Monday, March 31, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 875: Lift me up and pour me out

Our microwave has decided to work part time. This has added some spontaneity and stress to our lives, as we are quite reliant on the microwave, SH more than I, as until I met him (and when I was not at my mom and dad's house), I led a microwave-free life.

Before, if we wanted to heat something, we popped it into the microwave and voila! it was hot!

But now, it might get hot. Or it might not. One never knows. One might have to send the item back to the microwave.

SH is speculating that it might be a something issues, as in, the "on" button doesn't always connect. I mean, it sounds like the microwave is working, but perhaps there is some connection that isn't being made - the connection that actually leads to imparting heat (or, to be technical, activating the waves that agitate the item).

That might be the case. I don't know. I just want something that works. However, there are a lot of workarounds. Ie, from the school that is old, ie, our stove.

Yes, a stove works just fine for heating things, as does a toaster oven.

But SH - he wants more.

We have recently entered a new chapter in our coffee lives. I make my coffee with a cafetera, on the stove, and SH heats water in the microwave and pours it through a filter into a container just like the one David Lebovitz has here.

We started this new coffee approach because the coffee machine died.

What has happened to American industry that we can no longer make a machine that lasts longer than a few years?

We found a workaround. SH uses a pyrex container and my meat thermometer to heat the water. He has finally figured out that it takes the water nine minutes to heat to 200 degrees.

But yesterday, he heated the water and after nine minutes, it was not hot. It was not even lukewarm.

I had noticed the same thing the night before - I had heated some soup only it didn't get hot. I had to try it again.

The second time, the water got hot.

Now, on Day 2, the microwave still isn't working.

SH: I need to get one of those little water heater things.

Me: What?

SH: You know - the kind that plugs in. An electric kettle.

Me: But we have kettles. We have pots.

SH: I mean the electric kind.

Me: Why can't we just heat water in a pot on the stove?

SH: Because I have to control the pot!

Me: You can control the pots we have.

SH: But they don't have a spout! That would just be dumping!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 763: Things you never thought about before you were married

1. I put one book on top of the other.

2. SH removes the top book and places it next to the bottom book.

3. I ask, "What are you doing?"

4. SH says, "What?"

5. I say, "Why did you move that book?"

6. SH says, "I don't know. Oh! Are these both to go back to the library?"

7. I say, "Yes." I say, "I do not put things the way I put them by accident."

8. SH puts the smaller book on top of the larger book. "There," he says with satisfaction, "that looks better."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 875: Stealth decorating

I was about to point out to SH that the two paintings we had hanging on opposite sides of the built-in china cabinet were not even with each other. I was going to point it out because it is esthetically unappealing and because the situation needs to be corrected.

Then I thought - wait. If I say something to SH, there are these possibilities:

1. He will not agree that it is aesthetically unappealing and will want me to convince him he is wrong

SH is far less likely than I to roll his eyes at the "coexist" bumper stickers. He believes in tolerance and diversity for everyone except for him and me. For the two of us, unless we are of like mind, it is disaster. I don't care. I don't care if we don't agree on everything as long as we do things to live in harmony.

A few years ago, SH ran for public office. He was putting together some campaign literature and asked me to take a look at it. I did and made some editorial suggestions.

He disagreed with my comments.

I shrugged and returned to what I was doing. I am happy to coexist with someone who doesn't write the same way I do.

SH is not. His father was a college English professor. SH can write. The suggestions I made were about style, not absolute right or wrong.

SH wanted me to tell him why he was wrong and I was right. I told him it didn't matter and I didn't care and to do it his way if he wanted, but he said that I needed to convince him that he was wrong.

We had a fight about that. (Is that bad for me to admit that we fight? Do other couples fight? Are we abnormal? SH would say it's not fighting unless it's personal. I maintain that any discussion that includes disagreement and raises my stress level - I was reared in a low-drama home, unlike SH, who comes from High Drama with alcohol - is a fight.)

