Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Way to SSG's Heart is Through ...

Breakfast Burritos

(SSG walks into the office)

J:  You're late.
SSG:  It's 8 a.m.
J:  I thought you were going to be here early so I went and got us a breakfast burrito to split.
SSG:  Nice!
J:  I cut it in half and set your half to the side.
SSG:  Thanks so much!
J:  But then you weren't here.  So I ate it.
SSG:  Um, thanks?
J:  Now my stomach hurts and it's all your fault.

The Arcade Game Root Beer Tapper

K:  So SSG, remember yesterday when you were asking me if you could get the Tapper song as your ring tone?
SSG:  Yeah and you went on forever explaining why it wasn't possible and that I was an ass for even thinking it was?
K:  Yeah.  Well I was messing around last night and recorded it so you should be able to.
SSG:  Awesome!  Where's the recording?
K:  On my cell phone.
SSG:  Thanks so much!  Do you want to just text it to me?
K:  Oh no, I left my phone at home.


C:  Dude, SSG why are the Padres sucking so bad right now?

Any Coffee That's Not Starbucks

R:  You want to go grab some coffee?  I'll buy.
SSG:  Uh, yeah!
(Take the elevator downstairs)
R:  Where are you going?
SSG:  Stumptown.
R:  I'm not walking way the fuck over there.  Let's just go to Starbucks.

And this is why SSG has a firm policy of not dating guys that she works with.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Love Comes in a Casserole Dish

Just wanted to say thank you for all of your well wishes and concern!  My friend is doing well and spending quality time with her family.  More friends are coming up this weekend to stay with her. 

Casserole dishes have showed up in DROVES.  It looks like a regular, old country fair in these parts, but with some organic fruit thrown in because well, this is Portland and that's how we roll.

Thanks again, 

Monday, April 28, 2008

We Have Time

You know in that movie Juno when Juno's dad asks her "where have you been?"  And she responds by saying "Dealing with things way beyond my maturity level."  That's where I've been today.

I am 33.  I should have friends that are getting promotions, getting married and having babies.  I should not have friends that have their spouses die.  Our spouses should die when we're 98 years old and don't care because we can't remember them anyway, now bring us some more of that there pudding.  They shouldn't die when they have two kids and new grandchildren and a lifetime to still create together.  But they do and my friend's husband died today.  And it's shitty.  I'm sure there is something more eloquent but if you want more, all I can come up with is it's fucking shitty.

He had health problems, which we thought he was past.  He wasn't.  He died in his sleep.  Peacefully for him.  Wrenching for his family.  They flew in this afternoon.  I didn't know that when I waved to him the other day it would be the last time I saw him.  I didn't know that the sirens I heard this morning were for him.  It was early.  I had to go to work.  I was busy and it just never even occurred to me.

When I found out what had happened and after the initial questions of where was he, where was my friend, were their kids on the way, did they need a ride from the airport, what can I do for them today, tomorrow and the day after that, I had some time to think about him.  And I remember that the times we all hung out were when we wanted to stop being busy.  We hung out to relax.  We hung out when we had some time to spend and it was a blast.

I moved to Portland four years ago this weekend.  Our company opened an office here and they needed some people to get it off the ground.  Twelve of us came up from San Diego and instantly bonded.  We toured the city together, met for happy hours and eventually ended up in the same neighborhood, most of us less than a mile from each other.  Over the years our own routines developed, but there were still plenty of dinner parties and cocktail hours and many, many lounge around nights watching movies, drinking wine and chatting.   

D had been a husband and father for over 25 years.  He knew when to stay with us and chat or leave us to our crazy girls' nights.  He knew when to pop open a new bottle of wine or when to break out the vodka for espresso martinis.  He knew when he had to take us out to dinner or fire up the grill.  One of my all time favorite dinner parties was this past Labor Day.  It was hot and they put together an old fashioned clam bake.  We sat around for hours eating shrimp and corn and clams and potatoes, sopping up the juices with crusty bread and sipping a cold Pinot Gris.  We laughed and told stories until we had to light candles in order to see each other.  We toasted the end of summer.

One of my favorite books is Under the Tuscan Sun and since Frances Mayes is much more eloquent than "this is fucking shitty."  I will toast D once again by saying thank you for allowing me to being a guest in your lives.  You will be missed. This is for you.

"Writing about this place, our discoveries, wanderings, and daily life, also has been a pleasure.  A Chinese poet many centuries ago noticed that to re-create something in words is like being alive twice ... like a friend who comes to visit, learns to mound flour on the thick marble counter and work in the egg, a friend who wakes to the four calls of the cuckoo in the linden and walks down the terrace paths singing to the grapes; who picks jars of plums, drives with me to hill towns of round towers and spilling geraniums, who wants to see the olives the first day they are olives.  A guest on holiday is intent on pleasure ... Like old peasants, we could sit by the fireplace, grilling slabs of bread and oil, pour a young Chianti ... Under the fig where two cats curl, we're cool.  I've counted: the dove coos sixty times per minute.  The Etruscan wall above the house dates from the eighth century B.C.  We can talk.  We have time."

Take it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend ABC's - P is for Pissed Off, Privates & Puppies

How to Piss Off SSG:

Blogger:  Um, where the hell have you been?  
SSG:   I know, I suck.  But there has been SUN in Portland Blogger and NO rain for like 3 days! 
Blogger:  So.  Are you going to post or what?
SSG:  Yeah, but you don't look the same.  Did you get a new outfit or something?
Blogger:   I'm making some changes.
SSG:  Awesome!  I can still do everything the same though, right?
Blogger:  Yep.
SSG:  Are you sure?  I know I have no idea what I'm doing, but you seriously don't look right.
Blogger:  Nope, go ahead, here's this HUGE space to type in and see that little flag that says "Now Blogger saves your drafts automatically!"?
SSG:  Yes.
Blogger:   I don't really have to spell that out any further, do I?
SSG:  Okay, if you're sure (SSG starts typing the warmest, best, wittiest post she has ever written).

(45 minutes later)

SSG:  Ok, I'm done!  Now publish post, okay?
Blogger:  Uh, what?
SSG:  I'm ready.  Now go.
Blogger:  No.
SSG:  What do you mean no?
Blogger:  (Blatantly ignores SSG)
SSG:  Um hi, Blogger?  Hello?  I was right, it isn't you, is it?  You're like the evil twin of Blogger?
Blogger:  No, it was me.
SSG:  So you'll publish my entry?
Blogger:  No.
SSG:  But you always save automatically so when you're done with this little mood swing I can go back in and publish?
Blogger:  Nah.  I was just kidding about that whole auto save thing.  

So when Wade called and asked if I wanted to come over and taste the wine he spent all day Saturday picking up from private vineyards, I'll give you one guess as to what my answer was.  And the wine was DELICIOUS ... all 2 1/2 bottles of it that we went through.  And good thing he had a dessert wine too because, well frankly, what's a wine tasting without the dessert course?

So you can imagine how GREAT I felt this morning.  But not to worry, not only are SSG's abs made of steel, her resilience is too.  And there isn't much that a 5 gallon drum of water, a bottle of Advil and going over to see R & G's new PUPPY can't fix.  And my little world is at peace, even though it is a Sunday.

Say hello to Owen, my new crush up there.  Does anyone have any bail money I can borrow?  I might need your phone number too just in case I get caught trying to steal him.  You guys are the best.  

Hope your weekends were lovely!

