Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Free Time

Last night's drive home was a good one. Meaning the roads were dry, traffic moved and I got home at a decent time. Amazing what a decent commute will do for one's mood.

My usual ritual is to arrive home, throw the mail on the coffee table, hang up my coat, and then sit on the couch for a few mintues to just breathe.

After that I dig around in the kitchen for dinner. Last night was quick because I had leftovers. Then I unwind with an episode of Friends which is the equilviant of eating a big bowl of Mac and Cheese.

Then I cruised over to the library to return some books, and of course picked up some more. I can't stop when they're is free media. I snagged Dave Eggers new book, What is What. Then I got some free movies.

Searching for Debra Winger, an doc about actresses in Hollywood and Mad Hot Ballroom and the entire second season of Six Feet Under. Love that show, and I know I've seen most of that season once upon a time, but it's a good thing to watch in the evening.

Maybe that's why I've been depressed?

After the library, I went to Target to pick up some household items and decided to treat myself to a Valentine Day t-shirt. It does not expressly support V-Day, but I thought it was cute, and is really just an extension of my love of the theme sock.

If nothing else, I can use a few more long sleeve t-shirts for the gym. Shane came over on Saturday and showed me an entire weight routine to supplement my cardio.

I'll be picking up cars with my bare hands in no time.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Name Tag No More

My first job was at the local IGA grocery store in Milford.
I worked in the deli department and made $4.00 an hour. It was good money at the time.

The deli/bakery was a job divided into two parts. Either you were bakery, which meant that when you're shift started at 3 pm, you were given a list, and send into the back of the store to the walk in freezer. It was here that you pulled out flat, triangle, and circle pieces of frozen dough. These would turn into donuts.

It was the other person's responsibilty to "work the chicken fryer." This involved, dipping raw chicken into a bin of flour and throwing all the pieces into a hot cauldren of hot grease.

In between these tasks, we waited on customers, sliced their lunch meats, scooped their potato salads, and boxed their cakes and cookies.

Other jobs in high school and college were equally fulfilling.

1. The Little Ceasar's. Absurd outfit,pizza maker and phone answerer.
2. The Laundry Mat: My only job requirement was that I not fall asleep. (Only did this once.) We had a drop off service where people could drop off their clothes and I'd wash it for them. And hand out quarters. This was actually a great after school job, because I could do most of my homework and get paid.
3. Other Pizza Place- same as before minus the cheesy outfit.
4. Highland House Carryout- Handed out breadsticks and smelled of food. This was good training for my stint at the Olive Garden.
5. Krogers- I was a Courtsey Clerk: Meaning I bagged up your grocercies and collected your carts from the parking lot.
6. Summitt Cafe- I did this for one day. Apparently, I'm just not waitress material.
7. Olive Garden- Prep cook. Ie, smell like olive oil, grease, and wet spinach.
8. Another Laundry Mat: Across town. Same drill. Fold clothes. Give change.
9. Shell Station: Pumped gas at full service station. Was forbidden to read or do anything but stare in the parking lot in between fill ups.
10.Joe Muggs- My best part time job ever. Got to make coffee drinks, and coffee. Drank all the free coffee I wanted and read magazines.

That was my last name tag job. And I hope there isn't ever another one.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


It's a quiet Sunday.

The kind of day where I've already been outside, talked with others and interacted with the world on some level, so I don't feel like a recluse.

Now I'm just resting on the couch next to the heater, not wanting to move.

Birds are chirping outside the window, oblivious to the snow in the branches. Or maybe they're yelling at one another that they should've left to go south a while back.

Wish I could go South too.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Subscribe

There are a few things I'd walk over my own mom to get to.
Beligum Chocolate, Joaquin Phoenix, Johnny Cash or anything JC related and magazines.

I have a magazine obession/sickness. I can never have enough. I'm not sure why but they fill me with absolute joy. Here's a list of the ones that I have subscriptions too:

1. Entertainment Weekly- I'm also an entertainment junkie, although lately, I've been falling behind on this one.
2. Glamour- Well because sometimes I enjoy being a girl and reading about girly stuff.
3. Esquire- Astute men's magazine, cause I like reading stories, and articles about gadgets and David Sedaris and Chuck Klosterman are regular contributers.
4.Dominio- Artsy interior desginer crafts, and cool ideas for decorating.

Then there is all the FREE magazines I pick up from the media bins, a perk of working at an advertising agency. Just nabbed the new, Vanity Fair, Self, Jane,( I know. Don't judge me), GQ, Gourmet, Conde Nast Traveler, the New Yorker, and Martha Stewart Living.

