Shameless dinner invites

This was the Trudinator (aka Trudie) being my
couch-buddy a I attempted to decorate the hosue

My mom taught me right about not inviting myself over to dinner, and she’d be happy to know that her training took, right up until the point I got desperate. Granted, it was a good 30 yrs after I left her home, but still, like a California redwood that finally keel over, my inner core of decorum and etiquette cracked at the center, struck by the lightening bold of hunger.

“Let me know if you need anything,” was the polite, if half-hearted offer from a n
eighbor and fellow church-goer who had come over today to help me put up my Christmas decorations. (Yes, I know it’s before Thanksgiving, and Yes, I know this makes

me evil. But in my defense, my family is out of town, I am a one-legged gimp and my husband has gone full Jehova’s Witness on me by not wanting to put up Christmas if I can’t do it myself- something to do with ‘strange people’ coming in the house when he’s not gone. If that’s not eccentric, I don’t know what is, and he’s only 44, but whatever. So I waited until the day after he left w/the girls, called my friends and the hustled over to put up the tree and lights so when Rog and the girls return, they can all be surprised….but back to my story).

I thought about the offer and at first, gave the instant expression of appreciation with a “I’m good.” Not long after she left, I had a hunger pang.

Knowing my look, when it’s my turn to host, this is
what will happen

“I got it!” I texted my friend. “What I’d really like is to come over for dinner in December when your kitchen is done. I love your food. I love your company and I’d love to see your house!”

Do you see how sleezy that was? A shameless dinner invitation smothered in flattery..which, btw, is true. She IS a great cook. She DOES have a great house that’s she’s remodeled and her new kitchen kicks some fanny. Who wouldn’t want to go over. The only card I have right now is the sympathy one, and it’s not going to last long.

“You got it!” she texted back, and we have a date set in December. I can’t wait. I’m thrilled. I’m a bit embarrassed because all those years of good breeding from my mom were washing down the toilet in a single moment of unabashed shamelessness. Still, I’m going to get a great meal out of it, and know that the universal law of Karma is going to come around, and sometime, when I least expect it and someone else most needs it, I’m going to be on the receiving end of a shameless dinner invite, and I’m going to say “You got it!”

Advice from a Tree

Sometimes the best life move is to stop, listen and observe. Yes, this is hard for the typical type-A possessed individual, but it’s helpful, as I learned when an acquaintance of mine gave me a book marker with a polite “I thought you’d like this,” comment. I didn’t look at it until after she’d left, and am thanking her by sharing it with the world.

Advice from a Tree (Ilan Shamir)

  • Stand Tall and Proud
  • Sink your Roots into the Earth
  • Be Content with your Natural Beauty (ouch)
  • Drink Plenty of Water
  • Enjoy the View

Tears from a man

It takes a lot to bring a strong man to tears, but it does happen. For first time readers, here has been what I lovingly call my “two weeks of Job,” which you have to know first.

Married 15 years, I figure I’ll start ice skating hockey to “become closer to my husband,” who plays hockey. I do well for the first two lessons (training with Rog’s trainer, a former NHL guy, who I have mentioned before). I fall, all 140 pounds of me crunches my left ankle inward, which, by the way, I hit the week before in martial arts class (I’m one belt away from my black belt), thereby cranking a previous wound.

Fast forward three days. The house is in an uproar, I’m laid up in bed, kids are not getting fed (well, they are, but I’m not sure Top Ramin counts as real food). A week in, no laundry. Dirty underwear abounds. Rog won’t allow my friends to come over and help, but on day 10, I call the calvary and food starts showing up at our doorstep (I gave out our gate code and arranged for the drop-offs when Rog was picking up the girls from school). Still no laundry. Day 12. I’m off the drugs, and as a consequence, have headaches that make me puke, then I can’t keep food down, my internal PH goes to pot, and I get mouth ulcers on my tongue that then spread to the roof of my mouth (think canker sores on steroids). A want to die. I call my swami.

“Drink water with lemon juice and take alka green.” I do. For all those with canker sores, when the acid in the stomach goes nuts, it erupts in sores in the mouth. Lemons restore the alkalinity in the body- the # source of such. In 24 hours, I’m better. 2 weeks yesterday. Rog has a meltdown in the car

“I’m not loved,” to which I responded “Of course you’re not. You’re being mean to all of us and you’re making us miserable.” Then two weeks of pent up frustration on both of our parts comes down to this:

“I always though that my job was to take care of the family financially, and I’ve done that. But I can’t do anything about your foot–and I was the cause of it— and with Porsche’s hair falling out again–my little girl…” and here he lost it. Tears from a man who never cries, and in the middle of a mall no less.

