Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Coat Hanger as Windshield Ice Scraper

The first frost is upon us, killing our impatiens and sending our manicured lawns to the colorist, putting platinum frosted highlights and tips on the green locks of grass.

All week long I rush out the door, thinking that with a turn of the key in the ignition I will be driving to work, simple, just as I've done for the last six months or so.

But instead I am stopped in my tracks. My car is frozen over, a thin layer of ice covering the windshield.

Fuck. Ice. Need ice scraper, my brain says. There is none in the house. It's buried in my car somewhere. In the car I should have cleaned out a while ago. I crank the defrost up to 11 and open up the floodgates of heat. I call for aid in the form of windshield wipers now flipped to their fastest setting, in hopes the friction will slowly dislodge tiny bits of ice incrementally with every swoosh-swoosh back and forth.

And while this is going on I am climbing throughout my car. Moving things around frantically. Pushing bags and boxes around. Dislodging half-empty (or is it half full?) bottles of water long forgotten under passenger seats, a place of hiding they rolled to, one slam-on-the-brakes back during who-knows-when in the past.

If there is an ice scraper in my car, I ain't finding it. A harried look at the windshield reveals nearly the same unforgiving sheet of ice that was there before my frantic search for the ice scraper in a haystack.

Now I am in MacGyver mode. What in my car could feasibly suffice as an ice scraper in a jam like this?

Answer: Plastic shirt hanger from Old Navy.

I'm trying all sorts of angles and eventually have the right tilt going to both reach and scrape all the icy bits off my windshield with my Old Navy hanger, and I'm off to work.

The whole (long) drive that is my commute, I create a to-do list so this doesn't happen tomorrow. I can:

-clean out my car and unearth the one or more ice scrapers buried within. I think of what's in my car, what to do with it, how it should be kept clean anyway (duh) and how long this cleaning process will take.
-go to the store and buy an ice scraper and keep it in an accessible spot. Can keep it right in the passenger door slot/cupholder/catch-all thingy. Can go buy it on my lunch break, et cetera.

Quite simple really. Pleased I have come up with suitable solutions to this problem, I arrive at work and go about my day. Approximately 20 hours later, the alarm clock goes off and I rush around and head out the door and see:

Of course. My iced-over car.

Good job, asshole. What did you think? It was going to get warmer around here and you'd never have ice on your car again?

You are really dumb, for real.

For the second day in a row I was scraping ice off my car with a plastic clothes hanger from Old Navy. For Chrissakes. Cursing my stupidity, procrastination, forgetfullness, life, whatever. It was part "d'oh!" and part "c'est la vie" my attitude as I drove off again (this time I also forgot my gloves and my hands were cold.)

I started to think, maybe I don't need an ice scraper. Maybe me and my Old Navy clothes hanger could get through the winter. And then I had the audacity to think, thank goodness my car is filled with random crap, because then I might not have even had a clothes hanger to scrape the ice off.

And yet, after I drove off disgusted that I had not managed to fix my ice scraper situation, I realized I had also managed to leave my cell phone upstairs. I had to turn around and thought of how I didn't want to live life feeling rushed and ill-equipped. It was a moment where I longed for a place for everything, everything in its place, oh how simple life would be then, a life free of iced-over windshields and extraneous trips home for things you've forgotten.

My mind thought of all the things out of place around my home, and how when I got back there to retrieve my cell phone I could pick up the thing on the landing or on the dresser and stick it upstairs in my bedroom where it belonged. Hey it would be a start: grab two out of place things on your way to find the cell phone and be two things closer to a more organized life.

However by the time I got to the front door, I realized it was locked, I went back to get my housekeys from my car's ignition, and in my frustration stomped upstairs in a tizzy, found my cellphone and all without putting anything in my path in its rightful place upstairs. I drove off a second time and then proceeded to curse myself after realizing I had forgotten my two items to pick up. And now I was wondering if I needed to start drinking coffee as soon as possible after waking up instead of just in the car ride to work.

Maybe that is the key to everything, caffeine stimulation.

So here I am, it is 7:50 p.m., and I am about to head out the door again for my evening affairs, and I have yet to either:
-clean out my car and find last year's ice scrapers.
-buy an ice scraper.

So invariably I will be met with this same problem tomorrow. Unless I manage to wake up early, saunter out to my car and turn it on to let it defrost while I go about my other morning readiness rituals.

But if not, and I forget, I guess there is still the clothes hanger. Or, it could happen: an early-November heat wave.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Waiting for Ten Dollars

Last night I came home and was feeling just awful. The kind of awful where you climb into bed with your clothes on and manage to fall asleep even though every single light on is in the house. You manage to fall asleep in your pony tail, in your contact lenses, in your work clothes. If you were wearing shoes more elaborate than slip on flats, you'd probably be going to bed with your shoes on as well.

