Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Office

I LOVE The Office.  It consistently makes me laugh out loud, even when I'm home watching it by myself.

My speech is always peppered with quotes from Michael Scott such as "that's what she said" or my other favorite, "I'm not superstitious.  I'm just ... stitious."  See, I'm laughing right now, just from typing that.

Often times at work one of the guys will say something completely innocent and I'll shout from my cubicle (or pubicle as Spleen calls them) "that's what she said!"  And then we all crack up for a few seconds before shoving our noses back into corporate balance sheets.

A few of today's well placed gems:
  • "I wanted it a little dirtier."
  • "If I lifted my leg like that, I'd tear three tendons."
  • "Come on let's go.  I'm not afraid to shake it with you."
  • "Dude, I did the security guy last time and it only took three minutes."
Sometimes they just make it way too easy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

* 0

I am a firm believer in good customer service.  After years of working with the general public, smacking a smile on my face and following up with delightfully charming small talk, I believe I've paid my dues.  

Now I sit, tucked amongst the nerds, in our cubicles with such high privacy walls I've often thought about pulling a George Castanza and setting up a napping nook under my desk to see if anyone would notice.    My guess is no.  Especially after that extra long coffee run I took with Ems & A the other afternoon without anyone batting an eye.  What?  It was SUNNY!  And 75!  Anywho, despite the welcome nature of not having to deal with the general public, or any public for that matter, I've never forgotten what it's like to be on the front lines, and so, for that very reason I believe I'm an EXCELLENT customer.

I always look people in the eye, smile and say good morning, afternoon or evening and ask them how they are.  I am friendly, understanding and a good tipper.  And today karma paid.  Me.  Back.  Thank you karma! 

  • The girl at Stumptown remembered me AND my order!  
  • The T-Mobile guy and I had a full on phone conversation about Texas barbecue, the Northwest and my upcoming trip to France.  He was VERY excited for me and after what felt like an hour of chit chat, I finally had to say "OK!  Actually that's the REASON I'm calling.  Will my phone work over there?"  
I was on such a roll that I started optioning out of the normal automated phone drills and pressed "*" or "0" in order to talk to a real live person.  Preferably one from Texas that knew about barbecue and was falling all over himself telling me how WONDERFUL life was.  Do customer service reps now come with a side of Prozac?  Or did they figure out how to automate them and make them sound like real humans?  Because ...

  • The water filter people, helpful!
  • UPS, helpful!
  • Zappos, helpful!

And then my last call of the day.  And it was even related to work!  Which, how appropriate, right?  To actually do work and stuff between the hours of 7 and 4?  Stellar employee right here, peeps.

I strutted in, high on kindness, even forgetting to bring my pen, paper and requisite financial calculator, to which luckily my boss said "we just need your brain."

Which, um?  Man do I have him snowed.

We dialed into the conference call line, listened to the hold music and sweet message "if you experience any difficulty, please press star zero" before entering into the CRAZY.

We were debated, pressured and essentially told we were monsters for not lending a company a few million dollars in UNSECURED credit.  Hello, company?!  No. Way. In. Hell.  I TOO would love what is essentially a credit card with a few mil on it, especially with all the SHOES I've been buying lately.  But put up some collateral and then we'll give it to you, m'kay?

Sorry, too finance-y?  Yes, I thought so to.  Which is why halfway through the call, I pressed mute on the speaker phone, looked around the room and said "since we're experiencing 'difficulty' I say we push star zero and see what they recommend?  It has worked for me ALL day." 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update on SSG's Summer To Do List

(Note to me:  PLEASE for all of the love that is holy, figure out how to work your digital camera already.)

I walked over to Stumptown Coffee Roasters this morning with my coffee posse.  We strolled with sunglasses on, discussing how the end of July is upon us and August is about to begin.  One more month of summer before September and the start of fall, my favorite season.  It reminded me of a few things.

1)  I will be 34 in a couple of weeks. (Um, when did that happen?)
2)  I will be leaving for Paris in 39 days!
3)  How is that Summer To Do List coming along?  (read more about that here)

I have made a fair dent in my list and have upcoming plans that will knock off quite a few of those items as well, but in looking over the items still left to do?  Oy vey!

Have Done:

2)  Make a cake.
4)  Pick some berries.
9)  Paint your toenails hot pink.
10)  Read a biography.
11)  Chill out.
12)  Make homemade lemonade.
14)  Go skinny dipping.
24)  Treat yourself to ice cream.

Still to Do:

1)  Float in a boat.
3)  Listen closely.
5)  Buy a vintage sun dress.
6)  Take an outdoor shower.
7)  Make a shell necklace.
8)  Get a buzz cut.
12)  Hang wind chimes.
15)  Cook dinner in one pot.
16)  Create a summer haven.
17)  Climb a mountain.
18)  See how they grow.
19)  Ride a ferris wheel.
20)  Sell your junk.
21)  Catch a ball game.
22)  Collect pine cones.
25)  Return to a favorite place.

Time to break out the big guns.  Please send lemon drops.

What about you, what's still on your summer to do list?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend ABC's - C is for Coast, Creamery & Cheese

So you can tell by Friday's post that I was a little bit ... um ... stressed?  I didn't think a thing about it until I was over at Wade & Jimmy's on Saturday night and Wade said "when you go on rants like that I'm all, eek!"   Luckily after cocktails, a delicious dinner and DVD of a comedienne named Lisa Schmaldafksdfa (Wade, please help a sistah out with that chick's last name) I was feeling a lot less scary.  The swag a girl gets from an evening at Wade & Jimmy's doesn't hurt either--Pink Martini CD's and left over grilled steak & chicken from dinner.  Who needs the Academy Awards baskets?  Now if I could JUST get them to stock comfortable women's footwear ... and single fireman.  

