Mundane Mondays

Got one of those emails the other day…you know, the ones where there are a list of questions that you are supposed to answer and then forward on to your friends so they “find out things they may not have known about you.”

Great concept, at least the second or third time you get them. After that, we tend to know that orange is Kelly’s favorite color, that Beth is famous for her impression of a person from Abu Dhabi, and that I don’t like croutons on my salad. (They seem out of place, no?) We all have our favorite things…be it an afternoon nap on a rainy day, unexpectedly receiving a letter from a friend, or a trip to the biggest, best sporting goods store in the city, we all have our own definition of happiness (whatcha think ’bout that car?)

Poses a good question, though. How well do we truly know our friends?

Even the best of buddies don’t tell each other everything. White lies happen now and again (“YES! I LOVE that skirt on you,” “NO it does NOT make you look fat,” or “We barely hooked up.”) At least once, we weren’t completely honest with our closest confidantes, and that is to be expected.

But ourselves. How often do we convince ourselves that spending $125 on a pair of jeans is a good choice, this decision (albeit not the best,) is ok, and that we will be fine with an extra helping of veggie lasagna?

Most of these (with the exception of the lasagna one…that can get a bit deadly!) are relatively harmless; it’s when we aren’t honest about the major things…our jobs, our family, our experiences, that we’re probably not helping ourselves that much. And yet sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do…if we can at least feign innocence with ourselves, we can mitigate the true consequences of the truth. Putting up a wall around ourselves is often easier than tackling it head on.

Don’t know why I’m in such an introspective mood today, nor do I truly know where I’m going with this. Just one of those things that is on my mind on a quiet Monday here in the ATL, where I would have sold my entire shoe wardrobe to be able to stay in bed on this rainy morning. (Except my Via Spiga red boots. Those aren’t going anywhere.)

It’s funny…on the weekends where we tend to take it easy, stay in one or (gasp!) both nights, Mondays aren’t often anticipated with great glee. If anything else, you don’t have any good stories to tell in the office! Yet I would propose that Mondays are even worse after one of the better weekends, and are often met with that “Post-Holiday-Slump” feeling. You know it…hell, you’re probably going through it! It’s the January syndrome, where after the holidays are over, you’re left with a semi-letdown-esque day, realizing that even after the best weekends there comes a Monday. Add an early-morning rainstorm, and motivation levels are at an all-time low.

Perhaps that’s causing my direction of introspection this evening, or maybe it’s the CD that I finally burned after commiting major surgery on my getting-slower-by-the-day, frustratingly-annoying, computer that received a few choice words this weekend.

Regardless, Monday is almost over, it’s a cloudless, pleasant night, and we’re about 2/3 the way through of the January, post-everything month, almost onto the shortest (read: quickest time between two paychecks!) month. What could be better than that? (I’ve got a few ideas, but with respect to time, I’ll just keep those as my own, personal, introspection.)

Hoping you all have a terrific Tuesday,

Aubs

ps-Arrgggh. Mondays win again…the arm of my computer chair just broke off and fell onto the floor. Think that’s a clear sign of any that it’s bedtime here at my house-o-cats….Goodnight! (Donations to the “Aubrey’s Left Arm Doesn’t Know Where to Go Now” fund are greatly accepted!)

Boys and Girls, again

Remember that weekend I was just referring to? The one where I watched some basketball? Well, without further ado, I think I shall introduce everyone to the UNC Tar Heels NEW NUMBER ONE FAN, none other than Carter Griffith!!! (alum of UVA.) Doesn’t he look lovely?

Ok. Now that we’ve gotten over that, let me continue with my ramblings, made even more thought-provoking from my present meal of an organic burrito that, sad to say, is as bland as its description. I digress, however, and want to go back to my little essay on Guys and Girls.

Or is it Boys and Girls?

Or Men and Women? I’m all confused.

WHAT are we?

Without quoting Britney’s new horrible song “not a girl, not yet a woman,” I still had a hard time naming that article. (And until I figure out what we are, I’ll be using “males” and “females” to distinguish…I think that should be clear enough…)

I don’t want to insult the males by calling them boys, but hmm…us females usually have crushes on BOYS, we tell our friends when we “kissed a BOY,” and some of us, myself NOT presently included, have BOYfriends. Yet ask any male if he likes being called a “boy” after age, say, 14, and the answer is usually a big resounding ‘hell no!’

