Thursday, December 13, 2012

October and November: I Was Busy

I'm going to stop starting these posts with “sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted” apologies.  The truth is, it typically takes at least a month for me to come up with something I think anyone would find entertaining to read about.  Actually, you should be grateful I'm not filling the internet with yet another daily blog that rambles on about being single or cookie baking or “going green”.  That’s 5 more minutes a day I'm giving you to stalk your ex on facebook or wrack up another 28% interest credit card payment via online shopping.  You’re welcome, America.  

Truth be told a lot has happened in the past couple of months.  I flew back east for a friend’s wedding, I spent a weekend in Vegas, I went on a vacation to Barcelona and I got promoted.  I get how a normal person would give a general overview of those events.  I prefer the drive by observations I'm about to spit out.  It focuses on none of the important aspects of any of those events:

  • When you’re drunk and the lighting is really low sometimes a ball of butter NEXT to your salad looks like one of those mini mozzarella balls IN your salad.  No amount of wine will get the taste out of your mouth OR erase the humiliation when the person across from you, who is only slightly less drunk, decides to point your error out to the entire table.  Thanks random girl, thanks a million.
  • No matter how many times you casually mention it, people on the dance floor at a wedding will NOT request Super Bass on your behalf.  This is something you cannot outsource.
  • Sometimes you have to trust your friends when they say it’s a good idea to leave the strip and take a $30 cab ride to Old Vegas.  Sometimes you have to tell them ‘no you do not want to go downstairs at 3am to play black jack, yes you do know you’re in Las Vegas, and won't they please shut the hell up and get the hell out of your room’.
  • Confetti is ALWAYS AWESOME.  I don’t care how many countries you’ve visited, how cool your car is or what you do for a living.  Someone throws a shit ton of confetti into the air, you will throw your hands up, stare at the sky and spin like you’re freakin Julie Andrews.  
  • People in Europe smoke like chimneys, drink like fish and eat cheese, basically nonstop.  It’s not a stereotype, it’s the real deal over there.  They’re still living longer and looking better than us.  I have no explanation for this.
  • When you get promoted, in your head you meet your gal pals for $20 martinis wearing a cocktail dress and stilettos.  In real life you high five over draft beers.  You’re wearing sweatpants.
  • Also, when you get a promotion, everything becomes more expensive in direct proportion to the raise you just got.  Suddenly it makes sense to buy clothes, shoes, and wine that are that percentage more expensive.  Pre-made PB and J sandwiches continue to be an idiotic waste of money.  (Seriously who is buying those things?  I don’t get it)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life Lessons with Lea: Rich People

By now you're well aware I'm the product and current member of Middle Class America.  (If not, my Target wardrobe and base model hatchback should have been clues). And given my formidable years were spent with fellow austerity budgeters it's taken me several years to understand how the wealthier world functions. Below are a few Do's and Don'ts I've compiled  regarding the affluent.   Alrighty, here we go....

Life Lessons with Lea, RE:  Rich People

Rich people don't think they're rich:  Average rich people don't think they're rich, they think the obscenely, disgustingly rich people are rich and they're just upper middle class.  Let me paint a scenario for you:  A dog burglar has sent the family dog's collar in the mail telling you the ransom is $500,000 or Fido goes to the fire hydrant in the sky.  If there is even the remote possibility of you being able to liquidiate assets and pay that ransom (or call your parents for the cash) you are a rich person.  Stop trying to rub elbows with us middle classers.  

If that first lesson just provided you with the revelation you are in fact a rich person, you can stop reading now.  

Never joke about trust funds: The idea of actually having a trust fund is, in my mind,  so hilarious  it never occurred to me NOT to use the concept outside of sarcasm.  Turns out Scrooge McDuck isn't the only one with enough money to swim in and mocking that particular form of income is actually frowned upon by those advantaging from one.