I drove home with the sort of lead-footed purpose the bank robber has rushing away from the scene of the crime. The sort of speed that anyone who calls you while driving will know from the angry tone in your voice that you are driving fast and like a madwoman. The anxiety of wanting to Just Get Home and the liminal nature of driving to get there, that the day is finally over, and what a day it was. Only until the key is in the door and the doorknob turned can we assume that you are no longer at work and you can again breathe a sigh of relief. The ride home is a long time to hold your breath.

But I had another reason to rush. It wasn't just that feeling of Wanting To Be Home After A Day Like Today. I had to hurry and get home because someone was coming over to buy three bags of clothing I was selling on Craigslist. For $10, three bags of clothes. Cheaper than a bag sale at your local charity thrift shop. And yet, the respondents to my Craigslists ads rarely come. They stand me up, all the time, to appointments that sit amid my chaotic schedule of rushing home, inhaling dinner, and going back out the door to nightly practices.

For Ten Dollars, this dance I do with Craigslist transactors makes an already stressful life even more so. And tonight, after A Day Like Today, I wasn't hopeful. This lady wasn't coming. I didn't care. They hardly ever come like they say, and I am on to the next respondent to my Craigslist ad, in hopes they will arrive and cart away my unloved clothing and leave behind the ten dollar bill I love so much.

Our date is for 6:30, which comes and goes. Now I slump into bed for my date with misery and exhaustion, a menage a trois. But at 8:30 p.m. the door bell rings and now I am rushing rushing down the stairs. A size 10 lady to sort through my size 12 clothes.

Just had a baby, she says. Nothing in her closet fits her, she says. So thankful I have these clothes, she says, now she can have something to wear. Take your time, I say. Feel free to dump out the bags entirely, check everything out, I'm sincere. Lots of variety of seasons and work and casual, I say. I'm very casual these days, she says.

Many thanks all around as things look good to her. "Here. Two dollars extra. It's a lot of stuff," she says. I, surprised, thank her. Offer to help her carry the bags -- bags made of the cheapest white plastic that always seems to tear at the slightest pull or heft of weight at the most unfortunate moment -- back to her car, but no, she is already at her car with them, pulling away into the night. She, rushed herself and holding her breath perhaps.

After a successful transaction I usually turn celebratory and make that crisp "yes it's money" noise you get when you straighten out a paper bill, mock inspecting it and proudly holding it above your head, a head which seems taller now that your back is straighter with pride that you have money in hand.

But this time I tossed it nonchalantly on my dresser, as a regular john would to his paid lady's furniture after another sort of transaction is over.

This time I realized what is ten dollars anyway. And at the same time, what is it not. It was everything and nothing. The thing I am waiting for and the thing there is never enough of and the thing that is gone even after it gets here. It was so unimportant and so very important.

The ten dollars that never comes, but when it does, sometimes it is twelve. More or nothing at all: c'est la capitalism, n'est-ce pas?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tall enough to ride

Today was a thrill ride you were forced onto, just because you were tall enough.

The kind of ride that you cry for it to be over, for you fear you are going to fall out of its harness like the change that fell out of your pockets as you flew upside down in its loops and valleys.

The kind of ride that people vomit on; the kind you're certain gave you whiplash.

You're on that ride and you don't want to be. You wanted to go home some time ago.

Instead there are tears in your eyes and vomit in your mouth and nothing in your now-emptied pockets and the wind in your throat as you are jerked around up and down on a ride that you'd never envision could be so sinister as to stick you in a seat alone when all you have to hold onto is the rickety wood of the handle before you, instead of the tight hug of a comforting body to tell you "it shall be over soon."

For no matter how fast this thrill ride goes, it is an eternity. One you didn't want to ride. One they made you go on, just because you were tall enough.

This tall, to feel a roller coaster of emotion in your stomach, heart, throat and mind; that your memory continues to ride over and over long after you've limped out of its seats and down the egress silently sadly, while the next riders take off and levy Doppler effect screams.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ala biblioteca

Last week I started volunteering at the library, in preparation for my studies for a library science master's degree.

I have always enjoyed going to the library but I am really having a blast volunteering for them.

The Toms River headquarters of the Ocean County Library has an extensive collection of everything, and I've been assigned to volunteer with the Sheet Music librarian.

Perfect.

I love music, really, across genres and time. Who else do you know who likes both Stephen Foster and Faith No More?

This volunteerism is perfect for me. I thank my lucky stars that they stuck me here. I could be helping in the tax code reference library, for example.