Anywho, I happened upon another Portland blogger on Friday.  Her "Afternoon and a Full Tank of Gas" posts (check her out here) inspired me and so I took my little sister (through Big Brothers & Sisters) down to Tillamook for the day.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  Next time I have a melt down please ask me if I've done the following:

  • Been out of the house yet.
  • Taken off my pajamas.
  • Cleaned out my purse.
  • Gotten a haircut.
  • Been to the beach recently.
In case you're wondering, the answers to those questions were yes to all but the beach and a haircut (which is now scheduled for next weekend).  It still seems odd to me that instead of being ten minutes away, the coast here takes PLANNING.  Depending on what beach you want to get to, you can be there in an hour & a half or as long as six hours.  Though my little sister is AWESOME, we've never been in the car together for longer than 20 minutes and usually during that time I feel a bit like Oprah:  "How are you?  How was your week?  How are you feeling about school?  The current political climate?  The ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma?"  I wondered if 3 hours in the car (round trip) would be the smartest thing for my already funk mood.  But peeps?  Next time you're feeling stressed?  Grab a ten year old and head for the beach.  

We tasted brie and homemade jams at the Blue Heron, watched cheese being made at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, fed some farm animals and ate ice cream.  Not that I needed to, but I brought home more CHEESE (see my post on cheese here).  We ended the day standing on the cliffs next to the Cape Meares lighthouse and feeling the spray of salt water on our faces.

I was breathing much easier on my way home.  And because this is weekend ABC's, I figured I'd give you what Miss Thang and I came up with during our alphabet game we played in the car.

We're going to Tillamook and bringing:  Apples, buckets, cars, dogs, ears, fun, gophers, hats, ice cream, jelly, kangaroos, love, maple syrup, noses, octopi, pancakes, queens, rabbits, sun, tickles, umbrellas, violins, walruses, x-rays, yaks and zebras.

Hope you had great weekends!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where's SSG?

This is Oceanside, Oregon.  It has been socked in all weekend, but no bother.  That just gives you enough time to taste brie at Blue Heron, lick an ice cream cone at Tillamook and remember how much you appreciate those warm, sunny days of summer. 

Hope you all are having a lovely weekend too!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why Cinderella Wore Glass Slippers & Drove Around in a Carriage

In the words of The Hotfessional, "oh mah holy hell ya'll."  SSG had a slight melt down yesterday.  And by slight she means, a 10 car pile up.  

A wha?


You know when you're cruising right along, not a care in the world and then something causes a slow down?  A little hiccup.  Like let's say for example you don't know WHAT FUCKING SHOES are not going to KILL your feet for Paris.  Let's start with that.  So then while you're mulling over whether your friends will mind pushing you around France in a wheelchair, you realize that you don't remember where you put the software program for your digital camera that needs to be uploaded to your computer.  And slam.  One issue bangs right into the other.

And then when you open your office closet, instead of finding the disc to install the software for your digital camera, you find your holiday decorations.  And by "find" I mean they catapult out of your closet and land with five times their original weight.  Right. On. Top. Of. Your. HEAD.  Because your office closet is so crammed with shit that you don't know what to do with it all.  And then you get PISSED.  Because you could totally find that disc AND clean out that closet if you didn't have to go to work.  SLAM.

And WORK.  Which you're already late to and why did you have to take a job that requires taking public transportation and fuck it, you're just going to drive in already.  Only it's Friday which you know means it's going to be hell getting home because of downtown traffic on Fridays and why didn't you just marry that DOCTOR in San Diego when you had the chance.  Who cares that he was 20 ... 30 years older than you.  You could have SOLD OUT and had a Neiman Marcus credit card and charged some SHOES TO WEAR TO PARIS THAT DIDN'T CAUSE SCAR TISSUE TO FORM ON YOUR HEELS.  And bonus!  You wouldn't have to WORK.  SLAM!

Forget ethics and morality and marrying for love.  You could be living in a fat mansion in La Jolla with a view of the Pacific right now if you didn't have that pesky little thing called a CONSCIENCE.  And don't even get me started on LOVE.

Because you TOTALLY could have fallen in love with that waiter at Red Star you walked past on your way to lunch with the squad today.  And when you tried to get them to turn around because "Tall!  Gorgeous!  Tattooed forearms!"  They were all "we've been there already, let's try this new place."  And by "new place."  They meant OLD PLACE because we FOUND where all the senior citizens eat when they come to visit Portland from their retirement homes in Arizona.  And then you get reminded of your mortality and that you're going to DIE someday and that you'll have done it without ever having married the hot tattooed waiter at Red Star.  Not that he'd ever want to marry you because OMG, the neurosis!  The NEUROSIS.

Let's not even go down the road of neurosis because ... oh wait.  We're here already aren't we? 

And because you realize you probably shouldn't air your dirty laundry about work we're going to pretend this next paragraph happened in a Disney movie.

So the NEUROSIS isn't helped when at 5:30 p.m. on a FRIDAY NIGHT the ASS Wicked Witch that you HAAAAATE calls and wonders why you haven't started cleaning his, er HER castle yet.  Never mind the fact that he um, SHE had THREE other castles this week that you finished cleaning ... and oh yeah, those TEN other wicked witches that needed their castles cleaned too.  Also never mind the fact that you DID start cleaning his, er HER castle.  A MONTH AGO.  But had to stop when you realized you didn't have enough ... cleaning supplies to finish it.  And never mind the fact that the Wicked Witch has called you every week to see how it's going and every week you have the SAME CONVERSATION telling him, er HER that YOU NEED MORE CLEANING SUPPLIES ALREADY or else the castle WILL NOT GET CLEANED and that he, er SHE has promised to get those new cleaning supplies to you, but could you e-mail him, er HER the list of things you need again?  And then you have to TRY not to bang the headset of your phone over and over again on your desk when he, er SHE says "we've GOT to find a way to clean the castle when we don't have any cleaning supplies."  

