Friday, March 30, 2007

Sharpening up

It was a sales training seminar. Customer-centric selling. Or Dale Carnegie.

Some bullshit class that specializes in teaching common sense to the common-sensically challenged. It was many years ago and mostly not memorable.

But I thought of one story from the class this week as I struggled -- every day -- to write something that wouldn't let you down.

The story was about sharpening your ax. You can keep chopping wood every day, but if you don't stop to sharpen up every so often, your productivity will go down.

Of course, the folks teaching the class -- a manic, depressingly upbeat sort -- used the parable to remind us that we needed to buy more training.

But you get the picture.
So last night on the train ride home, I left the PowerBook in the bag and read Wired magazine for the first time.


It was like a big brain sneeze. Clearing out all the stale, icky thoughts and phrases.

It got me thinking about new things for work and home and blog.

I surprised myself and woke up at 4:30 this morning So Ready to Go, which hasn't happened since that infernal time change.

So do me a favor, would ya please? Next time it seems like I need a little sharpening, don't give me the ax.

Just say, "Hedy, it's time to sharpen up."
I am listening to: Office banter
I am reading: Everything
And I am: Sharper

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tomorrow may rain

So I'm speeding. Really speeding.

Doing 70 in a 40 down Fabyan Parkway taking my Mom to lunch in Geneva.

I pass a cop going the other way and instantly know I'm busted. The guy flashes his lights, does a u-turn and I'm caught. Shit.

We're stopped and I'm digging around trying to find my registration and insurance card, but they're not in the usual spot. I realize because of the two break-ins, all my stuff was lost and I'm essentially fucked.

(Surprise #1)

"You know you were doing 55 in a 40 back there?"


"Yes, sir. I'm sorry. I didn't realize how fast I was going."

"Insurance and registration?"

"I can't seem to find it. My car was broken into in Aurora and I guess it was lost."

He's a hardass and he leaves without a word. And I'm sitting there with Mom, frantically searching for my shit because I know he's going to get me for (only) 15 over (whew!), but no docs too.

Shit. Shit. Shit. I really don't need this today.

He comes back.

"I still can't find it. I'm really sorry."

(Surprise #2)

"That's okay. I know you have it. Here's a warning. Have a good day."

I'm 30 over, no proof of insurance, no registration. And just a warning?

The Universe LOVES me.
"I'm tellin' ya Ma, the universe always takes care of me," says me.

"Well, you sure as hell need it," says Mom.
And that was how the day went. Mostly good things. Ended the day at the Bristol Tap with two of my favorite people in the world.

It's popcorn. It's the oldies station on the radio. It's the best fucking hamburger ever.

Complete contentment.

This song comes on -- and me and Mom start singing along at the exact same moment. It was one of those exceptionally amazing things you only share with someone who's known you your whole life.
That was a really great day.

It happened more than two years ago, but I still think about it.
I am listening to: People talking about Wii
I am reading: Case studies
And I am: Okay

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To the man at the Opera House

“I’m hoping you can help,” I say with a smile to the man behind the ticket window at the Chicago Opera House. “I’m working on this Flat Stanley project for a friend of mine in Florida…”

“If you’d get to your question I could help you,” he snapped.

“I need to take a picture of Flat Stanley on the stage.”

“I don’t have keys to the auditorium. Go to the administrative offices on the fourth floor of this building.”

Again with the snapping, this guy. Then he turned away.
The crowds are thick outside the Opera House on matinee days.

It’s either quaint or frustrating, depending on my mood.

When I’m not in a hurry it’s quaint – all these fragile old folks doddering around out front, talking softly and waiting for the tour buses to take them home.

And by fragile and old, we’re talking 70+. The lot of ‘em.

You won’t find an aging baby boomer in the bunch. I imagine they’re off doing everything those sixties-hip financial planning commercials say they’re doing – seeing the world and spending their kids’ inheritances while listening to Led Zeppelin or the Grateful Dead.
Two weeks ago it was different.

High school kids – told to dress up so they wore jeans without holes – milling around outside the Opera House, looking just as out of place as the old folks on the busy streets of the Loop after lunch.

I’ve never seen a more miserable bunch.

You could just tell they’d much rather be sitting in algebra learning about Pythagoras or whoever that dude was who figured out that neat triangle thingy. Or something.
I’ve never been to the opera. But I was thinking about getting tickets to see La Boheme in the fall. I’ve always wanted to see it because of Moonstruck, one of my all time favorite movies.

You want to see an opera because of a movie?


Hey, if you want culture, listen to NPR.
The guy at the ticket counter was obviously having a bad day.

Or maybe he’s always rude. Some people are just like that.

But most of the time it’s because somebody did something unfair or irritating to them, so they pass it along to the next person.

When all those aging opera fans die off in 10 to 15 years, this guy’s gonna be out of a job.

And I’m guessing he’ll be wishing for the days when he could be rude to people at that ticket counter.
I am listening to: Scrubs soundtrack
I am reading: A list of benefits for the careers section of the web site
And I am: Indignant

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sweet Jesus in a sleeping bag

We watched the movie Jesus Camp Sunday night.