Today I helped sort a large pile of donated sheet music. Much of it was original sheet music from the 1930s-1960s. There was one Cole Porter song, loads of 1940s Irish music, a half dozen songs with 'moonlight' in the title and a 1895 copy of Ave Maria. I had to compare whether this was a different version than the version on file already. In many cases the donated copy was a song title not even in the library collection. Hey this is extremely exciting stuff for me.

What is also reassuring is that I am enjoying and succeeding at these tasks, which in turn encourages me in my dreams of becoming a librarian.

I am off Tuesday and am going to poke in that day and see what random task my supervisor has for me. She is just so thrilled I am there because most of her colleagues do not know how to read music and I've been a real detective in helping the collection already.

At my first volunteer session I had to figure out what this mystery song was and put it in page order. It was a 20-page song from the Broadway version of Legally Blonde, a play I have never seen or heard a note of, but because I know who Elle Woods is and can read music, now the library patrons have a proper version to use.
In that same evening I had to process a bunch of ukulele and banjo music. It apparently was very popular as so much of the sheet music dated from the 1930s-1950s was arranged for those two instruments. Who knew.

Anywho what might be the most direct consequence of my volunteerism at the library is I might finally set aside the time to finally learn how to play the uke and banjo. My grandfather knew how to play and I always wanted to learn. After he died I discovered all his old sheet music, including one for "I only have eyes for you" which is my parent's wedding song. The framed copy I gave my parents now hangs in the Galioto hallway.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I said, doctor, Mister MD

Off to the doctors. Knee. Still hurts.

Doc says, really, still hurts? Time for an MRI. Oh, and get this, and this, and this checked out.

So now I have three separate visits for this, that and the other thing. I have a bum knee, a marble-sized cyst in my leg, and moles of suspicion. That's more than three places on my body that might need carving up.

I am of course sad; I just want to be healthy and spend time doing the things I enjoy. This time of year, I enjoy bike rides. And this time last year, I successfully trained for my first 5k and a roller derby championship game.

This year, I won't be besting my time on that AC 5K, which breaks my heart. And I will likely be benched for the championship roller derby bout in November, which breaks my heart something fierce.

Hmmm, broken heart. That too, huh? Boy this list of physical ailments is getting long. I am starting to resemble the poor figure on the board game Operation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In case there was any doubt.

Me: Look at this, Snuggie commercial, now with a play on the Macarena tune. It’s like a fad on top of a fad.
Dad: (sings) Hey It’s a Snuggie!
Mom: (enters) It’s cold out there! I just want to stay inside and stay warm and cozy.
Me: You need a Snuggie!
Dad: Yeah, right. Your mother would never do that.
Me: You could be all warm and wrapped up. I bet they even have NFL licensed ones these days so you could have a ‘49ers one and everything!
Dad: We’d have to have a Giants one too.
Mom: Those things are so stupid!
Me: It’s like the perfect thing for you! You are always looking for a blanket.
Mom: I don’t want one!
Me: Well, it would be something Aunt Mary would definitely buy you.
Dad: Ha!
Me: I mean, something she would buy for anybody. It is the type of thing she would buy a lot of and hand them out to everyone and maybe we’d all unwrap them at the same time or something.
Mom: I hate those things! How are you supposed to MOVE in them? Or go to the bathroom!
Me: Mom it’s just a blanket with sleeves. It’s not a straightjacket or a sleeping bag. People go on themed pub crawls with them.
Mom: I don’t want to do that either!
Me: Ok I am just saying you can definitely poop in your Snuggie.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Whatever it is, we are obviously drinking it

Scene: Any Olive Garden. Dinner table on a Monday night. Never-ending pasta bowl promotion.
Characters: Innocent boyfriend, girlfriend with waning patience.

Me: How about we get some wine?
You: Sure, I like the plum wine we got at the hibachi restaurant!
Me: They don't have that here.
You: Oh, well, um, let me see.
(reads menu)
You: How about this CHar-dooh-nee?
Me: What?
You: (reading menu) CHar-dooh-nee?
Me: (pausing, quizzical look) ... Hahahaha!
(now laughing at you, but with a loving look)
Me: Chardonnay?
You: I love you.
Me: Let's get what we got last time. You liked it and it's easier to pronounce. Moscato.
You: I'll take a glass of mosquito.
(Waitress arrives)
Her: Hi, my name is ______, welcome to Olive Garden, would you like to try one of our house wines?
Me: Why don't we try something different?
Her: You can get a sample, 25 cents, to see if you like it.
You: What's a blush wine?
Her: It's um, not red, and not white.
Me: It's in the middle, a little bit of both.
You: And the white Zeen-fandull?
Me: Different than the CHar-dooh-nee.
Her: It's..a...white wine.
You: Kee....kee-AN-tee?
Her: Hey, I've heard much worse.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's his name?

