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This is probably not the kind of thing I should admit publicly, so it will fit right in on my blog. But in times of excessive stress, I find great comfort in listening to Disney songs. I’m not sure how I made this discovery or exactly how I came to have parts of Classic Disney 1, 2 and 3 in my iTunes library, but listening to some of these songs – “Under the Sea,” “Be Our Guest,” and oddly, the song from the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, as well as the Electric Light Parade music, go a long way toward bringing me closer back to my happy place. Maybe it’s the connection to the Happiest Place on Earth – even though I’ve never felt that draw to Disney the way some others do. But it is a place of sort-of escapism (except for the maddening press of humanity that surrounds you when you’re there).

The song that makes me happiest, though, is “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. I listen to that song and I want to be a chimney sweep in London. Which is just ridiculous because are there even chimney sweeps anymore? It can’t be a viable profession, really, and if it exists, it’s certainly not a safe one, although I’m sure there are just pages of OSHA regulations for cleaning chimneys. But Dick Van Dyke sounds so damn HAPPY with his job.

Now, as the ladder of life ‘as been strung
You might think a sweep’s on the bottommost rung
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this ‘ole wide world there’s no ‘appier bloke

I want to feel that way. He makes it sound so romantic, so free.

Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
‘Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When there’s ‘ardly no day nor ‘ardly no night
There’s things ‘alf in shadow and ‘alfway in light
On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!

Pure escapism, I know. I just want to get away, to run and hide and be somewhere magical. Perhaps the most logical choice would be a beach somewhere, or a cruise ship, or some sort of vacation spot that is not the roof of a house in the middle of a city; a roof containing a chimney that I am responsible for cleaning soot and probably bird shit out of. But there you go. That’s the magic of Disney, making it sound like it’s the best place in the world to escape your troubles. And when I’m wide awake at 5 a.m., having once again used wine and food as a band-aid, with the typical lack of success, I feel like any alternatives have to be better – even ones that involve brooms and brushes and soot. If I could just stand on a rooftop and get away from it all, I’d be one happy bloke.


what not to say

me: I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I’ve cried twice and I’m not hormonal at all.

him: maybe it’s an age thing. You know, as you get older.

me: That was the completely wrong thing to say. If there was an absolutely perfect response, that was the total opposite.

him: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I just meant …. you know, how as your aunt got older she went ….

me: … completely batshit, as opposed to just sort of batshit?

him: umm ….

me: ….

him: I love you! A lot!

totally not like riding a bike

I discovered recently that a really horrible thing has happened to me. I kind of suspected it might be a problem, but I was unwilling to really admit it until it was right in my face. Once that happened, though, I was forced to acknowledge that it’s true.

I have forgotten how to shop.

I know. It was tough to type it, and even tougher to admit it. It’s kind of like Lance Armstrong forgetting how to ride a bike. Except … well, I guess they say you never forget how to ride a bike, so maybe that’s not a good example. Because this wasn’t one of those things that you walk away from for several years and then come back to and find that, oh yeah, I totally remember how to do this. No. I was just like those people on What Not to Wear, the ones who are handed the $5,000 gift card and then sent into Manhattan’s finest department stores and shops, only to stand there looking like a deer in headlights, searching around them for something familiar to grab on to;  that one item of clothing that they’ll see and say, Oh, yes, I understand that. I know what it is, I know I should try it on and I can envision that it will look good on me. Only that doesn’t happen because nowhere in these shops is a $7 Basic T from Target, which is the one final item of clothing people who lose their shopping skills understand.

I used to mock those people. I used to watch WNTW faithfully, every Friday night. And from the safe confines of my living room I was snarky and catty and entertained by the sheer ineptitude of the fashion victims. Because I knew how to shop. Oh yes. Shopping was my thing. It was my sport, my hobby, my favorite passtime. I spent at least one full day every weekend (and, it goes without saying, a lot of money) shopping. I felt annoyed with the WNTW participants because if I was given a $5,000 gift card and sent into Macy’s, I would ROCK IT. It’s not that I was high-fashion; I wasn’t all runway, Fashion Week, super trendy. But I was pretty freakin’ stylish and cute. I had hundreds of pairs of shoes in all types and heights of heels. Boots – oh, the boots. Every color, including hot pink. And outfits to go with all of them. I had a lot of clothes.

So then, you know, shit happened, I got fat, I got married, I got fiscally responsible. I stopped shopping. For FOUR YEARS. Then last week my mom followed through on her promise that if I lost the weight she’d take me shopping for my birthday. Mom and I used to do some serious shopping damage. We’d tear up the Florida Mall on Black Fridays.  We’d go to New York and put a dent in Macy’s. I could take on an H&M and emerge victorious.

But as it turns out, shopping is a behavior you can forget. I tried to start too big, with H&M. H&M is a hard store to shop, even for the skilled shopper. There’s sort of this pretense of departments, but really there are just clothes everywhere. It takes a practiced hand to know where to go and what you’re looking at. I crumbled within five minutes and headed for my old, safe standby, New York & Co. It was always a place I could find work clothes – some decent pants, a cute top or two. But I ran out of that store practically in tears. It beat me.

It took Ann Taylor Loft to get me in the grove. It doesn’t come much safer than ATL – everything is safe, classic and put together for you. Not much thinking required. I’m not proud, but it was in the safe zone of ATL I was able to get any significant pieces. And then – even safer? Old Navy. Yes. I did the bulk of my shopping at Old Navy. Uninspired and inexpensive, but easy.

