I Know You're Out There!

Here's an unexplained phenomena: According to my "yes-I've-been-secretly-spying-on-you, dear-unwary-reader" stats page, the amount of first time readers for the month of November has tripled compared to October!

First, I would like to say, "Welcome all you new readers! Embrace your inner quirkiness! No one will judge you here!" (Except for me of course, but only if the opportunity is too good to pass up).

The second thing I would like to say is, "Where did all you people come from?" followed shortly by "Why all of a sudden in November?"

Don't get me wrong, I love that you guys are here. It was pretty sad for the first month, having had only two hits (and yes, both of them were me). But now! Now I have what I'm going to assume what could only be eternally adoring fans, even though you never leave comments and quietly slip away again, just as quietly as you slipped in. No worries. So you're all shy. I get that. Class participation isn't mandatory here, but encouraged if you feel so inclined.

Now, why in November? Did the weather get cold, so instead of going out to play you decided to partake in a little quirkiness? Or was it the Baby Cooter updates? Or the really riveting hiking stories? I'm just curious.

If you want, leave a comment, and let me know "Where ya'll from". If not, I'll just continue to assume that it's because you love me and are hanging on my every word. Either way, I'm good with that.

11/29/06 Baby Cooter...younger than he looks

Nicole had another baby appointment the other day, where she discovered that Baby Cooter isn't as old as he's been claiming. Turns out that he's only about 14 weeks old, which means that his world debut probably won't be until late May. No worries...just go back and read last week's update again. Meanwhile, her next appointment is January 2nd, when we find out if Baby is in fact, a Cooter or Cooterette. Stay tuned.

11/28/06 Your Account is Overdrawn

Yesterday while leaving work, I had a plan. I was going to go to the gym, then have a light dinner and work on my accounting homework. All things that needed to be done, and I was going to do them. I was determined. I was focused. So determined and focused that I came home, ate tortilla chips for dinner, washed it down with a handful of chocolate chips, and read Nora Roberts in the bathtub until bed.

What happened? I bounced a check at the Bank of Self-discipline.

I have a theory about self-discipline. My theory is that you only have x amount of it, and it's never enough to cover everything. Like money, you have to spend it on certain things that are important, and let the other stuff slide. And good intentions are like credit card offers...nice to have, but in reality, they have nothing to do with what your bank balance looks like. Like, before I started school, I went to the gym three days a week, without fail. Sure, it took discipline, but my butt looked pretty darn good, so it was worth it. Then I started school, and it took discipline to go to class and do the homework, and I had to steal that from the going to the gym fund, which slacked off considerably. The getting up and going to work in the morning fund is also a big chunk of my discipline budget. (This mostly takes the form of the housecleaning discipline drying up). Suddenly it's all you can do to keep yourself groomed and getting regular haircuts. Now I'm up to my ears in good intentions, and don't have anything to back them up with.

11/25/06 Thanksgiving Public Safety Announcement

If by chance, you are re-heating your leftover mashed potatoes and gravy from Thanksgiving, and, just by chance, you heat it up to be the same temperature at the surface of the sun, DO NOT PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH!

And if by chance, you did put that forkful of liquid lava masquerading as mashed potatoes into your mouth, and gave yourself third degree burns on your tongue and the roof of your mouth, DO NOT SWALLOW!

And if by chance, your undeniably good manners do not allow you to spew flaming mashed potato embers back out onto your plate, and in a purely knee-jerk reaction, you do swallow the molten spuds, causing severe burns all the way down your throat, DRINK COLD WATER IMMEDIATELY!

And if by chance, your kitty cat knocked over your glass of water minutes before, and you had not refilled it yet, which allowed the boiling blob of starchy tuber to come to rest in your stomach, where it promptly burned all of your stomach lining off, causing intense and excruciating pain for days on end, well, next time you'll remember to let your mashed potatoes cool first, won't you?

This has been a public safety announcement.