PS.  The best, warmest, wittiest post will be attempted again tomorrow.  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anatomy of a Crush

(Quick confession that has ZERO to do with this post.  I have a very douche baggy outfit on today.  Bad Hair + Bad Outfit = Bad Mood of Epic Proportions.  I got to work at 7 a.m. and by 7:03, was wondering if I should pack it in and go home for the day because Bad Mood + It's Not Fucking Friday Yet? = SCRAPING to Get Through a Full 8 Hour Day.   I had to dig deep, peeps.  And I think I might have been a tad obvious when, at 2:30, the subject of happy hour came up and I literally had my shit shut down, my coat on and was walking out of my cube when everyone said "Oh, we were thinking of going at 4?"  Have I told you how much I haaaaate the people I work with, if for no other reason than their sheer work ethic?  The End.)

Onto crushes ...

I have ALWAYS been a firm believer in the crush.  I feel crushes are not only important but a necessity in furthering the species.  In the words of Emily Dickinson (who I'm sure was crushing seriously hard on the family gardener or something because please, why would she be looking out the window ALL the time and dressed in black which is like the most flattering color?), I too like to "dwell in possibility."  I love feeling butterflies in my tummy, I like looking forward to seeing someone each day and wondering what COULD be.  The possibilities are endless and you don't have any of the pesky side effects like tragic break ups or finding out the guy you're crushing on is completely and utterly LAME.  Because oh yeah, v.v. important side note:  Most of the time I don't even know or ever even talk to my crushes.  Are we all starting to see why I'm hopelessly single?  (Nod in unison) Mmmm hmmmm!

The first crush that I remember having was when I was three.  I loved my friend Gayle's brother, Grant.  There is even documented photographic evidence of that crush, we were walking through the Disneyland parking lot holding hands.  If I had any computer skills I could show you, but I don't and so I won't.  Grant is now a successful ... finance guy ... lawyer ... trader (?) ... something or other in New York City and I curse daily the fact that America poo poos the idea of arranged marriages.  Otherwise my mom and Grant's mom surely could have had that all worked out for us. 

If I had to list my crushes from then up until now, it would be War & Peace side large and you'd probably be asleep after page 2.  For the record, their are ZERO current crushes ... except for the guy's ass at work that I like.  Just his ass.  The guy attached to the ass vacillates too frequently on the below scale for me to have developed any real feelings of crushingness.  

For me, not having a crush is huge.  It MAY mean that I'm becoming an adult or mature or something equally icky.  But give me a few days and that will most likely change, I may just be coming down with something.  So when my next crush happens, you'll need the following.  A Serendipitous Girl Glossary, if you will ... because I know I will ... be crushing again very soon.

#1 Crush Worthy

Something has piqued my interest.  It could be a good haircut, an awesome pair of dude shoes or a guy thinking something that I say is funny (typically if that's the case you bypass step number 2 and go straight to number 3).  Someone who is  incredibly interested in something and has a way of explaining it well, can also be crush worthy.  Case in point, I once watched a guy talk about MATH on a PBS special.  He proved some theorem that took him YEARS.  I cried (NOT out of boredom) but because it was his life's work and he was so passionate about it.  Or I may have been PMSing ... the jury is still out.

Proper Usage:  The barrista that made a heart in my latte foam at Stumptown?  Crush worthy!

#2  Kinda Crushing

Someone has piqued my interest and I see him on a regular basis.  I could see him in the elevators at work, walking his dog in my neighborhood or he could star on my favorite tv show/movie/baseball team.  The point is, I see him frequently enough and he's crush worthy enough to make me say "oh!" any time I happen to spot him.  Well not out loud, because that would just make him think I was weird.  And remember, there is no talking to the crush.

Proper Usage:  "I'm kinda crushing on Xavier Nady right now."  (Extra points if you know who X Nady is. Subtract points if you are also crushing on him, though I wouldn't blame you one bit.)

#3 Crush

This is full blown crushing.  This is usually reserved for guys that I DO know, have just started dating or have at LEAST made out with.  This is the exception to the no crush talking rule.  They're funny, kind, smart, charming, have good hair and open my doors.  They usually know a lot about stuff I know NOTHING about.  Like computers.  And technology.  And how to change a tire.

Proper Usage:  It has been 8 months since my last crush.

#4  The Crush Formerly Known As

This is apres crushing.  When former crushes are discovered to be LAME.  Like they aren't funny, aren't kind and aren't smart or charming.  They may still have good hair, open my doors and like baseball.  But those don't trump funnykindsmartcharming.  Not even if they do know how to change a tire.

#5 Crush Hall of Fame

These guys are the pros.  Once you're in the crush hall of fame, you don't have your title stripped--no matter how many naked photos of you are posted on the internet.  Members of the Crush Hall of Fame include John Cusack and Jon Stewart.

Tomorrow?  We learn about Serendipitous Girl's phrase:  "I'd Hate Her if I Didn't Like Her So Much."  It's basically when I'm crushing on a girl.  Welcome back male readers!  I've missed you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2 Legit 2 Quit

Number of e-mails sent today:  32
Number of e-mails related to work:  2
Number of e-mails related to figuring out if I had been to an MC Hammer concert:  6
I grew up in Scripps Ranch, a suburb of San Diego.  Scripps Ranch had streets named Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Scripps Ranch boasted a sign at its entrance that said "Country Living."  
  • Country = Track homes where you were within 20 feet of your neighbors.  
  • Living = Drinking wine by the bottle and divorce.  
  • "Straight Ahead, Five Floor Plans!  Divorce and Alcoholism Imminent!" = Not the same ring to it.
My sister and I were proper San Diegans.  We wore Esprit and Guess religiously.  I had a horse.  She had a convertible VW.  We were BFF's with Salon Selectives.  Our tans were courtesy of "Hawaiian Tan."  We could quote The Brady Bunch and The Cosby Show verbatim.  And for a brief period in 1989?  We LOVED us some rap.

Eazy E, NWA, Rodney O & Joe Coolie you name it, we had the cassette tape, peeps.  We even took our bicycle short wearing, Matilda Bay Wine Cooler drinking asses to a concert that featured one hit wonders (due to a lack of material to headline their own show).  The guests included:  Vanilla Ice, Candyman and (we think?) MC Hammer.   The concert was in the VERY gritty urban part of San Diego called Balboa Park.  Home of the San Diego Zoo and the Ruben H. Fleet Space Museum, it's REALLY just like Compton, but with eucalyptus trees, ice cream stands, pretty fountains and tourists.  

After a while, fluffy rap bored us.  We were hard core!  So we went to see Digital Underground, we knew we really liked that song they played on the radio called "The Humpty Dance."  And whatever other band was there, we'd be fine with seeing them too.   So we drank.  And we walked past the t-shirts that said "In Fear of a Black Planet."  And I'm SURE we were working our teased bangs and frosted hair.   I KNOW I was wearing my Reebok high tops.   And we had a great time.  I just didn't know the second band's songs very well.  But whatevs, I was BUZZED, yo!

I told this story to a girl I worked with a few years ago.  She was toying with the idea of starting up a clothing company and I told her she should make a t-shirt that said "Blame it on Hip Hop."  She looked at me like "what the F does this white girl know about hip hop?"  So, wanting to prove my street cred, I told her about the myriad of concerts that I had been to--Vanilla Ice, Candyman, Digital Underground, when I stopped and said ... "I can't remember the name of the band they opened for though.  It was the band where the guy wore the clock around his neck?"

"FLAVA FLAV?" she shouted?
"Yeah!"  I responded.
"You were at a PUBLIC ENEMY concert?"   
"Um, YES!" I rolled my eyes and turned back to my computer.

The computer from which I promptly e-mailed my sister:

"UmrememberthatDigitalUndergroundconcertwewentto? DID YOU KNOW THAT WE WERE AT A PUBLIC ENEMY CONCERT?!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Confidence Wears a Purple Tutu

This is my niece.  