OK. Point taken. You’re “GUYS” then…I have certainly met a few GUYS in my life, some more memorable than others (insert my famous gay anorexic/plus-sized model-caller/cat abuser story here.) I go on dates with GUYS, so yeah, I suppose that works. For now.

Onto females then. We haven’t been GIRLS for a while now, but we do often refer to “going out with the GIRLS.” Little girls play with dolls, and while there was a time that Ken was our main squeeze, we’ve happily conceded him to Barbie. Ok. So then are we “Ladies?” Makes me think of my grandmother’s generation, and also, acting like a “lady” brings memories of sitting silent, knees together, and knitting (or at least tying on our aprons.) Politeness is a virtue, and I am not negating that point, but there’s nothing more patronizing than being called “Little Lady,” especially if by a Stetson-wearing Dentist-needing Belt-lacking gas station attendant. (Certainly revs MY engines…)

Of the two, I’ll stick with “Girls.” That works. For now.

But what happens a few years from now? I doubt anyone would refer to me as a girl as I’m nearing my 40th birthday (which, thankfully, is more than 15 years away…but still. Back to my point.)

When do we go from “Guys and Girls” to “Men and Women?” I spoke to this in my High School graduation speech, asking when that moment is when we finally “grow up.” At that time, a wise-to-the world (so I thought) 17 year-old, I suggested it was when we got married or had kids. Now, I wonder, as that time is approaching sooner rather than later, and I can resolutely say that I have NO intention of growing up any time soon! Even the ladies on “The View” were talking about this on their show last week…when is that moment that you are officially a “woman” or a “man?” Without getting somber, is it when we take care of our parents through sickness, or find ourselves burying them? The thought alone frightens me so much. Yet if I were to get married in the next few years, I’d still feel like a little girl playing dress-up. There’s so much that I have yet to do, experience, see. I can’t imagine being 100% sure on the boy (uh, I mean, man) I choose to spend the rest of my life with when I’m faced with interminable buyer’s regret every time I buy a pair of overpriced Earl Jeans!

I suppose this is a rhetoric question I’m asking here, and one that will differ for each person and by their own unique experiences. But until further notice, I’m quite happy here as a girl.

Happy Thursday…wishing you FUN FUN FUN weekends (and wishing that I had Monday off!),

-Aubs

Boys and Girls

I had a pretty good weekend…watching some basketball, football, and testing out some bloody mary’s with some friends.

It was this Saturday-o-fun that led me to ponder one of life’s universal questions:

The difference between men and women.

Anatomy notwithstanding, book after book has been written upon “How to Find the [Man/Woman] of Your Dreams,” teaching us “The Rules,” and telling us that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”

Is this really the case?

Are we THAT different that we exist on different ‘planets’ of sorts, never to understand one another?

I’m not so sure about this. Granted, we all know that guys and girls exist on different time-frames…a three-day call-embargo from the man-o’-the-moment is lifetimes to us gals, whereas the guys often see it as mere minutes. Boys, we’re on to you, and thanks to our friends advising patience, we learn that distance, (or at least waiting,) may in fact make the heart grow fonder. Or something like that.

But dating in general. We’re met with so many conflicting messages about how to act, how long to wait before calling/emailing, playing hard-to-get, being “Women of the ’00’s,” and even what to do when you think his/her friend has got the hots for ya! I mean, it’s a miracle we ever start relationships or even get to do a bit of kissing (outside of Hole in the Wall, that is…)

While I can’t speak for all women, let the following serve as a mini-guide to us girls (handy-reference card available upon request…)

1. Call us. I mean, it isn’t rocket science. If you say you’re going to call, do it. If you ask for our number, use it. I’m not talking harassment here, or even lengthy conversations. Just simple courtesy. This has been #1 in our “subtle ways to impress us” book for some time now. In return, we won’t call you if you don’t give us your number or make any inferences that a phone call from us would be appreciated. Just do what you say you’re going to do and you’ve already won points in our book. (And if something comes up? Let us know. We’re a pretty forgiving gender.) ‘Nuff said.

