Why I don’t go tanning…

Maybe it’s not the reason you think.

It starts like a lot of my stories.

“This one time, when I was in college…”

I had a roommate who was platinum blonde and tanned and wore shorts so short they made my little brother’s [and my dad's] eyes bug out of his head the day I moved into my freshman dorm.  She had been in Albany over the summer living in the dorms getting a head start on her courses so she already knew the neighborhood and had friends.  I was lonely as all get out and a ball of nerves.  Plus, it was simply sweltering humidity that first week.

“You’re so tan,” she said to me.

Are you for real?  I thought.  I wanted to compare arms to see if she still believed I was tanned next to her.  Instead, I said, “I was lifeguarding on a lake all summer.”

“Oh, so it’s totally natural!  That’s so bad for you.”

And she judged my real tan, and I judged her fake tan and then we had a pony beer together and it all got better and we became good friends.

The semester flew by and and winter break dumped me back at Lima Hall with dear roommie, and she had an idea.

“So. I just bought my spring tanning package at the salon over on Madison Avenue and I’d love for you to come with me.  You’ll be all set for summer!”

I told her I would think about it because there’s something just so…plastic about tanning.

Of course, at that time I was totally up for trying new things [that could potentially be dangerous for my skin and start breaking down my precious collagen.]

We got to the storefront and signed in.  I paid cash for a trial session and the only available room had a booth, not a bed.

“It’s fine,” my roommate said.  ”I like the booth.”

So I got into the room and the desk attendant told me how to turn the booth on.  ”Your ten minutes starts when you flip this switch, then it automatically turns off.”  And she closed the door behind her.

I put on my mini-eye-protection-goggles, got naked and got down to business!  I shut the door to the booth and the blue lights went on and so did some hip-hop music.

It was awesome.

I busted some moves I’d been trying out at The Post, a basement dance club we went to every weekend on Washington Street and twirled around and suddenly — BRWWNNN, zzzzz.



“Hello?!” I yelled.  And before waiting for an answer I panicked.  I reached for the door handle and tried to shove it open.  It wouldn’t budge.  ”Oh my god, HELLO?!”

I took as much of a step back as I could in the booth and threw myself against the door again.

Nothing.  ”HELP!”  I screamed and tears started welling up in my eyes.

All of this unfolded in about 30 seconds and then the lights went back on and the music started up.

There was a knock on the room door.  ”Hello there, everything okay?  We just had a little power surge.  No biggie.”  It was the attendant.

“Please get me out of here!” I yelled as I threw myself against the door again and stumbled out into the room.  Wearing only mini-goggles.

“Oh!”  the attendant jumped back.  ”Are you okay?”

I was not even embarrassed.  I was horrified and my heart was beating so fast I thought I may throw up.

“Please tell Laurel I’ll see her at home,” I said as I pulled my panties on in front of the attendant.

“Okay,” she said as she closed the door.

On my two-block walk back to the dorm, I felt flush from the excitement and nerves and panic…and then embarrassment.

Never. Ever. Again.

I’m just not cool enough for tanning.

Out of Sorts: This Week


That is the best word I can come up with to describe my week at work – which translated into my weeknights at home.

I’ve been running around.  In and out of meetings, putting together reports and emailing like a madwoman.  Scraping by on restless sleep.

Wednesday, I was so zonked after opening the door to my apartment and landing on my bed I could not be pried from my exhaustion.  Not the threat of a run around the park without me from C.  Not the promise of fresh air and fleeting sunshine.  I stayed in, sat on the sofa and ate the rest of the butter cream frosting I made on Sunday.  It was delicious.  Then I fell asleep watching Wife Swap at 6:25 p.m.

Yesterday morning, though, I got up in plenty of time.  I had picked out an outfit for work the night before complete with unders, stockings and boots.  I had all my accouterments ready next to the door.

Then, I couldn’t find my make-up bag.  Anywhere.

