human, being

OMG I just scored a ticket to Blogher
June 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
Filed under: blogging | Tags: , , , ,

The event is sold out, but I put myself on the waitlist for the heck of it. Blogher, for those of you who are not women bloggers, is the biggest conference for women bloggers in the United States. This year, it’s in Chicago in late July.

On Saturday, I’m going to a pre-conference meet and greet of Denver/Boulder bloggers. I was planning to attend just to meet new people in my area (because as a grown-up, how often do you get to meet new friends)? Now I can see if I can score a roommate for the 2 nights to defray some of the costs. (And because I think the rooms may be sold out at the hotel). I’ve also just decided that if I can, I will use miles to fly there, unless I can find a fare for under $200.

Also, I might be able to go hang with my friends Eleni and Eric and their new baby for a day. They live outside of Chicago.

I just got an email and have no details in place. This is the best belated birthday present I could ask for!


Days of Grace: 106/365
June 18, 2009, 3:54 pm
Filed under: life | Tags:
  1. Bacon
  2. A whole day of fun with Lauren
  3. Air conditioning
  4. Bottled water when you’re really thirsty and forgot your eco-aluminum water container
  5. My parents for throwing Lauren’s family birthday party tonight

Saab story
June 9, 2009, 11:44 am
Filed under: life, travel | Tags: , , ,

On Sunday afternoon, Steve and I decided to take the scenic route home from Sante Fe, driving up US 285. We had the top down on the Saab 9-3, and the beautiful New Mexico sky opened like a book above us. It was going to be a beautiful drive home. The iPod was cranked with Coldplay. I had my sunflower seeds and Diet Coke, the quintessential traveling fare. The views were gorgeous.

Steve punched it to get around a pokey car in the right lane as we made a slight climb.

CLUNK. The engine began to chug.

Not good. We saw a sign for the next town: Ojo Caliente, 5 miles. We shuddered our way into “town,” and pulled into the parking lot of a diner-slash-motel. Steve inquired within about the closest large town. The answer, Santa Fe, an hour and half behind us, or Pueblo, three hours ahead of us … if we can drive 65. Which we couldn’t.

Steve called for roadside assistance and learned that his plan includes only 15 miles of towing. Craptastic.

With hope that we could limp back to Espanola, a small town about 30 miles south and find a mechanic in the morning. we turned around. And saw the sign, a beacon in the wilderness: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa. Somehow, I convinced Steve that staying at a spa overnight might be better than staying as some Norman-Batesish roadside motel. And besides, since there are NO COINCIDENCES, we were meant to stay at a spa that night instead of sleeping in our own bed 300 miles away.

After telling the desk attendant our sob story, she found a room for us (at a discount, just $133 including tax). Steve said we might as well get massages since we were there, and there happened to be two openings at 6 pm. I could tell he was panicking. He hates massages, and he knows I love them. We made reservations for dinner at the on-site restaurant at 7:45 and made our way to our room.

Now, Ojo is an historic site, first discovered by the Spaniards in the 1600s. And the hotel room? It was built around the same time and had never been remodeled. But beggars can’t be choosers, and we didn’t feel like dropping an extra $150 for a “cottage.” And by we, I mean Steve because he was paying.

The massages were wonderful (I got the semi-happy-ending version, which included a deliciously wonderful pectoral and abdominal massage). We sat in the mineral springs afterward, then hoofed it to the restaurant for what was a very mediocre dinner with awful service. (We had piss-poor luck in the cuisine realm on our trip, with the exception of our first exquisite dinner at Geronimo, which I’ll blog about later). Later, we  tried to have sex but our room was on the main flight pattern from the restaurant to the hotel, and there’s a transom window above our door that wouldn’t close all the way, and a gap at the top of the door, which was also warped and didn’t close all the way. Sigh.

After a stiff night’s sleep on a horribly uncomfortable bed, we had another mediocre meal in the hotel restaurant and tried to deal with the car. I finally got through to my dad, who Googled some auto repair shops in Espanola for us. None of them could work on Saabs. Although the guy at Lopez Auto was “willing to give it a try, even though I just had back surgery and I’d have to, like, supervise one of my friends.” Yeah–no. So my dad found a Saab dealer in Santa Fe and googled the directions for us. Mydad ROCKS.