I love tearing the plastic off a fresh magazine and laying in my bed or on the couch to read them. The best part is that when I'm done, I give them all away. Some to the gym and some to my neighbors, and they are thrilled with a stack of bountiful free reading.

And because I'm such a loyal magazine reader, I can get subscriptions for extremly cheap. There's always the library too and sometimes I go sit at a bookstore and read the weekly ones.

I share the same passion for books. Piles of books line the floor of my flat, waiting to be read. There is the library stack, which means they must go first. Top of the pile is Memory Keeper's Daughter. Then there is a pile I just created from a used book store, which contains a book, Indecision about a guy working for a huge drug company, a random romance novel, and Middlesex, which received a Pultizer prize.

And under the coffee table, Beach Music which I hear is awesome, and got that from a girl in my writer group at our book exchange for Christmas.

Hey, maybe we do an exchange sometime soon too?

In my room on the bookshelf Gone with the Wind, The World According to Garp, and Kavilier and Clay.

Plenty of printed words to keep me entertained.

Maybe I'll go to the library this weekend.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

4 Little Girls

I enjoy documentaries and I like learning about real things that have happened, which is probably why I gravitate toward memoir writing and can't get enough of an authentic story.

Last night, I watched the documentary, 4 Little Girls about the bombing of the 16th street church in Alabama in the 60's. It was powerful and sad. It makes you wonder why such hatred would exist and what these men thought killing four innocent children was going to accomplish in furthing their cause.

Now, that I'm older I sometimes think about History class in high school and how I'd probably enjoy it so much more now. Not the Colonial period, but things like the Civil Rights movement, I find fascinating. Coming from an very white town, we covered the subject in a very brief manner, and certainly didn't pay attention the we should have.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Life Comes In

There is death and there is life. Big newsflash right? Well, having been to both a funeral and a birth, I'd much prefer the new life being born.

Last Thursday, my oldest friend, had a baby. A beautiful son named Harrison. I was an emotional wreck. I kept crying. Tears of joy, I'm sure, but it was very powerful to see my friend whom I've known since I was 6 have a child of her own.

It was amazing really. She was so brave. I was honored she wanted me in the room.
She'd asked me and her sister to leave when the actual delivery was about to take place, but this I can understand. Still, I was there all night and got to hold him two hours after he was born.

And again yesterday. C. called me and asked me to come and see her and the baby. They were all doing pretty good. I held him for a long time, and he slept and slept.

I don't think there is anything more peaceful than holding and cuddling a sleeping baby. I'm Aunt Kelly to the new baby. My second child, while not offical. It doesn't get much closer than knowing someone for almost 30 years.

My other little girl is my friend K's daughter. She is almost 2 and learned to say my name recently. That melted my heart too.

The funny thing is that I'm not one of those women who runs to hold other people's kids or automatically wants to hold your child. But if you're a true friend of mine, I seem to feel differently. I want to babysit them, help take care of them, and be there for you.

And that's what Aunts are for.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Ice Storm

Sunday night brought the winter weather that most of us in Michigan dread, but are not surprised by. And there are those for whom winter is a joyful time to ski and snowboard and enjoy. And I'm happy for you.

It also makes me glad because my brother owns and operates a tree company. Two of them actually, Sequoia Tree Service and Quinlan Tree Service.

Yesterday I spent the day with him. Our original plan was to hang out while my Saturn was outfitted with an remote starter. But the ice came instead.

We'll still hung out, but it was mostly in the cab of the F-350, while we drove from job to job to look at downed trees and fallen limbs. He had to look at the trees on houses, in front of garages first. The ones where people could get hurt.

Our first order of the day was a tree that had crashed through a lady's front porch, and smashed her front window. The good news is that nobody was hurt, and Shane was able to get there and reassure the women that he'd have his crew back in a hour of two. It was thenoff to the yard, to help de-ice and get the equipment ready, and gather the crew, and so on and on. Calls upon calls and constant movement.

I didn't mind. I had a good time just hanging out and talking to my brother and watching him work.

I often think of him as a Superhero, swooping in and saving the day. Taking charge but always with a gentle nudge. It is a gift that God has given him.

I'm proud of the work he does, and I can't imagine having the skill to jump out of the truck, stand in the middle of a tangle of downed branchs, and with a yank of a chain saw, tear through a tree limb like it was made of butter.

I work in what he refers to as, "Corporate America." Where we gather around the community coffee maker, outfitted with our ID badges making small talk about our weekend.

But Shane does the real work. The gritty, down and dirty that others hire him for. And he does it with grace, ease and confidence.

And he is so generous.

After our long day, he took me to pick up the car with the new remote starter that was a gift from him actually, and then he made me dinner, and gave me new speakers to hook up to my computer.

