Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slow Day

I had grand jury duty this morning. I was on the subway headed to the courthouse when I realized I had forgotten my Kindle. "Oh no!" I said out loud on the train, because I have no inner voice. Seriously, it was a devastating moment. I had heard that jury duty was just a bunch of sitting and reading. And I was actually looking forward to that. I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson's first in a series. I've already read the second book, which kind of ruined some things about the first, so my advice to you is Go In Order.

But the first book is still really good and very gripping and when I got to the courthouse without it, I tried to be calm and wait patiently with the million other prospective jurors in the hallway. We were all called into a large, official looking room with wooden benches and raised letters reading In God We Trust on the front wall. So much for separation of church and state.

A man in a suit informed us lucky folks that this grand jury summons was for a 6-month case. "But it's only Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm," he reassured us. The groans from the crowd probably signified to him that no one felt reassured. Luckily, I was quickly dismissed because I am a very smooth talker. And because I had a compelling reason for being unable to serve, which will become clear to you in future blogs.

So I went back to the office and wandered around in the hallway, looking for our publicity director. She wasn't in her office and I found myself inexplicably doing The Robot as I turned around and headed back to my desk. This did not go unnoticed by the COO, who was walking down the hall. "Are you doing The Robot?" he asked. "Uh...yes," I replied, feeling not unlike Beavis or Butthead. The COO then did The Robot, too. So I did it again. Because not only do I have no inner voice. I also have no inner dancer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What do you know?

Courtesy of Joe, here's a fun quiz that will show you just how bad you are at identifying countries in the Middle East and Africa. Or maybe you're good at it. Whatever. I only want to hear from you if you sucked at it like I did.

I was way better the second time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drama on a Plane

I take my seat on the aisle of the exit row and stretch out my legs. Tall men walking to the back of the plane glare at me. It can't be fun to see a 5'4" person taking up the seat with all the leg room. I smile and swing my legs back and forth like the childish brat that I am. I stop smiling when the man in the middle seat arrives. He has terrible body odor.

The flight attendant shows up to make sure that we all understand we're sitting in an exit row. "I'll need a verbal from each of you," she says. "Are you willing and able to help in case of an emergency?"

"Yes," 5 people say. Body Odor Man grins happily, but says nothing.

"Sir?" she asks him. "Can you assist in an emergency? I need you to say yes."

"I don't speak English," he says with a heavy accent that I can't place because I'm not good at that.

"Uh oh," she says. "I'm going to have to reseat you."

Of course, he doesn't understand what she's saying. He's still smiling like she's teasing him, and meanwhile, she's really looking around for someone who wants to move to an exit row. One of the tall guys raises his hand. Body Odor Man starts to look confused. "Why?" he keeps asking, as she gestures for him to get up. The man in the window seat and I try to explain. "You must speak English to sit in this seat," we say several times. He still doesn't understand. Finally, he gets up and walks sadly away. He looks at me one more time and says, "Why?"

"Because of English!" I say too loudly. I really want him to understand, but I basically end up sounding like a terrible, short xenophobe in a desirable plane seat.

Which is when karma decides to bite me in the ass.

Several hours into the plane ride, I have to go to the bathroom and I need Pringles. I head to the back of the plane. After I flush the toilet, I notice the toilet seat cover has not made it all the way down. I decide I don't care and walk out the door. A spectacled bald man is waiting to go next, and I have the slight feeling of embarrassment that I did not double flush the toilet.

I get my Pringles from the flight attendant and when I turn around to head back to my seat, I come face to face with what can only be described as the German Bathroom Police (this accent I did recognize.) The spectacled man is standing in the aisle, a line forming behind him, waiting to get my attention.

"I sink you forgot somesing!" he yells. I look into the bathroom and sure enough, the toilet seat liner is peeking over the edge of the toilet. This man thinks I did not flush the toilet at all, and he wants the entire plane to know.

"No," I say firmly. "I didn't forget to flush. That's just some tissue that didn't get flushed down." I mean seriously, this is the worst conversation I have ever had on a plane. I would rather go sit on Body Odor Man's lap for the rest of the flight than have this crazy German guy yelling at me anymore. He makes a huge show of walking into the bathroom with the door still open and flushing the toilet himself with a sigh of utter disgust. I walk back and take my seat, and for the rest of the flight I fight with that guy in my head, thinking of all the things I should have said. And really also thinking that I probably should have just flushed the toilet. I swing my legs, but it's just not the same. Then I eat my Pringles and feel better.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One Year Later

In San Francisco to celebrate our first anniversary:

Me: Do you ever just stop and think about how much you love me?