We tried the department stores after that, but once again I was overwhelmed. I was like those victims I used to mock on WTNW, wandering terrified through the racks like the chick on the Blair Witch Project trying to find her way out of the woods.

It wasn’t pretty and I’m disappointed in myself. I’m going to have to go back into training. Don’t tell my husband.


I’ve been in a horrific funk lately. I’d say I don’t know why, but that’s not entirely true.

When you get married you agree to that whole “for better or for worse” thing. In the almost three years since I’ve been married, I’ve been pretty lucky that it’s mostly all been for better. Sure, there are ups and downs, but it’s mostly been good. But then the hub took a new job. It was a long, difficult decision in which we both participated, weighing pros and cons, and to be honest, it seemed like a pretty major no-brainer. The old company was being sold, his future there was uncertain, and this opportunity was with a big company, one that seemed to have no issues as far as its future or sustainability. Moreover, it was a company that was rated one of the top family-friendly companies in the area, one of the best to work for, with great benefits. The job was right up his alley and offered lots of learning opportunities.

Well, two months later and the only thing that’s proved to be true is that the benefits are good and he is learning a lot. Sadly, he’s also miserable. He’s had to work insane hours, and comes home and continues to work just to stay caught up. He’s stressed and overworked and, in spite of assurances during the interview that there would be little field work, has had to drive all over the place at ungodly hours and in unsafe places. We can’t make plans because we don’t know when he’s working. Family friendly? Only if never seeing your family is considered friendly.

It’s tough to be constantly stressed out by your job. I’ve been guilty of it more often than not. And while I’ve really been able to manage mine lately (at least for the moment) his has rubbed off on me. We’re both on edge. We’re tense, we’re frustrated. When he was at home, when we both worked at home, we were able to split the household chores. He took out the trash. We were able to take turns on the dishes and taking care of the dogs. Now that I’m the only one home all day, I feel like I’ve become a housewife, in spite of the fact that I still work a full-time job.

So I’m not sure, exactly, why I’m in this funk although I assume that general sense of unhappiness is part of it. I’ve tried medicating via diet – eating clean, healthy and well-balanced foods. I’ve never eaten so clean as have this week, in fact, and it even showed on the scale, but not in my mood. I’ve tried to make sure I’m getting lots of exercise – you know, the nonsense about exercise releasing endorphins. Nothing. And even my old fallback xanax only has limited effect – it numbs the funk a little, takes it down to a lower level. But it’s still there. Life is boring, monotonous, unmanageable.

I’d like to go to sleep and wake up sometime in late March, to be honest.

bringin’ it back

I’m bringing back the blog. I have moved it, and I have changed the name. Because the thing is, it’s not enough just to have a blog for your own sake and the entertainment of two or three friends. No, if you want to be taken seriously as a freelance writer you have to have a blog. It is, apparently, the one thing that is more important than anything else – grammar skills, an AP guide, most of the fingers on your left hand – none of that matters if you don’t have a blog. And then you have to monetize it. Monetize. Who used this word in conjunction with personal writing before this decade? People wrote all kinds of things–books, journals, epistles, manifestos–but it was paid or unpaid. Now it’s all like, proactive. And for the record, “proactive” is one of my most-hated words in the English language. (“Tender” is another. There are more, but we’ll save them for another time when I can’t think of anything else to write about).

So anyway. I had to rename the blog, because the old name, “Chocolate, Wine and Xanax” – well, it wasn’t something I could safely monetize. It was, however, a great SEO name. Do you know how many people searched for some combination of the words “chocolate, wine and xanax”? Let’s just say there are a a lot of people seeking third-party assistance out there. I was just a little worried that it could be taken out of context. And by “out of context” I mean, “cost me a job because someone thinks I’m nuts.” And not in a good way.

For the record, I’m no more nuts than you are.

Now, please excuse me while I go find the perfect look for my blog. I’m going to try on every WordPress theme I can find, which is almost more fun than shopping because my blog does not have an ass the size of a beach ball and everything looks good on it.

I love my blog already.

little things for which I am grateful

1. The dog threw up outside today.
2. The area rug that may or may not be ruined only cost $10.
3. I lost half a pound. Now I’m only 49.5 lbs. overweight.
4. Three-and-a-half out of my six computers currently work.
5. Target’s generous return policy.

the weapons of mass destruction are spreading the evil

See previous post for “WMD” reference.

So I am having a particularly ugly time with the hormones this month. It makes everything so much crappier and more difficult and just downright unmanageable.

For example:

I finally picked up the fourth Twilight book (the name of which escapes me at the moment; add “memory loss” to this list). And it’s just annoying me. Bella – go to college. Don’t let your life center around a man. Even a hot, immortal man. You’re like the worst stereotype of the girl who gives up everything for a guy, to the point of being willing to give up your actual life. I actually had to skim through the wedding scene, it bugged so much. I should probably drop it entirely for now, but I need something to read and I’ve finished all the Harry Potters for the second time.

Deadlines always seem to converge at this time of the month, and right now I have three biggies on me all at once – and of course, computer programs do not cooperate and everything is 10 times more difficult than it needs to be.

iTunes shuffle sucks. The theory behind shuffle, unless I misunderstand, is that it should shuffle your songs. All your songs. So why do I keep hearing the same songs? And the same artists. I am reasonably sure that Cinderella does not make up such a large part of my library that I should hear them twice an hour.

Ugh, and I just found a zit. Because being fat and moody isn’t enough.