2. Have a plan. Not just for your life (though that is a bonus!) but for a date. While we LOVE to be asked for our opinion about what we want to do on said date, we want you to have a few suggestions as well. If we ask YOU out, we’ll do the same. (Get the theme here? It’s all about equality, baby…)

3. Have passion. For us? Of course. But we’re looking at the big picture here. Just as guys often throw girls in the “ones you date” vs. “ones you marry” category, us girls know the difference between a keeper and a man-of-the-moment. Contrary to popular belief, we’re not all looking to get married today (or even tomorrow.) If anything, most of us don’t even want to be married in the next few years, we’re just itching to plan a wedding. (I am as guilty as the next one here.) Back to my point: Passion. If you want to be upgraded from the M.O.T.M (man-of-the-moment) category into the P.H.A.K (Perhaps He’s A Keeper) group, have interests. Other than us. Other than football. You don’t have to be a member of every volunteer organization in the state, but if you love music, acting, or even Nick Hornby books, then you’re on the right track.

4. Have an opinion. We’re not looking to just fight with you, but if we see eye-to-eye on everything, it tends to get a bit boring. Even worse is you not taking a stand one way or another. Against abortion? Tell us. Think that Kirk Herbstreit is an overexposed lecherous freak, and well, that’s your opinion. (Of course, I’ll disagree.) There’s a time for give-and-take, reciprocation, and compromise, but at age twenty-thirty-something, you should know what you like, know what you don’t, and not be afraid to express it. (You’ll have enough time to compromise when we drag you, yet again, to the mall for those must-have Manolo’s at Neimans…)

5. Surprise us. Flowers and candy are lovely, but it’s the little things that really win us over. Send us a card. Call us, “just because.” Show us a side of you that we’re not expecting (and I am NOT talking about mooning us. Buttcracks are NEVER sexy.) Show up unannounced to take us to dinner….or something. I can’t list them all here or no one would ever surprise me! It isn’t the flowers, the dinners, the money you spend on us that makes us like you. It’s the things you do without trying, the way you say “Hey, it’s me” on your messages, the small things that make you, you. We dig it.

Of course, this is just a small glimpse into the ever-so-intricate mind of smart women all around…I’ll leave it at that for now. Can’t give away TOO many of my secrets here…

Happy Monday, Boys and Girls. Wishing you BOTH a wonderful week,

-aubs

Music

Hmm. Am having a problem of what to write about today.

Was thinking I was all creative, going off on an obscure tangent about the power of sound, cheek kissing, and tummy growling, when I decided I may have been sitting in a room with an open bottle of glue a bit TOO long.

What is it about Fridays? Do we start the week with a fixed amount of energy, intelligent thoughts, and motivation, which gets deducted from our total “thought-bank” as fast as a trip to Neiman’s can drain my bank account? Have I used all my relatively impressive thoughts and statements by, say, Thursday afternoon, thus rendering me non-smart, non-humorous, and non-creative by 3pm on Friday?

If so, I must have used my total allotment by Tuesday morning this week.

Not that it’s been a bad week…just jumbled, fast-paced, and (sad to say, but probably true,) unsuitable to my quasi-type-A personality.

Too much up in the air this week for my liking. Control freak that I pretend I’m not (truly, I’m not THAT bad, despite my only-child-ness,) having more than 2 major things up in the air for me sends me over the edge of sanity (or at least to the edge of the precipice!)

So, long week notwithstanding, I’m looking forward to a weekend o’ fun. Am getting ready by listening to some beach music, booty jams (ya Bran, I’m talking about you!) and other things I have labeled in my “good stuff” folder at work. Trying to get myself motivated to do anything but head home after work, put on my softest pjs, sit on my couch, and be a big ol’ piece of crap. (Appealing, no?)

Which brings me to the topic of music. Like certain smells, I find that music plays such a huge role in my life; sets the soundtrack of the day/week/year, of sorts. Back when making mix tapes was something to do instead of go to your Math 30 class, I found myself making a new mix in the midst of a semi-crisis (something along the lines of having to ask someone to my cocktail and being stressed out about it.) A good friend of mine pointed this out to me while driving in the car listening to “Go Your Own Way,” my then-mantra for some jerk-face who thought that making out with a not-cute, trashy girl in front of me at the respectable establishment of Players was a super idea. “Take that,” I was thinking, “I’ll go my OWN way.” Until my friend mentioned it to me, I hadn’t realized that I was using music as my own subtle form of therapy.

It’s a practiced form of therapy (check out this article), one that I think many of us participate in without meaning to. After a long day of work, I love putting on my favorite soothing CD, and just relaxing. I’ve got songs that motivate me when I’m running (how I remember this after being a dormant non-exerciser for coming-upon-5 months now should reiterate the strength of music here!), songs that I put on during my Sunday “clean-the-house-often-with-a-hangover-semi-penance-for-drinking-more-than-the-state-of-Mississippi-did-the-night-before” sessions, and of course, we all know about the power of a “romance” cd, a bottle of wine, and some candlelight.