I looked in the dining room and in the kitchen and at my vanity.  I looked in bags and under beds.  To be fair, the apartment is less than 1,000 square feet, so it’s really nearly impossible to lose anything as big as a make-up case in it.  Note: nearly impossible, but still…possible.

I thought perhaps it was in my car.  So elevator to the basement garage and to my car.  No make-up bag.

Then, I called my coworker to see if it was at my desk.  Because, of course, while I was searching, seconds were ticking away on the clock and I was late to work before I even put my key in the ignition.  My coworker said she didn’t see it.

I had no choice.  I had to stop at Wal-Mart.  I seriously hate Wal-Mart (especially the one I stopped at) and visit only if it’s the one place to get something in particular I can’t find anywhere else (for a while they had Fox’s U-bet Chocolate Syrup–the only other place I knew to get it was Brooklyn).  Because of the time constraints and the fact that it’s a 24-hour store, I had to stop in.

FIFTY DOLLARS.  Yes, fifty dollars later, I walked out with a plastic bag full of cosmetics. Because, of course, once you have the blush you need a brush and once you have a brush you need some mascara.


 Even though at first I was prepared, my day didn’t go any better than Wednesday, or the day before that or Monday.

Meetings and project issues and blah, blah, blah and then…

I saw my very good friend/coworker, C1, walked away from my desk as I was walking toward it.

My day became brighter with his darling kitschy gift which gave me day dreams of Scarlett and Rhett and Tara.

Today, I am mobile from the dining room table and last night, found my make-up case on the desk in the guest room.  Whoops.

I’m away from Mile High this weekend in the mountains and am really looking forward to a hot tub and some girl time with M.  Weather clearing!


Cherry Blossoms: District of Columbia

A co-worker of mine is in D.C. this week and sent some photos snapped on his BlackBerry to me at the office.

Cherry. Blossoms. Everywhere.  Pangs of want.

The photos threw me into a reverie and I went into my Kodak Gallery account to reminisce.

I couldn’t help but email some of those photos to C of me at the peak of the blossoms two years ago, a few months before I met him.

Even crazier, when these photos were snapped, C was living in D.C. at 13th and P.  I could have smacked right into him on the mall or on the Metro or in Federal Triangle or else that entire week…but I didn’t.  I would, however, meet him a mere two months later on a street corner in a totally different city.

I can still smell the honey of the blossoms and just loved how people were out and gobbling up ever last second of gloriousness along the Tidal Basin.

You still have time to join the party for the National Cherry Blossom Festival – it’s the centennial!  I love the story behind all 3,000 beautiful trees, a gift to the American people from Tokyo, Japan.

Tidal Basin, March 2010

Tidal Basin, March 2010






What makes it better?

In October, after a road trip to South Dakota, by way of Wyoming, I declared I was done with McDonald’s.  I had had my last ever Two Cheeseburger meal with Coke.

My reasons were more health-conscious decisions than political.  I thought it a good thing to wash my hands of this sort of fast food.

It was good and it was permanent.  Forever.  Done.

It’s not that I eat McDonald’s very often.  I will do the occasional fries and a Coke or order off the dollar menu when I’m running errands–no more than once a month.  And, I’m a huge fan of their iced coffee in the summer.  Light and sweet.

I’m going to side note here for just a tick.  It’s a McDonald’s story.

When I was at school in London in 2003, a friend of mine was telling us over lunch in the refectory that her economics professor started their first class with a question for the students.  ”What are some patents you can think of that came out of America that have had a global impact?”  A hand shot up immediately from the back, a girl in our dorm from Czech Republic.

“Yes, go ahead,” the professor said.

Mac-Donalds,” she remarked in a British-English accent and the class roared with laughter.  Snark, snark.

“How about the light bulb, idiot?” my friend hurled back at her.

