I am going to try to conceive a child today. My husband and I will not even be in the same county when it happens, if it happens. I will pay a doctor $200 for the pleasure of (hopefully) knocking me up using an apparatus that looks like it might be used to administer an enema to a rat. To set the mood, there will be fluorescent lighting, and I will be alluringly clothed in an ephemeral paper sheet from the waist down. Because I am a tease, I will tear the sheet in several places while trying to tuck it in such a way as to not reveal my lily-white ass to every nurse, technician, and janitor who should have need to enter my room before the doctor arrives. I will attempt to seduce my husband's sample by tucking it under my armpit to keep it warm while I wait. Hopefully the warmth of my armpit will convince it that I might be a nice place to set up shop and divide for a while.
If my armpit does not provide sufficient persuasion, there will also be David Gray or Josh Groban piping through the speakers to let the sample know what romance is really like. The walls will be decorated with pictures of drooling infants from mothers have not been pwned by the infertility jerk. These pictures are helpful examples to make it clear to everyone what we are here to do. The choice of decoration is very important. It would be an embarrassment, after all, if I were to accidentally conceive a serene country landscape, or perhaps an adorable little diagram of rectal polyps.
When it's all over, I will have use of the room for a further twenty minutes. I will lie still with my hips elevated. In the event that my armpit, the torn paper negligee, the rat enema tube, the dulcet music, and the helpful baby pictures have not done the job, there is still gravity. Gravity, and the hope perhaps one day, Apple will come out with an iSperm GPS app for the reproductively challenged.
Wish us luck.
Posted by Cyndi at 9:34 AM
Email from co-worker: 'Cyndi, thank you so much for making the travel reservations for me. I feel so spoiled!'
Cyndi's reply, draft 1: 'You are so welcome! I'm all about soiling people!'
My finger was literally in the downward trajectory to hit "Send" when I caught it.
Cyndi's reply, draft 2. You are so welcome!
I must admit the image of me being all about soiling people did make me giggle briefly.
Hee. And eew. And yikes.
Posted by Cyndi at 12:50 PM
My desk is where all the cool kids hang out. Truly it's sort of competitive up here where all the executives live, and one can't underestimate the importance of having shiny objects to attract the attention of ones "higher ups." So here, for your pleasure, or abject boredom, is some of the stuff that lives on my desk.
These are the little creatures that live on my desk. I bought them at Borders, my hang out of choice, and yes, the C-level executives stop by and play with them frequently. So far George, the back-flipping frog, is the clear favorite.
These little guys are an homage to my art historian days, when I used to spend my time lurking in the deep, dark corners of the library researching obscure references to Greek and Egyptian imagery of a man-octopus who represented the forces of Chaos in tomb paintings. Interestingly enough, Chaos is named Seth in Egyptian mythology. Who knew? Well I knew, because I was enough of a nerd to spend a year and 57 pages of my life reading about him. Still, to this day, the name Seth only brings back images of Jeff Goldbum's character Seth Brundle in the Fly. That movie scarred.me.for.life. Anyway, yes. Figurines, art history, and nostalgia.
No desk is complete without a marshmallow gun. How else is one supposed to halt interlopers who have designs on entering the CEO's office uninvited? Also it is very handy for intimidating co-workers who stand too close whilst waiting for me to complete a fax. Impatiently tapping your foot eh? How about you impatiently tapTHIS!
My African mask hat stand. A girl's got to have somewhere to hang her hat. And then forget to take it home for 8 months. Hee.
I affectionately call this "The Bird Feeder." It's just like hanging a hummingbird feeder out your window. Put out a bowl of candy and enjoy the wild life. Some creatures secretively squirrel away a large handful to sustain them through the winter. Others make the ever-so-casual-on-the-way-to-the-bathroom-drive-by. Others still prefer to hunt nocturnally. That is, you come into work each morning and the contents of your bowl have magically vanished. Poof!
This impossibly small Zen garden is a particular favorite. I had originally intended to use this for myself. The thought of dragging an impossibly small rake through a tiny sandbox and lovingly arranging the stones filled me with dreams of peace and serenity. The reality proved to be far less calming. Within five minutes of placing the box on my desk, I promptly upturned it with an errant swipe of my elbow, sending the wee little rocks and sand flying in a graceless arc through space. I did my level best to clean the mess, but spent the rest of my day shaking grains of sand out of my mouse. Needless to say, this was hardly a zen inducing experience. It now lives safely beyond my reach on the desk bar for other people to play with.