Rob: No.


Me: Oh! Let's go down the curvy part of Lombard Street!

Rob: No.

Me: Why?

Rob: That's for tourists. And anuses.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The couch is my new personal trainer

Tonight, I quit the gym. I went back and forth on the decision, but ultimately, I knew it was the right thing to do when I realized that I would have to go out of my way to deliver my membership cancel form. I never go to the gym. It was very inconvenient, this quitting. But I walked over and delivered the news, complete with a total lie about why I was quitting, because I was afraid they would pressure me if I told them that the real reason I'm leaving is because I am a lazy, unmotivated couch potato. On my way to the gym, I bought a pint of chocolate ice cream so that I could eat it when I got home.

In case you are in my family and suddenly feeling a bit worried about me, please don't. I will continue to do yoga and walk at least 3 miles a day (to and from work). I will probably not eat ice cream every night. Plus, if I told you what my gym membership cost (not to mention what it cost me per infrequent visit), you'd probably want to be here celebrating with me. This does not mean failure, people. It means new shoes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Carson's Thunder

In 2002, my dear friend Michele gave birth to her first boy. She named him Carson Thunder (Thunder is also his dad's middle name.) Carson was a darling boy right away. Sweet, smart, and happy, he also managed to learn the chorus to songs like Snoop Dogg's Drop It Like It's Hot almost as soon as he learned to talk. All G-rated, I assure you.

Carson was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 2. Though it was a tough and scary adjustment, he always handled it like a pro, even at such a young age. A couple of years ago, Carson came to my parents' house for breakfast. He saw that my mom had made her famous "sticky buns" and told Michele he thought he might need an extra bit of insulin that morning, since he intended to enjoy these treats with the rest of us. I couldn't believe his maturity and intelligence, even though I see examples of them over and over again.

Carson, Age 2, with his brother, Seamus

He is also a sharp dresser.

I saw Carson in August, again at my parents' house (they love to host brunch when I'm in town.) He walked up the steps to the porch carrying a little bag.

"What's in your bag?" my Aunt Cathy asked, no doubt assuming that the answer would be toys or allowance money or something equally innocent.

"My pokes," Carson said conversationally.

"Oh" Cathy said. "What are your pokes?"

"I have diabetes," Carson explained, telling her that he has to take three shots of insulin every day. He has since he was two years old.

Carson is so matter-of-fact about having diabetes. He understands exactly what it is and what needs to be done about it. He can tell you his story without ever getting sad or feeling sorry for himself. Still, the reality is that there are bad days as well as good days.

Every year his family and friends participate in a fundraising walk as a team called "Carson's Thunder" to find a cure for our boy's disease. This year's walk along the Chicago Lakefront is October 4. We here at Deepish Thoughts don't ask for much, except your eyes and maybe your forgiveness for some of our more questionable posts. Oh yeah, and also your understanding when we stop posting for lengthy periods. OK! So we ask you for things. But today, we (that's the royal "we", I guess) are asking you to help out our wonderful friend Carson and all the kids who would benefit so much from your donation. There will be a cure for diabetes. Let's find it soon and make Carson's life easier. DONATE HERE.

Carson, his family, and Deepish Thoughts thank you.

Happy Birthday, Liz!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Justin, I need to meet your Dad

Liz posted a hilarious link on Facebook today. It's a link to Twitter. I'm not sure why, but I have a pretty major dislike for both Facebook and Twitter. So I was prepared not to like this link she posted. Too bad for me, it was so funny that I cried.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Deepish Thoughts on Cultural Experience

Rob and I recently decided that sitting on the couch watching episode after episode of The Wire may not be the best way to get our weekly dose of culture. Of course, it is a great way to get your weekly dose of West-Baltimore-on-TV culture, so I'm pretty covered on any information I was lacking when it comes to drug corners and the cops who split time between hunting the dealers and becoming extraordinarily inebriated at the local bars. I have increased my vocabulary and can now confidently use words like "mope", "hopper", and "stash" in a sentence. I have yet to work this knowledge into a prospective client presentation.

Now that everyone keeps saying summer is ending (it's not, by the way), we have decided to get up off the couch and spend some time getting really cultured in our willing city. And in other cities. We went to Pittsburgh for a wedding last weekend. Having never been there, I wasn't sure what to expect from the Steel City. Here are some things I learned:

1. Everyone in Pittsburgh owns a Steelers jersey.

2. Everyone in Pittsburgh is wearing their Steelers jersey right now.

3. Pittsburgh has a 7-story Andy Warhol museum with The Factory re-imagined on the top floor. Velvet Underground music, flashing lights, close-up video of Lou Reed sucking on a cigarette, couches.