Like most things, each person has their unique taste and preferences for music…who but me would associate “Love Bites” with 7th grade slow dances (and be known to dance with a bartender in Cleveland at Hooters just to prove this point!) Certain songs will forever make me think of different times in my life: “Send me on my Way” (Rusted Root) makes me think of driving around Westlake w/Carianne the summer before my senior year in High School; “Bouncing Around the Room” reminds me of Toe-Walking Freak Brandy (!!); “Son of a Preacher Man” will forever remind me of learning to shag (the dance, you perverts!) in the Granville Towers hallway. Even a few notes of these tunes lead to reminiscing…and I love that the smallest thing can put a smile on your face.

So that’s what I’ll leave you with, my friends, thoughts of days gone by, good tunes, and big smiles.

Have a great weekend,

-aubs

Gaming Gals

I think it is in the nature of women to play the game commonly referred to as “Why my life sucks more than yours.”

We even have our own mantra-of-sorts: “When we’re down, when we’re blue, my life MUST suck more than YOU!”

Catchy jingle, no?

For some reason, it cheers us up a bit to complain about our faults, flaws, and foibles, and it is the complaining that offers the relief almost as much as the assurance by our pals that their life is, in fact, FAR worse than ours.

Even on a good day, when the sun is shining, when the jeans are loose (straight from the dryer), when you actually received something in the mail OTHER than a bill, all women can still feel the need to play this little game.

It goes something like this:

Me: Woe is me — my life sucks. I hate my (insert: Job/Life/Boyfriend/etc. here).

Friend: No, your life CANNOT be any worse than mine. Mine sucks SO much more.

Me: Your life is MUCH better than mine — you have an office with a door, your desk CANNOT be messier than mine is, and your handwriting is so much prettier. And the love of your life is not dating your clone.

Friend: Office with door but no window equals claustrophobia. Desk is a pit of despair. Handwriting: you’re just plain wrong there. I’ll see you the boyfriend comment and raise you the following: You’ve probably showered today (unlike me,) you can fit into your Seven jeans, and your choices for lunch consist of something other than Meatloaf.

You get my drift.

We poke, prod, and pry until we can one-up each other on the perils of our common existence. Everything is fair play, including the bad decision to get acrylic nails and the difficulty of self-removal, the failed trysts with unsuitable “didn’t know it at the time but may be gay” blind dates, and even how we are THE laziest human alive in that we have to go to the bathroom but are too lazy to get up and walk down the hall so we just hold it.

Suddenly, our pathetic-ness, falsely self-perceived or actual, is a badge of courage, a ribbon on our wall. Instead of competing with each other for the best job/life/boyfriend, we now position our flaws against each other, at least in public. Not to say that the mini-competition to be the skinniest, prettiest, married-ist no longer exists; it just is now hidden beneath layers of complaints and pints of Ben and Jerry’s.

Why, as women in the 21st century, who have made amazing progress for equal rights, jobs, and pay, do we feel the need to more often disguise our success instead of promote it? Is this back to the “Smart-girl-in-third-grade” syndrome, knowing that the intelligent girls would forever be labeled as brainy instead of beautiful? Or am I taking it too far?we may just need to take a step back and instead of waiting for our friends to tell us why our life sucks LESS, play this game with ourselves and counter our own complaints with some positives. Looking on the bright side may be trite, but then again, half-empty glasses are WAY less fun than ones half full.

Especially if they’re half full of Cosmopolitans.

Dance Parties

Start with a few friends.

Add a few drinks, preferably of the “?and tonic” or “?on the rocks” variety.

Throw in a bit o’ spice, an impeding bar closing, and what do you get?

The perfect recipe for a late night dance party.

You inevitably end up at someone’s humble abode, crank up the music, (or “Jizz-ams” as my friend Brandy calls them,) and contort your already-drink-impeded body into frighteningly unimaginable positions. A game of Twister-gone-bad to a soulful soundtrack, and you are, my friend, dancing like a white person.

The 3-5am hours are often the time that brings out many people’s creativity. When else would you think that vodka and coke would make a tasty delight, or that Tanguerey would be tasty with iced tea? Aaah, those late-night concoctions?you’re a genius when you’re a-pourin’, but the next day? Somehow your Mensa application doesn’t seem so valid anymore.