Never ask "where did you get that?": I shop at TJ Maxx and Target and outlet stores, so it took me a really long time to get this one down because when someone says they like my dress I have the uncontrollable urge to tell that person I got it for $14.99 and if they hurry they can probably get it too.  This is the opposite of how you interact with rich people.  You're not supposed to ask, you're supposed to know who the designer is and whether it came from Saks, Bloomingdales or a boutique shop.  If say, you're just curious, or you want to splurge or oh, gee I dont know you plan on winning the lottery, and you do ask "Wherever did you get that coat?",a rich person will not tell you.  They will say they don't remember, which is a lie.  Rich people won't tell you where their clothes come from because in that moment of being asked they realize how ridiculous it is they've spent so much money on a sweater and they don't want to own up to it in the face of reality... or maybe they just don't want to be assholes and rub it in your face... I think it depends on the rich person.

Raising children is something the help does:  When a rich person has a baby, you're suposed to say congratulations and then ask them if they "have help".  Seriously, I'm not joking,  Everyone who knows rich people will ask this question.  If they say yes, it is followed by several details.  There's the nanny, the day nurse, the night nurse, daycare and  a gammot of credentials to match.  You're supposed to respond saying how great it is that this person is paying other people to raise their child.  If they say no they don't have help and have actually braved the frontier of raising the offspring they've born, you're supposed to throw them a parade.  

Trailers, above ground pools and coupons are off limits:  You cannot mention these things in front of rich people.  If you do, they'll look at you momentarily like you're some sort of crazy homeless person and then they'll change the subject to something completely irrelevant to the conversation. It's really too bad because I know lots of people who live/have lived in trailers and have/d lovely homes.  I grew up with an above ground pool that was AWESOME (and I'm willing to bet no less fun than my in-ground pool counterparts') and coupons, well coupons are free money, which you would think rich people would be ALL ABOUT but apparently not so much.  I'd consider launching a campaign to end the stigma behind these things but rich people obviously wouldn't donate to the cause, and I'm guessing most everyone else would be averse to paying for the upper class to understand what middle class living actually consists of. 

On the off-chance I someday find myself in the trust-fund-designer-clothing-nanny-employing-in-ground-pool-owning tax bracket, you can rest assured I won't forget that that's not how most of the world is living.  For now, I'm off to clip some coupons.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life Lessons with Lea: What Lea Needs to Learn

Occasionally I throw out these Life Lessons with Lea posts but I was thinking maybe the tone of them is starting to sound a little holier-than-thou.  Like maybe you're just going about your day, you see my update via whatever technology doo-dad you use, and you're thinking "Shucks I sure could use a pick-me-up tell-tale sign of the times from Miss Giametta.  Maybe she'll retell that story of the woman shitting her pants. That post sure was a doosy". (You speak like this because everyone is from Nebraska circa 1953 in their mind's eye, yes?)  But instead of my Wal-Mart heyday or my latest dating debacle you get yet another kick in the pants about all the things you don't do well.  And maybe you don't like that.

I am, after all, a people pleaser so I figured I'd turn the tables and share some of the lessons I still haven't learned.  Chances are you already know most of these.  If that bitch from Romper Room taught us anything it's that people are watching.  But just in case you don't, and to prove I'm a good sport, I give you:

The Life Lessons Lea Needs to Learn:

1.  Remembering peoples' names:  People out there whose names I know; I guarantee you it took me no fewer than 3 times being introduced, reminded, or referenced via electronic communication for me to remember what your parents named you.  If I had even a sip of an alcoholic beverage on any of those occasions, the number doubles.  I am genuinely horrific at retaining this information. 

2.  Reading Maps: I cannot find my way out of a  cardboard box.  I have zero sense of direction.  On the upside I think I would survive were I dropped in the middle of the Sahara.  You know how they say humans have an inherent tendency to travel in circles in the desert?  I would find a way to mess that up.

3.  Sorting through mail:  How hard is this?  You collect the mail from the box.  Open the stuff you care about, recycle the junk, pay the bills and you're done right?  I don't know how to do this.  I only know how to let the paper grow to a beastly heap before finding the time to pare it down half way, i then wander away and let it double again. 

4.  Putting away laundry:  I don't actually mind washing, drying, or folding laundry but that's where the process dead ends.  I bring the fresh basket to my bedroom, set it on the floor, and leave it there until all of the clean clothes have been worn and I need to wash them again. I own a dresser.  It's functionality is completely lost on me.

