Things Shauna Cannot Do – Part II

1. Help herself from feeling sorry for Tony Romo.
2. Refer to Tony Romo by only his first name.
3. Keep herself from wanting to punch Jason in the head when he tickles her.
4. Remember not to crack her head on the vanity every morning when she turns her head upside down to dry her hair.
5. Pretend to be happy when interrupted during her lunch hour.
6. Visit the pets for adoption at PetSmart without experiencing “something in her eye.”
7. Remove dead fish from the fishtank without imagining them coming to life at key tank-removal moments (i.e., when fish is mere inches from her face).
8. Go longer than 28 minutes without applying chapstick.
9. Be happy about performing cardio.
10. Keep herself from doodling poorly drawn flowers while talking on the phone.

Out with the old

Hey, how are you guys doing? Can you please answer a few questions for me? 1) What are your New Year’s Eve plans? and 2) How many Christmases do you celebrate? (For example, do you travel to Grandma’s, have a celebration with your own family, and then travel to your significant other’s family? That would be three Christmases.)

As for us, we’re going out to dinner tonight and then relaxing at home by finishing up our 2007 cribbage, foosball and dart tournaments. (I am totally losing in cribbage and darts, but thank god for foosball.) For the Christmases, we have five, FIVE Christmases to celebrate every year via various family and family-offshoot gatherings (actually 6, before we decided to rotate families every other year) and it is getting to be a bit much, what with all the traveling and the whole “driving instead of relaxing” that happens. So we’re going to figure out a way to fix that while still retaining holiday cheer and familial harmony. Yeah, right.

Anyway, I’m finishing up a cold, so I’ve got to go before my nasal passages pledge their entire contents to the Kleenex Foundation Telethon. Have a safe and fun-filled New Year’s Eve and we’ll see you in 2008, where I’ve vowed to eat more bacon and yet eat healthier at the same time.

Scarier than a horror movie

Last night, Jason and I went downstairs to eat in front of the TV. (Because we are fancy.)

Right before I sat down, I smelled cat poop.

“Ugh!” I said. “Someone just dropped a dook!” I quickly disposed of the deposit, subconsciously noting its smaller-than-normal size, before sitting back down to my plate before Sunny filched my deliciously marinated steak.

After doing the dishes and coming back downstairs, I still smelled something stinky. I checked the litter box again, but nothing was amiss. No litter strewn about in a happy-go-lucky manner, no missed deposits, no cat dragging their butt along the carpeting.

But yet, every few minutes I caught a faint whiff of crap, to the point I was starting to doubt my sanity. I thought maybe I was experiencing a stroke or having olfactory hallucinations. “Great,” I thought. “Some people smell flowers or baked goods. I smell poop.”

Jason even went on a poop hunt for me, looking underneath our coffee table and checking the cats’ butts. All clear.

And yet the smell of phantom feline feces remained. After a few more minutes, I sat up on the couch and said, “I can still smell CAT POOP.”

Jason then sat up and with a comical eye pop, pointed to the floor and said, “That’s because there’s some RIGHT THERE!!!”

And he wasn’t joking. There on the carpet, less than four inches from my foot and even more importantly, less than 10 inches from where I had been eating, sat a perfectly formed and horrifically long cat turd.

“EEEEWWW!” we both screamed, as I ran to get toilet paper to clean it up and Jason rubbed his arms to get rid of the giant case of heeby-jeebies he recently acquired.

“Jesus,” I said, incredulous. “How did we not see THAT? It was practically touching my FOOT!”

“God!” Jason said. “That is freaking disgusting.”

“It was on the floor all along, right? It’s not like it fell out of the blanket I JUST PUT ON MY LAP, RIGHT?!?”

And then we spent the rest of the night alternately screaming and sanitizing everything in our house while the cats napped, the end.

lazy head mazy

Thank you so much for the wonderful birthday wishes. It was a great day. Jason got me some new Twins gear (an awesome jersey, hooded sweatshirt and t-shirt) and then took me to Dave & Buster’s so he could decimate me in the basketball-shooting game. (I am the WORST at that game.) It was a fun time and it was so great to have the week off.

