I'm learning already

I spent 9 hours on Sunday cooking enough freeze-ahead meals to feed us for over a month. Yep, I thought that was a bit ambitious too, except the thought occurred to me after I hit the halfway point and the kitchen looked like a war zone. If in class tonight Ms. "I expect perfection" (heretofore dubbed Ms. IEP) asks me why I have not memorized the assigned chapters (chapters inside of chapters! Holy reading, Batman) and the video, I will dazzle her with tales of full-burner use, the Great Foil Massacre and being up to my neck in 4 kinds of cheese.

(Question: What does it mean when you are up to your neck in cheese? Punch line: You don't have nearly enough cheese! Ha! Ha! Oh, my, I'm crying, really, I slay me.)

(Oh man, I love cheese.)

I did watch the video twice, which is probably 26 times short of what Ms. IEP wanted, but the video? That is over an hour of watching someone get a massage? With the droning voiceover and the rhythmic strokes? It was so hypnotic I just-zzzzz.

So yes, there was some slacking this weekend. I also wanted to mention our afternoon of running off to help someone with a lithium overdose (how, exactly, were Monk and I planning to save the day? That, my friends, remains a great unanswerable), but I suppose there's nothing comical or entertaining about mental illness. Except when there is! But I should probably keep some things confidential, or whatever.

I had the brilliant idea of recording myself reading the text book. This way, I can "read" during my eternal (infernal!) commuting. This is a good idea in theory, but you tend to miss a lot when you're busy calling everyone else on the road a jackass. The read-aloud technique is also good for discovering how many words you can mispronounce in one sitting (from the recording: "...radiating from the neener...fashi..ommm...neer..flummor... fuck!"). I did learn a little, though I doubt it will impress anyone in class tonight:

1) I have somehow retained my Chicago-tinted Midwestern accent. Who knew?

2) Massage therapists do not say "ass crack." The term is "gluteal cleft." Squirming yet?

3) From the book, regarding protecting the client's modesty (keeping the right parts covered at all times), in the scenario where the sheet accidentally slips: "...a look of horror on your face only makes an uncomfortable situation worse." So, I guess that means not exclaiming something like "Oh my GEE-OH-DEE!!! What the hell is in your GLUTEAL CLEFT?!!!!"


Rub you long time


It was going to come up sometime.

No pun intended.

(I don't recommend Googling "happy ending" images at work without any search filters in place. Yowza.)

(It's even better when your computer freezes up on the, ahem, fancier results, just as you hear the boss approaching.)

I started to psyche myself out on the way to the orientation class yesterday. I admit to looking at this as a chance to redeem myself, study-wise (sure, degree program, massage school, totally the same thing). I feel as though I have to prove I can actually apply myself and study and read etc. when I should, as opposed to whenever I can squeeze it in between drinking and over-dramatizing. In true over-dramatizing form, however: I passed the UT Dallas campus just as a wee nerve monkey took up residence in my stomach. "Gosh," I thought, "can you imagine if I had to drive to a real campus, and go to, like, a real class every night?!" (in my head, I am quite the Valley Girl) and then the other inner voice chimed in: "Hold the phone, remember all the reading and testing and State Board certification stuff? Methinks this is a Real Class situation, ace" and flip! went the monkey in my stomach. The voice went on: "Remember how this is supposed to be a career change for you, and you don't even know if you'll be any good?" flip! flip! Still the old bitch had more: "Remember all that dough you laid down, like some drunken marathon gambler desperately betting the last of the mortgage money on Keno, to have no life, no time at home, no alone time, no phone time, etc. until maybe September?!" flip! flip! flip!

So that was great. I clubbed the inner bitch over the head and managed to appear somewhat calm and collected when I arrived for the orientation.

