Monthly Archives: January 2013

Saturday Salvation

Last week was unnecessarily crappy, through no one’s fault but my own and my hormones (“thanks,” period). It culminated Friday—short story: I was guilted into going to a luncheon, and then, upon my return, guilted into working late for not getting my work done (because I was at the luncheon). On the one hand: That’s a lose-lose there. On the other hand: I should’ve just agreed to the luncheon weeks ago and not procrastinated on my other stuff.

So 7:30 Saturday morning, I was back at the computer. Finished up around 10 and sent it off to my boss, completely unsure if my rush job was sufficient and half-expecting (as I always do, really) to get back a list of additional work to do on it.

I rode my bike to Publix, bought slightly more than should have, and rode back with a box of rigatoni wind resistance sticking up out of the top of my backpack.

When I checked my email again, I had a note from boss that read, verbatim, “This is awesome! Better than I could have hoped! Thank you so much!” Bless her for her enthusiasm—she knows I’m a special mental case who needs that kind of stuff, and even if she’s overcompensating for my deficiencies, that kind of praise still works wonders on my mood.

I still had to finish up some sidebars, so I spent most of the afternoon on the computer—all the while, friend after Florida friend posted on Facebook about the lovely, lovely weather outside. ‘Nuff said. Around 4, I finished up my work, I put on my bikini top and headed toward the beach with a chair, my Kindle and a G2 bottle filled with mango-vodka smoothie.

saturday salvation

I cannot begin to explain how lovely it was. “Magical”? “Transcendent”? The breeze was just cool enough and the sun just warm enough—like a hypnotic, undulating balance between the two temperatures. After 15 minutes, I was felt like this was not an ordinary kind of unwinding. It was way more than your usual, “The weather is really nice, I’m glad I’m outside, deep breath, ah” kind of relaxation. It was trance-like. I sat there for an hour with nary an impulse to fidget. The usual ways my mind wanders into worry had all been disabled.  It was basically a religious experience. It stuck with me for hours.

And then later that night, Little J and the Deelios came over and we all walked to the beach again and I went to go pee and fell down and got sand in my bum. The end. (Heh.)

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Money-Saving Tips

Some of the ways I’m making $80 last two weeks this pay period.


Starbuck’s tasty Greek yogurt breakfast parfait with honey and the special no-sog packet of granola and slivers of toasted coconut? Easy enough: a big container of Greek yogurt, some honey (or agave nectar you have lying around after your homemade margaritas adventure), box of granola cereal and some shaved coconut. Mix the yogurt and honey in a Tupperware container, then lay some cellophane on top and put the granola and coconut in there.


Put the lid on, and everything’s ready to go for whenever you wanna mix it all together.

Find things that are awesome and appetizing when reheated, and cook a shit-ton of them: Black beans and rice, brandied chicken breasts, spaghetti carbonara, stroganoff. The kicker for me is that they have to be super-appetizing, otherwise after-work dining out wins. Which tends to mean they’re pretty fattening, too. This is where money-saving runs headlong into calorie-saving. Money wins. As does my tummy.

Volunteer for food contest judging.


Gourmet lamb meat loaf with roasted tomato jam, goat cheese and asparagus risotto. For? Free.

We’ve got weekly contests for finding various local food “bests,” and week before last, it was meatloaf. I’m not saying it’s the healthiest thing to do, but traveling all over town to sample four different kinds of meatloaf saves you money on dinner, that’s for sure.

Likewise, embrace the work luncheons you’re obligated to attend.


Any time you’re getting free risotto, you’re doing something right.

I wasn’t exactly psyched about today’s cancer luncheon, but teriyaki chicken on creamy risotto with asparagus from the Ritz? Yeah, that’s a deal.

choc cake…oh, and there was chocolate cake.

Biking to the grocery store encourages limited and lightweight purchases. I am not a motivated enough beer-drinker to ride 4.5 miles with a case of Bud Light on my back. Plus, this works in favor of calorie-consumption, too.


Invite considerate, lightweight friends over who will bring a 12-pack, drink one, and leave the rest for you.

Take a chance on a $2 hockey raffle ticket.

raffle beer

Hoptical Illusion alone is worth the $2. Plus: bonus mugs!

