The Most Awesomest Giveaway!

In August, I hit my 100th post. I was on vacation that week, and promptly forgot to do anything about it!

I’ve since hit my 150th post with that last one, Dreamscape #2.

So in honor on my two readers many, many readers and all those who come here looking for tattoo pictures, I’ve decided to do a giveaway.

Hmmm. What to give away? The iTunes Gift Card didn’t go over well. I don’t want to give away something I made since I would ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE it. And I don’t have time for that. I want to give away something that people would enjoy and actually want to comment instead of lurking behind the scenes (feedback, people! I need feedback!) Plus the gift has to have meaning, a purpose. A Wal-Mart gift card is too impersonal, too plastic.

So I turn to my source of inspiration- the whole reason I created this blog. My Favorites list. Where, in my internet travels, I drop interesting things I may want to visit/buy/play someday in the future. I turn to my “Stuff to Buy” folder…

Okay, I’m pretty sure no one is going to be interested in Lumicor Resin Panels (even though they’d look nice in my bathroom.) PJ Greetings is cute- my SIL bought Zombiegirl these notecards a few Christmases ago- but how many notecards does one need? Y’all know how I feel about the Diva Cup…. I should delete that…I already bought it. I’m not sure how many of you want the new Fiesta color (isn’t it pretty?) Or a Rain Barrel. They’re on my wish list on the sidebar. What about something from this store? I love their stuff. And it’s sustainable. But…

No. I got it. When my church, St. Andrew’s, had their Alternative Giving fairs right before Christmas, I would purchase items from this company. Wait- what’s an Alternative Giving Fair you ask? Since the majority of us have way too much stuff already, the Alternative Giving Fair gave you other options for gift giving. Give a cow or some ducks from Heifer International. Adopt a virtual turtle. Give a gift to the church in your recipient’s name. While there “shopping” you could also purchase items from, a nonprofit company that works “to eradicate poverty through our direct connections with low-income artisans and farmers.” They buy their unique crafts and food items and “help them grow and embrace the future.”

Their stuff is beautiful and unique. Jewelry, home and holiday decor, scarves, tea and coffee- there’s something for everyone.

Now here’s the good part. I’m giving away a $100 gift certificate to Okay- say it with me…”Ooooh! Aaaah!” I’ll hold the random drawing Tuesday night- October 27th- after all my sad stuff is done (you’ll find out) from everyone who comments on ANY of my postings between now and Tuesday, 9:00 pm EST. For every post, you’ll get an entry into our magic hat. Mention this giveaway on your blog, or Facebook (prove it- send me the link and/or be my “friend”) and you’ll get an additional entry for each. Follow my rants and ravings (“follow blog” on the Nav Bar) and you’ll get another entry. Comment on Hubby’s blog that you came from here and earn another entry! Family members may participate provided you use the gift certificate to buy something for ME! Please be sure to include your e-mail or have it in your profile so I can contact you if you win. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

Check out Strengthening our Global Community!

Dreamscape #2

It may have been the fall off the stairs and the bruised foot and toes I suffered, but last night’s dream was very strange. I’m sure I didn’t hit my head…

The emergency warning alarm pierced the air and blared every five seconds. My mother (deceased) came onto the porch (house I grew up in) and asked me if I knew what the emergency was. No sooner did she ask that question when emergency vehicles driving up and down the street blared out of their bullhorns “Everyone is required to evacuate the neighborhood. Proceed in an orderly manner to the designated safe area. We are anticipating heavy electrical storms and rogue lightning. Pets are welcome. Please do not bring excessive personal belongings.” This message repeated over and over until Nana (also deceased) came out to the porch also inquiring what was going on. (She was deaf in real life.) We got Zombiegirl (much younger) into a stroller and leashed Lola and Spencer and stepped out of the house into a beautiful day. The sun was shining on the bay across the street- it was a really pretty day. But quiet- no birds chirping, no kids playing- just the sound of the warning alarm and the emergency message blaring from the trucks. I looked to the sky toward the city and the biggest, blackest rain cloud I ever saw was looming about 10 miles away. It was somewhere over north Queens and heading our way.