5.  Driving aggressively:  You read aggressively, NOT dangerously, which is not a lesson anyone should learn.  Which reminds me, to all the motorists I share the road with; I beg of you, please learn what a signal light is.  You're going to love it.  But back to my lesson, I'm not an aggressive driver.  Look, I'm from a small town.  The only "traffic" we ever experienced was when the fireworks on the 4th of July ended and everyone had to rush home to either put the kids to bed or put on their fancy Carharts and swing over to the local bar.  Lanes didn't merge, metering lights were never on and the only traffic report we ever got was a drunk on a tractor directing vehicles at the intersection of one rural route and another.  That said I'm fully aware most rural transplants learn to adjust in suburbia.  I'm working on it. In the mean time just factor an extra few minutes of transit time if I'm driving.

Obviously there are several lifetimes of things I still need to learn.  These five just seem to create the most critical and prevalent hinderance to me functioning normally in modern society. Please do not add additional suggestions.  Another lesson I've yet to learn is handling criticism well.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Everyone's Smarter Than Me...Thank God

When I was a kid my mom had a way of keeping me "grounded" when it came to my moderately above average accomplishments.   Making honor roll was never anything to celebrate.  A supporting role in the spring musical meant "you'll have to try harder next year for a lead" and when I graduated 23rd in my class it was "too bad I hadn't made it to the top ten percent".  Perhaps a few more words of encourgement and a little less criticism would've propelled me further forward, but frankly, I doubt it.  And now that Im grown and out here in the big bad world Ican't help but feel greatful not to be saddled with delusions of grandeur.  And oh what delusions they would be, as I have discovered since graduating from my, apparently substandard, top-tier school.

My first job out of school was as an assistant at an investment firm wall-papered with ivy league diplomas and wreaking of that long-term stable success us underachievers are terrified of.  No dot com bubble burst, big government bailout failures for these folks, unh unh. By my calculations, their achievements were due to 1 part luck, 3 parts favorable government policy and 8 parts SUPER SMART PEOPLE.  Mostly super smart people pretending not to be super smart, possibly so as not to frighten the dingbat (me) handing them the weekly report.  Still, I wouldn't have realized what a slacker I was had it not been for their across the board outside the boardroom, high flying achievements .  Nauseatingly, everyone seemed to be some combination of varsity athlete/trend-setter/philanthropic dynamo; or, as I liked to call them, sample resumes on steroids.

I was too dumb to know I was a dummy so I started asking questions.  After I got through the really dumb ones ("What's a ticker?") I moved onto the only slightly less rudimentary  ("One more time, which one's 'net' and which one's 'gross'?). Until after 3 years with the firm I left with the knowledge baseline that I know nothing about investments and should stick to my idiot-proof 401k plan.  My bank sends me a pie chart of how they're investing the funds but I'm smart enough to know I'm not smart enough to assess whether pink,  green and yellow are really diversified properly or not. 

You're thinking these people are the exception not the rule, right?  That it's rare for someone to be a well rounded, well traveled, well versed and well dressed individual, and that these folks are few and far between.  I thought that too.  And then I started working at Bloggle.

Minus the well-dressed piece, my current coworkers are very similar to the former, except they've lived in the 12 different countries the investment folks have vacationed in and they speak the dozen or so languages...fluently.  I'll admit, it was disheartening to discover yet another tribe of super smarties. Frankly it stressed me out for some time.  It doesn't anymore though, and here's why.  You may recall a certain son of a former president who managed to get himself elected to the same position based on the notion that he was just a common guy who liked to hunt and couldn't pronounce "nuclear".  Politics aside, I never understood the logic behind that. I don't want the leader of the free world to be as smart as I am, I want him (or her) to be much, much smarter. I want the person steering the ship to make my head spin when he explains the mechanics of the vessel.  Why?  Because he's the one steering the damn ship!  