YES.  You say.  I will call on my bird, mice and squirrel friends to make that happen for you.  Right after my Fairy Godmother gets me ready for the ball and I meet and marry Prince Tattooed Forearms.

Friday, July 25, 2008

So You Think You Can Pop & Lock

I watched Toni Basil on So You Think You Can Dance last night (shut up).  It was hard for me to keep my eyes from rolling when she talked about being "street" and her early days of "locking." 

I seem to remember her dancing in a CHEERLEADING UNIFORM to the oh so ghetto lyrics "oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey."

Where are the kids in Compton tonight?  Why FOR SHIZZY they're tying school colored ribbons into their pony tails and shining up their megaphones, silly goose!

Now who like, can do a back handspring yo?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letters From SSG

Dear Lady in the Black Mercedes,

I realize you spent A LOT of money on your car.  I also understand you want to protect your investment.  But when you drive?  Please at least go the speed limit.  Because when you drive TEN MILES PER HOUR under it?  It makes me want to rear end you to help move things along.

Lots of Love,

Dear Country Music,

When did you become the catchall for B list musicians?  Bobby Brown?  Jessica Simpson?  JEWEL?  Actually, that one I can kind of understand.  Yodeling is like the gateway drug to country music.  But Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars?  

I mean yes, I want her body but I don't want to hear her SING.  SHE even sings about having someone else's song in her head all day.  Obviously she doesn't want to hear her song played on the radio either.   

And when someone asks the question:  "If I put the word 'whiskey' in my song, can I call it country?"  The proper response is "No."  Instead, you said, "Why YES Darius- Rucker,-formerly-Hootie-of-Hootie-and-the-Blowfish.  We'd be INTO that, man."  SSG is cutting you off before Johnny Cash rises from the dead and comes to your doorstep with Chuck Norris to roundhouse kick your ass.


Dear Co-worker of SSG,

I would like to apologize for saying the following to you yesterday: 
  • Calling you shallow in front of all the guys.
  •  Saying I thought your shallowness was all an act.  To which you responded (for the record) that it wasn't.  
  • Saying you were just a big soft teddy bear underneath all of the jackass.
  • Asking if you felt like my "Hollaback Girl" since I usually get coffee with someone else, but he was gone today.  
  • Asking if I hurt your feeling.  

Even though you said your ONE feeling was in tact, I'd still like to take this moment to apologize to it.


Edited to add:

Dear Blogger,

Let's not be so dramatic.  Just because I typed in a lower case "a" instead of an "A" in "AM" to time delay my post does not mean we need to call it "illegal."  It's just that kind of legislation that bogs down the system for the real criminals--like those crazies who remove their mattress tags.  BUT.  If you're sending someone to arrest me, please tell them my house is on fire.  I'd like to say I was handcuffed with a fireman in my home at least once in my life.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Boy School

I talk quite a bit about the guys I work with.  Try as I might to make them girls, like in this post here, they're still very much GUYS.  Which I love ... or hate, depending on my mood.

Yesterday seven of us were eating lunch and we started wandering down the path of movies and old television shows.  I've learned to get my opinion in early.  That way I don't have to hurl myself out the window when they start discussing Busty Blondes 4 or some such equivalent.  Unfortunately I missed the first few opening suggestions and tried to throw in a little "16 Candles!  Pretty in Pink!  Breakfast Club?  Can I get ANY John Hughes movie?"

No.  They were already down the road of Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino and Chuck Norris. 

SSG learned a few things yesterday:

1)  Dirty Harry was NOT a western, but a detective movie.  SSG always just assumed "Dirty" + Clint Eastwood = Western.

2)  Framed Scarface posters are not only featured on the wall of every star on MTV's "Cribs", but also formerly on some of the walls of SSG's coworkers.  Who, for the record, are definitely not rap stars.  Vanilla Ice has more street cred than these guys.

3)  NO ONE could name ANY Chuck Norris movie when the question was posed by SSG, though they quote the guy REPEATEDLY.

SSG didn't think anything had stuck from her day at boy school.  But when she was standing at the refrigerator looking for butter later that evening and couldn't find it, she looked at her dog and said "Chuck Norris doesn't churn butter.  He roundhouse kicks the cows and the butter comes straight out."

SSG promptly marched upstairs and added Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment and Bridget Jones' Diary to her Netflix queue ... and maybe The Delta Force.  Parts one ... and two.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cubicle Karaoke or How Nerds Communicate

Leona Lewis was in our office yesterday.  She came in the form of a 6'2 financial analyst on his way to get coffee with SSG.

Co-Worker:  "I don't care what they say, I'm in love with you ..."
SSG:  I know I look cute today, but you're not declaring your love for me, right?  You're just singing a song?
SSG's Co-Worker (stops walking):  Oh.  That's a song?

SSG and her coworker are in the elevator coming back from getting coffee.

SSG:  "I've had the time of my life ... "
SSG's Co-Worker:  "No, I never felt this way before ..."
SSG & SSG's Co-Worker Together:  "Yes I swear, this is true.  And I owe it all to you!"

The Office:  Dudes, what's so funny?  We could hear you guys all the way down the hall.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend ABC's - B is for Berries & Burgerville

Growing up in San Diego had a lot of things going for it--the beach, the weather, flip flops as sanctioned daily footwear.  It was a great place to be a kid.  I learned about the world through the famous San Diego Zoo and Sea World or the effect humans have on the oceans through organizations like Surfrider.  I even joined the stable where I kept my horse in a fight against developers who wanted to put a freeway through one of San Diego's canyons (we won, woo hoo!).  The one thing I NEVER thought about, was food.

