• December 26th, 2014TroubleEnsuedThe Christmas Letters

    This blog, Trouble Ensued, began because of encouraging responses from our friends to our annual Christmas letters.  To keep tradition alive for everyone, here is this year’s scoop…direct from “The Christmas Letter 2014″:

    Merry Christmas

    So can you believe it? We’ve lived in Tampa for a whole year! And it took us the better part of the year to even figure out what we were called. We’re Tampanians. (Don’t even ask what Dan originally thought it was.) But boy, have we Tampanians learned a lot about living in our new area!

    First of all, there’s no shame in going to dinner in the afternoon. It’s Florida. It’s expected. Granted the first time we did it, we may have been a bit too early at 4:30. We were alone in the restaurant until a very lovely elderly man (and his portable oxygen tank) were seated beside us. At that point we decided to wait until at least 5:00.
    Lesson learned.

    Secondly, you must get accustomed to easy parking…especially when coming from Los Angeles, where finding parking is a professional sport. Most places here in Tampa have a zillion open parking spots. For free! And if they don’t have adequate self-parking, they have something LA would never consider: complimentary valet.

    Unfortunately, Dan had the wrong idea about the whole complimentary concept. He handed the valet the keys and stood there. And waited. Patiently. Apparently, Dan thought the valet was going to say something nice like, “Gee, have you lost weight? Looks like you’ve been working out!” Nope. Didn’t happen. So he learned that this is a different type of “complimentary”. (Between you and me, I think he prefers his idea.)

    Moving on, we have definitely learned a lot more about the local critters. Last year we met the manatees & sharks. Well this year, we had a lengthy personal visit from an osprey. (At first we thought he was a hawk…so naturally, we named him Hank. Hank the Hawk…now renamed to Hank the “Grand Ol’ Osprey”. I crack myself up.)

    Aaaanyway, he flew up onto our balcony, and perched there for an entire afternoon. It was fairly apparent that he wasn’t feeling well…seemed like he had a tummy ache. So Dan made friends, and welcomed him to stay until he felt better. It took hours, but eventually he recovered and gracefully flew off. And yes, it also took hours to clean up after a large fish-eating bird with a gastrointestinal issue.




    (In case you were wondering, Dan is indeed wearing a “No grits, no glory” t-shirt in that photo. I know. I have ruined the Wisconsin boy. I apologize.)

    So, back to speaking of critters, here’s a riddle for you:

    How do you keep the two of us busy? You tell us to count the ducks.

    Lemme explain. Until we moved here, I had never learned where the word “duck” came from. (I didn’t get out much.) Ducks, it seems…well, they “duck” under the water (duh), and pop back up again. So Dan and I endlessly amuse ourselves by counting the ducks floating outside on the bay and shouting out the current tally, “Twelve, no, five…no, eight…wait, no, three…oops, now there’s six…”

    We can do that all day. Literally.

    And lastly, we learned a lot about lightning. When the lightning is excruciatingly, deafeningly loud, and you can’t even count to “one” after you see the flash of light…it has hit your building. What did we learn? Walking up 20 flights of stairs is very good exercise. But we’ll take lightning over earthquakes anytime!!! Especially since it’s beautiful:




    Welp, we certainly hope you’re all prepared for Christmas. Dan has already talked to Santa Claus. (Seriously. Imagine my embarrassment.) When Santa asked him if he had been a good boy for the entire year, Dan paused, looked a little quizzical, and finally said, “You know Santa…I prefer to live in the moment.” Smart boy.
    Let’s hope Santa falls for that logic…for all of us.


  • December 27th, 2013TroubleEnsuedThe Christmas Letters

    This blog, Trouble Ensued, began because of encouraging responses from our friends to our annual Christmas letters.  To keep tradition alive for everyone, here is this year’s scoop…direct from “The Christmas Letter 2013″:

    Merry Christmas!!

    We have some crazy, unexpected news to share with you!! You’d better sit down because this is probably going to be a shocker to most of you. A truly life-changing event happened this year:

    Dan ate kale.

