All Is Calm

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty Christmas-ed out, as far as Christmas posts go.

Tomorrow is the big day and we’ll rip open packages given to us by those we love as they will the ones we have bestowed. We’ll settle in for a big meal, probably too big, but oh so tasty and possibly a Christmas movie or two. If it’s cold enough, maybe we’ll even get a fire going.

But mostly, we’ll give thanks for all the blessings in our lives – family, friends, snow-sprinkled nights, laughter and love. And prayers will go out to those far away who can’t be at our holiday table and whom we keep in our hearts.

I have to say that this year has been the most peaceful Christmas I have ever had in my life. Not because I don’t have a million things to do, because I have, nor because I’m not cooking up a storm, because I am – honestly, I don’t know why I feel as I do. I only know that I don’t have that horrible aniticipation, obsession, gift-craving, joy-forcing, monster wearing my skin this year. And you know what? It feels good.

I hope that every Christmas I have in the future feels just as this one does, calm, peaceful and filled with love and goodwill. And I wish for all of you the very same.

Love,
Annie

I Want a Do-Over!

This past week at work has been unbelievable. Besides the usual sniping, blind-siding employees  that seek to ruin my life – it seems the whole fricking universe wants to get into the act too.

Okay, Monday was okay and Tuesday started out okay but then – somebody asked me something which I needed to check on the Internet. Ooops. No internet. Crap. Have everybody check their computers to see if they are having the same problem. Yep. We’re all screwed for that. Oh well, life goes on.

A little while later, somebody said the fax wasn’t working. I noticed a message saying the cartridge was low, so I sent someone to go get a new one. Nope, that didn’t fix it. Hmmm.

I called the IT guy we use and told him the problems we were having. Naturally, he insisted in doing one of those ‘let me walk you through it’ things that never work. So, he said he’d come over. He arrived later and checked this and that and nope, we simply did not have an internet connection.Crap.

So then I spend an hour trying to figure out who the provider is because nobody knows. Since we have an Earthlink account which we pay every month, I assumed it was them. After an hour on the phone with them I realize that it probably isn’t them. Is the bookeeper any help? You know, the one who is in charge of such things as vendors – uh..duh…nope. I grab the phone bill and discover yes, my dear friends at AT&T provide the service. Okay, we go through the whole bullshit routine with them. You know the one, where the Tech guy on the other end of the line just knows it’s a user problem? Sweet. And he’s asking me which line it is – we have 15 lines mind you. And I’m thinking ‘how the hell should I know? they installed it, why can’t they just look it up on the computer?’

Finally the guy figures it out after forcing me to read a 20 page phone bill. Ah yes, it’s the fax line. So, let me get this straight – my dsl is on my fax line and so that then means they are both out, right? Crap! At least I have my backup fax line. Ah…no…that one is out too.

When can they come to fix it? Tonight at 7 p.m. What? We’ll all be gone by then you dope – this is a business, not my house, which should be pretty obvious since I have 15 phone lines, doncha think?

Okay, tomorrow between 9 & 1. It sucks but I can live with it. We just need to hang on until then. Oh by the way, the receptionist just told me the credit card machine doesn’t work either. Okay, call the company. Shit, you need an internet connection for that too? And guess what? Most of our transactions are on credit cards. So now the receptionist is writing down numbers and other pertinent info so she can run the charges the next day.

So, Wednesday I call up the company to get an update and make sure they are really coming. Guess what? The tech guy tells me that it’s actually a bigger problem and my repair ticket has been canceled because it’s actually a whole grid that is out and it will take days. Days! Probably not til Monday.

So, long story short – we spent the rest of the week without internet, faxes or a credit card machine. And I don’t even know if it’s going to be working when I get in this morning.

Oh yeah, and the doc told me she’s going on vacation in two weeks and we’ll just have to reschedule all the patients and make the associates take care of things.

Oh yeah, and the bookeeper actually twigged that if we don’t get things fixed we may not be able to do payroll on Tuesday.

Oh yeah, then there was this crazy patient who had filed some stupid ass complaint and so we had to run around trying to find stuff that we could fax…ah…er…send over to the board, so they would know she is just a nut job who threatened to off herself at the office a couple of months ago.

Oh yeah and the attorney who is (bumbling) handling a legal case of grand larceny for us – is calling me every two minutes from the police station to help him with stuff I gave him months ago.

Yep, a do-over. I deserve one and need one. Or at least have things back to normal. Wish me luck – I just know I’ll need it. Crap!