Wearing sunglasses, a pink scarf with your camouflage-inspired wrap dress and knee-high athletic socks is haute couture in the wee hours of the morn; it is only when waking up in this glamorous garb that you begin to have second thoughts about your fashion expertise.

Wreaths on heads? Brilliant. Showcasing your breakdancing skills, unutilized since the 3rd grade classes you begged your parents to let you take, is but a stroke o’ genius. The rug burn the next day is what kills ya.

And yet, hangover ensuing the morning after, pictures providing the un-glorious evidence or the eve prior, you swear you won’t be doing THAT again. Checking your “outgoing call log” on your cell phone as a reminder of who you falsely believed would LOVE to hear from you at 4:00am, especially in a pseudo-Mexican accent, is enough to scare you straight (or end all chances of EVER having a romance with any of those, say, 72 people you called.) Waking up in your friend’s bed with 4 other people fighting for a bit of covers and trying to de-stick their contacts from your eyes is, I suppose, the circa-2002 throwback to the days of 70’s love-ins (except you’re rarely getting the love, considering you’re usually shacking up with your roommate/sister/best friend of the same sex.) Aaah, the injustice of it all.

So as you head towards another weekend o’ fun and frolic, decked out in your greatest garb to head to the hottest new club/bar/pub, I offer you a bit of advice:

Stock the fridge with some coke, load the CD-player with some Al Green, and make sure you’ve got Advil and Fabreze to make it all go away the next day.

Happy 2002 everyone…wishing you 365 wonderful days and nights full o’ dancin,

-aubs

UN-resolutions

Well, we’re almost at that time again.

You know it?you dread it, but you know it.

Resolution Time.

“This year, I’m going to lose 10 lbs, stop drinking on weeknights, and clean my desk.”

Yeah. Me too.

Funny how we make a list of what we are TO do, behaviour that we WILL change, things that we WILL be better about when-PRONTO! the clock strikes midnight on the last day of 2001, and suddenly, the time is upon us. What were we thinking!?!?

Instead of all the wishful thinking, the cold-turkey quitting, the lean-cuisine eating, this holiday, why not make a list of things NOT to do in 2002? (Catchy, yes?)

We’ll call it our UN-resolution list.

For instance, this year I will STOP trying to lose those last 5 pounds, and hell, ENJOY the French fries that I would previously have given up as a resolution. Pile on the ketchup, add a cheeseburger, and a perfect New Year’s Day meal (read: Hangover Remedy) awaits me.

Hmm. I like this so far.

While I am at it, I will NO LONGER obsess why guys think that waiting to call on Wednesday is an original move, why people driving ahead of me don’t turn off their blinker even though they have already changed lanes, and why I am not already a famous writer/movie star/mini-celeb/name-droppee/gal-about-town. (Ok, so perhaps I WILL still think about that last one, but the other two? Done.)

No more will I feel guilty when I spend $110 on a pair of jeans — they’re a fundamental right of womanhood, and when you find a pair that fits, flatters your thighs, perkifies your behind, you buy them. You buy two of them. Whatever the cost.

I now UN-resolve to STOP buying Ben & Jerry’s pints of Ice Cream. You get SO much more in the Edy’s Grand Special Flavors tins for about the same amount of money.

I will not beg — unless it’s for the last pair of 8-medium Manolo’s for 75% off at Neimans.

I will not steal — unless it’s stealing 3rd in my work softball game.

I will not cheat?unless Kirk Herbstreit comes galloping up on a white horse, 24 long-stemmed roses in hand. (Ok, I take that back. I’ll take him walking, crawling, skipping. Hey, I don’t have anyone to cheat on!)

Valentine’s Day will no longer fill me with gloom, doom, and many thoughts of consuming boxes of chocolates in bed with my face mask, tissues, and “When Harry Met Sally.” Instead, I’ll throw a bash, for all us single-ish gals to live it up on the “Day of the Dates.” Then, hangover ensuing, I’ll take a sickie the next day, THEN eating chocolate and crying over Harry and Sally in bed with a water bottle on my aching head.

I will NOT live up to anyone else’s expectations of me except for my own.

I will NOT berate myself for making a mistake, only try to learn from it.

I will NO MORE be told that I can’t do something, I won’t succeed, or I may not make it.

Because you know what? This New Year’s I will make a lot of UN-Resolutions and just one Resolution.