It’s true. Man has penis, and that means provider and caretaker. But he can’t do a darn thing about our daughter, who will lose all her hair now, and as I type this, she is with her father and getting @200 shots on her head (and they can’t put her to sleep) in an effort to keep the hair follicles open until the hair starts to grow back. Nor can Rog do a thing for me. 2 weeks down, 6 to go. It’s hard, I get that. Personally, I’d rather have my hair fall out than be an invalid. The house is a wreck. The kids are unhappy. Rog and I are miserable. Alas.

“It’s only hair,” I remind Rog, “and it’s starting to grow back. She’s not deaf and she’s not blind. She has her limbs.”  Then Rog tells me that my confidence gives him confidence, and for one of the few times in our marriage, I’m reminded that he actually has breaks in his aura of assurance. It never occurs to me that he has the spikes of humanity that afflict the rest of us.

Following some sushi, we both feel better, having purged the mental and emotional constipation that has afflicted us for the last fourteen days. Last night, around six, he made the first dinner- beef stroganoff. Sure, it took him nearly two hours, and he doused it with a bit too much ground mustard, but I must say, we got fed (and thanks to the lemon juice, I could eat it), and it was good. He laughed, and as I looked at my husband, who also happens to be my good friend, I thought it was a glorious sound, and that the tears he shed in the mall (of all places) were worth it.

Giving Second Chances

“You’ve known this guy five years longer than I have, what am I supposed to do with him?” The question was heavy with irony. The famous movie producer asking me what to do about the very person who introduced us…a person I’ll call Joe.

“Tell me the rest,” I said, buying time. He described a person with erratic behavior- missing some meetings, inconsistent emails, forgetfulness.
“Symptoms of a bigger problem,” I concluded, diagnosing thesituation. “Have you asked him what’s going on?” The producer says “of course not- I wanted to call you first. You’ve known him a lot longer and maybe this is normal.” Uh, no. 
“People who are great for years and are consistent don’t just up and go crazy,” I told him. “Something is going on and I bet ten to one its his personal life. Kids. Marriage- I bet marriage.” Nothing screws up a working environment like a bad marriage.
“What do I do?” He asked- this from a man who had been through several, shall we say, contentious divorces.
“You take a business approach. Confront it head on, ask him what’s up, what you can do, and if its personal and getting ugly, you understand and will work with him, up to a point, and that point is if its hurting the business. He take a leave off the project, no bad feelings, but his responsibility is to not let it get that bad.”
Fast forward a week. The conversation between producer and Joe happened, and my gut was right on- marriage problems, and mid-divorce. It took an ugly turn and went on for 6 months. Joe took 2 breaks over the course if the  work, different lengths each time, but overall his efforts didn’t completely suffer. The producer owed this to the fact that it was all out in the open right up front, he was able to organize alternate resources if required.  As important, expectations were adjusted to a realistic level.
If you are a manager (or peer) observing a dramatic change in another’s attitude or habits, consider the direct approach, or bringing in someone how can (eg HR). If you are the person going through the drama, do yourself a favor and tell your manager before that person fires you for poor work. You have a lot more to gain and may find a sympathetic ear from an unlikely place. The majority of people have experienced breakup, and would rather keep a good worker and suffer through some short-term issues.

Above and over Epic

Photo caption: White bear is on my lap,
agnostic about my violent opinion on all that
 is Epic in this world).

Lying here alone, 3:32 am, in bed, trolling  the Internet. Shooting pain will do that. I hypothesize my insomniac mom is up doing the same in her abode, three states away, but I’m not going to test that theory lest she’s just fallen asleep. I do wonder however, if she and other night owls are as sick and tired of the use of the word Epic as I am.

 It was funny in Twilight (“it’s going to be epic”), and sometimes really appropriate (“epic fail” when referencing Obamacare) but now it’s taken a new life form of use by people who seem to be about 20 years over the hill to be using the word and it comes across as plain stupid.

Just tonight- I read about the “epic feud” between Madonna and lady gaga. No, that would be called a disagreement on whether or not Born this Way was a rip off of Express Yourself. An epic feud is Shaquille and Kobe going at it to be the lead player at the lakers, ending with shaq getting banished to Miami, his career sliding downhill, making a marginal movie, selling his monster home and getting divorced while Kobe got to stay in la, keep his starting position and was last seen leaving

If this is Epic we have real issues

Koi with his long-suffering wife in his Bentley.That falls into the epic category.