The teacher spent the first twenty minutes getting to know us with a (let’s all roll our eyes together) meet-and-greet that involved (here’s where we pull an eye muscle) one of those "if you were a bug, which bug would you be and why?" exercises, which was probably used to analyze and judge us on the spot (hmmm, rethinking my answer now*). Once we were all feeling cozy and relaxed she came out with this "I expect perfection" bit that had us all doing the sit-up-straight, nod-like-you-cannot-agree-more thing. Oh, and the no underwear policy. That's right. How many of you can say you've had a class with a strict No Underwear policy (we're also getting a toga lesson- sweeeeet)? Well, I assume we're allowed to keep it on for the lecture nights, as the people running the school don't appear to be savages.

So, blah blah, orientation, read a bunch for next week, watch this video seventy thousand times over the weekend... I'll end this on the same note of perplexity with which we all left the orientation last night:

In the middle of the class this strange man with crinkly eyes and a spring in his step walked in, looking as though he had just come from a fraternity alumni dinner, and proceeded to speak at us for about twenty minutes. No one could grasp quite who he was or how he fit into the school, and why he thought it would be okay to interrupt, but I was able to catch the following, cloaked as it was in a thick Louisiana drawl:

- something something "buying the school"
Note: wait, WHAT?! I can barely handle all the syllabus changes!

- "...freaks vs. techies, and whether you believe in that stuff or not, whether you like it or not, I ask you to respect it, and I am, obviously, a freak."
Note: Obviously.

-"Freaks" are people who believe in and practice things like psychic body scans, and some are Knowers, and some are Seers. This dude is a Seer and can perform party tricks like "I told her she was having a boy, and the next day, she called me from the doctor's office, just, like 'WOW HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?'" He offered to meet with each of us individually and perform a body scan that would amaze us with how much he would find out about us.
Note: I'd have to decline just in case he could read my mind or something. I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings. Or give away my bank PIN.

-"Ellen from Arizona is coming out, and Randy from New York... Also Kevin will be visiting... You should all come out on Saturday, you'll just be blown away..." Note: Who are these people he's mentioning? Are they like the superstars of the psychic healing world? Isn't it pointless to name drop to a room full of people with giant question marks suspended above their heads?

- still with the name dropping: "Kevin will go around and just touch you on the shoulder, or the head or just, anywhere! And, you'll, WHOOSH! feel the energy, like a line of FAR! [fire] shoot clear down through you to your toes! Man, it's a trip."
Note: I'm sorry, Kevin will touch me where, exactly?

-about his accent: "You can tell I'm from Louisiana, and my girlfriend's from New York, so we meet in the middle and talk Texan now."
Note: If the "middle" = "Texan" I'll eat m' dang hat.

*I said I’d choose to be a locust, because they get to sleep a lot. Way to impress the teacher on the first day! In my defense, with the exception of a caterpillar, everyone else wanted to be a ladybug, so I should at least get points for originality.


Weekend Update

The weekend was less awkward than I had anticipated at times, and then more uncomfortable than I had imagined at others. On the one hand, who am I to judge? Alcoholism is a scary, embarrassing, depressing, heartbreaking issue. On the other, it's hard to keep your mouth shut when you feel like screaming that it's high time someone cut their losses.

Despite the weather's every intention of bringing the visit closer to misery with frigid temps, freezing rain (and snow!) and wind, we managed a little sightseeing. The aquarium was a big hit, the JFK Museum was informative and "oh what could have been" as usual, and the Conspiracy Museum raised a few eyebrows as it does, not only at the inconsistencies it brings to light, but also at the poster board/glue stick display methods and the typos running rampant throughout the room. (Truly, if you visit Dallas you don't want to miss the Sixth Floor / Conspiracy Museums combo pack- if only for the contrast of leaving a smoothly-assembled, professional quality venue and walking into something that appears to have been taken directly off the basement apartment walls of one of those nerdy dudes from the X-Files. But you can't get giggly about it because the owner is there, taking it all Very Seriously.)