This New Year’s Day, I will resolve to take risks, try my best, and do what I can to accomplish my goals.

And then I’ll take a nap — with all the things I’m no longer NOT doing, I’ve got quite a year ahead of me!

Happy Holidays and New Year, everyone,

-aubs

ps-Been crazed over what to get me this year? I thought so. Check out my wish list, online for your viewing enjoyment. And don’t worry, I don’t expect you to get me ALL of them…number 10 or 11 would suffice!

November

Everything seems to be speeding up these days.

My grandmother always said that time flies quicker the older you get, and I do believe she was onto something.

Just 5 months ago (exactly!) I was gallivanting around the Pacific Rim, cavorting in the land down under! (Ok, I just wanted to reference a “Men at Work” song…)

And now? Leaves are changed, evenings are cool, and alas, everything seems to be happening at once.

A good reference is the “house-to-desk cleanliness” ratio. If my house is clean but my desk at work is a mess, I’ve been working crazy long hours and haven’t had time to mess up my abode. On the other hand, if nail polish bottles are scattered amongst copies of In Style and Diet Coke w/Lemon cans (my new fave) on my coffee table, and my desk at work is neatly arranged, I’m having a quiet week.

So far, I haven’t seen the glass top of my desk in a few weeks and my clothes are still arranged by color, season, and style, so that should tell you something.

Work, like most things, is cyclical. You’ve just found enough things to keep your procrastination amount at a nice, moderate “medium,” when you get slammed with the project that defies 40 hour work-weeks by, say, 30 hours. It’s days like these when I wish I had one of those little time card machines, just to see how long I did spend in the confines of my 8 x 10′ office with a view of the city. Clocking in and out would be almost as satisfying as removing a whole sheet’s worth of lint from my oh-so-top-of-the-line and oh-so-loved Maytag Dryer. (wierdly, sadly, satisfying.)

And of course this all happens when the rest of your life is buzzing around you like a bee on pollen…renovating the bathroom, cable modem breaking once again, trip to UNC Homecoming right around the corner, and (most importantly!) the desire to get something fantaboulous and Carolina Blue to wear to the game! When is there time for this all?

Can you tell I’m rambling, that my brain is a jumble of facts and figures that range from online marketing rates to shesheme promotions, to fall favorites, to sending mis-delivered mail to the rightful owners, to getting spare keys made, to packing, to meeting friends for a home-cooked meal, to sending engagement cards, to sending belated birthday wishes, to making my holiday gift lists, to starting on my holiday shopping, to paying off my credit cards, to updating my website, to sending my Mom’s tickets for our Minnesota trip, to emptying the dishwasher, to getting new cat food for Samantha who will only eat the pricey stuff, to Sullivan who may in fact finally be obese and a vet visit is around the corner, to swiffering my dining room, to picking up my perfect black pants from the dry cleaner to wear this Friday, to making sure someone waters my (dying) plants, and to the biggest one, attempting to get a hold on all I have to do between now and Friday and try and manage my life? I should make a to-do list, I think.

Hmm. Reading above, looks like I just did.

Hope your week is less crazed than mine…and be sure to check out the new pictures on the site! (The list is getting long so add “archive old pictures” to the to-do list above!)

Happy Crazy November,

-Aubs

Productive Tuesdays

Today’s been a relatively productive day for me, especially in that it’s Tuesday. (Don’t know if it’s the post-Monday not-yet-Wednesday and still far-away-from Friday slump, but Tuesdays are usually, well, just there.)

Not this one, my friends.

I am reveling in my efficiency, delighting in my non-dalliance. My friends, I’m a consumer marvel.

I’ve gone to the mysterious land of Customer Service questions, and came back, relatively unscathed and better off than before.

You see, when things break around my house, I usually first try and fix them myself (being Superwoman and all) and, upon the rare instances in which I don’t succeed (never say fail!), either do more research (i.e., finally delve into the user manual and realize that those square pegs should go in the square holes) or just mark it up as irretrievably broken.

Yet, after yesterday’s Mr. Plumber debacle ($165.13 for a man to stick his hand down the disposal and remove an errant beer cap,) I decided I’d had it. First on my “hit list” would be Mr. Plumber, as a quote should be given BEFORE someone sticks his hand down and fixes the problem, NOT after. (I mean, what was he going to do, throw the cap back in?)

I was having none of that. Called, spoke my mind, and at least half of my bill will mysteriously disappear from my credit card statement.