    In other news…

    We relocated from Los Angeles to Tampa. Dan finally got tired of my saying that I was cold all the time, so he moved me to Central Florida to thaw out. So far his plan is working beautifully. This is the first year I am writing the Christmas letter without wearing my customary turtleneck. It’s a Merry Christmas, indeed!!!


    I really thought the process of moving was going to give me tons of hysterical stories to relay to you. But in all honestly, from selling our house within a couple of weeks of putting up the sign, to moving all our stuff and shipping our cars…it’s all gone so smoothly. It was meant to be! Great for us…but not so great when I need fodder for the Christmas letter!

    We’re living in a beautiful location overlooking Hillsborough Bay. Exactly where we had hoped to be. It’s wild kingdom around here. We traded our California coyotes and raccoons for pelicans, manatees and sharks. Yes…I said sharks. Dan and I thought we were watching a sweet little dolphin. But suddenly, it threw its head out of the water to chomp down on a fish, and nope…it was a huge shark! Huge. Shark. And with that, Dan’s paddleboard career ended before it began.

    But we’re getting all settled in, and loving Tampa. Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. In fact, Dan apparently has a girlfriend now. He was very excited to tell me that a lady in our building touched him on the arm in the elevator to ask if he was a professional athlete! Granted, she’s about 85 years old, and most likely, her closest brush with athletics has been the tennis balls on her walker. But still…someone thought he was an athlete, and dagnabbit, that’s all that counts!! Or so says Dan. Repeatedly.

    We just got our Florida driver licenses. And lemme tell you…that was awkward.

    I was standing in front of the official, who was asking me a flurry of under-oath questions about my qualifications to drive. “Do you have any restrictions on your license?”

    “Nope. None.” I said.

    She repeated, more firmly, “I’ll ask you again. Do you have any restrictions on your license? I need to know honestly.”

    “No…I don’t. I mean, I can’t drive a truck or a motorcycle. But those are the only restrictions I can think of.”

    She repeated, more slowly…gesturing, as if I didn’t understand English, “I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about vision. Vision restrictions. Do you wear glasses?”


    Now she seemed annoyed, “You’re sure!?”

    And then it hit me. I looked at her a little sheepishly and whispered, “They’re on my head, aren’t they?”

    She nodded.

    Yep. I had my glasses perched on my head for the entire time I was trying to convince her that I didn’t wear glasses. Beautiful. I sputtered something incoherently to explain that they’re only reading glasses and I don’t need them to drive, but let’s face it…I’m sure I’m on some kind of watch list now.

    I just hope Santa doesn’t hear about my naughtiness. I have been a very good girl in other respects. Hey, I even unpacked all of Dan’s Green Bay Packer stuff in our new home, when I could have easily told him that the movers lost that box. Cut me a break, Santa…that deserves some serious good-girl points! And I have to admit, Dan’s been very good, too. He hasn’t even grumbled when I’ve had him move things around 3, 4, 5 times. And without a complaint, he’s put together more furniture than both Ethan and Allen combined. Heck, it’s all a big, new adventure…and frankly, we’re both having a great time!

    We certainly wish you a beautiful Christmas, and an adventurous Happy New Year.

  • April 24th, 2013TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness

    I think we’ve already established that I was a strange child (see “Bunny:  Wanted for Breaking and Entering“).

    But in addition to being strange, apparently, I also had an anger management issue.  Or I was a good consumer.  I’m not sure which.

    My family has always referred to my lifelong penchant for putting a corporation’s feet to the fire as a “Sea-Monkey Letter”.  So in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I should share that part of my childhood with you.

    You see, when I was 13, I whole-heartedly believed the advertisements for Sea-Monkeys.  Yes.  I was the one.  (I already said I was a strange child…don’t judge.)   So I bought a package of Sea-Monkeys, and (surprise, surprise) they turned out to be a big waste of money and time.  Well, my little 13-year-old-self didn’t intend to take that sitting down.  They had guaranteed if the Sea-Monkeys failed to grow, then for 25 cents and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, they would send replacements.  So complete with little circles dotting the i’s, here’s my first consumer letter to Sea-Monkey headquarters (the brilliantly named “Transcience Corporation”):

    Dear Sirs,

    I bought some Sea-Monkeys about 3 weeks ago.  I know this is early to tell how well they are growing however none of them are doing much growing seeing they all are dead!