And this picture?  It makes my uterus ache (my apologies to any guys reading this blog!).  I keep telling my sister and brother-in-law to have more kids so they can give them to me.  Surprisingly, there have been no takers.

I could easily devote an entire blog to writing about this little girl and her equally precious brother.  I would gladly hand over my life, house, car and ATM card to either one of them if they asked.  But the one thing that amazes me about this little munchkin more than anything else?

Her sheer confidence.

She is willing to go for it.  Whatever "it" is, doesn't matter--gymnastics rings?  Let her at 'em.  Raging Yosemite river?  She makes a beeline.  School, even if it means she'll be there without her mommy?  Yes please, and can she ride the school bus?  She wants to be pushed higher on the swing set, wants to barrel down the snowy Tahoe hillsides over and over again in a sled and frequently trike-jacks the neighbors tricycles to take them for a spin around the park.

And yesterday she took her first dance class.

I am so proud of you little one! 

Auntie B

Monday, April 21, 2008

Security Alert - Code Level "Pumpkin Pie"

On any given day I access 10,011 computer systems that each require their own password.  Security is VERY important in finance and I take good care of the pieces of paper in my charge.  I tuck tax returns and balance sheets safely into bed each night before I go home.  I make sure to lock brokerage statements up tight with promises that I'll return to analyze them tomorrow before turning out the lights and locking the door behind me.  I have absolutely no idea who I'm protecting them from.  But I protect them.   And then last week, my world came crashing down.  

It turns out I have been looking after the wrong pieces of paper.  It was not rich peoples' financial information that these thieves were after.  Rather the rich people were the thieves--and they would stop at nothing to obtain ... wait for it ... RECIPES.  And not even recipes that were "Secret Family Recipes" but recipes that were so public they were stolen right out from under everyones' noses.   I have 10,011 different passwords, but my Food Network recipe box?  Wide open peeps.

Cindy McCain was on The View this morning.  When asked about "Recipegate" (how much do you love itgate?) she pulled out her ninjagate politician moves:

1)  Blame the Intern- It's ALWAYS the intern's fault.  Always.  This pesky little Iraq war?  Has intern written all over it.

2)  Joke About It - The intern is now at "Betty Crocker Boot Camp."  Wait a second ... I didn't know Betty Croker lived in Cuba ...

3) Deflect Attention - Cindy is writing a BOOK!  About the trials and tribulations of being the wife of a man running for office.  It must be difficult shamelessly ripping off other people's ideas without giving them credit.  I have NO idea what that's like.  What do you mean you saw yesterday's post?  Have I told you about this BOOK I'm writing?

SSG is onto you richies, and will not be made a fool of.  I have the following color coded system in place to warn us, the dwindling middle class, how close the smooth forehead-ed, plump lipped, bleached blond, french manicured hands are to plucking the "Pork Roast with Fig Reduction" recipe right out of our hot little kitchens.

Code Asparagus - Threat is low.  Nothing that a little "Asparagus Soldier" can't handle.  Jamie Oliver will wrap an asparagus with bacon and bake it in the oven, warding off the wealthy with a quick "take tha!"

Code Blueberry Scones - Ina Garten will run DOWN those ladies with her OWN Mercedes on her way to the Hampton market for fresh blueberries.  Jeffrey will be at home hiding until Ina lets him know it's safe to come out and eat warm Blueberry Scones fresh from the oven.  

Code Lemon & Thyme Granita - Giada de Laurentis will let us know when the threat starts heating up by confusing the wicked women with her pronunciation of Italian words like "spaghetti" or "rigatoni."  She'll say them so Italian-y that the rich ladies will wonder if they've woken up from a hangover only to find themselves in Capri.

Code Pumpkin Pie - If you hear Paula Dean say "start with two sticks of butter," those bitches have their dirty little fingers all up in your recipes ya'll.

Code Cherry Cobbler -  Forget it, they're gone.  Sandra Lee went and mixed the canned cherry juice from the cherry pie filling with half the contents of her liquor cabinet and didn't see a THING.

And like I always say, if you can't beat 'em join 'em!  Sandy baby, can you pass the Grey Goose?

Always looking out for your safety,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend ABC's - A is for Asparagus & Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman stuck indoors on a weekend that should be spring, but decidedly wasn't, must be in want of entertainment.

Within a short walk of her coffee pot was her couch.  The couch's pleasing manners grew on the goodwill of (Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl.  It was generally evident whenever they met, that the couch did admire her; and it was evident that SSG was yielding to the preference which she had begun to entertain for the couch from the first, and was in a way to being very much in love.

Comcast said "Come, SSG.  I must have you watch the Food Network.  I hate to see you sitting by yourself in this stupid manner with that coffee mug attached to your lips instead of Jamie Oliver."

"He is tolerable, but not interesting enough to tempt me; I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young men who pronounce fillet as 'fill-it.'  This is not a gas station, is it?"  asked SSG ... or she would have had she been in modern times, which she totally was not.

But Comcast did not oblige her wishes, and At Home With Jamie Oliver continued.

The show was about asparagus and set in an English Garden.  Jamie Oliver, a veritable McGyver, had rigged up a grill from a pile of rocks and what looked to be a baking rack, most likely welded by the local blacksmith.   "They're like three best friends of asparagus," Jamie Oliver explained.  "Cheese, egg and potato."

There was certainty at this moment, in SSG's mind, a more gentle sensation towards the strange Brit who just told her to "look a tha," when he held up his finished dish.  She thought of his regard with a deeper sentiment of gratitude.

The occurrences of the day were too full of interest to leave SSG much attention for any of her old friends--Barefoot Contessa and Giada de Laurentis--and she could do nothing but think, and think with wonder, of Jamie Oliver's recipe, and, above all, of his wishes that she not "cook the hell out of it."

While thus engaged, she drove toward town to her small country store, Williams-Sonoma, to procure the proper pan.  SSG's spirits soon rose to playfulness again.  The afternoon passed extraordinarily.  The acknowledged BFF's--asparagus, cheese, egg & potato--were indeed, a delight.  The recipe produced the desired effect, and SSG sat upon her couch again, satisfied.

With Comcast, SSG was on the most intimate terms.  She, as well as her couch, really loved Comcast and they were both ever sensible toward the service who, by bringing her to Jamie Oliver at Home, had been the means of uniting them once again.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Found: Spring, Missing Since 2007

She has been in my kitchen this whole time ... along with (up until now) my closeted Barefoot Contessa obsession.

Hope you're all having a lovely Saturday!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Suzanne Sommers Out of a Job?

There's a new Thigh Master in town peeps, and his name is Josh Bard.

Josh Bard is the catcher for the (read: MY) San Diego Padres.  On any night of the week he's behind the plate managing the most crush worthy pitching staff in Major League Baseball.  He's up, he's down, he's catching fly balls for outs, tagging runners trying to come home or throwing them out at 2nd ... well, actually, we'll forgive him that last bit.  Anywhoo, that's just his job BEHIND the plate, never mind the pesky little job he has to do AT the plate.  And last night he got A WORKOUT.  And here's why he's giving Suzanne Sommers a run for her money:

Last Night's Game by the Numbers: 

Start Time:  7:05 p.m.
End Time:  1:21 A.M. 
Innings:  22 (!)
Longest game in the majors since:  1993
Number of 7th Inning Stretches:  3
Inning With First Run Scored:  14th
Number of Pitchers Used by the San Diego Padres:  7
Number of Pitchers Used by the Colorado Rockies:  8
Number of Pitches Thrown by both teams:  658

Number of Catchers Used by the Padres:  One
Number of squats for Mr. Bard last night:  Over 300  

Note to Padres trainers:  I hope that morphine drip or shot of adrenaline or whatever it is that you guys use that's totally not steroids was shot directly into Josh's quads at 1:22 a.m.  