We did run into a few obstacles over the weekend. For one: After talking up a local bar and grill, we arrived to find it closed, no wait, out of business. We then showed off further familiarity with the city by going next door for lunch, to a place that featured seafood on the majority of its menu (great for Monk and me, not so much for Biff and the boyfriend). Also, the sleeping. The random, staggered-shift sleeping of our houseguests that left us in a limbo of "are they coming back downstairs, or can we go run some errands, or should we just wait here and be quiet?" Every day this happened. I don’t do Trapped in My Own Home very well, I’ve discovered.

(However! During one of the many assplants into the couch this weekend, we stumbled across the Fox Reality TV Channel. AND! the
Paradise Hotel marathon, complete with present-day commentary by the former “guests.” If you have never been sucked into “reality” television, I applaud you, and yet also scold you for missing what will go down in history (at least my history) as the best. ever. reality show on television. Put a bunch of singles in a luxury hotel, with the premise that they have to hook up strategically or get booted, vote people into the hotel from the “outside world,” change the rules daily, add pressure and surprise visits from booted guests and ex-boyfriends... oh, and never reveal what the “Ultimate Prize” is so they have no idea what they are spending THREE MONTHS competing for, and you have great television, people. Add to that a familiar psycho and an open bar… It was crack to us, and every week Monk and I tuned in to see what else would blow up, and who would have to, as the host Amanda Byram would say in her strange, is-it-Irish-or-British accent, “check out of Paradise… forevah.” Heeee!)

Highlight of the visit (besides being reunited with our long lost P.H. soulmate) was our dinner at the tapas place that has become a favorite (now more than ever since we arrived and it was not unexpectedly closed or out of business). The Spanish guitarist played his heart out, the little plates of food arrived fast and hot, and I had forgotten about the bus boy who kinda sorta looks like
Orlando Bloom's little brother. It was quite pleasant at the end of the meal to dig into my flan, relax into the music and watch Orlandito scurry around the restaurant, instead of thinking about the boyfriend’s drinking or Biff breaking her vow of sobriety with a glass of sangria.

Yes, the pesky alcohol issue. No big drama, thankfully, but plenty of stilted conversation and awkward pauses as we all made a point to show how well we were handling the situation and no, that’s not an elephant in the corner, la di dah. To end the suspense, the boyfriend was given a beer run, as I decided it was ultimately not up to me to launch Intervention Weekend. There is so much more I could cover on this topic, but I’m throwing up my hands on this one. At least for now.

What a challenge it is to be back at work today, with the gray and the rainy and the scary pile of Stuff To Do, Today! on my desk. I’m keeping the hope alive and the expletives quiet by reminding myself that class starts this week (orientation only) and then I can begin dreaming the impossible dream of getting out of the office world. Forevah.


My To Do List keeps getting longer

Biff and her alcoholic boyfriend are coming to town today (I think it's okay to call him an alcoholic, as he refers to himself as such, and has defiantly rejected the idea of sobering up anytime soon. More of a story here, but really not mine to tell). Originally, Biff was coming to visit by herself. In a rare championship move of Visiting Rights manipulation, she surprised me one evening by letting me know that the boyfriend was accompanying her (this is the same man that has claimed he would never set foot in Texas). Plane tickets had been purchased. Was this okay.

Anyway. We have three massages booked for this evening (Monk, smart guy, will be joining us, but the boyfriend has some issue with touching, or something, so will wait for us ...somewhere... I have no idea how this is going to work). Before you start thinking we've become fancy: The massages will be given by students of what will soon be my massage school, and it's all under the guise of research (must know what the client will experience, to prepare for the internship part of the program). Whatever, hour-long massage for $30!

Unfortunately, before the bliss, comes the list. I have too much in my head that I'd like to accomplish before I head to the airport to pick up the lovebirds:

1) Clean house (won't bore anyone further by sub-listing all involved here)

2) Grocery run (we never have the same eating habits as our guests. For example, we often hear about folks actually eating more than once a day on the weekends. What is that all about?)