Steve’s Saab is named Sid. Why, I don’t know. Sid was an abused child, and apparently Steve has learned over the past 11 months of owning Sid that he does not respond to kindness. Sid wouldn’t start until we called him a motherfucker at least three times. We kept it up as Sid sputtered and gasped all the way to Santa Fe. We had a few close calls at stoplights. Steve put Sid into neutral and we told him that was was NOT GOING TO FUCKING STALL OUT ON US YOU ROTTEN BASTARD. And he didn’t.

We finally chugged into Santa Fe and pulled up in the Saab dealership’s parking lot. Which was empty. As was the building. The dealership was gone.  I was already on my last pair of clean underwear, and Steve’s ability to stay calm under pressure kept them that way. We discovered from the inattentive Saturn mechanic that it had merged with the Chevy dealer across the street.

“You want to know something funny?” the Chevy service center guy said. “We’re the Saab dealer, but we don’t have a Saab mechanic.”

“I think I missed the punchline,” Steve said. I almost started crying. I pictured us begging with signs on the side of the road for a ride to Denver. I pictured Sid, dead in a junkyard. Then the Chevy dealer directed us to the only specialized Saab repair shop in New Mexico, which was across the street. We were getting to know Cerrillos Ave. pretty well.

We shuddered into the repair shop’s parking lot and stumbled into the office, where a pretty brunette woman with a strong New York accent was talking on the phone. This is Patty, and she is a bitch. Really. I mean, sometimes I can be a bitch, but bitch is her nature. She and her husband are Saab fanatics. He is her god. I bet she screams Saab when she comes, and so does he. But they are good at what they do, and they were nice enough to sneak Sid in and tell us the following:

  1. We were running on 3 cylinders (out of 4)
  2. We had broken a piston
  3. The water pump was broken
  4. The oil thermostat was broken
  5. One of the transmission mounts was broken
  6. Sid was undrivable
  7. Sid wasn’t silver, he is STEEL GRAY (and we are losers because we didn’t know that)
  8. They couldn’t fix Sid for two or three weeks. They were JUST THAT BUSY AND IMPORTANT.
  9. Someone (insinuating us) had abused poor Sid, feeding him shitting fuel (“We prefer Shell, because it’s CLEANER.” “Using less than 91 octane is poisoning your Saab.”) and not doing his scheduled maintenance.
  10. Denver is “up there” not “down there,” and just drop their name because everyone in the Saab world knows it, and it might get us special favors. Perhaps blow jobs. But maybe just rolled eyes.
  11. The total minimum cost to repair Sid: About $2300

So I cried. And Patty got a little nicer. Although I started crying after saying, “I hate this fucking car. We never should have bought it,” and her God the Saab Mechanic said, all offended, “Would you say that to your CHILD?” To which I started to reply, no, because my child is a human being not a stupid cocksucking automobile who is going to cost us more than we both have open on our credit cards to fix, but Steve stopped me with a look. Because these crazies had our immediate future in their hands.

Wait, did I mention that about 60 days ago, Steve purchased an extended warranty for Sid from US Fidelis? I rolled my eyes at him at the time because those policies are rip-offs and never cover anything.

Except, everything that is wrong with Sid is covered (if we take it to a dealer–they won’t pay at a non-ASE-certified shop, even if it’s a certified Saab repair facility and has been in business for 22 years). EVERYTHING. For a $100 copay. And it gets better, because his policy covers:

  • $75 a day of trip interruption, meaning that nearly all of our spa visit would be reimbursed
  • a rental car for a week
  • The first 15 miles of towing, and our car insurance policy covers $100 as well

Towing the car 300 miles was going to cost us about $800, BUT bitchy Patty had a great idea: Ship the car to Denver using a wholesale shipper. Right now we’re waiting to hear when it will arrive at the Denver Saab dealer–at a cost of about $250. Of which about $150 will be reimbursed.