    Yeah, apparently I had already learned the importance of a powerful opening paragraph. I went on to say:

    I’ve fed them only genuine “Sea-Monkey food” and they were all around 1/16 of an inch.  This morning I saw the little “pets” floating around with the current.  Not one of them moved.

    Aw, I’m slinging their own corporate marketing lingo right back at them.  That’ll show ‘em! Plus, I’m getting a huge head start on the overuse of quotation marks, which will be a really big topic of conversation in, oh, about 40 years.

    Please tell me how to keep the water clean.  The monkeys aren’t very tidy. 

    The “water purifier” business makes me afraid to add water.  When 70% of the water has evaporated matters get complicated.

    Most people I’ve talked with say the whole thing was a hoax.  I, as usual, was a sucker & bought some.  ”I tried them!” I didn’t like them.

    Okay, so I watched too many commercials when I was 13.  ”Try it, you’ll like it,” was a huge advertising slogan back in the day.  Perhaps I thought I would sound like a more savvy consumer if I knew other companies’ slogans as well?  I dunno.  Again, don’t judge.

    Well my little “pets” are in the big fish bowl in the sky now.  The water up there is probably dirty, too.  Other Sea-Monkey owners say they don’t know how to clean the water.  One family resorted to flushing their little “pets” down the commode.

    Ah, see?  The anger management issue is starting to rear its ugly head.  You can tell I’m getting heated.  Yeaah, it’s about to get ugly up in here!  Okay, okay…I’ll stop interrupting.

    I’m 13 years old and am definitely not a scientific genius.  I don’t know anything about “Sea-Monkeys” and what’s more I don’t want to know.  So please don’t send me my dear little replacements.  All I ask for is my 98 cents back.

    I intend to warn my friends about this experience.  It’s cruel.  I think your whole test tube clan should stick to selling goldfish.  They don’t hatch instantly, but they’re a lot more reliable.

    Thank you.  (For nothing.)

    SNAP!  And with that, I thought I was Consumer of The Year.  The Sea-Monkey corporation would be putty in my hands.  I had threatened to tell my friends!  Okay, so it took me 40 years to make good on that threat.  (Although in my defense, somebody had to invent the internet and social media for me to really get any traction with this.)  But I AM telling my friends about it now.  SO THERE!  I am nothing if not persistent.

    Well, the Sea-Monkey people did write back.  A handwritten note.  On a 3×5 card.

    I honestly think any corporation who sends out their correspondence on a 3×5 card is just not destined for the Fortune 500. Granted, any corporation who sells brine shrimp to unsuspecting children is probably not destined for the Fortune 500 anyway.  But come on! Buy some corporate stationery, people!  Show some Sea-Monkey pride!

    Anyway, they refused to give me my requested refund.  And yes, adding insult to injury, they only included the guaranteed replacements.  (Which I still have, by the way.)

    I guess they weren’t as intimidated by my letter as I had intended.  But it gave my parents a tremendous laugh.  And even though it wasn’t completely successful, the experience somehow gave me a sense of consumer power that has stayed with me.  To this day if a company ticks me off, my husband will widen his eyes and ask if I’m about to write a “Sea Monkey letter”.

    So Corporate America:  beware.  You’d better stock up on 3×5 cards.


  • December 30th, 2012TroubleEnsuedThe Christmas Letters

    This blog, Trouble Ensued, began because of encouraging responses to our annual Christmas letters from our friends.  To keep tradition alive for everyone, here is this year’s scoop…direct from “The Christmas Letter 2012″:

    Merry Christmas!!!  Ho Ho Ho!

    Which reminds me…

    Of Ho-Ho’s.

    I’m sure we all remember exactly where we were when we heard the news that Hostess’s bakeries were closing for good.  Now keep in mind that I hadn’t actually eaten a Twinkie in at least 25 years, but I have always been the poster child for the economic scarcity principle.  So when I fully grasped the concept that there would be no more Twinkies, I immediately and desperately needed…a Twinkie.

