Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Time Is Here

Well hello there internets! It's your long lost pal Peg, taking a moment away from her long winter's nap to wish you Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, and/or Happy We-Survived-the-Mayan-Apocalypse! Of course, in my MBLF* world, there's no better way to do that than through music.

Omni Carolers circa 1997
And yes, internets, I know what I'm talking about with Christmas music. I spent 14 years in a professional caroling group (complete with Dickensian costume and Cockney accent), directing the group for nearly half that time. I'm kind of a carol snob. Wailing divas or cutesy pop pablum don't tend to make me happy in general, and they're downright maddening to me at Christmas.

As you'd expect, this playlist is pretty diverse. Swing, ska, folk, rock, Celtic all figure prominently, evoking emotions that range just as widely—joyful, jubilant, wistful, mischievous, reverent. (And of course there are a few cartoons represented, because Christmas without Muppets or Whos is unconscionable.)

Some are chosen for novelty, because I can't resist a musician who successfully ventures outside their usual genre. Some have meaningful lyrics, some remind me of childhood, and some are simply beautiful for their stark simplicity or lush harmonies.

Note that the first track is distinctly NSFW. Please avoid it if you have delicate sensibilities!  It's from the South Park Christmas episode Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics. It just makes me giggle, but for many it's beyond irreverent and downright offensive.

So with that, internets, I wish you all things merry and bright, and more love than you can handle so that you have plenty to share. The world needs more of that, but especially at Christmas.

Christmas Collage by Square Peg on Grooveshark
* Music-based life form

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Is Halloween

Today's post will be blessedly brief, internets, for I am about to undertake some Halloweening. However, I cannot let today go without an MBLF* post. I do love everything about the holiday (candy! skulls! dress up! witches! bats! etc!), and the music is a big part of my joy (fits in with my stealth Elder Goth status).

So allow me to share with you my seasonal playlist (that, to be fair, gets played pretty frequently all year long). I didn't include the Monster Mash-y, kitschy stuff, instead opting for a sprinkling of Jonathan Coulton when some nerd flavor is required. Some of the tunes don't reference Halloween-type topics, but have a spooky feel to them, and there's plenty of old school Goth for good measure. It's currently 77 songs long, so you should be able to find more than a few bits of choonage to your liking.

Go forth! Listen! Enjoy, and Happy Halloween, internets!

Dead Man's Party by Square Peg on Grooveshark

* Music-based Life Form

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Study in Pink*

I can't say that I've never been a fan of the color pink. When I was really small, I was a very girlie girl. But once I discovered Wonder Woman, all that pretty princess stuff more or less dissolved in my world. I soon developed a loathing for pink**. By the time I was 13, it made me psychotically angry, mainly because of the behaviors associated with it—girls dumbing themselves down and acting cutesy so boys would like them, that kind of rot. It seemed childish at best, and even at that tender age I sensed the inherent emotional damage that Egregious Pinkness could cause. (And now that's got me wanting to listen to British symthpop...)

Flash forward to 2009; I turned 40 and my boob tried to kill me. While I'm grateful my type of cancer was imminently curable, I have to laugh and roll my eyes at Fate's sense of humor. I'm forever saddled with The Dreaded Pinkness.

And now we're midway through October and it's a little bittersweet. See, it's my favorite month for many reasons. Autumn is my favorite season—I love to see the world in transition. It's ablaze with color, and you feel the earth actively preparing to slumber and recover, encouraging us to do the same. It always makes me homesick, though, as Texas autumn is nothing like Michigan autumn. It's not bad. It's just not as evocative for me. Of course, I also love Halloween. It's an eldritch time of year, and this makes my inner Goth girlie squeeble in a very un-Goth-like fashion.

Of course, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Damn you, pink! You've invaded my reds, golds, and russets with your... pinky pinkness. Gah!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No More Words

I originally posted this a few years ago on Live Journal, and thought that a slightly repurposed version might fit well here. Especially in today's divisive climate—one where, sadly, discourse has gone by the wayside (a pithy post for another day, methinks)—it's critical to consider what's beyond the words... both for good and for ill.

Words are important to me; I write for a living. Not fun stuff (at least, not usually), but nonetheless, I write. And since I was three, I have been an avid reader. Books were my first—and sometimes truest—friends. Words opened up worlds to me, providing solace, inspiration, and wisdom. Words are how we express, how we communicate, and (ideally) how we find common ground.

Words have power. They can uplift or destroy.

I understand on an emotional level that certain words are so charged, so volatile as to be rendered unacceptable.

Part of me wonders why we punish the word itself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thoughtbytes - Take 2

As you may recall, I recently had some technical issues withthis blog. Subsequently, “Rewrite blog post” has been on my To Do list every day since then. Since the Unfortunate Event occurred a week ago, clearly this task has become problematic.

Actually, it’s not the task; it’s my brain. (Stupid Brain Weasels*!)

See, I realized that I’m actually resentful of the site for eating my post. And because I’m Quite Contrary, withholding my bloggy goodness is apparently how this resentment manifests. (Let’s not get into the ridiculousness of resenting an inanimate object, OK? I know it’s silly, but there are my FEELS we’re talking about, internets; they’re not rational by definition.)

So, in the spirit of getting back on the blogging horse (yeesh, mixed metaphors much?), here’s my attempt to recreate last week’s thoughtbyte post.

·         How does a thing called a Burnt Ends Sandwich have any right to taste that good? I mean, the words “burnt” and “ends” together are the sole descriptors of said sandwich. How could that possibly be tasty? But clearly it was… ohhhh, Gates BBQ, I love you so.

·         This love of Gates is yet one more indicator that I am not a Texan, even though I’ve spent more than 30 years here. Texas BBQ? Blech. Too sweet. Give me tangy, vinegary sauce every time.

·         It is, in fact, possible to be funnel caked into submission when you don’t even purchase a funnel cake. Just add 3 friends who each needs her Very Own Funnel Cake, and the willingness to help out when they each in turn admit they can’t finish on their own. (What can I say? I’m a giver!)

·         Apparently, the answer to the question, “Do I really need a third sugar skull t-shirt?” is a resounding “YES!” when said skull is covered in glitter. On a related note, *GLITTER BOMB!* (Sorry, Julian…)

·         Speaking of sugar skulls (like ya do), the group I sing with has been invited to sing for some talented, tap dancing kids at their Halloween show. To look appropriately spooky, we decided on sugar skull make up. I not only get to wear sugar skulls, I get to BE a sugar skull! This makes my not-so-inner Goth girly do some very un-Goth-like squeebling.

·         We’re also learning Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.” Because the Diva knows/loves me, she asked me to sing lead. This led to me squeebling some more. (I know, I know… I love Gothy oontz-oontz stuff, but I also have huge love in my heart for 60s psychedelia. I’m a conundrum.)

Seriously Cthulhu-esque. innit?
·     Went to the Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum. It was a lovely event for a friend's milestone birthday. (On Thursdays they do live music on the lawn; that evening featured Big Band tunes.) Some of the glass was lovely, but far too much seemed Lovecraft-inspired. I kept expecting to see an eyeball looking at me, right before it came to life and gobbled humanity whole. 

Me & my Mom-Away-From-Mom
at the Arboretum
      I did, however, manage to use the Big Band theme to try out my Rosie the Riveter look. (Hey, it was humid and I have really sad flat hair on a good day, so it was more of a practical decision than anything... though I will acknowledge my obvious love of playing period dress up games...)