2. He will not agree that it is aesthetically unappealing and will want to convince me that I am wrong

This option will exhaust me. I do not want to be convinced I am wrong. I don't want to come over to the other side. Again, I am happy to say, "OK, we don't agree on that. Let's just not discuss it."

I don't know if those goes back to how were were raised, but I suspect alcohol again rears its ugly head. When you grow up with alcoholics, does it make you more argumentative? I didn't grow up with alcoholics. My parents didn't fight that much. I didn't like how they fought, though, and have tried very hard not to fall into that pattern in my life. If something bugs me, I bring it up right away. But if we can't come to agreement, I drop it.

SH doesn't want to drop it. He wants to convince me. I don't care what his position on early voting is or charter schools. He votes his way and I vote mine and I am happy. But he wants us to agree on Important Issues that really have nothing to do with our everyday lives and I don't see the need for it. 

3. He will agree that it is aesthetically unappealing and will want to control the timing of the changing of the height of one of the pictures, which means the pictures will remain unchanged for months until I can finally convince him could we please do this five minute task now?

I love my husband. I don't love having to work together on things. SH and I have very different work styles. I had a will when I was 25. I go to the dentist every year, even when I don't have dental insurance. I have my clothes laid out for a trip at least three days beforehand.

SH leaves things to the last minute.

Can you see how this might cause some challenges?

I don't think everything in the house should be a joint decision. Yes, getting a new roof - that's something we both should decide. But where a picture should be hung? That's a one-person decision. Committees do not have to be involved in everything.

(Part of my crankiness might be because at work, it seems that Everyone has to be involved in Everything. I do not need to be involved in making strategy decisions for other divisions. I do not need to be in four-hour meetings where we talk about The Future. I know what my objectives are: to increase revenue. Let me alone so I can do my job. I am done with group decisions right now.)

I decided it would be better not to mention anything to him about the pictures. Instead, I will wait until the next time he goes out of town and I will just change one of them by myself. The world will not come to an end if I do that. He will not notice the change and I will get what I want. We will all be happy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 125: Tie me up

SH: I really like this tie clip.

Me: Uh huh.

SH: Do you like it?

Me: No.

SH: Why not?

Me: I don't like tie clips.

SH: Why not?

Me: I just don't.

SH: Do you prefer a tie pin?

Me: Yes.

SH: But that puts a hole in the tie! And a tie chain lets the tie move too much! The tie clip is perfect.

Me: OK.

SH: Tie clips are better.

Me: Whatever. I don't care. You asked.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 612: Maybe I should become an air-ian

Me: You keep saying we have enough food. But do you realize that even after you leave on Wednesday, I will still eat?

SH: Oh. I know that

Me: Then we do not have enough food.

SH: I have to admit that part of my thought process is that it's not necessary to have food around when I am not here.

Me: I do not live on rainbows, you know.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The working life: It's a fine line between serious and ditzy

So you guys! You know what?! Sometimes! I like to use! Exclamation points!

I use them in work emails and I also use little smiley faces with customers I know well!

Because sometimes, when you write something, you might come across as way too direct and maybe harsh and you think, "A 'Bye' and an exclamation point will take the edge off that part of, 'We are awaiting your payment of the invoice we sent four months ago' or 'We have been talking about this deal for two months. Are you going to sign or what? If what, then quit wasting my time!'"

So I thought about my exclamation point use and thought maybe I was overdoing it a bit. I don't want to be the person with the multiple fonts and the ALL CAPS. I want to be cordial and pleasant and polite. I didn't want to be all! excited! all! the! time!

I decided to eliminate the exclamation point from my lexicon. (Is that the right word? Or does "lexicon" mean just words? Can it include punctuation? I don't know and I am too lazy to do any research on it. I am descriptive when it comes to language, btw.)

My writing became more modulated. I was not excited. I was not full of drama.