Then in another article I’m reading about the rash of pixie haircuts. Some numnutz reporter (that would be my mothers self created word for idiotic without using the word idiotic) wrote that we are experiencing  an “epic fashion moment,” by virtue of jennifer aniston, jennifer lawrence, pam anderson and whatsername chenowith getting haircuts.
Are you kidding me? Epic fashion is when Michael Jackson wore red leather in The Thriller video and suddenly millions  of cows were slaughtered and people ran around wearing too-tight, high-shine cropped leather jackets for three years until there was a run on red dye. Before that, Epic fashion was when Jackie O wore the pillbox hat and the heads of every woman around the world were covered in the lookalike, including my mom. Heck, I’d consider Botox an epic fashion moment  because it cuts across genders and races and foreign territories, but I don’t foresee millions of people looking at a few celebs and saying- yeah! I’ve spent years growing my hair long to resemble a Victoria Secret model just to whack it off because these women all had bad hair days. 
I know was a self indulgent rant about a four letter word but I feel good. I’ve given my anti-epic my opinion about and anti-epic topic of anti-epic proportions.  

A little more soap please

Am I the only one who is bothered by the bad language that’s on every form of digital communication known to man? Maybe it’s because I’m here like a greased pig on the bed, (as in, I’m wallowing in my own misery and can’t get up) that I’m consuming mass amounts of media, anything that crosses my fingers, I’m reading, from news to sports, entertainment and foreign publications, at 2 in the afternoon and 4 in the morning. Somewhere, at sometime, there is always new content to absorb.

More soap is not just for curing
stanky breath

With the lone exception of…well, I haven’t found a lone exception, other than religious
sites, where I tend not to spend a lot of time, they are all peppered with lots of ****. I’ll admit, I’m pretty inured to the use of the dots, and frankly, have come to expect it from politicians and porn stars (neither am I seeking out I must add, they just happen to be considered “news-worthy” and thus a synopsis of the article comes up), while I also expected less-than-wholesome language from athletes and rap stars. Get it.

But you know what’s getting to me? The age of the person being quoted is now so young (and why, might you ask, is this? Young actors, young singers, all pushed in front of us as a brilliant manager creates a billion-dollar brand) that they haven’t been taught to speak properly, or if they do, they can’t speak without inserting the F-word without inserting it as a comma, a space, a period, apostrophe, question mark and many times, my favorite, the rhetorical question, WTF.

Most recently, I listened to NRP and heard an excerpt of an Australian singer with the number 1 billboard song in the world. World, not US, not Australia. She’s 16, and sounded intelligent, but I’d never heard the song (call me kooky, but I listen to satellite radio with over 2000 songs and I tend to pick the region and genres, which doesn’t put me in the top 40 category in any language). So I figure, if NPR picked it up, I’ll go listen.

I listened. I liked. I purchased. No sooner do I know the words to the song then I read a follow up article where she’s dissed doing a collaboration with David Guetta (a favorite of mine, but OK, not everyone digs his Vegas-DJ vibe), she has turned down opening for Katy Perry (lots of cleavage, true, and a momentary lapse of reason when she got married to that crazy dude from the UK, but whatever, I still like a lot of her songs), and I was fine with both of these. Whatever. Be an artist and make your own paths. But seriously, what got me was that she couldn’t stop using the F-word, again, as a pause, an exclamation and other various grammatical uses not heretofore known.

As I’m going to be stuck here for the next two months, I have one universal plea to anyone speaking to the media: as you follow your own path, creative or political, athletic or homebody, the next time you open your mouth, think about Grandma and her bar of soap and clean it up.

From pissy to elegant, patience to charity and the kardashian connection

Five hours later, I’m on the couch at home, wtg for rog to return with daughter number one so we can pile into our car and go to the ankle and foot dr. My dog is whimpering in her kennel, the cat is on a parade through the house that includes my hurt foot and I get a text. It reads:

“You need more patience.” To which I want to reply back two words, but instead I respond:
I’m going to stop praying (because I in fact, am getting a response to my prayers! Hurry! Tell all atheists, including my husband, prayer works!)
She responds: 
“Patience leads to more charity. The pure love of Christ.” To which I, immobile and more than a bit pissy at my situation reply:
But wait-did u just type that? To me? I’m so full of charity-I’m brimming over like the little porridge-
To which She responds:
You are. You’ll just gain more.
There it is folks. I broke my ankle to learn patience and charity. Already, I feel myself transforming from a grumpy Middle Age woman to a classy, elegant being full of grace and supreme calm, like kim kardashian channeling her mother. And all it took was a slip on the ice. 