I think they got into a fist fight later on in the term over who was standing in line to use the payphone first.  It was hate at first breath for those two.  There were political and social issues in that school – quite a few now that I look back on it.  The school was a mash-up of European, British and American students mostly living together in tiny rooms just as things were getting extremely tense in Iraq and American involvement and war was imminent.

I digress, as I told you I would.

That day in Gillette, Wyoming, I decided I was over McDonald’s – as it were, Mac-Donalds.

I did really well for three months.

And then, while at the airport in Hartford in January with C, after being seen off by my parents who had turned around to leave once we went through security, a lump rose in my throat like no other and I knew I couldn’t keep it down.

I burst into tears and had to excuse myself and go to the restroom.  I hate leaving home.  Every single time.  I haven’t lived at home since I was 18, but there’s something so comfortable about my childhood and my parents and my cat, Miles Glitter Kitty, that I just sometimes feel like I need to hold on.

When I came back, C was sitting in a white wooden rocker (they have those at Bradley International) and had saved the one next to his for me.

“What can I do to make it better?” he said in his normal, calm demeanor.

I sniffled.  ”Egg McMuffin, please.”

And that was that.  I didn’t shed another tear and we were back in Mile High by noon.

How do you self-soothe?

Invitations in a Flash

…this was the weather.

Well.  Kind of.

This was the weather.

Notice those pretty balcony rocking chairs going unloved?

Last week, after C’s busted lip and a weekend of ski happiness, we got down to business.

This is what we did…three nights in a row.

Skip a lot of blah, blah – addressing, stamping, sealing, bickering.

Then we went out on a date on Thursday night.  It was romantical and VERY necessary.

And then on Friday, I walked down the street and sent them off.

Ciao, ciao!

Mary Jane. Not just a pretty face.

[This post contains graphic material.  I'll let you know when you're about to get to it.]

Since we’re getting married soon, C and I have been in well-behaved-money-saving mode for two winter seasons and have not purchased the full Colorado ski pass – which sets one adult back about $600.  Plus, there’s the drive up from Mile High (gas, time, more gas, traffic, more time) and the stress of getting back in the car at a decent hour on Saturday or Sunday so you can beat the traffic back to the city.  It’s no longer a pleasant day trip.

Of course, to add to those up front costs, there is also the meals and the inevitable apres ski beer(s).  Add to that, the guilt of not going up to the resorts every weekend and using the heck out of the pass after you’ve spent a fortune on it.  I’m one of those who, at the end of the season, likes to sit back and say, “Gee whiz!  I skied 38 times this season.  That’s $15.79 per day!  I rock.”

What we did this year was purchase a four-pack of ski passes to Winter Park and spend two full weekends skiing and staying overnight in town.  We used the last two passes last weekend and had two very good days (considering the weather has been warm and lovely and it’s almost a crying shame to leave the city when the parks are filling up with hipsters rocking hula hoops and happy running dogs and quilts and picnics).  I’m becoming more comfortable with bumps and C took me down one of his favorite runs on Mary Jane – Outhouse.  It’s a vertical black (black diamond to you East Coast skiers).  I made it down with C ahead of me and just as I was about to come off the run onto more flat snow, I watched him fly off an icy patch and yard sale.

Both skis and one pole flew off into oblivion.  He landed…on his face.

We wear helmets in Colorado.  This is a good thing.

[Graphic reading ahead.]

When I got to him, he’d picked up his head and was running his tongue along his bloody teeth.  The good news here is that he was licking his teeth and they were still attached.  I mentioned we’re getting married this summer, right?

“Is it bad?”  C asked me as I brought his skis back to him.

“It’s less bad and more bad ass,” I explained.

He was happy with that.  I was happy his teeth weren’t loose and his head wasn’t broken.

I love this boy and want to keep him in tip-top shape.

Anyway, the point of this story is that my graceful, back-country skiing soon-to-be fell on a black run and I did not.

This is a photo I found of Outhouse on the interwebs. Good thing I didn’t see this before I agreed to ski it.