Which was fine. I am actually not a dramatic person, I don't think. I am rather low key. I have been told I come across as very serious and intimidating, which is completely bizarre to me, because most of the time, I am convinced that the people around me are going to realize that I am completely unqualified to be doing what I am doing and they will fire me for gross incompetence. It's not intimidating - it's nearsighted plus being preoccupied about the conversation I have just had with my boss about Why aren't I meeting my numbers? and What are my plans to improve things?

1. I am not meeting my numbers because I am not the person who set the numbers in the first place.
2. My plans to improve things are to actually do some market research before we develop new products instead of after.

I digress. I decided not to use exclamation marks at all. I was going cold turkey on the exclamation points. No more.

Then my friend Julie from book club posted on facebook that they had no water in their house because the water main on their street had broken and it was going to be hard to repair because it had been below zero for several days and it's kind of hard to get to buried water pipes in sub-zero temperatures.

This was a dire statement.

It merited drama. It merited excitement.

What it did not merit from me was the comment, "Oh no."

 I know. You look at that and think, "CF, but where is your compassion? Where is your sympathy? Where is your concern? WHERE IS YOUR EXCLAMATION POINT?"

"Oh no."

I shake my head and then I hang it in shame. I did not give Julie's situation the recognition it deserved. This was an exclamation-point worthy statement. This was dramatic! This was big!

I learned my lesson. Sometimes, an exclamation point is what you need. Not always - not usually - but sometimes. Sometimes, life requires some drama.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 874: Six pack fantasy/Nutella/best husband in the world

SH: This ad popped up on facebook today. It showed a man and a woman, each with these bulging six-pack abs.

Me: Really?

SH: They looked horrible.

Me: I wouldn't mind having a six pack.

SH: No! It looked awful! Please don't do that! I like the way you look!

Me: OK. If you insist. Indeed, I will make sure I don't get anywhere near a six pack.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 742: Fennel, revisited

SH: Wait! What did you do?

Me: What?

SH: The fennel! You cut off the fronds!

Me: Oh. Right.

 SH: But you were supposed to leave them on!

Me: Not for grilling.

SH: We like the fronds!

Me: They’re in the trash. Get them out.

SH: It’s too late! You didn’t cut them right!

Me: Oh well.

SH: But why did you do this without telling me?

 Me: Why was I supposed to advise you?

SH: Why didn’t you remember how I like the fennel cut?

Me: Because it’s been over a year since we have had fennel.

SH: You can’t remember something from a year ago?

Me: I have a lot of stuff in my head. I can’t keep it all there.

SH: Well you are letting the important things about food go.

Me: You should have reminded me.

SH: You should have remembered.

Me: I am not The Rememberer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wisconsin 101: This is how we save food from being wasted

My friend Isabel and I went to see the ABBA tribute show. SH and I were supposed to go together, he somewhat grudgingly, mostly because we got two of the last three tickets available and they were not together. I had no idea Milwaukee was so crazy about ABBA that the show was almost sold out but then you never know.

But SH had to go out of town at the last minute and I invited Isabel to go with me instead and she was thrilled because WHO DOESN'T LOVE ABBA?


 So we got to the show and went our separate ways to our seats but not before Isabel had a three-minute happy conversation with lots of hugging with a friend she ran into working at the ticket booth. Isabel knows everyone in Milwaukee. Everyone. She used to work at a homeless shelter so now if you walk with her downtown, she talks to all the homeless guys she sees, asking them how they are doing by name and telling them to stay on the straight and narrow.

I am accustomed now to taking 22% longer for everything involving Isabel just because she knows everyone.

We got to our seats. I sat. I noticed that there was an awful lot of gray and white hair around. I noticed that Isabel and I were probably the only people in the audience not on social security. This was a lot like when SH and I went to the Englebert Humperdink concert, only I expected to find only older people there. But when did ABBA become a favorite of the Greatest Generation?

I spoke to the ladies next to me. Aha. ABBA became a favorite when it was included as part of the season subscription for this theater.