We walked up the street toward this ominous cloud since that’s where the safe house was- a huge catering hall over the county line in Brooklyn. We walked for about an hour, Mom, Nana Ethel, Z-girl and the two dogs, along with everyone else in Howard Beach. It was calm, though- we all were chatting as if it were a block party or something.

As we approached the catering hall, all hell broke loose. The cloud hung over the neighborhood as small lightning bolts crashed behind us. We ran for the doors and just got inside when a bolt of lightning hit the street where we were standing and disintegrated it. All the power went off in the catering hall, as well as the rest of the city.

Emergency power brought lights on in the cavernous hall where circular tables were set up and people were camped out around the tables. I found a few spots at a table that included three of my high school friends (found on Facebook) and my husband. I sat next to him, he kissed my cheek and gave Z-girl a hug. We all sat quietly listening to the sound of what might have been hail on the roof of the hall.

The doors then crashed open and my old friend and Maid of Honor for both my weddings came in dressed in a theatrical gown and hat. She made her way to our table while people scrambled to shut the door to the mayhem outside. She stopped to give air kisses to my three friends, then stood behind me. I looked up and backwards at her- her face was grotesque upside-down- and she asked me if I noticed her implants, and did I want to feel how real they were. (There was never anything sexual between us…we were best friends.) My husband volunteered, and they went off to a dark corner. I looked at my Mom, and she gave me a wry smile. I got up angry and went to the front doors of the catering hall and peeked out. There was nothing but blue skies. Literally. Everything had been destroyed and what took the place of the rain cloud was a gigantic space ship (one that I’ve had recurring nightmares about before.) I screamed and…woke up.

It was good to see Mom and Nana again.

Blood, sweat and….

Warning to all the men who sometimes visit my blog: you might want to skip this posting and go here instead…look at the funny cat pictures.

Did I look forward to my period this month? I did because I wanted to try out the Diva Cup again but I didn’t because I knew it was going to be a bad one based on my wicked moodiness and inability to see the good in ANYTHING.

And I was right. It was a bad one. I used the Diva Cup in preparation for the Big Bleed- you can do that and not worry too much about Toxic Shock Syndrome like you have to with tampons. I was wearing it when it started and I didn’t leak, so I was psyched.

I should have known better.

The next day I wore it to the gym in the morning and still didn’t leak. Wonderful! I finally mastered this thing! When I got home I took a shower and re-inserted it for the maximum 12 hour usage potential and left for work.

I felt like what amounted to a little leakage by the time I got to work, but I was confident because I learned from the last time to wear pantyliners. Being that it was THE busiest day in the fourth quarter, I stayed at my desk on the computer most of the morning. When I got up to get something at the printer, I felt it. Whoosh. Like the Uterus decided it didn’t want to be inside anymore and was ready to take a vacation. I bypassed the printer and went to the ladies room. And it was like they filmed Friday the 213th in my pants. And they were beige.

I cleaned myself and my pants up the best I could, and re-re-inserted the Diva Cup. I went back to my desk wet, miserable and mad.

The rest of the day was a total Cup failure. I couldn’t remove it because I had nothing to put it in and I was NOT washing it out in the public sink. I just had to keep shifting it and hoping for the best. The best never came that day. By the time I got home I wanted to take the old Uterus out myself and send it to an institution. Plus I was pissed about all the other crap going on at work.

The next day I bucked up and tried it again. I inserted it while in the shower and got dressed and went to work. This time it felt like it was riding “low”. It wasn’t actually uncomfortable but I could feel it. The day before I felt nothing. All day I was prepared for that “whoosh” but it never came. I did feel like I was leaking, but every time I went to check, I wasn’t. It worked beautifully all day. My conclusion is this:

  • If you feel it, you’ve put it in correctly.
  • When inserting it, you need to insert horizontally towards the back, not up and in.
  • If you’ve inserted correctly, you’ll feel the blood going down- it’ll feel like you’re leaking, but you aren’t. The Cup is catching it before it spills out.