This would be the dog- far yonder in the corner by the back door,
looking rather black and rather glum as I’m confined to the couch

My left foot

Bonding with my husband in new and unusual ways because after 15 years, that’s what one does. One straps on leather, throws in a blade or two and goes for it- sans whip. No, not talking 50 shades of Maple Valley, this would be the ice rink. That’s how much I love my husband.

So how is it then that at ten minutes in to lesson number two, I find myself in the managers office at the rink, leg up, ice pack having numbed my ankle into submission?
“Definitely cracked” says Jamie Huscroft, a former NhL player who trains Rog (my his band), who then chimes in: 
“She’s tough, see that?” Like I’m not in the room watching the two confer on my disability status. I’m going through phases of pain-induced delirium brought on by the maybe-break followed by the ice that’s turning my skin to cement, which I’m sure hurts at least as much as falling in my ankle and maybe more. (And for those who want to call me retarded and be done with it, I was actually executing a good stop, with both feet parallel and then pushing off like instructed, but as per my normal self, I was overly aggressive, and used the tip of my left toe. In figure skating, the skates have ridges, it caught on the ice- for I didn’t know to lift it up- and all the force of my momentum was used to slam the outside of my left ankle to the ground instead of standing up).
Now that we have that clear, I’m still here in the office, She reads my text and calls me.
“…..” That is the symbol for her laughing so hard she can’t talk. When she can, this is her consoling comment.
“…(insert laughter where the dots are) Daniel day Lewis in My Left Foot- you just….got…your right toes healed and now your left is shot. I know! I…have an…idea! Your right toes didn’t heal straight. Have the dr break them at the same time since you will be out anyway.”
That was so helpful. So glad you called, i tell her. Later today I will visit the dr and figure out how I get to do all the things I have to do in the month ahead. Actually I solved that part of the equation – it’s going to be mind over matter.  Going to behead some chickens and use my homeopathic remedy arnica and rhos tox and see what happens- of course still go to the dr- 
“No! I want to see you in a wheel chair at Costco ramming into people and butting inline,” says She. Oh, I hope to disappoint.

Bad Boss Techniques: Support under Fire

Sunday night used to be a day of dread for me, starting at about 4 pm. I had to get up and face a person who was once decent, then neutral, then not so great. It turned out that the individual in question (a man) was having personal issues (marital strife) and wasn’t getting great peer reviews (learned this after he left) but in the meantime, he was busy making my life, and the lives of those on our team, a living breathing mass of molten lava-like workplace pergatory.

This is you: Armed with strategies
to deal with your boss on Monday morning

So, to all those you have had, or presently do have, or will have in the future, some form or gnarly manager, here are my words of wisdom that you should put on your body like a soldier going into battle.

The mission: Stay alive. The last man (or woman) standing might just be you.

The strategy: Use techniques and tact to stay alive until said boss gets metaphorically killed (e.g. fired) or resign.

The tactics: These are your point by point techniques, so listen up recruit.

1. Keep your peace. Do your job, be polite, don’t gossip and don’t rant to anyone on Facebook, at the gym or at the bar about your manager. Vent to God. He’s the only one that will keep it a secret. No one else has a motivation to protect you. If He knows your boss, He’ll understand.

2.  Be nice and patient. You hate your manager. I get it. I’ve been there. I vividly recall moments where I absolutely suffered gut-churning diahreah-inducing pain when the person walked in the room. Did I fart? No, I smiled (which probably caused a brain fart and that’s why I’m sort-of stupid now, but I digress). Have some grace and show the person some dignity due his/her rank and management position. Others will notice and commend you on your ability to deal with your bosses momentary lapses of reason, and then guess what? When your boss is gone, you are going to be noticed (in theory).

3. Support under fire. Don’t turn traitor when the boss is out of the room or his/her neck is on the line. Show some support until the bitter end. That person (and although it’s hard, your terrible boss IS a person with real feelings, a life, parents/kids, a dog). If you do or say anything subversive about said boss it will come back to bite you (see point 1). Furthermore, that person may in fact go on to be employed somewhere else where you want to work. By that time, the boss’s personal issues might be resolved, lessons learned and the individual could be a completely different person. Don’t screw yourself prematurely. Keep your options open, and do this by maintaining the line even when your boss ain’t so much fun.

