Friday, November 15, 2013

Forgot About J

I was running at the park earlier this week.....

Well, not running exactly.  It's movement more akin to a grandmother shuffling around the kitchen in her house slippers.  It still gets my blood pumping, though, and it's always good to get some fresh air.

Anyway, I was shuffling around the park when an influential song from my past came on my iPod:  "Forgot About Dre" from Dr. Dre's legendary 2001 album.  I always had a hunch that Dre wrote his songs for middle class white chicks in their late 20s, but this time his lyrics spoke to me like never before.

"Y'all know me, still the same OG, but I been low key..."

It really made me think.  I'm the same original gangster I've always been, but like the good Doctor, I've been low key.  I haven't been writing.  I haven't been blogging.  I've basically fallen off the face of the world wide web.  But Dre got back on his horse.  Why shouldn't I?  And for the record, Dre, I never doubted you.

I've always connected with Dr. Dre on a personal level.  He's from the streets of Compton, I'm from the Village of Barboursville.  He attended the school of hard knocks, I had to pull myself up after a solid Catholic high school education.  He discovered Eminem, I recently re-discovered M&Ms.  Dre smokes chronic, I chronically misplace my car keys.  He just gets me.

I was inspired even further by Eminem's line in the song that says: "From here on out it's the Chronic II, starting today and tomorrow's anew..."

You said it, Slim.  Today is a new day.  This blog is back on track.  And to kick things off, here are 7 quick takes on why I fell off the blog-wagon, and what I've been doing since then.


I got a divorce last spring.  This is the first time I have stated that publicly.  It's not something I ever thought I would go through and I was sad, embarrassed, and ashamed.  I won't be discussing this in any detail on my blog because, let's face it, divorce is a highly personal situation with little to no comedic value anyway.  I just wanted to put it out there because I've always been candid in this blog, and I'm not going to stop just because the road got rough.


In July, newly discovered water issues in the basement caused the sale of our old house to fall through weeks before closing.  The repairs were paid for with stress, tears, and multiple new credit cards.  The good news?  Everything is now fixed, the repairs were overseen and documented by a structural engineer, and the next buyer gets a lifetime warranty.  So, feel free to buy our house.

I moved into a new house in late September.  It is walking distance to the local park, and has a little fenced in backyard for my pug friend.  I am working on a blog entry with before-and-after pictures of work I've done on the house.   Spoiler alert: There was bird poop on the kitchen floor when the previous owners left.


Also in September, two of my best friends and I went out for drinks... in France.  More to come on that topic.


 I'm still working a big girl job and going to graduate school for my Masters in Healthcare Administration.  Apparently there is something going on called the Affordable Care Act?  I'd never even heard of it!


I have been busy checking various things off of my bucket list, two of which were attending a murder mystery dinner and traveling to a Renaissance Festival.  Details to come.  Next on my list?  Attend a ball.

I finally, at age 28, learned now to correctly apply eye shadow.  I went to one of those kiosks at Macy's and asked a makeup artist to show me what to do.  I figured it's time I put on my big girl pants and learn how to do things I should have figured out back in high school.  Next step... getting my ears pierced.  

Just kidding.  I'm not a floozy.

Check out Jen for other Quick Takes this week.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Godsmack that Guy

Last night I went to Walmart to pick up a few essentials.  Thinking I could skip the cart, I awkwardly carried a 24-pack of toilet paper and a full-size broom in my arms (side note: the necessity for these two items is unrelated).  As I struggled to the checkout counter, alternating between dragging the broom on the floor behind me and carrying it like a weapon, I thought "I probably look strange right now."  This thought was short lived, however, as I soon came across someone arguably much stranger.

A 20-something male stood ahead of me in the checkout line, his face impaled by a variety of piercings.  He wore all black, including a toasty-looking winter hat, and appeared to be pretty pissed off.  I did not judge him in the least for his appearance, however, or I like to think I didn't.  No, the judging came from the fact that he was playing heavy metal music on his phone at maximum volume in the middle of a store.  No earbuds for this fella.

This guy was hardcore.  He didn't adhere to social norms.  He didn't care what anyone thinks.  Sure he was buying a pint of Ben & Jerry's, but that's only because his mother specifically told him not to.  And anyway, it wasn't a popular flavor.

The cashier and other customers glared at him, shaking their heads.  The thing is, these dirty looks only fueled the fire.  It was like watching people feed a bear at the zoo.   He was aiming for shock value, and  they weren't disappointing.  One song finished, and another one started.  It was then that I made a quick executive decision.

I discretely pulled my phone from my pocket and Shazaamed that shit.

I put my phone away and looked up at my new hardcore pal and smiled.

"Godsmack fan, huh?  Sweet.  I love them!"  I nodded at him excitedly, still holding a pack of Angel Soft and a corn-bristled broom (good for indoor and outdoor use).

The Godsmack enthusiast looked at my khaki shorts, side ponytail, and grocery items and winced.  He was probably asking himself the age old question:  "If a dork like her likes Godsmack, is Godsmack still hardcore?"

Within seconds, he switched off the music on his phone.  I can only hope it was because I created in him an effect similar to when my mom would try to listen to the music I liked in middle school.

All-in-all, I'd call my Walmart trip a success.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

RIP Mail & Professional Matchmaking

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." --  Inscription on the James A. Farley Post Office Building in New York City

Raise your hand if you have ever received a letter from your Postmaster.  If your hand is raised, was this letter included with the remnants of your mail in a small plastic body bag?  