At the end of the day I made it home commuting with no leakage. As soon as I got home I went to the bathroom and started to take the cup out. All of a sudden I felt a warm rush of liquid on my hand. Crap! I spilled the cup again! But…noooo…the cup wasn’t out yet.

I was peeing on my hand.

I forgot I had to pee in my rush to take the Cup out and the action of pulling stimulated my pee muscles and I let loose. Two hours of commuting pee poured into my hand since I couldn’t move it away or I would drop the Cup that was halfway out. Wonderful. At that point I wanted to rip my Plumbing out too and send it packing with the Uterus. I want a penis! And balls! Anything but these girly parts that were driving me insane.

And men wonder why we get PMS. It’s in anticipation of the insanity that is our period.

Blood, sweat and…pee. Lovely.

The Whore of Babylon

Okay, maybe not Babylon. I’m not THAT far out on Long Island. But today, I definitely felt like a whore. Or maybe a bitch. Yeah- today, I was everybody’s bitch.

I decided to become an architect early on in life. You see, I was a Brady Bunch fan. I loved Greg, was jealous of Marsha and wanted to slap Cindy around. And before I knew he was gay, I loved Mike Brady. I waited anxiously for him to come home from the office with a roll of plans, or catch him in his office at his drafting table- damn those kids for always interrupting his creativity! And Mrs. Brady. How many times I seethed when she draped herself around him while he was trying to work. Yes, I loved and admired Mike. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be, I would say (after my customs-inspector stage) an Architect. If Mike could support six kids, a trendy wife, a live-in housekeeper, huge house and awesome vacations to Hawaii then architect looked pretty good to me. Plus I could draw and was pretty creative. I knew I wouldn’t make any money being an artist, so it seemed like the perfect job.

Um. Yeah.

Fast forward to college. I was at an immediate disadvantage my first year at NYIT. I didn’t know how to draft, I had no tools and had no idea how to use them once I bought them. Drafting was NOT taught in college- most of my classmates had taken drafting in high school. Add the construction classes to my confusion. Again, a lot of my male classmates worked construction after school or during the summer. I didn’t know a stud from a beam.

Throw into that mixture of college angst a fiance and a wedding and cook up a recipe for disaster.

Fast forward my first architectural job. A small architectural firm in Queens. My mom put in a good word for me there (she had dated one of the partners and the other partner lived a block away from them.) I learned how to make blueprints the ammonia way, stand in line at the building department (several hundred times pregnant) and how to produce a set of construction drawings that eventually didn’t look like they were bleeding after the partners got through marking it up with the red pen. I was happy there (except for the time the guy came in with the gun- but that’s another blog post) but the pay was paltry. I was basically there just to serve the apprenticeship before I took the exam to become a registered architect. I was married with a baby and both salaries weren’t cutting it, however. And it was here I learned that architects are whores.

Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects of the 20th Century said it best- “Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we’ve both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business. ” So right. And you can be the cleverest, most innovative, artistic architect in the world- if the client doesn’t like that color because it’s too “mustardy” then you have to change it.

Fast forward to my second architectural job. Regretfully, I left the first job for double the salary working for New York City Housing and Preservation and Development. Earning my halo renovating abandoned crack houses for low and middle class housing. Learned Autocad. Worked my way up to supervising 10 other architects. Lived through the drama of a morally corrupt set of bosses. Got pregnant with Obdurate Daughter. Divorced Ex-Asshole. Met my hubby-to-be. Was tenth in line to become a Permanent employee. Got passed over in favor of all “the good ole boys”. Filed a EEO complaint. Answered an ad in the Times (thanks, Frank) for my current job.