3) Dog walking (and brushing, if I can muster up the motivation, but lordy, that's a lot of dog to brush)

4) Brief rendezvous with treadmill (okay, this may be the first item cut from the list)

5) Laundry (oh, the laundry)

6) Turn patio into a lovely, welcoming smoking section (Lovely and Welcoming are doomed, I suspect, as the weather is gearing up for 40 degrees and showers all weekend. It was 80 and sunny yesterday. Screw you, Texas!)

7) Find appropriate facial expression to wear all weekend that clearly conveys "No, this isn't awkward at all. I'm totally okay with not getting any time alone with Biff. This party rocks."

8) Hide the vodka (What. Don't tell me this wouldn't cross your mind.)

9) Come up with cock-block equivalent to avoiding a liquor run (excuses in the running include: "whoops, we're late for the aquarium!" and "Ooh, sorry, no liquor sales on Sunday"). Suggestions are welcome.

Ready, set, go.


I'm too cheap for therapy (maybe I should sell my analogies).

I’ve been back in touch with someone who used to be a Very Good Friend. So good, in fact, that in a parallel universe I think she and I are probably running a book store/coffee shop, living it up in some quaint little city, sneaking smokes in the alley and buying each other beers at the late night Happy Hour down the street. Or whizzing around Italy and Spain on her ridiculously yellow scooter, inhaling bugs and laughing at our hangovers. The point is, this friendship, like four others born unceremoniously in the nineties, had the potential to be legendary. And then, it wasn’t. And then it resurfaced! And then it died again. And now, out of the blue, it seems to be steadily galloping alongside the train that is my life, looking for the right moment to grab on.*

But this is not the day to tell the story of the friendship that Used to Be, Then Wasn’t, Then etc. etc. I’m trying to work something out today. This reincarnation of a relationship that used to be part of the very core of me has made me (hesitantly, timidly, baby steps) happy, but now I’m in a bit of a bind. See, we were discussing (via e-mail, as international phone calls still cost a bundle and we are so not ready for a live discussion anyway) the blog thing. She confessed to considering starting a blog, but claimed she didn’t have anything of interest to say. Well. Of course I mentioned that that hadn’t stopped me from whacking off all over Internet Land.

Of course she then expressed an interest in my blog. I kind of blew her off. This is not the first time I’ve done this, when asked about my site.

Here is the problem: I love the idea of someone, anyone reading this site, I love the commenting, I love when someone sends me an e-mail so we can engage in further discussion of the inane shit I throw on here, but I’m not sure how I feel about giving everyone that knows me (well, particularly the out-of-towners) the link to Nothing Notable. I’m worried that it will take the place of keeping in touch the real and regular way, and soon there will be no need to call or write, because they’ll know everything that’s going on in my life anyway, so what’s the point? Why waste the time composing an e-mail or sitting on the phone, when, in five minutes (and at their convenience) they can hop in, get informed, and get out? No worries, this isn’t a throwback post to all the whining of last year (last year!). I’m over all that (or at least doing a bang up job of putting on my Brave Face and not acknowledging the downhill slide of… wait, I’m over it, that’s right).

So to give someone with whom I’m now barely friends the link, and then engage in any expectation that the friendship will once again grow and flourish after I’ve handed them the easy button (thank you, Staples) seems a little naïve. I’m sure part of what prompts her to write now is curiosity. We all would like to pull up a trash can and peek into the windows of someone we used to know. It’s possible that we’re at a new beginning, but I can’t settle into that idea just yet. It’s more probable that she and I are tossing little teasers back and forth, hoping that the other will stay interested enough to continue the correspondence. She’s better at this than I am, as I have the habit (as we all know by now) of disclosing too much and then being disappointed when the over-sharing isn’t reciprocated. I’ve already talked about work (surprise!) and the dogs and my marriage, and yet I don’t feel I have the right to ask her about her love life, since she hasn’t volunteered any information. That’s messed up, yo. (This is the point at which I officially acknowledge that I may be over-thinking this a bit.)

