Sunday, November 27, 2011

Put A Lid On It

Today's topic (notice how I have just resigned myself to non-specific timeframes to avoid the fact that it's been one month since my last entry...and I call myself a writer??!) is "#44. Total number of ballcaps I own." Well, we can see why I needed more time to noodle on that one. I'd like to say I've spent the last 30 days taking inventory, but the truth is I haven't even checked. I'm going to go solely off my near-photographic memory and say...
1. Green with white S on front - Go Spartans
2. White with The Legends Tour logo (I have 2)
3. Black with the LTOC logo
4. Red Wings! #19 Maltby
5. Red with the Innisbrook logo
6. Black with Action Cat
7. White with LPGA Golf Clinics for Women logo
8. Blue with The Daily Fix with Sue Fracker (I have 6...interested?)
9. White with Wendy's Charity Classic
10. Red with Wendy's Charity Classic
11. Gold with Wendy's Charity Classic
12. Stone with Cascades Golf Course
13. White with U.S. Open
14. Blue with University of Maryland
15. Blue with Detroit Tigers
That is, of course, just off the top of my head...(heh heh). I'm not sure where I fit in when it comes to chicks and ballcaps: borderline hoarder or average doffer? I feel like I have more than most considering I only listed what I may have worn in recent memory and I have an enormous basement. Needless to say, I love baseball caps. I would wear one all the time if permitted and approved. I would be like a self-conscious balding fella. Just throw a lid on! You go from geeky to my, your eyes are stunning in about two seconds. Hats transform people. A ballcap can actually make you look athletic or youthful or in my case, a sir instead of a ma'am. I get it all the time. I throw a cap on and suddenly I become sir, buddy, pal, dude, brother, mister or any of the variety of male descriptors available when consulting a stranger from behind or at a distance. As soon as I turn around and look someone in the eye, however, I'm a ma'am again. I hate ma'am. Not that I love sir, mind you, considering I wear mascara and have been working on my girlish walk for years, but seriously, sir is way better than ma'am. When I get hit with ma'am I kinda want to correct it back to sir. Which is awkward considering the poor soul just realized his or her gaff and just wants to be polite.
(To me, behind me in line at the store): "Excuse me, sir?"
(I turn around): "Yes?"
(Startled, a little unsure): "Oh, sorry, I mean, ma'am?"
(Me, equally perplexed): "Ma'am? Do I look like your mother?"
(Hesitant, awkward): "No, no, of course not, sir."
(Me, raised eyebrow): "Dude, I'm not a dude."
(Nervous laugh): "No ma'am, I'm sorry, I think it's the hat."
(Me, incredulous): "I am not a ma'am!"
(Stepping back, palms up): "Take it easy, brother."
(Me, removing hat, sighing): "Make that sister, pal."
You'd think the older I get the less likely I am to don a ballcap and go, but it's just such a great solution when your hair is uncooperative or you're feeling especially casual. I know I look like I'm heading to a game or just came from one, but wearing a cap is a source of comfort I liken to eating a huge bowl of mac n cheese. It just feels good. It feels right. Even if others might judge otherwise. Perhaps that's why I have so many hats. Also, I forget to pack them when I travel so I end up having to buy one in the pro shop or at the stadium or at a random kiosk in the mall. This is the same manner in which I have come by countless toothbrushes and personal hygiene product bottles less than 4 oz in size. I wouldn't say I'm a collector of hats, but clearly I have enough to outfit a league of misfits for Sunday afternoon pick-up games down by the Charles. I have enough to bequeath to my nieces and nephews, several apiece. And I have enough to stack on top of my head, wrap into a giant beehive hairdo and head for the movies, where I'm certain I will be called ma'am and asked to sit in the back. I'll let you know...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hope(less) Floats