Ah, it goes like this:

Coworker 1: "Did you see 'Dancing' like night?"
Coworker 2: "Yeah! Bristol! Haha Holy Shit!"
Coworker 3: "She had bricks in her shoes!"
Coworker 2: "How about that other guy? What's his name?"
Coworker 1: "Oh yeah! The Scenario!"
Coworkers 2, 3 & 4: "The Scenario?"
Me: "Hahaha You mean The Situation?"
Everyone laughs.
And continues to talk about Dancing With the Stars for the next 30 minutes, so on go my headphones.
I don't really watch TV at all, let alone that show. But at least I got this priceless moment from it.
While I'm looking forward to the end of the current installment of this series, on the other hand I am not, only because my Nana loves this show so much. She will call when it is on and give a recap of what just happened and her opinions of it.
I'm sure my Nana is not a fan of What's His Name.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The old Lie

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

--Wilfred Owens

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What song do you want played at your funeral?

You can play a whole lot of them. I envision a jazz funeral where my casket is followed by a Dixieland brass band playing dirges and then some second lining. Music has always been a huge part of my life, from my young childhood growing up with my mother's Motown records, to my WHTG 106.3 radio-filled youth, to the obscurity I enjoy today. That's not including all the songs attached to memories I made with my friends and loved ones throughout my life; the songs I hear and think back to a wonderful moment where in some way we shared that song. However and with hope, I won't need to figure out exactly what songs I want played at my funeral any time soon -- a far-off decision, perhaps.

Ask me anything

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My working barometer

Today at some garage sales I found some real scores.

Problem is, I am embarking on a 100 Things Challenge, which requires me to drastically reduce the amount of possessions I have (down to 100 things, of course).

This 100 Things Challenge is going awful, considering I brought home two giant boxes of books, a Nintendo Entertainment System, a 1970s travel chess set and a 1960s working barometer from garage sales today.

While it was only $23 for everything, which is ah-maz-zing, it's still a lot of stuff.

I am so retarded. And yet, awesome. Le sigh.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nips of Harlem

Nips are those small, small, small bottles of alcohol.

At a birthday party this weekend a guest asked his fellow partygoers to reach into his cooler bag blindly, and try whatever alcohol they managed to pick.

Me, I picked something called Harlem.

Never heard of it. And I can spout off a history and hierarchy of alcohol.

I still have no idea what that stuff was, but it was not good at all. The label mentions it is 40 proof and made with a secret mix of ingredients. That does not sound good at all, does it?

Harlem bottles also contain the warning: made with caramel color. Seems like unintentional racist humor.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Duh!

Yes, I shall accept your invite to the gay pirate party. = World's Most Obvious Statement.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Musical Diversity and Desperation


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


I created this playlist in late 2007 but I added to it through mid 2008, when I reached the maximum songs playlist.com allows in one playlist.

I inadvertently added songs to the end of the playlist when the mood struck, making the order of this playlist chronological. As I look over its songs, now more than two years later, I can tell what each song means and why I added it.

This is literally the soundtrack of my life at the time, as I'd wallow through different sadness, join roller derby, try to overcome adversity, attempt to escape into some happiness, and watch Shin Chan.

I added songs to this playlist after careful consideration, and yet also quite spontaneously. It is probably the most organic thing I've done, and looking back at it can still see the deep intimate reasons why I added each song.

At the time this playlist was posted on my myspace home page, and then myspace wised up and disallowed the html code of playlis.comt in lieu of its own myspace music player. And suddenly my quiet communication via song had no soapbox to stand and proclaim its message.

So I thought to post it here, on my newer blog. You probably have no idea what these songs are doing here. However, you hopefully will enjoy them.

For me it is bittersweet, and almost heartbreaking, to see this list of songs. But it is just so very honest, so true, so true, so true.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Everybody wants a box of chocolates and a long stem rose

Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The best roller derby joke I've heard in awhile

Skater 1, to group: Don't forget we have beer for after the bout. Yeaaaaaah!

Skater 2: Yeah but there's not too much time to get some, they rush us out of there.

Skater 1: Haha, yeah, it takes so much time to sign autographs and take pictures for all your fans! How are you ever going to get a beer?

Skater 2: Ha! Yeah... just leave a six-pack for me in the penalty box where I'll have plenty of time to drink it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dear Campers of scenic Bass River State Park last weekend,

Dear fellow campers,

I encountered you this weekend and didn’t say a word to you. Maybe you will read this and know the contents of my mind. But that is highly unlikely. Probably because you are in the forest somewhere.