Aubrey: 1 Merchant: 0

Riding high from that success, I decided to bring it to another level, tackling those “untackleable” feats, including the fax machine that prints only a long black smear, my phone which won’t stop beeping, my automatic cat-litter cleaner box that, unfortunately, won’t clean, my HMO that was refusing to let me see a Dr. for this pesky carpal-tunnel-esque wrist pain until November (I may be dead by then!) and, travesty of all travesties, my stereo remote control that refuses to adhere to its “sleep” command. (stubborn little thing.)

Alas and alack, I was met with relative success:

-Received detailed instructions on my fax machine; apparently pushing ‘stop’ and ‘start’ while unplugging is the salve.

-Phone? New battery needed.

-Cat litter box? Simply return the battery cover (??) and they’re sending me a brand-spanking-new box; the fatties will be so elated.

-Am now a new patient of Dr. William Brad Harper, who will happily see my ailing wrist tomorrow afternoon, a fact I’m sure he’s gleeful about.

The only semi-failure occurred w/the stereo remote, and that’s only b/c I refused to shell out an additional $30 for a new remote (the attempt to sweet-talk Jamal, my service rep, was met with NO success. Damn.)

A 4-1 record isn’t too bad, kids, and all of this on a Tuesday!! Today’s lesson? Save your user manuals (thanks, Dad, for that mandate o’ wisdom,) don’t be afraid to talk to strangers, and sweet-talk your way to success.

Except if his name is Jamal. You’re on your own with that one…

Happily enjoying my soon-to-be pain-free-typing, my new litter box, my non-beeping phone, functioning fax, and learning to live with a sleep-less stereo,

Aub

PS-Be sure to check out my new pictures of my house, complete with furniture. (I even made my bed…)

Fall

It’s a sunny day here in Atlanta, and I’m feeling quite out of sorts. Not quite normal, but then again, not quite abnormal.

Just sort of here.

I often feel like I’m “going through the motions” of a normal day…getting up, showering, going to work, etc. And in light of all that is happened the past few weeks, I wonder if it’s enough. Am I doing what I should be? Am I where I should be? What, if anything, should I do differently?

Talking with friends, I realized that I’m not alone in this semi-sense of confusion. I think I’m speaking for a lot of us when I say that some things just don’t seem as important as they did a few months ago. And yet we’re trying to be normal, trying to go on with our lives, as recommended by our leaders. Because if we don’t, they’ll win.

Is that enough, though? This “going through the motions” isn’t living life to the fullest, appreciating the little things, the small surprises that eventually make up our delight in the day. So, instead of rattling on about feeling insignificant and confused, here are a list of some things I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that make me happy, and hopefully will inspire you to start noticing the same.

1. Fall is about here! Besides the fact that I’m wearing my fav. cashmere sweater (lightweight at that) and my ol’ faithful knee-high boots, the leaves are starting to change. The slight tinge of red on my gigantic maple tree behind my house (the one that produces the acorns that drop with a cacophonous BANG on my tin roof!) makes me long for Friday evening football games and the smell of bonfires in October.

2. I’ve begun to hear a sound I haven’t heard in a while: little kids playing outside! After moving from a mainly-20-something yuppie-ite apartment complex to a residential first-house-with-kids area, I love hearing the kids run around, playing games that surely have no real name and chasing each other on the grass. I’m about to go join them!

3. Writing. Either letters, this barrel-o-dribble webpage, or my fav, http://www.shesheme.com, I’m finally able to write wherever, whenever I want to, even if it’s cheezy (like this one.) Creativity be damned…even on a day like today where not one ounce of my being has anything remotely creative going on, I can still submit my writing. So there.

4. My new favorite website: http://www.lyricspoint.com. It’s AWESOME. Desperately trying discern that line in your new fav. Lifehouse song that continues to evade you? Go here. You’ll never be stumped again! (Disclaimer: some of these are submitted by regular, “you-and-me-type” people who unfortunately can make a mistake at times. If you think the Gin Blossom song “Found Out About You” actually says “Oksana Baiul”, then this is the place for you!)

5. Keeping with the “this is a cheezy piece of writing” theme, my actual excitement of this coming week comes from the fact that my 2 favorite shows (ok, make that 3!) are premiering! No, not anything to mentally stimulating, but in this day of repetitive news that leads to nightmares and daily anxiety, the premiere of Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, and Roswell is an event in itself.

‘Nuff said.

Have yourselves a merry little Monday,

Aub