    Yes, it was pathological.  But don’t judge me…it’s Christmas, and I’m tellin’ a story here.  So anyway, I quickly threw on some clothes, and hustled over to the grocery store to grab whatever I could…fully prepared to shove aside an angry mob, and defend my right to my fair share of sponge cake and creamy filling.

    Okay, apparently, I was waaaay ahead of the crowd…because there I stood completely alone (except for the Little Debbie delivery guy, who was annoyingly upbeat).  As I faced the fully stocked shelves of Hostess products, my panic wore off and I realized…I had no idea what I actually wanted.  Then it came to me…I’d ask Dan!  That boy was practically built by Hostess.  I knew he’d take the closure news hard, so I’d have to be sensitive with how I broke it to him.  So, in the way that all sensitive, difficult news should be handled…I texted him:  “Hostess shuttering.  At store.  Ding Dongs or Ho-Ho’s?”

    He apparently took the news well, as he quickly answered my either/or question with “Yes”.  But adorably followed it up with “And I’ve never loved you more.”  (See?  This is how easy it is to keep our marriage going.  Buy the guy a box of Ho-Ho’s on Hostess’s closing day, and he’s loyal forever.)

    So now we have a doomsday stash of Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s, and LPD’s (our private term for Little Powdered Donettes).  Of course, more than likely by the time you read this, someone will have bought the Hostess brands, and I will be sitting on a gross of snack cakes for absolutely no reason.  But at least I have my husband’s undying love.

    But don’t worry that our health will suffer from this Hostess binge.  I think Twinkies have about the same half-life as Spam, right?  So we certainly won’t have to eat them all at once.  Plus, we’re both still exercising, doing Pilates every week.  In fact we’re so advanced at this point that our instructor has even named specific movements after us.  “The Tracey” is a very difficult crunch-type sit up against resistance.  “The Dan” is going to the water fountain to get a drink of water and stall for time.  Just sayin’.

    The funniest Pilates day of all though was when Dan came home completely brutalized from his workout.  He was so exhausted, he could barely push his recliner into a full layback.

    What the heck could have happened?  He looked at me with these big, round, sad eyes and pathetically said, ”You know that our instructor is Canadian.  From the minute I walked in today, she apparently thought I was a baby seal…and proceeded to club me to death.”

    And because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut…that’s how Dan got his new nickname:  “The Baby Seal”.

    And that little bit of knowledge is my Christmas gift to you.  Use it well.

    Speaking of gifts, hope you’ve mailed your letters to Santa by now.  Me?  I’m asking for a second television remote…so that I can surreptitiously override Dan’s remote when he pauses the TV.  See, television has become a lot more interactive around our house because Dan pauses it all the time to give me pop quizzes.  For instance, he’s decided I need to have an even deeper understanding of football and basketball.  So in the middle of a game, he’ll hit pause to ask if I can read the coverage or have me explain where a pick-and-roll went horribly wrong.  I’m so confused at this point that I could probably list myself as a victim of head trauma from sports!

    But up ’til now, I’ve been pretty tolerant of his “teaching moments”.  That is, until he asked Santa to bring him a laser pointer so that he could do his John-Madden-thing without getting up from the recliner. At that point I knew I was gonna need a remote of my own to combat the dreaded pause. (Don’t tell him.  Please.  Just let him think that his pause button is broken.)

    Although the other day, he did pause “X Factor” to tell me how he thought Khloe Kardashian’s skirt could be better designed to more flatter her figure.  I didn’t know whether to nod in agreement, or call a psychiatrist.  But I think we can agree, I’ve apparently made him watch too much “Project Runway”.  So maybe we’ve had a fair trade-off after all, and I should just go with the flow on this sports thing.

    Well, lemme get back to work.  I’m sure, like me, you’re working hard to get all your Christmas decorations up.  This year, I put little Christmas stockings on all the doorknobs in the house. But it didn’t take long to realize that they’re going to get in the way every time I try to close a door.  I said to Dan ”I don’t know how I’ll live with these.  Have you ever tried to live with something that’s really cute, but it’s just seriously annoying?”  His eyes pretty much said, “Welcome to my world.”