The same logic shore side tells me Im actually in a damn good position here at Bloggle. I have walking talking examples of all the things I should strive for and,  more or less, an unwaivering faith in the folks leading my team every day.   Am I still self conscious about the one language I speak and my BA from a non-ultra elite school?  Hell yes.   But I'll take being the dumbest of the smart people over the smartest of the dummies any day of the week, and that is something I know Im smart enough to have chosen right.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Working out is (mostly) working out

If you've been paying attention, you'll notice I frequently allude to working out but have never really approached the topic with full force so I think it's finally time to acknowledge the elephant in the room.  Maybe elephant is a bit much.  How about hibernating squirrel, or maybe adolescent panda?  This isn't working.   It's just me in the room ok?  We're talking about me... being chubby.

I've got these great friends, who are themselves thin as rails, who like to pretend I don't have a little extra meat on my bones.  Dear sweet skinny friends, I appreciate your kindness but I own mirrors so really you can stop lying to me, it's ok.  Really, it is, because I am in fact doing something about it. No, let me rephrase that.  I am doing EVERYTHING about it.  So I'd like to share the many, MANY methods to my uber slow, but still steady weight loss.

I am coordinated only if there is no device, ball, disc, net, stick or glove involved.  Translation, any and all traditional sports as a means of exercise are off the table.  I can however shake my groove thang like no no other, so I take every dance/dance cardio/dance conditioning dancey dance class  ever invented.   I love these classes because half the people there have 2 left feet and an AARP card.  I get 60 minutes of staring at a mirror thinking "I'm so young, I've got moves, God I'm good looking!".

If there are no classes I'm interested in at the gym, I hop on an elliptical.  Tina Fey writes in Bosspyants (a novel everyone and their mother should read) about how she dreams up ways of killing people while working out.  This is how I know Tina and I should be best friends.  I don't plot people's deaths though, I plan my fabulous life. I swear I'm not stealing your idea Tina, I've been doing this for years.

The following events all happen in Elliptical Lea's life:

  • I have a rocking body, I mean ROCKING.  But not like the over toned greased down 8 pack.  Even elliptical Lea doesn't want that.  I'm just your run of the mill perfect 10. I have pool parties where I wear french bikinis and high heels (high heels around a pool make no sense to me but Elliptical Lea manages to pull them off). 
  • I've built my own chain of group fitness/girls night out centers.  We all work out together and I make other chubby women feel good about themselves while groovin to Britney Spears.  Then we hit the showers, do each others hair, and go out on the town.  Somehow people pay me to be a catalyst for making friends and finding hot spots.  Why and how this actually makes money is fuzzy but it does.  On the side I have a non-profit that does the same thing (minus the booze) at after school centers in low income neighborhoods.
  • An equally smoking hot boyfriend frequently picks me up in MY luxury car and we go on incredible dates. If the TV I'm watching is on ESPN and there's a NASCAR race, he's a professional race car driver, if it's hockey he's a hockey player, if its a rerun of Real Housewives... I pick between the race car driver and the hockey player.  There is no one on that show I'd want to be within a ten mile radius of.
  • I go on Jay Leno to talk about my best selling novel.  I'm somehow enough of a celebrity to warrant an appearance.
One afternoon I spent an exceptionally long time working out.  The rest of the day I had to constantly remind myself none of these things had actually happened.

Back east I used to do quite a bit of walking.  Fun fact, when you remove 20ish blocks of walking a day from your routine, you will gain 5 pounds in 6 months.  Even more fun fact, you'll gain another 5 pretending you didn't gain the first.   After you gain 10 you realize it's time to get your shit together.  So, I recently bought a bike.  Want to laugh?  Watch a grown women with the coordination of jello ride a bike for the first time in ten years.  I've also taken to hiking.  Want to cry? Watch an 80 year old man with walking sticks beat you to the top of the hill.

My ultimate goal is to get down to a healthy weight I can feel good about, and still I know I had some fun getting there.  And if that means I spend the next five years exploring acroyoga or hay bale throwing or unicycle competitions well then by golly sign me up because one way or another I'm getting there. 

 For your amusement, a partial list of additional classes I have actually taken in the name of physical fitness

  • Urban rebounding (small trampolines, big fun).
  • Step-N-Slide: a device i can only describe as a plastic mat that feels like it's been rubbed down with vegetable oil, affixed with 2 "stoppers" at each end.  The goal of the class is not to die, I think.
  • Polynesian (Hula and Tahitian)
  • Bikram Yoga: 110 degree room, you literally rain sweat

Monday, May 14, 2012

Socially Slow in Sillicon Valley

I can't believe it's taken me this long to broach the subject on the egregious lack of social skills in Silicon Valley but we're here now so let's get started.