Have you heard of it? It’s a pseudo-documentary about an Evangelical Christian camp for children in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota.

I’m calling it a pseudo-documentary because the people who created it obviously had one agenda: To make Evangelical Christians look like First Class Whack-Jobs.

To be sure, the Christians in Jesus Camp do a pretty good job of helping out the movie’s whack-job agenda.

But the documentary is seriously flawed because it doesn’t make the case for why we should care about what these relatively benign, faithful people choose to believe or do in their spare time.
What goes on at an Evangelical Christian camp for children?

A whole lotta prayin’ to be sure.

They prayed to Jesus so that PowerPoint would work right during their presentations. And they prayed to Jesus to end abortion.

I don’t blame them for not having faith in Bill Gates, but it sure seems like that dead baby thing might need a little more attention from Jesus right about now.

Because if you’re praying over software, where does it stop?

“Sweet Jesus, I ask you to make this painful hemorrhoid go away so my butthole won’t hurt s’much anymore. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

I don’t have a hemorrhoid, but you can be damn sure if I did, I’d be going to Walgreen’s for some of that butt paste rather than troubling Jesus with it.

For sure.
The folks at this camp also spoke in tongues quite a bit. If you’ve never seen someone speak in tongues it can be disturbing and more than a little frightening.

Speaking in tongues is an extremely demonstrative way of praying that supposedly involves a person being taken over by the Holy Spirit and speaking in a language that only God can hear. Or something.

I lived with a woman (long story) for two weeks who liked speaking in tongues first thing in the morning. But I always got the impression that she was putting on a show rather than doing it for some higher cause.

And this, well, this is particularly twisted: She’d start moaning and panting and groaning, yelling “Oh, Jesus. Ooooohhhh Jesus, OH JESUS!”

It always sounded as if she was filled with way more than the Holy Spirit, if ya know what I mean.
The people who created this documentary did everything thing they could to make the Evangelicals look like Muslim terrorists. But the sweet-faced, bright and articulate kids belied that comparison.

But Heather, the lady who runs that Jesus Camp is brainwashing all those young campers.

I don’t think so. It seemed like any youngster attending that camp was already getting heapin’ teaspoons o’ Jesus at home. They weren’t hearing anything new, but reaffirming what they already believe.

And what do they believe? That they should love others. That they’re in a war against sin. And that they need to do everything they can to be good in Jesus’ eyes so they can get to heaven some day.

So what’s wrong with that?
Honestly, I was all ready to be outraged by people who hijack Jesus for hate-filled agendas designed to separate people rather than unite them.

But the folks in Jesus Camp were mostly harmless, good-hearted people who felt a strong need for spiritual guidance in their lives and wanted to make a difference by sharing their experiences with others.

You’re gonna be surprised, but here’s what I got out of Jesus Camp: God Bless A-goddamn-merica. And hallelujah, too.

Because if you want to pray, cry and babble your brains out to Jesus or whoever, the U.S.A. is just the place to do it.
I am listening to: Sublime – What I Got
I am reading: Vanity Fair magazine – Sopranos issue
And I am: More tolerant than you think

Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy birthday

Happy birthday, Mom! I'm so glad you were born!
I am listening to: L7 - Shitlist
I am reading: Steinberg in the Sun-Times
And I am: Wishing I'd stayed in bed

Friday, March 23, 2007

6:47 express

I’m on the earlier train because of that 8 a.m. sales meeting every other Friday. It’s the 6:47 express.

The woman sitting across from me is familiar. Her hair is short and extremely unflattering. She just picked her nose and then looked around to see if anyone caught her. I didn’t catch what she did with whatever she extracted and it worries me some.

Her lips are orange and sharp. She looks mean, like she’d pinch a small child (then pick her nose I'm guessing) when no one is looking.

She gets on, sits down, breaks out her paperback book and breakfast bar. It’s her routine. I’ve seen her do it a half dozen times before. She wraps those bright orange lips around the chocolaty little health bar and it looks vaguely obscene.

She’s wearing six rings. Three per hand, one on every finger except the Mr. Pointers. They’re not great rings, but they all seem to match what she’s wearing today. I imagine she has hundreds of these cheap-looking rings at home – in every color of the rainbow – for every outfit she has.

She appears to be an office manager or HR director. She’s got that “I’m just looking for a reason to be a bitch today” look about her.

I hate hate hate the fact that I’ve applied all these labels to her based on appearances alone.

It’s not fair.
The Indian woman sitting next to her took a call at 6:59, just two minutes after boarding the train at the stop after mine. She gets extra Idiot Points for staring at her phone no less than four highly irritating rings before finally answering it.

Who gets a call this early in the morning? Who needs to talk this much before going to work?

Then I think maybe she's talking to her Mom like I do every morning. She’s animated but not too loud and I am grateful.
“This isn’t me, really, all this train socializing,” I say to my good friend and fellow commuter Susan earlier this week.

I tell her that I’ve never been a classically outgoing person – and I always, always keep to myself on planes and trains.

