Saturday, January 26, 2013

I didn't really like that car anyway.

Also, OUCH.  That's me on the stretcher behind the car.  See my feet? 

Husband was driving. The Kid was at a birthday party, thank goodness.  Every time I think about what might have happened had he been in the car with us, I fight back tears.  Scary.

I won't go into details, but I will say that the little sports car that ran the red light didn't get nearly as beat up as our giant Pacifica.  They basically hit our bumper from the passenger (my) side and plowed through it all the way across.  Not that I remember any of that.  I don't remember hitting my head or shoulder on the window either, but I guess I did.

By the time I realized what had happened, the car was full of white airbags and airbag dust and I had my hands up over my ears (including one which was still holding an empty Chipotle bowl--which sprinkled a festive layer of rice over my hair), a goose egg on the back of my head, and a splitting headache.

Husband wasn't injured, so he grabbed his cell phone and fervently dialed 911.  

Being in a car wreck is weird.  It happens so quickly, and then all of a sudden there are all these people there asking you to make decisions and assess situations:  "What happened?" "What hurts?" "Do you want to go to the hospital?"  How should I know??  I WAS JUST IN A WRECK.  Confusing!

Sorry it's blurry. It's hard to take a self-portrait while strapped to a board.
Anyway, I did take the ambulance to the hospital, where they strapped me to a board and gave my brain a scan to make sure that I wasn't about to die.  I wasn't.  They unstrapped me and sent me on my way with a Motrin and the name of a doctor for a follow-up appointment.  I'm sure the whole thing will cost a thousand dollars.

But at least nobody died.  And at least The Kid wasn't with us.  And at least we'll get a new car, because that one wasn't all that fuel efficient anyways.  Silver linings.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

And this is why I would make a terrible famous person.

Last week, I was contacted by a woman via email who requested to interview me on the radio about being an awards show seat filler.  I wrote about my experience as a seat filler about a year ago here, and I'm assuming that's how she found me--unless there's some former seat filler database of which I'm unaware.

My first reaction was to politely decline.  After all, I only worked as a seat filler once, 13 years ago, at an obscure awards show that barely anyone knows exists.  However, after receiving an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from family and friends who thought I should do it, I emailed the woman back and accepted after stating my reservations.  She replied immediately and we made plans to do the interview today at 1PM.

I've tried to put it out of my mind for the last week so that I don't get nervous and call it off, because I tend to do that with important things.  I'm an over-thinker/worrier, and also I'm out of Xanax.  I've been putting off going to the doctor to get more because I'm worried that they'll think I'm a crazy person.  Yes, I am aware of the paradox.

To give you an idea of what I go through in my mind (and why I'd make a terrible famous person) (and why I should probably cut back on the coffee), what follows is an account of my thought process today:

9:00 AM  Today is my radio interview!  Exciting!

9:30 AM  I think I'll make some coffee....oh, no.  I feel dizzy.  I think I'm nervous.  Maybe coffee is a bad idea. 

9:40 AM  Eh, what the hell?  Maybe just one cup.  COFFEE!!! 
And by "cup", I mean "20 oz. mug".

9:50 AM  Just spoke to a friend on the phone and tried to explain what a seat filler is and why I am going on the radio today.  Noticed that I said "um" a lot.  Must practice explaining the role of seat filler before I'm asked on national radio this afternoon.  I'm a bumbling idiot.

9:55 AM  Just Googled "how to become a seat filler" and decided that, if they ask, I'll just tell them to do the same thing.  What, they don't have Google?

10:15 AM  I may as well finish off this whole French is expensive. 

10:30 AM  Re-read the blog post that brought this situation about, to freshen up my mind on the details of that evening.  This is a pretty good story. 

10:48 AM  I should not have had the rest of that coffee.  Am I talking fast?  I think I'm talking too fast.  Must remember to talk slowly.  And make sense.  I'm sweaty.  Surely two hours is enough time to burn off the caffeine, right?

10:57 AM  Drinking water like a mad woman.  FLUSH OUT THE CAFFEINE!  FLUSH IT RIGHT OUT!!!

water water water water water water water
11:00 AM  Pee break.