Today's topic is #43. A week's worth of garbage. I think when I wrote that I had just watched a segment on the news in which a reporter elected to carry around in a sack or a bag (can't remember how he was holding it) all of the garbage he generated in a week. I believe his objective was to prove we as a people, as individuals, as consumers and poopers, apparently generate a shit ton of garbage. I think he fully expected to have a Santa-sized load burdening his shoulders like the globe to Atlas come Sunday (unless you deem Sunday the first of the week, to that I then say Saturday), but I'll never know because I only saw him pledge to do it. I don't know what happened in the end, but if he's anything like me with garbage, he fell woefully short of proving his point. If he's a single, petless, childless, miserly, recycling sort such as myself, he would have generated a half a bag at best and been half in the bag for most of said experiment. While I have many flaws for sure, and I know I could use improving when it comes to certain skills - whistling for a cab, brewing coffee, balancing a spoon on my nose, speaking dog - there's one thing I do to the point of near perfection: minimize waste. I do not create a lot of garbage. I recycle religiously. I throw virtually nothing away. I am not a hoarder, though I could possible play one on TV. I have things, many things I suppose more than one innocent observer might suggest I could toss, but I hesitate because where would these items go? From my pile...relocated to another pile. A bigger pile that could be covered in dirt and made into a mountain and then covered in snow and made into a ski resort and then covered by a dome and made into an indoor ski resort. And somewhere in the depths of that pile turned fancy indoor replica of Aspen is my pair of plaid Toughskin cutoffs from 1982, the legs of which are in some other dump turned resort, along with my little league softball trophies. I think I minimize what I toss now because I'm aware of what's been thrown out on my account in the years prior. It leaves me a bit unsettled to imagine all my former stuff idling in some other place or perhaps snatched from the jaws of the garbage truck, salvaged and repurposed by crafty, industrious types with nothing better to do than build a cat jungle out of my discarded carpet, floor lamps and toaster ovens . My basement is not yet full. There's plenty of room in the loft. Things that hang out there might no longer be of use to me (for now), but what harm are they causing, really, by sitting there? The alternative is much worse. From the curb to the truck to the dumpster to a bigger dump to a landfill made larger by me. I can't contribute to that. Not when I know there's also acres upon acres of crap floating in the ocean, to the point of becoming a new continent visited daily by survey ships and zoomed in upon in real time by countless satellite cameras. Apparently, whatever the ocean sucked out of Japan in that tragic tsunami back in March has been burped back up to form a slick of garbage in the middle of the Pacific twice the size of Texas. I don't know about you, but whenever someone mentions the size of Texas (let alone two Texases...or is it Texii?), I fall into a natural state of awe with a twist of panic. Texas is frickin' huge. When I was a kid, we drove across it. And not the fat part, just the panhandle. The Texas panhandle is like 25 Oklahahoma panhandles. I don't even know how they can call it a panhandle. It's more like a cake pan. Driving across the Texas panhandle was the closest thing I came to losing it as a small child. As great as I am with garbage, I am equally cool-headed and was even moreso in my youth. Enter the Texas panhandle. I 'bout lost my mind. Endless (and when I say endless I don't mean it hyperbolically, I mean it quite literally), endless brown split by pavement, dusted by the occasional tumbleweed, weighted by a silence so blank I could hear the air in my lungs. I've never seen so much...nothingness. So I take the vastness of that and superimpose it over the beautiful blue waters about a year west of Hawaii, fill it with mangled Hondas, appliances, furniture, sushi bars, boats, planes, trains and the remains of thousands upon thousands of homes built decades ago and I wonder. I wonder how that Native American who teared up in commercials long gone would feel now knowing that a two times Texas monstrosity is creeping toward the shores of California. I wonder if we should make it a country, assign it a leader, populate it with garbage artists and junkyard dogs. I wonder if we can stand on it. I wonder if we can stop it. Part of me wants to see it in person. At least I know I won't be stuck in a Plymouth driving across it...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Smile of the Tiger

