Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Live Blogging From The Guest Bed



I just sat down on the bed, next to my half-asleep husband. He smiled and opened his arms to hug me....until he noticed the laptop in my hands.

"Baby, stop. You want to nap with me."

"I know, I do. But I need to write a blog post."

"No! Just put the laptop down, Helena."

"Dude, I haven't blogged since before Christmas....No, since before we left for Christmas!"

"Good. Come live in the real world. Where there is sleep. And napping."

"Kurt, I just need to...ooomph!"

He hooked me with one arm, and pulled me backwards towards the pillows. I reached frantically for the laptop.

"No. Come nap."

He dragged me away, but as I tumbled backwards, I managed to keep a hold on the keyboard.

"Wait!"

"The laptop is not invited! This is not a threesome!"

"I need to blog Kurt! Don't make me choose!"

...and that's where we are right now. We are all tangled up on the bed, and I am typing with two fingers.

Best.Nap.Ever.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright...



And may all your Christmases be white.


Merry Christmas you guys!

(No, that isn't a picture of Kurt.)

I got this in a text message, and spit out my milk in surprise. Consider it my gift to you.

So.....what did you get me?

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How To Get Some Action In 2011.



Hi guys! I decided to take a break from my non-stop partying and say Hello.

(kidding, I've been studying for, and taking The Final Fom Hell. That's right- that class wasn't completely over. I just didn't want to bog you guys down with the details; It would have just been more of the same, you know?)

Today I have arranged for a fantastic new friend of mine to stop by and say hi. I met her a few weeks ago, through 20-something bloggers, and I liked her immediately. Not only is she a terrific writer and storyteller, but she is also a crazy cat lady. Already. And they aren't even hers.

Plus, she is clever. And I love clever people. I think I'm hoping that if I hang out with enough of them, maybe some of it will rub off on me...?

But without further ado, here is Guinever, who writes This Is Not My Day Job.


Much thanks to Helena for letting me come over from This Is Not My Day Job to talk about action in 2011!

It’s the time of year to talk New Years’ resolutions. But I like the idea of talking about actions better. I’ve resolved many times to give up soda, but I still drank a Coke today. “Actions” seems not only less passive, but also like a bright shiny new thing. Five-hour-long meetings that ended with a vending machine raid do not yet tarnish the word “Actions”.

These are the actions I’m planning to take in 2011:

1. I’ll take at least three writing classes and join a writer’s group. I have a dream, you see, of being a published novelist. Putting the words on the page isn’t a problem.

I’m compulsive in my desire to write, and anyway, if I stop writing my husband asks if maybe I’d like to help him do the dishes.

What can be a problem is writing something for everyone else. Every story begins as something that I want to write for me. When I show it to someone else, the questions begin to pop up.

“But what do the squirrels symbolize?” “Do you really think you need to
use the word defenestration in a children’s story?” “I have a hard time buying this, could you illuminate a little more why your main character is afraid of escalators?”

People, escalators are scary. They can eat your toes.

When other people read my work, sometimes I feel like a misunderstood teenager. Did you even read it? I clearly explain about the squirrels!

Writing is easy, translating one’s thoughts isn’t, always. But you can’t explain to the reader (unless you corner your husband while he is doing the dishes), and the reader is never wrong. Unlike your parents.

So not just writing, but learning to write better, is the endless task of the writer.

2. I’ll foster more cats. I volunteer for the SPCA as a foster parent, which means that I take in new cats with random bad habits, like scratching my week-old Crate and Barrel sofa, and then teach them other bad habits, like how tasty Popeye’s fried chicken is.

Also, it means that occasionally I get to the gym, open my bag, and discover that someone is terribly, terribly confused about where the litter box is, to the detriment of my spin class.

Honestly, the worst part is falling in love with a furry little face and then saying goodbye, when someone else loves that face and takes them home. But this is the little thing I do to make the world a better place.