I’d love to share with you a lot of experiences that support my above tactics, but I won’t, for this blog could become a novel. Suffice it to say that I’ve done the opposite (and screwed myself) and then I learned, and my (horrid) boss was one of the first people to hire me when I opened my own consulting firm. I’ve seen how individuals suffering from personal issues go nuts and take it out on those around them (e.g. me) and then when the dust settles, they go back to being great.

So be like Bugs Bunny and tonight, when you are praying that you’ll get a new job, say another prayer just as fervently– that you will have patience and fortitude with your boss from hell, and that you can be nice and patient and support the tyrant until they are taken away from your misery. It might get you a bit farther than the alternative prayer that they will get hit by a truck.

Need a relationship upper? Get rid of “the sportsman stench” : The Rocket Sport Dryer review

It’s big. It’s black. It inflates. Best of all, it’s a relationship upper.

For what am I referring? The Rocket Sport Dryer, strong enough for a man, but seriously, made for a woman. Know why?

Product DetailsSports equipment stinks, and I’m not talking just football. In my case, it’s hockey, but it could be lacrosse or baseball. Anything with equipment and clothes that don’t get washed every usage can be nasty. And “the stink” is equal opportunity, man or woman located here or there. Don’t matter.

In my case, it’s hockey. It’s a smelly, gross sport. When my fingertips touch the gloves or shoulder pads or my husband’s hockey gear, they are stained with a stench that can only be found in the bog of eternal stench. Even a fingertip on the inside of the helmet soils my hands, and I have been known to life the socks with a pencil and the hockey skates themselves don’t get raised without lifting blade-first.

This wasn’t the worst part. The worst was being misled and downright lied to about where said hockey tree was going to reside.

“In the garage of course,” was Rog’s first suggestion, lo, these long 8 years ago. Quickly, the lie was proven out. In the summer, it stunk up the three car garage worst than the dead varmint we found under the car after a long trip. It had got in (probably through the cat door), gotten stuck and died, rotting in the heat of the garage. That stink, as bad as it was, had nothing on the hockey stink.

“Outside is so much better,” Rog rephrased, migrating the metal stand to lawn. So attractive. I’m all about trailer-trashing our front yard. I’d come out, ready to mow, and find his gear strewn out, all across the lawn. It reeked. Worse? The grass died, the yellow outlines akin to the markings of a dead person on the ground. It should have read Crime Scene Here, Do Not Cross, for I wouldn’t get near it.

“You’re killing my grass,” was all I said, the grumpy, b***y tone not so subtle.

During the winter, the stand moved in downstairs, like a thief in the night, the pole of pain, along with its accoutrements, found itself in front of our pellet stove, blowing fetid air up to the right (practically killing our puppy), up the stairs, to the main floor, then another level above, to our bedroom.

It work me up. I stood, my nostrils flaring, stomach roiling. I lean over the banister, and saw the light of the flames glancing off a mystery outline. No, he couldn’t have. I walk downstairs. The smell grows worse, as though I’m walking up behind an elephant after a bad case of worms. Yes, he did. He put the damn thing in front of the pellet stove. I’ve had enough.

“If you ever, ever want to bed me again, you will get rid of that reek,” I threatened.

The solution to the stench

Fortunately, some man, some where, had heard this before. And that man, in his wisdom, determined that marriage could in fact, coexist with hockey. So he created this Rocket. Here’s how it works and why you should buy it (from me, the non-hockey player perspective. I’ll give you Rog’s opinion in a minute)

The upside
1. it’s small. it can fit nearly anywhere. in the shower, in the corner. wherever
2. it folds down (e.g. it’s portable) but when erected can actually handle all that gear
3. it’s quiet. Quieter than a dryer. like wind blowing.
4. it’s fast. In an hour (or sometimes longer, I don’t know all the settings), it’s over.

The downside? When it starts up, some “reek” is going to escape. For this reason, Rog fires it up when I’m not in the room (and he does it downstairs). I’m asleep, I don’t smell it nor do I hear it. But even when it’s on and I’m writing upstairs, I won’t hear it, but I will get a whiff of ICK for about a half hour.

Why does Rog like it? I don’t complain nor run away from the room.

That’s it women. Get this for your man, or yourself, if you too, are a stinky sports-playing woman. It’s the best gift you can give to your family.

Rating: 4.5 stars (why not a 5? I want it faster, quieter and less smell escaping. In other words, I want the ultimate machine. I can dream can’t I?)

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