Food came to us plastic wrapped from Vons, the local grocery store.  Apples were piled up in the produce section next to dry oranges.  Tuna was from a can ... usually dented and marked down to a quarter (my mom's way of saving money).  It was tasteless, something we ate because we had to, not because we necessarily WANTED to.  The word seasonal in San Diego just meant the jacaranda trees were blooming, it didn't mean that berries would only be around for a few weeks or that fall would burst on the scene screaming orange and red just in time for Halloween.

And then I tasted a peach.

It was not the first time I had EATEN a peach.  But it was the first time I TASTED a PEACH.  

Spleen's mom bought a few from a local farm stand up in the Central Valley of California.  They had been picked that morning, fresh from an Oakdale tree and the look on my face when I bit into it?  Well, Spleen and Mrs. H thought something might have been wrong with me.  Sweet, juicy, tender and I swear it had been smothered in honey.  Food changed for me that day and I have been looking to recreate that experience ever since.  

When I moved to the 'burbs of Portland, it was not so I could have access to farm fresh produce.  It was so I could be close to my old office (can we say WORKAHOLIC?).  I was sick of battling the freeways and wanted to have a short commute.  I had NO idea what an "Urban Growth Boundary" was or what "Sustainable Agriculture" was until I got in my car one day, drove a mile away from my house and was SMACK DAB in the middle of farm land.


It took me 10 minutes to get to downtown Portland, two minutes to get to a local farm and within another minute I was at two wineries.

"PORTLAND? IS PERFECT!" I screamed to no one in particular and almost ran off the road into an apple orchard.

Long ago, and long story short, blah, blah, blah fights and blah, blah, blah legislature and blah, blah, blah bills and other shite SSG has no idea about, Portland essentially drew a large circle around itself and said "nothing gets developed outside of here."  Portland is a stud.

What this means for SSG (because this is what we all really care about, right?).  She can DRIVE (sorry Portland) two miles and pick raspberries, strawberries and flowers herself.  And bonus?  She gets to cross one more item off her Summer to Do List.  And when she wonders why she gave all the berries to her Little Sister (through Big Brothers & Little Sisters) and didn't keep any for herself, Portland saves the day again with a little place called Burgerville.

Burgerville is a Northwest burger joint.  They only use locally grown beef and Tillamook cheese, have seasonal specials like Walla Walla Onion Rings from our Washington neighbors and they have MILKSHAKES.  Seasonal MILKSHAKES that have local RASPBERRIES in them.

And when SSG saw that?  She peeled into Burgerville's parking lot faster than you can say "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard."

Dear Burgerville (slurp), YOUR milkshake brings all the boys to the yard (sluuuurrrp). SSG would like to say THANK YOU (sluuuuuurrrrrrrrp) and could you possibly look into a peach milkshake for her to have this fall?  

Hope your weekends were just as sweet ... and if they were juicy?  DO TELL!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where's SSG?

She is being held hostage by two furry, four legged hooligans.  Please note the blonde ears toward the bottom right hand side of the photo.  Those are attached to a 40 pound body currently keeping SSG's feet captive.  

Don't let the majestic scene in August's issue of Sunset Magazine fool you, this is PURE torture.  SSG would TOTALLY be doing something WAY more productive if it weren't for her two captors.  

Friday, July 18, 2008

Seven Weeks & Counting

Seven weeks from this very moment I will be on an airplane.  Somewhere over the Atlantic.  On my way to Paris.  

On.  My.  Way.  To.  Paris.  


I was going to make a joke about hoping that I was sitting next to some hot architect who moonlights as a fireman during his off hours, but seriously?  This is FRANCE we're talking about.  The place that I've wanted to go to since ... oh ... BIRTH.  An architect could be giving me a foot massage and promising his eternal love and devotion with a nice house and bar full of Grey Goose and I'd be pointing at my guide book saying "And you see this, right here?  The Musee d'Orsay?  I'm going to be there tomorrow!"

So!  Parisian apartment?  Check.  Provencal bed & breakfast?  Check.  Hotel on the waterfront in Nice?  Check.  Train ticket from Paris to Provence?  Done.  Rental car in Provence?  Yep.  Wardrobe selections made?  Yes (ish).  Footwear?  (Queue crickets.)

If someone would have told me that the HARDEST part about planning this trip was going to be finding some Mother F-ing shoes to wear?  I would have LAUGHED in their Mother F-ing face.

Shoes?  Pas de probleme!  I'd just cruise on down to Ross, find myself some cute Steve Maddens like I always do and call it a day.  Because NO ONE wears tennis shoes or quelle horrors (!) FLIP FLOPS in France.  Even SSG knows that (but she's taking her Reef's anyway).

But then I read the Fodor's website.  The one where they have this nasty little thing called a "forum" where people talk about evil things like the TEN miles a day they walked while in Paris.  And SSG started to get a little worried.  Perhaps she should look into some more comfortable footwear?  But which brand?  And they wouldn't cost more than $20, right?  

And that's when Fodor's Forums laughed in SSG's face and spit on her perfect Paris plans.

EVERYONE has an opinion on what shoes to wear in Europe.  Danskos.  Yes!  I wore them everywhere!  NO!  Too heavy! ECCO's!  Yes!  Rick Steve's wears them!  NO!  Not enough arch support!  Earths!  YES!  They have a negative heel and it helps your posture!  NO!  They gave me mad blisters!  

SSG had a minor freak out session and ordered $500 worth of shoes.  


SSG then had a MAJOR freak out session when she wondered if she even had $500.  
(She did.  And will now be eating Top Ramen until 2014.)

And guess what?  NONE of the shoes worked except for the one little pair of ballet flats up there.  The $120 pair of ballet flats.  ONE.  HUNDRED.  AND.  TWENTY.  DOLLARS.  FOR.  BALLET.  FLATS.  That's $100 more than SSG has spent on shoes.  Like EVER.