    But he really wants that laser pointer so he didn’t dare say it out loud.

    Well, The Baby Seal and I wish you a spectacularly Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We truly believe that 2013 will be a great year! (What do the Mayans know anyway!)  So Ho Ho Ho and Ho-Ho’s!  Now go celebrate…

  • November 17th, 2012TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness


    We live in a neighborhood that has seen more than its fair share of “missing cat” signs taped to stop signs and light poles.  They’ve almost become part of every day life here.

    But I had to do a double take when I saw this sign for a missing tortoise last year.

    By now you know my mind…and the thought of a missing tortoise certainly set that mind to reeling.

    First of all, how bad does life have to get for a tortoise to actually put forth the effort to leave home?  I can understand cats wandering off to explore.  Or dogs roaming the neighborhood in search of puppy love.

    But I mean, what is a big motivator for a tortoise to make tracks?  Was he thinking,  ”Lettuce?  Again?  Are you *kidding* me?  I’m outta here!”?  Or maybe he had noticed that his owner had recently cut out recipes for Turtle Soup?  The possibilities are making my head hurt.

    Knowing that I can’t get into the mind of a tortoise, I move to my second more logistical question:  exactly how long does it take for a tortoise to make a break for it?

    It seems to me that you could wash the car, mow the lawn, and read a couple chapters of War and Peace before the tortoise would even be able to make it down the driveway!  “Yes, Officer. I only turned my back for 4 1/2 hours, and he was GONE!”

    Yeah, I think this is the kind of pet problem that could have been prevented.

    Moving on to my third issue.  Why the picture?  Are there so many tortoises roaming the neighborhood that you need to provide identifying marks so that I’ll be looking for the right one?

    I mean, frankly, if you told me to be on the look out for a tortoise…that would pretty much be all the information I needed.  Listen, if I found a tortoise, I somehow doubt that I would hold up the picture next to him and decide, “Nah…I think the one I’m looking for had greener spots on his feet.  Off you go…sorry for the inconvenience.”

    No.  I would just see if he answered to his name.  Duh.

    Now please understand, I am joking because…admit it…it is a little bit funny.  But if it were my tortoise, I certainly would be heartbroken.  So I do feel bad for the family.  Especially now, after reading last week that a missing tortoise from Alamogordo NM was found 10 days later…50 miles away!!  Apparently, when highly motivated, tortoises can seriously MOVE!

    Hmmm…makes me think maybe they need to expand the search!  It’s been over a year since he went missing.  This little guy could be in Bolivia by now.

    Jerrrrrrrry!?!?!  Where arrrrrrrre you?????


  • November 15th, 2012TroubleEnsuedThings I Love

    Every rare once in a while, I find a product that so exceeds my expectations that I can’t help becoming an evangelist. And I’m here to evangelize Eco Vessel’s Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Water Bottle / Filtration Bottle with 100 Gallon Filter as a complete win-win product.

    I’m SAVING money, going GREEN by eliminating use of plastic, drinking DELICIOUS water, drinking HEALTHIER water, am better PREPARED for emergencies, and can TRAVEL with all those benefits intact. Seriously…how many “wins” can you fit into one win-win situation? Well, lemme explain…

    Taste, Expense, Environmental Impact (and did I mention Taste?)

    I like to think that I’m generally not high maintenance (stop…I can hear you snickering). But I admit to being a complete pain in the neck where water is concerned. I am ridiculously finicky about taste. Yes, I can do the old “Pepsi Challenge” and identify various brands of bottled water in a blind taste test. I am ridiculously finicky.

    And I drink a LOT of water. Buying as much bottled water as I needed was just becoming a crazy expense. Plus I was truly beginning to regret my impact on the planet by going through that much plastic. So I began my search for a personal, refillable water bottle to replace the plastic throwaways.

    But what about the taste!?!!? I certainly couldn’t just refill a water bottle from the tap. Even water from my under-sink filter didn’t taste good to me. Hmmmm…what about a water bottle that contained its own filter? Yep, I found it!

    Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Water Bottle / Filtration Bottle with 100 Gallon Filter

    What this water bottle does for tap water is off-the-hook amazing. Its plant-based filter works as you suck the water up through the “straw” top of the bottle (the water comes easily up the straw…doesn’t take a world of effort, unlike some other filtered water bottles).  And the water tastes DELICIOUS! (Remember…I’m finicky.)

    And yes, the bottle is BPA free, made from food grade quality stainless steel!

    It’s insulated, too.  Which means on a hot day, I can fill it with cold water…and the water will still be cold hours later.  So refreshing and so convenient!

    Plus, Eco Vessel states that the filter removes 99.9% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium, reduces toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens and chlorine.  So, understand…now I’m not only drinking water that tastes fantastic…but it’s also been filtered to actually be healthier!

    Emergency Preparedness

    Now, this is so brilliant…I feel like it needs a drum roll please!  Because of the filtration process, their Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Water Bottle would be the perfect addition to an Emergency Preparedness kit for those of us in earthquake or hurricane territory.

    From now on, if I am told that our tap water is no longer drinkable, I won’t have to think “YUCK” when utilizing standard emergency water sources like water heater reserves and toilet flush tanks.  It would be worth the purchase price just to keep a bottle on hand if only for emergencies!

    For Hikers and the Outdoorsy

    Eco Vessel also mentioned because of the filtering process, their Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Water Bottle allows you to safely drink from rivers…a perfect water bottle to have with you when hiking or camping, in case of emergency.

    Now before you all die laughing, yes, we all know my odds of getting caught in the outdoors without a nearby cabana boy is slim. But seriously, if this bottle will allow me to safely drink from a river, then how much more assured am I that it is safely filtering the water from my tap! And those of you who do love the outdoors…wouldn’t this be a great addition to your gear?

    For those of you serious about your numbers, Eco Vessel’s customer service told me,  ”Filter tested to meet or exceed NSF Standard 53 for cyst removal.  We also meet or exceed NSF Standard 42 which pertains to odor and taste.”  In English?  Healthier and tastier.


    I’m starting to feel like a bad TV commercial…but I have to say it:        ”And that’s not all!”

    When I’d go out of town, it was never fun to pay the exorbitant “mini bar” rate for the bottled water in the hotel room, or take time to find a nearby shop to stock up. Well, I’ve started traveling with my Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Water Bottle. It’s extremely light when empty, so adds practically nothing to my luggage allowance. But it makes hotel tap water taste just as delicious as it makes my water at home…with no muss, fuss, or extra expense.

    A Complete Win-Win

    So as I said at the beginning of the post, my water world is now cheaper, greener, yummier, and healthier. And emergencies, activities or travel won’t interfere with that one little bit. I can’t help but be enthusiastic!

    By the way, it comes with a 100-gallon filter.  100 gallons? Come on…that’s a lot of water. But when it comes time to replace the filter, replacement filters are available for around $16. Much cheaper than 100 gallons of bottled water, right?!

    Read the reviews about the Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Water Bottle for yourself. And you can absolutely trust me when I say the water tastes delicious. And you know for me, taste was the number one goal. The rest is just an amazing bonus!

    You can purchase through Amazon or directly through Eco Vessel’s website.


    I’d like you to know that if you purchase this product from one of my links I may receive a small advertising commission.  However, maintaining an honest relationship with you is more important than the lure of advertising money.  So regardless of the incentive, I only write about products that I actually use myself and am truly crazy in love with.

  • October 19th, 2012TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness

    “What is that giant pimple doing right in the middle of my forehead?” I thought as I stared in the mirror without my glasses on.

    Yep. That’s what I was thinking…just before I looked into the 10x magnifying mirror and realized it wasn’t a zit at all. It was the mother of all age spots. Suddenly my tune changed, and I was really wishing it was a zit…or insect bite…or leprosy…or anything except an age spot.

    And that’s when it hit me that this is becoming a sad pattern of mine. Lately, I’ve been rooting for all my annoyances to be some sort of illness or disease, instead of letting them just be old age.

    You think I’m kidding? Take for example the white spots that started popping up on my legs. I went to the dermatologist actually hoping that it was Tinea Versicolor, a moderately creepy fungal disease.  I sat on the examining table, bright-eyed and full of hope that I was tragically infected with fungus.  Yet my dear dermatologist (who apparently moonlights as a standup at The Comedy Store), laughed and snappily delivered the one-liner:

    “Nope.  Old Age.”