Around here it's no secret the male:female ratio is, statistically, in they lady's favor but that hasn't really provided me an upper hand in the dating scene.  As a good friend recently pointed out, the odds are good, but the goods are odd.  Maybe this sounds overly critical but hear me out.   I think we can mostly agree I'm a fairly attractive, moderately successful woman.  I've got a good sense of humor, and I clean up pretty good; it's only fair to expect similar standards in my male counterparts. Sadly that's currently not what I'm seeing out there, ergo:

Suggestions for Solving the Socially Slow Situation in Silicon Valley

The basics.

Fellas,  if you have any snowball's chance in hell of interacting with anything better than a mop you're going to need to bathe, cut your hair regularly, and corral that facial mange into something presentable, or else get rid of it...daily. You've also got to spend more than 10 seconds choosing clothing to put on, and that clothing needs to be clean.  I don't want to count the number of men I've seen out here wearing high-water khakis, dirty gamer tshirts and Tevas with sport socks.  Do not tell me you coordinated that outfit, passed a mirror and thought it looked good.  No one is that stupid.  But just in case you are, try remembering the four S's: Shower, Shave and no Socks with Sandals.

Alrighty, moving on.  

You look like a normal human being, hooray!  But now you also have to act like one.  I'm amazed how many men are incapable or unwilling to approach a woman.  We're not all cold hearted bitches... okay that's a lie, yes we are.  Nevertheless, you crave our company.  So, when you're out after work and you see a gal you'd like to get to know, just remember the reverse law of gravity applies; any drink that's emptied must be replenished: what goes down must be filled back up.  Listen, this is good news. For a mere five to ten dollars you get to skip trying to coordinate any type of meet-cute.  You can avoid the 99.9% failure rate of a pickup line.  All you have to do is say "Hello, my name is...", and then utter the six most beloved happy hour words a woman can hear, "Can I buy you a drink?".  I've heard men insist it's hard to muster the courage to do this.  Is it?  I mean I guess all we ladies do is shove miniature humans out of our hoo hahs but you're right, sounds pretty painful to say hello.

Just a side note to all the "gentleman" out there complaining about this added expense in their lives, I guarantee I've spent five times as much on bras, tampons,and mascara; and I'm still making 70 cents to your dollar.

Onward charge.

Okie Dokie, we know each others names and my martini is in hand.  What next?  Oh, you thought buying me a drink was the extent of your responsibility for this interaction?  You assumed you were purchasing my undivided attention and sole propulsion of this conversation? As if that cocktail is tuppence in a hat and your silence is screaming "Dance monkey dance!  I've bought you a drink now entertain me."  Let's be super duper clear here.  The drink bought you an introduction and my fleeting attention, nothing more.  It's not a proxy for your personality.  You have to actually open your mouth and form complete sentences that make me want to continue to engage in conversation with you.

Final thoughts.

I'm obviously not the leading authority on successful dating as, to state the obvious, I'm still out there on the hunt.  I have however had a decade of experience and have run the gamut of failed approaches.  Some final suggestions to avoid questionable social skills:

  • Don't lead with your money: I really don't care how many billions that app you're developing is going to make.  This approach is literally screaming at me with flailing arms "I DON'T HAVE  A PERSONALITY.  REPEAT, I DO NOT HAVE A PERSONALITY. I HOPE YOU'RE A GOLD DIGGING WHORE.  I DON'T HAVE A PERSONALITY"
  • "Noticing" a woman, making eye contact and walking over to introduce yourself is good, staring at her for 30 minutes is creepy.  We've seen the 20/20 specials.  We've got mace for that.
  • A little cologne can smell nice.  Bathing in it will induce allergic reactions, to you AND your scent. 