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CEO of Lunchtime Inc.

So today we all ROTTED on a conference call.  An announcement by our succinct (and AWESOME) CEO that could have taken 5 minutes ended up taking over an hour.  Why?  Because also on the call were about 27 layers of management across what felt like 1,000 different business lines.  And people as you well know, management has a lot to say.  

Managers COULD NOT get things done without all of those who have been helping them.  Managers have A LOT of people to introduce and thank for their efforts.  And then THOSE managers, happy to have had a little  senior management fondle, and wanting to impress our CEO made sure to let their manager, and their manager's manager, and their manager's manager's manager know exactly how EXCITED they were to be part of the new groundbreaking strategic initiative.  

I would have gouged my eyes out if my pencil hadn't been so dull.

So, in the spirit of management, I decided to thank the squad for their efforts by sending out a little e-mail.

To:  The Squad
From:  SSG
RE:  Strategic Initiative

First off, I'd like to welcome you and let you know how excited I am to be here.  I'd like to start off by saying thank you to the following:

Ems:  Thank you for your efforts in trying bangs on for size today.  Change is important and it should absolutely start with your hair first.  Well done.

K:  I'd like to thank you for e-mailing the Friends & Family Ann Taylor discount coupons out to the appropriate parties this morning in record speed.

L:  I'd like to applaud your efforts in making the dividing line between cubicles not only clear, but concise and to the point.

J:  I'd like to thank you for your marketing strategy on L's new cubicle decor.  I don't need to tell you that branding is everything in our business.

It's important that we have leaders like you on this team.  Have I told you how excited I am to have you here?  Or how much your efforts are appreciated?

That said, I'd like to invite you all to lunch today.  It is B.Y.O.L. With all of the excitement, we mustn't forget that we are accountable to shareholders and it starts with us.  Furthermore, in the interest of our new "green" initiatives, we'll be leaving our private jet and cars at home and walking to our destination.

I look forward to seeing you all there.

CEO of Lunchtime Inc.

To:  SSG
From:  K
RE: RE:  Strategic Initiative

I would like to say that I too am excited to be a part of these initiatives.  We are making great headway.  Thank you SSG for taking the first steps in these endeavors.

To:  SSG
From:  L
RE:  RE:  Strategic Initiative

I am overjoyed to be given this opportunity to network with such a dynamic group of people.  Don't forget to bring your business cards with you!

To:  SSG
From:  J
RE: RE:  Strategic Initiative

As supportive as I am of this initiative, I will have to decline the lunch meeting today.  But really, thanks again for your leadership of this partnership as we march forward.

To:  Squad
From:  SSG
RE:  RE:  RE:  Strategic Initiative

At this lunch meeting, please be prepared to discuss "Strategic Initiative #2:  The Reorganization  & Downsizing of J's Position."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

History Buffs & Secret Crushes

Break ups are HARD people.  You catch yourself thinking about your former love at the most inconvenient times.  Like today, when talking about the Marilyn Monroe porn tape and J asked who would buy such a thing and I replied "the real question is how many heads does he have in his freezer and does he dress up like Marilyn or his mommy?"  And then Em got all witty and said "A history buff that likes historical figures in the buff."  Yeah, that was the type of conversation I used to have with you Starbucks.  I'll miss those chats and so will my coworkers.  Because you don't get their funny, witty banter anymore. I get custody of them and you get the bitches that order their lattes to 180 degrees (what does that even MEAN?!).

So this morning I set out to go to Stumptown.  Now, I've been to Stumptown many times before, but this time it felt more serious.  Like we might be starting a relationship.  And I don't want to freak Stumptown out by laying all of my expectations out on its cool exposed brick walls and gay friendly literature for fear that the girls with tattoos behind the counter will tell me what's up by kicking my ass back to 7th grade when my Esprit bag was attached as if it were an appendage.  No, no.  Trust me Stumpy-Stumps ... I already know I'm not cool enough for you.  

But readers, Stumptown is my secret crush.  Stumptown is the popular boy at school who you go completely out of your way to see between classes knowing full well you'll be late to Econ, but you don't give a rat's ASS because he is YUMMY.  And just the mere sight of him makes you get all giggly.  And today?  Well today was the day that I was going to try and talk to my crush.  I put on lipstick and everything.  And then I did the only thing I could do.   I brought reinforcements.  

"Ems, " I said.  "Come on, we're going on a field trip."  We accosted Andrew just as he was getting out of the elevator and forced him to come along.  This is hard for me, readers.  I had to TALK about it.   And so I did.  In detail.  All the way to Stumptown.  I'm sure Ems and Andrew were wondering if they should associate with me publicly.  Andrew even pretended not to hear me for an entire block.  But I kept going.  Until Ems finally looked at him and said "she broke up with Starbucks."  To which he replied "how many bad lattes did you have to get before kicking them to the curb?"  I didn't quite know how to answer that question.  Do I look like a douche bag if I say too many?  Or a bitch if I don't say enough?  Perhaps I've been too harsh?  No, no!  I must forge on.

And so all nervous like, I stepped up to the counter at Stumps and ordered my latte all the while trying not to stare at the hot guy in the black wool coat that was behind me (Side note to the hot guy in the black wool coat:  Well done, sexily dressed, good haired cutie!).  But back to my chat with the popular peeps ... 

The girls were NICE to me!  I could HEAR them!  I got my drink and didn't burn my hand!  It even had a pretty little picture on it!  I promptly dove in and there was FOAM!  I couldn't stop myself!  I was many sips in before remembering to capture it with my oh so professional camera (read:  Motorola Cell Phone).  Because when a girl starts a scrapbook of a new relationship, um ... date ... um ... future ex coffee shop ... whatever, it's important to have memorabilia so you can leave something behind for your ancestors.  Things must be left for the history buffs/serial killers/cross dressers so they can pay $1.5 million to look back at history and say ... so THIS is how it all began ... and I will NOT be the one to deprive them.

P.S.  Speaking of new beginnings, special shout out to all of you new fun peeps who have stopped by to say hi!  I love you and your comments and hello?  Two mentions that I was YOUNG today?  YOU'RE on MY favorites.  No you are.  No you.  No.  You. 

And also, many, many crush worthy thanks to Jack for sending you lovely people my way. 
I really appreciate it. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Starbucks, It's Not Me. It's You.

Dear Starbucks,

Remember how we met?  I was in college and you had just moved from Seattle down to San Diego.  I was seen frequently with Espresso Roma or Allegro.  But you didn't let that stop you.  You were smooth, casually popping up by the bank or in the grocery stores until I started to notice you.  You were always there, always around--quiet yet confident.  Very few could rock a green mermaid and make it work.  

Eventually I couldn't resist your nod to Melville, your intellectual yet modern look, your accessibility.  When I cheated on Espresso Roma and Allegro, you didn't judge.  Instead, you welcomed me with open arms and made me so comfortable--encouraging me to stay a while and even study if I needed to.

And before I knew it, we were in love.  We spent time together every day.  You were there for me when Espresso Roma and Allegro weren't.  Eventually I let their hard locations and lack of parking go.  I could only do that because I knew that day or night, beach or city, grocery store or book store I could always find you and you'd have exactly what I'd need.

We've been through a lot together, Starbucks.  California to Washington.  Washington back to California.  California to Oregon.  We've been to New York, Vancouver, B.C., Charleston, Arizona, Dublin, Ireland and I'm sure you'll be in Paris by September if you're not already there.  And that's what the problem is.