11:05 AM  Read some local news about a woman who was strangled and had her body burned.  What a sick world we're living in.  Why would anyone want to interview me about seat filling when there are crazy things like this going on?  Horrible.

11:30 AM  Pee break.  Note to self: buy toilet paper.

11:45 AM  Oh no.  I hope I don't have to pee in the middle of the interview.  That would be bad.  It's only ten minutes long, so surely I could hold it.  Surely.  Must remember to go before I sit down at the desk.

11:46 AM  I forgot to make The Kid his lunch.  And he still has to do his homework.  I am a terrible mother.

11:47 AM  Make lunch and give The Kid his homework to do.  He doesn't want to do it.  I tell him that he has to, otherwise he'll disappoint his teacher.  He does it.

11:50 AM  Put on some makeup and do my hair.  Yes, this is a radio interview, but it's being done over Skype and I think the hosts will see me.  Must look presentable.


12:15 PM  Pee break.  Today was a bad day to wear long johns and skinny jeans.

12:16 PM  *click here for sad horn sound*  Just got a phone call from the radio producer.  She did not read my blog post at all, and just assumed that I had worked the Oscars since she found it by Googling "seat filler at the oscars".  I will not be doing the interview after all.

Oh well.  That's life, as they say.

Am I disappointed?  A little, yeah.  Even though I was anxious and I'm a little relieved, I would be lying if I said that I wasn't kind of excited to hear the end result.  Also, this blog post is totally screwed up now.

The moral of the story:  say yes to things that scare you.*  They may give you anxiety, they may not pan out quite the way you'd imagined, but at least you won't miss any opportunities.  What else was I going to do with my morning, anyway?

Also a good lesson:  if you work in radio or television, you may want to do your research a little more thoroughly before the day of the interview.  I mean, 45 minutes out and she FINALLY reads the blog post that brought her to me?  All the information she needed was right there!  People are so lazy.

*If anybody would like to interview me on the radio (or on television) in the future, I would request that you 1) choose something that I can talk about with confidence and 2) don't give me too much advance notice.  Also, if you would offer to pay me or give me a free trip to somewhere, I'd take that too, but only if you want to because I don't want to sound greedy. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The $400 question.

Everyone seems to be going on vacations right now.  Cabin fever always seems to hit around this time of year, and I'm no exception.  I need out.

I'm actually supposed to be planning a trip of my own right now, but I'm tired of looking at Expedia/Orbitz/Travelocity/Trip Advisor after spending several hours doing just that over the last four days.  My head is spinning. 

You see, last year I went on a trip to L.A. by myself in March.  On my layover in Salt Lake City on the way home, a flight attendant came over the speaker and explained that the flight was oversold and that they were looking for someone to take a voluntary bump from the flight in exchange for travel credit and food vouchers.  Since I was in no hurry and I was traveling alone, I did it and ended up with a $400 travel credit which had to be used within a year's time.

A year flies by very quickly, people!  I had planned on using my travel voucher to bring someone out to see me, but then I read the fine print and found out that I have to be traveling with the person for them to use my voucher.  Damn.

So, I hatched a plan to visit England.  I'd always wanted to go and I've been putting it off for years.   I started working on some music with my friend Emma and decided that using this travel voucher for part of a ticket to visit her would be like a working vacation, so I wouldn't feel terrible leaving Husband and Kid at home while I jetted off.

This was a very exciting plan and I was all ready to do it until...Husband got sick an needed surgery.  As you're all aware, this was a very expensive event.  I could not justify spending such a large amount of money on myself when I knew we'd have huge bills rolling in that would need to be paid.

Strike two.

Now, I'm left with several options:

1.  Use my voucher to go back to Missouri and visit family.

2.  Use my voucher to take a vacation with Husband somewhere cheap.

3.  Let my voucher expire and just throw away a free $400.

4.  Use my voucher to take a writing vacation by myself somewhere cheap.

#1 is logical.  I wouldn't have to pay for a hotel room when I got there and my parents keep asking when I may be coming home again.  The voucher barely covers the cost of my ticket, though, and so nobody would go with me, and I'm pretty sure that when people say "when are you coming?", what they mean is "when is The Kid coming?", because that's what happens when you have a kid.

