Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Giant Leap Toward Adulthood

Life is full of moments that remind us we're getting older.

Like that moment when you realize that you suddenly don't care if a man is going like him anyway.
Or that moment when it's midnight and you wonder how you ever ever ever pulled an all-nighter while trying to coherently write a term paper at the same time.
Or that moment when you responsibly say "I can't have caffeine. It keeps me up."
Or that moment when you find yourself giving a younger person the speech about how sometimes in life we all have to do things we don't want to do.

Or...that moment when you intentionally, knowingly and of your own volition, buy a box of cereal with dried fruit in it.

My whole life, I've hated cereal with fruit. Sliced bananas and bran? Gross. Diced strawberries and flakes? Nasty. But dried fruit. That was even worse, because there was no escaping it. There was no choice. You couldn't wake up and go "I think I'm going to skip the fruit today" because it was already in the box. And in Raisin Bran's case, there were TWO SCOOPS of it (I seem to remember when they added that extra scoop. I dry heaved when I heard the news).

But then the other day at the grocery store after a workout (which is the WORST time to be surrounded by purchasable food, by the way), I wanted something sweet. And I couldn't get a donut or anything like that, because I would hate myself after.

No, I needed cereal. A healthy-ish cereal that also had some sweetness to it.

So there I am, going up and down the aisle--eying the Reese's Puffs like a nerd eyes special boxed editions of Star Wars Trek Craft--when I settle on the Great Grains section. Instinctively, I reach for the Banana Nut flavor, because HELLO it tastes like banana bread without the bananas!!

But the calorie count! The calorie count makes me pull away. And then something very curious happens. My taste buds tell me they want something fruity in their cereal. And not something fake fruity, like fake banana flavoring. Something real fruity. Something chewy.

And before I knew what was happening, I had a box of Great Grains Cranberry Almond Crunch in my hands and was proceeding to the checkout.

Post Great Grains Cranberry Almond Crunch

Me: what are you doing?!
Myself: what does it seem like? I want this cereal.
Me: But are we actually going to eat the whole box? I mean one bowl, sure, but what if this craving is a tease? What if we go back to hating dried berries in our cereal after the first bite?
Myself: you worry too much.
Me: you don't worry enough!

The box was purchased. I drove home in silence, refusing to talk to myself.

And later, I poured a bowl, added skim milk (because I hate the taste of milk...another thing I'll probably grow out of, though I certainly hope not) and ate the whole thing.

and I liked it.

And today I had another bowl.

And as I stood there, eating this gross adult cereal and enjoying it, I felt very proud of myself and grown-up-ish.

And then I rinsed out my bowl and proceeded to work the rest of the day in my pajamas.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The month I was called Al

Once upon a time, when I worked at a marketing agency, my boss, who always referred to me as amanda, starting calling me AL in his email correspondence.

At first I thought it was just a simple error. A brain bubble, if you will. Because it was quite clear that my name was not Albert, or Alfred, or Aldo, or Alonzo, or Al Borland, or Alchemy (although I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to that last one).

But the mistake continued. And it got to the point where not only was I AL in email correspondence, but I became AL when he wanted to visit my desk to ask a question and AL when he greeted me upon entering the conference room.

I laughed it off, of course, because I am nothing if not a good sport (and highly aware of when I may be missing the big picture), but this activity continued for the better part of a month or so until it dawned on me...

The dawning occurred after a mass email went out, in which my boss not only referred to me as AL, but my coworkers Dennis B. and Erin A. as DB and EA.

So AL wasn’t a short form of Aldous or Alma. AL were my new initials. (Without the periods, of course. Because we know how tiresome periods can be when sending off quick emails). I just hadn’t realized it yet.

All of my assumptions of him being funny or mischievous or cryptic couldn’t have been farther from the truth. He was merely being accurate.

While I was left with the sudden realization that I’d be suck with a man’s name for my initials for the rest of my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The One Moment I Was a Celebrity

Sorry to state the obvious here, but I am not a celebrity. I know, surprise, surprise, right?

The closest I ever get to being anything near a celebrity is when I'm thrown in a room with a bunch of unpublished writers. At that point, my celebrity status moves up a half a notch. But even so, if some REAL or even a quasi-celebrity like the Progressive girl walked into that very room, I'd be abandoned in seconds. SECONDS!