I couldn't ask for a better older brother than Shane.

As my friend Barrie once said, "It seems like Shane would lay down in traffic for you."

I don't doubt it for a second.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

You old Bitch

Today's blog entry is dedicated to my friend Barrie, since it is her birthday.

Hence the title of today's entry. Now please take that with a grain of salt. I know Barrie will.

Barrie and I met 6 years ago, when we were the only two female writers in our class at the Portfolio Center. We'd both come there for different reasons. Me, I'd been in the "real world" doing a job that I hated, and couldn't stand to do for one more mintute. And Barrie came because she thought she'd postpone working for a while longer.

The first time we hung out, we went to a famous bar in Atlanta, the Cleremont Lounge. It was a female strip bar, but neither one of us knew this ahead of time, we'd been sent there for school and told to write about our experience. Welcome to Portfolio Center. It became clear very early in the friendship by all rights and means, we shouldn't be friends. We had nothing in common. We didn't like the same music, clothes, I grew up in the midwest, she was a Floridia native.

I liked Harry Connick Jr and Johnny Cash. She was more Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel.

You see? Not the same. And maybe that's why we've stayed friends. I don't know anyone else like her in my life. She's very much her own person. Maybe we have that in common.

Barrie will wear wrist warmers that she'd learned to knit herself, and I'd wear socks with dogs doing a limbo on them, just cause they're fun.

Happy Birthday Barrie. I hope your doing something very fun today.

Wishing you happiness today, tomorrow and always.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tote On

I horde stuff.

And part of my daily morning ritual is packing a small green tote bag full of random items, I've convinced myself I will need during the day.
Let's see what today's bag has inside.

Main Bag Contents:
1. Love Walked In- A novel by Marisa De Los Santos- (to be read while at the gym)
2. A list of bills to be paid on Friday.
3. An application for a new CVS discount card.
4. An offer from Newsweek for a whole year for $20. I'm thinking about breaking up my love of mindless gossip with actual news events.
5.A letter from Merrill Lynch about my new 401K.
6. An invoice to Cosmo. I can't grow up all at once.
7.The Last 2 weeks of Entertainment Weekly.
8. The Janurary issue of Shape Magazine.
(I've been going to the gym most every day before work)
9.My wallet. It is almost as old as me.
10. My checkbook. Yes, I do use online banking.
11. A brown plastic hair clip. Since I just had all my hair cut off, I know longer need this.
12. My Wonder Woman address book.
13. A Plum Brandy lipstick from Clinque.
14. My Weight Watchers food journal. I'm supposed to write down everything I eat.
15. A receipt for Brilliant Brunette Shampoo & Conditioner.

And in the interior pocket:

1. My passwords to log onto my computer, my email, my timesheets for work. (They change often)
2. A 75 cents off coupon for Feria hair color.
3. A mirrored compact with Armed and Dangerous written on it. (Xmas gift from my mom)
4.Home Goods receipt, where I recently purchased a relish tray knife set.
5. Clinque lipstick, shade Guava Stain.
6. My ipod mini.

If you're a reader you almost always a book on you at all times or at least one or two in the trunk of your car, just in case. And that's how the tote tradition got started in the first place.

Carry On.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Flat

I have been the sole inhabitant of an upper flat in Royal Oak since August 2005.
There are pros and cons of flat living that I've discovered upon move in.

1. Flat sounds so much more exciting than upper attic of old house.
2. Makes me sound British instead of cheap.
3. Which brings me to rent. It is not too expensive for me to live within walking distance of coffee shops, bookstores, bars and a farmer's market.
4. Character: It's got charm in a bit run down kind of way. My kitchen is in two parts. If I was any taller than 5'2", I'd hit my head on the doorway leading into the front room.
5. I've got 2 sky-lights and both a living room and a front room to put a desk, and bookshelves.
6. Decorated to suit my taste and since everything is very close together, I'm never more than 4 steps away from anything.
7. Fresh paint and slow addition of art work have added an air of ecelectic taste and maintained a sense of mystery. Guests may wonder, "Does she ever plan on buying a dining room table to give those 4 dining room chairs a sense of purpose?"
8. My neighbors are two girls who live right below me, but I have my own entrance. And they're the best kind of neighbors. They watch out for me, they pick up my mail when I'm gone, and it feels like we're a team over our collective home.
9. In exchange for drive-way parking on their part, they mow the grass.
10. I have my own washer and dryer inside my flat.
11. If something breaks, I call the landlord. Of course he once advised me to glue my kitchen tile back on, rather than repairing it, so I don't call him too often.