I spend a lot of time in my office. Over the years, I have collected various items that could be construed as decorative or sentimental or meaningful to my job in some way. They grace my walls, line my shelves, spill forth from drawers, idle in corners, these things I can't seem to part with for reasons that tug at the back of my brain but never quite reveal themselves. Slips of paper with funny quotes, bobbleheads of Pistons long gone, cards from appreciative folks, stuffed frogs, magazines that should be retired to a waiting room, cables cables and more cables, a large rock (yes, a rock), a bag of fake money and much, much more. In the midst of all this clutter, all these things that warrant a slow shake of the head from co-workers who dare venture in, I have displayed one item that adequately sums up my feelings in any given moment throughout the work day. It's a framed t-shirt of a very fat cat with a deep frown. It says, "I Am Smiling." Oh, the delicious irony! And it's so much deeper than that one with the kitten dangling from a branch that says "Hang in There." You see, the cat is NOT SMILING. But...he is. According to the words over his head. Smiling inwardly, I suppose. Or maybe this is the extent of his joy. A frown. Or maybe he's trying to tell us you can't judge a book by its cover. He looks decidely unhappy, but truly, he's thoroughly pleased with everything around him. I think my general demeanor is positive and open and I don't have to work too hard to be in a good mood. Because I have the Fracker face, a subtle combination of my Dad's completely unreadable expression and my Mom's tendency to frown while concentrating, I believe I take on a somewhat disgruntled look while working. I might even look a bit pissed. Which leads to unapproachability. Which means people might avoid me. Which is why I think I collect so much crap in my office. I lack human intervention. When I received the I Am Smiling framed t-shirt a while back from my Aunt Gisela and my dear Uncle Jim (who passed away a couple of weeks ago and will so be missed), I immediately thought, hey! This will be perfect in my office. People will take one look and realize even though my face looks like you do not want to mess with me right now, I'm totally smiling! Really, I'm super nice! On the inside! Now, whenever anyone comes into my office and after one look at my face already starts stepping back, I only have to point at the poster and say, "No, no. It's okay. I am smiling." I feel a certain kinship with that cat. Makes me want to get one for real. Maybe that's the next step for my office. A huge tiger sitting next to me at my desk wearing the t-shirt ripped from the frame. Nothing says "I enjoy what I do" like a Bengal by my side in cat's clothing declaring smiles all around. I think I'll move the rock and make room for him...I have just enough fake money for a trip to where the wild things are. Which, until recently, was Ohio.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Starring Sponge Mom and Square Me

I'm on lunch right now and what I've elected to do with my time is eat a giant sandwich and write about topic #41. Ideal co-stars. It took me approximately 52 minutes to consume said sandwich as it was VERY large, procured from Big Daddy's Pizza just across the street. Big Daddy's Pizza is the only place near (enough) work to get a decent lunch but it comes at a price and I don't mean monetarily. First, whatever you order requires tremendous upper body strength to schlepp overhead across a heavily trafficked Western Ave and into my building. Then, as all BD sandwiches are for some reason twice-wrapped and stuffed with manhands into the narrowest possible tube of a paper bag, it takes several minutes just to get to the sandwich. I realize it took me a couple of minutes just to tell you that so the latter part of my lunch hour into which I've elected to squeeze my blog entry for today has now become severely compromised. I have mere seconds to tell you what I think about "ideal co-stars" so here it is: if you're anything like me you spend the better part of each day wondering why the heck you aren't in a major motion picture of some kind right now. Not because my life is just that fascinating but moreso because whenever I see a movie and watch the actors at work I think, how hard can that be, really? Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris sealed it for me. I can't imagine doing a worse job of bumbling through a Wood Allen script than he did, and even though I'm a chick and me playing that character would certainly change the story a bit, I feel like I could grow my hair out a little, punch myself in the nose, do two shots of Jameson and basically become Owen Wilson. No one would be the wiser. But my point is, I could easily be in a movie and so could you. If I were in a movie, I would want certain people flanking me to A.) make me look good and B.) whisper my lines to me when I get too drunk to remember and C.) hold anything I buy along the way because I hate carrying stuff. There are several Hollywood types that qualify for these positions - A.) Amy Poehler because she did it for Tina Fey and B.) that sexy black guy from Criminal Minds because it seems like he would be a good whisperer and C.) Sylvester Stallone because he can carry a lot of stuff and I would enjoy hearing him mumble about it in his slack-jawed, subtly bewildered way . Other candidates include: A.) Phyllis Diller (is she still around? If not, Joan Rivers. B.) Gilbert Gottfried C.) Kate Moss. The truth is, though, if I ever did make it in a movie about me starring me revolving around all things me, it would only make sense to co-star my real life peeps. Ideally, my mom for sure. Trouble with that is I'm fairly certain the movie, after a really catchy intro with me laughing and smiling gayly around the credits, would shift immediately to being about her. She is way more interesting due to being a "spongeface." A spongeface is someone who absorbs the sob stories of strangers in line at the grocery store, at a party, at a restaurant, etc. It's especially prevelant in situations that involve service people or frazzled mothers with all their kids (and several others they've magnetically attracted) hanging off them. My mother and my sister Tess are guilty of having kind faces and making way too much eye contact; hence, they invite epic confessions and surprising confidences from the oddest balls on the planet. I, too, inherited the sponge, but with a little more of my dad in me, I understand that with great power comes great responsibility and have learned to discourage small talk up front so the big talk never comes. Consequently, a movie about me might end quicker, but at least you know it's going to end. Put my Dad in it with me and you've got two characters sitting in an airport waiting for a flight saying nothing. Enter my Mom and sister, followed by two Hari Krishnas, a guy on a segue, a toddler pulling her own Barbie rollerboard, a pregnant teenager, an elderly couple each holding a small poodle, four Hispanic fellas and a widower.
Mom (to Dad): "Here's your sandwich."
Dad: "Who are all these people?" (takes a bite, looks around)
Mom: "Oh, they're on our flight."
(Tess accepts a poodle, hugs it and says something that makes the elderly couple laugh.)
Me: "You were only gone for 5 minutes."
Mom: "I'm worried about that pregnant girl. Should she be flying?"
(Walks toward pregnant teen.)
Me (to Dad): "Is that turkey?"
Dad (nods, says nothing)
Me (sits back, closes eyes, folds arms)
Hope you got popcorn. We might have a mini-series on our hands.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Let's Revisit