I tell you this, because a funny thing happened to me at BEA.

BEA (Book Expo America) is like the big north american book trade show. All the publishers set up booths and show off their goods, and it's literally one of those events where you turn the corner an "OH! There's Tim Gunn!" Then you turn another corner and "OH! There's a really tall Harlem Globetrotter!" and then "OH! There's Michael Ian Black!" (Though I did not know his name at the time...I had to Google it. But I recognized his face!).

So, I'm at this event, and it was just after I was sitting in a rest area, secretly Googling the name of the guy across from me (he seemed really important...turned out he was like an investment millionaire). I walk away, and this random guy walks past me and then I hear him go:

"Megan?! ... Is it...could it be...?"

My heart stopped. What if he's talking to me?! What if he thinks I'm...famous! Oh man. THE PRESSURE! What do I do?! How do I crush his hopes and dreams? And how can I live with myself after experiencing the high of a real celebrity?!

After much contemplation (that took about half a second), I hesitantly turned around.

Yes, the guy had been talking to me. Yes, his face bore the most expectant, hopeful expression.

And yes, all of that came crashing down when he realized that I was in fact not Megan.

And felt bad for letting him down. So bad, i almost apologized to the guy.

Sorry for not being Megan. Sorry for ruining your day.
Sorry for not giving you fodder for your blog.
But look on the bright side! You gave me fodder for mine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Make It in Hollywood (It's Easier Than You Think)

I've often told myself that if I were to ever be silly enough to want to be an actress, I would simply make some big name director or producer or actor my BFF. Why? Because Hollywood is like high school. The easiest way to survive is to fit in with a group so that all you have to do is be like "what are we working on now, boys?!" and the group leader will practically hand you a role.

(Of course you could also try to get him to fall in love with you, but I prefer the less slutty route)

Still doubting this theory?

Allow me to introduce you to the equivalent of the Hollywood cafeteria.

The Jocks - The George Clooney Club
Members: Brad Pitt (among other various Oceans Eleven cast members), Ben Affleck and other good-looking actors who are a smidge less good-looking than Clooney.
Requirements for admission into group: Treat George like a benevolent god.

The Druggies - The Jud Apatow Club
Members: Seth Rogan, James Franco (though he's unsuccessfully been trying to leave the club for years), Leslie Mann, Johan Hill, Paul Rudd and pretty much anyone who ever starred in Freaks and Geeks.
Requirements for admission into group: You need to find fart jokes hilarious

The Goths - The Tim Burton Club
Members: Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Danny Elfman
Requirements for admission into group: Be super weird with crazy hair and pale complexion. Think artsy in a dark way.

The Swingers - The Quentin Tarantino Club
Members: Members of this club are free to come and go, but Uma Thurman and Robert Rodriguez may never leave
Requirements for admission into group: Catch Quin's eye

Former Clubs:
The John Hughes Club
The M. Knight Shyamalan

So now I MUST ask...which club would you be in? Be honest with yourself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wherein I Embarass Myself

At the top of my list of JOBS I'D LIKE TO TRY OUT FOR A YEAR is music impersonator.

You think I jest.

I pretty much spend my entire day, walking around the house trying to impersonate whatever musician whose song is stuck in my head. And as Tad can attest, my impersonations know no bounds. I tackle everyone from Beyonce to Gavin Degraw. Yes, even Gavin Degraw. My best is Cher. My worst is Adele. But they're ALL my favorite and so very dear to me. They reflect the life I could have had on SNL.

So despite my better judgement, I thought it would be a good idea to share the hilarity of what it is to sit in on a practice session.

I may really regret this...and it ended up taking WAAAAAYYYYYYY longer to put the visual side of the video together than I thought, but what the heck, right? If anything, you can laugh with me at my stupidity.

So ladies and gents, I present one of my worse, yet most-fun impersonations.

It's a pitchy Adam Levine and a straining Christina Aguilera in Moves Like Jagger.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Helo's Big Adventure, Part 2

GO HERE to read Part 1 of Helo's Big Adventure.