I'm in imminent danger of becoming one of those people who look like they live at their work. You know the kind. Several houseplants, bunny slippers under their desk, a plethora of placards bearing inspirational phrases, lamps, a couch, a cat. For now, I draw the line at toys. And food. And a zen garden. And decorative figures. And several jackets. Come to think of it, this is a pretty roomy cubicle. I'm sure a cat would be delighted with these digs...
Posted by Cyndi at 2:51 PM
My culinary upbringing was, admittedly, an odd one. I believe I owe this largely to my parents, though it seems unkind to make them take credit for any of my (many) oddities. My mother is German you see, like her mother, my smokin-hot Grandma Marion. Germans are made of hearty stock and are not to be daunted by the odd vein or bit of cartilage when approaching a chicken wing. Indeed, having sat down to a few meals with my relatives from Cuxhaven, I witnessed a gleam in their eye not unlike what one might expect to encounter in the eye of Kveldulf the berserker (and also alleged werewolf) as he sat cagily waiting on the field of battle.
Coming from my father's side then, a love for odd and seemingly nonsensical food combinations that prove to be intensely satisfying. Peanut butter, jelly, and cheese sandwiches for example. In a particularly entertaining home video, my eight year old self (be-sweatered in a hot pink best embroidered with pandas, and no Mom, I still haven't forgiven you for that outfit. ; ) demonstrates how to make tuna fish by my father's recipe. The ingredient list is as follows: tuna, mayonnaise, dijon mustard (which I refer to proudly as "Grandpa mustard" as my dad's dad loved it so well), an onion soup mix packet, and crushed up Fritos. It seemed normal enough when I was a kid, but I'll be darned if I've ever seen such a concoction repeated in any of the many encounters with tuna I've had as an adult. A year ago in a bout of nostalgia I whipped up a batch of onion-soup-mix-Frito-tuna and by-passed the bread, opting instead to trowel it down my gob on a handful of Doritos. It was every bit as excellent as I remembered.
Fueled by love of food and an addiction to PBS cooking shows at an alarmingly early age, I did my level best to pass on my self-proclaimed sophisticated tastes to my younger siblings. One of my favorite summer games for us to play was "restaurant." I would draw up menus for their breakfast and lunch featuring exotic items given what I thought to be catchy and alluring names. The only one that stands out in my mind is the oft-ordered "Americana" - a piece of bread with melted cheese topped by Bacos (Bacos are essentially bacon-flavored corn flakes if you've never had the pleasure to experience them). Look out Jacques Pepin.
Oddly the menu never featured chocolate mousse as I had hoped; I being unable to reproduce what I'd seen on TV by relieving an entire carton of eggs of their whites, adding a goodly measure of chocolate Quik powder, and frantically assaulting it with a fork. Giving up on pillowy clouds of delicate chocolate mousse, I attempted to salvage the dish by doing the only other thing I knew how to do with eggs. Scrambling them. Needless to say, the unseasoned palates of my younger brothers were not as adventurous as I'd hoped, and my chocolate egg white scrambler was rejected outright. Strangely I also failed to be seduced by their chocolatey-eggy goodness as I attempted to demonstrate to my young wards just how fabulous a dish they were missing.
And so continued my pattern of tinkering around in the kitchen, slapping together odd conglomerations of foodstuffs while standing in the cool air in front of the fridge, squirreling away my prize to the den of my room/couch/wherever. In the comfort of my family home, all of this seemed very normal and reasonable, as do most things we do in isolation. It's not until we introduce an outside person not in possession of our treasured quirks that we perceive we have done something terribly, irrevocably odd.
The first challenge to my cultivated tastes came in the form of my dear friend Crystal as we sat at the breakfast bar in her kitchen eating chicken, she with a surgeon's precision, neatly extracting the bits of vein odd colored peices from hers, I chewing the delicious pocket of fat happily found at the end of the my drumstick joint. Her pert nose wrinkled as I moved onto the crunchy gristle. "What?" I queried. "I don't know how you eat that stuff. Nastiness," quoth she. I smiled sheepishly. Being a good friend, she still spoke to me in spite of my habit of eating like a member of the Mongol hordes.
The next encounter took place during my sojourn at Ricks college, and came in the form of my friend Heather's perfectly plucked brow raising in a suspicious arc as I loaded up a Dorito with a goodly knob of scooped out avocado flesh. "It's really good" I assured her, offering her a bite. Wonder of wonders, she liked it, and we ate it frequently at our pig-out gatherings thereafter. Vindication at long last.
Which brings me to the next bit: the not-so-fascinating list of things I'm embarrassed I eat. All these things I find to be utterly delicious, but without fail, if consumed in front of witnesses garner at the least a raised brow or more severely, full-on goggle-eyed querulousness.