“I know,” she says. “I used to watch you, sitting there with your laptop. I thought you were a stuck up bitch with your nose in the air. But then I saw how you’d smile and talk with Richard, so I knew you couldn’t be all bad.”
The Indian phone yapper is finally off the phone but is now talking animatedly to the other Indian lady sitting next to her, who somehow looks bored and desperate all at once. She's anxiously rubbing the iPod in her hand - a none-too-subtle signal to everyone except the oblivious woman who now appears to be chewing her ears off.
It’s happened many times: New friends say that before they got to know me they thought I was a stuck up bitch.

It makes me wonder what I’m projecting out to the world. Does being quiet automatically mean you’re mean? Does cautious and reserved always translate to aloof and arrogant?

So maybe that mean-looking woman across from me isn’t so bad after all. Now she’s chewing gum like a machine, as if her life depended on getting it right.

Maybe she’s like me, just quiet in situations where she doesn’t really know anyone.

But she didn’t even acknowledge the conductor as he passed through. So who knows.
I am listening to: The train whistle blowing a lot for some reason
I am reading: Case studies
And I am: Nauseous

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A dear friend

sent this to me a couple years ago. It still makes me cry a little; how perfect, how lovely it was to receive this time of year.

A Lady who Thinks She Is Thirty
by Ogden Nash

Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.

Miranda in Miranda's sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What's a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then--
How old is Spring, Miranda?
I am listening to: The fan on my desk
I am reading: The New York Times on-line
And I am: Puffy

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Leaving it at the door

Scads of fabulous things came out of my big move to Illinois nearly 20 years ago.

Getting to know Oma better is in the top five for sure. Have I mentioned Oma yet?

She’s this tiny spitfire of a Lithuanian woman who happens to be grandmother to two of my dearest lifelong friends.

Before she moved to an elder care facility to be closer to family, Oma lived in St. Joseph, Michigan – right off I-94 near mile marker 27. And right on my way home.

I’d pick her up any time a holiday or birthday beckoned us back and Oma, in her melodious broken English, would transform those long lonely rides into the world’s finest history, geography and social studies lessons.

She lived in Russia under Stalin. In a classic frying pan/fire maneuver, she escaped with her family to Germany.

“Stalin, no food card. Hitler, he give us food card.”

She has to be one of just a few remaining Europeans who can compare two of history’s most notorious sociopaths.

It always kinda cracked me up that somehow Hitler came out on top in Oma's mental cage match.

I can’t share a lot of what she experienced over there during that awful, wicked time.

But I can tell you that survival was foremost for Oma -- a tiny, strong, resourceful woman who somehow escaped not one, but two communist regimes to land safely in lower Michigan and rebuild a life with her only remaining daughter.
More of Oma’s wisdom:

“You eat breakfast like king. Lunch, like prince. Dinner like the beggar. This is how you live long like me.”
My all-time favorite Oma story is about her uncle – who, having very little tolerance for controversy or debate – hung a nail outside his front door as a warning to both family and friends who came calling.

“You religion, you politic, he say, hang HERE before you come in!” explained Oma, laughing and poking a wrinkled, bent forefinger at the air above the dashboard.
I’ve been thinking about Oma's nail story a lot lately. I meant to get to it earlier in today’s entry, but Oma is great fun to write about as you can imagine.

Here’s the deal: My first ‘real’ job, after years of babysitting, was at McDonald’s. The very first lesson came day one from Donna, the sharp, no nonsense crew chief on the afternoon shift.

“Heather. Listen. If you have problems outside of work, you leave them at the door. When you’re here, you smile and you help your customers. You do not bring your home troubles to work. Got it?”

I got it. And I never forgot it.
Sadly, some people don’t get that.

If they’re having a bad day, they wear it like a big, smelly turd on their shirtsleeve.

It’s ugly. It affects your work. Worse, it affects morale. And it leaves a bad impression on clients and co-workers, especially the precious new ones.

With my propensity for curse words and corduroys in the office, I am the last person who should be explaining professional behavior.

But when it counts – when it really matters – I think of Oma’s nail story.

I leave it at the goddamn door and I smile.
I am listening to: Billy Ward & The Dominoes – Sixty Minute Man
I am reading: Rather Than Working (you should too)
And I am: Nailing it

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Two feather pillows from Sam’s Club that were unbelievably cheap for a reason.

Boxes from an iPod, wireless router, and camera.

An Eddie Bauer inflatable mattress that flat out refuses to inflate.

And three ginormous garbage bags full of crap that I can’t be bothered with remembering.

For some reason something snapped on Sunday and I needed to start Spring-cleaning a little early.
I married a keeper.

I discovered this nine years ago, barely a month into wedded bliss, when Jim threatened to call a lawyer after I threw out an old coffee can full of rusty nails that had (who knew?) sentimental value.


Since then, I’ve learned to keep my pesky little hands off his crap.
“What’s in that bag at the bottom of the steps?”

I could tell from his voice that he was anxious I might be getting rid of some precious, useful item that we haven’t thought about, let alone needed, in five years.

“It’s that uncomfortable mattress topper thingy we don’t like,” I reply.

I can tell this mollifies him only mildly. He glances over, itching to open it.