The upside?  SSG will recoup the bulk of her $500 when she returns all of the shoes.

The downside?  She will be solidifying the American in Paris stereotype by rockin' the tennies.  That is ... unless the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale can DELIVER this weekend.

PRAY for me people.

(P.S.  SSG realizes the ONLY reason her housing and travel plans are solidified is due to her travel partner, Mrs. Bob.  Now if SSG can just get her to do something about this pesky shoe problem ...)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

As the SSG's World Turns

Things have been a little drama filled in the life of SSG this week.  One of the girls in the office left.  She liked one of the guys in the office.  Now that she's gone, the guy she liked feels free to flirt with the girl HE really likes.  Only the girl he really likes is not single.  She's engaged.  

Is Engaged Girl spurning his advances?

No, pumpkins, no.

Instead, SSG has to try and not gouge her earlobes out with a stapler while listening to the two of them flirt with each other.  As if that's not bad enough SSG had to listen to Engaged Girl whine when SSG dared to pay a compliment to THE ONLY OTHER GIRL left in the office.  Apparently Engaged Girl is worried that Flirty Boy will now start liking THE ONLY OTHER GIRL LEFT IN THE OFFICE all based upon the ONE compliment SSG paid her.

Um, if SSG really had the type of power to make people change course based on one sentence, she would ask them to stop this junior high school nonsense and bring her a lemon drop already.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Favor

Hello My Lovlies!

I am looking for guest bloggers while I'm gone in September.  While I'm stuffing my face with croissants, wine and pastries, you'd be joining the ranks of the following writers:

  • Wade
  • Digs
  • Spleen
  • Winner (my sister)
  • Bree MastAH
I'm looking for 5 or 6 more peeps and would love to have YOUR fabulous voices in the mix!  If you're interested e-mail me at  


P.S.  Does anyone know how to say "Lemon Drop" in French?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SSG Boldly Goes Where No 33 Year Old Single Person Has Dared to Go

SSG likes to live dangerously.  Especially when DANGEROUSLY means getting splattered by paint while sitting at a table with a 10 year old and nary a cocktail to be seen anywhere.

I volunteer for Big Brothers & Big Sisters and have the CUTEST, SWEETEST 10 year old "little sister" that I hang out with for a couple hours every weekend.  I haven't said too much about her in the interest of protecting her privacy and what, with my penchant for working in a place where Hulk sized dudes on drugs rip apart ATM machines before getting tasered and love of la lemon drops, I worried y'all might call BB&BS and have them rethink their choice in mentors.

All kidding aside.  One of the first things they told us was we couldn't drink around the kids.  And I'm SURE I would have come to that conclusion on my own.  But it's always good to have these things hammered home.

Anywho.  Everyone is always saying how GREAT of a program BB&BS is.  And how WONDERFUL it is for me to donate my time.  And how they're SURE I'm making a massive impact on this little muchkin's life.  But the truth?  

She's pretty fucking kick ass and I think she's actually making more of an impact on MY life.

SSG, though occasionally edgy & jokey, has an annoyingly serious side to her.  Words like "perfectionist" and "introspective" come to mind but I think "stuffy adult" is more like it.  Somewhere along the way "play" got lost when "judgment" was found.  

But then my niece and nephew were born and I started volunteering in a first grade classroom and then with BB&BS.  I realized that kids can (sometimes!) be SO much more fun than adults.

Enthusiasm?  Check.
Lack of self restraint?  Check.
Judgement?  No way Jose.

And that's how I ended up at "Cerami Cafe" painting a cupcake while Miss Thang painted a frog.  And because I always want to be a positive role model, I really watch the things I say about myself in addition to the things I say to her.  There is NEVER a hint of sarcasm or self deprecation around that little girl.  

So when we walked into this jungle of paints and brushes and potential failure that was fertile ground for SSG's typical smart ass-iness and self doubt-iness, she instead could show NONE of it.  SSG couldn't say what she wanted to say, which was:

  "WhathappensifImessupmycupcakeanditlooksstupid?  WHAT THEN? THEN WHAT DO I DO?!?!"  

Instead, she had to force herself to be calm, relaxed with only an I LOVE PAINTING(!) energy radiating from every ounce of her being.  

And when Miss Thang worried what colors to paint her frog, we dealt with it.  And when she worried that it might look stupid, SSG looked her in the eye and said "There's no stupid in art.  There are no mistakes in art.  Art is only fun.  Art is always perfect as it is.  But best of all?  Art ALWAYS means play time."  Miss Thang smiled.  

"We gonna play, or what?"  I asked.

"YEAH!" she yelled, face breaking into an even bigger smile.

Just like SSG's heart.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend ABC's - C is for Chillin', Cocktails, Chicago & Crazy

SSG had BIG plans this weekend.  Things like cleaning out her garage and finding a new suitcase for France.  Plans like going over to see a friend's new baby that was born almost 2 months ago that she still hasn't seen.  Plans like crossing off picking berries and getting a buzz cut to complete her summer to do list ... just kidding on the buzz cut.  SSG just wanted to make sure you were still awake because just typing that list made her tired.

Instead SSG decided to stay in bed almost all day on Saturday.  And bonus?  It TOTALLY satisfied #11 on her list.  It was delicious.  She had coffee in bed.  Watched movies on her laptop.  Read a pile of magazines and took a nap with her doggy.  She reluctantly had to pull herself out of HEAVEN and join a party in progress on a rooftop in downtown Portland's tony Pearl District.  She likes that the Pearl District is often referred to as "tony."  