    Cute.  All she needed was a rim shot.  Bad-um ching!  Disease 0, Old Age 1.

    But sometimes this disease concept works in my favor.  For instance, I’ve been really bothered by the wrinkles on my neck. Really bothered.  Katherine-Hepburn-wearing-turtlenecks bothered.  Granted the exact same wrinkles have been prominent on my neck since my first grade school photo.  I was cute as a button in first grade, but my neck looked 50. Now my neck still looks 50, but the rest of me is not exactly looking “button-ey” anymore.  So now it just looks like garden-variety “old age” neck.


    Artist’s rendering


    Anyway, I digress.  Let’s just establish that I had recently decided to go on a campaign against my middle-aged neck.  And like magic, within a few months of my new resolve, the wrinkles started going away.  At first I actually thought that it was the new miracle cream I had bought…at the drugstore…for $10. (Yeah, I know, what were the odds?  Shut up.)

    But the wrinkles really were going away!!  I was so excited that I had stumbled on the Fountain of Youth. But alas, the water in my particular Fountain of Youth was ice cold…because when I went in for my annual physical, the doctor said it was a enlarged thyroid.

    Beautiful.  Disease 1, Old Age 1.

    But now I have a decision to make.  Do I actually want my thyroid to shrink?  Won’t the wrinkles come back?  I’ll look just like I did when I was 6!  (Wait.  That really didn’t sound as awful as I intended it to.)  But the point is that once again, I find myself rooting for an illness or disease.

    So if you see me in the near future, and you think to yourself that my neck looks Photoshopped…don’t bother asking me what I decided to do about my thyroid condition. Just give me a hug, and let me live in denial.  (And don’t worry as we hug…the spots that have now moved onto my arms, *still* are not a fungus.)

  • September 22nd, 2012TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean I actually have to work at my marriage.  By this point, we’ve pretty much got the whole relationship-thing down to a science without a lot of effort.  What I mean, is that if you marry a business man, expect business to bleed over into your home life.

    Look, I thought I was signing up for an MRS.  I ended up with an MBA.

    And I’m talkin’ simple things.  Like breakfast.

    I asked Dan what he wanted for breakfast over the weekend.  Most husbands would probably just say, “Whatever.”  What did mine do?  He grabbed a white board out of his office, and charted the various possibilities for breakfast and/or brunch, additionally noting how they impacted dinner later.

    Seriously?  We’re going to sit here and white board breakfast?

    Why, yes we are:



    Another example:  one of Dan’s favorite television shows is Shark Tank.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a panel of venture capitalists who are approached by entrepreneurs seeking investment capital for new businesses.  In a competitive environment, business owners pitch the promise of their ideas, and the Sharks either make an offer of investment or laugh them out of the room. It’s kinda like they turned the board room into a board game.

    So we’re watching one particular business man as he ended his pitch, when Dan suddenly grabbed the remote, paused the show, turns to me and asks, “What will the Sharks offer?”

    Oh crap!  A pop quiz!

    So here I am on a Friday night, trying to quickly figure out revenue, multiples, and business valuations in my head…and I graduated from drama school for crying out loud!  But after a few seconds of mental gymnastics, I gave him my answer.  And then he hit “play”.

    Darn it all if Mark Cuban didn’t proceed to say the EXACT same thing that I had just said.  Tah-dah!  Take THAT Mister Business Man!!!

    Dan looked at me approvingly and said, “My work here is done.”

    So yeah, marriage is work.  At least mine is.  At least for now.  I did ask Dan if it would always be this way, and he admitted there was a chance it wouldn’t be.  Although granted, he actually gave me the SEC disclaimer: “Past performance does not guarantee future results.”

    Just kill me now.

  • September 4th, 2012TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness


    If I could reclaim all the time that I have spent looking for my reading glasses, I could live to be a hundred.  I even lost them for several minutes while I was writing this blog post.  (Not kidding!)