I drag the remaining bags out to the garage, knowing he’ll play CSI: Aurora before taking them out to the curb for the garbage truck that rattles through around 9 a.m.
I am not a keeper.

If it hasn’t been used in more than a year, it goes to Goodwill or the garbage.

It’s not that I’m not sentimental (well okay, maybe it is, just a little.)

But it’s mostly that I’m not sentimental when it comes to most things.
I learned about my sadly un-sentimental status while cleaning out my parents’ attic in the early 90’s.

My brother Eric and I pulled practically everything from the attic, sorting it in piles on the garage floor.

His pile: Star Wars. Matchbox cars. More Star Wars.

My pile: Barbies. Books. And the prized Mrs. Beasley (“Do you want to hear a secret? I know one!”)

I grab a large black case shaped like Darth Vader’s head from my brother's pile and pop it open. I don’t know what I expected. But I couldn’t believe my eyes: Dozens of pristine little action figures who hadn’t seen any real action in 15 years. They were clean, organized and – get this – labeled, with every little dude from Boba Fett down to Yoda in his proper place.

Next, I pry open my own black case: A shiny vinyl thing with bright and smiling Barbies on one side.

Expecting at least the same order and organization as my brother’s (I am a girl, after all), I was horrified at what was inside.

It was chaos. Blond and naked Barbies everywhere. A veritable orgy of unbelievably long blond legs and longer blond hair, pointy feet and even pointier boobs. Clothes and shoes and hats, wrinkled and ruined. It reminded me of the time GI Joe paid an unexpected visit to Barbie’s townhouse.

Crestfallen at my own carelessness, I turn to Mrs. Beasley, sitting like a Beacon of Comfort on top of an old cedar-lined trunk. Surely she will have some words of wisdom for this unseemly situation. I pull the small white ring expectantly.


That was it.

What remained of my best childhood memories -- disheveled, damaged, and incoherent.
My brother’s a keeper for sure.

Are you a keeper? What is the one thing you’d never give up?
Confession: My most prized possession is a board.

It’s more than a foot long with notches on either end. It is weathered and smooth from years of use; the paint faded to a pale mossy memory.

My grandfather made it to sit on a long, loop of rope suspended between two pine trees.

It was my swing.

It is the most important thing I've ever kept. It’s the only thing that remains from a place that literally no longer exists.

I can still feel the coarse, picky rope in my hands. I can hear the sound of the wind through the forest surrounding my grandparents’ cabin in Northern Michigan. I can hear the creaking of the rope as Papa pushed me higher and higher.

But here’s the thing: Even if I didn’t have that board, I’d still have the memories.

So maybe I am a keeper after all.
I am listening to: Feel Better Songs for Scott II
I am reading: The New York Times on-line
And I am: Letting go

Monday, March 19, 2007

If Obama doesn't get elected

It’s because of people like this:

Hello it's me [name] president for [local town] for Obama 2008. I have a idea for a very inexpensive fundraiser, RAFFLE TICKETS: (example) you'd have 10 people sell 50 tickets at $100.00 a piece, this will generate $500.00. The more you sell the more profit you'll make. These tickets can be brought at [local stores]. cost for a roll ranges from $5.00 to 10.00 depending on where you purchase them from. How you purchase the rolls, is you have people to donate their own roll of tickets or donate a roll for someone else. We are going to be doing this over the summer for our community group, which runs by funds which are generated from the community.
Did ya get that?

Plan to Elect Barack Obama:

1) Buy raffle tickets
2) Sell raffle tickets
3) Profit

I guess we all win the raffle if Obama gets elected, right?
10 people sell 50 tickets @ $100.00 a piece = $500.00

Is there a math wiz in the house? My head hurts.
The same woman sent the following message to the listserv for the group:

Hello Matt this is my cell number 1-630-555-5555, I did it this way so my cell wouldn't be all over the Internet. Thank you in advance, if you do not have any buttons left, please call me so I would know.
I’m not doing this to be mean. Really.

I’m genuinely concerned that Obama’s campaign – at least on an extremely local level – is in the wrong hands.

It’s the problem with any Democratic/libtard organization: It’s so fucking egalitarian that any idiot can be the leader.

Of course, if you’re part of a Republican/conservatard organization, any idiot can be the leader.

Of the free world.
I am listening to: That Borat movie
I am reading:
And I am: Frustrated

Friday, March 16, 2007

Blowing it on March 14

I really blew it this time.

We here at HedyBlog are usually on top of these things, but not this week.

Have you heard of this?

March 14 was Steak and Blow Job Day.

And I didn’t even get him a card.

Damn. I suck.

Or not.
We need more holidays for men, don’t ya think?

‘Cause let’s face it, Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day are all about the ladies.

Cards. Chocolate. Jewelry. Romance.

Men hate that crap.
How about Scratch Your Sack Day? Wait. That’s every day in our house.

Porn and Chicken Wings Day? Not a great combo if you’re alone. Although it would add a whole new meaning to finger-lickin’ good.
“Darn, we missed it,” I say to Jim yesterday via e-mail. “I guess we could have a belated celebration.”

“I’ll go get steaks.”
So, tell us, Hedy. What did you do on March 14?