Dear spooky guy,
You were all alone. You sat in your stadium chair and looked out onto the road that adjoined all our campsites. How lonely it must be to pick people-watching as a viable activity while in the woods, surrounded by so few people. How lonely indeed. I thought of you and your solitude. I wondered, was it peaceful? Was it self-imposed: were you a loner, a rebel, retreating from society, living the simple life, just you and your beard? Or did you have to live that way, because you were estranged from your wife and hiding from the alimony payments? Or maybe you are trying to shirk the rigid civilian prison that is Megan’s Law, hoping to stay under the radar as a registered sex offender? Who knows. But you have a picnic table full of Gatorade bottles and a tarp over your tent, and it all seems so hardcore. You play no music, your face bears no smile, no warmth of friendliness. You appear to be a cranky old man camping in the woods. And yet, as I walked to my car from the evening’s bluegrass concert, there you were in the back of the crowd, listening intently but stoically, save for what I believe was the reserved tapping of one sandaled foot in time to a Merle Haggard tune the band was playing. Where will you be next on your singular journey? Is that sadness in your eyes, or is it a bit of crazy? I cannot tell, it was so dark at the time.

Dear Hispanic teenagers in the bathroom,
So desperate was I to pee. So determined you both were, to straighten your hair. As I unloaded my bladder, you both stayed the course to applying makeup and hair products as though a night at an exclusive discotheque with finely dressed men was certainly on the itinerary. You seemed completely oblivious to the fact that you are in the middle of the woods, the one place where it is socially acceptable to smell like armpits and to have flyaways or frizziness. There were two of you, and your towels, make-up bag, hair dryer, hair irons and iphone charger took up all four sinks. I just wanted to wash my hands after peeing. You looked at me as though I was being unreasonable. Getting dolled up was going to take some time, and I was adding to it, apparently. I stared at you long and hard, as though you were symbols of vanity and stupidity beyond any I had ever encountered, and wondered, what to say to creatures such as yourselves. I could think of nothing that the steady whirr of your hair dryer hadn’t said already, and left knowing that no matter what body spray you were wearing, it’s all made a moot point by the scent of OFF!, anyway. Content that I had walked into a modern and ironic Jack London tale, I left you to spend your evening in front of the unflattering mirrors of a common-use bathroom’s fluorescent lights before vanishing your overdone selves into the darkness that is midnight in a state forest.

Dear Boy Scouts,
Why do we separate ourselves by gender, and then give these genders the exact same experience of camping in the woods? I don’t understand. I am sure there is some academic research suggesting such an arrangement, but it never made much sense to me. If I’m going to learn how to cook a hotdog over open flame it never mattered much that I had to be surrounded by girls for the reason that I myself was one (a girl). It seemed to me that the boys could have joined us. So I look with sadness upon your group of boys only, fatherly figures standing close by. Where my bitches at? Can’t we all go screaming through the woods, together?

Dear young children dancing at the bluegrass concert,
I remember being young, getting up and dancing. Running around like a maniac. Turning a pole into home base, so you could be safe as you raced toward it. You were the happiest children on the planet, and your mom yelled at you to stop disrupting the concert. But I am not so sure if you were. If you would have let me, I think I would have danced with you. It made me wish Robbie knew how to dance a two-step. Instead, because I am good at remembering choruses, I joyfully sang choruses to these newly learned songs. And though the lyrics have since faded from my memory, your dancing silhouettes and the shadows they cast upon the stage will not.

Dear young teen helping to administer the canoe and kayak rental,
You have the best job in the world. Please, I beg of you, do not go to college, find a steady job, retire late in life. Instead, forever be the person who helps folks paddling on a lake to get out of and into their rented boats. I am telling you: you have the right idea.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Time Enough At Last

I get so much out of the intimate moment spent alone in a sunny spot with a book in my hands.

If only I had the time...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wake up and smell something

You: "I'm changing. I woke up. I woke up and smelled -- I don't like the taste of coffee --- I woke up and smelled the hot chocolate."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More friends every Wednesday

Wednesdays are new girl night, and I help out at practice. The new skaters say I am very encouraging, inspiring, that I am helpful and put them at ease and give them confidence.

Really, I have no idea what they are talking about. But whoever they are describing, that person sounds pretty nice.

I enjoy working hard with these ladies, and everytime we start a new round of recruits coming to practice, it's like a chance to make new friends and help them on their derby journey. I am not some benchmark on how to be the best derby player, as I am very, very far from being mediocre, in my own humble opinion, but I do have a stockpile of determination and sticktoitiveness to share. Often the mental acrobatics we put ourselves through hamper us from achieving amazing physical acrobatics, so perhaps that is how I serve them best, by negating the mental obstacles that slow us in our goals.