Lately, Starbucks, you've been working my last nerve.  You're getting all possessive and shit. You've kicked Espresso Roma and Allegro's asses and taken over their turf.  You're coming into my neighborhood's new little shopping center despite the fact that everyone wants Peet's and that you have 4 additional locations within a 1/2 mile.  It's too much, Starbucks.  You're suffocating me.

I appreciate the gesture of you hanging up a sign that says my experience should be perfect every time I come to see you.  It shows that you know it has been lacking lately.  But it's actions not words, Starbucks.  You say you want to give me what I need, but you don't.  Lattes are SUPPOSED to come with foam.  You're NOT supposed to get a third degree burn when you hold your cup for longer than 3 seconds.  You've gotten so ... aggressive all of a sudden.  And that's another thing.

You used to be happy to see me, Starbucks.  But now you just lift your head and barely gaze my direction.   I think you're asking what you can get for me, but honestly, it's so inaudible that you could be saying "ajdoislandln osdfjoiaflwef jdoifjoda?"  and I wouldn't know the difference.  Where's the effort?

Where's the confidence to let other people in without feeling threatened?  It's like you're building your own little empire.  Where's the warmth in atmosphere?  Maybe you could take a little from the boiling coffee temps?  I've tried to make it work, really I have, but you're just not who I fell in love with anymore.

I think it's time we part ways.  I wish you all the best.  I know there are plenty of people who want what you have to offer and you won't miss me at all.  Oh, and if you do happen to see me in Paris, please don't be offended when I cross the street and pretend I don't know you.

We are so over,

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Wanna Have Some Fun

The eighties got brought up at work today.  There was much talk about Aqua Net, gel bracelets, fluorescent pink leg warmers and Reebok hightops.   And then the talk shifted to bands--Ready for the World, Stevie B and my fave, Samantha Fox (Was such a wild dame!  Ah!  What's in a name, Ssssss-Samantha Ssssss-Samantha!).  Many a cheerleading competition was danced to those gems.

I decided to have a little fun with the guys I work with as they reminisced about the posters of Ms. Fox they used to have hanging in their teenage bedrooms.

SSG:  Gosh, I can't think of the songs she used to sing (knowing full well what songs she used to sing).
Guys:  (Frantically Googling & shout in unison) "Touch Me", "Naughty Girls Need Love Too..."
SSG:  How did "Naughty Girls Need Love Too" go again?
Guys:  How can you not remember?  Okay, (start singing in unison) "Naaaaaughtyyy girrrrrls need. Love. To."
SSG:  (Biting the insides of her cheeks to keep from laughing) Oh yeah, I kind of remember now.  What was the other one?
Guys:  Touch me?
SSG:  Yeah, how did that one go?
Guys:  I can't believe you don't remember!  "Tooouuuch meeee, I want to feeeel your body, your heartbeat next to miiiiiiine!"
SSG:  Didn't she have one about wanting to have some fun or something?
Guys:  (Start singing unprompted)  Iiiiiii, wannnnna haaaave some fuuuuun?
SSG:  Yeah (starts laughing uncontrollably).
Guys:  Ahhhhh, daaaaaaaaaaamn!

You haven't lived until you've seen grown men in dress shirts singing "Naughty Girls Need Love Too."   

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend ABC's

A - Is for Atonement, the movie that I watched this weekend.

B - Is for blubbering, which is what I did during the ENTIRE aforementioned movie.

C - Is for cookies, what I made to make me feel better after the above.

D - Is for Dog, who looks at me like like I'm the most pitiful human she's ever seen (see above for photographic evidence) when I am simultaneously bawling my eyes out and stuffing my face full of cookies.

E - Is for Elephants at the Portland Zoo who celebrated their 47th & 25th birthdays today, to that I give a "Uuuuuummmmmppppphhhhffff, birthday shout out!"

F - Is for Finslippy who gives me hope that you can still be a loving mom even though you occasionally think that children are monsters.

G - Is for Google Analytics for measuring precisely how unpopular I am on the internet (with graphs no less!) and taking away the scale's reigning crown for displaying the numbers that make me want to crawl under the covers with a pint or twelve of Haagen Das.

H - Is for Haagen Das Mayan Chocolate or Coffee Ice Creams.  Other makers of the ice cream, just go ahead and give up now.

I - Is for I Am Bossy who is in Portland tonight, yet I have no idea where because I am too chicken shit to have found out for fear that the cool group wouldn't let me enter their smart and witty fun club.

J - Is for Jake Peavy who is a genius pitcher even when he doesn't have his best stuff.  I heart Jake Peavy and his Alabama accent.  (Side note to Padres:  Can we kick the offense up a notch?  To like 12 runs when Chris Young is pitching?  Thanks!)

K - Is for "Killing me," which is exactly what Sunday nights (and Saturday's Padres game) should change its name to.

L - Is for Laughter which is what I did during a catch up with Spleen.

M - Is for Morning Radio Show Host which would be a job I'd like to try and TOTALLY rock the Casbah at.

N - Is for Nick, the name that should be synonymous with "player" (3 and counting!).

O - Is for OMG, I'm going to France in September!!!

P - Is for Paris which is where I'll be in just a few short months!

Q - Is for Quiet, something I will never be accused of being ... especially at work ... especially at about 2 in the afternoon when I get a maniacal case of giggles.

R - Is for Run for cover if you're ever around me when I start the above.

S - Is for Suffocate, which is what I think my coworkers would like to do to me.

T - Is for Trophy Cupcakes who stole my heart a mere three weeks ago.

U - Is for Uuuuuuummmmpffffhhh!  Which is TOTALLY the way you say Happy Birthday! to elephants.  Duh.

V - Is for Vajayjay, I hear Grey's Anatomy is comin' back ladies!

W - Is for Wooden Shoe Tulips in Woodburn, OR.  I was there today with the rest of the state celebrating the one day of spring we get this year ... which unfortunately occurred yesterday.

X - Is for X-Rated, which are my dreams when John Cusack is involved. 

Y - Is for Yes! The best word in any language.

Z - Is for Zzz, which is supposed to emulate the sound of a person snoring, and what I hope I didn't make you just do with this post!

The President of the "I Hate Sunday Nights Club"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Renaissance Man (?)

Today I set out to get a massage at the new spa that opened by my house.  It has been about a year since my last massage and when my shoulders became less like flesh and more like boulders, I figured I was about due.

Enter a GUY.  I had never had a massage by a guy before ... well, I haven't PAID for a massage by a guy before ... meaning, I've HAD a massage by a guy, but usually one I'm slee ... 

Annnnyyywhooo ... so my masseur enters and my first thought after "Uhhhh?!?!?" was "Did I shave my legs?"  But then I got sidetracked by the PONYTAIL and FANNY PACK and full beard.  I did a quick glance around to make sure I hadn't accidentally wandered into a Whole Foods.  But no, that was clearly a massage table and the receptionist at the front desk had appeared to acknowledge that this guy was indeed an employee and not some random hippy that walked in off the street.  And he was carrying a clipboard with him, so I relaxed ... kinda.

I was still a little skeeved out by being naked under a sheet with a guy that I hardly knew without so much as dinner or cocktails first.  But he did his best to make me feel comfortable ... or maybe to bore me into submission?  He started talking about geodes and the rock conventions at Big Sur that his mom took him to when he was little ... I believe there were mentions of jade and moonstone at some point.  But I can't remember specifics.

Because by that time I had finally relaxed.  It had occurred to me somewhere along the way that this guy, in addition to all of the above, and who was named after a constellation, probably dug a chick with a little hair on her legs.  