Well, speaking of suck, we went to a good old-fashioned pizza joint in Montgomery. It was a family favorite of Jim’s growing up and he hadn’t been there in 20 years.

The restaurant itself didn’t suck at all. It was quite good. Wonderful, wafty pizza-baking smells, video games, and graffiti (“Josh is grossie!” and Catelyn Worked HERE!”) over every square inch of the place. My kinda place.

However, while placing our order, I noticed this book sitting on the counter: Why Your Life Sucks by Alan Cohen.

First thought: Even if I’m reading a book with that unfortunate title, I’m not taking it out in public. And certainly not to work, of all places.

Who buys a book like this? If your life sucks that badly, do you really think some silly little paperback will help?

What would make me buy a self-help book if I’m the one who fucked up my life in the first place? If your life is such a train wreck, you're pretty much the LAST person who should be helping you.

Do men really need a special day for steak and a little dome?

In a perfect world, wouldn't that be at least once a week? Seriously.
Fourth of July. Beer, plenty of grilled red meat, and blowing up stuff.

Now that’s a man’s holiday.
I am listening to: Karen Carpenter - Superstar
I am reading: Neil Steinberg -- who doesn't suck, ever
And I am: Celebrating

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Zip zip zipping

Did this week zip by like a motherfucker, or what?

It was Monday and I was at some infernal user group thingy and now it’s practically Cookie Friday for the love of Spike.

And for some silly reason it’s felt like Tuesday all week.
Speaking of zipping, the bike started up like a champ last night. First time since October.

I guess that'll make it easier to sell.

Jim keeps asking if I really (‘no, really’) want to get rid of it.

When you fall on your ass like an idiot in your own kitchen, it's hard to feel safe with 400 lbs. of bike between your legs.

I dunno. Maybe I'll change my mind on that One Last Ride in a month or so.
I remember telling Da about the motorcycle two years ago.

“Do you think I’m too old?” I asked, not really knowing what to expect.

“Hedy, you’re never too old to get a motorcycle,” he said without hesitation.

It’s what I love love love most about my father: He’s absolutely fearless.
“Maybe you should take up something safe, like knitting,” said Mom after the kitchen fall last Fall. “Then again, those needles are pretty sharp. You’d probably take an eye out.”
What do you think? Should someone as accident prone as me be riding a motorcycle?

Or should I cowboy up, STFU, and get back on the bike?
I am listening to: Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
I am reading: Case studies
And I am: Conflicted

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What annoys me

Yesterday was Something Else, eh?

I am extremely grateful that my friend “The Dude” was willing to help out during what has been a very hectic time. He’s just a great friend that love, love, love to pieces.

However, I have to confess that I struggled with publishing his entry without cutting the parts I found offensive. If you’ve been reading HedyBlog for more than a week, I’m sure you can pick ‘em out.

But then I realized it was an opportunity to explore something that’s been on my mind for quite a while. It’s a touchy topic and I’ll prolly muck it up a bit, but hopefully I won’t lose anybody over it.

Or maybe I will. But I sure hope not.
“It was totally nigger-rigged.”
“He’s a Patel. You know, an Indian guy. They’re all over these tech events.”
“You’re gay, dude. Seriously.”
“I got gypped.”

These are just a few of the racial/homophobic phrases I’ve heard in the past 24 hours.


And if I called out everyone on his or her prejudices – racial, religious, or otherwise – I would be an extremely lonely person.

But when is it okay to tell your friends that their prejudices bug you? If I love people no matter what, does that include the folks who are just a little bit racist or a little too homophobic?

Where do you draw the line? When do you say: Dude, it’s not cool?
Some people say shit like that to be funny and outrageous. To draw a response. Like my friend the Anonymous Blogger from yesterday.

Confession: I have burst out laughing at extremely inappropriate comments. We've all done it, I think.

But I’m not entirely sure if it’s because it was genuinely funny or from the shock of hearing it.
And why the HELL is it okay to say someone’s gay as long as it’s followed by the popular Seinfeldian phrase “Not that there’s anything wrong with it”?

Why do some people care SO MUCH about sexual orientation – as if it really matters what goes on between two consenting adults in private?

It smacks of jealousy. Or something.
Here’s what annoys me most: It’s so fucking easy to put people in categories rather than understanding them as individuals with hearts and minds and goals and challenges just like you.

But Hedy, I don’t want to get to know [insert offensive label of your choice here]. I don’t want to understand them. I want them to leave me and my family the fuck alone. I want to be able to tell jokes about them when I'm among my white, heterosexual friends. I want them to stop demanding special treatment. I want to stop hearing about them on TV and in the newspapers.

I want them to start acting normal, like me.

Or something.
I am listening to: My gut
I am reading: Nothing
And I am: Uneasy

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What Annoys You????

Hi Everyone, I'm the Anonymous Blogger and I'm here to help out Hedy during her hectic week of work.

Yeah I know, "Who is this gutless weasel who won't even give us his/her name?" Well, I'm a friend of Hedy's (and I'm a dude) and I believe it's time to get some perspective from the "other" gender.