The show started. It was as cheesy as you might expect an ABBA show to be. The woman next to me kept falling asleep and would awake after each song was finished to clap.

The show ended. Isabel joined me. I told her about the sleeping woman. "That's better than the woman next to me," she said. "She must have poured an entire perfume bottle over her head."

That was worse. I think it should be illegal to wear perfume in public and I think heroin should be legal. So I really hate perfume.

Where was I? The entire point of this story is not about the concert but about what happened after the concert, which had to do with food and being the little old lady wrapping food in my hanky and stashing it in my purse.

So Isabel and I finally made it out of the auditorium and discovered there were tables full of snacks set up in the foyer. SH and I have been to many plays at this theater, but have never seen a post-show spread. There was strawberry shortcake, lemon bars, cheese and crackers, vegetables (really?! vegetables? when there is strawberry shortcake?), coffee, and biscotti.

The biscotti and coffee were on a table in the back. A table that remained empty and unvisited, unlike the front table with the shortcake. We ate a few bites of shortcake and of lemon bars, then made our way to behind the biscotti table, where two students stood, hands clasped in front, waiting for people to ask for coffee, which they were not doing, as almost all the audience had left. This is Wisconsin. Old people here do not stay up late. Unless they are singing at the karaoke bar at the VFW. I don't know how much crossover there is between the season ticket holders at the theater crowd and the VFW karaoke crowd.

"That's an awful lot of biscotti," I said. "And almost everyone is gone. What are they going to do with the leftovers?"

"I don't know," Isabel admitted.

"Do you think they would let us take some?"

Note. I can bake biscotti. I can buy biscotti. But I will almost never bake sweets unless it is something I know SH will eat and will eat most of, because I do not need the temptation. I have a two-pound jar of Nutella that my sister gave me at her wedding and another two-pound jar of Nutella that my mom gave me years ago. They are both unopened. I did open the artisanal high-end hazelnut chocolate past that Kim and Luke sent me because it was small. But once I open a container, it is open season on it, even if it is in the basement, and I will eat and eat until the whole thing is gone and I can't fit into anything in my closet any more.

But - if I save a few biscotti from the trash (OK - full disclosure - I knew full well that those students would take the leftovers. I was a student waiter at the faculty club in college and we did not ever let food go to waste. The food they served in the dorms was awful and I never missed a chance to eat a decent meal. Things have changed in colleges - now, they have fancy workout centers and good food, but back in the day, they had crummy food and we had to pay for it even if we didn't want to eat it.) then that would be a noble thing.


"Watch this," Isabel said.

She sauntered over to the coffee/biscotti table. Asked for a cappuccino. I would have loved to have had one as well, but my princess and the pea body cannot take caffeine that late at night, even the little caffeine in decaf.

Isabel is Puerto Rican. Caffeine flows in her veins.

She drank the coffee. "What's your major?" she asked student #1.

And thus commenced the conversation in which we discovered he was majoring in English and his grandparents were Irish and Native American and African American and there was a street in his hometown named after his great grandfather but he wasn't sure why and he was the descendant of slaves and of Chinese who had gone to Cuba and he had all this great backstory and he didn't even know the details, which prompted me to suggest that he take a tape recorder to his grandparents and get all the story from them before they died because that would be enough material for his books for the rest of his life.

The poor girl next to him was a theater major and I wanted to shake her shoulders and ask, "Have you thought about how you are going to earn a living?" But I didn't because that would have been rude and besides, maybe she has rich parents and a trust fund and if you have a trust fund, why not major in theater?

All along, I was munching on a biscotti and eying the remaining cookies.

We discovered it was student #1's birthday. "Are you going to celebrate with the leftover biscotti?" Isabel asked.

He looked surprised, then said no, he was not.

"Do you mind if we take some?" she asked.

No, he did not.

"Do you mind if I give you a hug for your birthday?" she asked.

"Are you a hugger?" he replied.

