of which I know squat), I'm trusting my husband to coordinate with those that actually know how to go about fixing this problem as painlessly as possible. Evidently, the best solution isn't just to purchase a new motherboard, but to buy a new computer shell and transfer all of the bells and whistles from our existing PC to the new PC. While I'm skeptical that this is truly the best and most cost-effective solution, I'm standing on the sidelines (which is alot harder than you think) and hoping that there will be a working computer on my desk within the next seven days. While Eric has been kind enough to make his laptop available to me (hah, hah, hah...sucker), I miss having a big, klunky, space-consuming desktop PC to myself. I guess I'm just old-fashioned that way. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some socks that need darning and fields that need plowing.

Friday, November 10, 2006

This sucks

I haven't been able to post for the last two days for reasons beyond my control. I attempted to post on Wednesday evening, but Blogger kept deleting the bottom half of my entry. After several tries, I finally gave up and figured that I'd wait until Thursday, hoping that the NABLOPOMO Gods would be merciful. Unfortunately, Thursday brought with it a more serious problem as my monitor decided to take a permanent nap. I tried the unplug, replug, reboot, reconfigure routine, but to no avail. After much research, a replaced video card, and lots of frustration, we identified the problem as being a bad motherboard. I'm not sure what that means, but it can't be good.

So I'm blogging from work which is a new low, even for me. I'm hoping to have my computer problems resolved by this weekend (fingers crossed). If not, I'll blog from work when possible, balancing my commitment to Mrs. Kennedy with my fear of being shitcanned six weeks before Christmas. Let the ulcers begin.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's not over till it's over

The toughest part of election night is the endless news coverage and every network predicting winners and losers. While I'm not following the election that closely, it seems as though the democrats have picked up several governorships as well as several congressional seats. This makes me feel alot better because I was the only person at my local polling station an hour before the polls closed. I figured that those who were planning to vote had already done so, but it made me wonder whether the constant stream of pundits declaring a landslide victory for the democrats had turned off would-be democratic voters since "a win was in the bag." As I voted, I imagined what it would be like if the Republicans somehow retained control of both Congress and the Senate. More importantly, how many more of our rights would they violate or just legislate away? For all of our sakes, let's hope that a Democratic win is, indeed, in the bag.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Please vote

While I could fill several pages with my thoughts on the current administration - the illegalities of the Patriot Act, the hypocracy of the religious right which has hijacked the Republican party, and the tragedy of sending the men and women in our armed services to Iraq to fight a war they'll never win - I'll put away my soapbox and just kindly ask everyone reading this message to go to the polls tomorrow and vote. If you are still unsure of which party to vote for, ask yourself a simple question - do you think this country is better off today than it was before the Republicans controlled both the White House and the House of Representatives? It's time for us to regain the world's respect and point this country in a new direction.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Do UTIs ever NOT suck?

An unexpected veterinary emergency put a stop to my quest for the perfect photo. I knew we were in for trouble last night as we watched Kat scoot her rear-end across the livingroom carpet. While I've had cats long enough to recognize the signs of a raging Urinary Tract Infection, I was secretly hoping that her only ailment was an itchy ass and we could avoid a costly vet visit. My hopes were dashed when Eric saw blood in Kat's urine this morning so we packed her up in the carrier and Eric took her to see the vet. My suspicions were confirmed (and it wasn't just an itchy ass) so she is currently locked in the bathroom eating a bowl of soft food laced with antibiotics. Yummy.

Since I didn't get to take any pictures today, I spent my time making a necklace with some new round-nose plyers I picked up last night. It wasn't exactly the day that I had planned for, but the necklace is kick-ass. Plus, my mood is better so the day wasn't completely wasted.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Turning my frown upside down

Sadly, my mood hasn't improved so while Eric spent his day working, I spent my day laying around the house and watching The Discovery Channel. I still haven't figured out why, but I think that Adam Savage, the red-headed host of Mythbusters, is a total hottie.

Eric is heading to a tattoo appointment tomorrow afternoon which leaves me flying solo. I've decided to head out in the morning, camera in-hand, and try to find an activity that will help me lift this funk I'm in. At the very least, I'm hoping to find something that inspires me - something beautiful, something unique, something odd - something that makes me want to capture it on film. If I take any good pictures, I'll post them here tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 03, 2006

"I'm not available to enjoy my life right now, so please leave me a message..."