Avis picked us up at about 2:30 in a lovely Ford station wagon, which we pegged all the way home to Denver. We ate crap food (mmmm Frosties) and had a really great conversation on the way. We got home last night around 9:30, after stopping by Laurel’s 40th birthday party (happy birthday honey!) and borrowing her husband’s car so we could drop off the one-way rental and pick up a new car later today. (one way rentals are about $180 a day, and we didn’t want to wait to get reimbursed for a grand.)

Sid is still an asshole. But deep down, we think he’s a good guy because he didn’t leave us on the side of the road in bumfuck New Mexico with no cell service.

Oh, and by the way, those warranties don’t kick in until you’ve put 1,000 miles on the car post-purchase and it’s been 30 days. Without the road trip, we wouldn’t have made the mileage requirement and all $2,300 plus the towing and the spa and the crap food and the rental car would have all been on us.

It’s a happy ending after all.

Now that’s over with, let’s get back to some fun
June 5, 2009, 6:44 am
Filed under: life | Tags: , , , ,

I do believe that I have now officially stopped losing my mind. Which means this blog will likely get a whole lot cheerier. Topics I have in my pocket:

  1. More ridiculous bad boyfriend stories
  2. Poems
  3. 1,000-word diatribes on people who call you at 6:40 am because they missed your call last night at 6:40 pm (really, I think Lauren’s friend’s dad has a crush on me because everytime he calls me on the phone he stutters and stumbles all over himself and I have to cut him off with things like “OK, I’m going back to SLEEP now so you have a really great day, K?”)
  4. Why I hate swimming
  5. That one about Percy, the cat who poops right in the middle of the fucking floor by the door you walk in so that cat poop is the first thing you see when you get home, and how he’s 13 and you’re kinda hoping that he will wear out this year so you can get another ferret
  6. That one about how ferret poop just isn’t as disgusting as Percy poop, because it’s so small and usually in the corners and smells like Play-doh (not that I’ve been SMELLING IT smelling it)

In other words, I’m on vacation. Which means I’ll either be prolific, or I’ll stay the hell off the Internets and do real things like work in the garden and read the latest issue of MORE, because now that I’m (almost) 40 I get a free lifetime subscription to this magazine that has sections about toning your vagina at age 40, 50 and 60. It’s like AARP, but with fashion advice.

And in OTHER other words, nobody freak out if I don’t post for a few days. Because I’m leaving the computer at home while we go to Santa Fe. And I’m sure to regale you with detail after detail (and PICTURES!) upon my return.

Peace out.

Days of Grace: 92/365
June 4, 2009, 6:15 am
Filed under: Days of Grace, life | Tags:
  1. Noelle the cat cuddled me awake this morning
  2. Vacation tomorrow!
  3. Photoshoots today. I love art directing!
  4. The petsitter was available for the weekend
  5. Upcoming two weeks to relax, restore and have some fun

Grad School, revisited
June 1, 2009, 11:11 am
Filed under: grad school | Tags: , , ,

On Friday night, I had dinner with my friends Jenny and Josh. Jenny and I used to work together in the mid-90s, and somehow we’ve stayed friends despite not sharing office space for nearly a decade. She and Josh have three kids under the age of 6. They both work full time, and they are both in grad school.

Jenny is getting her MBA, and Josh is getting his MS in Management at the university I work for. (Coincidentally, I took Jenny’s job when she left. Yes, she’s that good of a friend.) She started the MBA program five years ago, when she was in this job, because as employees we get 6 free credits a year and you may as well use them. During the past 5 years, she’s had these kids, including a now-7-month-old. Their lives are packed, but in six months she’ll be done.

I’ve wanted to get a graduate degree since I graduated with my BA in Journalism. I did apply to MFA programs in 2000, got into two and was waitlisted on one (all really good schools, too). But all would require a move. And I had Lauren about 2 months before I was to move my family to St. Louis. So I deferred.

I’ve regretted and not regretted that decision. Regret, because I always wanted to go to grad school, and I think I chickened out. Not regretted because my marriage wouldn’t have survived the move, and I would have been in St. Louis with a newborn and a grad program … or I would have dropped out.