I get road-ragey, I eat meat, I watch reality shows – in many ways, I am Part of the Problem. But at least I help save a few kitties, one at a time.
Even if it hurts.

Even if I have to slipcover my scratched-up $2000 sofa.

3. I’m not going to say that I’m going to lose ten pounds. Let’s just say this: I’ll train for another marathon (I’ve done the 26.2 routine twice now, but each time, it’s just as staggering and ridiculous a proposition).

I’ll save the soda for really desperate situations
– say, meetings over three hours and the Harry Potter movies (Seriously, why did I go watch a movie in the theaters that doesn’t have an ending?).

And I will try to throw some weights around in the gym at least twice a week. I will also try not to be freaked out by the fact that the weights room seems to be populated by the Jersey Shore cast.

So those are my actions – three concrete things I can do to make myself, and my world, a little bit better.

What actions are you taking in 2011?



Saturday, December 18, 2010

YES!



I did it! 111 pages later, and I am really done. It was...intense. And, again, completely my fault. But hey, it's finished, and I had better get an A.

...Oops. I mean, I would love to get an A (or else).

Let the Christmas Season Re-Commence!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Note to Self: Don't ever do this again. Ever.



I am going crazy.

It could have to do with my lack of sleep. Or maybe my aching fingertips. Or the fact that I have done nothing but stare at a computer screen for the past week.

...Ok, that is a slight exaggeration. But I feel like that's all I've done.

In case you are wondering why I haven't been around (either on my blog, or in real life), I am going to paste an email I sent to a friend at 5 in the morning.

And you can just apply it to every situation where I didn't show up, or in some way let you down.

Hi Jamie,

I haven't gone to bed yet. I've been writing papers like crazy, trying to finish that independent study class I've been procrastinating. I have to have everything turned in by tomorrow night, and I honestly had no idea how crazy it would be.

I knew about the 33 page paper. I didn't realize that there were 6 other projects due for each of the 11 lessons. All together I need to write approximately 111 (that's not a typo) pages. I've done about 40.

Its intense.

I wanted to explain all of this because, well, I am overwhelmed and it helps to talk about it. I realize that this is entirely my fault, but that realization just doesn't bring much comfort.

Also, I wanted you to know that when I stand you up tomorrow, I really do have a legitimate reason. A crazy, stupid, completely my fault, legitimate reason.

If there was any way for me to make fudge and hang out and still pass my class, you know I would be all over that. But between right now and midnight tomorrow, I see nothing but a keyboard in my future.

I'm sorry.

I would draw a stick figure, or find an image of someone buried in a pile of textbooks, but I honestly have no time.

If you want to draw one for me, though, I'll happily paste it in.

Wish me luck you guys.

--------


If you are looking for something more entertaining to read, just scroll down to the bottom of this page, and check out the 453 labels I've got hanging out down there. You are guaranteed to find something interesting (or at least embarrassing).

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A (slightly sponsored) post about Christmas Cards.



How do you feel about Christmas cards?

I love receiving them. The generic ones people buy in bulk, the handmade ones that take so much time and care, the simple ones you print out yourself. They all get a special place on my fridge. And then come January they are tucked away in a box labeled "Proof that people care."


No matter how generic the card, I know the sender cared enough to write my name and use a stamp. And really, that says a lot.

Christmas cards take time. Picking them out, signing your name (and possibly adding a personal message), stuffing and stamping, the trips to the post office (or, you know, the end of the driveway). And chances are, you're sending out more than a couple.

All of this in between the baking, and decorating, and shopping, and crafting, and other less-seasonal but still necessary tasks of life. Christmas is incredibly busy, even without sending cards.

I am much too lazy to do that.

In fact, my Christmas Greetings are usually limited to a mass-text saying "Happy Holidays! Don't drink and drive!"

I've been satisfied with that in the past, but now that I'm married, I can't help thinking about it.

Maybe I should send out cards.

There are a bunch of ideas online, but the ones that really draw my attention are the photo cards.