We live in a small-ish neighborhood that is tucked behind a couple major roads. To put it in perspective, the big indoor mall in Fort Wayne (population 250,000) is about three quarters of a mile from our house (as the crow flies), and the highway is about a mile and a quarter away from us in another direction.

So even though we live in this quiet, remote, woodsy subdivision, it's blocks from lots and lots of civilization and one of the most trafficked areas of the city.

The moment we realized Helo had left our neighborhood (and had probably done so within minutes of getting hit), the whole plan of finding him seemed that much more impossible. According to Tad, Helo had been broadsided. He rolled up on the car's hood and winshield before being thrown into the snow.

So he had to be hurting and running on adrenaline at this point. And what chance does an injured black dog have of crossing a six-lane road at night without getting hit?

So, we set out to find him. Because if we didn't, chances were he'd end up having to brave a night of freezing temperatures and snow. And, of course, possibly death.

The snow, however, ended up being our best friend.

We had about six inches of it on the ground, and despite the police officer losing Helo's tracks and being unable to find them again, we found them (says a lot for Fort Wayne's finest! ;). This was a moment when we thanked God for Helo's massive paws. Because there was no mistaking our boy's tracks.

So, we followed his path. Through people's yards (one lady sent her dogs out after Tad, thinking he was an intruder) and across streets where we'd pick them up again hundreds of feet away from where they left off.

Basically, there was a lot of putting our ears to the ground and fingering the snowy soil and smelling scent rubbed against trees and you know. Aragorn-type stuff. Or Sully-type stuff, if that's your thing.

We followed the tracks until we lost them at the big road I mentioned. The road that is some hundreds of feet away from a giant, massive intersection.

Tad set out on foot, and I took the car. I knew that there is a trailer-type neighborhood behind the businesses on the far side of the road, so that's where I headed. I drive up and down these dead-end roads, until I spot a set of tracks that just seems a bit random. Like it doesn't lead to a mailbox or door or anything. Something tells me to check these tracks. So, I get out, and I'm convinced they're Helo's. I follow them to behind a garage, where I lose them in a rust pile.

Just beyond the rust pile, and on the other side of a really big garage, is a gas station and what would be another super major road in Fort Wayne. So, I get Tad, he stays at the rust pile to see if he can find where the tracks pick up, and I head to the big road.

I'm driving up and down this major road, hoping and yet fearing to see a black dog on the side of the road. Hoping, because the Interstate is now a quarter of a mile away, and Helo is headed north in its direction.

I eventually meet up with Tad, who picked up Helo's tracks and then lost them in a car dealership lot. So, he leaves word with the people who work there, and we go north to a neighboring fenced-in hotel complex. We can't find him or his tracks, and I'm beginning to wonder if Helo somehow snuck around the fence and is heading toward the Interstate. So, we head to the Interstate.

At this point, we start praying like crazy. Clearly, we've lost his tracks. We have no idea where he is, and he's been missing for almost two and a half hours. That's plenty of time for him to get far, far away. Or get snatched by someone. Or, get hurt even worse. Tad calls a bunch of other people, and they start praying. We pray, because we have nothing left. Which is really sad in retrospect, because it's totally one of the first things we should have done.

No tracks in the field leading to the Interstate. So then, we head north on this main road, wondering if maybe he stuck to IT instead of veering off of it (and onto the Interstate). It was here that we got a phone call.

Helo had been found. It's 9pm.

We go to the hotel, and the guy who called us says that it's actually the dealership that has Helo. So, we go to the dealership, and standing inside of the showroom, looking out the window, is our dog.

We run in there and get him, thank the people (the guy closing up for the night had found Helo between two big SUVs), then lift Helo into the car. He's limping. So we head to the emergency pet hospital.

After a quick exam, we head home at 10:30pm. Helo simply has a bruised hip and a few scratches. His prescription? The doggy version of Ibuprofin.

And it's at this point that someone asks us how the car who hit him fared.

Probably not as well.