Okay guys, No talk about Religion, or Moron Colleagues, or the Train...or even BOOB JOBS! Okay, well maybe a's what annoys me!

1.) Religion-what is it???? It's like Jesse "The Body" Ventura told us: "A crutch for the Weak." I'm tired of Religion. What does this world fight and kill about? Answer: RELIGION. Hey Mohammed, BLOW ME! Suck!.. Teach your people how to read!

2.) Politicians...If I here one more Fuggin politician say "I'm for Children" or "I'm for Education"....we should kick them in the Nuts...GET OUT, MORON!..and stop taxing the sh*t outta me! Gov't Sucks...Private Sector Rules! Oh Yeah, Govt sponsored Health Care???? Are you serious??? Can you say, BANKRUPTCY?...If you want health care, Move to Canada, along with that douche Alec Baldwin!

3.) Moron Colleagues????....I actually love them!...Free entertainment! Shouldn't be on the list…sorry

4.) People who don't like sports...What the hell is wrong with you??? If you don't like sports, you're obviously Gay! (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

5.) The Comment..."I'm toooooo tired".........F That!...10 minutes won't kill you!...bite the pillow!

What Annoys YOU????...Spill it! It will take you 2-5 minutes to write a comment...Don't be so effin Lazy. It's actually pretty fun!

I'm Listening to: Ozzy Ozbourne....Miracle Man
I'm Reading: the Sports Page
I feel: Like I just went to Confession

Monday, March 12, 2007

3-1-1 my ass

“What time is your flight? 1:50?” asks Jim, speeding along I-294 to drop me at O’Hare on Friday.

“1:25. Am I okay? I thought you had to be there an hour ahead if you’re checking a bag,” I say, not really thinking it’s a big deal.

“That’s pretty much bullshit I think. You should be fine.”
You are too late to check in for your flight.

Choose another flight please.

That’s what I got from the American Airlines self check-in kiosk seconds after stuffing my credit card in the slot.

It might as well have said:

You’re late, ya big dumb ass.

Now what are ya gonna do?

I wait in the regular check-in line.

Yep, too late to check a bag for the 1:25 flight to Detroit.

“You can carry that on, ya know,” says the American Airlines check-in lady, looking at the little black wheelie bag at my feet. “It’s not that big.”

“I know,” I say. “But I’ve got all kinds of liquids in there and no little plastic bag.”

She thinks a minute.

“Wait here,” she says, smiling. “I’ll be right back.”
Meanwhile, I call Jim.

“I’m not giving up my hairspray,” I say stubbornly. “It’s a $12 bottle of hairspray. I just got it.”

He feels terrible that I was late for my flight even though it isn’t even close to being his fault.

I tell him the next available flight is at 5:20 but the check-in lady said it was completely sold out before she left on her mystery mission.

“Worst case, you’re standby on the 5:20,” says Jim.

The thought of calling my Mom to explain that I’ll be there 5 hours later than planned because I’m stupid and won’t give up a bottle of hairspray provides a bit of much-needed perspective on the situation.

“Worst case, the hairspray goes,” I say, before signing off.
“There was a guy back here, Pedro, who was selling candy bars to benefit his kids’ school,” she explains. “He was keeping the money in a small plastic bag and I thought you might be able to have it. But he’s gone.”


This tenacious woman actually ventured somewhere in the bowels of the airport to try and borrow a baggie from someone named Pedro for a dumb ass traveler like me.

I’m still in shock.

If I wasn’t frantic to finagle my way through security, I would’ve kissed her smiley, helpful little face for going above and beyond the call of duty whilst breathing new life into my withered and dying opinion of airline personnel.

Instead, I thank her profusely, grab my boarding pass, and move on.
$12 for a bottle of hairspray?

Yep. It's goddamn good hairspray.

How much is a pack of cigarettes these days? Or a good cigar, hm?

At least I'm not smoking my hard-earned cash. Now STFU.
FYI: Jim and I are pretty good travelers. We fly enough for work that we’re fairly adept at keeping it easy and efficient.

Since the ridiculous new 3-1-1 regulation took effect, I’d been resigned to checking my bag due to the level of liquids necessary for me to travel comfortably.

This mental lapse being late really threw me.
Now what?

It’s less than 45 minutes before my flight leaves.

The airport announcements are taunting me: “…if you are carrying liquids on the plane, remember 3-1-1. Blah, no more than 3 oz. containers in a 1-quart plastic blah, only one blah allowed per blah blah yadda blah. Thank you blah.”

I pull over to one of those ugly, ubiquitous airport seats to assess the situation.

All my liquids are in a non-regulation, gallon size Zip-Loc bag. This is just in case of a blowout so my clothes won’t get ruined.

There are several 3 oz. bottles containing shampoo, conditioner and hair gel. These are okay.

But then there’s this: Face moisturizer, 4 oz. Contact solution, 4.5 oz. And of course, the precious, brand-new bottle of my favorite hairspray at a whopping 8.5 oz.

At this point, I should remind you that the only time I willfully broke the law (outside of driving too fast, which everyone on earth except my good friend Chris does with impunity) was two years ago when I drove the getaway car in the now infamous New Year’s eve kidnapping of a religious lawn ornament.