Sidestep, please, to the Registered Architect Exam. In order to take responsibility for your drawings and project, one must be registered with the State of New York as an architect. In order to become registered, one must pass an exam.

The Mother of All Exams.

Harder than the Bar Exam.

Harder than the Medical Exam.

This test (in my day) was four days long, composed of nine parts- Structures, Planning, Design, Plumbing/HVAC, Site Design, etc. The LAST day was a 12 hour long exam where you plan a building within the guidelines and produce a full set of drawings. I know people who have thrown up before this test, have taken this test nine times and who have had nervous breakdowns because of this last exam. I’ve taken it three times, as had MR. All in all, he’s passed five parts of this torture test, I’ve passed two. Is it something I wish I’ve accomplished? Yes. Do I need it for my current job? No. It would have been nice to be registered, but then again, think of the liability insurance…

Fast forward to my next job, the present job. I started in my current job as Chief Architect. I was responsible for plans and fit-studies of the home office of a major Financial Institution. I designed trading floors. I spoke with heads of departments. I instituted Archibus (a facilities database) to help with cost allocation. I was one of a kind in my little world of Facilities. I was newly married to MR.

Fast forward through one merger and one layoff then 12 years later. I no longer do design. I no longer do planning. I do mostly data input. I have a deadline one week out of every quarter. And it seems that everyone wants a piece of my ass during that week. And I usually get my period around that time, so it makes the idiocy that I deal with all the more idiotic. But isn’t this your job, you may ask? Don’t people need the reports that you produce? Yes they do, and I do support management with my reports. It’s all the “extra” crap that’s not really in my job description that people ask me to do because they know it will be right, and they’ll get it quickly if I do it.

I won’t go into specifics about who and what pisses me off. I don’t want to be “Dooced“. But today I should have just laid down on my back and let them have at me. They did anyway. And they didn’t even offer me a smoke.

Curse you, Mike Brady.

My Grain

It feels like a ball peen hammer thudding directly on my brain.

It feels like my eyes are being pulled and stretched from the inside.

It feels like a giant hand pressing down on the top of my head, pushing to my stomach, making me sick.

It feels like a migraine.

Those of you who know me know I’ve been getting migraines since Beena was born, so that’s going on 21 years. Debilitating migraines. Stay at home for three days migraines. Throw up until I pass out migraines. I’ve tried different prescriptions and they would work until I got used to them- then I’d have to change. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant to prevent them, but they made my life foggy, like I was walking through pea soup, so I stopped taking them. I learned to avoid my “triggers” – those things that will cause a migraine- like red wine, phosphates, hard cheese, too much caffeine and too much stress. But I noticed a few years ago that even if I avoided my triggers, I would still get two or three migraines a week, usually in the spring and the fall. Clicking around the interwebs, I found a trigger I never would have guessed- a change in the barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure, or air pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air over an area of Earth’s surface. This value factors in how many molecules of air there are in a specific area, how fast those molecules are moving and how often they collide. At sea level, gravity is strongest and attracts the greatest number of molecules, so air pressure is greatest. Because gravity weakens as you go up, air pressure is lower at higher altitudes.

Air pressure changes are caused by storms, which are areas of low pressure moving across the country. Clear skies are areas of high pressure. When a front- or boundary between warm and cold air- comes by, the air pressure can drop and rise rapidly. It seems that changes in air pressure can cause migraines and sinus headaches. They don’t know why, but that’s okay. I at least figured out why during these seasons I continue to get migraines.

Mom bought me a glass barometer for my birthday a few years ago. Zombiegirl used to watch it then run in and tell me that I’m going to get a migraine. Whenever the water rose in the spout the air pressure was decreasing- a storm was coming. I usually got hit with the migraine when the spout water was going down. Note to self: clean out the stupid thing and fill it properly so it will work! I pretty much stopped using the barometer when I started going to the chiropractor specifically to treat the migraines.