The quiet guy from SSG's work was at the party.  The quiet guy from SSG's work is not so quiet after he's had a few or twelve cocktails.  At one point he looked over at SSG and said "why are you being so BORING tonight?"  Which SSG didn't take offense to because she was happy to finally see he had some edge.  Edge she was lacking after a day spent lounging, a cocktail and some chit chat with a beautiful skyline to gaze upon.  SSG loves rooftops ... and chit chat ... and who are we kidding?  Cocktails.

SSG thought she was going to know everyone at the party, but was surprised by "Chicago" mid evening--short brown hair, cute with good clothes.  SSG likes Chicago boys.  She also likes boys who come up and introduce themselves politely without a hint of the cheese factor.  Boys who seem genuine.  Did SSG feel this was a serendipitous meeting?  Yes.  Did SSG have a (Sometimes!) moment?  OF COURSE she did.  

Mid conversation with "Chicago" SSG's friend came to the party who had just spent the last hour getting seven stitches in his hand after a small accident.  SSG would have liked to tell him "Dude, talking to a cute new boy.  Move on."  But instead she had to feign interest over his ER experience (What?!  It wasn't like his arm got detached.  And this is a new BOY we're talking about.).  A couple of other boys SSG knows sauntered over to hear the tale and before SSG knew it, Chicago had left the conversation.  They would have quick exchanges throughout the rest of the evening, but SSG was always intercepted by someone else in the effort she now refers to as "Operation Box Block."  (Single peeps?  That one's for you.)

Toward the end of the night SSG grabbed her friend's apartment key to use the ladies room (Future husband if you're reading?  Her nose was shiny.  And she had to powder it.  And that's the ONLY reason.) "Quiet Guy" from the office asked if he could go with her.  Before SSG could answer, he stopped himself and said "wait, would that be weird?"

"Not unless you ask me to hold IT for you," she replied.  

What?  She hasn't COMPLETELY lost her edge.

(Hope ya'll had a lovely weekend too!  And if you're wondering where the crazy comes in?  I started a new food blog called The (Sometimes!) Serendipitous Kitchen.  Check it out if you have a second and let me know what you think!  Hope you like it!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Where's SSG?

Why crossing off #11 on her Summer to Do List, of course!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Grateful For ...

  •  Warm Friday evenings spent at the dog park. 
  • Knowing everyones dogs' names, but not each others.
  • Exchanging favorite recipes and farmer's market tips.
  • The "it" summer wardrobe--shorts and flip flops.
  • One tired and happy pooch.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

All in a Day's Work

What happened at SSG's work this week?

A)  SSG's boss got REALLY pissed about the placement of his office furniture.


B)  A man the size of the Incredible Hulk came into the lobby of her building wearing no shirt or shoes and began screaming and tearing apart the ATM.  The Hulk was eventually tasered by the police in front of a crowd of business people.

(Hint:  It's all fun and games at the office ... until someone gets TASERED in your lobby.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My New Boyfriend

I just got off the phone with Digs and my stomach hurts from laughing so hard.  She has been seeing this guy, but the initial chemistry has worn off and he's now on the downward, Seinfeld side of the slope where EVERYTHING is annoying her.  The poor guy doesn't stand a chance.  

"I realized the breaking point," she started to tell me, "was when we were driving in his car and I looked over and saw hair on the back of his neck.  You know when guys get their hair cut and they're supposed to get their neck shaved or whatever too?  Well he hadn't.  In a WHILE.  I couldn't stop looking at it."  

Apparently this is something that we've talked about before because her new brother in law confessed that the first time he met me, Digs and Spleen he overheard us talking about this very issue and how it was a NO NO.  I swear we weren't talking about him.  First of all, he's super clean cut.  But second of all, he's so damn tall I don't know that I've ever even seen his neck.  Anyway, I guess we gave him a complex and now it's something he's meticulous about.  (BreemastAH, if you're reading?  You're welcome.)

So this was usually around the time during Digs and my phone conversations that I would interject with some quippy little story about whatever guy I was currently crushing on and we'd giggle and call it a day.  BUT I HAD NOTHING.  The best I could scrounge up was the guy's ass at work that I check out whenever we're on our way to lunch ... or happy hour ... or a meeting and how occasionally he'll roll his shirt sleeves up and I check out his forearms too.

Necks?  Forearms?  Clothed asses?


I could tell Digs was waiting for more.  And TRUST me, I was searching for something, anything when she said "that's all ya got?"  

"DUDE!"  I yelled back.  "At least he doesn't have any neck hair, he shaves his head."  
We both paused.  
"Ok, yes.  I am now, officially, AT the bottom of the barrel," I finished.
"Nah.  You've got a boyfriend.  His name is Paris.  You're just spending all your time on that right now."

That's when I sat back and smiled.  My trip is less than 2 months away!  I got my first new pair of Europe shoes from Zappos in the mail today and the other two pair should be showing up tomorrow.  Guidebooks clutter every surface of my house and trip planning is in full swing.  I've been reading that Frenchmen are kind of pervy, ass grabby and women frequently get groped on the metro.  And Frenchies, to that I say ...

SSG is COUNTING on it!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Office

You see that chair and desk up there?  Positioned just so?  Financial calculator, pen and mysterious award for something "important" at the ready?  That's my boss' stuff.  He's on day #5 of his vacation. 

No biggie, right?  Just any other day at any other bland cube farm?  No, pumpkins, no.  Can you see the tip of that shoe in the lower left hand side of the photo?  That shoe tip is called "Trouble."  This desk isn't supposed to be there.  And that wall behind the desk?  Yeah, that isn't supposed to be there either.  

"Trouble" moved the desk OUT of our boss' office and INTO the aisle.  Then he DETACHED a wall from another cubicle and REATTACHED it to where my boss' door should be.

So when Bossman comes back, he's going to march straight to his cubicle prepared to get down to business.  Only he won't be able to get in.  

But DON'T worry.  