I think it would be prudent to remind everyone, especially me, of the topics I have covered and have yet to cover in my quest (however delayed) to blog about 100 random things for no particular reason other than to take up space in cyberspace. Well, I do aspire to entertain. That remains to be seen...I believe I stopped at #40. I owe you #41 - 100, hopefully in a more timely fashion. And I do solemnly swear I did not edit this list. Look back through the blog archives to see what I've done, browse the remainder of the list to see where I'm off to. Sadly, I waited so long #71 will be done postfelinously. But I'm sure I'll think of something when I get there...
1. Arctic blasts
2. Las Vegas
3. VCR’s
4. Abandoned shoe in the middle of the intersection
5. Fat cats
6. Taxes
7. Easy button
8. Glue guns
9. Free offers
10. The Gym
11. Life as a comedian
12. My obsession with frogs
13. I can’t dance
14. Please eliminate peas
15. Tote vs. Backpack
16. Polar bears
17. High heels
18. Wood floors or carpet?
19. Why I Hate Beans
20. Unframed photos
21. Flying
22. When’s the last time you smoked?
23. Hedge clipping
24. Insanity breeds confidence
25. Why Jack is better than ‘Dad
26. A conversation with a stranger
27. Take the stairs
28. I miss my car
29. Biggest Loser
30. Recycling
31. Why I don’t wear lipstick
32. Everything in its place
33. Things passed down to me
34. What I miss about school
35. Cremation vs. Burial
36. My IQ
37. Horror movies
38. Some assembly required
39. Is it time to write a novel?
40. Why I want one of those MacAir notebooks
41. Ideal co-stars
42. I Am Smiling
43. A week’s worth of garbage
44. Total number of ball caps I own
45. New idea for a museum
46. Is cabbage required?
47. Call me crazy, but call me!
48. Greek Week
49. I miss improv
50. That purple coat my mom bought me
51. If I were president
52. IOU and U and U
53. Next concert I want to see
54. Botany is not rocket science
55. Do you hear what I hear?
56. Capitalization in written communication
57. Lunch
58. Paint swatches
59. Three wishes
60. Precious Moments
61. I wish I were taller
62. Shoes that no longer fit
63. Tunes that should be banned
64. Body Doubled: I Could Clone Myself!
65. It’s a little early for white shoes, isn’t it?
66. Talent
67. Book reports
68. My Dad’s season of long hair
69. Strapless gowns
70. Webkinz
71. What Maverick’s doing right now
72. Parallel parking
73. If I could knit
74. Invisible tape
75. Retired bridesmaid
76. Google me
77. Recipes I think I can do
78. Almighty Isis
79. Oh, the Seasons
80. My forays into the UP
81. Word games
82. My first real punch
83. Being German
84. When to send flowers
85. Don’t answer that
86. Me and Dogs in General
87. Dicks (Calling All Private Investigators)
88. Spelling
89. Who was JJ Jinkleheimer Schmidt?
90. Taco Bell
91. Give me one good reason
92. Vacuuming the stairs
93. Butterflies
94. The Hammock Chair
95. Born a Fool
96. Is it corn season yet?
97. Potholes
98. PSP
99. Pink
100. How I make the perfect cheese tray