Have you ever had a day when you hate the way you look, hate the way you feel, and hate the life you're living? Well, I'm having one of those days today and would give anything in the world to be able to crawl back into bed, pull the blankets over my head, and listen to Maury Povich tell another poor schmuck that he is, indeed, the father.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cell Phone Etiquette 101

My gripe with cell phone users began the minute cell phones became cheap enough for everybody to own one. Actually, this gripe has two parts. The first part involves people who treat every conversation as though the person on the other end of the phone is standing in the middle of a monsoon on the other side of the world. The caller feels compelled to scream into the phone so that the listener doesn't miss a word. Unfortunately, the people standing nearby are completely trapped and have no choice but to listen, too. For the record, I have no desire to listen to a cell phone conversation when (a) I'm not directly participating and (b) the call is taking place twenty-five feet from where I'm standing. The second part involves the content of those conversations. To give you a taste of what I'm talking about, here is an excerpt of a conversation I overheard while riding the bus home from work one evening:

Young woman (whining): "But why are you doing this to me? I love you so much, Brian, and after everything I've had to deal with from your family, you're breaking up with me without telling me why?" She begins to cry. "But I told you I was sorry. What do you want me to do about it now?" She pauses and presses her forehead against the window. "Baby, you're my world and I can't imagine my life without you in it." Another pause and then an angry outburst. "You're a selfish asshole, you know that? I never asked you for anything except your love and this is how you treat me? How can you live with....." Brian hangs up the phone, but our young woman decides to prolong her agony and calls him back. The conversation continues. "Why did you hang up on me? I'm telling you I love you and you hang up on me? Do you know how that makes me feel?" The conversation continues, but I can no longer pay attention because I've climbed through the window and thrown myself under the wheels of the bus.

I'll save my thoughts about the content of her conversation for another time (I actually left the bus wanting to call Brian myself and congratulate him on making a wise decision). For now, my issue is with the fact that THE WHOLE BUS was subjected to this woman's conversation, a discussion that should have been held in private. I love the convenience of cell phones, too, but there are some conversations that should be held when nobody else is listening.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Find my happy place, find my happy place...

Well, I found it.

This is a photo of Lake Mead, a man-made lake about 75 miles outside of Las Vegas, NV. I first visited Lake Mead when I was six years old and living with my Aunt Jeneen and Uncle Steve in their one-bedroom apartment. It was a very difficult time for me, having been sent to live with relatives I barely knew for reasons that, at the time, I didn't understand. My first month in Las Vegas was spent crying into my pillow at night and writing letters to my mother begging her to come and take me home. I'm sure it was hard on my aunt and uncle having a miserable, whiny tart to deal with everyday, but they never showed it. On the contrary, my aunt would dress me up in cool outfits, curl my hair with her hot rollers (who didn't want Farrah Faucett hair in 1976?), and take me on the greatest road trips. We traveled through deserts and over mountains and, for the first time in my life, I realized that there were a lot of cool places outside of my Brooklyn neighborhood. One of those places was Lake Mead.

I'm not sure why I was so enamored with the lake. Even now, the marina is nothing special, just rows of houseboats, outboard fishing boats, and rent-by-the-hour jet skis. The only two businesses at the lake are a souvenir shop and an outdoor bar/restaurant, both located on the pier. For me, the trip to the lake was never about the boats or cheap souvenirs. It was, and still is, all about feeding those damn fish.

There are thousands of carp living in Lake Mead. Visitors to the lake stand on the pier, toss popcorn into the water, and watch as the fish come to the surface to feed. By the looks of them, some of these fish have been living there for years. Most are about a foot long and easily weigh ten pounds or more. Some even bear scars from being hit by boats entering or exiting the marina. As a kid, this was the most fascinating thing I'd ever seen. I mean, I could put my hand in the water and pet fish as they ate popcorn. At times, there were so many fish fighting for popcorn that I could barely see the water. What could be cooler than that? I had finally found something about living in Las Vegas that made being there seem tolerable, enjoyable even. It was a real turning point for me and I embraced it. Even now, I visit the lake (with cheaper popcorn bought at Wal-Mart, thank you) and leave feeling refreshed and renewed. I even made the trip on my wedding day, baby's breath still stuck in my hair. When asked why, I couldn't really give an answer. It just seemed like the perfect way to celebrate a new husband, a new life, and a new beginning.