·         While it’s somewhat reasonable to expect to hear the intro to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” on a bagpipe when one is at an Irish music festival, beer can, in fact, make you doubt that what you’re hearing is actually happening. And when the piper deftly launches into the hook from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and then segues into “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” beer can make you think you might be having a small stroke (at least until a compadre confirms what is going on). For the record, all of this sounded awesome even to people not drinking beer. That was one talented piper.

·         Beer also turns burly guys into Woo Girls. (Adding beer on top of a funnel cake sugar high might also facilitate this transition.) This is, as one would imagine, a veritably fountain of comedy  gold.

I’m sure there’s a thoughtbyte or two missing, but this is what I can remember. I have done my duty by posting. And hey—it got me over being angry at a Web site.


* Sometimes you hear people describe unhealthy, obsessive mental behavior with the “hamster in a wheel” metaphor. My brain is, apparently, an overachiever; it replaced hamsters with weasels. They’re more ferocious and a lot less cute than hamsters and when they run rampant it’s really not pretty.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Technical Difficulties

Frustrated Peg is frustrated, internets. I had a post ready to go yesterday (yes, I even hit "Save" a couple of times), but my Web Fu was defeated by... well, I don't know what. Random vagaries of post-eating Internet goblins, perhaps?

The only things saved were the blog post title - utterly unhelpful when said blog post is of the Random Thoughtbytes variety - and the tags. The pithy post apparently touched on obscure music references, Goth, random Peg factoids, 80s pop culture, wardrobe issues, alter egos, and fun with makeup. It wasn't the Bestest Bloggy Post EVAR, but I managed to eke out time to write it and then it was eaten by gremlins and now that I'm thinking about it again peeved Peg is peeved!

... and apparently in need of some woosah therapy a la Bad Boys 2.

So I will leave you lot to ponder the possible contents of The Post That Might Have Been as I woosah and contemplate trying to recreate it. I realize this is approaching folly-esque territory since it was a post based on random Aquarian mental gymnastics (yes, my brain is sort of Cirque du Soleil territory), but at this point it's sort of personal.

I find myself stubbornly unwilling to let the Internet gremlins win, you see. I might even have to write a strongly worded message out of principle.

Ah, the things we do to keep the Brain Weasels at bay...

Be well, you lot, and fear not. Your pal Peg plans posting pronto!

Holy egregious alliteration! I'mma go now....

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome to My Life, Tattoo*

I'm not saying it's a fact, internets, but it's possible I have a tattoo problem.


I know of several reputable, talented artists, so fortunately quality is not a problem. And I have a rule (more of a guideline, really) that no ink shall become part of me until I've considered it for a year. If, after that time, it seems like a good idea, then it's a go.

After all, I'm choosing to literally make the image a part of myself. To me, I'm invoking a specific kind of energy or trait—a very symbolic process. A pretty image isn't enough. It has to be meaningful. Of course, that's just my standard for myself. I'm all about the Underpants Rule. If your ideas are different, good on ya. Be the boss of your own underpants. That's just what I need to be happy with my tattoo-related choices.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making Magic*

I've been a little haunted by/obsessed with this image lately:

Something about this resonates very strongly with where I am right now in life. Admittedly, the last few years haven't so much shoved me out of my comfort zone as made my comfort zone not all that comfortable—what with the Boobonic Plague and breasty dumplings trying to kill me, followed by a betrayal and break-up of a serious, long-term relationship and all. (Yes, said break-up was absolutely, definitively for the best, but the suddenness and stress, combined with the moving-all-my-stuff-out made for a frantic time in my life.) On the plus side, I didn't have time or energy to be traumatized by turning 40. Not that I'd recommend this particular distraction strategy, but I generally like lemonade more than lemons so there you have it.

Last year, I finally started to feel like myself again. I'd been slowly reawakening to myself, finding sass and spunk where before there was mostly exhaustion. While I was shocked that it took two years to feel like I was getting free from the drama of such major life upheavals, the relief overshadowed the shock.

This year, though, I'm feeling a little more "Now what?" It's the inevitable question when that image comes to mind (which happens more and more frequently lately). 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Got a VBA!

Yes, that's a good thing. It doesn't require shots (unless you're counting celebratory alcohol-filled ones) or anything. It's the Versatile Blogger Award, and I'm ever so grateful to Bill at The Whims of Fairness for the nomination, because he's top notch. If you don't already do so, you should check out his work. It will make you laugh, and think, and maybe even want to punch a goat (possibly all at the same time). But you'll be glad you did, so there's that.

Upon receipt of my VBA, I apparently have several responsibilities, including:
  • Thanking the person who gave me the award (Done!)
  • Posting a link to their blog (Done! Look at me go!)
  • Selecting/nominating 15 other blogs
  • Telling the person who nominated me 7 things about myself

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Habit of Mind

I’m pretty sure it’s my refrigerator’s fault that I don’t have better eating habits.

Sure, I’m a little persnickety about the kinds of vegetables I’ll eat, but a short list is better than none at all, right? It’s not like I don’t choose a salad for a meal at least once or twice a week. I just can’t quite manage it when I’m at home and the blame is exclusively on my ‘fridge.

I do buy fresh veggies, you see. I’ll pick out some lovely, crisp green beans with every intention of lightly sautéing them with some butter-flavored cooking spray, a lot of garlic, and some slivered almonds. Or I’ll get broccoli so I can steam it just so – tender, but not soggy or limp – in my rice cooker. I’ll even buy salad fixins in an attempt to approximate some of my favorites (the Savannah Chopped Salad from McAlister’s comes to mind: greens, grilled chicken breast, dried cranberries, cucumbers, sliced almonds, bleu cheese, evil death berries tomatoes [for folks that – unlike me – will ingest them in their larval stage], topped with a tasty, tangy shallot vinaigrette). Barring that, some grilled shrimp, chicken, or salmon atop a simple Caesar salad will do (but only if there’s plenty of parmesan cheese, of course).

Why is it, then, with such delicious plans at the ready do I end up throwing out noxious brown, dripping science experiments a week later?


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hats Off*

I never would have thought of myself as A Hat Person, but I would have been wrong.

See, my friend B has lovely, sleek hair that holds curls and waves in a way that makes me more than a little jealous. Lamenting how my sad, flat, baby-fine hair makes it tricky to go work out and then go somewhere—yes, I am a sweater (no, I don't mean a knit top/jumper; I am merely a lover of sweaters)—because I can't just wash-and-go. Well, I could, but it's largely inadvisable. (Rather like that next-to-last sentence. I've been told I write like I talk; it's a feature.)

Trust me on this. The amount of work it takes just to keep my tresses from pulling a Marcia is kind of astounding.


B cocked her head to the side, blue eyes beaming at me as if I'd lost the rest of what passes for my mind, and delivered a mild reprimand wrapped in advice: "You have the Hat Gene, sistah. USE IT!"

Oh. Well all righty then.

With that, I embraced being A Hat Person.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Tick Was Right!

"An object at rest cannot be stopped!"
The aforementioned Bomber
Things I learned from The Tick... or, more accurately, a character on the Fox animated series (the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight, for those of you keeping track).

Though this isn't the first time I've found wisdom on network television (don't judge!), it's a hilariously uncomfortable thought.