#2 would be great, especially with Valentine's Day coming up, but since we have zero family in the area, we don't have anyone to watch The Kid.  I suppose we could take him with us, but then there's school to think about.  Also he gets sick on planes and I'm sure that buying three tickets would go way over my $400, so I may as well have gone to Europe.

#3 is stupid.  I'm really cheap, so I only listed this so I could have another option and laugh at it with disgust.  *Bahahahahahaha!*

I'm leaning towards #4.  Husband is actually the one who suggested it, and I really like the idea.  A few days to myself to hole up in a hotel room somewhere (preferably on a beach) and write with no distractions (other than the beach) sounds glorious.  I get very little time to myself at home, and there are always distractions, usually involving a dog or a kid.

This would not suck right now.

SO, I've been narrowing down my choices.  I think I've settled on a place, but I won't tell you all about it until after I get back because I don't know how many stalkers/rapists/murderers read this blog.  I'd like to come back without any new scars, physical or emotional.

This reminds me of last year's staycation, except that it won't be cut short by an ailing Husband coming home early, and I'll probably make fewer YouTube videos and write more words.  And I'll have to go through airport security.  And I'll be somewhere warmer.  And...well alright, it's not really that much like it at all--other than the fact that I'll be alone.  But anyway, it should be a nice little journey.

Have any of you ever done this: gone on a writing vacation by yourself, or even just a vacation by yourself to a place where you know no one?  I'd love any tips, if any of you have any!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Brain dump/resolutions update

The Kid is playing with one of his friends, and has been doing so for the last four hours.  So this is why people have more than one.  Huh.

This winter has been stupid.  Exactly one measurable snow occurred that stuck around for more than a day.  Okay, so I don't LOVE snow all the time, but it's WINTER.  Stupid climate change.

The worst thing about the weather is that it's been too cold to do fun stuff outside but too warm to snow.  What's that all about?  Useless!  Useless, I say!  I really want to go to NYC, but 35 degrees and windy is not ideal walking-around weather, especially when you've got a five-year old with you.  

New Year's resolutions update:  I have been to the movies exactly once since the new year.  I've eaten a ridiculous number of vegetables.  I'm back on sugar after cutting it out completely, but I think I've got my addiction under control now.  I've been writing more, including work on a novel.  Were there more?  I don't remember.  Anyway, I've decided to add three more resolutions:  look very pretty, be extremely intelligent, and get rich. 

Resolutions are the same as wishes, right?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

The 90s

I miss the 90s.

There.  I said it.  I know that this makes me seem very old to some of you, but I can't help the way I feel.  Yes, there were some horrible things about the 90s (mullet, anyone?), and I'm sure that I'm looking at the whole decade through rose-colored glasses now that we're 13 years out, but let's take a moment to look back and appreciate some of the wonderful things that final decade of the 20th century brought us, shall we?


1.  People in movies looked like real people.

I'll bet they don't even smoke. That's just what teeth are supposed to look like.

Yes, movie stars were generally better-looking than average people (like today) but back in the 90s, actors had natural-colored, uncapped teeth and natural-colored skin (not like today).  Filmmakers also weren't airbrushing every wrinkle from the faces of 40 or 60-year old actresses in every scene for no better reason than that these vain women's contracts demanded it.  The whole thing has gotten so out of control.  In the 90s, people in movies looked like real people, and I miss that.

2.  The internet was still a magical place.

"I must have taken a wrong turn at the last kilobyte--I seem to be lost in the computer!"

Remember in the movie Hackers when the kids are hacking into a computer system and they could actually see inside the computer?  Remember how we thought that was how it really worked, and how those kids seemed like geniuses for even being able to navigate their way onto the internet?  Nowadays, a 2-year old can log himself on to in less time than it once took our dial-up modems to connect and greet us with a warm "Welcome!  You've got mail!".

3.  Grunge.

They look sad because they're depressed, not because they're wearing uncomfortable clothes.

C'mon, you knew it was coming.  So maybe Nirvana wasn't your thing, or maybe you can't appreciate a good Pearl Jam song, but I think we can all agree that the grunge movement was pretty sweet.  Bands who played actual instruments worked their way up from performing in garages to a coffee houses to clubs to stadium tours, based on talent and merit.  Also they got us all wearing comfy combat boots and oversized flannel shirts, and who could hate that?