WC

The Gee-Golly Finale

 

Okay, so now the new American Idol is the screechy girl. Too bad, I was pulling for beat-box boy. At least he was interesting. She’ll become a compliant little diva and probably sell out concerts for little girls who dream of being the next big voice on Idol too. Providing it’s still around by then.

 I have to say this finale, left me a bit cold. They seemed more interested in pimping their causes and showcasing other artists than what I thought the show was supposed to be about. We actually barely saw the contestants and when we did, they were usually singing back up or something. They actually gave a solo spot to Sanjaya, so he could assault us, yet again with his inept and off key stylings of a rock song. I don’t think I can ever listen to it again without cringing. In fact, I’ve forgotten what it was I was so traumatized by his shredding of it.

The best part of it (and honestly, the only reason I watched) was Taylor and his jacket. At least the guy has a pulse and tried to get people up on their feet. Is it me, or was the audience just made up of celebrities, their relatives and relatives of the American Idol folks?

And the report card section with old Clive was more like a public bashing then what I think it was supposed to be. Why didn’t he just say, “All hail the bald bag of angst and the country Barbie Doll,” and leave it at that? And I’m just curious but how is it a Barbie Doll (clutching the mike stand for dear life, lest she fall off the stage) can sell 6 million fricking albums? I don’t get it. And who told her she could sing, “I’ll Stand By You” with any authority? Some songs can not be countrified and that’s one of them.

One more thing – Greenday (is that their name?) might want to g**gle Bob Dylan, he did it first and oh so much better. What passes as deep and profound songs these days don’t reach me – I mean, what does a kid with too much eyeliner and bad hair know about the working class? Over my head to be sure.

So congrats to Screechy Girl – you’ll be an American Idol diva in no time with a nice, generic diva album that little girls will buy in the millions. I have a feeling though, that Beat-Box Boy will do better – at least I’ll be buying his album – gotta love the dark horse and somebody who just does their own thing.

I shudder to think what next year’s Idol will produce. The recent compulsion to do spin off after spin off of the show tells me that the magic is starting to tarnish. Maybe we’ll luck out and “So You Think You Can Dance” will take center stage. Could happen.

What’s your take?

WC

We Interupt Our Normal Programming to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILLIE!

Hey, I don’t care – it’s my blog and really if I can’t use the worldwide web to wish a good friend happy birthday then what good is it?

Billie I love ya and want you to have a great birthday. You are and always will be my first real Taylor Hicks buddy. We shared a very special obsession and truly without you it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun as it was.

I wish to hell that someday we will go see TayTay together in concert and complete the making of total fools of ourselves in utter splendor and abandon – cuz honey if I’m a gonna do that – then you’re the one who I want to do that with.

I thank  you for your cheer, your caring, your humor and even  your bitching. Love  ya doll. Happy Birthday!!

Hugs & Kisses,

Annie

PS: We all pitched in and got you a stripper.

You like? 😉

I Love Me Some Thin Mints! Don’t You?

I don’t know about you but every year right about this time I start to get a little excited. Not because Spring is right around the corner or because a cute guy has moved in to the house across the street but because the cookies of all cookies are about to go on sale.

Yep – I am a girl scout cookie junkie. I just can’t help myself. If there is even one thin mint within a 20 mile radius I can smell it, hunt it down and take it for my own. Since I don’t even smoke any more I figure I am entitled to just this one little obsession.

Also too there is just something sweet and nostailgic about them. They have been around since I can remember and I can remember pretty far back. Always somewhere around spring break you would start to see little cardboard table and folding chair sales stands cropping up – in front of super markets, laundramats, banks and even street corners in some suburban neighborhoods. Naturally when I was a kid I knew many of the salesgirls 😉 now, not so much.

However, I do have one little friend who is probably one of my favorite cookie sellers:  

Let’s call her Cookie-Girl – she does a bang up job, according to her mom and troop mama. But I mean who has to be told, check out that stand, nice display, clean, neat with lots of variety but no clutter. Poifect.

What many of you may not know is that there is a whole lot more to selling girl scout cookies than meets the eye. In the words of my favorite Girl Scout Mama:

Cookie sales gets so much negative crap that people don’t see the good it does. On the money side, it funds the whole Girl Scout program and it helps troops earn money for their activities. (camping, horseback riding, community service projects [one troop paid their way to Build A Bear to stuff and dress bears then donated them to the Fire Department to give to kids that needed them])

On the “Where Girls Grow Strong” side of it (a Girl Scout saying) cookie sales gives girls a chance to learn so much in a safe environment. Sales, money handling, responsibility, people skills, persistence, goal setting, etc. When it’s all over, they have such a sense of achievement! You can see the change in them. They’ve grown!