Women CEOs

I knew there was a reason why I'm not a CEO right now...

Interesting article on Slate:

Positions of Power- How female ambition is shaped.

More Amazing Adventures of Baby Cooter

My stat tracker informs me that 16 people have come to visit by way on Nicole's Baby Blog in the last week alone, so I'm guessing that there's a lot of interest out there for Baby Cooter. And since I'm not above upping my own blog readership by exploiting Baby Cooter's fan club, I'll continue on with updates on his growth and development. (Plus I can be excited about it because it's not actually happening to me).

In this week's episode, our not-quite pint-sized hero weighs about 1.75 ounces and is about 4 to 4.5 inches in length (in relation to my stash of office supplies, that makes him the same size as my blue Major Accent highlighter). According to the PregnancyWeekly Newsletter, Baby Cooter's tiny heart is pumping between 20 and 25 quarts of blood every 24 hours (which will grow to 300 quarts by the time he's ready to make his official world debut), and in shocking cliffhanger ending, Baby Cooter is developing his future hairline pattern! (Cue the organ music: Whaamp, whaamp, Waaaaa!)

Will Baby Cooter choose male pattern baldness? When will we find out if Baby Cooter is, in fact, a "he"? What will he spend the next 178 days doing in there? (My guess is solitaire). Join us next week for answers to these shocking questions!

I Spy...

With all the hassles of flying these days, the only reason people continue to pile into airplanes is because they are addicted to the Sky Mall magazine. I know I am. Sure, you pretend like you're a seasoned flyer, and that you could care less about the amazing overpriced tech toys and bizarre travel accessories, but sometime during your cruising altitude, you'll reach for it.

So there I was, calmly waiting for my plane to taxi down the runway while casually flipping through the catalogue, when I noticed something; this catalogue has an unusually large number of spy devices. They have your secret listening devices, ranging from ones the size of a hearing aid for listening to people talk across a restaurant, to the slightly more high tech model (for eavesdropping on your neighbors from the comfort of your own home), to the same ones that the CIA is currently using to listen in on the chatter of Chinese rice farmers (think of the transcontinental conversations you'll be able to hear)! They have your secret cameras hidden in pens (ad copy actually states "Do your own investigation by taking snapshots of secret documents. Take photographs of a competitor's products at trade shows or retail stores"... like that won't get you in any trouble), in alarm clocks, cigarette lighters, on remote control cars ("with night vision!"), and airplanes. My personal favorite in the invasion of privacy department is the hidden gps tracker "secretly keep tabs on anything that moves - hidden in the trunk of a car, stashed in a child's backpack, zipped into a computer briefcase").

Does this worry anyone else? I've come to expect big brother to spy on me, but my neighbors? Strangers in the street, videotaping me with their ink pens? I say that's just a little too weird. People generally don't appreciate having their privacy invaded for fun. I find out that you're watching me sleep through your spy alarm clock, and I'm going to beat the crap out of you. Pervert.


You'll be glad to know that Baby Cooter is preparing for his debut on American Idol, because he now has vocal chords and more developed hands. Nicole has been buying some maternity clothes, although she says that no one can tell that she's showing yet.

Investment strategies

It's the annual re-sign up for your company insurance and 401k options day today. We started with a nice little meeting with HR, where they passed out loads of paperwork and gently let us know that we were too sick and too expensive to keep covering us like they were. Blue Cross Blue Shield claims that they lost something like $450,000 covering us last year, particularly due to the large number of emergency room visits. (I raise my freshly waxed eyebrows at this, because I went to the doctor all of once last year, and BCBS paid about $10 for it; the rest was my deductible). But anyway. Surprise, surprise, premiums are going up this year.

For the 401k, I am lost. I know that I want a 401k, but as to how I want it invested, I haven't a clue. The company, being ever helpful, has listed out about 50 choices of investment opportunities, ranging from The LMNOP 500 Stock Bond Index to mineral mining on the moon. I'm supposed to pick out the ones I want to use, and what percentage to invest in each. After careful consideration, I would like to invest it in Option 42: Hole in the backyard. And maybe the spider commercial one, because I think it's funny when the little spider picks up the barbell.