Stealing Joseph was thrilling and fun.

Circumventing airport security is stressful and irritating.
I leave all the liquids except the hairspray in the gallon Zip-Loc. I fold the top down three or four times so it looks a little like the smaller size bag required by the 3-1-1 policy.

Next, I take the precious hairspray and stuff the bottle into … a shoe in my suitcase.

I know what you were thinking.

It’s a big bottle. I'm not that desperate. And the last thing I need at this point in my life is to be caught by security with a bottle of hairspray up my ass.

Of course all of this is completely irrational.

But I was desperate to save this hairspray. It had just arrived from the on-line Aveda store the day before and I really couldn’t bear to see it sacrificed to the resolute and unforgiving airport gods.
“If they catch the hidden hairspray, they’ll know I was trying to break the rules and I’ll be in trouble,” I think, approaching the security line.

My heart is beatbeatbeating. I’m sweating a little.

I wonder if anyone’s ever been arrested and strip-searched for a $12 bottle of hairspray. Is it really worth all this stress? Is this how boring my life has become? Testing airport security with hair care products?

I follow the rules. Shoes, jacket, and incognito 1 gal. Zip-Loc go in one gray bin. I remove the Mac from my bag and place it in another gray bin. The computer bag goes in a third gray bin. Illegal wheelie bag goes last.

I figure worst-case scenario, I can get my shoes and laptop through before the mayhem and resulting jailarity begins.

I walk gingerly through the scanner. No beeps.

I watch the gray bins zip through the scanner. No problem.

But the bag. Oh, the bag. Will it make it?

It’s in. It’s in.

I try not to look too anxiously at the airport security chick peering into the scanner, peering into my illegal wheelie bag.

All of a sudden, a little white light goes on towards the back of the scanner. It blinks several times: Search. Search. Search.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I’m caught.

At the same moment, two airport security guys walk over to the airport security chick and say something that makes them all laugh out loud.

My suitcase sails outta the x-ray shoot. I glance around with more than a little guilt.

Nothing. I hoist the bag off the conveyer belt and take a few tentative steps towards the concourse.

Nothing. No one.

I’m clear! I made it!

My joy is tempered only by this: If my huge bottle of hairspray can get through, how safe are we? And what’s the fucking point of the 3-1-1 rule if a dumb ass like me can break it so easily?
But wait, it gets better.

I was so focused on my illegal liquid personal products, I completely forgot about the smallish Swiss Army knife that goes practically everywhere with me. It would’ve been fine in my checked bag but should’ve set off all kinds of alarms through O’Hare security.

I also forgot about packing my Mom's 12-inch knitting needles that she left behind on her last visit.

I’m a dumb ass for sure.

But what does that make the security folks at O’Hare?
I am listening to: Wire Train – In a Chamber
I am reading: Then We Came to the End – Joshua Ferris
And I am: A sneaky dumb ass

Friday, March 09, 2007


Snap your fingers. C'mon, just do it.

That's how quickly this week went by for me.

Minnesota on Monday. Two great, big events in between. And now I'm off to Michigan to spend the weekend with good friends and family.

Next week is just as crazy, but we'll be back with something fun on Monday for sure.

Thanks so much for being here.
I am reading: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
I am listening to: Friday sales meeting
And I am: Crusty

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Minnesota karma

Minnesota is lovely this time of year. Really.

The snow was deep and mostly white, just like the people.
The taxi pulled up to my hotel and I knew it would be a good trip: There’s a great big Botero on the corner.

He’s my favorite artist; his work always gives me a friendly, comforty, warm feeling.

Like being at home.
Another great thing about Minnesota: I met a few loyal HedyBlog readers.

It was extremely cool and a little strange. More on that another day.
Speaking of meeting new people, remember Samantha, the evil e-mail maniac from two weeks ago?

I finally met her.

Here is how I imagined it would go:

“Samantha? I’m Heather S______. It’s so nice to meet you! Perhaps you’ll think twice before trying to throw me under the bus now that we’ve actually met.”

Of course that’s not how it went.
Also, I caught a cold. More on that later.
Have you ever noticed that you can be all fired up to zing someone who really deserves it, but once you finally have the opportunity somehow it just doesn’t feel right?

It’s been one of my all time biggest life lessons: I can’t be the one who delivers karma to people. I have to let the Universe do what it does and know that it'll all work out. On that rare occasion when I override my gut feeling and give someone What For, it invariably blows up in my face and I feel terrible about it.

Here’s the cool thing about finally meeting Samantha and NOT zinging her: I got that rare opportunity to see karma in action.

Samantha was responsible for booking the room for our event – it was the only thing she did and she fucked it up. Completely.

The classroom was somehow ‘double-booked’ and all of us – her co-workers, my co-workers and even a couple clients – got to see how she operates under pressure.

Not pretty. People don’t like her too much. She treats administrative people like dog shit.

The whole thing would've been really sad if it didn't make me so goddamn giggly.

I also took a small bit of satisfaction knowing that the only reason we got to keep the room was because I got there an hour before everyone else and set it up for our event.