Sure, my spring performing schedule and subsequent lack of weekends thew my blogging for a loop. So why is it that we're almost to August—when did that happen?!—and I'm still finding myself without a groove?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Because I know really talented people... and greedily want some swag...

I am so excited about The Blood Keeper... I told my friend Tessa (the author) that I had a crush on her first book, and that's not even hyperbole. So when Miss Natalie put out this contest to get ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), well... had to jump on it. I mean, there's blood. And magic. What's not to love? *le swoon*

And THEN I saw the cover:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Road to Acceptance

I'm in an introspective headspace lately, internets, so my bloggyposts will probably reflect that. But who knows—I might rebel soon (imagine that!) and boomerang back to inanity (face it—it's just a matter of time).

In my more worn out and reflective state of mind—and seriously, self, what is up with the having to get exhausted before you will tune in and pay attention to what's going on? Other than, ya know, the obvious distraction technique and other such nonsense—I've discovered yet one more counterproductive thing I do.* When get to feeling as I have been lately, instead of just acknowledging the mental or physical fatigue, honoring it, working through it, and such, I get a little embarrassed and angry.

What. the. HELL.

Nothing like kicking yourself when you're down, right? 'Cuz that's all helpful and stuff.


I don't know if it's my brain needing some kind of justification for the tired—which is a distinct possibility, given how I take after my perfectionist father (who also lays claim to a Protestant Work Ethic despite being a cradle Catholic)—or guilt of some kind (see previous comment re: being raised Catholic). Could be a little from column A and little from column B, I suppose.

Now that I'm pondering it (by way of vomiting words onto a pixelated page), it might be yet another way to distance myself from the actual emotion of a thing by intellectualizing it. (Those of you who know me IRL can quit smashing your respective foreheads into your desks and/or guffawing now, thanks.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Malaise doesn't go on sandwiches

There's some malaise happening in my world these days, internets. (It sounds like a condiment for moody people, doesn't it? Then that makes me wonder what ennui would taste like, only I realize I don't care...)


I'm re-realizing how much time and energy the business of living life takes. (This became terrifyingly clear to me during radiation for my Boobonic Plague... some days, just managing to brush my teeth and get dressed was a major victory.) It's kind of stunning if you think about it, really. I mean, even on the days I plan to be lazy (yes, I'm just Type-A enough to schedule such things—don't judge!), I still need to eat, which means if my budget doesn't allow delivery that there will be cooking, which equates to dishes to do. Then there's getting the mail, or getting dressed, or a million other things that don't seem like much until you stop and count them. And that's not even taking work and related tasks into account.

Grocery shopping. Scrubbing the toilet. Taking out the trash. (I would say dusting but dust is considered a protective covering at my house so... yeah.) Mail. Laundry. Yard work. These are things that have to get done no matter what state of mind or health one is in. I don't even want to add up how much time that takes the average person, because I already know it's significant.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

F*@kin' Perfect

Once upon a time, there was a girl who thought she needed to be perfect. Her father was quite the perfectionist, you see, and she adored him so clearly she should attempt to be perfect, too.

While she grew up to be smart and have a few talents, she also worked very hard to Make Everything Right. She did so not only because she wanted to make her father happy, but because she thought that if she was clever enough to see around corners, thinking everything through thoroughly, then she could troubleshoot where things go wrong and head them off at the pass. And if she never made any mistakes, then she'd never have to hurt.

As you can imagine, things did not go as planned.

Years later, in a moment of pique and pain, she poured her guts out in an online journal format. A girl she sort of knew saw this post, and said something like this:
"Wow! You always seemed so together, and you totally intimidated me. Now I see you're more like me than I ever imagined. I can totally relate to you now that I know you're not perfect!"
And thus, a wonderful friendship was born.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feel Good, Inc.

Last week found me ruminating over a random list of Good Things. No surprise that music figured prominently into the equation; it's part of the privilege and birthright of a music-based life form (MBLF).

Since this week has consisted largely of workday fire drills (in the metaphorical sense, of course), this week's post will be brief, but chock full of music-y goodness. You see, internets, I'm sharing with you my instant good mood playlist.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good Thing*

I firmly believe that as our predominant thoughts and attitudes go, so go our lives—or at least our perception of our lives. And since we’re the ones living them, our perceptions about them are what count, right? I mean, you can’t choose what you feel, but you can absolutely control what you do about what you feel. That’s why I frequently make myself stop and take stock of what in my life is good (though, internets, I confess that it’s sometimes more of a List of Things That Dont Suck than a List of Happy Making Things because while the contents are the same, my state of mind can only encompass non-suckage instead of embracing what is good).

I’m far from a Pollyanna personality, internets, and I’ve already shared my thoughts on dealing with the Bad Stuff That Befalls Us (known as the The Only Way Through It Is Through It axiom). There is often value, though, in forcibly stopping The Wallowing (or its less intense cousin The Whinging) and actively seeking out Things That Are Good Right Now.
I’m not in particularly dark state of mind at present—and hooray for that!—but in the spirit of preparedness, I’m putting together my list so I can save myself some effort later. (After all, in dark times it makes sense to conserve one’s energy, am I right?) And if anyone out there needs inspiration to undertake just such an exercise for themselves… well, I’m a giver. May you soon find yourself out of the Smelly Gym Socks funk and back in the George Clinton and Parliament funk soonest.

With that, here's today's list:
  • A faire patron recently told me I reminded her of comedic actress Kathy Najimy. While this is cool, just being able to make someone laugh is a wonderful, powerfully healing thing for all involved.
  • Got a text today from Paleo Jo saying she was looking up “awesome” in the dictionary and there I was. What a great way to start out a day (especially when the compliment is from someone you love/respect a lot).
  • I am fortunate enough to have many friends who randomly send love my way, whether I need it or not. I believe that to have a good friend you must first be a good friend. Apparently I don’t suck at this, because I am awash in kind, loving, and incredibly wacky people.
  • While Spring in Texas only lasts about 2 weeks before we start the descent from Oh-My-Heavens-It’s-a-Tad-Warmish into I’m-About-to-Burst-Into-Flames-Why-Oh-Why-Lord-Won’t-You-Smite-Me-With-an-Iceberg, it’s quite lovely. Fields of bluebonnets never fail to bliss me out, and lunches and/or happy hours on the patio provide many of life’s simple pleasures – food, drink, friends, balmy temperatures and slight breezes – all in one. This is somewhat mitigated by the constant threat of tornados, but that just adds a soupçon of danger to the mix – delicious danger.
  • Spotify. I love it. I never quite got around to setting up stations on Pandora so I can’t say Spotify is better or worse than, but I enjoy the ability to peruse friends’ playlists or find other tracks from artists to see if I like their repertoire or if it’s just that one song. For MBLF’s, there’s little better than this. I’m currently grooving on the Hipster International playlist. I don’t know the person who built it, but I’m glad they did. It’s keeping me energized and motivated without distracting me from tasks at hand.
  • Hooray for cheese. So grateful I’m not lactose intolerant. From the bitiest bleu to the smokiest gouda, from asiago to manchego to extra-sharp cheddar… cheese is good food. You’d think I was from Wisconsin and not a Michigander. Lordy be, I loves me some cheese. (Yes, it really is about the simple pleasures some days, internets.)
  • I have three wonderful mothers. There’s the Mom Who Made Me, the Mom Who Raised Me, and my Mom Away from Mom. It’s the Mom trifecta. I win!
  • While I have some issues with my body, it’s still pretty great. It lets me see, feel, taste, and hear things. It has put up with neglect from me and continued to function. It lets me experience the world.