Or, at the least, I am there to be a friendly face.

So, here's to more friends every Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Google Calendar

I will probably regret saying this, but at least right this moment, I am in love with Google Calendar. I started to input a variety of events in there across my many activities (roller derby, work, chores, bill payments, social activities) and then discovered some amazing shit.
For one, you can change the settings on the calendar to send you reminder when a calendar event is coming up. You can have these reminders pop up on your google homepage, sent to your email inbox, or sent as an SMS message.
These means, when I program in gym time, my phone gets a reminder an hour before -- my Git Yo Ass To Tha GYM reminder.
I don't know about you, but this is a personal revolution for me.
What's more, I discovered there is a type of file called an .ical, and you can upload an .ical file to your Google Calendar. So I went to my local library's web site, found all the events I wanted to go to, and shared the .ical file with my Google Calendar.

As you can imagine, I went a little crazy searching online for .ical files (http://icalshare.com/) and added all sorts of layers to my calendar.

My Google Calendar tells me what week and day of the year we are in, the phases of the moon calendar, what happened this day in history, and when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has a new report scheduled for issue (such as when the latest unemployment figures are released.)

So, to recap, my Google Calendar tells me the last full moon was two days ago, yesterday was the anniversary of New York's ratification as a state, sunrise was 5:53 a.m. today, the Blue Claws have a home game on Friday, and my next roller derby bout is a month away.

Yes, I am a bit over-excited about my Google Calendar. But what do you expect from someone who gets excited to read stuff such as: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ebs2.nr0.htm


http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ebs2.nr0.htm

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My high school poetry

I wrote this and it was published in Reflections, my high school "literary magazine." Prolly circa 1996-1997. I am trying to remember what sort of pain I was in that caused me to write this poem back then, and can't quite remember. I do recall being told I had a slight curvature in my spine. Maybe this was my reaction to that.

Chiropractor Conspiracy?
By Catherine Elizabeth Galioto

When I wake up in the morning
There's an ache I can't explain
I can't find reason or warning
Why I suffer from back pain.

Insomnia? It cannot be;
I'm dreaming well past five.
Though I get to bed quite early,
When I wake I writhe and writhe.

Is there something I don't know 'bout?
Ain't I just sleeping in my bed?
This is a mattress, have no doubt.
This a pillow 'neath my head!

Am I a sleep-walker of some sort?
Or a sleep-weightlifter, too?
Do I have sleep miles to report?
Is this what makes my back askew?

While I have my peaceful sleeping
And the earth is draped in black
Is there someone out there creeping
Doing evil to my back?

Though I've come to no conclusion
I am tired, and it's late.
It's not sleep that is my prison:
It's the waking up I hate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lunch break Walk, June 14: stroke weed every day

I signed up for the Start Walking Now Challenge via the American Heart Association, via my employer, as part of their Wellness Committee. But mainly, because if you take enough steps daily you are entered to win fabulous prizes. And I really do enjoy winning fabulous prizes. Moreso, I often win them, simply because I am the only doof who signed up. Case in point, this challenge. According to the Start Walking Now web site, I am in second place for most steps walked at my company.

The website www.startwalkingnow.org outlines the many health benefits of walking regularly. But here on the Daily Schmatherine I am going to outline the wonderful things that happen to me on my walk.

Today it was humid, which means my walk gave my hair more definitive frizz. But what was most notable was the weeds. Thistle, goldenrod, sage, dandelions. All standing tall, a large, giant patch of beauty. Spears of bright yellows, small puffs of purple, tall heads of white.

I am firm on this point: something is a weed only because we label it as such. As far as I am concerned weeds are victims of discrimination. They are beautiful. Say it loud, I'm a weed and I'm proud.

My advice is to leave the weeds there. Next time you go for a walk try to find a giant patch of weeds and admire all that is wild and free and messy. Kinda like my hair in the humidity.

Anywho, the other joyous event on my walk was that I walked to the liquor store to redeem a winning scratch off I got for my birthday. $7, baby. Yep. Yep. A little bit of green.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Today is bout day!

I am pumped! Chesty McBruiser is handing out free hip checks today!

www.jerseyshorerollergirls.net

Friday, April 23, 2010

me and the NJPA

This year at my job I headed up the process of submitting entries to the New Jersey Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

For most of my life I had things to enter on the editorial side but these days I do lots of editorial functions under the auspices of an advertising department. So, for the first time ever, I stood to win advertising awards from the NJPA. How funny is that?