Okay, decision made. I almost whored it out in the hope of maybe possibly someday having it lead to a deeper connection. For now, I’m gonna keep my skirt on, stay out from under the bleachers and hold out for a real commitment.

*Not sure how to fix that analogy, but I like it too much to cut it.


Yes, we have no bananas

Normally I have a banana and a V-8 during my loooong drive to work. On the mornings I suspect I am missing the necessary coordination and alertness to peel and eat a piece of fruit while trying to keep my rear bumper out of the way of the vehicle behind me, I stuff the banana into my bag to eat at the office because, hey! one more thing to help me pass the time!

Today, being Monday, was such a day. Monday mornings can be a little rough on everyone, I'm sure, as lame as it may be to fall into that tired, Office Space cliche ("someone's got a case of the Mondays!"). Good news is that the boss is out of town. Bad news is there's a stonehenge of paperwork and To Do lists on my desk. But the banana is at the ready. When I need a few minutes, I can eat my banana. The banana = Time Out. I set it respectfully on my desk, where it shines a yellow beacon of anticipation in my face throughout the morning.

Then, it is time for the banana. I give it a nod, I refill my water glass, I shuffle some papers around. The telephone rings, I answer it, have to check the fax, have to confirm receipt, have to run back to my desk and look up a number, now I have to pee. And so on past lunch time. I type, I file, I dream about writing the dullest entry ever (ah, dream: Realized!)... Oh! My stomach's growling at me because I forgot about my friend the banana! Great, a reprieve! Here I come, banana!

Where are you, banana? I pick up all the papers from the desk, open and close all the drawers, open the kitchen cabinets, retrace my steps, check the bathroom, pick through some folders, look under my water glass (genius)... The banana, it has gone missing. What the- ? Commence re-sleuthing (including the folder picking, excluding the water glass move), no banana.

DAMMIT! Who stole my banana? Who is on staff at boss's house today? Would Errand Man have eaten my banana? He's been suspiciously refilling the fireplace logs for a while now. Where is Handyman? Curiously, he hasn't barged in to finger-maul my head at all today. Might Housekeeper be the culprit? In the ballroom with the candlestick? Who killed my banana? Of all the-

I look in my trash can. Crumpled at the bottom is a slowly browning banana peel. Seeing how Errand Man never sets foot in my office, Handyman is actually due in tomorrow, and Housekeeper avoids my trash can like it's the birthplace of the bird flu, I am forced to this conclusion: I must have mindlessly consumed the banana earlier in the day, then waded through my mental haze to dispose of the evidence. I spend about 5 minutes being greatly alarmed that somehow a banana found its way inside of me without my knowledge (there's a dirty joke in there somewhere. No really, I know it's kind of subtle...). And then I remembered I had other issues to mull over. Next item: How much time can I waste assembling my sandwich before I have to get back to all the worky work?

Happy Monday.


Then I was all "?!" and he was all "!!!"

Can I just take a moment and say, Screw you, Blogger!

And also? Wait, come back, I didn't mean it, I love you, you wonderful free-of-charge service!

Gah. The "please republish your blog in 10 minutes" message nearly caused a fit of epic proportions yesterday.


Specific line from my dream last night: "Bless the camel for understanding the phases of the moon." You don't want to know. Trust me. I will say that, probably due to the miles and miles of dream wandering through endless desert last night, I can barely keep my head up today.


This has been a week to which I will be happy to give the boot. Monk and I really pushed ourselves too hard last weekend to complete some of the house projects, which left us too tired and cranky to deal with the new work week and more stress stress stress. His practice days were switched, then cancelled, then rescheduled, then cut in half, which left him at my disposal for more of the week than I had (wanted) planned for. Consequently, this left me wanting to dispose of him. Especially Tuesday evening.

