(parenthetically speaking)

a random gal’s random thoughts about nothing and everything in general

Don’t Eat the Babies! February 27, 2009

I mentioned in a previous post how I saw this beautiful fox by my old office one night. It was totally unexpected, and the fox and I literally sat there staring at each for a second or two before he scampered off. It was a surreal moment, like something you’d see in a movie. In fact, I did see it in a movie. In the 2006 film The Queen, there’s a poetic scene where Queen Elizabeth (played by the wonderful Helen Mirren) is stranded in the Scottish wilds when she comes face to face with this huge stag she and her cronies had been trying to bag for years. Alone with the beast, she realizes its strength and beauty, and you just know from that day on that she could never shoot such a magnificent creature.

Lunch for a fox? Say it ain't so.

Lunch for a fox? Say it ain't so!

Well, I don’t know what made me think of it today, but I starting wondering what that little fox ate. What does a 20-pound carnivore roaming around in a sea of office buildings survive on? Granted, there are turtles and squirrels and fish and things in the wooded area and pond back behind my old office, so maybe he makes his dinner out of them. But there are also a few stray cats that make their home there, as well as several families of geese. The fox wouldn’t eat the kitties, would he? And, god forbid, he wouldn’t dine on the baby geese, right? The adorable goslings that brought a smile to my face whenever I’d see them waddling around, often causing a small traffic jam as they’d leisurely cross the busy road out front? I know it’s the course of nature, the call of the wild, if you will, but please, PLEASE, tell me the fox doesn’t eat the babies!!


Will Write for Food February 23, 2009

Alice doesn't work here anymore.

Alice doesn't work here anymore.

I got laid off from my magazine job last week. I was fairly calm and resigned to the fact at the time, but then, the next day, it happened: Detached from my co-workers and hours removed from the assurances it had nothing to do with me but was strictly because my position was being eliminated, I began to have huge pangs of panic and self-doubt. Huge.

I felt like the girl who’d just been dumped by her boyfriend. I worried, Did I do something wrong? Had I not done enough? Were they, as the saying goes, just not that into me?

Because if my company liked me and respected my work as much as they said they did, wouldn’t they have found a way to keep me on? Would they really let a little thing like money stand in the way of such a meaningful relationship?

The sad truth of it is, no matter how great your old employer insists you were, it’s hard not to take something like being laid-off a little personally. I’m over it now, though. The wave of insecurity and second-guessing myself has passed. Because if there’s one area of my life I do feel pretty confident about, it’s that I’m damned good at what I do. Or that I at least try as hard as anyone you’ll ever meet. So don’t worry about me; I’ll be fine.

That said, anybody looking for a talented writer and editor—full-time, freelance, or otherwise? My ex-employer will even give me a good reference. Promise.


The Cat With No Name February 21, 2009

Okay, people, it’s been 10 days since I took home the stray kitten I told you about, and she still doesn’t have a name.

Why can’t I do this? What is it so hard for me to do something as simple as assign a name to a furry little pet?

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have children, huh? Heck, the poor kid would probably be walking before I came up with something to write down on its birth certificate. I think I need an intervention.


To Shred Or Not To Shred, That is the Question

Off the top of my head, I know I have at least four of them: bins scattered around my house that are full of papers that need to be shredded. They’re not all just my papers, but a combination of mine and my mother’s (all her mail comes to me). Which doubles the amount of credit card offers, old bills, and other crap that needs to be shredded to avoid any chance of identity theft. paper-shredder

Truth be told, I’m probably overly cautious about what does and doesn’t need to be shredded. But I figure if there’s any question whatsoever, then it’s probably safer to err on the side of caution. Because while the thought of someone stealing my possessions—like my TV, my digital camera, my jewelry (not that I have any), or even my car—is frightening, the thought of someone stealing my identity is absolutely horrifying. Talk about feeling violated! I can’t even imagine what it would be like to know someone is out there pretending to be me—even if it’s just in name in order to charge up my credit cards. Then there’s the monster hassle of having to cancel and replace everything, and repair any damage they may have done to the good credit score it took so long to build up.

So at least twice a week, as I go through the latest stack of mail, I sit there and contemplate, “Should I shred this one or not?” And the to-be-shredded pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

It wouldn’t be so bad if shredding wasn’t such a pain. But the cheapest shredders only take one or two pieces of paper at a time, plus the bin fills up so fast that you have to stop every so often to empty it, inevitably getting a handful of errant shreddings all over the place (especially if you have a cat who thinks they’re fun to play in). Shredding might not be so bad if you could sit there and watch TV while you were doing it, but the darn things are so loud that you have to crank up the volume on your TV so high that, at least for me, it takes the enjoyment out of it (I’m not keen on loud noises).

The other thing that gets me about shredding is that it’s just another reminder of how wasteful our society is. As I’m doing it, I always feel a little angry about all the trees that died in vein for something I didn’t even want in the first place and which I then have to take time out of my day to dispose of.

At this point, my to-be-shredded pile is so huge that I might have to call in the pros, with their high-speed, high-capacity manglers, to do it for me. The ironic thing is that once they’re done, they’ll no doubt send me an invoice—which I’ll just have to add to the shredding pile a month or two down the road.


Name that Kitty February 14, 2009

I have a new kitten. But poor little kitty needs a name. Everything I’ve thought of so far or that’s been suggested sounds either too silly, too girly, too sad, or just plain doesn’t fit.