4.  Hypercolor shirts.

Spill some hot water on your boob, did ya?

Remember these?  They changed color with your body temperature.  Of course, the armpits always ended up a different color than the rest of your torso, but they were still pretty cool.  There aren't enough clothes which change colors these days, in my opinion.

5. Famous people had private lives.

Look!  He's not an anti-Semite, he's a fighter pilot!

Remember how much fun it was to drool over Mel Gibson in Forever Young, blissfully ignorant of what a douchebag he was in real life?  Wasn't it nice to just sit back and listen to Whitney Houston sing "I Will Always Love You" without the image of her holding a crack pipe in her bathroom mirror flashing into your head?  I miss those days.  Sure, there were tabloids in the 90s, but nobody really took The National Enquirer seriously, and you'd never see celebrity gossip reported on CNN as news.  Those were the days.


6.  Nobody had cellphones.

Except for this guy.

 Yet, we still all managed to live our lives and work at our jobs and meet up with our friends.  When we left our homes, we were unreachable, and that was okay.  No tethers.  Ah.

7.  ...And we all had landlines--with cords!

I love the sound they make when you put the receiver down.

Well, we were tethered at home, I guess--when we were on the phone.  Because cords existed.  I miss these phones.  Nobody worried they'd cause brain cancer, and you could easily cradle the receiver between your ear and shoulder if you wanted to use your hands for something else while you talked.  Every time I try to do that with my BlackBerry, I throw my neck out.  I'm seriously thinking about getting one of these

8.  Movies were set in real-life colors.

Lots of mauve, but no teal and orange.
None of this orange and teal crap that's taken over the industry these days.  Seriously, that's not what the world looks like.  I know.  I have eyes.

9.  Receiving letters in the mail. 

We used real stationery too.

Remember writing letters?  I had pen pals all throughout the 90s, and I still have the letters.  The only thing I write nowadays is a grocery list.  I'll bet kids don't even pass notes in class anymore--they probably just text one another.  It's just not the same.

10.  Sitcoms.

You can tell this is a good show by the colorful umbrellas the cast is holding.

The 90s had the best sitcoms.  Just the Ten of UsFull HouseSeinfeld Friends?  I rest my case. 

Looking at this list it's clear that, in some ways, I just long for a simpler time; a time before technology changed everything.  I'm turning into one of those old people who says, "back in MY day...", but I'm okay with that.  All that aside, I still loved the 90s.

What do you guys miss about the 90s?  Or do you all think I'm a total weirdo for being so nostalgic for a decade that also gave birth to boy bands and gangsta rap? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bruno, The Armless Caveman

I'm thinking of writing and illustrating a children's book.

When I was 19 years old, I used to babysit for a very nice couple in the Sacramento area.  They had two boys, aged one and three, and I would do my best to keep them entertained without using television.

One day, we took out the crayons and started to draw.  By the end of the day, I had written and illustrated an entire children's book for them.  It was about an armless caveman named Bruno who learns an important lesson about prejudice.  I wish I had thought to make a copy of it before I presented it to the mother, whose name I cannot manage to pull out of the dark corners of my brain. 

Just now, as I was looking through the books on the shelves in my new office (and spare bedroom), I came across some loose sketchbook pages on which I had attempted to recreate this book.  Here's a sample:

I only have a fraction of the pages done and I'd have to start all over so they'd match, but I was thinking about finishing it now that I've jogged my memory as to what the characters looked like and how the story went.  My only problem with the story is that it's not historically accurate, as cavemen and dinosaurs never really lived together.  This really bothers me.

Maybe I'll put a disclaimer at the beginning...or just market it to creationists.  One or the other.

Anyway, now The Kid is interested in the book, so I think I'll break out the colored pencils and fill my evenings with sketching this adorably hairy, handicapped caveman and his friendly nemesis.  Why not?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A poem about life

There was a young girl
Who couldn’t decide
What she ought to be

The time passed by
In the blink of an eye
And then she was 33.