Having an adjustment on a weekly basis seemed to lessen the migraines down to once every three weeks in my peak seasons. Times of stress usually brought them on more, but they weren’t as debilitating as usual. Did I keep up with my adjustments? Of course not. I missed spring and summer and come this fall, they came back with a vengeance.

My migraines usually start with an “aura”. A spectral vision of zig-zag lines that start in the center of my vision then gradually grow outward to hinder my peripheral vision. It was hard to describe this aura to my family and friends until I found this flash animation on this post that nails my aura right on the head. Scroll down for the animation. Mine is reversed, though. It starts on the upper left side…

If I take medication (right now I’m relying on Excedrin for Migraine) while I have the aura the migraine usually won’t “take” and I can function like a normal human. What’s been happening to me recently is I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, or the morning already in the full throes of a migraine. How the hell to I combat that? I woke up with one this morning at 2:30 am, and yesterday when I got up at 5:00 am. I’m going to continue see Dr. Evelyn for adjustments every week and I’m going to limit my coffee intake. It HAS been a stressful week, though. Maybe that’s it.

If you suffer from migraines please let me know what you do to fight them. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I’m just going to put my head down on my desk for awhile…

Results Not Typical

It’s Tuesday again, so it must be workout day. I REALLY need to go more than twice a week…

I start with six minutes on the treadmill at 3.9. This works out to be around 15 mph. Don’t ask me how… Mike comes over and takes me to the free weight area and puts a half bouncy ball upside down on the floor. I do 3 sets of 12 push ups with my hands on the bouncy ball bottom. This is hard because I have to balance as well as do the push ups.

Next, he flips the ball things over and makes me sit on the top with my hands under my ass. He tells me to bring my knees to my chest and then straighten them out. All while balanced on the ball. Riiiight. I do two very shaky sets of 12.

Still on the ball, leaning back, I do two sets of 15 crunches.

Next to the machines I’ve been looking forward to- the Adductor and the Abductor. Three sets of 12 with 70lbs. on each of these inner and outer thigh machines. Ouch. This is why I can’t get up from my office chair easily.

Over to the tall machine that can do 1,000 different exercises with straps, bars and handles. He has me doing three sets of 12 downward triceps curls with (I think) 40lbs. Then he switches the bar for two handles and has me in a lunge stance doing two sets of 12 chest presses with (I think) 20 lbs on each side.

I have nine more sessions, then I’m on my own. Sniff!

100 Things That Piss Me Off (or make me mad)

Oh, this one was MUCH easier. As I suspected…I am a misanthrope. And there are so many more…

1. Riding the subway.

2. Taking the N6 bus.

3. People who spit or hock a lugie on the sidewalk.

4. Wednesday matinee days.

5. People who take advantage. People who take home all the food after a conference.

6. The phrase “It is what it is.”

7. “Valentime‘s Day”

8. Liars.

9. When having a conversation: the person you’re conversing with is not listening to you but is prepping what they’re going to say next.