I’ve had this problem before. Back in my 20s, I adopted these two kittens from a woman at work. One was an adorable little boy who could almost pass for a Maine Coon and the other was a beautiful baby girl who was all white except for a spot of gray on the top of her head. As cute and wonderful as they were, you’d think it would have been easy to find names for them, but I could never make anything stick. They were almost six months old before everyone started threatening to name them for me and out of desperation I came up with Harold and Maude. They had those names for 20 and 21 years respectively.

My other cat, Man-Man, already had his name when I adopted him from the Humane Society two years ago. I thought it was kind of weird at the time and thought about changing it for a second, but now I can’t imagine calling him anything else.


New kitty at work with me on Friday.


New kitty photographs looking mean but isn't.

Maybe that’s what I should do with this new kitten. Just pick something and go with it. But I can’t seem to make myself do it. I’d rather wait to see if something great comes along. And that’s where maybe you can help me. Maybe you’ll take one look at her and the perfect name will pop into your head. Or maybe you’ll be inspired to come up with something after you hear the story of how I came to be her new mom. However you come to it, I’d love it if you share your suggested names with me, so I don’t have to keep referring to her as “new kitty.”

“New kitty” had just been rescued from being stuck in a storm drain when I found her. It was in the Publix parking lot over by my mom’s apartment complex, where this colony of feral cats has taken up residence in the adjoining wooded area. The cats are all wild, but survive because this nice woman comes regularly and leaves food out for them. Which is why I was so surprised when this little kitten didn’t immediately run off after being set free; she let the men pick her up and then as I started walking over to see what was going on, she ran right up to me and even starting playing with the bottom of my skirt.

Hey, maybe Skirt would be a good name for her. Or maybe Squirt, since she only weighs 4 pounds. I don’t know, I just can’t decide. What do you think?


Keep your butt in the car, dammit! February 6, 2009

Smokers S U C K! There, I said it.

Of course, I’m generalizing, and I’d be the first to complain if someone out there was universally disparaging all middle-aged white women with an unhealthy affection for Popeye’s fried chicken, but I see a pattern here. And enough is enough!

What burns me up about smokers (no pun intended) is that they seem to think that cigarettes are somehow invisible. But let me set you straight. Not only can I smell your noxious cancer sticks 100 yards away, but when you carelessly toss your cigarette butt on the ground, it’s called littering. And it’s just plain disgusting, thoughtless, and rude. 3212564613_52f91d950d_b1

And I’m not afraid to tell you so. I mean, I will go Christian Bale on someone if I see them even think about not properly disposing of their nasty little habit. It’s literally my biggest pet peeve. And believe me, I have a lot of them. (Which may help explain why I’m over 40 and still single. That and the Popeye’s fried chicken.)

In fact, I’m sort of surprised I haven’t gotten a beatdown after one of my outbursts. For instance, one time my brother and I were in downtown Atlanta at a Thrashers hockey game, and after the game, as everyone was filing out into the MARTA train station (which is already a little sketchy in and of itself), I made a comment to this big, older dude who shamelessly tossed his butt on the ground not five feet from a trash can. Well, let’s just say it’s probably a good thing there were a lot of people around that night. (Too many witnesses, if you know what I mean.) P.S. My brother never said anything, but I think it’s safe to say he was horrified, and probably embarrassed, by the whole incident, but when it comes to this, I just can’t hold my tongue sometimes. It just blurts out.)

Another time, as I was getting out of my car to go into this Blockbuster store in Austin, a woman in the SUV next to me stuck her hand out the window and flicked her lipstick-stained cig onto the pavement right in front of me. So I bent over, picked up the butt, handed it back to her, and said, “Excuse me, ma’am, I think you dropped this.” Like it had been all accidental on her part. Because if anyone is smart enough to know better, I figure it’s supposed to be the people of Austin, Texas.

And then there was the infamous scene at the movie theater in Fort Worth, when my mother and sister and I were in line to buy tickets, and my mom made the mistake of not walking over to the trash can to properly dispose of her half-smoked Virginia Slim. (Which was only half-smoked because we were bugging her about smoking in such a crowded place anyway.) But it wasn’t me who went off this time. It was my sister. And all I can say is that I wouldn’t want to be a smoker and run into my sister in a dark, butt-filled alley.

What brought this whole rant on took place as I was driving in to work yesterday and I saw this guy toss his Camel stub out the window. (At least he looked like a Camel smoker—all hard and sallow and stubby.) And it got me to thinking that I hadn’t actually seen anyone littering like this in a while (relatively speaking, that is). Were smokers becoming more conscientious? Were my dreams coming true? Was the world becoming a better place? Sadly, no. I realized it had just been so cold out lately that no one wanted to roll down their window to flick their butts.

Except this guy. Who, I can only hope, will get his someday. Until then, people, don’t be a butthead. Keep your butts to yourself!


Pillow Talk February 4, 2009


A fan of the Snuggie, those crazy “blankets with sleeves” you see advertised all over the place? (And who isn’t?)

Then you’ll love the new Barnslig cushion from Ikea. Part decorator pillow and part sock, it helps keep your tootsies warm while, I guess, still keeping your room stylish and colorful.

Geez, why didn’t I think of that? And what’s next—a combo fur-lined glove and TV remote? You people seriously might want to have your circulation checked.