A la votre! Wedding bands are in!

It gets more and more real and more and more…close.

Today for lunch I met C at our jeweler and we picked up these beauties.


Because Chris is a boy and he’s never worn a ring before, he’s petrified of “losing” it, so insisted we get one that “wasn’t very expensive” for him.  In fact, the ring cost the same amount as the engraving.  Score!

I thought I’d make it simple and get a ring that matched my engagement ring – a rocker cut white gold band that was simple – no extraneous diamonds.

Simple it was not.

Who knew the setting Chris purchased was custom-made by the jeweler?  For two weeks I was without my engagement ring so they could make a mold of it and figure out how to make a band from that mold.

Two weeks after that I was presented with a plastic ring to try on so they could ensure correct sizing.

Three weeks after that, the ring in white gold was done.  Voila!  It is stunning.

“Now for the easy part,” our jeweler said, “engraving!”

“Great!” we smiled at her.

“So what do you want it to say?” she asked.



“Oh shoot,” she said, “How do you spell that?”

So two months later, we got them back.

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.  - Song Of Solomon 6:3

Big Girl Job, Big Girl Purse

I was lucky to graduate from college with a full time job.  Different times, different place.

That full time job started in the spring, just as the over-sized everyday satchel came back into fashion.  I bought myself an XOXO faux pink leather satchel and it quickly became my one and only.  It was a purse for big girls.  Big girls with full time jobs and leases on their own apartments (hence the faux pink leather).

It came with me everywhere.

I worked at a TV news station nightside, which, on the east coast means the hours were from 2 p.m. until you get to leave.  Generally, if the scanners weren’t going crazy and a high rise wasn’t burning down or there wasn’t a homicide in Schenectady, that meant you could leave after the 11 p.m. news went off the air.

Nice job, everyone, let’s go get drinks on Lark Street.

Fabulous.  Let me grab my big girl pink purse.

It came with me to Washington, D.C., to Indianapolis, back and forth to Brooklyn, to the New York State Fair in Syracuse and down the Cape quite a few times.

The satchel has since been sent to Goodwill.  I regret it to this day.

The end.

Kind of.

Do you Etsy?  I don’t.  I browse but have never posted or purchased.

That may change because this week I saw this bag on another blog I read.  Floored.

This is like the professional version of my big girl purse.

I think I’m old enough to handle real pink leather now.

jennydesign - Etsy


I adore it.  And I have a birthday coming up.


Chocolate Cake in a Cup = Mobile Work Happiness

For me, the most difficult part of mobile work days at home is keeping my hand OUT of the fridge.

It’s a HUGE challenge.

While I’m on a conference call, I may make myself a chocolate milk or whip up some brownies.  Seriously.

Thankfully, I only work at home at most once a week or I’d be 700 pounds.

Today, I decided to try a little treat I picked up at Cost Plus World Market last week during their rug sale.  World Market has all sorts of global treats – including Dr. Oetcker’s Mug Cake.  It’s from Canada, but that counts as global.

So I made it for lunch today.  I went to spin class this morning.  So that makes it okay to have chocolate mug cake for lunch.

It took two ingredients to complete this very complicated recipe–butter, for the inside of the mug and five tablespoons milk.  I used skim.  It most likely cancels out some calories.


Stir until well-blended.  That’s a  little baby rubber spatula.  They’re great for getting the last bit of mayo out of the jar and they are just adorable.  Smooch.

Microwave for one minute 15 seconds.

It boiled over but isn’t that just so pretty and delicious looking?

It didn’t exactly look like the cake on the box.  But I’m cool with that.


I thought it could have used a bit more sweet.

And.  It would have been more beautiful once I sprinkled the powdered sugar, but I had already taken two chomps, so it looks a tad uneven.

I rate it a 3.5 out of 5.

It’s a definite high five satisfy to a chocolate craving.