“But I still don’t know
My purpose here”
She said to herself, irate.

She went to sleep,
Woke up again
And then she was 58.

She tried once more
To find her place
But no niche could be found

Next thing she knew
She was 92
And buried in the ground

When she crossed to
The other side
And looked back on her life

She saw that she’d
been many things:
A daughter, a mom, a wife

She’d laughed and loved
She’d been loved, too
Her presence would be missed

She finally saw
The purpose
Of her life was to exist.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tummy Rumbles

I can't tell if I'm sick, or just hungry.

The Kid is sleeping next to me, hot and smelly with the stomach flu.  He's sleeping in my bed so that he doesn't throw up in his bed without me knowing about it, because that's basically the worst way I can imagine being woken up in the middle of the night--and I've been woken by gunshots.

I'm watching movies and grabbing the puke bucket every time he turns over.  I keep asking him if he's sure he doesn't need to throw up, then he yells at me, all groggy, "I'm sure!  Gosh!".  This is going to be a long night.  Come to think of it, the worst way to wake up would be if he puked in MY bed without me knowing about it.

I'm so paranoid.

I've been feeling kind of crummy and low on energy the last two days, but I can't tell if it's because I'm getting sick or because I'm detoxing from my sugar addiction.

In an effort to get a jump start on my New Year's Resolutions, I cut out all refined sugar from my diet and am avoiding white bread as well.*  Since this severely limits what I can eat, I've basically only taken in fruits and vegetables today, save for some homemade hummus (which counts as a legume, if we're getting all technical) that I had for dinner. 

Today, I have eaten:

A giant salad (mixed greens, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, a little bit of creamy Italian dressing)

A small Dunkin' Donuts coffee with extra cream

2- 10 oz glasses of Naked Juice Green Machine

Hummus and carrots

Raw snow peas


A 10-oz glass of organic 2% milk

Dried apricots

Lots of water

Looking at that list, I can deduce that the funny feeling in my stomach is likely hunger and not the pre-rumblings of the stomach flu.

I can also deduce that I need to get a juicer, because eating that many vegetables is tiresome.  I feel like I've been eating all damn day.  It would be so much easier if I could just drink them and be done with it.  The Naked Juice is good, but it would probably be healthier to just make my own.  Plus, it has bananas in it, which suddenly give me indigestion because I'm becoming a middle-aged woman who says things like, "bananas give me indigestion".  Obviously.

Anyway, my stomach feels weird and when I spoke to my mom earlier, she said to me, "you know you're probably going to get it, right?" so I'm biding my time.

Someone on Facebook told me to cut an onion in half and put it in the room to soak up the germs, and even though that sounds really dumb and I know it probably won't work, I did it anyway.  I can tell you all now, with certainty, that the only thing worse than the smell of puke is the smell of puke mixed with raw onions.

If I open a window, will that keep the onion from soaking up the germs?  I sound like a wacko.  There is no way this will work, but I'm not taking any chances, so the onion stays and the window goes up.  That's where I draw the line, though.  I'm not going to hunt down leeches to attach to his fingertips or anything like that.  That would just be crazy.

Okay, it's now after midnight and Music & Lyrics is back on the special features menu, so I'm going to take a stab at sleep.  Wish me luck, but if that doesn't work then I have a bucket.

* This is not for forever, just until I don't feel like I would sell my husband for a chocolate chip cookie.

Friday, January 4, 2013


So, some of you may have questions.

For those of you who did not read my old blog, Year 31, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so I'll start from the beginning. 

Back on the eve of my 30th birthday, I started a blog called Year 31.  I wanted to document my 31st year of life, because I had always looked forward to turning 30 years old, and I was a stay at home mom who needed a creative outlet for my tired brain.

Three years passed, and I was still blogging on Year 31.  Although I was 33 years old and the name no longer made sense, I had acquired a small but respectable number of loyal blog followers and made some good friends along the way.

I was publishing new posts on a pretty regular basis still, but there were some major parts of my life that I was not willing and/or able to share with the entire world, so I began to get writer's block.  When you have a few hundred people reading your posts and you can't think of anything to share, performance anxiety kicks in and everything you write begins to go through a filter in your head which comes out lacking on the other side.  So, you delete it and write least, that's what I did.