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Simple Simon

If you have ever been to a baby shower, chances are you've wasted a perfectly good weekend afternoon.  In my experience these events are attended by women who are  a.  pissed they can no longer have children, b. intent on pestering me because I don't have children or c. overly enthusiastic about sharing every painful moment of their childbirth experience. They are not fun events.... unless there's booze, and only the really cool showers have booze.  (God bless those sweet sweet women who are willing to take one for the team and serve up the sauce even though they can't partake).  Why go at all then?  Because I love my friends.  No seriously, pregnant friends, I love you. That is the only reason I'm at these things.

Assuming the shower does not have booze, or sometimes even if it does, some form of entertainment needs to fill the otherwise silent gathering, because even if you ooo and aaaah over every freakin onesie mommy-to-be unwraps, this still only takes 45 minutes.  What do you do with the rest of the time?  BABY SHOWER GAMES!!!  You might be asking 'Why the hell would grown women sit in a circle and do cross word puzzles, or list diaper brands?'  Well let me tell you why.  We are, all of us, starved for conversation.  Co-workers are wondering which side of the family the hillbillies are from, college roommates are wishing it's still ten years ago and you're celebrating finals with tequila, Great Aunt Mildred is wondering when skirts got so short and girls stopped being ladies, and the future grandmothers are both wondering who the favorite is going to be and who's going to get left out of baby's first Christmas.  The whole thing is one overextended silent moment from blowing up and it makes us all so desperate to keep the conversation going that we are willing to play a game called "Lick the Melted Chocolate Bar That Looks Like Baby Poo and Guess Which Brand It Is". 

The problem with the games is that all they do for me is remind me how little I have in common with present company and how not ready I am to enter that stage of my life.  Take my most recent experience.  At the last shower I attended we played "Finish the nursery rhyme".  Out of 25 I think I knew 4.  One of the answers I got right was Simple Simon.  The line goes:

Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair

Now I seem to remember this being maybe number 19 or so down the list. And up to this point all the ladies are recalling stories they told to their children or were told to them as children and oh aren't these sweet memories.  Do you know how I know the Simple Simon rhyme?   It's in the movie Die Hard with a Vengeance. My connection to this situation is a terrorist wreaking havoc on Manhattan. I'm no expert but I doubt this bodes well for any future in motherhood.  It certainly didn't help to connect with the other ladies in the room.

Who knows, maybe the former roommates and the moms and Mildred have that same out-of-place feeling I do.  Maybe we're all suffering through the activities with the same sense of unease.  If that's the case, maybe we should start a new tradition.  No more baby showers.  If a woman you know and love gets knocked up you make plans to meet over a meal where you congratulate her, write her a check for Baby X and wish her the best of luck.  No tea, no awkward moments, and no candy bar poo. 

And just for the record,  there is one baby shower game I love to play.  It's called "guess which gifts mommy's going to return".  I don't have hard evidence, but I'm pretty sure I win every time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life Lessons with Lea: You Can Do It, Put Your Back Into It

I've recently come to realize that not everyone is well-versed in the art of home management and general labor so I'd like to take this opportunity to share my knowledge base on a few tasks I think everyone should be able to do

In no particular order:

1. Plunge a toilet:  Honestly you'd think anyone could do this but I've had a lot of roommates and almost none of them had this skill.  The trick is to establish suction, weighing more than 90 pounds also helps.  Then just put your weight into it.  Oh, you're grossed out?  You think this isn't a classy topic and/or you find this inappropriate for a blog?  Well God help you the next time we're at a house warming and the happy couple's 2 bed, 1.5 bath is down to a .5 bath because of you.  I will not be coming to save your mortified ass.

2.  Assemble IKEA furniture:  I was disturbed to discover you can pay someone else to do this, as well as deliver the item to your house.  You're negating the purpose of entering that glorious hell hole to begin with.  It's DIY for a reason.  IKEA isn't just saving you money, oh no.  They're building your analytic skills, testing your strength, and, for domestic partners, affording you an opportunity to measure the endurance of your relationship.  If you're wondering whether that handsome gent or fine lady you're currently shacking up with will make a solid life partner, buy a tv stand and assemble it together.  The proof will not be in the assembly process (as you will likely curse, cry and vow painful deaths for each other before reaching step six) but rather how you approach each other in the 1-3 days following the ordeal.  If you're able to laugh about the 5 hours it took to figure out side A was actually side B it's likely you can add those monogrammed towels to the registry.  If you're still bitter the casters won't work, perhaps you should hold off on booking that non-refundable honeymoon.