Spicy Hunan egg rolls and chocolate milk - The oddness of this one lies not only in the combination of foods, but in the fussy and ritualistic way I insist on eating them. A bite of eggroll, a small sip of milk. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The spicy meatiness of the eggroll when contrasted with the cool creamy chocolate milk is exquisite. Warm/cool, warm/cool - delicious.
French fries dipped in a Wendy's frosty - This combination is a quadruple juggernaut of taste contrasts. Sweet and salty, hot and cold. Mmmm.
Cheddar cheese dipped in ranch dip or dressing - Ranch takes on a subtle sweetness when contrasted with the sharpness of a good aged cheddar, and finishes with a certain pleasant herbiness that cuts through the richness of the cheese. Plus it's fat on fat action so the flavors meld beautifully. But boy howdy. I ate this combination off a relish tray amongst in-laws on one occasion, and judging from their reaction, you'd think I'd just fished a fresh cat-biscuit from the litter box and popped it in my mouth.
Fat - I love the taste of fat.
Chicken skin - I've been known to pick boiled skin from the pot while I'm making stock, salt it, and bolt it down.
Burnt things - I'm blaming this one on my father, as he introduced me to the wonders of burnt toast. I apparently took it to levels he hadn't ever approached as I set marshmallows aflame whenever making s'mores and regularly filled our house with smoke as I incinerated my breakfast of English muffins. He accused me of being carbon deficient. At work I was outlawed from making popcorn as I would purposely add thirty seconds to the timer to produce those delectable brown-black pieces that dissolve into charcoal-y buttery loveliness on your tongue.
So there they are in all their shame and glory - my pet gastro-anomalous goodies. Mock if you must.
Posted by Cyndi at 7:19 AM
So I am afraid of phones. Particularly, of answering phones or making calls to people I don't know. I'm just socially awkward enough that this is regularly a rather painful experience. I stutter and stammer. I forget my own name and telephone number. I am regularly met with suspicion as the person on the other line attempts to figure out if I am either some sort of idiot or sometime pretending to be me. I would be happy to confirm for them that I am indeed a very specific kind of idiot, but they never ask. They only ask questions with increasingly obscure answers.
"What is your mother's maiden name?"
"What was your first pet?"
"Who do you know that has a third nipple?"
And so when most companies adopted an express system where you can punch a sequence of options and arrive at your goal without ever speaking to a human being, I was delighted. Ecstatic even. But my euphoria was short-lived. Something even worse has come to replace it. The pseudo-human triage system that regards you in its terribly insincere chirpy robotic voice and makes you speak out loud to a damn computer. Case in point, Dish Network.
I sit in my work building's terribly echoe-y atrium on a brief break trying to conduct a simple bit of business. I need my Dish Network account number. I dial the main number and wait.
Computer voice: "Thank you for choosing Dish Network, home of the super ultra mega basement dweller cable package. Tell me in a few words how I can help you today."
Cyndi looks around, speaks quietly into her phone. "Account number."
Computer voice: "Great. Member access, I can help you with that. If heard you right, say yes. If not, say no."
Computer voice: *Insincere laugh. "That's alright, my mistake. Tell me in a few words how I can help you today."
Cyndi, slightly louder this time: "Account number."
Computer voice: "Okay. Payments. If heard you right, say yes. If not, say no."
Computer voice: "I think I heard you say yes. If this is correct, just say yes. If not, say no."
Cyndi: "Er yes. I mean no. No."
Computer voice: "I'm afraid I didn't catch that. If I can help you with a payment today, say yes. If not, say no."
Cyndi: "No. No payment."
Computer voice: "Sorry about that. In a few words, tell me what I can help you with today."
Cyndi, louder and slower this time, noting the glances of the first floor receptionists with distress: "ACCOUNT NUMBER."
Computer voice: "Alright then. Account number. I can help you with that. If this is correct say..."
Computer voice: "If this is correct please say yes, if not, say no."
Cyndi: "YES!" Cyndi notices a loud echo with chagrin, shrinks down on ugly print sofa.
Computer voice: "Great. I see that you're calling from a number on an existing account. I just need to verify your identity. Please tell me the address where you receive service."
Cyndi promptly forgets the first numbers of her address and frantically rifles through her purse, looking for a bit of mail she may use to tell her where she lives.
Computer voice: *Insincere laugh once more. "I guess you didn't hear me. I'd be happy to help you with your account number. I just need the address where you receive service."
Cyndi: "Um, uh..."