I could go on, but this smattering is enough to remind me of the embarrassing wealth of good things in my world. Of course, some days it’s all about where you set the bar, so when life is in Supreme Suckage mode you may have to start with “I’m not actually on fire right now,” but 1) that’s a very good thing; and B) it gives you a solid base on which to build.
So, internets, what’s on your list?

* Yes, internets, it's a two-fer title that is both a description of the post's contents and a hit single from Fine Young Cannibals' 1988 album "The Raw and the Cooked." And really, I only had to Google it to double-check the year...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Post a la Thoughtbyte

OK, internets, you caught me. While I know it doesn't seem like a lot of planning goes into my random, rambly posts, it actually takes me a bit of effort to decide what to commit to... er, pixels and share with you all.

Today, I confess, I am bumfuzzled. I have no theme in mind. I have... thoughtbytes. So today's post will be a list of items that are worth mentioning, even if they don't necessary deserve to devolve into their own dedicated posts (and I'm not just saying that because I've already missed my self-imposed blog posting deadline for this week).
  • As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I am fortunate enough to have a lot of awesome friends. I mean several brazillion. Problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day for me to tell/show them how awesome I think they are. Plus, I don't get to spend nearly enough time basking in our mutual awesomeness. That's a crime, I tell ya. I should find a way to be a Professional Good Friend. That would solve lots of issues (except the one where I love people—a lot [not to be confused with ALOT]—but need corresponding amounts of alone time in my own brain to recharge from all the social butterflying).
  • Even my acquaintances are awesome. Saw once such person at faire this weekend. I offhandedly mentioned my lack of drink aloud, more as a note-to-self thing than out of any expectation for anyone to do anything about my dry mug... when voilá! she gifts me with a wee bottle of Crown Royal. Some days, it really doesn't suck to be me.
  • It's no secret (and no surprise) that I love shows like SupernaturalThe Vampire Diaries, and Buffy/Angel. I've always had a thing for supernatural characters/ storylines, and the whole bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold trope did it for me before I knew what "it" was (helloooooo Han Solo)! But when tasty edgy, dark-yet-undeniably-good characters start to go down irreparably dark paths, I find them even more hot. I have ISSUES. And don't get me started on Tim Curry in Legend... WOOF! (We'll just file this under Not Exactly News, But Thanks for Sharing...)
  •  I think I like chocolate chip cookie dough more than chocolate chip cookies—unless they're fresh-from-the oven; that trumps everything. Doubletree cookies are the exception. I like the cookie form better, but ONLY when they're still warm from the oven. (Several brazillion years ago, I used to work there and one of the cooks had a crush on me, so I got notified when there were "extra" fresh cookies I could swipe. Only the head chef was a cranky sort who threw pots & pans at hapless desk clerks, so it was a risk/reward decision every time...)

    This week I had the urge to make chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not overly interested in eating them. I know, I know... raw dough, unhealthy, salmonella... blah, blah, blah. It's still DELICIOUS! (The possibility of death only heightens the tastiness.) Also, thanks to my friend KC-C we know that a tube of frozen chocolate chunk cookie dough is a hangover remedy. I'm not even kidding, internets.
  • Easter is way more entertaining when you have little ones about. (Not having my own little ones, I had guessed this but didn't have actual proof until last weekend.) Helping play Easter Bunny to a couple of adorable blond girls was definitely a highlight of the weekend. It's also dangerous for my budget. I already abuse the But It's So CUTE! defense way too much as it is (both for myself and those I love).
  • I sometimes get held prisoner by my personal space bubble; I occasionally get dumb and forget that I can reach out and touch/hug people I love, and don't have to wait for them to initiate physical affection. Having kiddos around means that I can ask for hugs with impunity and not only will I get them, but said kiddos will run full tilt to deliver the hug. Seriously—watching them fling their entire tiny bodies into the act of getting to the hug as soon as possible is amazing, humbling, and inspiring. It's a flavor of wonderful I plan to indulge in for as long as I'm allowed.
So there you have it... a random grab bag o' things that occurred to me this week, presented in a sort of blog post mash-up form. And having typed the words "mash-up," I now really want mashed potatoes. Apparently I'm highly suggestible...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Being Fictional Is Hard Work

Oh beloved internets, I have fallen victim to the age old Having Too Much Life issue. My apologies for letting it keep me from you! Though I find that my busy brain is nearly always full of idle chatter and many thinky-thoughts, when it comes to choosing ones to commit to the pixelated page I'm often blocked. *le sigh*

And while I love springtime in Texas (despite the trees having sex in my nose, making breathing a somewhat more difficult proposition—stupid allergies!), it is far and away the busiest, craziest time of the year in my world (making ideating and blogging said ideas harder, too). The local Renaissance festival opens this weekend, you see, and the a cappella ensemble I sing with performs there. Yes, internets; I am in my early 40s and I still play dress up. Don't hate. (Seriously, it's all about the music for me. There is no better therapy than making music with some of the people most dear to me, and getting to act silly before and after the harmonizing. Trust me on this.)

What this means in practical terms is that I don't have a day off until June (though I'd be fibbing, internets, if I led you to believe that I didn't have a stockpile of vacation days waiting for that inevitable mid-season ye-gods-I-need-to-sleep-in-past-6-or-I-may-kick-a-kitten moment). And while I'm no longer part of the cast—which means 8 weekends of all-day rehearsals before an 8 weekend run—there's still quite a bit of prep work to be done.

See, we don't just sing. We are have characters. There's a story line behind our group, and the characters drive the banter between the songs. We are the village Tart Sellers, you see. Only the owner (the director's IRL mother) doesn't know that when we deliver tarts, we deliver tarts (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more). But no worries—our shows are kid-friendly; we describe ourselves as "Disney porn." We're so silly and fluffy there's no way we could be offensive. See?

The fluffy look, though, requires some effort... and a lot of luggage. I wish I were kidding, internets. That high-maintenance fictional Tart practically needs her own valet. It's ridiculous.

As proof I present Exhibit A—packed for a visit to the Texas Renaissance Festival:

(The red bag doesn't count - it's just pillows that make hotels more bearable.)

My stuff? In the duffel bag on the right; note that it also contains toiletries. The twice-as-large rolling suitcase on the right? Merely costume for a person that isn't real. (We share the silver makeup case, though admittedly most of the outrageous color palette inside it was bought with her in mind.)

My father once said that I work harder at my hobbies than most people do at their jobs. I don't know if that's true, but I wouldn't be surprised. As much as I enjoy what I do during the season, I'm kind of looking forward to the first week of June.

I know how much energy and effort goes into this labor of love, you see; I took the week post-festival off. When my co-workers asked, "What are you going to do?" I answered in all honesty (and with a small sigh of relief), "Not a damn thing."

So here's to my 8th season with some of my favorite people, doing what I love best. Maybe I'll find a valet this year...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Love a Parade

St. Paddy's Day in Dallas is quite the event, internets, and this humble blogger is proud to announce that she survived the celebration unscathed. That marathon of a day took no small amount of planning (and liberal, regular applications of bar food) to successfully achieve, however. Totally tactical—that's me!