We left his nameplate on the desk so he'll know where to sit.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Weekend ABC's - F is for Feet & France

One of my favorite people in the world is Gam, my maternal grandmother.  She passed away just over a year ago at the age of 97 and I consider her one of the main reasons I have slightly more depth to me than a bird bath.  

Toward Gam's later years she became forgetful and copious note taking took over for her short term memory.  She'd sit, quietly listening to us when we came to visit, pencil moving quickly in order to document what time we arrived and what was new.  The big events were captured with her star rating system.  Phone calls received "a big star," where new jobs, marriages and pregnancies would get "three stars."  

It was probably one of the hardest things we had to witness--this crazy, energetic lady who went to Europe for the first time at age 76 and drove a stick shift VW Bug until she was 89--had lost her independence and the memories that went along with it.  Occasionally however, she returned to her old, insightful self.  Those moments became even more powerful.

Gam's cousin, Dorothy also led a full life; however, always leaned toward the ... let's just say downer side of the soiree and has expressed her disappointment with not being dead already since oh ... 1983.  One afternoon a few years ago Dorothy was complaining about ... anything, and Gam looked up from her pencil and paper and said simply: "Dorothy.  Make this day beautiful and then make  tomorrow beautiful and by the time you start looking back at your past you will remember only beauty."  

I had Gam in mind as I embarked upon my Summer 2008 To Do List (read more about that here).  After week #2, I must say that it is turning into exactly what I had hoped.  

This weekend Wade, K-Dog (who owns the doggy daycare that Fisher goes to) and I had plans to get mani/pedis and cross #9 off the list--painting my toe nails hot pink.  We were joined by two of Wade's good friends.  Let's see, we'll call them Flight Attendant and Motorcycle Diva.  There is something about being around a bunch of ladies (and you Wad-ay!), regardless of how well you know them, that simply says insta-party.  After a lemon drop before our pedis and a few more lemon drops and dude joined BBQ after our pedis, the stories were ROLLING.  SSG was also ROLLING.  From laughter.  And fullness.  I finally tore myself away SIX hours after my originally scheduled departure time.  Rick Springfield was playing loudly in the background and I sang "Jesse's Girl" all the way home.

Sunday I recuperated and started reading My Life in France by Julia Child, which, when I'm finished will satisfy #10 on my list.  I don't know much about Julia Child aside from the fact that my mom had her cookbook on a shelf in our San Diego kitchen.  I think Mastering the Art of French Cooking didn't get cracked from the time we moved in (1978) to the time she sold the house over 20 years later.   But I must say, after lounging around this afternoon and reading things such as: "Those early years in France were among the best of my life.  They marked a crucial period of transformation in which I found my true calling, experienced an awakening of the senses, and had such fun that I hardly stopped moving long enough to catch my breath," that I really like Julia.  I'd say she's pretty much down with what SSG has got going on this summer.  

Independence Day weekend, OPI's "Lucky in Love" on my toes and time spent eating and drinking with friends?  I think that qualifies as a beautiful weekend--the likes of which Julia and Gam would approve.  

With three big stars, of course.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where's SSG?

#9 on the Summer 2008 To Do List is done!   

Guess whose piggies belong to who! 
(Hint#1:  Wade's foot makes an appearance.)
(Hint #2:  My foot is the palest ... in skin AND nail color.  How on earth am I from San Diego?)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hapy Furt f Joolaye!

Gide 2 teh 4 f Joolaye
by Fisher

1)  Chayse teniz balz ... lotz f dem.
2)  Fynde wahter.
3)  Laye don n it.
4)  Reepete.

Haz a gud day humanz!

Teh Fish

P.S.  Yu haz treetz 4 me?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lemon Drops it Like It's Hot

(And we're back to the grainy cell phone images.  Sorry peeps!  Soon I will crack my little Cannon out of its box ... and learn how to use it.  Maybe.)

You might be surprised to know that this little lemonade has NO vodka in it!  I know!  I think that officially makes any concern over me being an alcoholic null and void, don't you?  Me too.

So to put it lightly, I love all things lemon--lemon drops, lemon cake, lemon candy, lemon trees.  I'm like the lemon version of Bubba Gump Shrimp.  So I should LOVE lemonade, right?  Wrong. 


My problem with lemonade isn't the concept--lemon juice and sugar?  Why we're just one ingredient and sugar rimmed martini glass shy of heaven!  My problem is that it's always too ... what's that word again?  Oh yeah, BLAH.  There's just never enough lemony-ness for me.  Or it's some concoction with a cute name like "Country Time," but then you mix it and it tastes more like "Chemical Time."  

That is, until now.

Confession:  I tried to make some lemonade this weekend in order to cross off #13 on my Summer To Do List.  I used a popular recipe from Allrecipies.  It was GREAT.  Or totally WOULD HAVE BEEN if, when squeezing the LAST lemon, my hand didn't slip, sending carefully measured lemon juice flying across my kitchen and all over the cabinets.  

Haaaaaaaaate!  Cuuuuuurse!  Stooooomp!  Scruuuuuub!  Haaaaaaaaate!

To say I didn't want to squeeze another lemon would be ... well a nicer way of saying, DIE mother F-ING lemons DIE!  

It was precisely this anger that lead me to try a Real Simple recipe (and why yes indeed, it WAS simple, thank you RS!).  Not only did it register a ZERO on the scale for potential cabinet drenching, it didn't even require any lemon peeling or waiting for a simple syrup to cool.   It basically said "put that shit in a blender and go fix yourself a cocktail."  (I may be paraphrasing.)

When I poured myself an ... ahem ... large glass of lemonade (and then another), I realized what had been lacking in my lemonade prior to this recipe and what made me like lemon drops so much.  Well, first of all, the vodka.  Duh.  But when bartenders make lemon drops, they muddle the whole lemon with ice and sugar.  You're not only tasting the juice, but the zest as well.  And if the Food Network has taught us NOTHING, it has taught us that the ZEST is where the party's at.  