Basically, I just got tired and wanted to disappear for a while.  So, I did.

Yes, I made excuses about wanting to spend my time writing more worth-while things than blog posts, but in all actuality, I just didn't want to feel beholden to my blog anymore.  I needed a break.

Break: over.  What I discovered during my hiatus from blogging is that I missed it.  Even if I don't post on a super-regular basis, I need this, for my own sanity.  My blog was a place to empty my brain, and with no place to record all those thoughts,

This blog will be very similar in content to Year 31, with a few noticeable changes:

1.  A new look.  (That's me, age two, asleep on the potty in the background)

2.  A new name.  I say "whatever" a lot, and I complain a lot, so I thought that the name was fitting.  I'm actually quite relieved to be rid of the old blog, since Year 31 implies that I'm still 30, and so I felt like a FRAUD.

3.  New pseudonyms.  Instead of calling my husband The Hubby, I will just call him Husband.  The Hubby always kind of annoyed me (the name, not the person--well, I mean, he does annoy me sometimes, but I was referring to the name) because it sounds too cutesy.*  But of course I can't call my husband by his real name for purposes related to his work, so I'll just call him Husband from here on out.  The Kid will still be The Kid, but I'll try not to talk about him too much as I don't want to embarrass him now that he's school-aged.

That's basically all the changes.  Nothing too earth-shattering.

I'm also thinking that I'll do more topical posts and fewer personal ones, but I was headed in that direction before I quit the other blog anyway, so I'm not sure anybody would really notice the change.  That's not to say that I won't talk about my life, but I'll try to keep content a little more interesting to people who aren't related to me.

Thank you so much to everyone who has migrated over here from my old blog, and welcome to all of you new readers as well.  I think we're all going to have some fun.

It's good to be back.  :)

*Kind of like how little boys call their penises "weenie"--I've always hated that.  Just use the real name.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Filling the hole.

"What in the world have you been DOING with yourself for these last four months, Teri?"

I'm so glad you asked!*

Since last August, I....

Met one of my favorite bloggers,

 Got this kick-ass coffee mug as a pick-me-up from a lovely person,
Sent The Kid off to kindergarten,
 Created some art,

Acquired an addiction to these cookies,
Went to Six Flags,
 Had my hair highlighted,
then colored it dark the next day,
 Took a day trip to Baltimore,
 Walked onto the field before a Ravens game,
 Went out to a fancy dinner,
Put this furniture together ALL BY MYSELF,
Went to dinner with some NFL players and got an awesome mug,
 Brought my niece out for a visit and showed her downtown,
 Tried to remove a window air conditioning unit by myself & failed miserably,
 Went to an Eagles game and marveled at the technology in the suites,
Prepared for Hurricane Sandy,
 Lost electricity--and heat--for 24 hours,
 Got back up and running just in time for Halloween,

Which is a good thing, because it took me forever to sew all these eyeballs on this costume,
Marveled at the leaves,
Stood in the first snow at the school bus stop,
Went to dinner at a billionaire's home and took a picture of his bathroom sink,
  Checked in on the President,
 Saw where Lincoln was shot,
 Toured the Holocaust Museum,
 Marveled at the sunset behind Washington Monument,
 And the beauty of Lincoln Memorial at night,
 Was severely disappointed that Dorothy's ruby slippers were not available to see,
 But still enjoyed seeing Kermit the Frog,
Observed that the world's fattest squirrels reside in our Nation's capital,
Found one of the world's fattest garlic cloves in my own kitchen...
 While preparing Thanksgiving dinner,
Went to an Amish town with a provocative name...
 And discovered that they manufacture and sell decidedly non-Amish products,
 Went on a hayride in the snow...
 To cut down a Christmas tree,
 Decorated the tree,
Went to a Sixers game,
 Discovered that I live across the street from The Griswolds,
 and celebrated Christmas with lots and lots of sugar.

And now you're up to speed.

*Okay, nobody asked, but there was this big hole in the story-of-my-life-as-told-to-blogs, and since I'm kind of neurotic, I couldn't just LEAVE it there, empty.
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