My sister was able to join the festivities, experiencing the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade for the first time (thank you, Mark Cuban!). It was a special treat for your truly, as her erstwhile work schedule meant we never had the same weekends off. Her new, regular-weekends-off job means more opportunities for malfeasance good, clean fun (hi, Mom!).
 (Here's we are bright and early - the "Before" shot, if you will. No "Afters" were taken. Stop asking.)

As with all the fun drinking holidays, you don't have to be the appropriate nationality to celebrate, but those of us who are get to feel a little smug so there's that. (As my birth mother helpfully pointed out, I'm a mutt... but being Cajun, German, and Black Irish means I have rights to all the best drinking holidays: Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest, and St. Paddy's!)

We started off with the aforementioned parade, getting there ridiculously early to ensure a parking space and prime parade viewing. However, I erred in thinking that the new crackdowns would disallow camp chairs. That would have made the 2 1/2 hour wait a lot easier to take. Hindsight and all that. Meh. But there was some excellent people watching.

A few observations:
  • For an Irish holiday, Irish beer was not the norm. I saw way too many illicit cans of Bud and/or Miller light pass by. (The natural follow up, then, becomes, "How the hell do these amateurs get that pasted on light beer?!?") Guinness was in short supply. Come on, Dallas. Is image really that important? Chance the calories. Live a little.
  • While I appreciate folks that get into the spirit of celebration, the guy in the lederhosen had me bumfuzzled. Beer-based holidays (and the corresponding nationalities) are not interchangeable, mein herr!
  • Being a follower apparently means that when your drunk-ass friend decides to climb a tree for a better view, your equally-drunk-ass self is required to do it, too. Those of us too smart to look up and watch the shenanigans will still, however, end up with bits of bark in our eyes (not that I'm still bitter).
  • For special occasions, a theme song frequently surfaces. Such things cannot be coerced, though; they occur naturally. This parade was sexy and it knew it. At least a dozen times.
  • In a crowd of 100,000 spread over almost 3 miles of city streets, I will still manage to see someone I know.
  • This isn't news, but I'm not a nice person. I'm a good person; these are not the same thing. The crowds made me 1) a little hostile antsy; and 2) regret my lack of Guinness. Once we found the Friendly Drunk, though, and moved away from the Party Rock Crew, I was much happier (even when he nearly got shanked for loudly admonishing all the damned Irish to go the Hell home, making himself poster child for People Unclear on the Whole Point of Things).
  • Onion rings make everything better. Lee Harvey's has great onion rings (but it's all about the chipotle aioli to go with).
  • I never learn. Why I thought I could eat a fried egg sammich and not end up with yolk-covered boobs is beyond me. They're food magnets. (The end-of-day "When did I eat THAT?!?" moment will never not be disconcerting.) 
  • My crazy friends + an afternoon of beers + the elevator at Reunion Tower = rampant, unapologetic silliness.
 (And the Tower even got into the spirit of the holiday! Don't take pics while driving, kids.)

So there you have it, internetsl—another great day with folks I adore. No arrests, no hangovers, and no regrets (except maybe wearing flip flops in a crowd of 100,000; surely there are better ways to show off my green pedicure).

And unlike the last parade in which I was involved, I didn't find Jell-o shots in my purse the following Monday at work. Not sure if that's a success story or a sad anecdote, actually...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Black Holes and Revelations*

Last Friday involved a rather harrowing event for me, internets:I had an MRI.

What's more, I didn't completely lose the rest of what passes for my mind.It may sound like a First World Problem, but trust me—it's a nigh heroic feat.

Lest you fret over the fate of yours truly, rest assured that all is well in your pal Peg's world. It was routine stuff—or at least as routine as it gets when you've had Boobonic Plague. I'm due for the usual spate of -ologists groping my bits to be sure that my breasticles aren't once again trying to kill me (not as much fun as it sounds).

Instead of a mammogram, this time my surgeon wanted an MRI. She seems like a pretty nice person; she even commented on her love for Firefly when I wore a "Shiny!" t-shirt to a check-up, so I think it's safe to assume that her reasons for this recommendation were altruistic (though the traumatic awkwardness of the experience may indicate some latent masochism lurking somewhere in her psyche).

Aside from the will-my-ample-assets-fit-in-that-narrow-tube trauma, there's the matter of being face down in a tiny space for the better part of a half hour. I've always thought of myself as a pretty strong person, internets, but I'm here to tell you that in an appallingly short time frame I would have confessed to Tweeting state secrets to the leaders of Alpha Centauri via tin foil helmet.

You see, internets, not only was I confined in the tube of doom, but I was face-down-and ass-in-the-air, with my girlie bits sticking through a couple of holes (presumably to enable scanning of said bits). The tech was as polite and professional as she could be while manhandling me to ensure optimal position (that's what SHE said!), but that's what it boils down to.

I was given a tiny face cradle similar to the one on a massage table... but unlike during a massage it wasn't open air on the other side, making it only incrementally less claustrophobic. Also, I was clearly not getting a massage out of this (not that I'm bitter). Had to keep my arms over my head, too, like some perverted cliff diver with a Rhode Island-sized ass.

The tech provided ear plugs, then gave me headphones on top of those. This was somewhat of a mixed blessing, as she asked me a couple questions when she returned. I may have agreed to some shameful things, internets; I have no idea what she said, and my non-committal un-replies could be interpreted many ways.

So... yeah. These adventures all occurred before the main event. Yee and Haw.

While I was grateful for the headphones' noise dampening qualities, the music choice was less appealing—generic light piano hits of the *insert indeterminate decade here*. This is where being an MBLF (music-based life form) created an unexpected challenge. At first, the music seemed to be your basic slightly new age piano fare, but then I'd catch a phrase that sounded hauntingly familiar. It wasn't quite enough, though, for my brain to latch on and confirm it it was a tune I knew.

This went on for a couple of minutes and in such situations you're wise to take any available recourse to help pass the time. Once I confirmed that I was actually hearing "I Will Always Love You" (couldn't recognize it without Whitney's hollering—what? Too soon? She had a wonderful voice; I just never cared for what she did with it.), I was able to turn it into a game: See How Fast You Can Figure Out the Song. Parker Brothers would never buy it, but given my limited resources... work with what you've got, right?

It doesn't sound like much of a challenge, but without lyrics and familiar instrumentation some songs were a little tricky. Then, of course, I realized that I could too readily identify songs that I never even liked a little bit ("(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" in only 3.2 seconds—REALLY, brain? Really?!?). Kind of upsetting, but considering my position—which was getting more stiff and sore with each passing moment—I kept it in perspective. (You know you're pretty bad off when you start thinking that a routine mammogram sounds like a cake walk.)

When the actual scan was occurring was the beginning(ish) of the surreal part of the experience. The metallic clanging—even muted—turned the serenade into something more akin to Skrillex** remixes of light rock hits. (Yeah... let your brain meats marinate on that concept for just a moment.) Thankfully, the tech wasn't too alarmed at my giggling. I'm sure she was grateful it wasn't complaining, screaming, or crying (yet).

Soon, even the luster of musical entertainment (such as it was) began to fade. That, internets, is where this wee blog came in handy. I started making mental notes of the experience. With each ludicrous thought, I realized I had the makings of a blog post. Such pursuits helped me pass at least another 5 - 7 minutes.

Sadly, the brilliant mental meanderings are lost to the ether, internets, as I had no way to write down was was most assuredly the most brilliant, insightful blog post in the history of EVER. (Yes, internets, it's true: this isn't the greatest blog post in the world; this is just a tribute.)