Also, especially in recent years, there are many troops who are selling cookies in order to send them to the troops. The way it works is this: you buy a box of cookies and instead of taking them home and eating them and making your thighs and butt even bigger, you tell the troop to go ahead and send them to the troops overseas. In addition to this, the kids take a lot of the money they make and send additional cookies to the troops. For example there is a relatively well known program called Operation Cookie Drop, which is a program started by Girls Scouts who managed to send bagillions of cookies to our young men and women in Iraq and gave them a  taste of home.

If you see a local troop selling in your area, ask them what their ’cause’ or program is that they are selling for – I’m sure you’ll discover that they are not in it for a beach chair or so they can all go to Chuck E. Cheeese for a weekend. They are going to do something special with the money for someone who needs it, senior citizen homes, the troops overseas, underprivilidged children and so forth.

So the next time you see that little cardboard table and chairs set up, don’t hide your face and mumble something about being on a diet. Chat with the girls and find out what they intend to do with their proceeds. And don’t be so darn stingy, give them a five-spot and tell them to give a box of cookies to their favorite shut in, kid stuck in a hospital, or a kid in a uniform overseas and far far away from home.

If you want to know when the cookies are going on sale in your area you can go here – type in your zip code and councils in your area should come up, with their schedules of sales.

Heck there is even a myspace girlscout page here.

So for pete’s sake, get some Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Trefoils or even som DoSiDos and know that you are likely contributing to something worthy and worthwhile. Heck if you are really worried about your diet they even sell some fudgy sugar free numbers AND all the cookies have Zero trans fats. So let’s not sweat the small stuff, otay.

For pictures, descriptions and nutritional information about the cookies go here

Also, if you just want to help and contribute to a troop who is sending cookies to the troops, I personally know of such a troop and I’d be happy to hook you up with them. If so, feel free to email me.

Okay, let’s get our fat asses down there and be loading up on the damn finest cookies ever made in America. Sound good? 😉

WC

Valentine’s Day

May you have the most unique of Valentine’s Days, ever. And if not that, may you at least get some kickass chocolates!

Happy Valentine’s! WC

Renaissance Man

(I originally wrote this post last summer while guest blogging for the subject of the post. In honor of his birthday, I repost it here. Happy birthday, Michael – you’re one in a million. Annie)

He’s a writer. He plays a mean piano – by ear no less – hard on the head but easy on the hands from what I hear. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. And to me, a friend. What you would call a real friend.

It’s funny, though we’ve never met face to face and honestly I’m not sure what it would be like if we did, we have fostered a friendship over the last 4-5 years that is rare. We go beyond friendship, almost all the way to family.

He’s shared with me about the tragic illnesses of both of his parents. I’ve told him about my brother who died of AIDS. I know all about his beautiful daughters and how special each of them are to him. About how his wife is one in a million. About his cute little cats. And his big silver truck. He knows about my love-hate relationship with cigarettes. My sloppy, anal room-mate. My hilarious dog.

We met at an online writer’s group, of all places. It was one of those places that wanna-be writers flock to and need-to-write-to-live writers approach with caution. What the heck, it was free and you also got to meet other writers. What’s not to love?

We swapped crits (critiques) on each other’s assignments. Culminating into a ‘story’ at the end of the course. His was the “Goodbye House” mine was “Faith.” From the beginning I admired the work and the man. Always taking the time to really say something, really give you his honest opinion. You could tell this guy had a lot of heart.

Well, our stint at the online group didn’t last long. We both realized in our own ways that truly we were engaging in Writer’s Socialism. Struggling to help the writers who couldn’t and barely having time for the writers who could. We both like to think we were among the latter.

But our friendship didn’t end there. After there were emails. More story swapping. Talking about anything and everything. Yakking on the phone about this and that. Really, somehow this guy became the brother I lost so many years ago. Somebody who I could talk to about anything and everything. Somebody who really cared about what I had to say.

I was amazed by his life and how he took everything in stride. Juggling parents that needed constant supervision, a family, a marriage, a job, doing music gigs on the side and somehow still finding the time to write. For cripes sake he wrote on the train into work.