The weather has been perfect all week, too. It was 66 degrees on Monday, so I tossed my winter gear in the closet and can now wear tennis shoes instead of clompy boots outside. The poop swamp is gone and our yard is now contaminant-free. (For now.) There’s only a few stubborn ice remnants left, and I kindly help them out by stomping on them with my heels so they can disappear faster. GET OUT, WINTER.

A neighbor cat peed on our patio window last weekend, so I washed it (the window, not the cat, although I would love to get even with that window-peeing menace), and then washed the inside of the window, and you guys, seeing the sun stream in through crystal-clear glass healed my soul. I’m not kidding. We took the plastic off our windows and opened up doors and screens and it was heavenly. Just heavenly. I knew winter this year was really affecting me, but I didn’t realize how close to the end of my unravelled, unknotted rope I was.

Hey, do you want to hear about my stupid dream neurosis? I hate when people in my dreams don’t listen to me. Last night, I was with a group of people fighting off evil attackers in some post-apocalyptic world. We drove off the last of the evil-doers and started congratulating each other, when I turned around and there stood Eric Bogosian. And I was like, “What the hell is HE doing here?” And people were telling me, “It’s cool. He’s with us.” And I said, “NO. That is Eric Bogosian. He’s a bad guy.” And they said, “No, no, he’s a GOOD guy.” And so on. They wouldn’t listen to me, even when I insisted that Eric Bogosian is ALWAYS the bad guy, don’t they know ANYTHING? And sure enough, a hidden group of bad guys ambushed us, Eric Bogosian started laughing evilly and saying, “I double-crossed you,” and as I started fighting back I shrieked, “Why doesn’t anyone LISTEN to me?”

Man, even in my sleep I’m a whiner.

You guys listen to me, right? Right?


The name game

This past week has been so wearying, so heavily burdened, so disappointing, I’m taking it personally and anthropomorphizing everything.

My iPod is named Sammy. Jason’s work-induced stress ulcer is named Frank. (Also, his ulcer is Italian.)

The headache I’ve had off and on for nearly a week is called Stephen, but it insists on pronouncing it “Steeeeven” instead of “Steffen” because that’s so much more annoying. (Also, Stephen should not be confused with Steven, my pool cue.)

My overall mood this week – which pinballed between grim desperation, excessive annoyance, homicidal rage, teetering despair, giddy silliness and throbbing headachey-ness – is named Mark.

In other words, life right now is being a Dick.

Product review: Feliway diffuser

Awhile back, I purchased a Feliway diffuser for the cats (specifically, Abby). Its claim is that it contains pheromones to calm your cats and prevent them from spraying, whining incessantly and possibly, hanging from the ceiling fan meowing the lyrics to “Cat Scratch Fever.”

At the time, Abby was 100% nocturnal, and Jason and I were desperate for sleep. (Note: by “desperate,” I mean we were each clinging tightly to our last shred of sanity as we gently bobbed in The Sea of Madness.) Abby’s nightly routine at the time involved the following activities, usually performed simultaneously:

– Jumping on the bed
– Jumping on the headboard
– Jumping on my exposed, tender face
– Pawing at the blankets near my head
– Pawing at my head
– Smacking her lips
– Whining
– Batting the blinds
– Licking the windows
– Licking the blankets
– Licking herself

It got to the point that whenever I saw Abby sleeping during the day, I’d go over to her and shake her awake, saying, “No! You sleep when WE sleep.”

Then we purchased the Feliway diffuser and a few days later … peace. Peace and quiet, peace of mind. We attributed our good fortune to happenstance, the change in weather and our newfound ability to function solely without REM activity.

Our latest diffuser ran out a week ago. I wasn’t going to order any more because I still wasn’t convinced it was the reason for Abby’s positive nighttime behavior.

But for six nights in a row, I have lain awake cringing at the sounds of Abby tak tak tak-ing her way across the hardwood floor. I have endured the resulting licking and jumping and constant.moving.around.that.never.ends.EVER.

My left shoulder is messed up from always having to sleep on my left side. If I don’t, I enjoy an endless one-cat production called Cat Pawing On Blanket: You’ll Think I’ll Eventually Stop, But I Won’t.

We have tried closing the bedroom door, but Jason and I only lasted 14 minutes before the unceasing door pounding/caterwauling/wood scratching nearly led us to turn on each other.