Even with all these shenanigans and mental calisthenics, though, I was only half way through the process. That realization alone nearly broke me (particularly as I realized my arrogance in turning down the opportunity to pee just because I didn't really have to go. RIGHT. THEN.).

I remembered something I learned about myself during radiation, internets: if I must experience pain, I'd rather have intense bursts of pain than prolonged low-grade pain (those of you making unsavory inferences—HUSH!) During the slow cooking of my tender vittles (a.k.a. radiation), I began to understand how crazy-making chronic pain can be. Intellectually, I knew that treatment would end and eventually my burns would heal; emotionally there were many days where that knowledge did me absolutely no good.

While it wasn't on par with radiation, the dull ache in my shoulders did have a similar effect—particularly because I couldn't move to alleviate the stress. When the tech came in to add contrast to my IV, I asked if I could shift a little; the answer was a resounding if apologetic "no."

With that, each minute grew exponentially harder to handle. I think I went through all the stages of the Kübler-Ross model in 5 minutes flat, leaving me to grieve the loss of the concept of myself as a strong person (and, possibly, my self-respect).

Just when all seemed lost, of course, came respite and the end of the longest half hour I've spent in quite some time. I must confess a small blush of pride when the front desk staff complimented me on how well I handled the ordeal.

"Me, I just go straight for the drugs," one confessed.

"Shit," I thought. "I didn't even know that was an option!"

It's probably for the best, though. I'm not sure the world is ready for the almost-awesomeness of a drug induced Tribute-esque blog post.

Besides... my boobs are still healthy. It's all good.

For a post referencing a lot of music, I didn't actually reference Muse anyplace except in the title. Weird.

** Imagine the gleeful if slightly psychotic chortling, internets, when this decidedly obscene and NSFW song was the first to play on my ride home; it sounds just like getting an MRI!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's Tricky*

Lately I’m beginning to think that the key to a happier life lies in getting good at tricking oneself. I don’t mean that habitual self-deception is healthy or desirable, mind you. I just mean that sometimes to get out of our own way, we have to practice a little creativity in how we present things to ourselves.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say – just as a crazy, random example, of course—that I have several huge piles of laundry to put away. (Hush, internets. This is an entirely fictional scenario** that I’m making up to impart some crazy sage-like wisdom on you.) Of course, the longer said piles are left to sit they tend to multiply. In no time flat, I’m left with an overwhelming amount of work. And because I’m only human, internets, the more overwhelming it is, the more likely I am to avoid it. Then every time I’m confronted with the reality of it, guilt and depression and all manner of self-defeating ugliness flares up. True story.

But as I’ve discovered in my 40-something years on this planet, the way to manage such things is head on. The only way through it is through it... but to avoid all the angst and drama, I can play little games with myself to make it more manageable.

I tell myself, “OK, Peg, just put away the underwear today. That’s the goal. Just the underwear. They're relatively small, and wadding works just as well as folding. How much time can it take?”

By making it small, I neatly side-step that whole I-don’t-have-enough-time-to-tackle-this-chore craziness. One of two things happens next:

1) I feel a rush of accomplishment as I check the task off my To Do list. I win!!!
B) I feel such a rush of accomplishment as I check the task off my To Do list that I’m inspired to do more and I finish ALL THE CHORES. I am mighty! Rawr! I win!!!

See? Either way is a win-win and I only had to reframe the situation to disarm my silly self-defeating behavior and WIN. Hooray!

Other times, though, I have to be a self-created Dread Pirate Roberts to my inner Westley.

Stay with me here, internets. What I mean is this: In trying to tackle better habits, which intimidates me not on the day-to-day scale, but when I consider how important it is to have consistency over the long haul, I Dread Pirate Roberts myself by telling myself, “Good night, self. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you let you quit in the morning tomorrow."

But then tomorrow comes and I no longer feel like quitting, until I do. So I remind myself that I can always quit tomorrow. And so on.

It helps me keep from falling victim to the all-too-common syndrome wherein one realizes the vastness of the journey ahead, and plays out all the scenarios and work/effort those scenarios will take... thus getting so exhausted from over-thinking it all that there’s no energy left to take the first wee step.

As with the chore breakdown method, the amount is no different. It’s all in how you present it.

It makes sense, when you think about it (and probably even if you don't). If someone approaches you with a new idea or some constructive criticism or whatever, how they go about it makes all the difference. Applying the same logic to ourselves is, well, logical.

So, yeah. Tricking oneself. Opposite day. Crazy, or crazy like a fox?

You’ll only know if you try. What could possibly go wrong? ***

* Once again, bonus points to anyone getting my old school hip-hop reference.

** I can make such statements and still look myself in the mirror because I don’t currently have several huge piles of laundry facing me. But let’s just say that there’s a reason the scenario has that vérité ring to things, mmm-kay?

*** Don’t worry, internets. It’s not like I followed that up with, “Hey, y’all! Watch THIS!” or “Somebody hold my beer…” because we all know that way lies madness. And probable ER visits.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Numbers Can Be Hilarious

A New Blog Post! Now With NSFW Video Links! And Extra Capital Letters!

One of the fun parts about nurturing a baby blog is tracking growth. It's pretty cool to see where the site's hits come from—Russia! Brazil! How cool is that?!?—and to watch the number of page views increase.

So far, the most page views any one blog has had is 37.

But because I'm basically 12 years old on the inside (and also a big fan of Kevin Smith and the movie "Clerks" *), I'm finding this inordinately funny today—hence the unscheduled mini-post.

(Seriously. I can't even type the number without giggling to myself. Puerile much? Then again, I use words like "puerile" pretty regularly. I'm a conundrum.)

Because my brain is always filled with tangentially relevant movie and/or song quotes, it's all I can do not to gleefully holler Dante's horribly crass parting salvo as Veronica storms out of the store as I'm writing this post.

Arrested Development—not just a brilliantly funny TV show, folks. I'm living proof.

* Again, language isn't safe for work, or those easily offended by sexual subject matter or crude language. If this describes you, don't click!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler

I have performed at Renaissance festivals off and on for more than 20 years, internets, and I tell you this so that you will appreciate how much experience this gives me in the parade department. (If you've never been to a RenFest—which is what regulars call it—there's always a big midday death march parade so that all the characters and shoppe owners (the extra letters give it authenticity, don'tcha know) can show off their wares and exercise their patron harassment improvisation skills.)

All this is to say that know a thing or two about parades and the doing of them.

After this weekend, I can honestly say this is a Schroedinger's Statement—both true and untrue at the same time.

The Bishop Arts District in Dallas' Oak Cliff neighborhood is a fun, funky area. My dear friend is the owner/producer/director of Delish Films and got me and several friends to krewe the parade entry in the 3rd annual Bishop Arts Mardi Gras parade. (She has a long and illustrious history of getting me to do wacky things; sordid details to come in subsequent blogs. Probably. By which I mean not really.)

This parade experience differed from my RenFest experience in several key ways in that I was not:
1) walking;
2) wearing 25 extra lbs. of clothing (including a corset);
3) overheating due to 100°+ heat index;
4) entirely sober.

These things made it alternately easier and harder in equal measure. The not having to walk 35 acres (or the Dallas street equivalent) was better, as was the ability to wear a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. Also, it was a balmy 60° so hooray for all of that!