Besides, I thought I needed the MFA so I could be a “real writer.” (I have this thing about not doing something until I am a so-called expert in it … part of the perfectionism I’m working on.) I learned from talking to MFA students that many of them hoped for jobs in corporate communications when they were done. Just like the job I had without an MFA. I’m lucky that in Denver we have this wonderful writers group called Lighthouse Writers. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a workshop with them, but those I’ve taken are at the level I imagine MFA classes to be. And those workshops are about $200, as opposed to about $5,000 for an MFA class.

I don’t need to take classes to become a writer. I need to write.

So, I’ve been toying with getting a business master’s degree instead for a few years now. I even have most of my application packet complete for a master’s in organizational leadership at the University of Denver. However, right about the time I was sending it in, Steve lost his job and I needed to put it on hold. That program would cost me about $35k. I could be done in 2 years, but I would again be $35k in the hole as I’d have to take out student loans.

After talking to Jenny and Josh about my university’s programs–she’s taken most of her classes online and he’s taken most of his in person–I have a better feeling about it. I want to go to grad school to learn, but I also want the degree behind my name so I’m competitive. My university has the biggest business grad program in the state. It’s not a high-ranker, like the Daniels College of Business at DU, but it’s also half the cost — less if I use my credits. I’ll still need to take out loans for some of it, but student loan debt is good debt to have. You actually are getting something for the money you’re financing.

But if I go to my university, I’ll actually have to take the GRE. Drat! I’ve always been good at multiple choice tests. I’m sure I’ll have no issues with the verbal section. However, I think I’ll do the online study guide for the math section. The university has a great scholarship available for people who score in the 650+ range. If I practice, I bet I can get one.

Given my current level of stress, the idea of taking on something new like school is unnerving. Is it smart? I don’t know. I do know that one thing contributing to my stress is my lack of career satisfaction, and in this market, I cannot compete with just a BA and 20 years of experience.

I’ve been putting off something I want for 10 years for every reason you can think of. Maybe now is the time to do it.

If Jenny and Josh can do it with their full lives, why can’t I?

May 27, 2009, 5:21 pm
Filed under: life

Last night, Steve and I were watching this very hilarious comic on TiVo and he was talking about how he was 40. I asked Steve, “God, he looks old. Do I look that old? You don’t look that old! And you’re already 40!”

Steve, being a closet diplomat, assured me that I don’t look a day over 32.

I was reading a blog a little earlier about a girl who feels old because she is graduating from college. College! And she’s worried about having to be an adult.

Well, honey, so am I. So am I. I mean, really, when I look deep inside of myself I feel MAYBE 30. 31 at the most. My little sister turned 34 today. WTF? So I feel younger than she really is.


I’m thinking that I’m going to wake up at any moment and, like that Newhart ending (shit, that ages me right there, huh), it’s all been a dream. And I’m still 19, and at Colorado State and in love with my college boyfriend. And my heart hasn’t been broken yet, and I haven’t gained and lost and gained 40 pounds. And I haven’t had a baby. I don’t have stretch marks on my boobs. My belly button is still perfectly round. I’ve never been in a car accident and I’ve not been through a divorce. My hair is still my natural color and PERMED. I have no debt.

But if life isn’t but a dream, then I know who I am, I have a brilliant, funny, gorgeous daughter, I’ve experienced real love, I own a house, I have a career, I’ve traveled a few places and done a few things. I’ve had orgasms–real, not faked–in exotic places. I’ve gotten over my sexual shame. I’ve learned that wine is delicious. I have friends who are really there for me, who have been for more than 20 years.

I remember in high school writing a letter to my 40-year-old self as a sociology assignment. It started off something like “If you haven’t killed yourself or died in a nuclear explosion, then good.” Yeah, I was happy on the outside and dark on the inside. I imagined 40 as so fucking OLD I could be dead by then. And here it comes. And I’m alive.

I’m sure over the next month I’m going to start freaking out. Steve did right around his birthday, and I thought to myself, Oh, I’ll handle it SO much better than him. HA! Famous last thoughts. Because I am starting to freak out, just a little.

Someone open that bottle of wine and pour me a glass. Or two.