Computer voice: "I'm afraid I didn't recognize that address. Let's try this a different way. What is the last four digits of the primary account holder's social security number."
Computer voice: "I thought I heard you say xxxx. If this is correct, please say yes. If not, please say no."
Computer voice: "I'm sorry, my mistake. Could you please repeat the last four digits of the primary account holder's social..."
Computer voice: "Your account number is: -blur of numbers spat out at five times the speed of human hearing.- "If you would like me to repeat this, please say yes. If not, please say no."
Computer voice: "That number was - blur of numbers-l. Thank you for calling today. Is there anything else I can do to assist you?"
Cyndi: "Yeah, you can shove this system up your automated arse."
Computer voice: "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I didn't recognize..."
When it feels that good to hang up on a non-sentient system of voice prompts, you've got issues. I've got issues.
Posted by Cyndi at 4:42 PM
In answer to a tag from my beloved friend Heather, here are 25 random facts about me. I pondered long and hard to try and think of information not readily known to the 2 people that read this blog. Sadly most things people did not already know are either not-very-well hidden neuroses or negligible facts from my childhood. Enjoy. Or take a nap. I recommend the nap, for what it's worth.
1. I have serious textural issues. There are certain things I can't touch without jumping about, retching and much shame-inducing girly ado. Some examples are: Any food bits left in the sink after washing dishes - I have to fill a bowl or cup with water and splash it down the drain. Cold wet washrags/sponges - I seriously pinch the eensiest bit of the corner and I can get and fling it under the hot water before I can pick it up.
2.I hate turtlenecks. I don't remember which comedian said it, but he expressed my feelings perfectly. "Wearing a turtleneck is like being choked by a really weak midget all day."
3.Whenever I sit down to work on TEH BOOK I am writing, I can't manage a single word unless my kitchen is immaculately clean.
4. I can only eat a tomato when it's been freshly cut. If it's been sliced then put in the fridge overnight, I won't touch it.
5. When I make a sandwich, I have to put the lettuce between the tomato and the bread. If the tomato juice gets onto the bread, I have to pinch the piece of bread off and put it to the side.
6. I was obsessed with koalas when I was a kid. I had koala t-shirts, mugs, puzzles, socks, stuffed animals, you name it. I had a secret plan to run away to Australia and start a koala farm. How I was going to generate or maintain capital from said farm I have know idea. I only know that I was going to feed my koala friends eucalyptus leaves and ride them around on my back all day.
7. When I'm severely stressed out, I've been known to watch kid shows on TV (usually things on PBS. Caillou, Arthur, Reading Rainbow, etc.) or read young adult books (Goosebumps, anything R.L. Stine.) It's the equivalent of a Ferris wheel ride and cotton candy for my brain.
8. I've always hated Kool-Aid, even when I was just a sprout. To me it just tasted like crappy flat soda. Now I know that Mr. Kool Aid is just a tubby cover for a child-friendly brand of crack cocaine, I feel my ire more than justified.
9. I'm a repeater. I fixate on a particular song and play it over and over and over. Then I wake up one morning, realize I now hate the song, and move on to another.
10. One of my legs is 1.5 inches shorter than the other. It's not terribly noticeable until you look at my jean cuffs. The gimpy leg cuff is always dirty scraped and scuffed. The normal leg cuff usually never touches the ground.
11. My regular body temperature is usually between 95 and 96 degrees. I have suspicions that I am, in fact, a reptile masquerading as a human being. Ssssshhh!
12. I had four different majors during my college education. I originally applied as an English major. On a whim, the day of registration, I changed to fine arts since all the English major classes were filled. Following my first semester in college, after enduring the not so divine tutelage of a particular puke-faced professor, I decided that art was not for me after all and switched to psychology. Over the summer, it became readily apparent that I was by far the most mental person I know and probably ought not be dispensing psychological advice, and so I switched back to fine arts. After gallivanting through Europe in the summer of 2000, I decided art history was for me.I graduated in that field with a master's and have managed to stay largely un-useful to the general population ever since.
13. My given name is Cynthia, but growing up, my parents spelled my nickname Cindy. Feeling what I thought to be a streak of rebellion (later investigations revealed said streak to be latent nerdiness and a closet fixation for Cyndi Lauper), I started spelling it Cyndi. It stuck. I still spell it that way, but inherently, every other human being on earth spells it Cindy. I've grown too apathetic to correct anyone anymore. Meh.