But when you have hordes (and I think over 11,000 attendees qualifies as "hordes") of people screaming for beads, and you've theoretically had half-a-dozen Jell-o shots, a couple beers, and a giant to-go coffee cup of Jack Daniels (Hi, Mom! You realize blogging sometimes involves fiction, right?!? And remember LE Bean's Exaggeray?), untangling strands of cheap beads and flinging them with impunity can be... interesting (in the Wash sense of things).

On a related note, people will go nuts over cheap trinkets as rewards. I've seen it in my career in corporate training—seriously, a room full of grown bankers competing for a sticker?!—and the parade hype is no different.

It was kind of a heady, powerful feeling, internets. They wanted my beads, and I made 'em work for it! I demanded that they holler and make noise; my minions the crowd did just that. (Except I was a sucker for cute little kids. There was one beautiful little girl in a tutu that looked like peacock feathers and I lost. my. damned. MIND. I'm not proud, internets; it happens.) I wanted them to jump? They jumped. Dance, monkeys, DANCE! Muahahahahaha!


I learned lots of other things, though, besides this rather disturbing tendency of mine that should have probably been forced to remain latent for everyone's safety and well being.

For example, internets, did you know that it's possible to make a giant king cake out of a foam egg crate mattress, some satiny fabric, a lot of glitter and enough spray-on glue to get the 1996 starting line up of the Dallas Cowboys wasted? True story.
 (This is the work in progress, but it's still pretty awesome for all its lack of glitter.)

I also learned that once you start gluing sequins to your face, everyone will want to join in (though, sadly, I didn't have time to give everyone an awesome YouTube-inspired makeup Mardi Gras mask like mine).
 (Me and my BFF Buffalo Gal)

But really, it was an incredible day spent with some incredibly talented, creative people and I am already looking forward to next year.

My liver, however, is dubious.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Birthdays Are Like Reese's...

Yes, internets, the rumors are true; today is my birthday.

(Give yourself [random amount] of bonus points for every song cue this sparked in your grey matter. Not sure what you can use those bonus points for, mind, but best you have them just in case. Also not sure what kind of emergency or event precipitates the need for such a thing, but since they're fictitious and therefore don't require storage space, may as well hoard them, eh?)

So here's the thing: I don't mind getting older. Or not much, anyway (especially when you consider the alternative). This is even more of a factor since the whole Boobonic PlagueTM thing in 2009. Now I celebrate everything. Life is hard enough, really, so when things don't suck—or even just suck a little less—it's worth making the most of it.


I hate to sound ungrateful, internets, but I do have birthday issues. It wasn't easy growing up with a birthday the day before Valentine's day. Know anyone with a birthday in December? If so, you know they're probably hypersensitive to that here's-your-Birthmas-present syndrome, wherein the giver combines the birthday and Christmas gifts into one. Well, I'm the same way, only it's regarding Birthentine Cake.

Yep, I had one too many heart-shaped cakes with obnoxious pink squashy babies festooning it. I know my mom loves me and she's a good baker, but there were frequently shortcuts in the birthday cake department—time no doubt spent buying presents!—and apparently it's impossible to find baked goods without all that obnoxious Valentine fluff at any bakery within 20 miles.


Is it too much to ask for my birthday to just BE MY DAMNED BIRTHDAY?

Not that I have anything against Valentine's Day, mind you. It's too commercial, of course, and sheeple tend to focus more on the outer trappings than substance, but I firmly believe a holiday is what you put into it. Any day that encourages expressions of love and kindness? I'm for it. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Just keep that Valentine crap outta my birthday! Sheesh!

Yes, if you're dating me then it sucks to be you; I want two prezzies. They don't have to be big or showy—my jewelry tastes run more towards silver and garnets, and I'd probably be happier with books or CDs anyway—but one gift must come wrapped very distinctly sans hearts, squashy babies, doilies, or other such nonsense. I'm fine with such things on a Valentine present, but NOT for my birthday, thankyewverymuch!

It doesn't have to be a traditional birthday, for that matter... just so long as it's not all VALENTINEY. I can prove it. See, my 40th birthday fell on a Friday the 13th. My solution? Slasher/Serial Killer theme party!

It was rad. Several friends came dressed for the occasion: Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Jack the Ripper, and Hannibal and Clarice. I even had a famous victim—the Black Dahlia. B came in her pin-up finery sporting a tray of goodies and a "Bait" name tag. And since many of my friends are active in the haunt community, there were some gruesome, realistic wounds—like Lys' fantastic bullet hole in the center of her forehead—on various and sundry anonymous victims.

Morbid? Yes. But equally as awesome. (As I'm sure I have mentioned before, my friends are amazing and wonderful people.) Besides, it gave me an excuse to shop for my not-so-exclusively-inner Goth girlie. Skulls and tombstones and blood—oh my! (I even found gummi candy in test tubes... complete with eyeballs suspended in the goo!)

My friend SIKO showed up as a ninja, since they are in essence part serial killer, part slasher. (I already love him because he uses the word "beer" as a verb—i.e., "I'm going to beer you now. I'm going to beer you hard."—and ninja-ing my birthday only made my heart bigger so I could feel more love.)

So to sum up: birthdays good. Hooray for successful superannuation! Valentine's Day? Don't hate it. Even when I'm unattached, there's no lack of love in my world.

Just don't get my birthday chocolate in your Valentine's peanut butter* and everything will be fine, y'all.

* OK, maybe that's a poor analogy after all. I really love me some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (one of my favorite candies, in fact). So, yeah...

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Slight Case of Hyperbole*

This post will make those of you who have met me more than twice will either find my next statement to be humorous or so utterly unbelievable that you'll think it's an exaggeration, but I swear to you it's not.

In packing for a business trip last week**, I determined that I didn't own enough black shirts.

I seriously couldn't find one that looked right with what I was planning to wear!

Here's how I know this is a suspension of disbelief moment. My friend, who, for blog purposes we'll call The Muppet (who is, as you'd guess, a very physically expressive, animated human), knew this about me years and years ago. I showed up at a party and she exclaimed, "And there's Peg wearing all black." (Cue deadpan.) "Try not to be shocked." (Maybe... just maybe, internets, I might still have a bit of an old-school Goth thing going on.)

This may be one of those things that only other women and gay men—or at least those who are clothes-oriented—understand. While I have a lot of black clothing, the shades of black don't always match (due to dye lots and slight fading in the wash, etc.). And since this jacket was black and grey striped with black trim at the edges, the black shirt to go underneath would be right up against the black stripe, thus showing very obviously that the blacks didn't match. Gasp, argh!

Since I was traveling for a somewhat important business trip, that clearly would not do.

"Peg," you may be thinking, "why didn't you simply pack something else?"

To which, dear internets, I would respectfully reply, "Because of shoes." And I wouldn't even be fibbing or using what my friend LE Bean calls The Exaggeray (which is the linguistic equivalent of a Death Ray, only it imbues a statement with dangerously toxic levels of hyperbole).

Of course, when one is flying nowadays, there's a heightened need to streamline packing. While I am a Gold frequent flyer—which means I don't get charged that pesky $25 baggage check fee—I still don't want to have to wrangle a ridiculous amount of luggage. (I still have my monstrosity of a purse plus a laptop bag with which to contend, after all.) Therefore, I try to fit it all in one case, which means 1 to 2 pairs of shoes at the most.