The following was in my mailbox at work the other day:

When I flipped the bag around, I found this (and laughed until I cried):

RIP Junk Mail.
The USPS basically cut off the finger of my mail and sent it to me.  This will not stand, man.  Who handled my mail?  Captain Hook?  Wolverine?  A bear?

Still, I appreciate them sending me the remains of my mail so it can receive a proper burial.  Some may have been embarrassed by the condition of this letter and let it somehow slip through the cracks.  But not the U.S. Postal Service.  They are big enough to own up to their mistakes, and for that they have my thanks and admiration.

And receiving that letter wasn't half as bad as the receiving this email from Kaplan's LSAT Prep Department shortly after:

"Dear Jenna... I came across your resume from several years ago and was hoping you could help us with finding candidates for an open position we have in Huntington.  We are hiring a LSAT prep instructor to teach a course at Marshall University... Do you happen to know of anyone that would meet our qualifications and be interested in teaching part-time?  We are in a bind in finding a potential instructor... Sincerely, Will"

I honestly had a business contact me regarding my resume to ask if I know of any legitimate candidates.  Ouch.  It's the professional equivalent to finding a date on and meeting them for a drink, only to have them ask you if you have any attractive friends that might be interested in them because they are desperate.

What am I?  Chopped liver?  Instructor recruitment is your job, my friend, not mine.  

I take it back, Will.  I will help you.  

But only if I get a referral fee AND you send me a video of you singing the song "Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dear Diary... In 7 Quick Takes

Good news everyone!  I found my elementary school diary.  Want to see what's inside?


I wrote my first entry on March 13, 1992, a month after my 7th birthday.

This entry is rated PG-13 due to adult themes.  Also, my brother's friend would have been 12 at this point.  I had mad game.


When I was little my mom would tell me I was a 50-year-old man trapped in a 7-year-old's body.  Phrases in my diary like "life is going fine" prove her right.


Please look past the blatant bigotry in this post and focus instead on the fact that I asked my diary, an inanimate object, to help me get revenge on someone.


Talk about a love/hate relationship.  And what 7-year-old describes people as "having a kind heart?"


First, I didn't understand that you are supposed to kiss the page with lipstick, not draw lips on the page with lipstick.  Second, this love diamond I devised cracks me up because it also links Nathan and Shane together.  Apparently, I wanted to convey that Nathan loved me, I loved Shane, and Nathan and Shane loved each other.  Kinky stuff.


I sound half-human/half robot in this entry.  "The temperature of the pool was 87 degrees."  Did I bring equipment to test the temperature, or was this pure conjecture?  We will never know.  


This was typical of my childhood.  Mom and Matt go do something fun, while my Dad and I stay in to watch Star Trek.  But that Will Riker sure was dreamy...

Check out Jen for more Quick Takes!

Monday, April 8, 2013

We Treasure Argghh Chests

On Saturday I ran in the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  The Dirty Girl is a 5K mud run and obstacle course that raises money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  It is a brilliant event on so many levels.  

First, the run is an opportunity for women to do one of their favorite things:  make clever t-shirts with racy puns about boobs.  (You'll notice the word "racy" in the previous sentence was a double entendre.  Impressive, I know, but please hold your applause until the end.)  I was impressed by a number of clever t-shirts and team names, including "All Guts, No Nuts," "Save 2nd Base," and "Hakuna My TaTa's."  My team opted for a pirate theme with t-shirts that read "We Treasure Our Chests."  Arghhhh!

Second, this event gives its participants the chance to complete ridiculous obstacles while getting covered with goop, allowing me to finally realize my dream of being in a situation similar to the show "Double Dare."  Only without those pesky trivia questions.  Or Marc Summers.  Or green slime.  Actually, this event was nothing like "Double Dare."  Nevermind.  Back to square one.

Third, the event isn't timed, which encourages teams to work together instead of getting too competitive.  You might think this is a downside, but as a girl who gets genuinely excited about ties, I think it's great.

Fourth, workers hand you beer at the finish line.  I think this is to help dull the pain you feel from crawling around in gravel-filled mud, and to prepare you for the freezing hosing tent they refer to as a "shower room."

Anyway, my team consisted of me (duh), my step-mom, Tammy, my sister-in-law, Brandy, my best friend, Sarah, and several of Brandy's awesome friends (Michelle, Marlena, and Sarah).

Here is my team before the run.  Notice the lovely accessories
that, sadly, will not all make it through the race.
Oh, I got to wear some pretty sweet fake tats for the race.
Nothing honors one's mother quite like a temporary tattoo on one's chest.
The fact that this gun tattoo was almost too big
for my "guns" made me feel weak and frail.
Here is one more clean and pretty pre-race picture. Brandy has a tiny gun
tattoo on her finger.   Our team was sponsored by the NRA.  Obviously.
The race was a 5K trail run at Coonskin Park in Charleston, and had 12 obstacles spaced throughout it.  One obstacle was a giant inflatable slide that sent you flying straight into a pool of muddy water.  There were also tarps to army crawl under, giant rope walls to climb, and pools of cold water to wade through.  It was like a playground for adults.  A wonderful, mucky, slippery playground.

Now for some action shots:

Sarah tackled me in the final mud pit.
I would have expected nothing less.
Here is my team post-run.  Somewhere along the line
I lost my bandana and my wristband.
There were only two downsides to this race: the communal shower tent with sub-zero water temperatures and waking up the next morning with whiplash.  

All-in-all, totally worth it.