1. Rent- I don't own a home yet. But until I know where jobs and life will take me that's how it goes.
2. The tempeture: It's always blazing hot in the summer even with A/C window units and fans.
But manages to be freezing cold in the winter. Old windows leak air, and thus I freeze. No matter how hot I turn up the thermostat, I'm chilly. Consumer Energy doesn't see it that way, and continue to charge wads of cash so I can be freezing cold, inside the home.
3. The Shower: I think the H/C knob is purely decorative. It doesn't matter what I select, the shower is always burning hot. Even on the lowest heat setting.
4. Ratty carpeting. Thread bare and long ago clean, I did my best to spot clean it and instead bought bright colored area rugs to cover the floor. At least I can take those with me.
5. Storage- Or complete lack of it. I have no area in which to put anything not in immediate use. The only "storage area" is this random black hole in my hall closet. I throw stuff in there and pray a gremlin won't chew my arm off when I go to retreive something. I keep expecting to pull out a Santa Head decoration and see his face half chewed off by a random rodent.
6. When the girls downstairs listen to music I hear it. All of it. I'm sure it's not that loud in there house, but it echos. And they told me upon move in to please let them know if it's ever too loud. It's never that bad, and I can't bring myself to be that guy. That one that comes over and says, "I know you're having a party, but I need you to stop having fun so I can watch PBS and take a nap."

The pro's outweigh the cons, and as I suspected even with its quirks, I enjoy my little home and I'm happy to have it all to myself.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Scooby Where Are You?

I'm saddened to learn that the man who created Scooby Doo and brought him to life has died.
I have many fond memories of Saturday mornings hunched in front of our tv with my brothers.
We'd eat cornflakes and sit in our footy pj's, and laugh at goofy Scooby and all his adventures.

According to the internet article, the creator named Scooby after a line in the Frank Sinatra song, Strangers in the Night. In a way then, Mr. King of Cool named an iconic cartoon.

In other news, I've been awful. Still have to take down my Christmas tree. I will do it tonight. I don't think it will take it that long once I start. It's part of a bigger project where I need to clear off my desk to get my writing of stories started again. It's like anything. I'm out of practice and it now seems like I shall never again write a decent sentence to save my life.

I did put Word on my computer last night so now it's a matter of words on paper.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Take a Message

America's love of the cell phone is getting out of hand. People already take them everywhere as if they're children. And because of this, people have lost their sense of decency. Twice over the holiday break between Christmas and New Year's, I was out returning things and shopping.

And twice while in the ladies room in the stall next to me women took calls while I am assuming going to the bathroom.

Why in the world would you do this? Can't you just wait till you leave the restroom to answer the phone? It really can't be that important. Then yesterday I was at Home Goods and while in the store, I over-heard the following:

Man: I feel like I got used last night.

Person on other end of phone: (Have no idea.)

Man: Well, because you come over last night and spend the night, and then you don't call me till 4 in the afternoon. What's that all about?"

I'm pretty sure that the lady or gentleman wasn't aware that this private conversation was now public information for a store full of strangers.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wee Haw

The first offical weekend of 2007 is fast approaching and I'm hanging out at work willing the clock to move faster.

Not that I've got grand plans this evening. Just meeting my friend R. for dinner, but it'll be nice to have a visit.

On Saturday is the haircut and then I've promised C. who is pregnant that'd I'd come for a visit.

She is feeling cooped up and needing some company. Sunday is writer group and I've got to commit to actually getting a story or two written this year in the greater scale of finishing something for publication.

And we'll see what else the weekend will bring.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Turn the Tide

A New Year is upon us and it is usually the time of year when we all take stock of our lives and decide to make grand statements about what is going to change this year. I used to fall for this trick too, but not any more.

I've made some decisions about a few things but they're quiet ones and not things that I need to share with the world over to make them true. I can tell you I plan to continue my early morning treks to the gym before work, because they help me. I like the gym so much better in the morning. It's comfortable. I've gotten used to all the machines.

I like seeing the same people. The dark blonde guy that reads the newspaper and runs on the stairmaster at a frantic pace. The blonde skinny girl next to him who looks like she could've been a homecoming queen, but a friendly one. The lady who sometimes walks on the treadmill next to mine and asks if we can change the channel from the Today Show to Good Morning America.

These are the people I like exercising with. We're all regular people just doing our thing. The last time I went at night, it was a totally different feeling, like I was at a high school dance but instead of formal dresses we were all wearing baggie t-shirts.

I still need to take down my Las Vegas Christmas tree and pack everything up. I kept it up a few extra days since I didn't get to enjoy it while I was up north.

As a nod to the New Year, I did make a hair appointment for Saturday at the fancy salon, but I like it there and I know I won't leave there looking worse for wear.

New Hair. New Year.

Get the scissors.