She opened her arms. "Yes I am!"

She enveloped him in a birthday hug. I wrapped a handful of biscotti in a napkin.

We wished the students well and walked out.*

"And that," Isabel said triumphantly, "is how it's done."

* With our biscotti. Which SH did not want so now I have to eat because I could never throw food away.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 732: Husbands who didn't do it right when they married

I have made this friend at the gym. Let's call her Belinda.

Belinda and I are slow gym friends. That means that for the past 19 months, we have said hello and have gradually approached more intimate conversation, such as, "Does the guy who goes 'Woooo!' during pump annoy the heck out of you?"

Which of course it does. Who is not annoyed by someone who goes "Woooo!" every time he presses a weight up or even between sets, when there is no music playing at all. He is not even a rythmic "Wooo-er!" He is just random and weird. He does not "Wooo!" during spin, but he does grunt at random and drips sweat on the floor and then doesn't even wipe it up.

One day, during spin, I felt some sweat hit my leg, which astonished me, as I never work hard enough to generate sweat. Never. I am lazy. I go to the gym, but it is the going that counts. Right?

But here I was, sweating.

Only no. It was not I sweating. It was "Wooo!"-ing guy. His sweat. Blowing onto me.

I am not a squeamish person. I don't get bothered by whether people wash their hands unless they are actually peeing on them. I do mind things like spit and snot and sweat, though. So maybe I am a squeamish person. In any case, having someone else's sweat on me squeamed me out and I felt nauseated and ick and now I make sure to be nowhere near "Wooo!"-ing guy when I do spin.

So Belinda and I have edged closer to being friends. We are now connected on LinkedIn because I am always trying to network. I have never gotten a job through networking, unless you count working as a cocktail waitress during Christmas break of my sophomore year of college at the bar owned by our neighbor down the street, but I hold hope that someday it will happen and I won't have to go through the painful process of filling out the Taleo online application, which must be the worst system in the world. Hello, Taleo, I did not major in "English Studies!" I majored in English. Adding "studies" to a field usually diminishes the field. Did you guys do no user testing?

Belinda wants a new job. I told her I would help her with her resume. We have talked about the challenges of looking for work when one is a Woman of A Certain Age. We don't know if it's true. We laughed about the article on LinkedIn about how to look for a job when you are of A Certain Age. It contained advice like have a contemporary haircut. Be stylish. Stay in shape. Know how to use technology.

We wondered who the writer was talking to, as I am very accustomed to Women of A Certain Age who are stylish and au courant with technology.

And we have compared notes on husbands. I thought I was the only one married to a man who doesn't like how I do dishes.

Oh, no! Belinda told me. My husband doesn't like how I do laundry, so he does all of the laundry. That's fine with me.

I told her SH doesn't hate how I do laundry enough to take over the task.

She told me her husband doesn't like how she does dishes, so he does them. He doesn't like how she loads the dishwasher, so he does it all.

She shrugged. "Fine with me," she said.

I told her how SH doesn't think I put the dishes away right - that I will put them away wet and I don't stack the silverware properly.

Then she paused. Thought. Spoke. "It must be really hard on our husbands to have to follow around such incompetent wives, doing things right when the wives do it wrong."

I agreed that it must.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 576: Which is why I love you

Me: Don't be cranky.

SH: But you didn't do it right.

Me: So?

SH: Well if you didn't do it right, I have to be cranky.

Me: But it doesn't solve anything.

SH: So? Are you saying the only reason to be cranky is if it can solve the problem?

Me: Yes, actually. Unless being cranky prevents the problem from occurring in the future, it is just self indulgence.

SH: See, I am being cranky to keep you from making this mistake in the future.

Me: Oh, you think the only reason I would never do this again is if you criticize me?

SH: Yep.