The key here is that “improving my chances” was too close to “throwing my money away,” so I took a single, low-risk chance and got myself eight fancy beers. Win.

And lastly, obey these booze-buying words of wisdom: “You should always think about cost per ounce vs. credit card interest.” In other words, don’t buy the smaller bottle just because you’re short on cash; put the handle on the Visa and congratulate yourself for being a smart shopper.

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Game Ready

It’s cold here today–or really, “cold,” as anyone north of Tampa would be quick to point out. Enough of a change in temperature to require different sartorial decisions, anyway. So, since it’s Friday and it’s a hockey weekend and I’m a slack-ass dresser anyways, I figured there was no harm wearing my team jacket to the office.

Just now it dawned on me that all morning I’ve been strutting around like a high school student in a letterman’s jacket. The narrative in my head immediately switched from my own point of view–ie “My coworkers will respect my athletic status”–to my coworkers’ probable point of view–something like, “Aw…she’s special and childlike.”

Seriously, it took me three hours to realize I looked like I was trying to channel 10th grade game day in your standard office setting. Other people have networking events tonight; I? Am totally going out for milkshakes after the game, geometry homework be damned.

Well, I’m recruiting fans. Getting in the mood. Whatever.

The weather suits the sport, at least. Gets me amped. Besides, as happens with so many other tournaments, going from freezing rink conditions to 90 degrees and humid outside always feels like a Modern-Dance Ode to the Upper Respiratory Infection.

puck juggleI like this picture because it makes me look like I know how to play around with the puck all nonchalant and shit.

So yeah, yay hockey. The locker room socialization and beer gatherings and general off-the-ice shenanigans are always a huge draw–that’s where you can count on the soul-soothing magic happening. But in the right mindset, that’s not what I’m looking forward to.

locker rom

After the party it’s the after party…

In the right mindset, my brain keeps going to the feel of my skates cutting through the ice; I repeatedly dream of a backwards crossover, my left outside edge cutting deep underneath me and cranking into acceleration. (And really, I should keep dreaming, ’cause I am not a practitioner of game-ready backwards skating.) I think about eyes up the ice, seeing a linemate streaking and sending a perfect pass through traffic–the way the puck rolls off my stick for a good, really hard pass. (Probably not much different than my wrist shot, just more accurate.) Other visions, a bit less frequent, include one-timers–the almost painful crack of hitting a moving puck with force, against its own momentum–elevated backhands, breakaway moves, even bracing myself in the corner against a crush of players, two hands against the boards, trying to corral the puck with my feet.

This is what I look forward to beforehand. But when it comes down to the real-life game, those visions will have to make room to accommodate the other things that will really happen–the botched shots and whiffed poke-checks and blue-line falls. Of course, those sillier visions have their place, too–those are the ones we’ll talk about over beers in the locker room.

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Weird Day

Fighting a familiar demon today. Feeling fidgety, frustrated: my pants are too tight, my hair is misbehaving, my back hurts—that’s a reality, actually; my sciatica is killing me. It also keeps the fire smoldering. I have a handful of what should be short and simple paragraphs to write for an article, but each sentence seems fated to fight with the next, and I repeatedly highlight the lot of them and pound them into oblivion with the backspace key.

At the same time, I’m bobbing and weaving these compulsions, so far avoiding a rage-filled breakdown (which always fails to get me where I need to go, anyway). I closed the article doc and emailed it to myself, to be worked on during a healthier mental state. Acknowledge the problem, tell it it doesn’t matter, and then walk away. Your fleshy midsection makes no difference to anyone and is not a permanent condition. Your greasy hair doesn’t matter. Your words will come.

It’s a weird day—this successful dodging of anger included. I haven’t had coffee all week. It didn’t start as a resolution—I overslept Monday and didn’t have a chance to make it at home, didn’t have a taste for it at the office. And then I started to figure that, since I tend to binge on coffee, drinking it every morning and turning to it compulsively when I get stuck on something (It’s like booze for the daylight hours!), perhaps abandoning it cold-turkey would result in interesting, if not productive, personal developments.

So far, it’s just making me drink a lot of tea.