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Karam Lebanese Cuisine

This is my phone.  The label?  Courtesy of the jerks that I work with.  And this phone of mine?  Rang WAY too much today.  So when I got a little e-mail that said only "What's for lunch?" I promptly replied:  "Anything, as long as it's NOW."  Ironically we ended up at a restaurant I only knew of because of an occasion where my phone DIDN'T ring. 

Last summer I decided I needed an overhaul.  Long story short, I was sick of working for a guy we had deemed the Seagull.  The Seagull would fly in, squawk at us, shit all over our projects and then fly back to his hometown leaving in his wake a big fat mess.   Long story short, I found a new job, cut and colored my hair, got a new wardrobe and went out with anyone who asked.  

The first guy up to bat had potential.  He was from Chicago.  He loved baseball too.  He had a professional job.  He laughed at my jokes.  He needed new hair, but nothing that a good stylist couldn't solve.  And BONUS--he even suggested the place.  There was none of this "Where do you want to go? I don't know, where do you want to go?" bullshit.  

We ... correction, I had a great time and as we were leaving the restaurant, he mentioned a little Lebanese place downtown that he wanted to take me to.  "That sounds great," I said.  To which he replied: "Perfect, I'll call you."  

And that was all he needed to say to make me know I'd have to find the little Lebanese place on my own.   Those words "I'll call you?" Translation:  "I have absolutely NO plans of ever calling you again."

My interest in Lebanese cuisine was piqued.  Enter Karam, a delicious Lebanese place on Stark Street in downtown Portland.  I love Karam.  I don't know what I did before.  How did I ever survive without their puffed pita that is so hot and fresh from the oven that steam pours out of it when you tear off a small piece? How did I live without their Fatte--a mix of chicken, eggplant, garbanzo beans and a fresh yogurt layered together and baked in homemade bread.   The fragrance when it arrived at the table made everyone let out a breath--smoky with just a hint of cinnamon ... um, that is the fatte, not the squad's breath.  

I don't know EXACTLY if this was where "Chicago-a-go-go," as my friends deemed him, had intended to take me.  There is some debate that it could also be Habibi's (spelling?) which I've heard is really good too.  But for now I'm stuck on Karam's ... although, on second thought, there's nothing wrong with playing the field now, is there?

316 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bright Spot. Bland Cubicle.

Mmmm. Mmmm.  Don't you just love the graininess of a cell phone photo and florescent lighting in the morning?  

Sure I had work to do.  Sure people were waiting for financing on their multi-million dollar projects.  I should have remained a focused analyst.  I should NOT have been reading blogs like hotfessional or amalah.  But sometimes you need a bright spot in a bland office.  And today was one of those days:

Bright Spot:  The cool intern was in today, which means Stumptown Coffee runs & lots of baseball chat.
Bland Spot:  Hearing a douche bag say "Yes'm" to a GUY ... repeatedly ... without sarcasm. 

Bright Spot:  Invite to Red Coach for yummy burgers and crispy, crinkle-y fries.
Bland Spot:  Irritating sales guy is back, and with a RUSH (!) no less ... have I mentioned that every deal of his is a RUSH(!)?  I think he's afraid his clients will realize what an ass he is and he recognizes that he's got a short window to pretend otherwise.

Bright Spot:  This gorgeous orchid.
Bland Spot:  I bought it for myself.

Bright Spot:  The off duty fireman pulling out of the fire station in his hot, big, guy Dodge Ram.
Bland Spot:  The jackass in the Toyota Corolla that would not turn right on a red light despite the fact that the car in front of him pulled all the way into the crosswalk to give him room so he could.  Dick.

Bright Spot:  The conversation via loud whisper that happened between two guys that sit next to me:

Guy 1:  (Asks a question.)
Guy 2:  (Doesn't respond.)
Guy 1:  (Says loudly) Are you mad at me?
Guy 2:  (Says quietly) Yes.
Guy 1:  (Whispers) So we're no longer talking?
Guy 2:  (Whispers back) No.
Guy 1:  (Whispers) What can I do to make it up to you?
Guy 2:  (Says softly) Hold me.

Bland spot:  Having a guy I work with ask me to interpret a dream he had.  Uh, wha?

Hope your day has been full of bright spots!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I passed this still life on my way into the grocery store this past Sunday.  Doesn't this adorable pale yellow cycle with its basket just waiting to be filled with a baguette and tulips make you want to eat its owner with a spoon?  

Me too, and as such, I have a confession to make, lovely readers. 

I have an inner cyclist.  

My inner cyclist has been locked up since September of 1995.  I didn't think she existed anymore, having passed the last 12 years with nary even the beginnings of a straddle ... a bike (!) straddle.  I had let my guard down. Seeing this bike with its big cushy seat and inviting basket made her too tough a match for me to suppress.  She's out and she ain't goin' anywhere.

My love affair with bikes began in 1976.  I was two and would spend a couple afternoons a week at my grandmother's house.  I had a little pink and black motorcycle that I would sit and shuffle down the sidewalk on, Fred Flintstone style.  My dad's mom would calmly walk behind me, content to let me hop off whenever I wanted to walk up her neighbor's steps and explore what they had on their front porches.  She was patient, as were her neighbors who let me eat as many Lemon Drop candies off their coffee table as I wanted.  

My first real bike was AWESOME.  It was purple, had streamers coming out of its handlebars and a groovy banana seat with flowers.  I pretended I was Penny from Inspector Gadget and would ride the streets of Scripps Ranch solving crime with a vengeance.  

Along the way I moved up to a yellow ten speed, then forgot about bikes completely when I switched to riding horses.

Alas, college interceded and the horse was sold to go make another 12 year old girl's life.  It was the horse or tuition.  I'm glad to see that at one point in my life I had my priorities straight.

Enter my dad's refurbished mountain bike and I fell in love all over again.  

Quick rides back and forth to campus, the wind in my hair (who needed helmets?!), flip flops on my feet and the San Diego sun on my legs.  I blissfully felt like I was eight again.  I had forgotten how much I loved riding.  That is, right up until that day in September when the world didn't come crashing down on me, but rather I came crashing down on it.  

On my way home from class I decided playing slalom with curbs would be a good idea.  Long story short:

Curbs: 1
SSG: 0

Before I knew it, I was flat on my stomach, face in the concrete and had road rash everywhere.  I even got to take a little trip to the emergency room courtesy of a kind citizen who had seen my crash.  We were both nervous at the odd angle of my ankle.  

Fast forward an hour, through X-rays, a broken ankle diagnosis and the requisite phone calls to my parents and roommates to when a nurse shoved aside my emergency room curtain and said all matter of fact like: "okay, we're going to have to get your clothes off."

And then I was all, "Um (nervous laughter).  I think you have the wrong room."
Nurse:  (Looks at the chart) No, it's you.
Me:  But I broke my ankle.
Nurse:  Yes, I know.
Me:  I'm wearing shorts.
Nurse:  Yeeees?
Me:  Don't you just yank it straight and smack a cast on it?
Nurse:  (Laughs) Oh honey, you're going to have to go in for surgery.

It seems like the doctor had left that teensy-weensy detail out.  Essentially I had broken every bone in my ankle.  If you're going to do something, do it with gusto, is what I always say.  A few hours later I had 10 pins and a plate holding the whole thing together and a refillable prescription to Vicodin.  

I haven't been on a bike since.

But there's something about living in Portland and all its beautiful trails with scenes of rivers and lakes that makes ME ... want ... to ... maaaaybe ... try (?) ... again?

