Actual contents of birthday card just received from godparents, who live far away in California:

1. Check for $100

2. Note saying (direct quote) “With love, [Your Godparents]  P.S. We would love to have more than just a ‘check writing’ relationship. Please call us when you are nearby.”

I’m not going to lie: part (2) left me feeling a little defensive.  While I appreciate their generosity, I hardly expect, or need, a check in my birthday cards anymore.  I think I’d rather have just the card, minus both the check and the guilt trip.

I’m a little torn as to how to respond, so I’m doing the obvious thing: asking the internet.  If received such a card, what would you do?


The cruel paradox of your thirties:  experiencing the worst breakout of your whole entire life and discovering your first gray hair, all on the same fucking day.

I spent this weekend in Denver, visiting my recently-relocated best friend Tribecca.  Visiting one’s best friend seems like an excellent reason to act like a crazy person and sleep too little, and I did my level best:


  • Get up at 5:30 am, go to work at 6:30 am, work all day, go straight to airport, fly to Denver.
  • Go straight from airport to an amazing concert.  Dance awkwardly, sing along, get second wind.
  • Feel like I’m going to pass out.  Realize I haven’t eaten since noon central time.  Use nifty Yelp iphone app to find a restaurant still serving food at midnight, eat nachos for dinner.  Follow up with several beers.
  • Go to bed at 2:30 a.m.


  • Wake up at 8am to get coffee and accompany Tribecca to work.  Fall in love with her workplace, start contemplating move to Denver.
  • Drive in stupidest rental car ever (note to Dollar: like hell that’s a compact!  I ordered a compact!) to have delicious brunch with the delightful Jess and Torsten.  Head back to their beautiful new house, where I try to count all the purple items.  Lose count at 34.
  • Return to Tribecca’s just in time for epic shopping trip to procure goods for dinner party.
  • Cook.
  • Eat dinner with very hodgepodge, yet completely entertaining, group of strangers.
  • Somehow get persuaded to go out to a bar.
  • Fall over dead when I realize that two of the people in our group just used FAKE IDs to get into the bar.  Contemplate how it is, exactly, that one week  away from my 30th birthday, I find myself at a bar with people who are not old enough to legally drink.
  • Conclude the only option at this point is to take shots of whiskey. Do so.
  • Fall into bed at 2am


  • Inexplicably wake up at 8:30 am.  Clean up dishes from party.
  • Gorge self at fancy brunch place.  Waiter asks if we’d like mimosas, and the very thought makes me want to hurl.
  • Drive to gorgeous park, take long leisurely walk in sparkling sunshine.  Make plans to play tennis.
  • Return to house to retrieve tennis rackets.  Notice it is starting to get cloudy.  Agree to rest on couch for a few minutes.  Notice that “The Notebook” is playing on tv.  Also notice that there is a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, begging to be eaten.
  • Several hours later, notice that we have watched the whole movie, eaten half the roll of cookie dough, and it’s time for me to pack and head to the airport.

Call me crazy, but the lazy lame afternoon was probably my favorite part of the weekend.  I’m embracing my loserdom.


Sorry about the delay, but I didn’t forget:  the winner of the big Earth Day Giveaway is Commenter #3, Stephanie, of Completely Irrelevant.  Congratulations, Stephanie!  Hit me with your address and I’ll put the pretty treats in the mail!


Helpful fitness attire tip:

The “dry fit” shirts that get doled out to everyone who signs up for a road race are some cheaper, less-awesome version of the dry fit shirts you buy in an actual store.

If you receive such a piss-poor excuse for a dry fit shirt in a nice heather gray color, and you subsequently decide to show off about how you once registered for a road race by wearing said shirt to an early morning spinning class, you will emerge with a huge, dark, impossible to hide, basketball-sized wet patch on your STOMACH.  There will also be matching dark patches on your shoulders, back, and chest.  This will suggest to your fellow spinners that you have a  particularly sweaty belly, and perhaps that you are some freak of nature whose armpit sweat glands have migrated upwards to your shoulder region.  People will stare.

You will be sufficiently mortified that you will vow to stay away from spinning for a week or two at least.  So if you’re committed to maintaining some sort of exercise regimen, probably best to avoid these shirts at all costs.

Look, it was really not my intention to write two posts about Family Feud in a row. This is true for many reasons, not least of which is that I occasionally like to try to convince people that I have a life.


This is too good.  So good that I am willing to reveal the true depths of my homebody-ness to share it with you.

Toss Up Question: “Name a country, other than America, that starts with A”

Now, Wikipedia tells us that there are 11 Internationally Recognized Sovereign States that start with the letter A.  (Incidentally, “America”?  NOT ONE OF THEM.)  Americans are not widely known for their geographical expertise, however, and there are only 4 answers on the board.

(Poor Azerbaijan, always forgotten and alone.  Also Andorra. A real underdog, that Andorra.)