4. The cab situation in Pittsburgh is different than that of New York. On Saturday after the wedding reception, we called several cab companies, only to learn that the wait was 2 hours long. (Steelers game. Obviously.) We took a bus and learned about Pittsburgh bus culture.

I really enjoyed the city. The wedding was on the Carnegie Mellon campus and the reception was at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It was the end of August and absolutely gorgeous out. I told Rob I thought we should spend more weekends simply traveling to an American city and exploring it. He looked at me like I was wearing a Steeler's jersey and said "Right. With all our free time?"

It's true, we do tend to spend our time traveling for work, weddings, holidays to see family, etc. We don't have a ton of free weekends. So for Labor Day, we decided to stay in New York. We both had Friday off and we spent it having lunch at Otto, going to the Whitney Museum, and walking through Central Park. We met John for dinner at a tapas bar ("I thought you said topless," he complained when we arrived.)

We took our cultural expedition to Brooklyn on Saturday, to see Jay, Cameron, and Roan. We grilled out, watched Roan splash in his baby pool, and went to a block party. Okkkk, we walked past a block party. Cultural.

Sunday we cultured our way onto a train and went to Long Island to see my sister-in-law and her three kids. We had a small bonfire in the backyard and ate homemade apple pie.

Now we are exhausted by all of our activity, so we're going to curl up on the couch and watch The Wire. I missed the little hoppers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Dog

When I was growing up, a variety of smallish pets came in and out of our lives with some regularity. We had goldfish, a gerbil, parakeets, and eventually a cat, Emily. My youngest brother Paul always wanted a dog and, swayed heavily by ubiquitous Taco Bell commercials, his obsession was chihuahuas. He really, really wanted one of those small, ratty dogs; I imagine he thought it would speak to him in a Spanish accent.

My mom had always had a dog growing up, something my grandpa made sure of. He is the kind of man who can still rattle off the names of every dog he's ever owned and tell you details about them, who will feed a dog ice cubes directly from his mouth, and who is just generally happier when accompanied by a canine companion (I'm assuming this, because I've never really known my grandpa without a dog. He's been between dogs, but that's not the same thing.)

When I left for college, my family was still dogless, though Paul's campaign continued. It was shortly after I graduated that my parents got Casey. Originally they named her K.C., an abbreviation of my mom's maiden name and our last name. But after my brother hooked a Grateful Dead collar around her neck, it was an easy evolution down the path to Casey Jones. Or Casey Lou, as she was later known. Casey was not a chihuahua. She was nothing close to a chihuahua. At first, she was a very cute ball of reddish brown fur, and she grew to be a lean, athletic medium-sized dog with a ridge. She could run like a greyhound, but she never spoke Spanish.

Casey was a quirky and, it must be said, neurotic dog. She did not like loud noises, and might slam her entire body into doors when she heard thunder. When I came home for holidays, she would be there to greet me, tongue first. I would sit at the kitchen table and she would lick my legs, my hands, my arms, until I complained loudly that someone should remove her tongue, The World According to Garp-style. One morning I woke up in the guest bedroom that had been my sister's. Someone was licking me directly on the mouth. I leaped out of bed, disgusted, but definitely wide awake.

There was also some confusion (Casey's) as to whether she was a dog or a person. The best evidence of this was when we all sat on the couch to watch TV. Casey would insert herself between two people, sitting upright on her butt, watching along with us. When asked to go to her box (the bed on the floor near the TV), she often acted like we must be speaking to someone else. She would stare straight ahead, as if to say, "What? I can't hear you. I'm trying to watch a program here."

Casey was a fierce champion of smaller, younger dogs, which was abundantly clear during our recent trip to Wisconsin when Liz's dog, Rigby, tried to eat my grandparent's dog, Lucy. Rigby was just a tad confused about whose house it was, since she had been the first to arrive. Also Lucy is small and might be delicious. Whenever Rigby advanced on Lucy, Casey was close behind, with distraction tactics or general threats. Still, Casey and Rigby remained friends, and Lucy left the trip in one piece, if just a bit nibbled on. Casey couldn't be everywhere at once, after all. Unless it came to my mom. The two of them seemed to have an unspoken bond and Casey always wanted to be near her.

They were together when Casey passed away on Sept 5, at home. She was nine years old and she died quickly and gracefully. She was buried in the backyard in her bed. I can't believe she's gone. We'll miss her very much, not in spite of her quirks, but because of them.

Here are some photos of Casey and her friends.