    Apparently, I am incapable of keeping track of exactly where they are at any given moment.  Usually they alternate between teetering precariously on the tip of my nose to perching on the top of my head.  They make that round trip about a thousand times a day.  Hey, sometimes I’ve even found two pairs on top of my head!

    Then there are other times, when I seem to unconsciously take them off and leave them in ever-increasingly-bizarre places around the house, much to my husband’s chagrin.

    “What are you doing?” “I’m looking for my glasses!” is an almost constant call and response in our house.

    So to my story:  I was in the midst of having an unusually productive day. I had unpacked some boxes, cleaned the kitchen, laundered the bedding, taken a swim, done some paperwork, thrown stuff into recycling, and even started to repair a cellular blind. But when I reached up on top of my head to grab my glasses, I found myself crazily clutching at air.  They weren’t there.

    ARGH!  Not again.  This set me off on a search of the house. I looked everywhere.  Nada.  Zilch.  Bupkis.

    Sensing my frustration (and also sensing that his day wasn’t going to get any better until my glasses were located), my hubby joined in the search. We both carefully retraced my steps to no avail.  The poor guy even searched through the big blue recycling container in case they might’ve tumbled into it as I threw stuff away.  I headed into the bedroom to un-make the bed, hoping maybe they might be hiding inside a pillowcase or something.

    And that’s when I heard Hubby yell “I found them!”  I started running towards his voice only to hear, “And you’re not going to like it!”

    He was outside.  He was laughing.  Laughing so hard that tears were actually rolling down his cheeks. When he finally regained his composure, he looked at me and oh-so-smugly said, “I think there needs to be a picture of this.  And a ‘post’ of some sort!”

    He pointed.

    My glasses were lying on the bottom of the swimming pool.  Yep.  Apparently, I had jumped in to take a swim with my glasses still neatly perched on top of my head.

    Me and my glasses had both finally hit bottom.


  • April 5th, 2012TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness


    I was a strange child.  I’m perfectly willing to admit that right off the bat.  So it should come as no surprise that Easter weekends always made me very nervous.

    Yes, Easter is usually a joyful holiday, filled with the smiles and laughter of children.  But those are normal children.  I was pretty much a complete wreck starting on Good Friday.  Why?  Because it seemed to be widely accepted that at some point during the weekend, an unsupervised animal was going to be entering all of our homes while we slept.

    My parents thought it was cute.  “The Easter Bunny is coming tonight!!!”

    Oh yippee.  Seriously?  Was no one else bothered by the fact that rabbits generally left a plethora of pellets and saw dust in their wake, and spent much of their time chewing through electric cords?

    I was just a kid.  It wasn’t my house, so I really couldn’t do much about it.  I wasn’t able to alert the authorities, because I wasn’t even tall enough to reach the big yellow phone hanging on the kitchen wall.  And yeah, let’s face it, there was always something in it for me (candy, stuffed animals, toys).  So I was slightly hesitant to go so far as to actively rat the Bunny out.  But I was really mystified by my parents’ lack of concern in the face of an impending home invasion.

    Hey, my dad wouldn’t even let the dog in the house!  But a wild bunny?  Nooooo problem.

    I think my folks always assumed I looked exhausted on Easter morning because I had been too excited to sleep.  No.  I had been awake all night with worry:

    How did the Bunny get in?  Did we leave the door unlocked all night?  Did that also put us at risk from copy-cat criminals?  How much time did the Bunny spend in the house?  Did he go through our stuff?  Would he chew up the edges of the National Geographics that seemed to multiply in the living room like, well…like rabbits?  Did he ever bite people?  Did he have all of his shots?  WHAT WAS GOING ON, and why did everybody blindly accept this crazy annual Bunny B&E, except for me?

    Oh yeah…because I was a strange child.

    So by Easter morning I was an overwrought, sleepless mess who basically needed the massive infusion of sugar contained in the Bunny’s basket just to get going.  A quick check of the electric cords and the National Geographics eased my mind a bit.  Okay.  Breathe.  Everything’s okay.  We apparently dodged a bullet this time.  I can put my bunny worries to rest.

    Until next year.

    And don’t even get me started on Santa.

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