(oh my christ, it was so ridiculous that I don't even want to go public with the episode, but I can't seem to keep my fingers from typing out the story. This, people, is what Married Life is all about, which you may now read about and become very, very jealous:)

Tuesday evening Monk declared his dinner RUINED because we (gasp!) did not have as many vegetables to put next to the salmon as he had envisioned. He refused to make anything else to go with the meal, and decided, in fact, that he would not have ANY vegetables with his salmon fillet, because THAT would show his dinner! And growling stomach! And wife!

I tried to help out with offerings of bread, or rice or he could have my portion of vegetables (please sir, whatever you'd prefer, sir), but he would not be appeased. It was BARELY ENOUGH FOR ONE PERSON (he yelled, under his breath) and clearly we were in crisis mode.

(yelling under one's breath is that fancy move your mother may have executed during your childhood, (or it's a move you've witnessed by the boss at work, or your sister last Christmas, etc.) where you leave the room, thinking the argument's over, and then you catch the muttering of what is most likely a scathing comment flying out, just before you are out of earshot, but clearly meant to be heard, so you try to confront the woman, and she acts like she was talking to herself. What? Am I the only one who knows about this move?)

Instead of yelling "Shut UP! This was not supposed to be Angry Night! ANGRY NIGHT WAS SUNDAY NIGHT!" I tried to restore calm by asking if it was necessary to react this way, to something that could be so easily resolved.

(Um. I may have raised my voice a little. But in my defense, part of it came from the shock at finding out I was living with the one man on the planet for which the size of a helping of broccoli makes or breaks the entire dining experience.)

So. I may have started to ask what the big deal is, but maybe also wanted to call him... something, so I may have let the first part of a (very reasonable!) question fly out before snapping my trap shut to lock in the (accurate, at the moment) name that was attached to it:

"Okay, but why do you have to be such a whiney little b-.......mmmf??????"

He informed me that I could call him a whiney little bitch, because WHATEVER (or something like that. At this point I was dizzy from awe at the mountain of whatthefuck that had formed in our kitchen).

Later, when I thought things had calmed down, I clarifed that I hadn't been about to call him a bitch. I was going to call him a baby.

That didn't help.


Second verse, same as the first

I read something recently regarding the soothing nature of repetition. This fortunately furthers my argument that just because I watch the Friends series over and over (and over and over), have to have it on if I’m going to be doing anything at all in the kitchen, and will probably never grow tired of hearing the dialogue in the background, even though I can say with great confidence that I now have 90% of the lines (from the entire series, people) memorized, I may not actually have a problem. I may simply be seeking solace from this oh-so-chaotic world.

Repetition-as-pacification sheds new (and slightly tolerable) light on those inane nursery rhymes, lullabies, and talking toys, too. The concept was definitely helpful in keeping the hysteria at bay the other night, when the niece played her smooching gorilla toy again and again.
Unfortunately, Comforting was body-slammed out of the way by Creepy later that evening: I picked up one of Niece’s two stuffed lambs, squeezed its belly and was surprised -and a little frightened, I'll admit it- to hear a recording of a child’s voice (complete with the slightest amount of static in the background) chanting evenly “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep. Angels watch me through the night. Until I wake in morning’s light.” The other part of the pair recited the same verse, but with a slightly different rhythm.

It was kind of fun to watch Monk’s face as I squeezed both lamb bellies simultaneously and unleashed a bit of The Ring into the room.


Rock the house

Can’t. talk. ‘zausted.

(New spelling rule: If removing the first letter of a word in order to convey how much effort it would be to actually pronounce the whole word, puts “xh” at the front, then replacing that letter combination with its phonetic equivalent is best. Mmmkay?)

Guess how many times Lowe’s was graced with a face from Quinnland this weekend?
Wrong. FIVE.

Number of rooms we planned to overhaul this weekend:

Number of rooms actually overhauled:
Two (TV room and bedroom, which look fabulous, just so you know). Because we were on a roll. Also, are crazed painter/decorators with delusions of Extreme Home Makeover grandeur.

Amount of credit card abuse perpetrated yesterday alone:
Oh, the humanity.

What the clock read when we finally lurched upstairs to bed:
1:13 a.m.