Since I'm trying to be a healthier Peg—what with surviving the Boobonic PlagueTM and all—one of those pairs is going to be something athletic in nature, thus not at all suited for business meetings when one is employed at a company in the top 20 of Fortune 500 companies.

This means that before each trip I have to decide which pair of shoes I wish to wear for business. Then I have to match my outfits to go with the resulting choice of either black or brown shoes (and if you have to ask why it matters, internets, I don't know that I can help you). My wardrobe choices are further narrowed by my inability to almost pathological hatred of ironing. This limits options to things that won't wrinkle (much).

Add to that my post-Plague issues with climate control—radiation blew out my thyroid, so for the first time in the history of me I am perennially chilly (which equals layers of clothing and an extra wrap to avoid freezing to death [damn you, Exaggeray!] discomfort and proportional levels of crankiness)—and it curtails my choices even further.

It's not like I can pack my Skull and Crossbones Slanket (best. purchase. EVAR!), and I'd feel a little silly shipping it. Then there's the possibility of loss or damage. (The horror!) Plus, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to expense it.

It's tragic, really, these First World problems of mine.

So to 'splain (or, since it's probably too late, sum up like a dashing Spanish swordsman), one pair of black shoes + shades of black that don't match ÷ necessity for warm(ish), packable business-appropriate clothing = ±20*** black shirts/sweaters that simply won't do.

In other words, I really don't own enough black clothing. Who'd have thunk it?

* Bonus points to any of you who get the musical reference in the title.

** This is where I make my excuse for not posting last week. Somehow, I thought that traveling all morning, meetings all afternoon, and a team dinner that evening would still leave me time to write this post.

All I can say, internets, is that some days it's a good thing I'm pretty 'cuz I ain't always that bright.

*** Also not an exaggeration

Monday, January 23, 2012

One of my -isms

It's time for another of Peg's Quirky Confessions, internets. (Why else, after all, does one blog? It's so cathartic!)

I practice anthropomorphism.

That's right, internets. You heard me.

I am a near-serial anthropomorphizer.

I know, HeyDan*, I know... but I feel confident enough in our friendship that I can share this with the world—or at least the tiniest little sliver of it that connects with these pixels through this series of tubes—without drastic repercussions or a major loss of respect.

It's not just animals, either (though otters are always flirty girls in my head—I can blame that on my affinity for Native American spirituality). I assign genders and personalities to cars, depending on the grill and headlight placement (neither of which is a euphemism, internets, so just quit it—you'll know when I euphemize something... which, I realize, cries out for a "That's what HE said!" follow-up).

Some of them are mean, or menacing.

Some have sweet smiles.

(I know these vehicles' respective performance isn't related to this perception, but just based on the visual? Come on... don't tell me you don't see it...)

And some look like nerds with braces.

It happens with trees, too (which, to be fair, could also be attributed to my animistic tendencies). Weeping willows? Female. Oak? Stolidly male. Holly? Female (more due to red berry decor than name, because there is precedent for at least one male named Holly).

I don't have a lot of rationale behind these designations, either. (Try not to be shocked.) It's part whim and part whimsy, I guess. It just makes sense in my brain (for whatever that's worth... though since it's me I'm gonna go with "a good bit").

I can't be the only one who does this, internets. Please tell me it's not me! What other stuff do you assign gender or personality to?

Don't judge, y'all. Confess and we'll all feel less alone and crazy. Besides, this kind of perspective makes road trips or neighborhood walks or trips to the zoo even more entertaining. Isn't that a good thing? Good ol' fashioned noggin-using?

I even used to come up with stories about them, too.

Hey... maybe I should write that stuff down!

* As you may have rightly surmised, internets, this refers to my friend Dan, who knows the answers to many, many things and is, in all honesty, one of the smartest people I know (and I am fortunate enough to know a lot of smart people—more than a brazilllion, which is to say, more than 5). Since he knows many, many things, people often came to Dan to answer questions, starting with the telltale phrase, "Hey Dan...." Ergo, his moniker HeyDan.

As you also may have surmised, anthropomorphism makes him crazy. Disney movies are a special hell in his world. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Dog Ate My Blog

Writing is hard.

This is not news to anyone who has ever labored over a term paper (and isn't it big of me to assume that all of my followers—all 13 of you!*—have at least an 8th grade education?), but it's no less true for all that.

I suppose, however, that it's more accurate to say that coming up with ideas about which to write are hard. Me, I'm relatively good at beginnings. My brain gets pelted with ideas like a surly C&W crowd hurls bottles of long neck beer when the singer forgets the words to a Hank Williams tune (at least that's how it happens in my head, internets; I'm not much for the honky or the tonk, myself—though I will admit to harboring big love in my heart for cheap Shiner Bock).

So... yeah. Ideas.

I'm not much of a closer. Here's what happens in my brain, only with less science and more whimsy:

My degree is actually in English, and SMU (my alma mater) offers a fiction writing specialty. I loved the classes but ye gods and little fishes... I sucked at outlines. I didn't know where the story was going to go! I had An Idea! My Muse could not be so tamed or restricted (or some such rot). I don't know if it was laziness or if my brain truly doesn't work that way, but I almost never knew where the story was going to go, which meant that it could never get anywhere. Pacing, structure... these things elude me still. (Wow, if that's not an allegory for my life, I don't know what is!)

ANYhoo... when I do get ideas, they're never convenient. (I'm pretty sure my long-neglected Muse is having an aneurysm right about now.) I get 90% of my viable ideas when I'm in the shower. Really? I guess because I'm pondering last night's dream while simultaneously mapping out my day? Something about that combination puts my brain into overdrive, but it's utterly unfair because I can't write down ideas, nor can I bring a voice recorder into the shower. Well, I could, but it would only end in tears. Namely mine. So.. no.

And of course by the time I'm done drying, moisturizing, toning, lotioning, and powdering all the appropriate bits, then engaging in the usual Hair Product InequityTM ritual, ideas have fled, and I am (to quote my Grandfather) left and bereft.

Of course, the other time my brain is rife with ideas? When I'm driving. Because clearly, hurtling 80MPH down the interstate is a grand time to pause and jot down some notes. Sure, I'll just reach for the handy dandy recorder instead. Clearly, that's a safer option (in a not kind of way).

So instead, I'm left with trying to reconstruct pieces of these ideas when I can give them the time and attention they deserve, only it's rather like waking and knowing you just had the most awesome dream! It was so vivid! So real! Something about... ponies... or rainbows... and there was this guy. He, um, said some... stuff.

Yeah, internets. It's like that.

But hey, that's why I'm engaging in this whole blogging exercise, innit? To give myself some structure, and to write something other than the training courses that my Real Job pays me to write. CONFESSION: I haven't been using my degree much since I started writing for a living—how sad is that? But it feels too much like... well, work. But that's the WHOLE POINT! It is work, and the you get better by working at it.

I know this is true. I am friends with awesome writers like these and many more inspiring talents who fill me with awe (and some small amount of shame) at the amount of critical thought they're able to apply to their craft.

This is because, internets, there are days like today where you blog about not having ideas, which is the blogging equivalent of a show about nothing, or the dog eating your blog post.

Apparently, the difficulty lies not in lacking something to say, but in saying something in a meaningful way.

My bad.

*To reinforce my Nerdy Grrl cred, I quote Felicia Day: "I have dozens of fans. Baker's dozens. They come in thirteens."