I strongly feel that God led us to Helo. We never failed to find Helo's tracks, no matter how crazy of a path he took. And we talked to the right people...people who would be instrumental in helping us get Helo back. And, we found him a mile away from home. Think about your hometown or city. Think of where you live, or a spot in town that is heavily populated and trafficked. Then, choose a spot a mile away. A mile isn't that long. But when you're talking highways and crossing city streets and passing block after block, it's VERY long. So long, that had there not been snow, I don't know how we would have found him. So that's my God post for the month or year. I don't do these very often, because that's not the type of blog this is. But I had to do it here. Because I thought it was a pretty crazy story.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Helo's Big Adventure, Part 1

WARNING: If you are crazy in love with dogs, read with caution.
WARNING: If you think people are crazy for being crazy in love with dogs, read with caution.
ACHTUNG: If you are easily offended by God-talk, read Part 2 with caution.

Now don’t say I didn’t warn you....

Tad and I have a dog named Helo. He is only a year old, but he is pretty massive. So massive, that when Helo decides it’s time to play or be crazy, cushions are flying off the couch and random crap is falling down all over the place.

We got him from the animal shelter last January, and he is THE MOST SPOILED DOG IN THE UNIVERSE. He is more than our child (because I like to think he gets away with way more than our children would). He is our obsession. He sleeps in our bed with us, under the covers. He eats stupid expensive dog food. He gets a new toy about every month. He goes bye-bye with me on all my errands. He is our best friend.

So imagine our horror a few weeks ago when he got hit by a car.

It was dark. Around 6:30pm. We were packing up the car for a Christmas trip to my parents’ in Illinois. Helo ran into the street right when a car was coming. I was inside, so I didn’t see it, but I heard it. Tad yelled. Then the impact. Then Tad screamed. That scream, my friends, was the same scream that 60 year-old men give when they’re letting their little dogs run free in the park behind our house and their little dogs come straight for Helo. It’s the scream of a grown man who is suddenly terrified that his dog will die before his eyes.

So I rushed outside.

This part is still a blur. I remember not seeing Helo and seeing Tad run off through someone’s yard. Or maybe Tad said something to me? I can’t remember. The only thing I do remember is eventually talking to the guy who hit Helo.

Now you must keep in mind that I’m freaking out. I’m not a screamer and I’m not a crier. I’m just one of those people who covers their mouth and says “ohmygoshohmygoshOHMYGOSH.”

So I find out from this guy that yes, he hit Helo and yes, Helo ran away, and yes my husband went after him.

So then sirens.

Cops approach me cautiously as though I’m some crazy lady, pacing outside in 28-degree weather without a jacket.

They ask me if everything is alright and I’m like MY DOG GOT HIT BY A CAR AND RAN AWAY. And so they stop and they ask me about it and then they say that they got a call about a domestic disturbance. I say it was probably the accident that neighbors heard. And the cop looked at me and very sensitively asked ... “was...was it a loud impact?”

And I said yes. And that my husband screamed.

And he said “Ok, that accounts for both of the noises that were reported.”

So then the cops join the search for Helo.

So at this point I become the person who is at home, coordinating search parties and telling people what to do and when it’s okay for them to quit (NEVER). Eventually, I let the guy who hit Helo go home (he had graciously agreed to drive around the neighborhood to look).

And then the MOST UNHELPFUL thing happened. Animal Control called and was like “Ma’am, your dog was recently reported last seen on the yada yada block of yada yada avenue...”


“One moment.”


“Ma’am, police have cleared the area and can’t find the dog.”

“NO, ACTUALLY, THAT’S NOT TRUE. THEY’RE HERE RIGHT NOW LOOKING FOR HIM.”  Ugh...dude was totally wasting my time...time that could be spent worrying! and pacing!

So then the Animal Control guy comes to the scene and drives around but can’t find Helo. And he’s convinced that Helo is curled up somewhere, dying. He won’t give me even a glimmer of hope. So, I send that guy packing.

Then the one cop who went out on foot to track Helo through the snow returns without any luck. And another cop leaves to respond to a call. And the third cop is just enjoying some Internet in the warmth of his tax money cop car. And these neighbors are screaming Helo’s name in their redneck accents (pretty sure Helo doesn’t speak redneck) and every second, Helo is getting farther and farther away.

And I quickly realize that if we’re going to find Helo, we’re going to have to do it ourselves.

So, around 8pm, Tad and I thank everyone for looking, and we set out on our own...only to quickly realize that Helo had left the neighborhood long ago.

To be continued...