I entered a gazillion things of mine, all the magazines I am pretty much a manager editor to (as well as an assignment editor, copy editor, layout tech, art assistant and writer) and crossed my fingers that we would win. I also come out guns blazing for my employer and proclaimed we'd enter the maximum number of submissions to every single award category.

We did. And we won big. I won big. Five awards in my name (two first place), two awards not credited to me, and then, a gazillion awards for my coworkers. Wow!

At the awards dinner tonight, they announced the big winners: Who would win General Excellence in Classifieds and Advertising, and the overall Obie award (a giant statue). Well, my employer would.

a night of WIN!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One place to eat

Question: If you could go only to one restaurant for the next five years, which would it be?

Answer: I would go to what my family lovingly refers to as Teresa's. Which means I would go to my mom's house and eat there. Often my dad cooks but regardless, the food is good, all sorts of things are on the menu, the ambiance, hospitality and company are top notch...plus I've been eating there for the last 29 years so five more is no biggie.

Ask me anything: http://www.formspring.me/ChestyMcBruiser

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My first kiss

Question: Who and when was your first kiss?
Answer: I'm certain Mom and Dad kissed me upon my birth, but we are talking first romantic kiss, and that would be my middle-school boyfriend by the lake adjacent to the street I live on. That lake, I think, has a memory for many a stage in my life.


Ask me anything: http://www.formspring.me/ChestyMcBruiser

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A threesome of athletic events

I go to the gym. My gym offers all sorts of activities to keep things fresh. One such thing is an annual triathlon.

TENTH ANNUAL TRIATHLON, the huge poster near the front desk announces. SIGN UP TODAY!

Hmmmm, maybe I will. I've never done a triathlon. Not even a biathlon. In fact I'm not sure if my athletic activity that I do, in fact, do even counts as an uniathlon (monoathlon?). Mostly it's just roller skating.

But I go for it anyway. Why not? Gotta shoot for the stars. Can't hit a home run without swinging the bat, right? Problem is, baseball is not one of the events in the triathlon, so I've just created a mixed metaphor.

Anyway, today I finished my first triathlon. I am officially a triathlete.

Granted, my gym's triathlon is noncompetitive. I don't have to go a certain distance; I just have to do this activity for a certain length of time (30 minutes each) at whatever pace I want.

The pace I want to do is my personal best, of course. So, since I've never done ANY real athletic swimming, I've been practicing my swimming at the gym these past weeks to prepare. It's hard for me to run, so I'm making 30 minutes on the treadmill my middle event. The half-hour bike ride is my home stretch event.

Besides getting a free triathlon t-shirt, you also get to sign up for a team to join. One of the teams is the Not A Team. People who are doing the triathlon without a group, as individuals. That's me. Of course!

So I decide to show up early and start my triathlon before the hustle and bustle of the triathlon starts. Get in the zone. Take my laps in the pool. Swimming is hard. I go for the backstroke. And wouldn't you know it, I beat my personal best. 35 laps in 30 minutes. Feeling good, I head onto the dreaded treadmill. Also known as: the treaded dreadmill.

My ankle still does not act kindly to long runs, so I do circuits of running and brisk walking on the treadmill. I'm surprised how it flies by...I credit this to my foresight of bringing earbuds with me to the gym. Each treadmill has its own TV and earbud jack. While I'm running, I'm jogging along to an inspirational message to Joel Osteen, and then it's a cable network interview with Dee Snider (my hero).

While I'm on the treadmill I see the madness of the triathlon unfold with the other teams. Everyone on the same team shares one lane in the pool. So you have 8 people "swimming" in one pool lane. Impossible task, as the people who try to swim have to crawl or walk the lane of the 4-foot deep pool. People are getting splashed and kicked in the face by their teammates. Oh it really made me smile.

I am pretty beat physically after my second event but am pumped to be going into the final third: the stationary bike ride. Unfortunately, riding a stationary bike in the gym is kinda boring. This half hour seemed like 5 hours. I kept it together though. I turned on VH1, who was showing Transform Me. It's the show were a bunch of post-operative transexual women offer makeover advice to ladies stuck in some sort of rut.

Perfect. More TV to inspire me, huh. I got my second wind in those final triathlon minutes. Victory for Catherine! Now, time to celebrate in the post-triathlon barbecue. OM NOM NOM free pasta salad.

In fact, it seems like the barbecue -- the "unofficial fourth event" as my gym calls it -- was the event my fellow triathletes took the most seriously. I mean, the guy next to me during the bike portion was talking to himself and using the bike seat as a chair as opposed to an instrument to expend calories and perform exercises on. Eh, whatever. I was one of the hardcore ones, apparently. Which tells you a lot, no?