Me: You are wrong.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Wisconsin 101: How Wisconsin grandmothers do it

Blessherheart, my grandmother - the sweet one, not the beer-drinking, smoking, card-playing one - (not that there is anything wrong with either kind of grandmother. It's nice to have a variety - you have your granma who bakes cookies for you and teaches you to crochet and who gardens and cans and who saves buttons for you and you have your granma who buys the National Enquirer and who sneaks out in the back of the nursing home for a ciggie. Both are wonderful granmas and let you experience the spectrum of granmas available) used to send me newspaper clippings.

Not necessarily clippings about anything that might interest me. Nope, she sent me clippings from the small newspaper near her hometown - her hometown didn't even have a paper - didn't even have a stoplight - so she got the paper from the next town - the town with a stoplight and with the Amish horse-drawn carriages at the K-Mart.

She would send me clippings about people who had died with the note, "She went to high school with your mother." Clippings about gardening. Recipes. Historical anecdotes.

I never really got it. Why clip paper and mail it to someone?

And then I found that I had turned into my grandmother. Then I got it.

It started with my friend Ilene. I saw three articles online in a row that made me think, "Oh Ilene would be interested in this!" So I sent her the links. It wasn't until the third one in 36 hours that I realized that I was indeed channeling my grandmother.

I laughed and I stopped. I don't ever want to be the person who spams my friends to death.

That was three years ago. I hadn't sent links to people in a while. Except for SH, which doesn't count. We link each other all day long, my sending him human interest stories and pictures of kittens and he sending me serious political screeds that he wants me to read so we can Discuss. I ignore them. I don't need stress at home. I get enough of that at work.

But then, the other day, there was a story about the new ramen restaurants opening in Milwaukee.

This is big news indeed for our modest Midwestern city. We are not the Big Fashionable City - we are not Chicago or Minneapolis. Of course, we are not New York or San Francisco. We are humble, modest Midwesterners who do not brag and who do not expect fancy. We do not expect things like ramen shops in Milwaukee. We expect bratwurst and cheese and beer, which is not a bad thing to expect at all. But we do not expect ramen. Ramen is what my mom crumbles on top of her excellent Chinese cabbage salad that SH loves, even though he claims not to like cabbage. Ramen is what poor college students eat. It is not a fancy go-out thing.

I saw "ramen" and I thought "Lisa!" Lisa is the one who, in the comments here, years ago, recommended the movie "The Ramen Girl." I don't remember what started the conversation. It certainly wasn't ramen restaurants in Milwaukee because as far as I know, we did not have any.

I got the movie from the library and watched it and it was a fun movie and it made me hungry and last year, when Saveur or one of the magazines like that talked about making ramen from scratch, I did so, making my broth from beef bones overnight in the crockpot, the house smelling of rich, oniony beef every time I woke up to use the bathroom.

I have met Lisa in person exactly one time. She is lovely. I like her. But we are not BFFs who talk every day. Yet as soon as I saw the article about ramen in the Milwaukee paper, I felt compelled to email the link to her in San Francisco. Because it was about, you know - ramen! And Lisa and I have this ramen connection! And we are blog friends who have met in person! So we are friends, right?

And then I got it, really. Sending clippings to someone is a way of saying, "Hey! I am thinking about you! You are someone who is a part of my life." When my grandmother sent those clippings to me, she was saying, "I know you live far away and we don't get to see each other enough, but I think about you all the time and I will never forget you and you are important to me."

So here you go: I am thinking of you guys.

Monday, March 03, 2014

BIO Ways I stay creative

The topic this month for Splenderosa's group (to which I was invited by my friend Tish), is "Ways I stay creative."

There is a problem with this topic.

1. I am not creative.

2. There is no 2.

I am not creative, but I will gladly tell you how to be creative. Telling people what to do is one of my most favorite things in the world. I have an inner dictator that I have been squelching since I was a kid. Only now I am bitter because Sheryl Sandburg, about whom we can debate later - but seriously, how much leaning in does someone raised with her level of privilege have to do? - said this:

I was a bossy little girl and I was told not to be bossy so I kept my mouth shut and look where it got me professionally: Nowhere. Certainly not a corner office.