10. Being put on hold.

11. Poison ivy.

12. Rap music.

13. Celebrity gossip.

14. When I can’t finish a Sudoku.

15. When I forget to bring my reusable bags to the store.

16. People who don’t even TRY to recycle. Litterbugs.

17. Micro-managers. Managers who are also megalomaniacs.

18. Michael Jackson tributes.

19. Tanning salons.

20. Half-assed jobs.

21. Breaking a nail. Not that I EVER get my nails done.

22. Crackberries. Twitter. And the people who walk V..e..r..y…S..l..o..w..l..y while using them.

23. Bad boyfriends and their families.

24. Children misbehaving in public and usually how their parent’s (don’t) deal with them.

25. Dirty bathrooms and the pigs that make them that way.

26. People who talk on the phone all day instead of working.

27. Tourists.

28. Authors who crank out books in a series when clearly the series has already jumped the shark.

29. Reality TV shows. Except for Wipeout.

30. Mommybloggers. ESPECIALLY Dooce. And that Sandi Benson chick.

31. Starbuck’s and the posers who buy their sludge.

32. Companies that outsource their Help Desk and Customer Service to India.

33. Facebook friends that play those games all day long and post the status updates, thus clogging up the status list.

34. My ex-husband’s child bride.

35. When dog poop is NOT picked up.

36. When I can’t find something. My house has a black hole.

37. Bad breath. And the unwillingness to do anything about it.

38. Loud phone talkers.

39. Loud LIRR talkers.

40. People who won’t say “Good morning” or “Hello” when met passing on the street.

41. The nosy person in my office.

42. Neighbors who insist on coughing loudly or making other noise early in the morning or late at night under my bedroom window.

43. Dishes in the sink. And the unwillingness of anyone to do anything about them.

44. Burnt cookies. Burnt food.

45. Unresponses to emails.

46. The person who monopolizes conversations. Especially at book club.

47. People who constantly talk about their children. Every. Chance. They. Get.

48. Nasty soccer parents. And their nasty children.

49. Counter people who don’t get your order right. Usually because they don’t speak English.

50. Democrats that don’t like me because I’m a Republican.

51. Liberals.

52. People that hold grudges.

53. Season finales.

54. Shattered dreams.

55. The guy on the corner that has a billion kids, but can’t get any of them to do yard work. And he only “cleans” up his yard when it’s time to put his sukkah up.

56. Daughters who think we’re idiots.

57. Stray cats.

58. Bosses who don’t let you know when they’re going to be out.

59. Co-workers who take advantage and DON’T DO THEIR JOB.

60. Drug addicts. Alcoholics.

61. Spencer and Lola.

62. When my sewing machine gets moody.

63. When I’m moody (THAT time of the month) and no one is sympathetic.

64. My period. Period.

65. When my plants die.

66. People who ALWAYS cry poverty.

67. When my computer crashes. When my program doesn’t work. When I get a virus.

68. When my family is sick. MR’s allergies. Z-girl’s asthma.

69. When I’m sick. Migraines. Cramps.

70. My fat belly.

71. When I procrastinate.

72. The current physical state of my home.

73. Assholes who voted for Obama because he’s black. Assholes who didn’t vote for Obama because he’s black.

74. People who accuse first without getting the whole story.

75. Snotty, snooty or stuck-up persons.

76. Sloppy, slovenly or messy persons.

77. Kids with bad table manners. Even worse- adults with bad table manners.

78. Breaking a dish or a glass.

79. Bad drivers. Arrogant drivers. Asshole drivers.

80. People who don’t realize that you DO have a life outside of work, or outside of THEIR lives!

81. Men who undress you with a glance.

82. Small dogs. If they can fit in a pocketbook, they’re annoying. If you dress them, you’re annoying.

83. Rich people who feel entitled. Poor people who feel entitled.

84. Clueless Upper Management.

85. When the spouse can’t take a hint.

86. When friends cancel or don’t respond back to you.

87. People who would rather spend money on themselves than their kids.

88. Swindlers, bamboozlers, cheaters.

89. Bus riders that take up two seats. Subway riders that stick their feet out, or cross their legs. Guys who sit with their legs WIIIDE open. Then get mad at you if you try to sit/hit their feet…

90. When asked what they want for dinner, my family says “Whatever” or “I don’t know.” Or, when asked what they want from the supermarket, they reply the same, and complain there’s nothing to eat.

91. Not being able to take a real vacation.

92. When I trip or fall for no reason.

93. Typos. Grammatical errors. Use spell-check, people!

94. Body odor. Flaky scalp. Dirty clothes. Stinky feet.

95. Hidden fees. Late fees. Greens fees.

96. Underestimating my abilities.

97. My hair.

98. Cancer.

99. People who say “I haven’t seen you in Church lately!” Well, I haven’t seen you at the bar lately!

100. Bad porn.