3.  Check the oil in your car: This is such a baseline life lesson with Lea I don't even have anything funny to say about it, just check your oil regularly (Thanks Dad!).

4.  Use a pointed shovel:  Having volunteered with a variety of nonprofits I've seen a lot of corporate volunteers who have clearly never seen dirt, much less been asked to shovel it.  Here's a tip for the next time you find yourself digging a hole upstate for the body of that guy you just whacked; force the point downward by stepping on the top of the shovel and using the weight of your body to push into the ground.  I guess this could also apply for the practice of common gardening, but the sense of urgency and thus need for proper technique seems more relevant in the dead body scenario.

5.  Fold a fitted sheet: I'd be willing to bet my last pair of clean panties (US dollar equivalent of fifty bucks... roughly what I'd pay to not have to go commando all day) that if I were to sneak into your house and open your linen closet chances are there is a balled up crazy pile where folded fitted sheets should be  I'll admit, I learned this one exactly how you'd think I would... from Martha Stewart... on Oprah.  Right?  If you had to bet money wouldn't you guess that would be the winning combo to learn this technique?  Ok so what you do is find the corner seams and with your index finger fold one corner over the other, repeat on the other side and then... ok maybe just youtube it.  Honestly I don't think I can explain this one via blog, but you should know how to do it.  If you can configure wireless internet in your house, you can fold a fitted sheet.

I'm sure I'm missing a lot of important odd jobs able-bodied people should be capable of, but these are the first five that popped into my head.  Stay tuned for part deux! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shut Uppa You Face

Well hey there friends, remember me? I'm that slacker who can't manage one measly blog post per month. Aren't I just the worst? Shouldn't I have a really good excuse for not showing up even once in the entire month of January? If I told you I was off feeding starving children in Africa, would you believe me? No? What if I said I've just been in a funk and have been devoting my weeknights to my couch and my weekends to tequila? Sound more like me? Aww, you guys know me too well. It's clearly door number 2 which is just this side of absolutely ridiculous, given the obscene state of spoiled I'm currently residing in.

We all know I grew up in blue collar country and had the privilege of living on the fortunate side of the middle class fence, meaning I never went to bed hungry, rocked some seriously awesome Gap outlet attire and went on vacations where we could afford campsites with running water and electricity. Let me be incredibly clear here, this was a good life. I know most people in this world are not as fortunate, which is the point I'm getting to... eventually.

Silicon Valley is a bizarre environment mainly removed from reality. On Planet Fortunate we eat local organic food, travel to exotic places semi-annually, and drive luxury SUVs. Teenagers decide which top-tier college they'll go to based on proximity to ski resorts, real estate exchanges hands like baseball cards and everyone knows what a 401k is. It's that thing they have to fall back on in case the pre-IPO start-up they're at does NOT end up making them a gazillionaire. It's a strange place for someone like me who, up until a few years ago, thought if you'd ever been to Europe and/or drove a vehicle with leather seats you were loaded.

I don't want to dwell on how disturbed I am about the mentality of the general public around me. They've got their own diamond encrusted, trust fund problems to deal with. Today I want to talk about what an asshole I am as I find myself complaining about "heavy traffic", "crowded gyms" and my "stressful job". Really? Life sure must be rough what with my 30 minute commute, luxury fitness center and gainful employment. Out here on the west coast I've begun to forget what it was like working minimum wage, scraping together quarters for laundry and wondering how I was going to pay the heat bill come January. I think I could benefit from a little perspective to set me straight.

This morning a song popped into my head and I found it so fitting, it sparked my ambition for this post. When I was a kid my father used to play this record and it always made me feel so good. It's incredibly easy to convince yourself you've got it rough. It's even easier to give yourself license to complain about how rough you've got it. I think Joe Dulce had the right idea. I hope that the next time I start to feel annoyed or unhappy or just generally pissed I'll be able to stop and take a step back from the situation. I'll remind myself that itsa not so bad, itsa nica place if I'm even thinking of bitching about whatever minuscule injustice I'm suffering at the moment, I'll just be happy and shut uppa my face.