What the clock read the last time I looked at it despairingly:
2:16 a.m.

Number of times I woke up in the night: Four (Mind racing. Body aching. Sinuses plotting mutiny).

Number of times murdering the spouse and burying the body out back was considered, according to Monk: One.

According to Quinn: Twelve.


I couldn't afford a raffle ticket

In the 18 months we've lived in Dallas, I've been wondering where all the big hair, balloon boobs and Tammy Faye faces have been. When we found out Monk's job was taking us to Dallas, it seemed everyone had a warning or a stereotype to pass our way. Seeing as how we blithely ignored the negatives of Albuquerque, rejecting the plethora of unsolicited (but very accurate, as it turned out) input in favor of dreams of clean air and mountain living, we decided to take the Dallas comments more seriously. However, while old money and oil money, bible-thumping (including scripture printed on vehicle windows), stereotypical gender roles and easy, friendly smiles have been prevalent, I've been hard-pressed to find this much-reported abundance of Texas-sized coifs, bosoms and cosmetic spackling. Where on earth have these supposedly well-renowned aspects of Texas living been hiding? Apparently at the American Heart Association's women's luncheon.

Boss had some spare change last week, so she decided to throw $300 at this charity event and buy us each lunch in the process. That's $150 per plate, people. I felt like Eliza freakin' Doolittle yesterday, in my Old Navy pants and Target sweater, surrounded by oh, let's just say a lot of very wealthy women. I should have known I'd be in over my head when the one outfit I deemed suitable for the event came out of the closet with dirt all over it (hence the Old Navy and Target show stopper). I jumped in Boss's BMW in my mismatched outfit and we raced over to Tiffany to take care of an errand before the luncheon. Did you know that if you regularly pour obcene amounts of cash into Tiffany's jewelry cases, they will do things like give you extra diamonds for free? I know, they've never told ME that either, and I shop there all the- wait, wrong life, sorry.

Have I mentioned that when I'm feeling uncomfortable around people I don't know very well, I tend to give out too much information? Even when I know they couldn't possibly relate, or be interested in what's clanking around in the background of my life? (Hey it could be worse- you could be someone I've met a couple of times and get attacked by a weird intimate hug at the end of a social evening.) Boss was talking about a friend whose drinking problem has become obvious and embarrassing. Instead of nodding along like I usually do, I guess I decided it would be neat to tell her about Biff coming to visit this month with her alcoholic boyfriend, and how we will be expected to go on a liquor run for him, and how the whole weekend will be awkward and stressful, blah blah, wringing of the hands. Now, A) she couldn't give a rat's furry behind about my personal life, no matter how many parallels I draw to her own stories, and B) that's the weekend she'll be having some kind of "female surgery," so yes, I'm sure my weekend will be equally taxing. Sad thing is, while the words were flying through the air, so was my mental Goodyear Blimp with its blinking "Stop talking Stop talking" message (but who pays attention to blimps these days?).

The luncheon was informative. I did not bid on any of the million-dollar items in the silent auction, nor did I contact Tiffany directly to inquire about the glorious diamond necklaces draped over the models circulating in evening wear. I did, however, learn that heart attacks are a bigger killer of women (above breast cancer) than ever, and that the points we use to identify a heart attack are actually specific to an attack in men. Women suffer different symptoms (a month of fatigue, irritability, chest pressure or dizziness, to name a few general, and alarming, signs) and often do not recognize them as a heart attack, which is just plain scary. We should all be informed about heart disease and cardiovascular health, that is for sure.

I also learned that 1) even an anorexic-looking runway model will still call herself "pudgy," 2) as a woman in Dallas, you can never wear too much jewelry, 3) a lot of women on the road yesterday afternoon were sporting quite the buzz, and 4) contrary to appearances, the woman sitting next to me was not, in fact, wearing a ferret around her neck (no, I was not the one that asked- I'd regained control of my brain-to-mouth censor by that point).