Not long ago, we got into this wild marathon email where we starting discussing deeply writing – the ins and outs – where to publish – how to publish, the whole ball of wax. And it got positively addictive. It got to the point where we were each jonesing for the next response. We even had discussions about posting it on his blog. But realized that only a lunatic or a psychic would be able to follow it. It’s done us both good. And I hope it continues to do us both good. Keep us inspired and motivated.

Recently, he went on vacation and asked me to babysit his blog. Frankly, I was a little scared. I’d read his blog and hell I’ve read his writing. A little intimidating to say the least. I was sure his ‘readers’ wouldn’t like my style. That it would be a shock to the system to go from warm, gentle Renassaince Man to whacky, who the hell knows what’s firing those synapses Writer Chick. But…I like a challenge and try to force myself to do things that scare me.

So, I’ve struggled along this last week. Trying hard to entertain the troops in his absence. I hope I have done him justice. Cuz he’s a helluva guy and a true Renassaince Man is a modern world gone (almost ) mad.

Writer Chick

The Morning After…

Did someone say coffee???? Let the new year begin! Off to the races we go! At least in theory. If I haven’t said it enough in the last few days – HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

I wonder if I could find some toast and and jam…..

WC

Mixed Bag

 

Usually the end of the year is a pretty fun time for me. I love the holidays and the cooking and the eating and the laughing and all around making jolly stuff. A week of happy absent-mindedness follows and then the new year sort of mosies on in – like a new pair of comfy slippers you slide into. Then I start the traditional de-cluge and start chucking accumulated junk, clothes that don’t fit or I never wear, knick knacks that are weird, old socks, dustballs, furballs, this, that and so on. The purge feels good, and it goes nicely with the taking down the tree and putting away all the Christmas stuff routine. Then I start to make plans – what do I want to accomplish in the new year? What do I want to try? Who do I want to meet? Where do I want to go? Stuff like that.

However, this year has not been like that. It kicked off in a sort of rocky fashion and really it’s been rough waters for pretty much the whole ride. It started off asking for a raise and getting a token one – big disappointment but I managed to live with it. Constant attempts at diets that just didn’t go anywhere but the back of my mind to nag me. A lot of shifts in relationships – some good, some bad. A lot of the ‘usual’ activities carried on with my friends didn’t happen. We saw less of each other – busy lives, other things and responsibilities to attend to, shit happens. Roomie was laid off and even though it didn’t happen to me, I still felt the sting of it in a thousand different, tiny little ways – and I even got a bit depressed about it. Zelda, my usual comrade in adventure was otherwise engaged between work and caring for a friend who had suddenly taken ill. The company I work for started to tumble and is tumbling still – which may not seem like a big deal to many but I’d worked very hard to market the company and get its revenue up and had succeeded (hence the request for a raise) and then it all went to shit. I honestly don’t know where we’re going from here. The little voice tells me to get another job – and perhaps that is what will happen – but when you invest that much effort and creativity in something it hurts to see it go by the wayside.

I also started blogging. At a friend’s urging. I didn’t think I’d like it and was surprised to discover I did – and how. There were times, honestly, no lie, when the only thing I had to look forward to was blogging. To see comments from readers, to see my hit stats increasing and increasing. In a strange way, it got me through some very depressed moments. For that, I thank you, Michael and you, readers. Obviously, I couldn’t have done it without you and no matter what happens in the future it’s been a helluva ride and a delight by and large.

The other byproduct of this year is that I find I’ve been doing a lot more thinking that I usually do – I suppose part of it is because of the blogging because you’re always looking at what you’re going to post next – you’re more engaged in the thought process of life I suppose because of it. But it was also what has been happening in the world this last year – politically speaking, it’s been brutal to the point that I can sometimes barely stand to read any news. So much hatred and vitriole spewed this way and that. So much stupidity and lack of care from people in general. Efforts to essentially outlaw religion, rename Christmas and turn our government into the evil, maniacal machine – whilst fellows like Chavez for example is some great humanitarian. Turns my stomach. And made me seriously worry about what will happen to our world if we don’t wake up and do something.

So, I’d have to say this year has been a mixed bag and the new year coming seems to be a mystery bag in the making. I don’t know the course the ship is going to take – but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe if I let the ship guide me the adventure will be a delightful surprise. I sure hope so.

Happy New Year everybody. It’s been a pleasure meeting and knowing every one of you. I thank you for the pleasure of your company, your comments, your insights and your humor. A completely unanticipated but much appreciated gift.

Much love,

WC