So if anyone has any pointers about where I can find a bike ... maybe with training wheels ... and nice EASY places to ride sans any curbs or major hills, I'd appreciate it.  Who knows, soon that just might be my bike waiting out in front of a grocery store near you!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dan, Mt. Rainier & an F-ing Pedometer

My friend Dan works for a huge company that rhymes with Moogle. He sends me e-mails like "Hey! I'm in Amsterdam for work, and I'm sitting at this cafe I know you'd love." E-mails like that make me want to reconsider our friendship. I get to go downstairs to Starbucks or venture a few blocks to Stumptown if I'm feeling crazy. My job does not involve flights, let alone INTERNATIONAL flights. Jerk.

So I was thinking of Dan today when I began the massive undertaking of increasing my step count by 275 steps a week until I go to France ... okay, I'm hating Dan a little bit less.

Last summer Dan called me on a Friday at about 5:00 p.m. "Hey! I'm downtown with Wes, Michelle and Dana. Come meet us for dinner!" Did I mention that Dan lives in California and Dana lives in Colorado and yet they were somehow in downtown Portland? The same downtown Portland that I had just spent an hour leaving? I spend 6 months planning a trip, he sends me his itinerary the day before he's scheduled to arrive ... or if he forgets that part, just calls me to let me know he's here.

Dan and I met in college. Within 20 minutes of us meeting he invited me to go to Tahoe with a group of his friends over winter break. He's the most nonchalant, chill, openhearted guy on the planet. I love Dan for all of these reasons.

So it turns out the reason everyone was in town was because Dan, Dana and Wes were taking a guy's trip to "hike" to the top of Mt. Rainier.

"Um, have you guys been training for this?" I asked them, amazed that anyone would endure such an undertaking willingly. I was sure they had spent months preparing.
"Nah," they responded.
"No?!" I asked starting to panic. I loved these guys, I didn't want them to die!
"Nah, we'll be fine."
"No, endurance training, no hypothermia practice, no survival classes?"
"Isn't it more like climbing, than hiking?" I kept pushing, having images of them wielding pick axes to chop through ice and having to sever a limb when one of them got stuck (I had just finished reading Aron Ralston's book).
"Yeah!" they all responded excitedly.
"Um, are you sure you're going to make it?"
They all laughed.

Of course they made it and were completely fine. Why did I say these guys were my friends again?

So if they could scale a mountain, I could certainly walk a mere 4,865 steps this week. I clipped on the pedometer, full of promise, and went to town. I even laughed in the pedometer's face by RUNNING to catch the MAX, seeking out stairs and telling myself I was climbing up the Metro's steps in Paris as a form of encouragement. I got home anxiously checking my pedometer. SURELY I surpassed my goal of 4,865 steps. I was SURE I was THIS close to 10,000. And amazingly I DID pass 4,865 steps! By 5.

I got to 4,870 steps. Mother Fu ...

Which got me to thinking ... if Dan, Wes and Dana didn't train to climb Mt. Rainier and Dan lived to not only tell about it, but to sit in an Amsterdam cafe to gloat about it, surely if I bypass the Mt. Rainier business, I can go straight to wandering the streets of Paris and be just fine.

Now I remember why we're friends. And side note to Moogle: I'm sure Dan e-mailed me during the 30 seconds he WASN'T working in Amsterdam.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Could be a "Real" Housewife!

This weekend's plans were ambitious:

1) Reorganize the kitchen so I can actually find the smoked paprika if I decided I ever wanted to use it.
2) Catch up on saved episodes of "The Real Housewives of New York City" before my DVR explodes.

I am happy to say one of those tasks was seen through to completion. The mutt was happy with my choice.

You know those US Weekly pages that show the stars "Are Just Like Us!" There may be a photograph of Reese & Jake at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Jennifer Aniston picking up her dog's crap on the beach. Well, despite the fact that I'm single and live in the Northwest, this weekend made me realize that Serendipitous Girl is Just Like the NYC Housewives!

1) I too have had A LOT of cocktails in New York City bars!
2) I also have a gay husband just like Alex.
3) My mutt has doggy play dates like LuAnn and Jill's dogs do.
4) Ramona is just as annoying as my mother.
5) I also roll my eyes at my mother just like Avery does! Never mind that she's 12 and I'm ... a few years older.
6) Bethenny's body? It's like looking in a mirror! (What's so funny, guys? Guys?)
7) Just like LuAnn, I have a Count in my life. He's actually a good friend of my three year old niece and her best friend, Elmo.

So if the above is any indicator, I believe I have the makings of my own show. Come watch Serendipitous Girl as she rides the MAX train to work, stares at numbers all day, watches the Food Network and shops the frozen prepared food aisle at Trader Joe's.

Bravo, I'll be expecting your call.

Friday, April 4, 2008

What I Look for in a Guy

Last weekend I talked to my friend who also lives in a major metropolitan city and takes the train into work each day. She was telling me a story about how, when waiting for the train, she heard someone call her name. When she looked to see who it was she didn't recognize him.

He was ... I can't remember his name ... we'll just call him "Hot." Hot had been at an event that my friend put together and really enjoyed himself. He asked around to find out who planned the event and when he realized she wasn't there, tracked down her e-mail address and sent her a thank you to let her know how much he enjoyed himself. My friend was touched and kept the e-mail, but she had never met him. Hot and my friend ended up riding the train to their respective neighborhoods together and she found him cute and charming. So just to clarify ... 1) A guy went out of his way to say thank you to someone he never met. 2) Somehow recognized her in person, though they never had met previously. 3) Took the time to introduce himself. 4) Was cute and well spoken. Perhaps she should be called Serendipitous Girl?

I too rode the train home with a guy once. He was about 40, tall with a receding hairline and he dressed like Punky Brewster.

I watched him get on the train and couldn't take my eyes off him. He had a pair of wire rimmed glasses, a half mullet, a cross earring in one ear and a hoop in the other. He was wearing a white t-shirt with a rainbow stretched across the front, just like the one I had in 4th grade. He was wearing a pair of cut off short jean shorts, underneath which he had on a pair of purple tights, two pairs of socks and some Reebok high tops. It was cold that day, so he had on his Levi's denim jacket that was lined with sheepskin to keep warm. And my guy? He loved the jewelry. He was a total girl's guy. Every woman that got onto the train wearing jewelry he'd politely yell "I LOVE YOUR BRACELET!" When the women would say thank you, he'd respond by jumping up and down in his seat, clap his hands and point outside and say to no one in particular "look at the pretty flowers!"

I look for him every chance I get.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Perfect Ten

You know how when you're ten but you don't want to be ten? When being an adult looked glamorous and you knew that when YOU were an adult, you'd SO eat Fruit Loops everyday, have Twinkies with every meal and stay up late watching as much of the Love Boat and Fantasy Island as you wanted?

(Quick Side Note: When spelling "glamorous" above, I couldn't remember if there was an extra "u" in there. How did I find out? I literally sang Fergie's song G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S aloud to the mutt. I'm not above admitting it, who needs Webster's when you have a former Black Eyed Pea who can spell?)

Ok, so where were we?

Oh yeah ... somewhere along the way, staying up late became less attractive than sleeping in. I actually remember the year when my sister and I didn't wake my parents up on Christmas morning but instead took one look at our respective alarm clocks, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Today I had to work hard to keep myself from going horizontal at every available surface--couch, backseat of my car, seat on the MAX, corner of 3rd & Oak--they all lobbied hard. I was cursing being an adult and wanted to go back to when I was 10, dancing to the Grease soundtrack in my garage with John Greisser and forced to go to bed a 8 p.m. Now as an adult, if I were to go to bed at 8, I'd get a depression diagnosis and prescription to Zoloft faster than Danny and Sandy could sing "Summer Lovin'."