But, and perhaps it’s just psychosomatic, going this long without that intense caffeine edge seems to give the day a kind of ethereal quality. Floating. Philosophical.

Or maybe it’s standard burnout: I’ve skipped lunch waiting for an interviewee to call, and I always get this way after staring at a computer for six hours straight.

Or maybe it’s self-injected paranoia: I discovered a brand new Scientology article—like candy to me—and this kind of psycho-high always develops when I read about lunatics with agendas.

Or maybe it’s absurdist: I ate a shit-ton of meatloaf last night and my physiology is confused and frightened.

It’s an odd collection of things to make up the day. Add to it: talking to a podiatrist just now about bioengineered alternative tissues and bunionectomies. (Also, did you know that “bunion” is derived from “beignet”? That is going to fucking ruin doughnuts for me, dammit.)

I’d been thinking about an after-work stroll and just settling in with some laundry and dish-washing, but now I feel like there should be weirder things in store for me. And that is, frankly, a lovely feeling.

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Without a Horse in the Race

College football didn’t much factor into my NFL-heavy football upbringing. My cousins and aunts and uncles from Pa’s side of the family were, purportedly, Bama fans, so I was vaguely familiar with the option to Roll Tide, though college football wasn’t a big topic during our summer vacation visits. (Ma and Pa’s alma mater, Ohio University, didn’t come up a lot.) Of course, we lived in Florida, where the ‘Noles/Gators rivalry was a hot topic, and I guess when pressed to pick, the childhood me went with the Gators (I do believe I preferred the color scheme). But then, too, Ma and Pa’s employer had an FSU connection. And we had other cousins who went to Kansas and Louisville.

In the end, I was never inspired to passion in any direction—which was a good thing, in my book: I have enough trouble controlling my built-in inferiority-inspired ire; I was happy to not to invent more reasons to get into meaningless arguments with people.

To put this in perspective with my NFL fandom, when the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Giants in the 1990 NFC championship, I wept, inconsolably, for hours. (I was 11.) (I may or may not have responded similarly when the Penguins beat the Red Wings a few Stanley Cup Finals ago—but let’s be fair: The Penguins.)

My own alma mater, Stetson, had no football team (popular T-shirts read, “Stetson Football: Undefeated since 1948”), and, especially as a college athlete myself, I still feel my greatest athletic fandom loyalties needed to remain with the Hatters, despite their footballessness.

homer+simpson+tv+sports+pennantNot too proud to admit that I actually made myself one of these pennants, simply in support of “football.”

Recent forays into the Alabama/Auburn rivalry leave me, for better or for worse and depending on circumstances and present company, a semi-fan of both teams–not really something that ingratiates you to Alabamans on either side of the rift, let me tell you. But choose one side and face down the hatred of the other. In fact, I might be moved to come out in favor of the Crimson Tide tonight–but I know so many Auburn fans who find that logic detestable, and I feel their pain…intellectually, anyway. My brain works like this: “Yay Alabama teams and SEC and stuff!” Theirs work like this: “Fuck. Bama.” (And, I know, the feeling is mutual.) After all, if Bama wins, their supporters’ taunts will first and most often be directed not at Notre Dame fans.

Being so far on the outside of college football fandom, up until recently I thought Notre Dame was pretty much a universally hallowed institution. In fact, I’ve learned, this is kind of like saying, “But I thought everybody loved the Cowboys!” I guess you have to blame Rudy (as well as, Irish-haters will grumble, ND’s TV broadcast special treatment).

And I know Dolphins fans who hate Alabama with an intense burning rage, for Nick Saban’s ring-and-run on that NFL franchise. (Heh, my knee-jerk reaction is “That’s what you get for being a Dolphins fan,” but yeah…go Bucs.)

There’s so much nuance to who you love and who you hate in sports, and while great strides in my NCAA education have helped me develop some sincere emotional attachments and detractions (let’s just say my preference for the Gators has waned), I’m still on the outside.

Despite—or maybe because of—all of that, I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game. I’m certainly not facing down the stress and anguish I would be if I actually, y’know, gave a damn. I just get to sit back with beer and pizza and enjoy the excitement of the evening and purity of the sport. Yay football!

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