14. Though I usually test 20/20 and 20/15 on vision tests, I am actually far-sighted. This means I can often see random things way in the distance but my eyes throw a hissy anytime they are required to read something close for extended periods of time. Oh they can do it alright, they just don't like to do it. For this reason, I usually help them out by wearing geeky reading glasses to help prevent eye strain as I sit parked in front of my laptop 9 hours a day.
15. I'm not a big fan of ice cream. Given, there are exceptions. Godiva's chocolate raspberry truffle or Haagen Daz creme brulee for example. But given a choice, I'd typically take just about any other dessert option.
16. When I was seven or eight years old, I had a massive crush on Mark Summers. Back then he was the host of Double Dare (my favorite show at the time.) I dreamed that we would get married and live in a house that contained an exact replica of the Double Dare obstacle course. Am I weird that I still think that would kick ass? Not the married to Mark Summers part, the obstacle course in my garage part. Yeah, I thought so.
17. I love burnt food. Burnt toast, burnt popcorn, burnt cheese on the pizza crust, etc. you burn it, I'll snarf it. When toasting a marshmallow, I carefully roast it to a perfect golden brown, then at the last minute, set it on fire, blow it out, and scarf it. Nom nom nom.
18. I can dislocate my own jaw and pop it back into place just by opening and closing my mouth. One of my favorite things to do when at a dentist's office is to wait until they tell me to open wide and...POP! Totally freaks them out. Heh heh heh. Wait a minute...Snakes can dislocate their jaws as well. Usually in the operation of masticating over-large rodents. Freakin hell. I am a reptile. This sucks. I don't even like rodents.
19. I suck at doing laundry. As any of my bestest friends could tell you, I am pretty much a perfectionist freak. I have very particular and orderly way of doing things, typically involving an over-complicated system of lists, check boxes, and sacrificing live chickens. But when it comes to laundry, I seem to have some yet undiscovered deficiency. I've dyed my white laundry pink at least 5 times in the past two years. And I swear to you that I check the colors. Honestly I do. But without fail some red bastard of a clothing item finds its way into the load and pow! Pink undies for everyone.
20. I hate any sort of candy with rice cereal in it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of rice crispy squares. They are honest and open about what they are. Rice poofies, marshmallows, butter. I can handle that. But when you go to bite into a piece of chocolate and are surprised by irritatingly crispy aggregate matter...*shudders. Ick.
21. I always have one drawer at work and at home that is an utter mess. The resident crap drawer, or so I call it. It seems that no matter how hard I bend my diseased little brain around obsessively organizing, there are some items that just defy logic and end up homeless. These unfortunate cast offs lay sadly label-less and unalphabetized in whatever drawer is closest to the ground.
22. I can't wear socks without shoes. I simply can't stand the way they feel on my feet by themselves. Especially socks with loose toes. Bleeegh!
23. I'm a freak about eyes. It's not so much a pain thing, I can deal with pain. I've been tattooed (oh the follies of youth), pierced (oh the follies of adulthood), and surgeried (oh the follies of a asshat appendix)and done just dandy. I just don't take kindly to any sort of procedure that involves my eye. I dang near beat the snot out of the doctor who first introduced me to the puff a jet stream of air in to your eye test. It was bad enough to have to get close to all those metal contraptions. And then he did that. They had Demerol waiting for my next appointment. And a spatula to scrape me from the ceiling. And protective body gear. Wisely done, I thought.
24. The list of things I wanted to be when I was a kid: koala farmer (we've established this one), monster truck driver (still hoping), marine biologist (it just sounded cool), chef (I used to draw up menus for my brothers and they would order their breakfast and lunch from them during summer break).
25. Shows I do not follow: Anything on reality TV, Lost, Grey's, Heroes, 24, CSI Anything, Anything on VH1, MTV, etc.
Shows I do follow: Nigella Feasts, Nigella Express, Barefoot Contessa, Viva Daisy, Man vs Food, (see a pattern developing here), the Office, Battlestar Galactica.
I supposed to tag someone now, but being the pathetic dork that I am, I really don't have anyone to tag, seeing as the only person I would tag is the person who tagged me. If anyone other than Heather a.) reads this, b.) has a blog, and c.) hasn't already been tagged, consider yourself tagged!
Posted by Cyndi at 1:52 PM
Ever said to yourself, "I need "X" like I need another hole in my head" ? Well, a warm welcome if you please, for the new hole in my head. I dun pierced mah nose! And I love it. I now fully expect to find out what "X" is and why I need it. No, that didn't make any sense to me either, and I wrote it.
In other news, Doritos and half a king-size Hershey bar, while seeming like a most excellent lunch, are in fact, NOT excellent. At all.
You live and you learn.
Posted by Cyndi at 1:50 PM