So tonight, after riding the MAX home and being asked by a guy who smelled of pee and alcohol if he could borrow my cell phone to call "his ride," I passed a house in my neighborhood where a little kid had drawn pictures of rainbows, suns, happy faces and houses all over her family's driveway with sidewalk chalk. I love sidewalk chalk. It got me musing over my own little 10 year old life.

So here it is ... my list of what I would do if I were 10 again:

**Tell Chris Richards that he'd hit a home run at his first major league at bat ... and maybe not call him "Chris Cross Applesauce."

**Forget to mention to my parents that "Root Beer Tapper," my favorite game at Chuck E. Cheese, was sponsered by Budwiser.

**Learn how to ski, skate backwards and surf--much easier at 10 than at 30.

**Rollerskate in my garage to ABBA for hours at a time and/or float on a chair in my friend's pool while drinking a Tab ... a girl doesn't need to change everything ... except wait, make that Tab a Lemon Drop.

**Tell my family to suck it up, we ARE going to play Clue over and over again, we WILL go to Hot Dog on a Stick whether they liked it or not and NO, seeing Sylvester, a movie that starred Jake Ryan (!), Melissa Gilbert and a horse 20 times was not "excessive."

**Soak up every minute of MTV--actual music videos, Duran Duran, Madonna and Kurt Loder ... okay, scratch Kurt.

**Slip 'n Slide to my heart's content.

**Ride my bike all over Scripps Ranch before it became the place where track homes came to roost.

**Sidewalk chalk the shit out of my driveway.

Hope your days had more rainbows and happy faces than men smelling of pee and alcohol.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Love & Baseball Part Three

Eventually, enough time passed and the sting wasn't as raw. My heart was semi-pieced together and I was back to the frat parties and flirting with new friends of old dormmates. Toward the end of the year, my phone rang. "Hello?" I answered.

Jon said quietly "can I come up?"

And this should be the part where music would swell. We would come together, tears in our eyes and he would confess that I had been the one all along. Peter Gabriel would be singing in the background "In your eyes, the light the heat, in your eyes I am complete, in your eyes ..." And Jon and I would live happily ever after.

But this is SOMETIMES Serendipitous Girl, remember?! This moment was not meant to be for us. Jon came to tell me that he was leaving San Diego. He had enough of the baseball coach and being away from his friends and family. He missed Colorado and couldn't wait to get home. But he didn't want to leave things on a bad note with me. We hadn't talked since the beginning of the school year.

It meant a lot that he came up to face me, but too much time had gone by. New found trust was damaged and to be honest, Colorado was too big of a gap to bridge. I knew my heart couldn't take it. We talked a few times after he left, but eventually lost touch. Potential and promise mean something, but unfortunately they don't always mean everything.

And so, we come to baseball. You can't truly love baseball without truly knowing heartbreak. And if there was one thing I learned from Jon, it was heartbreak. Baseball refreshed my memory. The game will tear your heart out. I never understood how much until October 1, 2007.

Potential, promise, the Padres had it. They also had the playoffs in sight, they just needed to get through one more game against the Rockies. Peavy, the staff ace opened the game. There is no one else you'd want on the mound. He lead the league in ERA and wins. He was the guy. He went 6 1/3 innings. It didn't look good at first. Colorado scored 3 runs in the first two innings. But San Diego came back and answered with 4. The game went back and forth for the rest of the night. Colorado homered making the score 4-4. San Diego added a run. Colorado caught up in the 5th and went ahead in the 6th making the score 5 -6. San Diego scored in the 8th finally tying the game. The game would go to 13 innings.

At the top of the 13th inning, San Diego would score two additional runs before making their final out. It looked promising, we were ahead 8 - 6. The all time saves leader in the history of baseball, Trevor Hoffman, would just need to make three more outs. Had the team been in San Diego, the bells would ring--loud and slow at first, the crowd would go wild before ACDC's guitar solo would sound and pretty soon "Hell's Bells" would be blaring as Hoffman would begin his slow, focused run onto the field. But on October 1st, the team was in Colorado. The Rockies were a team that were on a mission, they won 22 games in the month of September. The team and their fans wouldn't give up without a fight. Trevor would struggle and Colorado proved too big of a match. The Rockies lead off with two doubles, a walk, a triple and then finally a sac fly to get the go ahead run.

I cried. There are reports that Trevor cried. San Diego was heartbroken. I understood, I had been there.

The next day when friends asked me about the game, the first words out of my mouth were "it's baseball." It was definitely disappointing, but it's baseball. I wouldn't have changed a pitcher or any call made by manager Bud Black. He put his best game out on the field but ultimately it's left to chance. Sometimes baseball, like life, goes your way, but sometimes it doesn't. And that's the painful, simple truth.

Jon and I would reconnect a few times over the years. There was always a glimmer of that initial magic, but it never materialized into anything more. The potential and promise have always been there, but ultimately it just didn't go our way. We never could go back to that original summer.

October 1st was the final game of the Padres 2007 season. Peavy opened up 2008 on Monday with a win against the Astros. He even knocked two runs in himself. Everyone, including the announcers, wanted the game to have a save situation so Trevor could come out. But like Jon and me, the team can't go back and fix October 1st. The Padres won Monday night's game. Trevor came out for a save last night. The Padres have begun the 2008 season 2-0.

It's time to move on.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Journey to Paris Begins with 4,590 Steps

So if I haven't already mentioned it a few hundred times, I'M GOING TO FRANCE! In a mere 5 months I will be strolling the streets of Paris, driving the rolling hills of the Luberon region of Provence and dipping a toe into the Mediterranean. Saying I can't wait is like saying if John Cusack walked in the door right now I would rip off his clothes and ravage his naked body in mere seconds. It's just a given.

When I picture myself strolling along the Seine and walking over the bridge to the Ile St. Louis, it certainly doesn't involve huffing and puffing as if I were about to blow the proverbial house down. No, no. I imagine myself virtually skipping, a face full of smiles, rosy cheeks and perfectly tinted lips. Definitely not a face full with beads of ... let's just call it dew, shall we?

So I decided to carry a pedometer with me today. I am a French girl inside, especially when it comes to food, wine and zee kissing. But I am ESPECIALLY a French girl when it comes to exercise. La Dolce Vita does not include La Gym. But after an oh so cold Portland winter and that oh so warm car of mine, spending time outside has meant maybe a 10 minute dog walk while dodging rain drops--or in the last week, snow and hail. In other words, it's time for Serendipitous Girl to move her ... what's the French word for ass?

So today I actually caught the MAX. I walked to and fro the train, up and down flights of stairs, pounded the downtown Portland pavement and came upstairs to my office happily plopping down at my computer to write you, dear readers. I figured I'd share my step count with you first! Aiming for 10,000 steps, I expected at LEAST 8,000--I did walk up FLIGHTS of stairs after all (read: 3, so what if 2 are in my house?). You can imagine my thoughts when I opened up the pedometer's little plastic case and it laughed in my face with the preposterous number of 4,590 (!).

I refrained from throwing the pedometer across the room, but needless to say folks, I've got some work to do. My goal is to, over the next 5 months, increase that--word that starts with mother and ends with ucker-- up to 10,000 steps. Since I'm an analyst and oh so good at math (what's so funny former 10th grade math teacher?) that translates to about 1100 extra steps a month until September. 1100 extra steps a month means roughly 275 extra steps each week. Which I'm SURE translates to a hop skip and a jump over to the bar for happy hour each day. No problem! After all, no one said Serendipitous Girl isn't all about physical fitness.


P.S. The Padres won their first game last night!
P.P.S. The saga of Love & Baseball continues tomorrow.