I loved sending out my wedding invitations in 2009, and seeing my face plastered on the fridges of my friends and relatives (even if they did hastily stick them on there because they knew I was coming, and would probably ask).

I love the idea of sending an image along with the greeting. I think it helps people remember who you are faster.

(What? You've been there. After the third card signed "Shaniqua and Fernando" it's easy to lose track.)

And so after a month of debating, I've decided to try it. I'm taking the plunge, and ordering the cards.

It will be incredibly last minute, and some people probably won't get theirs in time for Christmas. But hey, that's pretty true-to-character, and I don't think anyone who knows me would expect anything less (or, well, more).

What? It's progress.

After much research, I think I am going to go with Shutterfly. I've used other companies in the past, and they worked fine. But I'm looking for something more.

Also? They kind of asked me to. It's a promotional thing.

(And those cards are going to be free.)

(What, I had to disclose it.)

I tweeted about it a way back in November, and it was open to any and all bloggers. I'm thinking that's a sign of a good company.

Even knowing I could get this deal, I hesitated. For a month. I love free things, but I still wasn't sure it would be worth the effort.

Remember that whole "I'm incredibly lazy" thing?

And so after wrestling with this for weeks, I decided to do it. On the last possible day. If I waited until tomorrow, it would be too late.

What can I say? I like living on the edge.

I have no experience using Shutterfly, but if I like their quality, and their service, I will definitely consider them for my future Christmas card needs. And maybe my Photo Calendar needs. And my Photo Book needs. And heck, maybe even my invitation needs!

(I have a lot of needs).

So how about you? Did you participate in the Shutterfly blog giveaway?

And what are your feelings about Christmas cards?

.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh hey, remember that time when I was MOLESTED BY A CENTIPEDE??



About 15 minutes ago, I was lying in bed, reading a book. The story had just taken an unexpected turn, and I was flying through the pages so fast, my fingers could barely keep up.

Suddenly, I felt a tickle on my chest. I glanced down, and saw a centipede crawling down my cleavage.


OH.MY.GOSH.

Screaming, I reached my finger down, and flicked it out onto the bed.

And then I just kept screaming.

We have a centipede problem. We kill 2-4 per week. They aren't very big, and they mostly hang out on our ceilings.


As far as pests go, they aren't so bad. They have no interest in food, and they kill other pests. Spiders, ants- we never have to worry about those.

But have you ever watched a centipede move? The slithery sway of its body as its dozens of legs take it across a room is almost hypnotizing.

It's disturbing.

....And their new interest in female anatomy.


Ugh, I'm still shaking.

When I say "we" kill them, I mostly mean Kurt. The juicy little mark it leaves on the wall when you catch them, IF you catch them, is too much for me. And when you miss the first time, they take off so fast you're lucky to get a second shot.

Yeah. I let Kurt take on that manly role.

So tonight when I looked down and saw one crawling down between my boobs, my screams brought the manly 'Pede Hunter running. He scooped it off the bed between his tissue-covered fingers, and as I gasped out an explanation, "It.was.on.my.cleavage!!" He calmly squeezed the life out of it.


Then he hugged me tightly and said "Well, I can't blame it."

My hero.

After smacking his shoulder, I asked for a lighter so I could burn my cleavage off. It seemed like the best option.

I can still feel it crawling on me.

...I don't think I will ever sleep in my bed again.





Thursday, December 9, 2010

I *need* a camera in my bedroom. For posterity.



Kurt talks in his sleep. If I catch him at the right moment, we can have whole conversations.

It's awesome.

The other night, Kurt really needed to study. But it was 2:30 am, and he could barely keep his eyes open.

"Helena, do you mind waking me up in an hour? I know you aren't going to sleep yet."

...Yeah. That's what happens when I'm unemployed.

"Sure thing. How badly do you need to wake up?"

"Pretty badly. I have to study."

At 3:30, I went in and tried to fulfill my end of the deal. But he wouldn't wake up. He has been averaging 4 hours a night, and I guess it had caught up to him.