To summarize, if see a non-competitive triathlon, do it. It might be easier than you think. Don't do it with a team because those guys are just going to put their feet in your face or distract you when you are on the treadmill. Do the pool event first, so you can blow out your arm muscles -- the muscles you don't use running or biking.

And don't forget to give yourself a high five. You are made of WIN!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beef Stew

Many a bowl of homemade beef stew has been shoveled down in my family. It's done with culinary joy, with a wink, with a side of crisp salad and crusty bread.

These days, my childhood favorite meal is still eaten quite quickly. And yet, it seems a bowl can last for hours these days. More so: Robbie and I came over my parent's for dinner, and our dinner lasted for hours as we talked and talked and talked. Joshing and ribbing each other. Sharing news, making future plans, et cetera, et cetera.

Beef stew symbolizes not just great memories of food, and memories of the loved ones who prepare it and share it with us, but it's also a symbol of good times.

Beef stew: it manages to beef up the good times. Har. har. har.

The latest batch of stew has created a new memory, in the form of an inside joke between those present at the dinner table tonight.

Similar to adding "That's what she said" onto the end of statements, we now have: "It's hereditary."

Trust me, it's a keeper. I'd explain more, I'll be right back, just getting another bowl of stew.

...

...

... It's hereditary.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The silly songs I sing to babies

To much comedic effect, I sing to Sophia. Sophia, my niece, the baby, now crawling around, pulling herself up on two feet, recessing back to the floor with a mild thump, back on her bottom. Looking at everything inquisitively, not yet with entitlement.
Sophia, or "hello beautiful" as my mom sings, is stared at with a deep love. With me however, it's that and a deep understanding. I know what Sophia wants or is trying to do and I'm going to sing an impromptu song about it. Such as:
Overstimulated baby!
Big plastic chair with doodads.
Spin 'em!
Squeeze 'em!
Move 'em!
Doodads for the baby...
Hey! Playskool thinks it's a good idea
to build stupid doodads into a chair...
Overstimulated baby!

I think I've found my niche: off-the-cuff songs for babies.

Anyway, Patricia -- Sophia's mom; my sister -- says Sophia likes monkey noises. I decided to go the route of dogs barking the notes to Jingle Bells. Except, instead of dogs barking, its monkey noises, and instead of Jingle Bells, it's Edward Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King, or Beethoven's Fifth.

Sophia seems to like it. My sister and I however, we are still cracking up with laughter over my one-woman concert: Monkeys Go Classical.

I love you Sophia.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm still buying nothing

April is Buy Nothing Month. The only exceptions are milk, gasoline, toll money. Milk is for Robbie. Gasoline and tolls are so I can get to work.

So far I am rocking at not buying anything.

In the grocery department I am simply eating out of the pantry, and the freezer. As part of Buy Nothing Month I've also decided to cash in all my gift cards that were rotting in my wallet. I've used one for a free oil change at my mechanic's. Bought some more coffee K-cups at Kohls with my gift card there. I still have gift cards for the salon, for Barnes & Noble, for Fashion Bug, Subway, Wendys, JC Penney and AMC Theaters to use.

The hurdle has been after roller derby practice, where some of my league mates go out to a dinner afterward. I've had to break my rule by shelling out some singles for bottomless coffee.

Other than that, I am true to my word. I've bought nothing in April.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Buy Nothing Month

This is an experiment. Where in for the month of April, the year 2010, I will buy nothing.

I won't go clothes shopping. I won't even go grocery shopping. That's it. I'm not buying anything.

Anything, except: gas for my car. Milk for the fridge. The milk is mainly for Rob. The gasoline is, of course, so I can get to work.

Everything I already pay for (tolls, cell phone, utilities) I am going to pay. But I ain't buying anything else. If it happens in April it best be free, already something I own, or something I can make do without.

But, you ask, how am I supposed to do this?

Not without some pain...

Can't eat and drink out with friends. Can't buy new wheels for my rollerskates. Can't restock the English Breakfast tea tin. Gonna have to use up the Lipton.

Why am I doing this?

I am tired of the accumulation. Accumulation of stuff. What's the point? There is none. And, heading for destruction at my own hand, no less. "Buying things you don't need, with money you don't have," says George Carlin. Getting fed up with it.

So peppered among other posts here I will let you know how I am doing, at Buy Nothing. At the end of the month I'll have a tally on how much money I saved and how bare my pantry is. I am somewhat unfortunately cooking for two (myself and Rob, unwittingly along for the ride) but I am actually inspired by the whole experiment.

I am a clever lass who is of the ilk already to find solutions by my own hands. With hope this will sharpen those skills further.

All I have is all I need. That is the test.