I have pushed Abby off the bed, heaving a great big sigh of relief as I listen to the diminishing tapping sounds of her “exit,” only to immediately hear her turn around and jump back up.

This morning, I finally ordered some replacement diffusers. Because I’m ready to admit they really work.

Rating: 4 out of 5 pickles


Want to hear something spooky, something so supernatural the hairs on your neck will stand up and salute?

I have powers.

Not necessarily powers that are awe-inspiring, mind you. For example, I can’t teleport or light a cigarette using my finger. I can’t fly or stop time or shoot icicles from my fingertips.

I can however, make dining establishments build locations close to my home.

It happened a few months ago, when I wished for a Dave & Buster’s to appear and it did. At the time, I had no idea of my powers and proclaimed that I wanted a Jimmy John’s near me.

And today, after months of fervent wishing, it happened. In the location that I desired, three blocks from our house.

It wasn’t all happiness and rainbows, though. It took lots of mental dedication and a refusal to give up. First, a Starbucks went up. Then a nail salon. Since only four more spots were available, I had to step it up. So I concentrated extra hard.

And I made it happen with my mind.

It’s there. The sign says so: Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. Three blocks away.

I hope they deliver.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wish for a Big Boy Restaurant.

Band review – The Dropkick Murphys

If you’ve been listening to these guys since their start in 1996, you’re a smarter person than I am. I became familiar with the band less than two months ago when Shauna and I went to see The Departed. After the movie, the first thing that came out of both of our mouths, rather than critiquing the movie (it was great, by the way), was “Did you hear that song at the beginning of the movie?!”

Since then I’ve picked up all five of their studio albums and a collection of their singles, rarities, and live recordings. That’s right, in less than two month’s time.

These guys are great. They are a punk rock-style Irish band. Along with their own songs, they also sing traditional Celtic songs with a hard edge. Bagpipes, driving guitars, and tin whistles with heavy vocals. You couldn’t ask for more.

Their latest CD, “The Warrior’s Code” is probably their best work, but each of their discs sounds as good as their last. Check them out, they’re worth it.

What’s in a name?

My cousin Joe has always had a fascination with unique football player names. One year, when he was amused by the name R.W. McQuarters (who then played for the 49ers), his mom spent hours on the phone trying to procure a jersey for him and somehow inadvertently got connected to the 49ers coaches room.

She ended up talking to a bewildered Steve Mariucci (the head coach), who kept asking her, “HOW did you get this number?” while she politely asked if he was the person who could sell her a jersey over the phone because she had her credit card ready and everything.

The next year, during the Thanksgiving game between the Bears and Lions, Joe decided we should pick a name and all take a drink any time the announcers said it.

He picked the name Urlacher. As in Brian Urlacher – the heart and soul of the Bears. In fact, even though Urlacher was a rookie at the time, the announcers couldn’t help but gush about him, mentioning his name exactly 32987238957783 times. And this was just during the pre-game. Luckily, none of us were drinking alcohol or I’d be writing this from the grave.

The NFL is rife with unique names. Like Rex Hadnot of the Dolphins: “I thought you had it, Rex!” “HadNOT!”

Or Trent Dilfer of the 49ers, whose name is now an insulting putdown: “Seriously man, don’t be such a Dilfer.”

Or Mark Colombo of the Cowboys: “How would I know where the quarterback is? I’m not Colombo. Oh wait…”

Or Todd Weiner of the Falcons. (This is only funny to me, probably. Because I grew up in a small town whose 17 of its 20 4-H members had last names that were either Weiner, Burger or Bacon.)

But then a few weeks ago, I saw The Name. The name to top all names. The name that made me want to immediately go out and purchase the jersey, even though the player is a member of the St. Louis Rams, who I vehemently rooted against in Super Bowl XXXIV for the sole reason that I could not stand Kurt Warner’s wife.

The name is Incognito.

Richie Incognito.

How freaking cool is THAT?


Best name ever.

CD review: Bon Jovi – New Jersey

I was visiting my favorite used CD store in town the other day, looking for old and new “gems” to add to my collection. Cheapo has the largest selection, and everything is broken into categories, so you know right where to look.

As I’m on my hunt, I stumble across this CD by the artist Bon Jovi. The hipster store clerk lisped to me with his pierced tongue that they are a relatively obscure band. Great, a diamond in the rough.