I shook him, and tried to roll him over, but it didn't work very well. He just got all whiny and angsty, and didn't really make sense.

"Kurt, I need you to wake up. This was your idea!"

"Noooooooo....uuungghhmumblemumble"

"Baby, you aren't 3. You need to use your words."

"Give me back my penis!!"

"...WHAT??"

"You stole it! Give it baaaaaack!" He was very distressed.

I was doubled over with laughter.

"It's still there, Kurt, I promise!"

"Noooo, you took it! You're soooo meeeeeaan!!!"

I could barely gasp the words out.

"Kurt, I didn't take your penis!"

He scrunched his nose up, and frowned in my general direction. I could tell he didn't believe me.

My stomach ached from laughing so hard.

After a few more minutes of reassuring him that his penis was still there, I told him that I was going to turn on the shower.

He mostly ignored this, muttering about how he had married a thief.

Until he heard the water running.

"Nooooo, turn it ooooffff!"

"Kurt, you need to wake up!"

"No, I need sleeeep."

"Well, I need you to wake up enough to make a conscious decision about this. If you get out of the shower, and still decide to sleep, I will leave you alone."

"Why are you so aaaawful?? I can't haaaandle it!"

"Kurt, just sit up."

"You are a baaad personnnn!"

"I know, I am, but you need to wake up!"

"I NEED TO SLEEP!"

"I don't know if that's really you talking!!"

"It is! It's really me, NOT MY CERVIX!!"

...his cervix??

And then I died laughing.

In the end I decided to let the poor guy sleep. His penis (and his cervix) deserved some rest.

If only I had a bedroom camera.

This one would have gone viral.


--------


I'm linking this one up to the Friday Funny Link Up with The Mayor of Crazy Town.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's like an English fox hunt. Only, with children.



Christmas trees are pretty important to my family. I remember going to the Christmas Tree farm year after year, all bundled up in our snow gear. We would spend hours looking for that perfect tree.

Well, my Mom would spend hours looking, while the rest of us ran around playing our traditional game of "Hunt Chantel Down And Push Her In The Snow."

It was similar to an English fox hunt, only it ended with Chantel in tears, and the rest of us in time-out for a week.


(I asked Chantel if she had anything to add to this memory, but all she did was glare and turn off her webcam.)

If we ever came across a particularly amazing tree, we would run up and suggest it to my mom. But she never chose any of the ones we found.


(They always look smaller before you bring them home)

Once my Mom decided, all bets were off. She had the final say.

But we didn't mind. That wasn't really why we came to the farm. Now, where did Chantel go...?

One year, we were chasing Chantel through the Christmas tree field, and suddenly she disappeared. What the heck...?

We stopped, and looked around in confusion. We had been right behind her. Where did she go??

After a few seconds, we heard a little voice call "Hey guys? I'm in the hole."

She had fallen into this giant pit, camouflaged by all the snow.


We were laughing so hard, we could barely pull her out. It was the funniest thing that had ever happened- at least, the funniest thing at the Christmas tree farm!

Even now, We still laugh about that one.

I've tried to get Chantel to recreate it, but she refuses to go with me to a Christmas tree farm. Or even a snowy field.

Weird, huh?

-------------

I'm linking this to Chantel's carnival, Small Treasures Tuesday (which is open all week long). Because memories like these are a treasure.


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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Now *this* is an awesome tradition.



Hi guys. I'm participating in Top Two Tuesday with the Undomestic Momma.

Today's prompt? Top Two Favorite Ornaments. Perfect.

First, let me show you our tree.


Nice, huh? And it looks much prettier in person.

(I'm kind of proud of it)

Ornament 1

On my parent's first Christmas, my Dad took about a foot off the trunk of the tree, and carved a Nativity into it as a present for my Mother (I wish I had a picture to show you).

And then when my brother Jimmy was born? My Dad took a couple of inches off the trunk, and made an ornament out of Jimmy's first Christmas tree.