Squatter's rights and whatnot.
Confession time: I fibbed just a little on that karmic retribution thing.

“Could you give this back to Samantha when you see her?” asked my boss, handing me a 2G flash drive he borrowed from her.

“Sure,” I say, wondering why I need to be in charge of returning this item when he's just as likely to see her as me.

But then I realize it’s an opportunity for a little passive karmic retribution.

I hold the thumb drive in my left hand, along with the snot rag I’ve been sneezing into all morning. For about 20 minutes.

Because my nose is chapped and crusty from all the blowing, it really hurt smiling so big handing it back to her.
I am listening to: The movie Elizabeth
I am reading: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
And I am: Congested

Monday, March 05, 2007

This week

Posts will be slightly cloudy with scattered brainlessness.

Work is so busy over the next two weeks that I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

And I don't even wear a watch.
I am listening to: Jim talking about DB2 to people in Denmark
I am reading: Steinberg in the Sun-Times
And I am: Busy, busy, busy

Friday, March 02, 2007

Plates for pedophiles

We don’t talk about child molesters too much here because it tends to bring out Homicidal Hedy. She’s about as charming as a turd on a dinner plate and none too cute, either.

But yesterday I burst out laughing after seeing this news blurb on the tiny Captivate TV in an elevator at my office building:

“Lawmakers Propose Fluorescent Green License Plates for Convicted Sex Offenders”
Have you heard about this?

Two politicians in Ohio want pedophiles to have special license plates to make them easier to spot.

Kinda like that game you played on long boring car trips with your family.
First thought: Bicycles. They’ll just ride bikes. Must buy stock in Schwinn.
“Can you come pick me up?”
“Again? Why?”
“They destroyed my car. Again.”
“This is the fifth car in five weeks, Harv. It’s time to think about a skateboard or something.”
Some day in the not too distant future you’ll be driving through Ohio, maybe to visit Cedar Point in Sandusky, and you’ll see a car with one of them bright fluorescent green license plates.

You’ll stare. Of course.

Would you make sure he sees you, then frown, shake your head and wag your finger at him? Or would you maybe show him that other not so pleasant finger? Would you cut him off?

Or, if you’re a man who was sexually assaulted as a young boy, would you follow that guy with the green plates all the way home and beat the living shit out of a stranger because you think it might make that ginormous, constant hurt inside of you go away for a little while?
Bob is a convicted sex offender. He raped his 8-year-old niece. After serving his time, Bob is out of prison and on the road. Ted is Bob’s brother. Ted has forgiven his brother for raping his daughter because sometimes people do that. Ted – who has never even received a traffic citation – borrows Bob’s car to go to the store. Whilst hopping out of Bob’s car in the parking lot of the local Piggly Wiggly, he is approached by several Homicidal Hooligans who knock him down and crush his tiny little Ted head.

I guess that’s the only upside for the pedophile: No one will ever ask to borrow your car.
Here’s the problem I have with these absurd license plate programs and sex offender registration lists: People who want to fuck children can’t be fixed.

Making more silly little laws like these won’t change that fact. All they do is promote hostility and vigilantism – which ultimately leads to more innocent people being hurt.

And that's not funny.
I am listening to: Tori Amos - Winter
I am reading: Nothing
And I am: Not homicidal

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Good for me

“Hey HEATHER! It’s so NICE to see YOU with your clothes ON!”

“Hey, baby!” I reply. “You got some time for me on Friday?”

“I ALWAYS have time for YOU!”
That was my chiropractor, leaning out of his office to say hi last night as I walked into the tanning place next door.

He’s awesome.

And I don’t care if you agree with chiropractic; he’s fixed me repeatedly when the regular quacks couldn’t.
I walk into the tanning place cleaning the make-up off my face with one of those wet hand wipe thingies, and Mary gives me a great big smile.

“Hey Heather," she says. "Are ya cryin’ or cleaning off make-up?”

“Cleaning. What the hell do I have to cry about? I’m just so happy to be here,” I say, laughing.

Did I tell you there was a coup? The women who own the place got wind of how ugly things were at their business and learned that the bitch who put the cuss in customer service was screwing them out of a great deal of money. So they took the business back.

They even put up a sign: “Mary and Kathy are back! Service with a smile!”

I love that.
Hedy. You take your clothes off at the chiropractor?

Yep. He makes his patients change into scrubs. Then you get hot packs on your back for 15 minutes. Then you get a massage for 15 minutes. Then he adjusts you.

Like I said, it's awesome.
My dry cleaner’s is on the other side of the strip mall from the chiropractor's office and the tanning place.

I walk in. They know who I am and have my clothes ready before I can whip out my credit card.

Sometimes I forget my card.

"No worry," they always say. "You pay next time."

They always smile and do that bob/bow thing that I always find myself mimicking.
What do these folks have in common, aside from their convenient location?

They are in business. They provide a service to me that I value. But they also always make me feel special and welcome and needed.

And it’s good for me. But it’s great for them.

I won’t go anywhere else.
I am listening to: London Rain – Heather Nova
I am reading: Nothing, sadly
And I am: Good