Back to the toss up:

Family A buzzes in:  “Argentina!” he shouts.  It is the number 2 answer.  Pass or play?  Pass!  It goes over to Family B.

The first woman the host approaches from Family B looks panicked.  She glances around desperately, for a very long three seconds, before she runs out of time and gets the first strike.

Next up.  The host approaches the head of Family B, who grins confidently and shouts “ASIA!”

Um, no.  Asia = not so much one country as a diverse collection of more than 50 countries.  (Though maybe,  after Asians finish changing their names to things that are easier to pronounce, they should further simplify things for us and just combine Asia into a single country.  Get on that, Asian friends!)

Two strikes.  Family B looks stricken as the next person is unable to come up with anything and time runs out.

Three strikes- it’s back over to Family A for the steal!

Now, let’s review: there are four answers on the board, only one of which has been guessed.  Family A has had several minutes to confer as Family B has floundered around.  The host approaches the head of Family A.

“We talked about it,” he said “and I’ve always wanted to go here. I’m going with: AMSTERDAM!”

John and I stare at each other incredulously.  The host shoots a disbelieving look at the camera.

Family A does not get any points for guessing the capital city of the Netherlands, and Family B gets the points (having not guessed a single country!).  The points are just enough to get them the 300 they need to try for $20,000, which they subsequently win.



Dude, I may have to go back to teaching.  Law is great and all, but I suddenly feel my services may be more desperately needed in a social studies classroom somewhere.

Does your grocery store have those self-checkout thingies?

Ours does, and for the longest time I didn’t use them because I didn’t have a grocery store “preferred card.”  Without a preferred card, I had to be checked through by an actual person in order for me to get any sale prices on my groceries.

For years, I have said to myself “self, you should get a preferred card.”  Trouble was, I usually said this after I was finished shopping, when I rolled my burgeoning cart over to the checkout and discovered a huge line at all the manned lanes, while the self-checkout lanes went largely unused.

At that point in a grocery trip, it is hugely impractical to abandon a full cart of groceries to go to the customer service counter to get a card so that I could use the self checkout and still get the discounts.  So I never did.  And then, after I was done waiting in the long line and all checked out I’d invariably tell myself that it was too much of a hassle to bother getting a card this time, my ice cream was melting, I was tired of the grocery store, etc etc, and next time (next time!) I’d remember to get one BEFORE I started shopping.

Do you know how long I have been shopping at this particular grocery store?  Five years.  Do you know when I finally got a grocery preferred card?  Two weeks ago.  What can I say?  I’m lazy.  And also forgetful.

What finally changed?  Did I finally remember to get the card before I started my shopping?  Um, no.  What happened was, in a VERY RARE move, John went grocery shopping with me, so when we encountered the huge line, I made him wait while I went over to customer service and got a card.

Self-service line, here I come!

So over the weekend, I went to the grocery store, loaded up my cart, and proceeded confidently to the self checkout.  Today is the day I start saving time, suckers!

Except I, uh, kind of suck at produce weighing, as it turns out.  The machine kept rejecting my attempts to place the produce on the scale, requesting that I “reposition your item so it is centered on the scale.”   It was taking so long that I started to sweat from the stress. Actual Sweat.  Hello, I’m Pseudo, and the mere act of purchasing Triscuits and milk and bananas is enough to cause me to break out in an actual panicky sweat.

I had also, shortsightedly, decided to pick up a 6-pack of beer, which meant that the machine kept chirping at me “associate assistance required,” so that a store employee could check my id.

“Associate assistance required,” said the machine.
“Um, hello?  Anyone?  Help?” I said.
“Associate assistance required,” the machine said again.
“Can anyone come check my i.d.?” I said, louder.
“Associate assistance required,” the machine insisted.

I looked around.  No store employees to be seen.

“Hey, look,” said the lady in line behind me, who was actually tapping her foot in exasperation at how long I was taking.  “It says you can go ahead now.”

And, sure enough, she was right.  Apparently, if you wait long enough and don’t make a run for it while the automated machine loudly bleats that you need to have your id checked, the machine eventually concludes that you are probably not a teenager trying to buy booze underage, and they just let you proceed.

College students: consider this your public service announcement for the day.

John and I went to see “Advertureland” this weekend.  I spent much of the movie thinking to myself what a good little actor that Michael Cera is, until I got to the closing credits and was forced to confront the fact that the movie did not, in fact, star Michael Cera.  So then I spent some time later that afternoon musing about what a good little actor that Jesse Eisenberg is.

(Fun fact: Jesse Eisenberg is currently filming a movie called “Zombieland”.  If I was looking at scripts, searching for the perfect movie to serve as follow-up to my breakout hit called “Adventureland”, “Zombieland” seems like an excellent choice.)

I was also relieved to see Kristen Stewart sort of manage to create a character that wasn’t just “Bella Swan works at an amusement park.”

Anyway, “Adventureland”: excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon when it is effing SNOWING.  IN APRIL.  Get it together, Chicago.

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