Luckily, I have a Whit. He's my financial advisor. (I love how grown up that sounds!) Whit keeps up with my money so I don't have to. I give him a call. He's in extraordinarily good spirits because the market has "decided to behave" and apparently the investments that Whit made for me are doing okay. "Have you been studying the reports I sent out to you about your stocks?" he asks. I haven't, and some how I don't think he'd appreciate hearing that when those reports come, I use the unopened envelope as a bookmark for whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. So I blame it on Tony. "Actually, Tony gets the mail now, so I haven't been able to look over them lately". This is technically true, since Tony does get the mail...mostly to keep me from using other unopened envelopes as bookmarks, like the credit card bill for instance. (For the record, I was going to give him that, as soon as I finished the book and didn't need it anymore). Whit admonishes me, but mostly because I'm letting Tony have all the fun of looking at his reports. I think Whit secretly knows that I don't open them, but he's still holding out hope all the same.

I read him the choices so that he can pick out which ones I want. He does his little part to explain the different ones to me, and why he likes this one but not that one, but he doesn't bring up the animated spider commercials, so I guess that's not one of his deciding factors. (Pity). Whit knows his stuff though, and he hasn't embezzled anything from me yet, so as long as he keeps making me money, he can use whatever deciding factors he wants. I still like the funny spider.


Stephylococcus has been busy preparing for her Ames competition at Hahhhh-vard, which means she hasn't had time to breathe lately, much less keep me entertained with amusing antidotes from her day. (I know, I know, heartless of her). After smashing the last round's competition into itsy bitsy lawyer bits, she has moved on to this round, which is basically the same deal, only this time her team is bigger, and they get to make rebuttals against the other teams' rebuttals, or something like that. The competition is tomorrow, so she's probably re-re-re-checking every footnote right about now. I, however, am not the least bit concerned. As a matter of fact, I would bet on them winning the whole deal, but I can't find any off track betting that lists the Ames. (Obviously an oversight on their part). Anyway, I have full confidence in the brilliance of her team (some of which I got to meet during Steph's bachelorette party...and the fact that they had miniature replicas of male genitalia on straws had no bearing whatsoever on my analysis).

So kick butt tomorrow, little sis, because once I find a bookie, I'm all in for a win.

Teeth buds

It's week 13 for Nicole's Baby Cooter (named after her favorite football player). Nicole assures me that she hasn't had any morning sickness, (only fatigue) and she actually beginning to get that energy back.

As for Cooter, he weighs about 1/2 ounce and is between 2.5 and 3 inches in length. He's busy developing his digestive tract, and his pancreas has begun producing insulin. Even more exciting, he now has all 20 teeth buds (which I'm guessing is the precursor to actual teeth).

Here, in a rare behind the scenes photo, is Baby Cooter's first official world debut!

Buns in the oven

One of my bestest buddies from, like, the 6th grade (and subsequent college roommate) just announced she's pregnant. She's very happy, so I'm very happy for her. But what's this? An unusual reaction underneath all this happiness? It's...the teeniest kernel of jealousy?

Hold the phone! This is very unusual for me. I've always considered kids to be a lot like horses...a neat thing to have if you're in to that kind of thing, but personally, I think they're more trouble than they're worth. And expensive. And a lifelong commitment. No thanks.

Plus, (and this is a deep dark admission for me here) they kind of scare me. I don't know how to act towards them. You know those people that kids naturally gravitate to? I'm not one of them. I'm the person that the kid is hiding from behind Mommy's legs while she's going, "That's funny. He's not usually shy...".