If that pitcher up there is any indication?  Hi, my name is SSG and I'm ... a lemon-ADE-aholic.  

"Hi SSG!"

(SSG falls into a diabetic coma.)

Real Simple's Old-Fashioned Lemonade

In a blender (I used my food processor) combine 3 large lemons (washed, unpeeled and cut into eighths), 1 & 1/2 cups of sugar, and one cup of water.  Process until coarsely chopped.  Strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher or other large container.  Add 6 to 7 cups of water to taste, stir and serve in glasses over ice cubes. 

Savor summer.

When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play ... On the Catwalk

  • Setting:  Work, day #1 of boss' vacation.
  • The Plan:  A group of financial analysts (all men) decide to test their modeling skills by balancing accounting books on their heads and walking down a row of cubicles.  
  • The Judges:  SSG and the only other girl in the office at the time.  
  • SSG's Hesitation:  She wasn't given enough notice to make numerical signs to rate them.
  • SSG's co-workers reaction:  "Too fucking bad, move it."
  • Music Selection (sung by the contestants and judges):  I'm Too Sexy & Rupaul's Supermodel (You Better Work) 
  • The Contestant's Aim:  Poise and balance.
  • The Result:  "I'm constipated" or "Stroke Victim."
  • The Outcome:  Closeted coworker took it for the guys (shocker).  

Next up:  the judges.

  • SSG & Girl #2 were in a tight race.  They walked the cube rows with confidence and surprising balance given the fact that they huddle over corporate balance sheets all day.  They showed no signs of stopping and quite possibly could have wasted another half hour filing their nails and mixing martinis while yawning and cruising around the office with books on their heads.

And at that fateful moment, SSG decided it was go time.

At the end of the runway, SSG decided to kick it up a notch and do a twirl, with a dash of jazz hands in an effort to throw off her opponent and win the judges' hearts.  And that's when, in slow motion, it happened.

The book started to slide.  SSG's face started to warp into bulging eyes that locked with her coworkers/judges who were mouthing "nooooooo!"  But it was too late.  The kick ball change that she attempted to right the book, instead catapulted Principals of Financial Accounting right into a cube wall, the same cube wall with a taco grease stain from the Christmas garland made for a vacationing coworker out of old taco shells bearing the message "Feliz Navidad."

It was over.

Girl #2 was awarded the title.  And as she and Closeted Coworker stood, taking their bows to rounds of applause, one of the judges leaned over to SSG and said "it could have been yours, but the flare cost you."

Please, let that be a lesson to you all.

Your Defeated SSG

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

All Things Considered

One of the guys that I work with is running in Oregon's Hood to Coast this summer.  The Hood to Coast is an annual race, sponsored by Nike. 

(Side note:  Did you know Nike is headquartered just outside of Portland in the lovely little suburb with a terrible name--Beaverton?  That's not what the sign says as you enter Beaverton, but SSG thinks it should.  Either that or "Don't Hold Our Name Against Us."  And did you also know the guy that started Nike, Phil (thank you "anonymous!") Knight, used to be a track coach at University of Oregon?  The only way SSG knew that is she had a mad crush on Jared Leto and watched the movie Prefontaine.  Now if Ben Affleck & Matt Damon could just make a movie about Lewis & Clark, she can knock that off her "Things About Oregon I'm Supposed to Know, But Don't" list.)

And um, so where was I again?

Oh yeah ...

So this race starts out at Mt. Hood and ends up in Seaside.  And for those of you not located in Oregon?  That's 197 miles.  Let's take a moment to properly process this information.


(Lewis & Clark didn't even do that.  I don't think ... Ben?  Matt?)

Teams run this race--anywhere from 8 - 12 people--truck through Oregon in 3 - 7 mile "legs" (read: "just go ahead and kill me nows") until the finish line.  In an effort to kick the lazies to the curb, each team member has to run at least three just go ahead and kill me nows.

SSG remembers vaguely hearing about this "race" (read:  modern day torture vehicle) but thought it was some kind of urban outdoorsy person's legend.  That is, until she met a real live person who is not only running in this modern day torture vehicle but is "excited" (read:  insane) to do so.  SSG learned about this during happy hour last night and had A LOT of questions.  First and foremost:


And next:

You're sure it's not a car race?

And because she respects her coworker and wants to learn about his interests, she decided to ask more questions.  This is what he told her, and SSG is sorry.  She doesn't understand any of it:

  • People VOLUNTEER to do this.  They're NOT being punished for anything.
  • Not only do people volunteer, they PAY.  Like with money.  And blood.  And sweat.  And tears.  And, oh yeah, PAIN.  (But just the money goes to The American Cancer Society.)
  • The race is run in AUGUST.  Like, the hottest month of the year.  SSG is just waiting for Nike to say "Next year, we run Death Valley!"  
  • The modern day torture vehicle has SOLD OUT on Opening Day for the last 17 years.  SSG is wondering if people were confused thinking Opening Day was the start of baseball season?
  • Because you're a "team" (read: group o' crazy) you stay together throughout the race.  If you're not running, you're in a van driving until your leg.  SSG wants to know if the "van" is a Four Seasons sponsored traveling spa?
  • You hardly sleep for 2 days.  At this point SSG was worried that her coworker had been brainwashed and wondered if she should stage an intervention.  But then, there was light at the end of the tunnel ... the 197 mile long torture tunnel.
  • There is a HUGE beach party at the end of the race.  
So taking all things into consideration, SSG put together a "How to Survive the Hood to Coast" primer.

1)  Donate money to the American Cancer Society by clicking here.
2)  The party is on August 23rd.  Driving instructions can be found here.