I digress.

I am not creative. I cannot make up stories. I don't know how to plot or create compelling characters. I don't make something out of nothing.

What I do, I guess, is report.

And apparently, I live in an environment rich with things to report.

I have a husband who is a great straight man. He sings karaoke and sometimes I go with him and sing (badly - more on that in another post). He has a highly-developed sense of drama and can be counted on to escalate any situation to a point that I, from a low-drama background, I find baffling, which is when I start taking notes. He can fix almost anything. He is a hottie. And he doesn't mind if I write about him.

I have his parents, who are not very nice and who give me material that is hard to make funny, although I have gotten a lot of mileage about being a Bad Bacon Eater, a User of Bad Cabbage, and a Not Apple Peeler for Apple Pie.

I have two naughty cats. I just figured out why Laverne keeps slipping away into the bathtub - she has been eating the olive oil soap that SH and I got in Paris a few years ago. Shirley yowls for no apparent reason. She has been yowling for the past ten minutes. I don't know why. She followed me into the bathroom but didn't want me to pet her. Then she sat in front of the heat vent under the sink for a hot-air bath. Then she returned to the basement to yowl.

She is an odd duck. Every day this week, I have come home from work to find her rabbit fur binky in a new location. SH and I have been leaving it lie where it is, curious to see where it goes next. It has made its way from the basement to the stairs to the top of the stairs to the hallway.

I take public transportation to work and I overhear people talking about their POs, which I finally realized did not mean purchase orders, as it does in my world. I also see acts of great kindness, like the bus drivers who very carefully help the passengers who use wheelchairs on and off the bus. And I have my favorite drivers, whom I miss when they are not on the route.

I go to the Y with the guy who goes "Woooo!" all during body pump and step.

I work with tattletaling, radio-playing, ice chewing vipers Although I don't write about work that much, as I don't think that's wise. Not that I am so concerned with a co-worker finding this blog, but you never know and it's just better to be discreet.

I am surrounded by material. All I do is write it down.

I do, however, have some ideas to spark creativity that you may want to try. I don't see how any of these things could hurt.

1. Eat more chocolate. If you don't like chocolate, eat more whatever. My point is that you could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Do you really want your last thoughts, as you lie on the ground, your life slipping away, to be, "Rats. I wish I had eaten dessert." Don't risk a dessert-less death.

2. Watching TV helps me. I like lying on the loveseat in the basement, the llama fur blanket my dad got me in Peru draped over the space heater (there is a heat vent in the ceiling of the finished part of the basement, but we all remember this from 9th grade physical science: heat moves up, not down) and me, keeping me toasty warm, watching whatever show I have gotten on DVD from the library. I just finished season one of "The Wire," which I got mostly because Idris Elba is such a hottie. But it's a good show with a good story. I also liked "The Closer," "Foyle's War" (someone here told me to watch it - thank you!), "White Collar," and "House of Cards." Oh - and "The Mindy Show" or whatever it's called with Mindy Kaling. She is adorable and smart and her book is very funny. Read it.

3. OK, watching TV might not help me be creative, but it gives me something to write about.

4. Go to a bar and watch people. That's what I do when I go out with SH.

5. Watch people at an airport.

6. Did I tell you to eat dessert?

7. Read good books.

8. I have nothing else. I really am not creative, but I am surrounded by material and I take the time to write it down. Perhaps the best advice I have gotten about writing is from a friend of mine who writes for the Memphis newspaper. He told me just to write every day. Which I do. Almost. When I am not writing, I am eating dessert.

The end.

Marriage 601, Lecture 875: World Enough and Time

SH: The power went out.

Me: Oh. Yeah. I see the clocks are flashing.

SH: When I set them, I hold the buttons down together so the seconds are synchronized.

Me: OK Sheldon.

SH: You probably don't even notice.

Me: No. I don't.