Annnnnd, you have to KNOW things about kids. Not only things like what rashes require medical attention and how much frosted cereal is too much, but you also have to be very careful not to scar them emotionally or accidentally turn them into a serial killer. (Why are 99% of people needing therapy today? They think their parents screwed them up). Sure, sure, people say it's all instinct, and that the mommy skills will show up when needed, but what if they don't? By then you're stuck. All sales are final in the kiddie department. (Case in point: the other day Jessica brought her 8 year old to work after we'd had a giant team party. The kid asked if he could eat the last deviled egg. I shrug. Sure, why not? Suddenly Jessica comes flying around the corner. "Don't eat that!" she yells, "That egg has been sitting out at room temperature for almost 8 hours!" Now, I would have let the kid eat the egg and not thought another thing about it. If he was my kid, he'd probably be having his stomach pumped right about now). That's not the sign of a good parent.

Anyway, all this is to say that normally when babies show up, I keep a tentative distance while thinking, "That kid looks like a bright red hairless monkey-child". And I was okay with that, because that's just how I am. But suddenly, the biological clock that I thought was permanently stuck at Never just went "tick". Not that I'm going to start popping out kids ASAP (sorry mom), but the IDEA of kids just got jumped from the "I'd rather lose a limb in a grain auger" list to the "I need more information before making any decisions" list. I'm going to keep an eye on how it goes for Nicole. If she does okay, I'll consider a few years.


I don't believe in horoscopes because they're never accurate for me. They are either so vague "Something really good or really bad will happen today", or they are describing my complete opposite. "Be careful to protect your heart Gemini! That guy that you met at the party while you were drunk won't have the same charm when you both wake up in a holding cell." (Apparently, all the other Geminis are real party people). If I read the horoscopes, it's usually to make fun of them. But while I was working on the Metro Pulse crossword yesterday (still can't figure out the 5 letter word for Hindu Cleric), I saw this horoscope:

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You’re a little off-kilter and out-of-whack these days, Gemini. Don’t worry about it. It’s a natural response to recent plot twists. Fortunately, there is a medicine you can get that will fix you up pretty quickly. All you have to do is spend quality time in nature. One long hike should be enough, though to be absolutely sure you flush the psychic parasites that have been messing with you, two long hikes would be better. To aid in the exorcism and healing, I suggest that you also sing songs and shout out crazy ideas while wandering in the great outdoors. And if you can’t escape to the wild places, at least have a picnic in a park.

Now, it just so happens that I have been a little off-kilter this past week, but I figure that most people are about something, so no points there. And it just so happens that my off-kilterness is the direct result of recent plot twists, but again, no huge shocker to figure out that most people are feeling off because of something that happened. But here's the funny part. I am indeed going hiking this weekend, and when I first signed up for it, I thought, "I can't wait. A nice long walk in the woods will clear my head". (I'm not sure I'll be singing and shouting out crazy ideas though...that must be for party Gemini). I'll give you a half a point for the hiking though.

"Serving Wench!"

You'll be glad to know that my costume made the local news. (I'm guessing that adults who still dress up for Halloween is newsworthy somehow). WBIR showed up and started looking for people in costume to make fun of on tape, and we were glad to oblige. By the way, If you watch the tape, Pete Rose is my partner, Marilyn Monroe is the admin assistant, and Pocahontas does my art requests. I, of course, am the authentic western saloon girl, which Ken basically mistook for a French prostitute. (Sigh. No one understands my art).

I want to point out that they made me do the stupid walk down the hall. Ken wanted me "to really sashay". That's the best sashay I do. (Tony said I looked clumsy and awkward. Always supportive, that Tony). They also edited out all the witty things I said and managed to just use the clip where I leer insanely at the camera and yell "Serving wench!" when Ken asks me what I am. They totally ignored the part where I calmly explained that I was a high class saloon gal, like Miss Kitty. I swear, they were trying to typecast me.

To see the video, go to and click on "Dress up day" in the Schwall videos box.

I'm not sure how I'm going to explain this to my grandparents. Or my priest.