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Swiffer Picker Upper

Don't ask. I know it's been two years. I'd like to say something traumatic happened, like I lost the use of my typing fingers (both index plus a smattering of right thumb), but the reason I haven't been blogging isn't so much because I physically couldn't manage it. All my parts are still here. I have all my senses plus the sixth on occasion. I can still think straight (when sober, so on Tuesdays.'s Tuesday!!). What happened was I fell out of habit. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. Which is significant if you are trying NOT to do something anymore. Seems like an eternity, I suppose, if you want to stop smoking or overeating or inexplicably using adverbs to sound important. But if you didn't really mean to stop doing something, it's suprising how quickly 21 days can pass and inadvertantly break you of a non-habit. I want to get back into the habit of writing. I wonder if this will take 21 consecutive days of writing and now it seems daunting, especially on sober Tuesdays. It might take a bit to actually get started. The first several days will require a good dusting. There are a lot of cobwebs in here, strewn across past entries and clinging to old thoughts. The spiders are long gone, I think, having scurried off to less sterile quarters on paths more traveled by and with good reason. Nothing here to hold their interest, nothing more to spin a home upon. And so I fling open the door and stomp in with my Swiffer and maybe a leaf blower to tidy this place up and remind everyone who is in charge, who started this thing and who will finish it. After all, I do have about 60 more topics to cover, and I've had two years to think about it. Surely I bring more experience to each than I would have so many moons ago. Surely we will all benefit by my extended vacation. Surely it's a good thing I'm back, right? Oh. Looks like I left some dishes in the sink, too. Sigh. Is it Wednesday yet?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do You Have the Time

Jetlag. Everyone knows what it means but only those of us in it can commiserate. I'm back from the Islands and it occurred to me had I flown the same distance east instead of west I could have landed in Prague in the future instead of Honolulu in the past. Now I sit in Boston in my present wondering what time it is. For the first time in my adult life I actually understand and appreciate the lyric, "Does anybody really know what time it is?" Not that I haven't traveled plenty of places before...but those places didn't have a tiki bar next to a beach and a moon that will tap you on the shoulder to let you know night just fell. For some reason, time sorta stops in Hawaii. Could be the traffic, poised at every light like surfers awaiting the next big wave. Could be the locals, encouraging your next cocktail with an ear to ear grin and eyes that say, hey, you're not anywhere near a continent anymore. You may not make it back... It's a couple of days later (I think) since my last stroll on the sands of Waikiki, but it feels like ages already. It's amazing how you get back to doing what you're mind is used to before you're body's remotely ready. And of course, I try to talk my body back into the 9 to 5 on the east side, the 11:00 p.m. bedtime, but then my stomach argues, hey I should be enjoying those fabulous chicken wings and a jack and diet about now. No one else is up at 2:00 a.m. to agree. The fridge, full of vegetables, salsa and one lone beer, is not cooperating. Count Chocula doesn't help, but it was worth the try. I don't know how long it really takes to get back to your old self and not feel like that guy from Quantum Leap. I mean, I'm here, back where I belong, but I still feel like I just appeared, my hair's mussed up and I'm holding two pineapples for no apparent reason. I wish I would just stop calculating six hours back every time I look at the clock to justify whatever I'm feeling at the moment. But it's in my blood, I think. I used to be one of those people who would set my clock 10 minutes fast so when the alarm went off in the morning I would actually wake up ahead of the game. My alarm clock was a softball with a 9 minute snooze. When it went off, I'd throw it against the wall to activate the snooze. 9 minutes later it would go off again, but of course, I was still a minute ahead plus the other 10 minutes...snooze again, and well, you can see why I never really know what time it is regardless of wherever the hell I am. And I have a nasty habit of throwing hotel room alarm clocks against the wall. The good news is, this weekend is fall back. While I routinely admit Halloween is my favorite holiday, secretly it's because it lands around the weekend we all fall back. Fall back in time. Gain an hour. I love gaining that hour!! I don't change the clocks till later in the day so I can look at them and go, hey, it's actually only 2:30, not 3:30! I tell other people, too. Strangers in line. They ask me what time it is and I say, "3:30 on my watch, but guess what?! It's really only 2:30! Isn't that awesome?!!" And then I put down the pineapples and straighten my hair a little. I love doing the backward math that gives you more time in your day. I'm always looking for more time. Maybe that's why jetlag plagues me longer than most. I think of the time I had as time I still have. Now that I'm in two places mentally, why sleep? What's wrong with 6 meals a day? And I ain't lyin' when I belly up to the bar and say, hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere...flying first class across four time zones taught me that. I guess I'll take jetlag if it means your nuts are warm, you can watch four movies in a row and no one but the flight attendant knows what a lush you really are. What are the odds she'll be on your next leap anyway?