A tradition was born.


My Dad made my ornament back in December of 1985. I have always loved holding it, and finding that perfect spot on my family's overcrowded tree.


And now that I'm all grown up, with a tree of my own, it's like having a little piece of home, or a snippet of my childhood hanging from those plastic branches.

Ornament 2

My Dad surprised us last Christmas, and bought us tickets out to Utah, to celebrate with my family. We went over New Years, and had a wonderful belated Christmas with my brothers and sisters. Sitting around their real-life tree, I was delighted to open this present from my Dad.


Of all the ornaments on our tree, these two mean the most to me.

I don't always notice them, but when I do, they make me smile.

Do you have any ornaments like this?


--------------------


I am also linking this to a few other Christmas parties I've found. Here are their buttons, if you want to check them out.

Life in the PittsShow Me Your Tree


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Talk about a crazy week.



(I apologize. I scheduled this to go up this morning, but something must have gone wrong. I only just noticed.)

Welcome to this week's edition of:


This week on Reasons To Lose

 I'm starting to see results! YES!

This week on the Internet

Page 12 is all me! (Yup, that's right. I'm practically famous)

The 5 Best Things about Blogging as Yourself.

Self Esteem Saturday: Hiding My Face (This was incredibly hard for me to write)

This week's Things I Wish I Could Plagiarize

AWESOME voiceover.

Where do you put the banana peel??

World Domination, if it's not too much trouble.

Monster in the closet.

They give such practical advice.

How about you guys? Did you write (or read) anything awesome this week? Leave the URL in the comment, and don't be surprised when I stalk your blog.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Live blogging in my skivvies.



Ok guys, here it is. Day 3 of being unemployed, and guess who slept in, didn't shower, and isn't wearing any clothes right now?

Probably Robert Pattison.

But also me!

I'm kind of excited, and also kind of ashamed. So if you're thinking about stopping by, call first.


No, don't call the health department! Call me, so I don't answer the door naked.

(unless you're into that)

I don't exactly have a lot of things on my to-do list today. I just finished it. Here, I'll show you:

(I'm mostly excited about #4. Which may or may not involve N*SYNC.)


Being laid off is awesome.

(Someone hire me?)

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

When life gives you lemons...



Punch it in the face. WTF, life? Lemons???

Thank you for your support. I didn't answer all the comments yesterday, because I was a little overwhelmed with the entire situation. Just know that I appreciate your concern, your advice, and your offers to take matters into your own hands.

You know, hypothetically.

It looks like I have been laid off indefinitely. My boss is also not getting paid, because without that grant, there is no money. And it's just a 2 person show around here.

He assured me that I will get my check before he gets his, but we don't know when that will be.

It's been a stressful 24 hours.


I'm looking into unemployment right now. Plus, with my pole dancing skills to fall back on, I know we won't starve.

But things are going to be tight for a while.

My biggest hope is that the government will get its head out of its butt and give us that money that they promised in writing. If that happens, I will have my job back, and work here for the rest of my life (approximately).

(sadly, we aren't sure that it will ever come)

My second biggest hope is that I will inherit a fortune from an unknown relative who secretly reads my blog.

(It's kind of a long shot)

And I don't even want to think about job hunting.

But for now, I have some extra time on my hands. And I have a few project ideas floating around, which I never had time for when I had a full time job.

Good combination? Why yes, I think so.

See? Silver lining.

Lemon-scented silver lining.

I need a hug.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What would you do if you lost your job right before Christmas? You know, hypothetically.



Let's pretend that you work for a struggling little Non Profit company. You get to be office manager.

Now let's pretend that a government grant for a lot of money, one you were depending on, doesn't come in. Even though it was promised. In writing.

And then let's say the Director comes up to you, and says "We couldn't meet payroll this month. And it's not looking good for the rest of the year. You aren't being fired. Let's call it a...furlough."

Right before Christmas.

And so that month you just worked? You did that for free.

And they only told you today.

What would you do?


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